Typically, my stance on the “niche” online dating platforms that continue to pop up relentlessly in this, the year 2020, has been a skeptical one. However, the recent launch of 20 Dating, a new dating site designed specifically for people seeking a significant age gap in their relationships, has me — a woman who has kind of made dating older men her entire personality — questioning that stance.
The site — which comes to you from the creator of fellow splashy, niche dating platforms Dinky One (for men with small penises and those who love them) and Big One (for men with big penises and those who love them) — is dedicated explicitly to those seeking an age difference of 20 or more years between themselves and a prospective partner. This is a choice I respect, because I, personally, am tired of listening to women pull the “daddy” card only to find out they only date men a mere ten years or so their senior.
That said, I can’t help but question just how necessary such a niche site really is. After all, almost every mainstream dating app I’m aware of (and I like to think I’m pretty well-versed in that area) already has an age range filter. This means that, presumably, you are only seeing any prospective matches that are shown to you on any given app because you have both already told that app that you are within each other’s desired age ranges.
However, according to David Minns, the creative mind behind 20 Dating, it’s not that simple.
“Trying to connect with someone more than 20 years older/younger on a product like Tinder or Bumble is at best going to end up with a lot of rejection,” Minns told Metro UK.
“Finding an 18 or 20 year old interested in a 40 year old on a ‘standard’ dating site could be a real challenge, 20 Dating’s FAQ reiterates. “At 20 you know everyone is open to a larger age gap.”
This does not happen to align with my own experience as a woman looking to date significantly older men. However, based on the societal cocktail of ageism and sexism most of us having been sipping for the majority of our lives, it stands to reason that people on the opposite end of that dynamic have more difficulty finding a match in their desired age range than I do, i.e., there more older men seeking younger women than there are younger women seeking older men.
This could mean that a niche app of this nature is bad news for me, specifically. If all the women looking to date men two decades or more their senior are suddenly corralled onto one dating platform, the whole “dating older men” schtick my entire romantic persona depends on ceases to be a unique selling point.
That said, while we tend to think of relationships with significant age gaps as playing out between older men and younger women (again, we’ve all imbibed our share of ageist, sexist, heteronormative Kool-Aid), 20 Dating doesn’t appear to be catering to any specific gender/age dynamic. The only requirement, it seems, is that all users must be looking for a romantic partner 20 years older or younger. Wherever either party falls on the vast gender/sexuality spectrum seems to be irrelevant.
That said, it’s worth noting that more than half (66 percent) of 20 Dating’s current membership is male, per the New York Post. That leaves 32 percent female and 2 percent trans/non-binary. While information about the sexual orientation of those members remains unclear, the gender discrepancy seems to suggest that the platform might be inhabited by a disproportionate number of older men seeking to date significantly younger women — but again, that’s entirely based on speculation and also everything I know from my own experience of the world.
Also worth noting? The fact that as relationships with major age gaps face increased scrutiny amid an ongoing cultural reckoning with a pervasive and generally ageist fetishization of youth — which too often targets underage girls — the debut of an online dating platform designed to encourage those age gaps might be met with some criticism.
Then again, as I’ve previously argued, an age preference — whether for an older or younger partner (as long as both parties are of consenting age) — is nothing more than a preference akin to that of preferring strawberry ice cream over vanilla (maybe).