Mr. Marriage

I'm a 22-year-old virgin and girls tell me that someday I'll make a great husband, but I want a date now!

Published January 7, 2003 8:32PM (EST)

Dear Cary,

I am 22 years old and all my life I have been Mr. Marriage. This means that the majority of women (of all ages) in my life have always told me that I am going to be the sweetest husband or that when I am in my late 20s or early 30s women are going to begin lining up to date me. While I appreciate all these comments, they have translated into romantic pariah-ship for my adolescence and young adulthood. Many of my female contemporaries keep me at a cold distance if they are single or feel that I have a crush on them. Women who are romantically unavailable to me for a variety of reasons love hanging out with me. However, their mothers (not their actual mothers but mothers as a whole) openly wonder why their daughters aren't battling each other for my romantic attention.

All this makes me a 22-year-old without any romantic and sexual experience. I have gotten compliments on being a good hugger, but hugging is a platonic experience these days. The most common advice I get is just to be patient and I will eventually find romance. I should just stop asking girls out on dates. Part of me thinks this might be good advice because I usually get rejected, with the girls talking about already having plans and saying things like "Maybe next time." I honestly wish they would just say no so I could get depressed for an hour or two, listen to the Smiths, and then move on. However, the other part of me does not like the "Just wait and be patient" school of advice.

Yes, many women might be looking for more long-term relationships as they get older, but I don't see why they would want to be in a relationship with a 27-year-old virgin who has never been on a date.

All of my friends (who encompass all of the major genders and sexual preferences) are in romantic relationships or at least get laid on a regular basis. I am beginning to think that they believe I am pitiful because of the lack of romance in my life. None of them ever try to introduce me to any single women. They probably think I am hopeless.

I should probably also mention my social flaws. I am an arch morning person who really doesn't like staying up late. I hate smoke and my version of heavy drinking is maybe four to six beers in one night. I have trouble socializing in large groups. I prefer hanging out with a small group of people and talking about every conceivable subject all night long over going bar or club hopping.

The Future Husband?

Dear Future Husband,

I think you need more information. I know I do.

If I were you, I would ask one of these women what, exactly, she means. Pick one who seems thoughtful and articulate, and just ask her: What is it about me that makes you say I'll make a good husband some day? Why some day and not now? Press for concrete details. If it helps to compare you with some other guy you both know who's roughly your peer but who is getting laid or has a steady girlfriend, ask her to make the comparison. Ask her to be brutally honest. Is it physical? What is it? These women may know exactly what they mean, but you don't. You need to find somebody who will put it into concrete terms.

In the meantime, it might help to sit down and ask what is most urgent to you in this life right now. Could your relative slowness in romance be because you've been concentrating on other areas? What are those areas? Are you a scholar, or interested in spiritual development? Are you trying to build a nest egg? Have you just graduated from college? Has your mind been on trying to prepare for a career? If you did just graduate from college, keep in mind that you're facing the biggest life change, and the biggest amount of unstructured time you've had since you were maybe 6 years old. You could feel overwhelmed with unanswerable questions about the future. So it will help to focus on the here and now, the manageable little things right in front of you.

And take note: As you get older, the guys who were so hot early on start to drop back in the pack, and those who have the staying power, the intellectual maturity, the patience, the long view, start doing well in life.

Maybe that's what the women mean. Maybe they can see you're built for distance, and when they're ready for the long run, they'll come around.

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Want more advice from Cary? Read yesterday's column.

By Cary Tennis

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