Savage Love Savage Love Letter of the Day
posted by August 19 at 12:09 PMon
Another letter that’s way, way too long for the column. It’s all below, after the jump.
But my advice? This frustrated after-the-jump straight girl needs to play to her strengths—the tomboy thing—and stop regarding/presenting her lack of experience as some sort of millstone that she will one day hang around the neck of some unlucky guy. There are guys out there that are actually into tomboys; and inexperience, when it’s properly presented (think “a sexy opportunity for a more experienced partner to blow someone’s mind and mold someone sexually,” not “a horrible, horrible burden for the more experienced partner”), can be a major turn-on.
Also, people who rule out bars and internet personals and rebuff the assistance of their friends can’t complain about how little action they’re getting. Don’t like bars? A large percentage of the people in them feel the same way; they’re there looking for someone they can never go to the bars with again. Internet personals make you feel gross? Yeah, well, being single is making you feel worse. And if your friends offer to drag you places, let ‘em.
I am a 26 year old straight girl, and unfortunately, I am not writing to you about my sex life. Rather, I am writing about the total lack thereof. I’m 26 and have never had a boyfriend. There’s lots of reasons for this—I am horribly, painfully shy; I never outgrew my “tomboy” phase and spend an inordinate amount of time correcting peoples’ mistaken impression that I’m gay (I am aware that many gay folks have to spend inordinate amounts of time correcting mistaken impressions about their not being straight, and I’m sorry for that; also I wouldn’t mind people thinking I was gay if I felt like my straightness was also perceived and respected some of the time [or if I was getting laid], but since my straightness is apparently invisible, my perceived gayness is aggravating); I don’t feel comfortable hanging out at a lot of the places where my peers/friends seem to hang out (ie, bars), so I don’t really meet a lot of people (and even when I do go out, my shyness takes over, and I don’t talk to anyone I don’t already know). Maybe I’m just profoundly unsexy and unappealing. I don’t know. I don’t know why guys are never interested, I just know that they’re not, and as I get older, I am less and less okay with my perpetual chastity.
I have had a couple of “near misses”—guys who were friends of mine which then moved beyond plain ol’ platonic friendship. In one instance, the guy was the one who initiated the making out, in the other it was me, but both times it was the guy who backed off. Both guys cited my lack of confidence as an issue (though not the sole reason they ended up being uncomfortable with the change in our friendship). I think my lack of confidence is entirely understandable and predictable if you spend more than ten seconds thinking about it—in a situation where someone else has lots of experience and I have none, of course I’m going to feel out of my element and hesitant and intimidated, no matter how well I know and trust the boy I’m getting naked with. I can’t just pull confidence out of thin air. I have to build it. To build it, I have to have experience. But it’s no fun to get naked with a girl with no confidence, and thus, the vicious cycle continues. And it just gets worse and worse as I get older and it becomes less likely that I’ll meet a guy with either as little experience as me, or a guy who doesn’t mind that I don’t have any experience who also isn’t creepy.
I’ve tried, in my own socially awkward way, to put myself out there. My friends try to take me places and encourage me to be outgoing. I tried one of those online dating services once, but the endless perusal of profiles made me feel like I was grocery shopping in a gross sort of way. I have thought about calling a male escort service, to get some experience if nothing else, but I don’t know how to find one and I’d feel even more shy and stupid than usual trying to explain this situation to someone who has sex for a living. I’m aware that I’ve painted myself into a corner here, and that I haven’t given myself any sort of out. The reason I’m writing now is that one of the near-misses I described just happened a couple weeks ago, and I feel a new sense of futility about the whole issue. A year or two ago, I just figured I was a late bloomer (which I always have been, my whole life) and was a little frustrated but mostly okay with it, but now I have trouble believing that any guy is going to want to spend any time getting past all my awkward shit and want to be with me, and I have more trouble envisioning a scenario in which I’m willing to let a guy in on all this. I don’t want to have unreasonable expectations about a guy’s ability to solve all my problems for me, but I’m noticing that those expectations are creeping in anyway.
I know I have no self-confidence but I do have some self-respect. I’m smart and I’m caring and loyal, people seem to laugh at my jokes, I’m fun to be around once I’m over my initial awkwardness. I’m not drop-dead gorgeous but I’m not ugly either. I know I have a lot to offer to the guy who’s lucky enough and persistent enough and patient enough to get past the shyness and the lack of confidence and the lack of experience. It’s just that the confidence issue and the shyness have, in this particular area of my life, reached epic proportions, and I’m starting to feel like it’s unfair to lay all that at the feet of any guy. Do you have any ideas? Do I just keep waiting not-so-patiently? See a therapist? Grow a new personality? Invent a time machine?
Please don’t try to make me feel better by saying, “I know this guy, So-and-So, who didn’t get his first kiss until he was 37,” because the thought of having to wait another 11 years for this part of my life to get started is kind of unbearable. I say this preemptively because it seems to be my friends’ favorite way of trying to make me feel better. It doesn’t work.
Tired of Being Single