Reckless eyeballs

Hi, Dategirl!

I have a problem that I just know you can offer some keen insight into. I am referring to the Wandering Eye. I am a 23-year-old male, and while I don't think of myself as particularly attractive, I have been single only three months out of the past seven years. I have had three long-term girlfriends, and most of my platonic friends are female. But here is the problem: Whether it be lack of self-confidence left over from my awkward teen years or something else, if anyone even flirts with me a bit, there's a good chance they can take me home that night.

I'm not saying this has actually happened (well, twice), but during the hours of the day that the blood has returned back to my brain, I get pretty stressed. I consider myself a decent guy and am very laid-back and personable, but within 10 minutes of flirting with some cute girl (or guy for that matter) and dealing with all the naughty thoughts passing through my head, I feel kinda rotten.

I know it's OK to look but not touch, but why does it have to be so tempting! I have been told that I need to be single and get the sleeping-around bug out of my system, but I honestly believe that these feelings will NEVER go away, no matter how fantastic my better half may be. What is your take on this? What advice do you have for a guy (or girl) who is tempted easily by the excitement of flirting and being naughty while trying to hold down a real relationship? I know I am the type that is always in a long-term relationship, and if I was honest and called things off with my girlfriend to "sow my wild oats," I know I'd end up dating someone else in a short while. At the same time, I LOVE sex and being sexy, and the notion of not flirting with people I find sexy is beyond my meek powers.

Do you have any advice for a tormented soul trying to be a good boy but not willing to part with the dream of experimenting with many different types of people?

Hopelessly Confused

Dear Confused,

Honey, your big problem is that you base your opinion of yourself on what others think of you. News flash: Everybody (except the most hateful of humans) thought of themselves as utter dogmeat during their teen years, but this is no reason to go home with any schmo who calls you hottie. I know whereof I speak on this one. A few years ago, after getting out of a long-term relationship with someone who never said anything that could remotely be construed as complimentary toward me, I went on a slut spree of minor-epic proportion. The first time a devastatingly handsome man hit on me, I went weak in the knees and dragged him back to my lair. I figured he was way hot, so I was way hot by osmosis! Right? Uh, not exactly. This continued for a year or two until I eventually grew bored of men—most of whom had nothing more than their cuteness going for them—determining how I felt about myself. And, oh, the vapid (but pretty) fools I suffered prior to wising up! (Truth be told, I did have a lot of great sex with a lot of stunning men, but that's not really the point.)

However, you're only 23, so you've got several more years of dumbass left in you. I would advise you to get single quick. The fact that you've been sans relationship for only three months in the past seven years is ridiculous. Not to get all Oprah on your ass, but you need to figure out who the hell you are before you bring another person into the mix. There is nothing less appealing than someone who constantly drifts from relationship to relationship out of fear of being alone. And your ass-backwards method of gauging your attractiveness leads me to believe that you think being constantly involved has something to do with your looks or worth as a human being. You could not be more wrong. Take a walk around your local mall or, better yet, your local flea market. For every one cute couple, there are at least a dozen looks-challenged twosomes.

I don't think you sound confused at all. And as for being a tormented soul—ha!--listen, junior, the torment hasn't even begun for you. Wait till you hit your 30s! You're just a flirt. Some of my best friends are flirts. I've been known to be one on occasion. Flirting, when practiced correctly, is not only harmless but actually beneficial—whether you're single or not. Quit being such a drama queen.

Do you have a tormented soul? Write or Dategirl, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle WA 98104.

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