I’m a lonely guy

Pub date April 21, 2009


Dear Readers:

The letter from "Forty and Frustrated" a few weeks back got a lot of interest and at least one excellent suggestion (go out alone) from a woman who has had success following her own advice. Excellent! I also heard from "F&F’s" male counterpart (and no, sorry, I can’t match them up), and here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to read this and figure out what’s wrong and come up with a better approach. Together. Here goes:

I’m a 44-year-old guy, single for most of my life. Aside from a 10-year relationship with someone I was not attracted to and got involved with for all the wrong reasons, I’ve never had a girlfriend. I have had a few flings, though none have lasted more than a month.

In the last year, I’ve had more than two dozen dates. All but two weren’t interested in seeing me again. The most recent split was particularly painful because she seemed to be the closest match for me yet. (She apparently felt otherwise.) It’s always the same pattern. There seems to be a strong initial attraction that quickly fades after a couple of weeks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told I’m a nice guy. I’m beginning to think that the few women who are interested enough to want to see me again eventually realize that I don’t have much else to offer, and lose interest. For the record, I’m healthy, fit, athletic. I have a life. I’m not aggressive, conceited, or rude. I like to think I’m a reasonably pleasant person to be around. I’m genuinely interested in what my date has to say. What am I doing wrong?

My profile on Match.com has had over 1,500 hits, I have yet to receive a single unsolicited e-mail. I’ve sent out nearly 500. I’ve had more than a few women write back, appearing interested, only to never hear from them again. When writing my profile, I made a concerted effort to not come across as pretentious or self-absorbed. I don’t have a checklist that’s a mile long. I included photos in which I’m smiling and one can clearly see my face. I would be thrilled to receive an e-mail from a woman who was interested enough to take the time to write one. I can’t speak for other guys, but having a woman ask me out on a date would be one of the most flattering things that could happen to me. And I’ve never backed out of a date at the last minute.

OK! The first thing that catches my eye is the admission, from someone who otherwise seems willing to acknowledge his own more saleable qualities, that he has "not much else to offer." Either this is evidence of a self-image badly enough distorted to cripple any attempts to connect meaningfully with women he might be interested in, or it’s true. If true, we had better hope it is fixable. What does it mean to "have something to offer"?

Well, what are those women looking for? They do want somebody solvent (did anyone else read the articles about chimpanzee chicks who have more sex with the chimp dudes who have more antelope meat?) and sane, but beyond that? Fun, yes; compatible sexually and otherwise, yes; but also, assuming he’s dating women in their 30s, a husband and kids. If women in their 40s, maybe just the former, but these days you never know. What they all probably want, though, is availability and commitment. If he is not signaling that these are on offer, and not going way too far in the other direction and offering them in his opening e-mail, he’d better get signaling, and fast.

I assume they would also like to know why he’s 44, never married, and so little-dated. He’s going to have to come up with a good spin on a sad tale. Not a lie, mind you, but a little polish.

It also occurs to me that he may be — and I hate to say this because I imagine him reading it and I shudder in empathy — boring. True, "nobody wants to date me" is not your most scintilutf8g subject and may not inspire the complainant to dazzling heights of witty word play, but come on. A little joke, some narrative flair, even a pun would help — and I hate puns. Lonely guy, spark it up. Maybe they’re not calling back because they fell asleep.

OK readers, your turn. Have at him. Female daters, would you answer his ad? And have you dated (some version of) this guy? What made you stop?

I recently bought both my kids T-shirts that say "When I Grow Up I’m Going To Save The World." (That these were available in the boys’ department only is an issue for another column.) I’m already grown up, and frankly, I don’t think I’m going to save the world, but hey, let’s save this guy.

What would it take to get him a date?



Don’t forget to read Andrea at Carnal Nation.com.