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Heartthrob or headache? Are older guys the perfect solution to crush woes ... or a shortcut to disaster? If dating older boys is uncharted territory, check out the facts before you get in over your head.

The guys in your grade didn't grow up a bit over the summer. They're PS2-obsessed, spitball-spewing burp machines that are all four inches too short. Nick makes farting noises, and the whole slew of them erupt in laughter. Yep, girls mature faster than guys. That can be a bummer when all the crush-worthy cuties act more like bratty bros than BF prospects. So you have three options: You can 1) wait for the grow-up fairy to visit the boys, 2) put your crush life on hold or 3) upgrade your selection by checking out hotties a grade or two ahead. But dating up can be complicated. Before you shop for a more mature cutie, scope out GL's pros and cons of hanging with older dudes....

Pro: He might have a job. If your older guy is employed part-time, that means he has the green to woo you. Proper girlfriend spoiling comes in the form of "this anklet made me think of you" and Taco Bell lunches on him.

Con: He has a job. Jobs are sweet because they bring in the dough, but they also require clocking in work hours. Precious time your BF could spend with you will be spent bagging groceries.

Pro: He's Prince Charming. Charlie's suave sophistication made Sarah, 15, swoon: "Charlie is going to be a senior, so he's already dated. He's not as nervous as younger guys."

Con: He's Prince Pressuring. Trouble with charming guys is that they can charm a girl into a bad decision. Older dudes might persuade you to do things you don't want to do. Never let him make choices for you.

Pro: His crew rocks. You'll get to meet his cool, older friends. "I like hanging with my BF's friends," says Kristie, 14. "They're confident and less petty."

Con: Your crew rocks. While expanding your social circle, don't leave your buds in the dust. Your faithful friends might feel replaced if you gush about your awesome new posse.

Pro: He's mature enough ... "My boyfriend is a year and a half older, and he's way more mature than guys my age," says Beth, 14. Maturity (usually!) comes with age, and hanging out with someone who can find humor in things besides bodily functions is a nice relief.

Con: ... for college. "Distance dating has a lot of communication and trust issues," says Lori, 16, whose BF is in college out of state. Know if you're up to the challenge before falling for someone who's scheduled to depart for Hottie U.

Pro: He weakens your knees. Maybe it's his varsity physique or the way he brushes his shaggy hair off his face. From your big bro's buds to the seniors who own the hallway, there's somethin' dreamy about upperclassmen.

Con: The folks aren't stoked. Dating someone your parents don't approve of could get you grounded until you're 30, so keep them in the know. "David is only a year older, but my mom worried at first," says Abby, 13. "She set up some rules about curfew, and things have been fine." Aw, yeah--fine.
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Author:Southall, Amanda L.
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2005
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