I grew up witnessing my sister and close friends being chased after by many guys, some even claiming to be in love. Then there’s me, 23, never in a relationship, and barely ever sought after. I’m not unattractive, but I’ve just begun to get it together with the clothes, the hair and what not. I lost my virginity last year in a hookup on vacation. I’m now dating somebody I don’t see as relationship material, but who goes MIA, calls randomly and makes me initiate us hanging out. I’m literally STARVED for attention, tired of coming in last place, and meeting men who act interested, but turn out to be distant, sex-crazed maniacs. I feel sick to my stomach when I see how late in the game I am compared to my friends. Am I doing something wrong?
                          —Late Bloomer


    Your problem isn’t that you don’t have the perfect boyfriend right here, right now, but that you’re in a panic about it, probably making you about as seductive as a mountain lion that hasn’t eaten for weeks: “Shall I pounce on you from above, claw your heart out and eat it raw, or do you feel you need a glass of wine first?”
    You appear to be confusing your love life with The Amazing Race. Your sister, your friends and all their men are licking fondue off each other’s fingers on a plane to the Swiss Alps, while you’re in the dressing room of some dusty sporting goods store, waiting for the manager to come back from lunch and unstick the zipper of your snowsuit. And why aren’t you doing exactly what your sister and friends are doing, exactly when they’re doing it? Um...because you are not them? Sadly, there’s a good chance some of them are also better at long division, and have much shinier hair. 
Yeah, it’s harsh out there, particularly at 23. Guys are distant because they’re 23 and not that comfortable with themselves. They’re also vats of hormones with shoes and maybe a mustache for a disguise. In other words, it’s not exactly the ideal time to find lasting love. It is, however, a great time to figure out what you want in a lasting love by trying on a lot of fleeting “love.” To do that, you’ll have to stop living like you’ll turn into a cleaning lady and your car will turn into a corn dog if you don’t land the romance of the century by midnight.
    While you’re at it, you might relax some in the “grass is greener” department. Judge the value of what you’re doing by whether it makes you happy, not by whether your friends did it by age 12. Try to remember that things aren’t always as they seem from the outside.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

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