Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): CC
Comment: Dear Moxie:
I’ve been reading your dating column every day for the past few months and I must say I enjoy reading every one of your articles. I’ve been struggling whether I should write to you for quite a while mainly because I am not sure how to phrase my problem. There really isn’t anything going on in my dating life-I think that’s the best way to phrase it. And being 24, an age when everyone else is getting engaged or at least in some kind of relationship, I am at a point where I am not sure what’s wrong with me. I’ve never had much luck on the dating front and I rarely admit to people that the only long-term relationship (lasted a year) I ever had was with my first boyfriend in high school and that was a long, long time ago. I never dated anyone during the entire 4 years at college and I never even joined any clubs at school (which I regret every minute of my life now). Instead, I was studying like a maniac because I was afraid to lose my full-ride scholarship due to the fact that my family couldn’t afford to pay a dime for tuition if I lost that scholarship. All that effort paid off and I graduated with straight As. Only then I realized that almost everyone else in my college class was engaged to each other and some already married. Just when I started to panic, I fell in love with my boss at an internship and it took me nearly a year to get over my feelings for him. I never pursued him because he was 20 years my senior and may or may not be married. He never mentioned a word about his family during the entire 6 months I worked with him and I thought that was a little weird because almost everyone else in the office had mentioned their wives or girlfriends or kids at some point. But that doesn’t matter because I knew that he had no feelings for me and it wouldn’t work out anyway. After I left that internship, I took a job abroad and left the country for a while. Nothing much happened during that job either. When I returned to the US last year, I was determined to put as much effort as possible into finding dates. I joined most of the major online dating sites and had a few dates with a couple of men. I was pretty optimistic when I started out doing online dating, but after a few horrible dates I kind of lost faith, but I’m still keeping my profile up. I’ve had dates with men who were so into talking about themselves and never even bothered listening to me and a man who kept saying “It was really nice meeting you” while kept staring at his fingers. Once I had what I thought was a nice first date with a good-looking guy, but later found out that the reason he went out with me was because he has an “Asian fetish (the exact word he used)” (I don’t think anybody would be very flattered when someone made it clear that they like your ethnicity rather than you as a person). Frustrated by online dating, I went out to a couple of speed dating events and social events, met some people, but never went on dates with them because nothing really clicked on the romantic front. Recently, I’ve been concentrating on my career and went out mostly to networking events, where I did meet some nice guys, only to find out that all of them were either involved, engaged or married. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is frustrated by the NYC dating scene, but I couldn’t stop wondering if it’s me or them. In the past, I’ve always thought it was me, but seeing how many people, good-looking or not, overweight or in shape, are in relationships, I couldn’t help thinking may be I wasn’t the only problem, but there is no way to know. My mother kept asking me why so and so, who is overweight and not good-looking, can find someone while I’m still single. And every time all I had to say was “I don’t know.” I’ve always known that I’m not the prettiest girl, but I do have a body that’s in excellent shape and I dress in style all the time. I have no trouble talking to strangers in social/networking events and I quite enjoy going out. In the past, I thought it was probably because I moved too much and it’s hard to establish a social circle that way. Now pretty much every one of my friends are married or engaged and moved away, my social circle is shrinking. I try to go to events and meet people whenever I have the chance, but nothing seems to be happening. I’ve made a lot of new professional contacts or casual friends at these events, but no prospective dates. I know I’m still young, but I don’t want to waste my 20s not dating anyone and repeat my mistake of not socializing in college (looking back, I have no idea why I did that because I was never a shy person). Is it just that I have incredibly bad luck or is it really me that’s the problem? Now I seem to be stuck in a situation that the guys I like are unavailable and a few guys who might like me are not my type at all (no I’m not very picky and actually most of my past dates were average-looking men). And one last thing, I have never disclosed this to anyone but my best friend-I’m still a virgin at 24. It somehow never happened partly because I have not dated much and partly because most of my dates ended after the first date and I don’t want to sleep with a man on a first date. I’m not the kind of person who wants to save for the marriage, but I can’t just go out there and find a random guy to “get it over with”. I am extremely concerned that if I do end up meeting a nice guy in the future, my lack of experience in sex will be a major turn off, which I know I will have to deal with. I apologize for the long letter, but I’d really appreciate some insights.
City: New York
I had to stop what I was doing and write a response to this. Mind you, I’ve been playing Let It Go on a loop for the past twenty minutes and I’m feel particularly bold.
First, don’t you dare downplay your academic achievements. Screw all this advice about husband hunting in college. Getting a formal education is a privilege. You were in college to get a degree and study. You didn’t just do that, you excelled at that. Nobody ever got turned down for a job because they got straight A’s. Some of your peers managed to meet and marry someone while getting their degree? That’s great. That was their path. This is yours. When you find yourself comparing yourself to those women, try to stop yourself. No good will come from that. The worst thing a woman can do is look at other women and wonder why they have this or that and they don’t. I do it myself, and I always spiral down the rabbit hole. You don’t know what their lives are really like. For all you know, they too had parents who were on them every day to find a husband. You have your whole life to get married and at least another 15 to 20 years to have kids. Do you realize how long that is? Do you under stand all the things that you can accomplish between now and then? You’re already well educated and well-traveled. Imagine what else your life has in store for you, because there is so much more to do than get married and have kids. That goes for someone 24 or 64.
Let’s start by focusing on one thing at a time. First, make an effort to develop some friendships with other women that you can socialize with and who can help you navigate the singles scene a bit. You don’t want to isolate yourself. The more you’re out meeting people the better you’ll be able to figure out who the jerks are and who the good guys are. Place making friends and getting at the top of your priority list. Just focus on socializing, not dating. Dating will happen eventually. Once you’ve got your bearings a bit, then try online dating. Dating online can be a little tricky for someone who really hasn’t dated that much. The upside is that it doesn’t take long to get acclimated socially if you do it enough.
Next, I’m not sure what your relationship is like with your Mom, but time to draw some boundaries. Even though parents ask about our love lives because they want to see us taken care of and happy, they still can sometimes place a suffocating burden on us by doing so. If she doesn’t respect your request to not ask about your love life, then either learn how to tune her out or interrupt her and say, “I don’t want to end this conversation, but I will if you keep asking me about this.” You don’t need the extra pressure. Tell her that. Next time she asks why all those allegedly unfortunate women have boyfriends and you don’t just say, “That’s just how it’s worked out so far, I guess.” Don’t let her demean those other women. Again, she might mean well, but she’s going about it all wrong.
Now, as to your virginity. You’re only 24. You’re not weird for being 24 and a virgin. Whatever the reason that led to this being the case, it is what it is. You’re not a freak and you’re not alone.When you meet someone you think you want to get intimate with, you can choose to tell him or you can just..not. You’re not obligated to offer up that information. It’s nobody’s business anyway. And if you do reveal this “secret” to someone you’ve gotten to know and who has grown to care for you, he probably won’t judge you, either. Continue to use good judgment and you will pick the right men to get to know and let in to your world.
The only problem you have is that you lack experience. You’ll find your way as you’re supposed to. This isn’t a contest. Many, MANY people graduate college with limited social, romantic and sexual experience. All it takes is a little time and effort. It’s no different than studying for an exam. Apply yourself and familiarize yourself with the material. It really is that simple. Everything will fall into place. Be cautious and be wise, don’t put yourself in unfamiliar situations, rely on a few friends to help you out of your shell, and listen to your inner voice when something doesn’t feel right. The more experience you get under your belt, the easier all of this will become. Just get out there and talk to people and let people see you and your accomplishments, because you’ve accomplished quite a bit for your age.
Finally, trust that your on the path meant for you and only you. Then follow it.