I’ve been on your site for quite a while, and found it super useful and relatable, with plenty of great advice. For reference, I’m a 24 year old male with zero relationship experience. Never had sex, never been in a relationship, never kissed anyone, never even held hands. The most I can say I’ve done is been on one casual date that didn’t really end up going anywhere.
I’ve struggled with clinical depression all my life, something I only was cognizant of a couple years ago (I’ve started taking meds to help me with this). In the past, I used to be incredibly socially awkward and had trouble making friends (much less girlfriends). As I grew older, I found that I had a passion for film and filmmaking and allowed it to take me to film school. Once I started my undergrad, I told myself “OK, new leaf, new people, new community. Now’s the time to jump into the dating pool”. Well, as you can guess, nothing really happened these four years. Not so much as a woman being even remotely attracted to me.
I graduated my undergrad and, afterwards, went to go attend a postgrad in Film Studies at Cambridge. Again, I told myself “OK, new leaf, new people, new community, hell new country. Now’s your chance”. So, this time, I made a really concerted effort to put myself out there. In some ways, it was successful. I made a lot of really good friends at Cambridge and was, in general, considered pretty popular on campus. My love life was a totally different story. The first girl I asked out (also the first girl I’ve ever asked out in my life) rejected me. Felt pretty down about it, but picked myself up and asked another girl out. She also rejected me (turned out to be gay-we still became good friends afterwards though). Felt really down about that but, later in the year, I asked another girl out. She rejected me too (she had a boyfriend). And, uh, yeah, that was about the extent of my dating experience.
This slew of rejections, plus just a complete lack of experience in general, had forced me to do a lot of thinking and self reflection. Was I just a boring, uninteresting person? I don’t think I am, honestly. I’ve been told by many people that I’m a really cool guy. I have a passion that I’m pursuing, and have even started to pick up some hobbies (for instance, I’ve been teaching myself guitar and really enjoying it). Is it because I come across as a dick and I don’t realize it? Again, I truly don’t think that’s the case, as I’ve been told by my friends that they consider my a genuinely nice person. Is it my looks? Jury’s out on that, honestly. I feel like I’m generally pretty average looking, though. I’m no Ryan Gosling, but I’m not exactly a troll either (although, what I do have going against me is that I’m of South Asian descent [thanks, colonialist beauty standards!]).
So, I’m not horrible looking, and I do believe I have some interesting qualities. So, what explains my lack of experience? Well, recently I’ve had a realization.
I may have good qualities, but I lack attractive qualities.
Now, you may think, what’s the difference between the two? To which I’d respond: isn’t there a difference between a friendship and a relationship? Whilst one set of social skills is great at forming one bond, it doesn’t necessarily transfer over into a different type of bond. So begins my search of how to develop attractive qualities. However, much of the advice I found online seems to be a bit too generic and vague to really be actionable. Communicate. Be considerate. Be funny. Have open body language. Etc. Which is great stuff to have, but I feel like I can do that already. However, despite doing these things, while I’m great at making friends, I’m not so great at finding a partner.
This has led me to believe that maybe this dating thing isn’t really for me.
I guess this long-winded buildup, then, is leading to one big question that has been haunting me. If I know that I am not attractive, is it morally justifiable for me to ask women out?
I know this may sound like a strange question, but hear me out. I know for a fact that I’m not an attractive person (my complete lack of experience speaks to that). So, as a result, any instance of me asking a girl out, or even flirting with her, will result in an uncomfortable, unenjoyable experience for her. If I’m not able to be smooth or charming in this context, I know for a fact that I’m going to subject her to an experience that is (to put it mildly) less than pleasant.
However, let’s say, by some miracle (maybe she had low standards that day or something) she’s receptive. Alright, great, now maybe we’d go on a date. But guess what? I’d still, unfortunately, be my unattractive self. And soon, she’d realize that and realize she’d be wasting her time with me. But, let’s say, by an even further miracle, she decides to go out with me some more and it eventually it turns into a relationship. Well, by that point, I’d be so wracked with insecurity and guilt because the entire time I would be thinking how she would be better off with a more attractive guy. Hell, even a one night stand would be unfair to her. My lack of sexual experience would mean that I wouldn’t be able to perform in bed, which, again, would result in an unpleasant experience for her.
All this is to say that, given who I am, I think that trying to date women is a selfish task on my part. I wouldn’t really be bringing anything to the table and, as a result, would not be giving her a good experience, whether sexually or relationship-wise. And, as such, I feel like it is morally unjustifiable for me to be entering the dating scene. I should have gotten the awkwardness out of the way about six years ago and, because I didn’t, women my age would be (to quote Danny Glover) “to old for this shit”.
Anyway, sorry for the long message. I guess I’m just writing to you because I do find you very insightful in your responses. So, what do you think? Am I just not dating material? Would others be better off if I were single? Or is there some aspect about myself I can fix in order to become attractive? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Cool but Not Hot