A lot of it comes down to practice, and it was a rather poorly-kept secret that I had very little of it. This comes, like so many of my other horrible problems, from my misspent youth.

When I was in high school, adults would always marvel at how “mature” I was–studious, achievement-driven, never out late, never cutting classes. I was proud of it at the time, flashed that descriptor like a badge of rank, looked down on the “immatures” that flooded my class. In retrospect it seems like the most horrible excuse for a compliment anyone could conceive.

I should have been spending those years in the traditional way: sneaking beer, clumsy make-out sessions, rolling in the hay. Instead, I wasted it being “mature” and playing video games. Fooling around and sowing wild oats teach essential life skills and give room to practice them with willing experimental subjects. If romance were a subject, I’d qualify as developmentally disabled (first kiss at 18? first second base at 22?). By the time I came around to the need to practice these skills, I was such a rank amateur that no one my age was willing to be a subject.

So I kiss like a dead fish, I couldn’t get to second base at a tee-ball game, and I’m a virgin at the unseemly age of 24.