It's Cougartown, Jake


Dear Andrea:

I'm 19 and still a virgin. I've never been on a date, kissed a girl, held hands, hugged ... you get the picture. I've never really had the time to take interest in girls, or the courage to ask one out. I'm now starting to feel pretty lonely, and tired of my lack of "experience." However, after talking with several different girls my age on different occasions, my question has come to this: are virgin guys really worthless for experienced women?

Most women I talk to say that's the answer to the question. If this is true, I think I'm going to have serious nervous breakdown. Since this is apparently the case, and such a bad thing, I was wondering what I should do — if anything at all — to fix the problem?


Another Lonely Boy

Dear Boy:

In light of recent discussions of sexual opportunities found on craigslist, among the (barely) used fitness equipment and the remarkably ugly couches, I'm suddenly seeing your problem in a whole new light. In your usual fictional treatments of the "desperate male virgin seeks state-change" trope, you see the hapless hero attempt, unsuccessfully, to get age-mates interested, or to trick them with false-bottomed popcorn buckets or what-have-you. Then you have your prostitute scene, which never goes well. I have no compunctions about suggesting seeing a pro, actually — it may not be legal, but as far as I know I can recommend what I like as long as I don't recommend whom I like, as in "See my friend Lavinia, she'll fix you right up."*

In fact,I AM going to suggest you see a pro, since this has been going on way too long and I'm afraid you're going to get what they used to call "a complex." But I do realize it's not a solution that fits everyone's tastes, morals, or pocketbook, and it isn't much help if what you're seeking is a boon companion and a chance to get your blank-blank-ed (I hate all those phrases and can't even bring myself to type the one about cherries. Ick.

We'll get back to craigslist, but first, no, I don't think inexperienced men are "worthless" to women. I think very few people can truly be considered worthless (even the worst can be repurposed as mulch, for instance), and I'd hate for you to judge your own worth by what some chicks at a party said. Your "worth" is irreducible and inborn.

How useful you can be to other people may depend on things like skills and history, but probably not as much as you think. I think we're having some confusion here about what question those girls thought they were answering. Would they really, at the advanced age of 19 or so, reject a serious and otherwise appealing suitor on the grounds of sexual inexperience? Or was it more a case of "I'd rather do it with guys who know what they're doing"? The latter is understandable, the former a bit sad.

I really think young women of a slightly less hardened persuasion are your best bet, for many reasons, but there is that craigslist option (craigslist is in some senses sui generis, but it could also be considered to stand in here for any online meeting place where "casual encounters" ads are acceptable). I'm thinking that your chances of a cute 19-year-old picking up on your ad in a place like that and thinking, "Sweet! He doesn't know a thing!" are virtually nil. But if there really is such a thing as a "cougar," then ... mrowr.

I am personally still unconvinced that any such widespread social phenomenon of older, slightly stringy but glossily well-preserved ladies prowling for young man-meat yet exists, or ever will. You couldn't prove it by the presence of the stereotype, though.

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