Very quick background info: I’m 37, white, overweight, and increasingly and disturbingly (to me) balding. Single, no kids…I consider myself an excellent uncle and I take pride in the fearlessness I display in meeting people and striking up conversations.
Recently a new grill/pub opened up downtown, about a mile away from my place. Being close and a bit novel for the newness and all, I’ve become a regular there after work. As an artist, most of my work involves drawing pretty pictures for various people and companies about town. Over the past few months, I’ve found a surprisingly lucrative market for drawing portraits at 20 to 40 bucks per, and that generally has been used as “beer money.” Not too bad. Definitely worse ways to spend free time.
Here’s where the craziness steps in and sets up shop; there’s a waitress there, for the sake of the thread we’ll call her Ashley, and from day one she’s always come over to talk to me. She’s a teacher (elementary school) and working as a waitress in the “offseason” or whatever you might term it. We have similar tastes in music, movies, TV, books, all that…and conversation is effortless. Everytime I see her, she smiles and takes time to talk to me; I’ve never been in her section, she’s never had even a dime from me, she seems to genuinely enjoy talking to me.
So far, so good, right? Myself, I never even thought about age up to this point. As far as I’m concerned, she seemed like a fairly mature, pretty young woman with some ambition and plans for the future. She asked me if I wanted to go see a movie sometime. Of course! Right?
Last night I found out she’s 19.
Now, 19 is well past age of consent or whatever, I’m not concerned about that, and obviously she’s got her head on straight, probably moreso than other women I’ve dated, but I keep thinking of the maxim about how it’s okay to date someone half your age plus 7 years, which in my case would be around 25 years old if you round down. Of course I don’t consider that a hard and fast rule, but I do feel conflicted because of the age difference. So far there hasn’t been any kind of disconnect in conversation and she hasn’t ever tried to get me to buy her something or provide anything; I’m pretty sure she isn’t looking for a sugar daddy or whatever.
As of now, we’re best described as “good friends,” and maybe that’s all that we’ll ever be, and if so, I’m fine with that. But she does little things that hint at something more; she leans against me, she touches my knee, she basically comes really close to acting like girlfriend material. She tells me her schedule and although she hasn’t said it, I get the impression she hopes I’ll be there when she’s off work.
Did I mention that she’s pretty? And young?
I was thinking that eventually it would become clear that it’s either just my imagination or some kind of puppy love, but last night…well, nothing sexual was going on, but conversation definitely got into intimate territory. She displayed a maturity that I found impressive and a keen awareness of current events and relevant issues. Even though she’s young, I can’t think of her as a child; I’ve dated women ten or more years older than her who were immature in comparison.
I’m really torn; She’s mentioned going to see a movie sometime, as I said; of course I want to. She’s pretty much asking me out on a date, isn’t she? Again, she isn’t looking for someone to buy her things; she’s kind of proud and always insists on buying her own way, be it meals or movies or whatever. And yes, she drinks even though she’s not 21 (I was drinking when I was 15, so I can’t judge).
Should I take her up on the movie watching offer? Innocent enough, I know, but is there realistically a chance for this turning into a May-December romance?