My kid woke up at six fifteen this morning. He’d pissed himself, as toddlers are wont to do in the course of a night, and when I walked into his room to free him (he sleeps in a tent) he said “daddy! I’m wet!” and shit, boy. He wasn’t fucking around. He was so drenched in piss that his socks were soaked. Quite a way to start off your Tuesday, right?
Anyway, I got a letter asking for a little advice a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I’d take a stab at it today.
I come to you in need of some advice, although I fear that this is a bit out of your normal realm of expertise. I still value you opinion on this matter.
Here’s my predicament – I am a 26 year old female; I am not only a virgin, but I have actually never dated. ever. I’m average looking… but a little overweight. I’m mostly just a slightly anti-social, awkward and maybe a bit insecure girl who doesn’t know how the hell this got so far. I’m becoming more confident with myself and blah blah blah, I’m now determined not to become some old spinster or crazy cat lady.
I want to start dating, but now I feel completely lost. I have no idea what to do. I’m at the level of a 15-year old with this shit. Actually, plenty of 15-year-olds are more advanced than me. I don’t understand how dating works outside of what I’ve seen in movies, which I’m pretty sure I should just erase all knowledge gained there from my brain.
When asked about my previous dating experience, (which only seems to happen with nosy co-workers), I always say that I had a boyfriend X months ago and just try to keep it vague. I feel that if anyone were to find out about my… situation, that they would not understand how it’s even possible and it all just becomes very embarrassing for me. I’m ok with (only because I can’t really lie about it) telling a guy I’m a virgin, but does he really need to know about my complete lack of experience? I’ve never even kissed a guy before. And how and when does this kind of stuff come up?
I should also add that it’s quite possible that the first guy I date will be a co-worker, which brings my anxiety level up 100% about all of this. I really don’t want all my co-workers knowing about my business. I guess just want to know how normal people in their mid-20’s date. Not your usual “how do I get laid?” type advice.
Okay, where to begin here? How bout this: first things first, you gotta relax. Look, I was just talking to someone about this yesterday: getting into a situation you don’t really know anything about is never comfortable. That’s why your first few days at a new job always suck. You’ve got no idea what you’re doing, everyone around you presumably does and even if you DO have what it takes to be good at whatever the hell it is you’re doing (better than them even) your complete ignorance of what’s going on (uh, where do we keep the paper in this place?) is only gonna make you feel inferior.
BUT, what eventually happens? You get the hang of it, and fortunately for you, you’re talking about making out and going to movies and drinking beer on the back porch with someone you like, not starting up as a new accounts person at ProFlex Pharmaceuticals, which is vastly less fun, vastly harder and less forgiving in terms of inexperience…but you seem to be very concerned with your inexperience, so lets address that first, shall we?
“I am a 26 year old female; I am not only a virgin, but I have actually never dated. ever. I’m average looking… but a little overweight. I’m mostly just a slightly anti-social, awkward and maybe a bit insecure girl who doesn’t know how the hell this got so far.” Yeah, you and everyone. Listen, here’s the thing: I know you’ve seen your friends/acquaintances dating and boning for years and you watch the MTV and whatever channels broadcast young people frantically getting drunk and pumping each other, but you’re really not in that strange of a situation. In fact, by my math you’re one month of bad decisions in college behind probably 90% of the less promiscuous of us out there, and probably in the exact same boat with more people than you realize. You said it yourself, you’re not grotesque or impossible to be around and you have enough self awareness to be writing to me, so what do you think? Somehow you’re the only person who’s slipped through some kind of crack? Nah. You’re fine.
I know, I know, easy to say, hard to believe, but seriously. You’re not forty, youre 26. That’s still YOUNG. AND you’re a girl. Think about this: how many dudes, average looking, slightly overweight and anti-social and awkward do you think are never-been-kissed virgins? I’d wager that the percentage hovers in the mid 90’s.
My point is, there are TONS of people out there in the exact situation that you’re in, so while you may feel alone, you may feel like you’re the only one of anyone you know who’s so inexperienced, look at yourself as an example. You’ve constructed a little series of white lies to keep what’s nobodies business from coming out, other folk are probably doing the same thing. Again, you’re not a freak, and your situation is vastly less weird than you’ve led yourself to believe.
That being said, you don’t know what to do. You don’t know how to answer questions when and if you find yourself in a potentially romantic situation. You don’t even know how to recognize that a situation may be potentially romantic.
Look, here’s the deal, and I know I said this before and I know it’s easier said than done, but man, you gotta relax. Dating someone in highschool is full of bullshit, for sure. You’re calling them, going to the movies, fingerbanging out in the field behind the middleschool, doing a lot of talking about “us” or whatever, but you’re thankfully a grown up now, and dating is a way different thing. It’s easy. Any time you’re spending with someone you like is kind of dating. It’s like being friends. There’s no point when you’re necessarily gonna be faced with having to answer questions like “so, how many guys have you kissed” unless you’re dating someone who’s super weird and awkward and at that point I’d advise you to tell the truth, because only someone who has similar romantic experience to you would ask something like that. And you know what? This brings me to my bigger point:
There’s nothing weird or wrong with not having kissed or dated anyone. Yes, it seems embarrassing. Yes, you feel like a pariah, and you don’t know what the fuck is going on and what do you even do once you’re holding a dick and wocka wocka wocka but heres the deal: this shit is fun and when you’re kissing someone you’ve never kissed before, chances are it’ll be a little weird, whether they’re the first or the one thousandth person you kiss. And that shit (again) is FUN, so it’s not like someone’s gonna get mad at you for fumbling though it. It’s like ice skating or smoking weed for the first time. Just trying it with someone is the big part, who cares if you’re wobbly or you cough up blood?
If you’re kissing someone, they like you at least a little, and they’re gonna be forgiving and cool, but you need to be confident and own your own situation. I know, easier said than done, but what’s the alternative? Pretend you’re some ex-escort or something and then wind up not knowing what’s going on in the moment? That’s gonna lead to serious stress on your part (not that I really think your partner would probably even really notice) and a potential weird breakdown where you have to admit you were lying and you don’t know what’s going on and THAT is something that’ll be maybe too much to bear. No one minds kissing someone for the first time, but people, as a rule, aren’t big on being lied to. So keep that in mind.
Oh, and I know this is trite advice coming from me, and I know it’s potentially bad advice, but a little booze goes a long way in terms of building confidence and allowing you to be honest with yourself and with others (in the short term). I’m not suggesting you go out and get shithoused and bang a soccer team or anything, but pretty much every single person on this earth is the product of a couple of beers, and if you’re feeling nervous, anti social and shy, a cosmo may just reset you for the evening.
I dunno. Is this advice bad? Socks? Dogs of War? What say you? Let’s help this girl out, eh?