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Auntie SparkNotes: Due Dating

Auntie SparkNotes: Due Dating

Dear Auntie,
This is possibly the shortest letter you have ever gotten. Here's my question—What's the right age to start dating?

First things first, Sparkler: This is NOT the shortest letter I've ever gotten. The shortest letter I've ever gotten had just three words in it. Although admittedly, that letter also didn't contain a question; it just said "Roast beef pantaloons!", and I found it both perplexing and vaguely disturbing.

But I digress.

Fact is, the answer to your question is almost as short as the question itself: The right age to start dating is... whenever you feel like you're ready to start dating.

Basically, age has very little do to with it; it's much more a question of maturity, interest, and readiness, none of which have a specific number attached. Because all dating is, really, is spending time with another person toward whom you're romantically inclined, who is also romantically inclined toward you. And that covers everyone from the juniors with a mutual crush who go to prom together; to the joined-at-the-lips seniors who've been smooching in the hallways since ninth grade; to the fourteen-year-olds who flirt all summer at camp, frantically make out behind on a pine tree on the very last night, and then never speak to each other again. (Note: And no, the attachments you form before puberty aren't really "dating," which means that the time you smooched Johnny Pemberton under a library desk in the third grade doesn't count, no matter how fun it was.)

So, if you want to date—and you feel like you're mature enough to handle the ups and downs of dating at whatever level you plan to do it—AND there's someone you're at least vaguely interested in getting to know on a more-than-platonic level? Then congratulations, you're good to go.

...Unless, of course, your parents say you can't. In which case, come back, and we'll talk about the fine art of whining and wheedling.

What's your ideal dating age? Tell us in the comments! And to get in touch with Auntie, email her at or check her out on Facebook.

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, dating, maturity

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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