Ask Kat: A Case of Mistaken (Sexual) Identity
This is slightly strange to me because I usually solve my own problems, but I would like some help right about now because my friends have no idea what to tell me and I don't want to screw something up. I'm a freshman guy at college who knows how to be with the ladies, but I haven't exactly been with a girl. I'm inexperienced. I don't look or behave like it though, so people tend to assume that I'm not.
About 5 months ago I started showing interest in a freshman girl named Annie, and she politely rejected me. She said that she wanted to concentrate on her education and couldn't handle a boyfriend at the time. We remained friends though, and I still am interested in her, though I have been trying (in vain) to date other girls. I think that part of the reason Annie rejected me may have been because she assumed I was experienced, and felt intimidated.
Now here's the problem: recently Annie has been very sweet and cute with me, which was not the case before. I'm not sure if I'm reading her right, but I think Annie may have "thawed" a little and may be willing to try dating me now. I really want to just remind her that I'm still interested in her, in case she's changed her mind. The problem is that I really don't know how to do this! I don't want to make her feel awkward with me, but I don't want to lose my chance with someone who could potentially be great for me. I also don't want her false assumption about my "experience" to cause her to make the wrong decision! What on earth am I to do? I think we could be great together, but I really need to say it right or else I'm afraid everything will just explode in my face.
Hey, no you don't! After all, the whole point of someone who's great for you is that even if you don't say it exactly right—even if you flub your lines, forget your own name, and eventually stutter out something half-intelligible about liking her eyebrows—she won't give a damn. That's the beauty of it.
Which means, first and foremost, that alerting Annie to your continued interest needn't be such a source of stress. But before we get to that, let me ask you this:
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, your false front of sexual experience is doing more harm than good?
At the risk of stating the obvious, virginity is invisible. And unless they're wearing a giant "V" badge or standing on top of a building screaming, "I'VE NEVER HAD SEX!!!", people who haven't Done It are not observably different from people who have. So while I might be wrong about this, the fact that you think otherwise leads me to wonder if:
A) The behavior you consider to be "non-virgin-like" is more like "overcompensating," and
B) It's that overcompensation, and not the idea that you might have had sex before, that made Annie leery of dating you.
Because the truth is that by and large, girls just don't care about a guy's level of sexual experience—particularly once you're in college, where it's a sure bet that just about everyone you meet will have already done something with somebody else. (And there are also plenty of girls out there who would not only be not intimidated, but pleased to meet a dude who knows his way around the female anatomy.) But what they do often care about—and what will make them scatter quicker than a bunch of cockroaches under a kitchen light—is when a guy is not just experienced, but comes off like a sleazy, indiscreet man-whore.
Is that how you come off? I've no idea. But since you've already told me that you present as a player, and that you're not having success with other girls, and that you think Annie has the wrong impression of you... well, you might want to at least consider the possibility that you're sabotaging yourself. After all, even if Annie did initially take you for a slick lothario, the process of becoming friends should have provided some insight into the real you—right? If she still has the wrong idea, it may well be because you're still feeding it to her. So if you haven't dropped your defenses and just been real with her yet, now's the time.
But hey, that's the tough part. The easy part: when it comes to making your move, all you have to do is present the info in a direct, pressure-free way. For instance, "I know you said you weren't interested in having a boyfriend right now. I respect that and I'm glad we've become friends. But I just wanted you to know that if you happen to change your mind, the offer is still on the table."
That's the direct part. And then—and this is vital—you never mention it again unless she brings it up. (That's the pressure-free part.) And once you've put the ball squarely in her court, you can back off and relax with the knowledge that no matter what happens, you gave it your best effort.
Are you college-aged and confused about something? Get advice from Kat! Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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