Meet our teen experts: Alyson, Rachel, and Aaron from San Diego, California.
Hey everyone! Why don’t you start by sharing a bit about yourselves. Who the heck are you young people?
Aaron: I’m 17 and a senior in high school. I really enjoy writing poetry about my feelings and I’m addicted to wearing Adidas sweatpants.
Alyson: I’m 17 and a senior in high school. I write for magazines. I love Teletubbies and colorful socks and I’d like to go to college on the East Coast.
Rachel: I’m also 17 and go to school with Alyson and Aaron. I love literature and soft socks.
You guys live in California, why the hell are you wearing socks?
Rachel: Socks are a huge thing here!
All right then! First question. Where’s the best place for me to meet men?
Rachel: I don’t know if it’s me and my Cali lifestyle, but I think it would be great to meet guys at a coffee shop. Like, an alternative coffee shop. You know, do work and hang out.
This sounds like the beginning of a ’90s sitcom. What generation are you even from?
Aaron: I think you should meet men at places that already interest you—so you both have something in common to chat about. Go to a place that makes you feel nice and do it for yourself. You’re not going to find some guy at a bar.
What about online dating? Isn’t that where the young folks are these days?
Alyson: I don’t personally have Tinder. I know some kids my age that do. My personal opinion is that we all want a “we met someplace” romantic-type of story.
Rachel: I think online dating is good up to a point. I know Tinder is a place for hookups. What about Match.com?
Rachel: It’s taken more seriously. Tinder is just a bunch of people throwing themselves around.
Point taken. Okay. Real talk. Do you guys look at me as an unmarried 31 year old and think “Wow. She’s super lame?”
Alyson: My parents got married around your age but honestly, I haven’t thought a lot about marriage. I don’t want to plan my life out though, if It happens, I’m not opposed to it. But I think this is a great time to being “doing you” at 31. You’re living in New York and being cool. Just be Ariana.
Rachel: I would like to get married by 27, but it’s also really important that I get my doctorate so I’m going to be in school for a long time. Being 31 and unmarried—there’s no judgment there. You’re living life to the fullest. You’re a great writer. I don’t think age really matters.
Wow. Can you guys be my three-person therapy team?
When do you think is the right time to have sex with someone? I’m pretty comfy having sex off the bat. Is this a good strategy?
Aaron: It’s all in your own judgement. I personally haven’t gone all the way—though, I’ve gotten close. You decide what’s right in the moment. For me, I decided I didn’t want to do it. The truth is, I’ll have sex when I want to do it and my partner should be able to respect that and wait for me.
That is an incredibly mature and empowered way to look at sex. I’m very impressed.
Alyson: I haven’t even kissed anyone yet. A lot of people misconstrue it as being prude, but I just take it really seriously. How am I going to feel about myself after? A lot of kids at our school are sexually active. You know about “Netflix and chill,” right?
Yes. I’m not a million years old.
Alyson: It just depends on what you want to do.
Okay. Example situation: right now I’ve been on a few dates with someone and he’s good on paper but I’m just not feeling a click. Do I go on a few more dates to feel it out or end it?
Alyson: You gotta trust your gut. When I think about being a single girl in New York, I think of Law and Order—be careful out there!
Alyson: Seriously though, theres going to be someone that’s perfect for you that’ll fit your puzzle piece. I don’t want you to settle for someone that only fits the piece a little. Then the rest of the puzzle will be out of whack.
That’s some deep shit, guys. Thank you! So... how should I end it?
Aaron: Well, you might as well be honest because it might be the last time you’re talking to him. Don’t leave him with a bad impression of you. As long as you’re straightforward, he should understand.