I’ve never had the experience of a stranger asking for my phone number, and then meeting him at a restaurant for dinner and drinks. No attractive man has ever organized a flash mob to ask me out for coffee.

In fact, in my mid-20s, I have never been on a date.

I know other women who can say the same. They had a “boyfriend” in high school. Then a college boyfriend or two. Now, they’ve broken up and she’s ready to have some fun. At least, it looks fun in the rom-coms, but I’m sure if me and Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome were sitting across from each other at a candlelit table right now, I’d have no idea what to say!

Every notable relationship I’ve had began as a “situation.” You know how you think you’re friends, and then it just kind of eases over into something more? The texts went from, “What was the homework in chem class?” to “What you got on?” And for some reason … you answered.

Sooner or later everyone starts to ask, “What’s up with you and homeboy?” You say nothing, though you know it was up last night and the night before. And that’s fine until you watch “Think Like A Man,” and wonder why no one has ever embarked on an epic pursuit of your goodies. I want someone to string a million Christmas lights up on a rooftop and cook a gourmet dinner for me!

I can admit, watching those exaggerated depictions of what romance should look like has caused me to view my relationships as inferior. It frustrated me that my boos never planned anything special for me. But then I had to ask myself if that made his feelings for me any less real. And I had to check myself for setting such a low standard in the first place.

Going forward, I plan to not hold my date to an unreasonable expectation. I know I wouldn’t ask anything I would be unwilling to do. Then again, without some sort of dating precedent, how do I really know whats reasonable or not?

Any other Clutchettes out there who have yet to go on a “real” date? What’s your game plan for how to conduct yourself when it does happen?

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  • sometimes you dont have to classify everything. if you want to make an adult decision to enjoy a man’s company at your home or his home, so be it. eating and talking together can be very intimate and if it decides to go to another level just be clear about how you feel and what you both expect. sometimes sex is a form of healing, if you are two people that care about and respect each other. i was one of those sit on it and wait women, and to some extent i still am, but i also realize that being in the arms of a good friend can be healing and also teach you what you want in a mate. (which may not be each other) but in the meanwhile, it can be good for physical and emotional needs. life is about experiences so i definitely encourage women to (safely) explore, once they have set guidelines about what they want. some sisters wont have a special friend unless he takes them out. some dont require that but they need to talk often. find out the things you wont compromise on and be open about others. some of the other things you want will end up happening as you spend time together. you will get your dinner and dates. follow your own guidance and not anyone else’s advice and make sure to enjoy.

    • OSHH

      to this I say, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.” and that includes the right kind of companionship without fornicating.
      It is about choices though and how people choose to go about life!

  • zuzi

    *Raises hand* Count me in. 21 years old and I’ve never been asked on a date. I wasn’t too stressed about it until other people’s nervousness made me think I was doing something wrong or wasn’t doing anything right so far. I’ve come to terms with being a late bloomer or just know blooming (my life, my timeline, right?). I guess it depends on how you look at it. Anyhoo, I can totally relate to the poster who said she never put much effort into her appearance and as a result didn’t receive much in the way of date offers. There’s something about a casual appearance (little to no makeup & ill fitting clothes) that signals to certain men that you’re laid back and low maintenance. Therefore, you’re low effort. It appeals to his laziness. You look like you just stepped out of the house and are soon to go back into it with him. Of course, appearances can be deceiving so take caution when rushing to conclusions on who a person is, their likes and dislikes solely based on how they look (I say this to the men and any woman pursuers).

    If your slacking in the appearance department, the best thing to do is play up the features that you like, be approachable, and wear that flawless makeup called confidence. This combination of things often sends the message to men that you are no play thing. You are the real deal and if he wants to get to know you as he is sure many men do, then the date offer will surely follow the introduction.

    The best thing I’ve learned about progressing in a relationship (past the first date) has been said previous times before in the comments. Here’s my cossign: Teach people who you are (gradual process) or who you want to become (defining process). Be honest and up front with yourself first (as in, date yourself. Get to know YOU!). Pay attention to how you feel in different situations with men to determine what you’re comfortable with and what you’re deal breakers are. I’m certain then that you can be upfront and have no illusions and it will be joyful to uncompromisingly communicate that to a potential boo thing.

    Besides, the beginning of a relationship is a screening process. If you want to go out on a date then suggest to your potential love interest your desire to do stuff in the public sphere. If he doesn’t budge from the couch or make advances that you can appreciate, then easy, just weed him out. Another thing, don’t keep him guessing about what you want. I think we underestimate how much the other person also might not know what to do. If he seems like the puzzled type, then throw him a clue. Both of you will be thankful for better communicating to the other and keeping the relationship ball rolling.

    Whew. I didn’t know I had that in me haha. Thanks clutch for the platform!

  • SMS

    Everyone has already put in their two cents but I had to comment and say that I really appreciate this article and all these women in their 20s not being ashamed to say that they haven’t dated or been in relationships yet. I too am 22 and a virgin to the entire relationship thing. I have friends and acquaintances who are like this too. I used to think I was abnormal but it is really more common than society wants us to think. I have come to realize that some of us have dated a lot and possess more relationship experience while some haven’t. There is nothing wrong with those of us who have less experience. Whichever side any person falls on is due to any number of personal and subjective reasons.

    So I am just working on improving myself, getting myself ready for that right man and staying open to meeting new people.

  • A lot of you women are 20-25. That’s not old maid status. Your supposed to be having your first real dates around now. A lot of the “hand wringing” in your comments sound borderline neurotic.

  • Dee

    I’ve never really gotten any actual pursuit from men. I’m 24. Never been kissed, never been on a date, never had a boyfriend, not even in high school. The most I’ve ever done was hold a guy’s hand, and that was when I was 16. The crazy thing is that people tell me I’m adorable frequently enough that I don’t think I’m physically unattractive. I run, I have a good job, and like to think that I’m outgoing and fashionable as a black woman. I have a good deal of female friends, and all my male friends are (attached) from high school. These last four years, I have been a bridesmaid three times and am the godmother of three different babies. While I’m genuinely happy for my friends, I am sort of becoming jealous and nauseous at the sight of other people in love. I feel like it’s an experience God may not want me to have in my life. What if I die without ever knowing what an orgasm is like? Love? Motherhood? A loving sexual relationship? I show up to events alone and lately have been declining hanging out with work friends because they are all married, engaged or dating and I don’t want to kill the mood being a depressing third, fifth, seventh, or ninth wheel. I have been going to the same church since childhood. I try and volunteer and donate blood and get out in new and atypical situations to meet new people, but just wind up as a friend. I converse easily with new people so I’m truly addled to why I honestly feel so invisible to men in this capacity. I truly, truly don’t feel as though I come off as pretentious. The three times I’ve approached men, they immediately turned the situation into a sexual proposition, and I really want to get to know someone before I decide to share my body with them. I mean, don’t ask me back to your house if you don’t even know my last name, that’s just ratchet. I’m beginning to feel so lonely and depressed, I’m border-lining. I don’t know how much longer I can go on feeling this way. I hope something changes soon.

    • confused

      Id just like to say that I really understand your feeling..this bewilderment as to why nothing has ever ‘happened’ despite stacking up in all areas (which is uaually what people tell you to work on) what is you have and still get nowhere thats more dissapointing than if you did nothing.. Its madness. I see too many insecure.. Dysfunctional and quite frankly uninteresting and unattractive people have great , long lasting relationships… It makes me question the advice people give about ‘working on yourself and it will come’ it might be good fir YOU to do that but it doesnt seem to bring in decent dates like people say

    • You are not adorable and guys are scared because they think you are a Feminist !!! OK . Lets be honest here . You have to ask them out .