The Single Files: life in the late-20s ‘danger zone’
Is this new? Or new for this age group? Or just the age-old story of the male commitment-phobe?
Maybe it’s something to do with new modes of communication. Texting rather than ringing; bumping into each other on nights out, rather than arranging to see each other at a set time and place. More than once we’ve wistfully looked back to when we were 12: “Imagine if the only way a man could speak to you was if he rang the house and asked your dad first?”
American-style dating is perceived as a solution in some quarters but after speaking to veterans of that system (ie other 28-year-olds in New York), it seems that the novelty of that wears off after a while. Dates and hook-ups are so readily available that it’s rare to get beyond a certain stage, namely the “nice” stage that I suspect everyone – even the danger zone theorists – wants to be at.
So, the one thing that most of us can agree on is that everyone wants to get to the nice stage. But with both sexes adopting fixed roles, we have a bizarre situation on our hands. A danger zone indeed.
‘I thought I’d be settled at this stage’
Luke O’Farrell (29) is a graphic designer and mature student from Sandyford, Dublin
“I was going out with a girl for two or three years but then we finished two years ago and I’ve been single since. A lot of my friends are single, we’re all between 29 and 32.
“I always thought I’d be kind of settled at this stage, instead of living in an apartment with two lads.
“I enjoy the company of a girlfriend, doing things together, going on weekend breaks.
“It’s quite hard to find somebody you connect with. I’d like to have kids by my mid 30s. I’d go for someone aged over 25 to 31, or 32 max.
“I don’t internet date. I suppose I’d be embarrassed to put up my profile. But a few friends have got long-term girlfriends from it.”
My single life: ‘I’d like to get my career going first’
Rebecca Rigney (23) is studying science and health at the University of Limerick
“I’ve been single for about three years. My very close friend got engaged over Christmas. That’s unusual among my friends, but having said that, my younger sister got married when she was 19.
“ I don’t really like going to nightclubs and I don’t drink, but that’s where the majority of people get together. There is very little that doesn’t revolve around a nightclub or drinking.
“I’d like to meet somebody who is into the same kind of things as me. Definitely no one shorter than me, and they have to have nice teeth and a nice smile.
“I’d like to get married in my early 30s. For the next five years, I’d like to get my career going and do a bit more travelling. I don’t have my eye on anyone at the moment. There is no rush.
“Now, I’m just focusing on my career and myself. You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.”