Beware Your Desperation Stank

Dear Dategirl, I'm an OK-looking 28-year-old guy. I've got a good career and a great social and family life. I'm nice—meaning I treat everyone with kindness and respect, whether I'm into them or not. I have great female friends who constantly tell me I'll make someone a good "wife." I've been single my entire life. I've had flings and dated, but never had a girlfriend. My last relationship involved some really great dates, but then she dumped me via e-mail. Girls always break it to me gently, and never really indicate why they're breaking it off. Mostly I hear, "I don't think I'm ready." I know I can be a bit clingy, but you try playing it cool when you're terrified you'll end up a crazy, lonely old man. I'm at my wit's end. I don't see anything changing, and I'm falling into a vicious cycle because my confidence is starting to suck. I'm tired of being depressed and don't want to be a burden to my friends anymore.—Despondent Dude

Clang-clang-clang went my warning bell upon reading this sentence: "I know I can be a bit clingy." It's natural to paint ourselves in the best light. We use words like "curvy" instead of fat and "aggressive" as opposed to overbearing. That you freely admit to being "a bit clingy" tells me this situation is worse than you think. I have no doubt that you, my new friend, are giving off the desperation stank. Worse than the triple threat of Cheerio/coffee/cigarette breath, the eau de desperatión is smellier than a rancid burrito fart and more repulsive than a festering open sore. Nobody wants to be with the desperate guy (and I'm using "guy" only for your purposes—women can be just as desperate) for one very good reason: He makes us feel like we could be anybody. The desperate guy doesn't care who he dates. He just wants a girl; if she's got the right parts, she'll do. In fact, her best quality is that she'll go out with him. Let me put it another way: Recall if you will that inspirational kitten poster your granny used to have hanging above the toilet: "If you love something, set it free." Like so many inspirational posters, that sentiment is absolutely true. The tighter you wrap your wrists around your date's ankles as she tries to walk away, the more likely you are to wind up with a stiletto through the eyeball. I know you're worried about ending up alone; everybody is. The difference is that successful daters a) know how to hide it better, and b) have mastered the confidence game. If you think about how you act when you're out with a girl whom you're scared shitless you're going to lose, you'll realize you're not much fun. I remember dating one really hot young man, and being so happy that he was probably going to have sex with me that I was pretty much rendered speechless. Sure, I spoke up to agree with him or laugh at his jokes, but that was about it. I was gutted when I later found out he was seeing a bunch of other women, but in retrospect who could blame him? I was this freaky mute who desperately wanted nothing more than to be wanted. I couldn't have been freakier if I'd stood outside his window howling "LOVE ME!" at the top of my lungs. The difference between you and me is that I got laid nevertheless, because men are generally less picky than women when it comes to shoving their genitals into strange spaces. One more thing: Has it occurred to you that your female friends might be bitches? Saying you'll make someone a good "wife?" What the hell? If someone said that to me, there'd be trouble, because traditionally the "wife" gets the short end. You need them to clarify what they mean. Do they think you're a doormat? Their answers might provide you with the kick in the keister that gets you out of this rut. dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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