While having a partner shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of anyone’s existence, it’s always nice to have someone to trade “I love you’s” with/share deep conversations with/have mind-blowingly hot sex with. Sporadically single males might miss having a steady lady who’s their ride or die, but imagine what it’s like for men who are NGSB—“No Girlfriend Since Birth.”
We spoke to four NGSB Pinoys to find out why they’ve never had an S.O., how they’re faring now, and whether they’re still seeking one out or are just, like, *shrugs*. Plus, we got happily coupled-up men in occupations similar to these NGSBs to give no-nonsense advice to help their peers along in their girlfriend-getting quest. BRO HUGS ALL AROUND!
NGSB Confession #1: “I had my fair share of cringe-worthy moments that stuck with me throughout high school and college, and they leave me doubting myself.”
Derek, 33, businessman:
“Growing up in a fairly conservative family, I was pretty much brought up on the idea that girls would go for the ‘good guy.’ Being sweet, sensitive, and kind—that’s all that matters. Hundreds of Hollywood movies that repeat that stereotype certainly didn’t help things. By the time I started figuring out that finding a girl wasn’t going to be that easy, I had already had my fair share of cringe-worthy moments that stuck with me throughout high school and college, like that one time I told a friend I liked that I loved her...after one date. And being fairly introverted, I had a hard time meeting girls outside of my existing circles. The fact that even then I wasn’t too good-looking didn’t do wonders for my confidence either.
"Now, I have a pretty good work-life balance, I’m trying to work out more, and I have comparatively better self-esteem than when I was younger. Still, the aforementioned cringe moments sometimes leave me doubting myself.
"I haven’t given up, though. Over the past few years, I’ve managed to meet some amazing women. I’m just in that place where I’m trying to see whether I actually have a shot and haven’t overestimated my chances this time.”
Advice from Fonzi, 30, businessman, married for 1 year:
“I remember when I was dating, I would have this rigorous process of selecting women I would approach. In fact, way back in college, I would have this long list of crushes, and I would try my best to find out (in a non-stalker way) whether this person could enrich my life or not. It’s a silly game I played, but thankfully, all my girlfriends have been super great!
"Truth be told, it doesn’t seem like you’re having such a hard time. In fact, your case is as normal as it gets! I guess what you need right now is to relax a little bit and not pressure yourself too much with the belief system you’ve created.
"Life has this funny way of introducing people into our lives. I met my wife doing the thing I absolutely love to do—playing music—and she shared that passion with me. We were even in different relationships at that time! It took us years to finally end up together, but we did it, through thick and thin.
"I think you’ll know when you find ‘The One.’ It’s just a matter of opening yourself up to the journey of it, and maybe, writing your own Hollywood love story.
"And yes, the good guy always gets the girl…eventually.”
NGSB Confession #2: “I think my problem is I’m choosy. Another thing is I’m shy.”
Karl, 32, engineer:
“I think my problem is I’m choosy. Minor flaws turn me off instantly. One time, I was on a date with a pretty and smart girl, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her misaligned teeth.
"Another thing is I’m shy. I don’t know how to express my feelings to a girl, so I end up just going on friendly dates and before I know it, I’m stuck in the friend zone. I’m not the type who could make small talk with girls I meet for the first time, and due to the nature of my work, I don’t really meet a lot of girls.
"I can’t say I’m actively dating now, but I’m always on the lookout. I ask for advice from close friends, but I can’t make it work. Perhaps I analyze things too much that dating becomes all about technique, and I forget that it has to be about emotions, too. I have also been reading dating tips online, but I realized that there’s really no one-size-fits-all strategy.
"I’m still hopeful that one day I’ll find a girlfriend. Actually, there’s a pretty girl at my gym I just got to know recently. I hope I can get that first date with her soon. She has yet to know how caring and loyal I can be.”
Advice from Marcus, 33, engineer, married for 7 years:
“Have the right amount of confidence. Take note of ‘right amount,’ because too much can drag you out of the game. Know your strengths and utilize them; gawin mong bala. Women tend to be impressed by witty, confident, and talented guys. Be yourself and never pretend. Good hygiene can also boost your confidence, not to mention your chances of getting the girl—believe me, it matters!
"Having enough confidence will help you conduct yourself during a conversation. You become more comfortable and it will show in your body language and the tone of your voice. When she speaks, just listen to her so that when your turn comes, you will have better things to say. Women can sense confidence and poise and they will find you interesting.
"Know what you are looking for in a girl; however, “huwag kang choosy kung hindi ka yummy.” It doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than what you want, but know that everyone has flaws. If you know what you want, any minor flaw should not matter.”
NGSB Confession #3: “I’m just cynical about dating. And yes, I’m commitment-phobic.”
Bo, 32, home-based online ESL teacher and insurance agent:
“I’ve gotten stares because of my NGSB status. There’s the accusation that I’m gay or maybe even asexual. I’m just cynical about dating. And yes, I’m commitment-phobic. I mean, why go on a date when it could potentially lead to a relationship? One-night-stands, you ask? Sorry, but my upbringing in a conservative household has given me a distaste for such things.
"Paradoxically, my being single gives me credibility to give out competent relationship advice—even my Chinese students to whom I teach English force me to give them relationship advice.
"Do I go on dates? Not really. But observing them has been amusing for me. The more I watch them, the more I see how things can crash and burn. Or on that exceptionally rare chance, succeed. I’ve become an impartial observer, gathering data in my unpaid and thankless job as the designated relationship advice-giver. Do I use these things to help myself get a girl? I could, but I don’t. I prefer to wait it out and see an actual healthy relationship could develop. Besides, I know that things can still happen. I’ll get a date when I get a date. No pressure.
"There are moments when I see couples go saccharine-sweet with romance. I thank God I am not yet in that state. But sometimes I imagine that I would happily shackle myself to a woman ‘til death do us part.
I know that the time will come when ‘The One’ will come.”
Advice from IncognitoGeek, 39, home-based freelance digital creative, married for 4 years:
“Good on you, mate! It’s very rare these days to see people who feel COMFORTABLE being single. That bullshit hashtag #SingleBlessedness...is bullshit. You’re blessed because you’re happy with what you have and not cursing the world for what you don’t have.
"If you’re afraid of commitment, brother, I don’t blame you. But really, the only way you’ll ever get past that fear of commitment is—in the words of the great Shia LaBeouf—just do it! Find a hobby and a community online that meets once a week, try Tinder (or Grindr?), build a GK house, go D&D on weekends…whatever it is, go out and meet people! Commitment doesn’t necessarily mean between a man and a woman in a relationship—it’s also about meeting other people, and being comfortable with them!
"I know it sucks to get out of the house, to get dressed (I for one work shirtless and in boxers), to brave the heat and traffic, but pretty soon, once you get into something you love doing with people you just met, then hey! You’ve now got a bunch of people who might actually be worth spending time with! And you know what else? ‘The One’ might actually be part of that bunch of people.”
NGSB Confession #4: “I was so makulit and so generous with girls I liked. Binibigay ko lahat. May sukli pa.”
Walter, 31, musician and videographer:
“I’ve never had a girlfriend in my entire life. Back then, the probable reasons might have been my lack of self-confidence, my unusually high respect for women, and my cluelessness when it came to personal grooming. But now, my reason is different: I simply haven’t found ‘The One’ yet.
"I had a couple of muntik-na-akong-magpapiyesta-sa-barangay moments in the past, but those almost-relationships failed. Usually, na-fre-friend zone ako. Having learned from my past mistakes after years of collecting battle scars, I am now a much different person.
"Now, I go out on dates with different women kasi confident na ako at hindi na ako umaasa (at saka nagpapapogi na rin ako kahit papaano). As a matter of fact, I’m the one who tells them that I’m not yet ready for a serious relationship. Back then, I was so makulit and so generous with girls I liked. Binibigay ko lahat. May sukli pa. Ngayon, I’m the “meet me halfway” guy. Because you’ve got to love yourself first before you can love another person.
"My future girlfriend will be so lucky to have me because of this: Hindi ko siya ‘ginirlfriend’ lang for the sake of having one. But before that could happen, I would gladly keep my regular routine of living my life and doing the things that I love. I believe that positive thinking and having a positive way of life attracts the right people in your life, which might include the girl of your dreams. In short, I’m still hopeful, but I don’t wanna think about it. Chill lang.”
Advice from Diego Mapa; 36; singer and songwriter of Pedicab, beatmaker of Tarsius, commercial music arranger; married for 10 years:
“Going out on dates with different women? The girls might think you’re a player dating multiple girls with no commitment. If you’re just going to play, then go for it, man! Goodbye “meet me halfway” guy; go for soulless hookups and get the physical contentment your body needs, brother!
"Kidding. Not all men are porn stars. But this intricate partner-choosing, you must leave to Bridget Jones. Just keep doing the things you love. No compromise. Be on the lookout, but don’t try too hard; that turns off chicks. That perfect girl for you could be anywhere. The best way to be ready is not by protecting yourself—you got to BE YOURSELF.
"Think about all those fat, ugly bastards, sometimes old men, who have gorgeous partners. These guys are full of nuclear confidence. Girls dig humor and honesty. When you get their attention, tell them about your dating disasters! Girls sneeze out their drinks when they hear that you once ripped your shorts that time you forgot to put on underwear and your balls went dangling like, “Hello!”
"Never had a girlfriend? Go get your heart broken. Stop dissecting your moves. Have fun. We are not forever young.”