I’m 25, perfectly happy, healthy and content with my life and the direction I’m going in some of the time, and like just about anyone else in my age group, totally fucking lost most of the time and wracked with imposter syndrome.
Oh, and I’m also a virgin.
Which, for a dude, 25, not socially inept, no noticeable deformities, no deeply embedded religious beliefs (for anyone, right?) is a big no-no.
A few minor caveats: yes, I’ve had those late-night, sloppy make-out session-turned hookups that might’ve ended with my pretzel-like flaccid penis flailing around in the general vicinity of some female genitalia.
But those have been few and far-between and so utterly unenjoyable, nonsensical and short-lived that I can’t even begin to label those moments sex. Drunken moments of clanging pans together, certainly. (Yeah I grossed myself out, too.)
But those real, utterly captivating moments of love, connection (and whatever other cliché adverb you want to insert in there)?
If you want to make a man feel inadequate and like a total, insufferable buffoon, have all of his friends surround him, ask him why he hasn’t had sex with that girl yet (I’M SCARED MY DICK WILL FALL OFF, YOU GUYS!), insist that he just do it, yell at him, berate him, bite his fucking head off, tell him about the bees and the trees or whatever.
Or, hold your fingers up — what’s your number, dude? Does myself count?
Or, play never have I ever, suggest something absurd like done it in on a schooner! and watch everyone put their fingers down because apparently everyone who has ever had sex has had sex on a schooner first. That’s the first place you think of?
That was my life, for months, honestly for years. This constant battle to preserve my inner machismo, to not lie to people, per-say, but mislead and make them seem like I’m more competent in that department than I really am because it’d be stupid and I wouldn’t be a very good dude if I wasn’t, right? Kinda chuckle and have a really smug look like, you know it.
And honestly, there would times where I would feel so grossly anxious and out of place and insecure that I would want to leave wherever the fuck I was, dip my head into the nearest sewer and just kinda stay there for the rest of my life.
It became such a pervasive, crippling part of my existence — the fact that I hadn’t, really — that I wouldn’t want to leave my bed for fear of running into somebody again who might question my manliness. Dude, I get it, all right?
And I’ve spent most of my adult-existence running away from relationships and people because that shit is scary and what happens when we do it and it’s not good or will you want to marry me afterwards? But what if I’ve already decided I don’t really like hanging out with you, so I’m going to say no, this isn’t going to happen, and we’re going to go our separate ways. Thank you.
Have a nice life.
I’ve had to struggle with those feelings, because most of my friends have had a number of those meaningless, hollow connections with strangers and while I’d gotten a taste, I’d never really had a full-meal. (Again, I gross myself out, too.)
Fear and Loathing
I think the biggest thing it’s stemmed from is fear, honestly — I’m scared. What happens next? What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best?
It feels like a bigger moment/idea than I want it to be. I don’t like big moments. I like small moments, like beating my 10-year-old cousins in a go-kart race.
Everything else gives me stage fright.
And I feel so vulnerable, too. Because it’s way too intimate, and I don’t like intimate situations or feeling vulnerable or like I’m not sure or 100% comfortable about what to do next. I hate that. And I’ll do anything I can in my power to avoid that.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time generally avoiding it.
But admitting it publicly makes it feel a little bit better. Like I’m not running away from it so much.
Why I’m Doing This
If we were all a little bit more open and honest about things like: our feelings, school-shootings, other people’s feelings, death, anxiety, miscarriage, divorce, suicide, depression, stress, insecurity, racism in America, I think we’d be much happier.
I think we’d feel much more secure in our own skin and wouldn’t have to spend so much time and energy trying to build ourselves up and be someone who we’re not and whatever else. (I can’t 100% verify that through research, but as a personal testament, I feel fine. I feel somewhat secure.)
And I think we’d be able to have a more constructive dialogue around said issues — less people would kill themselves, miscarriages and divorces wouldn’t be so taboo, we’d finally muster up to courage to tell someone who we’re in love with that we’re in love with them and not continue to waste one another’s time and have this crippling self-doubt rolling around our heads like a bunch of tiny little Powerball numbers.
We’d save a lot of energy.
I’m doing this because I think that if everyone spoke up with their real, raw emotions instead of hiding behind a thin layer of anger and frustration and fear (like I’ve done for way, way too long), I think we’d operate like 1 million percent better as a human species and less people would drive their cars into pre-schools because they wouldn’t need to do that to vent.
They wouldn’t need to take their emotions out on some unrelated third party.
And because I feel like it’s not the responsibility of your friends to grab you by the throat with a pair of vice grips and yank the truth out of you every time you’re feeling down or in your own head or like you need to say something and you’re just looking glum as shit.
It’s your responsibility to speak up, to tell them you’re being a self-destructive, self-loathing sack of shit and the real reason why.
It’s in there somewhere.
To muster up the courage to say, this is how I feel and to be really honest with yourself and others, and to talk about your really deep, dark secrets, because most people can relate to that in a way that they can’t relate to baseball or Mean Girls.
And I get it: it’s scary to talk about this stuff. It’s terrifying, especially the first time.
But don’t worry. If you’re scared, I’m scared too.
Stop being such a wimp.