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DEAR ROCKY LOVE for June 4, 2014
Dear Rocky Love
Jackson Hole, Wyo – I am a 24-year-old Jackson female who has been working at a nonprofit for two years. I love having a professional job and professional ambition, but I recognize this makes me something of an outlier in this community. I’m looking for that same level of maturity in a partner and I feel I’m doomed in Jackson without dating FAR outside my age range, which is something I’ve been doing. My question is: Should I waste my time trying to find a man my age that shares my interest in pursuing professional goals? And if not, should I settle for someone age appropriate who doesn’t share my interests? Or do I look for a gentleman a decade (or more) my senior with whom I can have a real conversation?
Signed, Young Professional Woman with a Brain
Dear Young Professional
I’m so glad you wrote in. Yours may be THE quintessential straight local female dating question, regardless of age! Jackson is, by all accounts, a place where people come to extend their adolescence well into their 20s and 30s. And in the case of Jackson men, adolescence can last a lifetime. You are a professional in a decidedly unprofessional town. People live here for the “lifestyle” not the career options.
But let’s not lose hope. You’re here, for example, as well as numerous 20-something females with do-gooder hearts because that is who makes up the staffs of most nonprofits no matter where you live, and Jackson has a lot of nonprofits. Thus, my advice is: Look outside your field. WAY outside your field. For example, teachers. Okay, that is practically a nonprofit kind of job, but young idealistic men are attracted to the field. How about healthcare? In fact, I know someone I could set you up with who is young, handsome, and works in an emerging healthcare field here in the valley.
The solid “industries” in town, as it were, are tourism and real estate. Chefs, hotel concierges, realtors and architects are all people with ambition, creativity, and most likely a higher education.
Also, speaking from personal experience, I wouldn’t discount the dudes in the contracting trades here. The philosopher-carpenter is not a mythical creature. Anything to do with home building and maintenance is a lucrative business in a resort town, and smart men (and women) who like to work outside choose these fields to complement their outdoorsy, athletic lifestyles.
How to meet these fine fellows? Well, that’s the funny part, as you will want to go to parties thrown by nonprofits. Grand Teton Music Festival’s younger aficionado group is called “Bravo,” the National Museum of Wildlife Art offers a “contemporaries” group and there’s even a group called “Young Professionals of the Tetons.” Also, the Chamber of Commerce throws weekly “mixers.” Those are the usual haunts. But have you thought about volunteering at athletic events? A lot of professional men in town are also into competitive sports.
So yes, I think you should look for someone in your age range. But I also think you should be open to a man a decade older as he may only be getting mature enough for you by then anyway. If you can find someone with whom you have great conversations and chemistry, who treats you with respect and adoration, and who shares your professional values, age is irrelevant.
– XO, Rocky Love