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Ask Rene: I’m DESPERATE For A Boyfriend!

A high school student writes in because she’s desperate for a boyfriend. What will Rene say?

Dear Rene:

I am a 15-year-old  freshman in high school and have never had a boyfriend. Everyone in my grade is dating somebody. It gets annoying when people talk about who their first kiss was and how many guys they have dated or who they are dating now, because I haven’t done any of that. I am not a girly girl; I am very athletic I play soccer and am in the band playing the saxophone. I usually wear t-shirts, jeans, and converse to school. I don’t wear makeup and have my hair up  everyday. I am just wondering what to do about it. People say be happy you are single and have freedom but it’s lonely after 15 years and I want a guy to be happy with like them. I’m desperate for a boyfriend, Rene, what should I do?
-Lonely in Alabama


Hi  Lonely in Alabama:

I know exactly what you are going through because that was me, 30 years ago. I wanted a boyfriend in high school too;  someone to hold hands with while walking down the hall, steal kisses before class, snuggle under a blanket in the bleachers while watching the football team. But it never happened. In four years, I only got asked out one time, to a Homecoming dance and it was disastrous. So having been where you are, here’s what I suggest.

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First, take a good look around; I can assure you that not everyone is dating someone. It only seems that way because that’s what you’re focused on. Then I want you to re-examine why you want this. Are you really desperate for a boyfriend or just don’t want to be lonely? Because the latter can be  accomplished that with a dog. I’m serious. Relationships happen because there is an intense, mutual desire to be together, not because you picked someone as you would a pair of shoes. I was a teenager once so I know how hard it is to do your own thing but that is exactly what you must do. Doing things because everyone else is, is a bad habit to fall into. To be honest, from your letter, it sounds like you’re not quite ready for this. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


Me as a Junior in high school, 1980

Remember the Homecoming dance I was telling you about? Well, I went with a guy everyone thought I should go with. “You’ll make a great couple!” they said. We had nothing in common (other than the fact that we were both black), the conversation was stilted and the evening was not a whole lot of fun. Like you, I thought dating someone, ANYONE, would make me happy. It did not. What you should be concentrating on now is finding ways to may yourself happy, irrespective of someone else. What do you like to do? Plan your future (which seems like it’s far off; it is not). Where will you go to school? What do you want to study? Volunteer somewhere. There are plenty of places that could use someone young and energetic. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Take this time to mold and shape you without the influence of someone else.


Me at my 30-year class reunion, Del Campo High School

Somehow I turned out okay for a girl who was one of the most unpopular kids in school. Though I never dated steadily in high school, I did my fair share in college and beyond. But by that time I knew  more about myself and the kind of men I wanted to spend time with. One of them I married, but not until I was 31. Prior to that I spent my time traveling, working on my career and just being with me.

I guess the thing I really want you to take from this is that life is long; what you are experiencing in high school, though intense now, is but a tiny snapshot of a bigger picture. No need to be “desperate for a boyfriend”; that time will come. But you will be more attractive to someone when you know who you are and what you want instead of a girl desperate to be with someone just because everyone else is.

Good luck and thanks for writing!

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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