Surprisingly, the 21-year old and I are still going strong.
Needless to say, though, there are some issues that inevitably came up with the age difference.
1) The job situation: he just graduated from college (shoot me now) and he's got all the time in the world to worry about his career and stuff all the while he has a security blanket of his well-off parents to cover the expected and exuberant expenses that typically arise from a lifestyle of a young twenty-something. You know, booze, cabs, meals, dates (with me, nonetheless).
2) The outside perspective: when I broke my with my college ex ages ago, we managed to remain friends for a year or two afterwards. Consequently, he became comfortable telling me about his dates and his love conquests and there was this one time that he was out at a bar and he was hitting on this crying girl (why?!) and ended up getting her number. I asked about her age and he told me that she was 27. I remember thinking, why the fuck would a 27-year old even be interested in a 21-year old. Why the fuck would a 21-year old be attracted to a 27-year old. I found it a bit unsettling that the girl was so.... well, old.
Am I viewed as such in this guy's eyes or in the eyes of his friends, because, of course, they're not gonna say it to my face, just as my friends are not going to question me as to why I, all of the sudden, got this young dude tagging along with me everywhere I go. But I'm sure they wonder, and I'm sure they talk amongst themselves, and I'm sure they ask. And I have an issue with being labeled. And I feel like I am being labeled.
3) Our choices of places of leisure and entertainment: he teases me because I go places where "older" people go. You know, places with substance, places that serve fancy drinks in glasses made of real glass. I tease him because he chooses venues where all the "kids" go, where the booze is consumed in order to get fucked up (okay, I kind of like that and I kind of partake) and girls and guys are looking to hook up with the first pretty face that pays attention to them.
And I understand, I don't blame him or his friends or all the younger people for that matter; I've been there. But I'm just in a different, what I prefer to call, a more sophisticated place now. I like fancy tapas and vermouth and absinthe drinks that come from exotic regions of the world. I like discussing the architectural integrity of historical buildings of Singapore and the recent tsunami warnings in Indonesia and the stock market. I like making clever 90's pop culture references and I like when people actually get them. I can't ask the same from the 21-year old's friends. Why should I?
Then again, these are the differences that I foresaw before getting into any kind of emotional attachment and these are the differences that, as they arose, I am still willing to work through and tolerate. I'm having fun, what can I say, and no matter what it looks like to the outside world, I am going to continue doing what makes me happy.
It is the long-term possibilities and consequences that I still can't help but be worried about.