Dear Dategirl, I am a 34-year-old virgin. I have problems with fear and depression, and it has stopped me from having a social life. It's also affected my career. I am so depressed now that I'm not sure I can muster the energy to get a higher-paying job. I am also very depressed that I have missed my better dating years (teens and 20s). I am not sure there is really an answer for me to ever be happy. I think some of your advice is correct for some people. But I don't know anyone like me. My best friend is on his ninth girlfriend now. Does anyone out there suffer like I do? I'm not sure where to go from here.Sad
Where you should go is directly to a mental health professional with prescription-writing powers. I'm no pro, but it sounds to me like you're suffering from clinical depression. There are so many varieties of happy pills on the market, I'm sure you and a licensed psychiatrist can find one that will fit. I'm not being glib here, either—if you had cancer you'd see a doctor; depression is a real illness and should be treated as such. To answer your other question, yes, plenty of people suffer exactly like you do. (See below.) And though I love them, the holidays have a way of exacerbating the bleakness. I was a virgin until I was 26 and have only had two girlfriends. I'm 35 now and have spent my entire adult life alone, depressed, sometimes even entertaining thoughts of suicide. In a feeble attempt at connection and sexual frisson, I've been to countless strip clubs and peep shows and have had numerous escorts to my apartment. None of these experiences have been satisfying for the inescapable reason that these women are only spending time with me because I'm paying them. My isolation is the result of devastating social phobia, which I've struggled with since I was 12. I honestly think that women can't comprehend nor relate to the degree of isolation some men live with every day. I know there are women in unsatisfying relationships, but to me that simply isn't the same as doing everything by yourself. Imagine going to the movies, restaurants, concerts—anything that one typically shares with others—alone. Now imagine living like this indefinitely. This is the way some men live.Invisible
Actually, according to studies, women are nearly twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. So I think we ladies can relate to the devastation the condition can cause. Nor are we immune to loneliness. C'mon. You can't really believe all women are either happily shacked up or a little mopey about their unsatisfying relationships. According to the venerable New York Times, approximately 51 percent of us are living sans spouse. I lived alone for 10 years between boyfriends, and believe me, while I'm not comparing my situation to yours, there were many nights spent in a nearly catatonic state of sadness. We do have one slight advantage over straight men because when we're lonely—unless we're morbidly obese, bearded, or covered in open sores—we can usually round up some loser to fuck us for free. True, there's a good chance he'll be drunk, ugly, or stupid, but he will be willing to put it to us. One of the many perks of being a dame, I suppose. The danger in believing that women are incapable of understanding what you're going through is that you just push yourself further away from us, and as you're straight, that doesn't seem like a very good idea. Men and women aren't so different, you see. My advice to you is the same as for Sad. Please get yourself some help. A bottle of Paxil or Lexapro isn't going to solve all of your problems, but being able to eke out a smile every once in a while will definitely help. Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.