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Girls Are Crazy Until They Reach The Age of 26

39 Comments 15 June 2011

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“Girls are crazy until they reach 26,” I heard uttered from the office adjacent to mine last week.

This was coming from a conversation a cluster of female co-workers were having about relationships. The statement above was something a man said to one of them in regards to dating.

None of them disagreed with the statement. I thought about it for a second and shook my head, “Yep, whomever this wise man is, he’s right. We’re all bat shit-crazy when it comes to relationships until we turn 26.”

This sentence stuck with me long enough to write a post Monday declaring the end of my quarter-life crisis. It would be negligent to not admit that the quarter-life crisis and the bat-shit cray-cray are synonymous with one another. Men have their own challenges to deal with at this age, but instead of lunacy they usually have to deal with being selfish and confused dickwads. Or rather, we women have to deal with it.

Selfishness & Confusion mixed with Craziness & Insecurity does not usually bode well, so dating in your early 20′s typically creates drama fit for a telenovela.

I sort of went through this as an early twenty-something in a morally-questionable city (Los Angeles) and I’ve seen younger friends and acquaintances go through the same thing: you meet a dude, he seems into you, you kind of dig him so you give in to his advances, he plays it cool, so you play it cool in return, you guys hook up for a month, he tells you that he’s not looking for anything serious, you think you’re cool with that, he’s clueless to the fact that you’re not cool with it, after awhile you start to call him for emotional support, he starts pulling away, you ask him what’s up, he doesn’t return your calls, you drunk text him, he responds that he’s too busy to date, you drunk call him, he doesn’t pick up, you try calling 43 more times, he doesn’t pick up, you pass out from drinking a half a bottle of cheap vodka underneath your bed, he goes on with life, you don’t, he is already eying another gal, you are proud of yourself for letting 4 days go by without contacting him, he has forgotten about you, you text him after day 5 to see if he wants to meet up for coffee, he responds an hour later, that hour seemed like an eternity to you, he agrees, you start devising a plan to win him back, he wonders why the hell he’s getting coffee with you, you show up to coffee drunk and in your best American Apparel side-boob dress, he’s more interested in the barista working behind your right shoulder, you ask him how he’s doing, he says “great!”, you start crying because you are not doing great, you’re doing terrible and you miss him and his semi-indifferent embrace even though he only called you at 2AM on Saturdays when you happened to both be drunk.

During moments similar to this in my life, I wondered what the hell was going on with me. I came from a sweet and supportive family, I was confident, I was smart, I was not ugly, but yet I was acting kind of desperate. The more a guy didn’t want me, the more interested I was in him. It was like the teenager that was so sure of herself was replaced by a drooling insecure young woman who had no idea what she was doing. I felt very alone with my dilemma for I did not hang out with enough girls to realize that this was somewhat common behavior in your early 20′s. It wasn’t until I came across a Rolling Stone article about the hook-up culture at Duke University (which has since been deleted from Rolling Stone archives) that I realized young women had some seriously f’ed up views on relationships, casual sex, and how women should be treated and behave. Smart, beautiful, and intelligent women were deluding themselves into lowering their standards and it still comes as no surprise to me today when I hear of a woman that fits that bill who has difficultly with men. My male friends tell me all the time, “She’s wonderful, but she texts me 20 times a day/thinks I’m seeing other girls/reads my emails/gets drunk and yells at me/wants to move in after sleeping together once/held me hostage at her house.”

So why is it that we girls are “crazy until we reach the age of 26?” (I’d like to add that though I say “we”, I’ve never done any of that Courtney Love shit listed above).

If you weren’t one of the “lucky” ones who has known exactly what they wanted out of a career and relationships since birth (and by “lucky” I mean, just wait until the day comes that you wake up at 40 and realize that you hate your job, hate your spouse, and have an aching desire to become a bartender at a gay resort in Bermuda), you mostly likely spent your late teens and early 20′s trying to desperately figure out your path in life and who you wanted to take along for the journey. But the truth is, you really have no idea, so you make poorly devised decisions based off a hodge podge of what you think you maybe want, what you think your family wants, what you think yours peers or partners want and what you think society expects. This combination creates a constant internal pull that makes you unsteady with your actions- i.e certifiably looney tunes. Chances are yo momma didn’t go through this because she was married in her 20′s, dudes were more respectful, people didn’t sex it up as casually, boobies didn’t exist on TV, and people grew up in more religious households.

Gosh, I sound like an old lady.

Maybe it’s because now that I’m past 26, I cringe when I think of the young lady who had zero understanding of modern youthful courting. If you know a female in her early 20′s, do her a favor, slap her upside the head when she starts getting all weird about a dude she’s casually hooking up with and tell her that she’s better than all that. Let’s hope we can change the idea that “girls are crazy until they reach the age of 26″ to “damn, girls are so not crazy!”

Do you think I’m crazy for saying that many girls under 26 are crazy, or do you agree?

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Your Comments

39 Comments so far

  1. The Writer Currently Known as Rory says:

    That explains the 21-year-old who cut off all conversation with me on a dating site, without any explanation. Just gone. (And I was just chatting like I always do with someone I'm interested in, respectfully, and playfully, though I can't recall what attracted me in the first place. That's probably the best sign that she wasn't the one for me)

    And that also explains the 29-year-old I started chatting with (I'm 27), who matches everything I love in life, and has the maturity I've always sought, even when I was a teen and, yes, an idiot. Those conversations are so easygoing, and not only do I remember exactly what attracted me enough to contact her (And not just because it's been only a few days), but I'm looking to make this work, no matter how long it takes.

  2. That Chelsea Girlâ„¢ says:

    I've never really been possessive over a guy, and I've always had one goal (graduate from college). With that said, the ride getting there has been a little crazy, but I don't think I'm cuckoo bananas or anything…so no, not all girls are crazy. Some are boring. Some are super intelligent. Some do whatever they want. It's just perspective.

  3. Mallory says:

    I don't turn 26 until December, so technically I'm still in the crazy stage. And although I am married, this still rings true. I still get insanely insecure and act crazy over the stupidest things sometimes (these sometimes' are usually alcohol induced.) I am anxiously awaiting my 26th birthday, when maybe my hormones will calm down and my normal brain will return.

    I have made some progress though. I also can not believe the stuff that I used to do when I was between the ages 18-21; can not believe my behavior, my thought processes, and my desperate attempt to find love with every single guy that showed slight interest in me, and also of those who did not acknowledge my presence. And although I still don't know what was going on with me during those times, I am glad to hear that I'm not alone in my craziness.

  4. caitwaas says:

    Hilarious, and so true. I was 23 and my husband was 38 when we started dating. I was still crazy, he had zero tolerance for crazy so I cut it out. 6 years later we're happily married.

  5. Annette says:

    Blame the hormones!

    Just read The Female Brain, and I feel completely at the mercy of the chemicals in my body. I'm 28, so I'm quite a bit more settled than my early 20s self, but I still definitely have some crazy times. I have a feeling when I'm 38 I'm going to feel like those darn 28 year old girls are SO crazy…

  6. Mila says:

    I dated a 22-year old not too long ago. I was in my early 30s, for some context. So I'm not looking for casual or fling (hell, to be honest, all I was looking for was real, no matter what form it took. On the other hand, I don't think it wise to move to quickly into a serious relationship with someone that young. They're defining themselves, exploring their world, figuring out how it all works – them, their desires, their needs, their feelings, the people around them. They're still meeting explosively new and interesting people. They're still growing and finding their place.

    I say this because I got married when I was 21. I thought I was ready. She thought she was ready. But a few years passed and all that finding out and figuring out (no cheating, just growing and knowing things we didn't know before…) came back on us. It wasn't that we were a bad fit when we started. Quite the opposite, we were good for each other. But as we grew, we moved in different ways.

    I don't think girls under 26 are crazy. Just that they're growing, changing, putting out feelers and touching a world that's still pretty damn new to them. And if I'm dating someone that young, I'll let it be on their terms, because me, here, now – I know I'll ask for what I need and I'm joyful just living in this world.

    It's all about not trying to jam things into shape. That's when the crazy comes in.

  7. M says:

    I wasn't crazy like that in my 20's but then that's because I was raised by a freakin Victorian so I was never into easy hookups. I did let the crazy out if a guy did something super f*cked up like cheat. But even that was just telling them off; I never boiled any bunnies. Interesting thing though–I have a few girlfriends in their mid-20's and it's a trip to see how they deal with guys. From my wise old perch of 30+ I can see so clearly why liking someone too much is a *bad* idea, why being too available is an even worse idea, etc… But you couldn't have tattooed it into my skull in my 20's. I was not chill and aloof if I liked someone; that's something that has come with age, thank goodness.

  8. carrie says:

    I'm 23 and just made my first appointment with a crazy doctor. my name is living proof.

  9. Adrienne says:

    I don't think it has a lot to do with age (although in some cases it does). Like you said – smart, beautiful, and intelligent women were deluding themselves into lowering their standards.. – let's face it, we are different then men when we fall in love because we are fed with fairy tales when we are kids, bombarded with false images of what we should look like, and what our relationships should be like (pretty much take any crap as normal), so no wonder we are a mess.

    And to wrap it up: It's a man's world but it would be nothing , nooothiiing without a woman! SING IT!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don't have a clue why this is, but it's definitely not all women. Dunno if this is a good time to bring up this article:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/epidemic-mental-illness-why/?pagination=false

    My sister who fits this description best also happens to have been the one who was on psychotropics. Hard to know if this is chicken/egg/unrelated?

  11. tennysoneehemingway says:

    I think there's something to be said for EVERYONE being crazy in their early 20's but, fear not – men don't even get remotely interesting until we're thirty. Ya got four years on us at least.

  12. Libby says:

    Oh gosh I love this. Yes, I agree– I think girls finally wise up about not being so needy of a man's attention.

    My own personal experiences to this are limited but I do at times remember acting crazy girl. I would even catch myself doing this and remind myself this wasn't the way that I should act or even win anyone over. Maybe because I never really wanted them. I was given the idea by social peers to be this way.

    I generally wanted my boyfriend to be my boyfriend and knew that he would be. Some reason I was able to play it cool with him and he was at one point the hardest person to get ahold of. (That`s still the case in some regards, as you might know) We have been together now 3 years and I take B6 daily :)

  13. IT (aka Ivan Toblog) says:

    I gotta agree. My first wife probably wouldn't've married me if she'd waited another year until she was 26.

  14. Skeptical Czarina says:

    I don't know but I had my quarter life crisis early 21ish so who knows. But yes I think 26 is when you finally start feeling comfotable in your own skin, takes forever. So much harder now too with all the media influences etc. 26-30 are some of the best years of your life. And even thought I dreaded them so far your 30s aren't half bad either. It's the whole growing up thing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It's a blanket statement, but then again, so is "Don't trust anyone over 30."

    Young people don't know what they want, and even if they figure it out, they'll be too old to use it (to paraphrase the dad from 10 Things I Hate About You). So yes, 20-somethings act like nuts, and this is all part of figuring their shit out. I was equally "crazy" when I was 26 and under, and I definitely wouldn't go back to that period of my life, but all the grasping at straws certainly helps you figure out what you DO want, and what you will NOT settle for, in the long run.

  16. Maggie says:

    I disagree that age has anything to do with girls or guys being crazy. I think lots of people are crazy, and a number of those people are over 26.

  17. Caitlin says:

    I never really thought about any of this. It kind of makes sense though. I personally have never done any of this stuff, but I do still have a while until I'm 26. I do see a lot of girls my age act this way though (I'm a sophomore in college). Interesting read!

  18. Ashley says:

    I'm sorry I didn't comment on your post about being over the quarter life crisis, because it really resonated with me. I've had the same realization in the last year or so and a few weeks ago, I found myself telling a 23 year old that THINGS GET SO MUCH BETTER OMG (later I realized that might have sounded condescending).

    I really feel like I was a total disaster until about 26 or 27, but I know that by all objective standards, I didn't appear that way. I wonder if there's something really there or if I'll always have the feeling that I was a mess until [insert current age]. I can say that I am certainly happier being myself than I ever have been before.

  19. Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind says:

    Sometimes a post speaks directly to me; this is one of those times. I'm a 25-year-old female. I am crazy.

    Text message I sent to a friend just yesterday: "Well, he's had trouble getting my txts before. I just don't trust anything a male says. OMG I'M BEING CRAZY. Why r girls so fucking crazy?!"

    Ha. Guess I only have one more year of this??? :)

  20. Anonymous says:

    I had to laugh, because I see this happen around me all the time. I'm apparently at crazy stage… being 22; but I think I'm able to keep things under control for the most part. I do agree that generally, it's a blanket statement that has been embraced by men who use it against us, and even ourselves when we turn unnecessarily crazy and just accept it as "who y I am" because we think that's what how you're supposed to be, or people are ok with it. No. They're not… We have to change our perspective of what we're looking for. I'm not really sure how to do that, because I'm not quite there yet: don't just jump into bed with someone, but also don't expect everyone to be your future husband. Simple enough, right?

  21. Anonymous says:

    brilliant.

  22. 23livelaughlove says:

    I LOVE THIS !! U GO GIRL…..

  23. gastarbeider says:

    it's not just girls. it's loneliness and it affects men just as badly as it does women. The only time in my single life when I didn't have that lonely, despairing, sending-drunken-impassioned-texts-to-someone-I'd-only-just-met was a one month period where i happened to be sort of seeing a few different girls at the same time and when I was too physically/emotionally/fiscally drained from it to have anything left over to be lonely with. I think we're mostly built the same way, but the institution of 'guyhood' (19-25yo) is more clearly defined; what you can and can't (or should and shouldn't) do are pretty apparent whereas for females of the same age it's a scattered mess.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hey, chill. I'm crazy too. Yay me!

  25. Amanda says:

    I remember turning 27 and thinking that I felt a lot more sane and suddenly started feeling bad for any guys who had put up with me. It's definitely a true statement!

  26. Rita says:

    As an 18 year old, about to enter my 20s, this is really terrifying.

  27. Meg says:

    Welp, I'm 25 and your blog has described me from about 18/19-24/25. I had 1 significant relationship during that time, and that was it. I lived my life not really partying or hooking up, because I wanted to be viewed as one of those "girls worthy of taking home to meet mom".

    Around 24 I realized, I just don't give a (care)! What am I going to do, live my life waiting for a guy to find me? Yeah right! I'd already wasted the first few years of my 20s, I wasn't willing to wait anymore! So I broke it off with my hook-up buddy (it's more like the ass who'd only text me at 1am wanting me to get out of bed and drive to his place, the guy who told me "I don't want a relationship" and yet I still considered us "something" bc we were hooking up- now I see it was all a joke…), and just started saying "I'm just having fun".

    That mantra has given me the best 2 years of my life, I've met so many people, I've made so many connections, and I feel equal to the guys I hook up with bc I know they don't want to date me- and I don't want to date them either! I felt like I had leveled the playing field, I was able to live like a guy almost, "I don't want to date you, but I'm attracted to you, so let's have fun".

    Forgive me for sounding like I've become some promiscuous party-girl, but the less I try to define myself, the more powerful I feel I become with who I am and where I'm going.

    As for wanting a boyfriend- yes I'd love one when it's meant to happen. So until then, I'm going with the flow and loving the relationship I'm in with myself (I'm a real catch, how'd I get so lucky???)

  28. lauren says:

    Wow, way to make sweeping, sexist generalizations. Not cool.

  29. LuvKrazy says:

    This author don’t know squat. Try dating in your forty’s and you will understand.

  30. Kathy says:

    Wooow im 25 n i cant believe im just reading this i wouldve stopped all my crazy novela life. But does this mean i should stop sex until im 26?

  31. Deon says:

    Interesting read. I’m a26 year old guy and just got out of a relationship with a 24 year old girl. I dont want to call her crazy but she was very insecure and confused about everything. She over analyzed EVERYTHING. I’m sure guys always say that about girls but I pray to god I can find a girl who doesn’t respond to”you look great tonight” with”so I didn’t look great last night?” Guys are stupid emotionally ladies, its not that we don’t care, we just don’t think about all the things you girls do

    • Martiin says:

      DEON mate,

      It is true though, when you say to a girl ” you look great tonight” she really doesn’t usually look that great

      My solution was never say anything like that but instead i just go “dang you look hawt, fuck going out, let’s bang”

  32. Marie says:

    This is crazy that I’m just reading and acknowledging this.I am 21 with a 28 year old boy friend, that I’ve been with for 3 years now. He is very flirtatious and social. Up until a few days ago I’ve been looking at everything so selfishly, only thinking about my feelings and not really his. I’ve acted very erratically and really had to question myself. I was a very smart, independent, out going, and confident girl in High School and falling hard just consumed me after infidelity. Now I see things a little more clearly. What kind of man would want a needy, very unconfident, and jealous woman… smh
    I’m to the store to buy some B6 and really focus on getting my shit straight.
    THANKS!!!

    • Bahama John says:

      I just found this article and Im a 24 year old guy. I finally found an article that is a summation of what I’ve been experiencing with women in their early 20′s for the past half decade of my life.
      Everyone seems to be concluding that the craziness is just young people figuring life out, which I now get. But man, when you’re a good guy looking for a good girl in your early twenties, you can’t find them because they are all crazy. And all of the hottest girls are the craziest ones… sucks.
      Dating and hanging out with older girls were always the best experiences I had when it came to friendships and relationships.
      I can’t wait till 26.

  33. TupacChopra says:

    Women are crazy for life.26 because alcohol fuels a chemically imbalanced brain during and post college?Wine in the 30′s,vodka in the 40′s and then tapers off when no longer a sexual player.institutionalized alcoholism for natural depressives and manics.This world continually amazes me with its blindness and abject stupidity.


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Hipstercrite Round-Up: The Crazy Girl Edition - December 8, 2011

    [...] see someone in pain from our actions.” This article has the exact opposite title of my post Girls Are Crazy Until They Reach the age of 26. When I first read Ali’s article, I thought, “Yeah, but we women need to toughen up a [...]

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