Help me get past my staggering lack of romantic experience.
posted by anonymous to human relations (44 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a thirty-one year old heterosexual woman, reasonably successful, reasonably intelligent, reasonably fashionable, and, by most accounts, reasonably attractive. I'd never be mistaken for a supermodel, but I have a decent body and a pretty face. I run distances, eat well, and take care of myself. I'm quite social, have lots of friends, male and female, and can put on a good show of confidence, even when I lack it completely.
That said: I haven't had a date in three years. I haven't had a boyfriend, well, ever, unless you count the high school friend who made out with me for a couple weeks senior year and then came out of the closet the week before prom. Distressingly, I'm still a virgin, which is (trust me when I say this) incredibly weird at this point. It's not deliberate (I'm not religious, nor have I ever been). Nor is it for lack of trying. It's just that I'm rarely approached (last time was at least a year ago) and the guy who approached me was at least thirty years my senior.
These days, socially and professionally, I’m often the lone girl in the boy’s club. And the boys tell me I’m cool and smart and fabulous and cute. I have no trouble earning their respect. But I’m never the girl they want to date. And it doesn’t seem to matter how many pairs of high heels I wear and tubes of lipstick I buy, they still seem to have a hard time remembering that I’m a woman (I actually hear this a lot).
My mother and my female friends believe that my problem is that I’m not vulnerable enough, that I’m more inclined to debate and tease than I am to coo and titter. But it seems to me that thirty-one years old is a perfectly absurd time to start pretending to be a blushing schoolgirl, when it’s clearly evident to everyone around me (a lot of whom, at this point, know exactly who I am) that I’m not.
I suspect, at base, this is a self-confidence issue. I'm an old hat at unrequited love, a shameless romantic, having spent much of my life during and since puberty, pining after boys who never pined after me (though a few were my close friends). I’ve been rejected often. Sometimes humiliatingly so. Factor in some bullshit baggage left over from my attractive, talented, and hypercritical family members and you sort of end up with me trying desperately to figure out which way is up, and what the hell I’m doing so wrong.
This is a godawful, mewling mess of a question, but I guess I’m just looking for ideas, advice, anything. What does one do? How do you convince someone that you’re desirable? That you might be worthy of their romantic attention, a little affection, a little seduction, a little sex? Or maybe even, because I sort of never got it the first time around, the grown-up equivalent of a mixtape, a goodnight kiss, and reasonable odds that he’ll call the next day?