My coworker Marcus took a bite of his tuna sandwich and chewed thoughtfully.
I tapped my spoon against my bowl, waiting impatiently for his answer.
“No,” he finally said. “She’s too old.”
My mouth dropped slightly in disbelief.
“Halle Berry, in all of her gorgeous glory, wouldn’t do it for you because she’s too old? You’re 41, though.”
“I know. But I want to have kids. So I’m looking for a woman who’s younger.”
My eyebrows arched involuntarily. “Only younger?”
He nodded with steadfast assurance. “Only younger.”
I stay in my own peer group.
I never choose strictly from the naïve hearts of tender youngsters or from the weathered ones of secure veterans.
But interestingly, I’ve gotten offers from both ends.
Leon was getting on my last nerve.
My absolute last 9-year-old nerve.
My friend Samantha and I were playing with her toy kitchen when her little brother interrupted us.
For the 15th time.
He’d steal the plastic burgers from my hands.
He’d sing at the top of his lungs whenever I’d try to speak.
When I’d walk over to the tiny sink to “wash” the dishes, he’d pull my braids and run away.
Samantha would threaten bloody murder as big sisters do.
But seconds later, he’d return.
Always with me as the target of his activity.
One day, I complained to my mother about it.
And she responded with a horrifying thought:
“I think he likes you.”
What?! No, he’s too young. He’s in the second grade, for goodness sake. It can’t be.
But it was.
And as time went on, it always seemed to happen that way.
Maybe it was my small stature or quiet spirit. But whenever a friend had a younger brother, he would inexplicably develop a crush on me.
Now, as an adult, I’m garnering attention from the opposite end.
One day, I was walking leisurely when I felt a pair of eyes on me.
I stopped and looked to my right. There was a man with a beard the color of smoke and a leathery worn face.
He eyed me for a second and then began walking toward me.
I stuffed my headphones into my ears and quickly turned on something, ANYTHING, to muffle what was sure to be a pseudo complimentary yet unsuccessful greeting.
I recounted this to Marcus, who, responded in the expected way.
“You are attractive. Well, why wouldn’t he try to talk to you?”
“But he’s definitely older than my father. That’s a nearly 30 year age difference.”
“So? He could be your sugar daddy.”
I shook my head vigorously. There’s not enough sugar in the world.
Lesson: Age ain’t nothing but a number, depending on who’s doing the counting.