25 Years Later: What I Wished I Could Have Told You Guys During My Teens & 20s

When I was 16 and still a virgin, I was chomping at the bit to get some sex. My own hormones were out of control. I thought only guys got this thirsty! But no, I was 16 and teased by my female friends for being a prude, and my guy friends who called me frigid. If only they knew!

Just to give you an idea of what I was like, let’s imagine teenaged Ozanne back in the late 1980s/early 90s. My friends nicknamed me “Kelly” for Kelly Bundy. Leather jacket, blonde hair, tight jeans...just lose the dumb-girl personality and call her a virgin, and that was me.

25 Years Later: What I Wished I Could Have Told You Guys During My Teens & 20s

The guys I went to highschool with avoided me, and because of that – I developed a plan to just lose my virginity by trying to get a guy outside my school. The guys at my own highschool were dating my friends who were not very pretty and not even all that nice. But they were easy, and guys preferred that. Me? I was terrified about losing my virginity!

At my school, one guy caught my eye and I kept my feelings to myself. He was painfully shy and all we ever did was exchange looks. We shared no common classes together, so nothing happened. I just thought he didn’t like me at all. Turned out he thought I was not serious, and didn’t even try.

Another guy was my long-time crush who knew I was wrapped around his finger. Time and time again he broke my heart, choosing other girls to be with over me. Even his friends would criticize, asking him why he was doing that when he could have me, but it was clear he just had no interest. In-between his girlfriends, I'd try again, but I was so embarrassed after so many of his rejections, I gave up.

These rejections and never-get-off-the-grounds shaped my attitude about dating. I became closed off and at 16, shrugged off highschool thinking that was my problem. So I finally dated and lost my virginity to a friend’s older brother. He hadn’t been influenced by my friends, and were together for two years.

So what did I think of you highschool guys?

I thought you were choosing willingness over someone wanting love. I thought you were playing it safe, choosing the girl who will always say yes to sex, over risking rejection by asking a girl out who might say no. Little did you know I would have said yes if I was attracted to you (which were half the guys at school). I thought you were using fear as an excuse “not to wreck our friendship” when there was no friendship at all! – there was attraction, and I was biding my time until you saw how much I wanted you.

And you, Lonely Guy, who had the gorgeous brown eyes and didn’t have many friends: I loved sitting next to you in class and joking with you. Your dimples made me melt, and I hoped you would just say something to make me think you liked me. I thought just the mere effort of my smiling and talking to you would give you green lights, but you didn’t meet me halfway. So I gave up. I guess you, just like the others, gave up on me.

Ozanne Goes to College

With two “sort-of-long-terms” under my belt, I go to college and develop crushes on the following: a pot head, a hot head, a married man, and class clown. The pot head made it clear he liked natural-looking women (no makeup) and since I was always made-up, he had nothing for me. The hot head made it clear he had zero interest in relationships and made it clear he wanted to be left alone. The married guy wanted to play with me while alone, but treated me like shit in front of other people. The class clown was fun, but showed me in private he was the "crying clown" and had a lot of issues and wasn’t ready. Too bad.

So what did I think of you guys in college?

I thought you were becoming selective, and that’s fine. You knew exactly what you wanted. We might have not been a match, but you also taught me that it’s okay to raise my own bar. Why was I settling on you, when I could also make some better choices for me? Was my desire to just be in a relationship keeping me from actually seeing the big picture? Apparently so. You taught me about real rejection - not just the highschool avoidance game, and I needed that to teach myself that it was okay to start deciding on my own what is a good fit for me. So, I too, became selective.

Ozanne is On Her Own, Working, Living As a Bachelorette

In my mid-twenties, the men were now taking things full-speed-ahead. I’m getting hit on at nightclubs, pubs, comedy clubs, work, sporting events, you name it. The problem is, though I wanted the attention (because you never know who you might attract), I didn’t like the suggestion for sex right away, nor did I like the smell of desperation. I also didn’t like the smell of stale smoke, drink, bad breath, and worst of all - hair gel. I was still a rock chick, these were preppy dudes – couldn’t they see that they weren’t my type? It’s the mid-90s and I’m actually looking for love, sex, the whole package – if the guy is right. I want to start nesting. This meant seeing what our futures would look like. If they didn’t seem to mesh, I didn’t even give them a first date.

So what did I think of you guys out in the Real World?

I thought you were being unrealistic with me. As if I can’t tell the difference between noticing that you’re out for sex compared to looking for friendship/love first. I thought some of you were transparent, and the attempts you made to impress were contrived. I thought that cool guy sitting in the corner having a beer who looked like he was still grubby from a hard day’s work was the sexiest man in the room. I thought you were playing games, having wives and girlfriends but still leaving your options open to see if there might be something better. Nice guys, quit telling me you’re nice. Let me decide that. Reminding me how nice you are and how all you want is a girl to rub her feet every night and cherish every day is oozing with desperation. I don’t exactly want you to be an easy catch. Part of the fun is finding out what I’m in for and calling each other ten times a day. It’s the flirting and teasing that will drive me nuts. Giving yourself away with all this talk about being a great husband one day bores the shit out of me. Not that I don’t want that – but can we not dance the proverbial mating dance first?

(Google Images: someone's profile, random old FB format, effects used to protect.)

Ozanne & Facebook, 2007

I get a friend request and message from an old highschool guy friend. “You were my unicorn. I liked you so much and wished I had asked you out.” Pity. This, a confession eighteen years later with the protection of being behind a computer and 500km between us can finally tell me what I wished I heard at 15 years-old. He says this, knowing his wife doesn’t know his FB password and won’t know he wrote this to me: “I was too scared to talk to you.”

Funny, I thought. “Scared” wouldn’t have been the description I remember. I remember being passed over for another girl time and time again, teased about being a virgin, not invited to parties because I wouldn’t get drunk, or made fun of because I had hit puberty earlier than other girls. I’m not angry about this, I just wish that things had been handled differently. But hey, protecting one’s self from being hurt was always the priority, right?

What I Want To Tell Guys I Used to Know, 25 Years Later

I wished I could have told you that I’m sorry if I seemed unapproachable. I saw other girls getting the things I wanted, and I felt like what I was wasn’t good enough, so I shut down. This attitude made me seem like I didn't want any of you, but that wasn't true. I wanted to tell you that I was worth a few dates before having sex, which is why I said no. To the guys in college and who I knew in my twenties: If you had been all I ever wanted, I gave you sex hoping you would want to see me more. Now I see that was a mistake too. We all just had to figure ourselves out, and in the end, things were meant to be. I spent some years alone, traveled, went to school, got work. Broke some hearts, and had mine broken. I had a life.

Now with a more clearer outlook: Our time back then wasn’t wasted. It may feel like regret that we couldn’t have acted on what we felt at the time, but it was necessary to experience in order to keep on learning in order to find the happiness we eventually found in other people.

Ozanne, 2017


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Nice take. Believe it or not, lots of guys experience pretty much the same things as we progress through our lives.

    When I was in high school and my first couple years of college, I felt like I was missing out on some essential truth of social life that everyone else had learned years before. I got passed over by girls I adored, got told I'd be good boyfriend material for "someone" (never the girl in question), and watched a lot of other people having a lot more fun than me, or so I believed. I believed deep down that most girls weren't interested in me because most of them seemed like they thought they were really too good for someone like me. So I never really asked any girls out until I was 21 or so. Maybe girls felt the same about me.

    The only thing with which I disagree is the contention that it's all worthwhile in the end. I'm not so sure about that. It seems like people in the past had a better sense of what was important in life. They got married earlier and had fewer relationships, but they also spent more of their lives focusing on building meaningful things rather than searching for some dream of a person. My dad was creating a construction contracting business and raising a family when he was my age. He wasn't going out to clubs and spending hours on social media trying to get the attention of some girl who probably has 3 dozen other guys doing the same thing. So I'm not so sure that the new way of doing things is really worthwhile at the end of it all.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • No one knows how to appropriately socialize any more... nor how to really swoon a woman you like. This could be because now days seems it's all about sex. Shame to say even in men my own age. No one is seriously looking for a mate, a life long companion. And why would they women have become loose and easy objects to obtain, then trade for another. It actually sad seeing the sanctity of marriage disappearing.

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What Guys Said 22

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  • That was a very marvelous read! I enjoyed it and it was very touching to the heart!
    I didn't know about the girls perspective when it comes to dating, relationships and these kinds of stuff.
    *takes a very deep breath and exhales*
    I'm currently going back to school but I don't see any opportunity for me to unfold my love life. I'm too lonely to the point where it's taking a toll on my psychological health and general well being. Reading about your fascinating story has made me look at back myself.

    Girls get into relationships (at least not all of them do) and here I am never having a girlfriend, 22 years old and a virgin. I don't see it as a shame but I do feel bad about it (feeling bad about it, that it's not voluntarily and beyond my control - so that it overrides my emotions and feelings).
    Inevitably it's part of being single and part of living the single life.

    The way I see it relationships and being single is a way divided into 2 paths. The relationship path and the single path. I was walking the single path until now and I keep going. Both have their ups and downs. What I feel now is part of the downside of it but I never saw the other path on the other side.
    If that makes any sense.

    Anyway what I think about the girls around my time and the past time:
    Past time - Many girls seemed superficial to me and they have always prioritized things including looks and money.
    Present time - Girls are different now but I am in a city now for some years. I didn't get to go meet them to be honest :/ Since I'm returning to school I'm going to be extremely busy.

    But the main problem is the cultural difference. I'm a German migrant in the 3. th world countries/middle east and the cultural differences proves to be a serious barrier for relationships :(

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    • Write a Take - it would be nice to have the guy's perspective!

      I noticed lately that some GaG questions were "why are pretty girls single" and of course, the many questions about the signals women put out, including why they reject. When I started answering a lot of these questions, I thought.. hmm.. "I was pretty in school.. no boyfriend.. I was responding to signals, and giving them back... I think I should explain while it's fresh in my head what it all seemed like to me."

      I have nothing to hide with this sort-of anon profile of me, and at my age - I can clearly look back and know from my experience (and being there while my female friends experienced different things) the hows and whys. When I was 17 I could hardly recognize it, much less explain it! :)

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    • Ohhh... I see. :/ Yes, I read it, and I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of men weren't afraid to agree with you! I was half-expecting some trolling/abuse.

    • Yeah, me too.
      There are a few good guys left.
      I got called a white knight by someone there xD It was probably a bitter MGTOW.

      But most praising I got from the ladies :) ♥ 😍

  • Alright, here's some thoughts, more to your younger selves, I guess.
    This isn't really a critique on you, but on what you shared.

    High school: This is the problem. You hung around with girls who were interested in casually partying, and thus outsiders saw you as one of those girls.
    Hence the shy guy wasn't going to ask you out. He thought that he wouldn't fit with your circle of friends.
    I mean think about it, would he have fit in? Would you have split from your friends to be with him?

    College: Sounds like you were always the one being chosen, and not the one doing the choosing. But you sort of said that yourself.

    Work: Sounds like you still wanted to have fun, and not be serious. Which is fine, but that's what I meant by the shy guy in high school.
    It wouldn't have worked, because he would have wanted something deep, and you didn't. And he sensed that, which is really why he never did anything.
    And if you are not serious, then what is there but sex and fun? Which is what you would be left with.

    Life: The problem, is people not really going for what they want.
    You seem conflicted between wanting things to be special, and wanting to just have fun.

    Those are two different bodies of water to fish from.
    It's like fishing for lake fish on the ocean.

    You wanted the adventure and fun, with someone who wanted you.

    But, that's life and learning. I just see so many questions on here about why people aren't approached, and sometimes it's because we don't share who we are with each other, so we are only left with the impressions we let others see.

    If you had actually opened up to that guy, rather than keeping it light and mysterious, where would you be? The same can be said for him, if he had tried to dig deeper, then maybe he'd see the real you.

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    • "... the shy guy wasn't going to ask you out. He thought that he wouldn't fit with your circle of friends..."
      I know that I wasn't happy with some of my friends and would have loved an out. It's too bad because some of those guys assume they couldn't fit in, when it was really me wanting new people in my life.

      "... It wouldn't have worked, because he would have wanted something deep, and you didn't."
      For the most part, I have always wanted something deep. I had what seemed like casual sex because I wanted men to like me and possibly have a relationship. When that didn't happen - I just became 'the girl he is having sex with'. My early 20s were filled with these kinds of mistakes.

      "You seem conflicted between wanting things to be special, and wanting to just have fun."
      I didn't want a boring guy, but I certainly wanted a relationship. Letting down a nice guy was for my reasons, but it didn't mean I let go of someone special - they just didn't do it for me.

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    • Of course, the thing is that a shy guy might want to try for a 'popular' girl because he wants here to break him out of his shell, rather than actually being interested.

      I'm sure some of the more nice but boring guys were like that.
      "Make me be someone."
      As opposed to an introvert who is deep and interesting but shy.

      Oh well, the only time you should regret a mistake, is when it's a repeated one.
      If you learn from it, then it's not a mistake, it's a lesson.

    • Well I hoped to give a guy insight at 17 years old that if the girl isn't speaking to him - there might be more going on and not to get so bent out of shape over it. It's my 25-year-later reflection that things aren't what you thought they were.

  • Interesting Take, hmm, I wish I could time travel, 25 years in the past, to repair some of my mistakes :P

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  • I hope that all of the high school and college age users on this site will read this myTake and think about how your experiences could be applied to get a better understanding of what is happening in their lives.

    I am SO glad that you are back on G@G and contributing in such thoughtful ways! Please don't stop!

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    • "I hope that all of the high school and college age users on this site will read this myTake and think about how your experiences could be applied to get a better understanding of what is happening in their lives."

      That's exactly what I hoped by writing it. Teens and 20s are full of confusion about dating, losing their virginity, whether or not they're good enough - and my point is that a lot of it is from how you send and receive bio-messages between each other.

      Years later on FB I'd have old highschool [guy] friends say to me, "I thought you didn't like me that way back then." And I'd set them straight and say I did (if I did) but the messages were getting screwed up between us. Maybe I thought his teasing me was too much, or my bad day sent vibes that I didn't want a boyfriend. Who knew?

      And thanks for the nice welcome back! :)

  • I wish i couldve gone back, I've never dated even though i knew my crush liked me, i didn't try because i was too scared, now even though im more confident, i have never asked a girl out and get all my thrill on this site where i can tell cute girls theyre cute without real life consiquense
    exept for spelling mistakes lol

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  • Pretty good there Ozanne. Growing up is hard. Growing old is not for wimps. :)

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  • Good read.

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  • Thank you

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  • There are many things that identify me.
    I want to get back to 20 :(

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  • I will consider this before making mistakes like you and thanks for sharing this with us but time has changed.

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  • this is the MOST amazing take I've ever read,,, a new perspective of how your feelings played a huge role in your life,,, my congrats dear you are an amazing person with a fabulous mind

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  • There was definitly a degree of lack of understanding at that age and a lack of proper communication.

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  • Very interesting...

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  • Such a brilliant post.

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  • I wish i was a girl

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  • Great take. I just have one question? Do you still hate hair gel.

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  • It's a rather fucked up way of learning things that I figured out when I was 20 years old.

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  • Wonderful take !! feeling old now

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  • Ok so you are happier today cuz you learnt inner peace happens from learning all you like

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    • Well, basically I'm outting the games that people play in their teens and 20s. If there is avoidance or someone trying too hard, I want to say from experience that it was what I felt like doing or saying at the time. I hoped it would give people in their teens and 20s something to consider if they feel bad about their relationships, or lack thereof.

    • Oh ok I have done sum thing like that but 1 on 1 with um guy felt bad about lack of dating

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What Girls Said 8

  • Great insight

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  • Good Take :)

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  • back then and your classmates called you a prude at 16? wow things must have been worse than today.

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    • and seeing the college stories. girl, you had some standards.

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    • well insecurities are all in ones head. there are shaolin monks 80 decades in a temple, meditating their ass and getting one with the universe and they are more content than the whole of us combined. i guess movies and artificial needs give us this false sense of entitlement.

    • You're right. I mean, why even write Takes on anything. :)

  • I'm glad I'm not sex crazed and I have a straight head on my shoulders... for the most part.

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  • Very interesting

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  • Wonderful, well-written take

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  • the last paragraph really got me

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  • Wonderfully written mytake!

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    • Thanks! :) Did you find that you could relate with the early dating years?

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