One thing that has started to drive me crazy is (Christian) women’s constant blaming of not having a boyfriend or husband on impossible “current ideals of beauty.” Whenever a woman goes through a dry spell and is verging on bitterness, nine times out of ten she’ll say, “Well, I just don’t measure up to all those models/actresses in the magazines, and that’s what men want.” (I just realized that I’ve actually sort of discussed this issue before on the blog, but it’s an issue that keeps rearing its only-beautiful-by-the-world’s-standards head, so why not write about it again?)
This is a cheap excuse because it oversimplifies the issue. Men are biologically programmed to desire beautiful women, and Hollywood actresses are selected for their beauty. Of course men “want” the beautiful women in movies and TV shows and Victoria’s Secret catalogs. But men also understand that (a) there are very few women, if any, they know in real life who are that beautiful and, possibly more importantly, (b) they don’t have what it takes to snag a woman who is that beautiful and keep her for themselves. Not to mention, most men aren’t going to move to Hollywood just to try to get one of those women for themselves, especially not when they’ll be battling multi-millionaires and powerful Hollywood execs and men who are ten times as good-looking for those women. So men settle. Mate selection is a pragmatic undertaking when it comes right down to it.
So if men are willing to settle, but they’re not settling for you, why is that? It could be any one or more of several possibilities:
- Your physical appearance needs help. The average man doesn’t require that you be a size 2, but you should look like you are at a healthy weight for your body type and care about your appearance.
- Your personality needs help. Smiling more and complaining less are good ways to start. Also, if the only thing that interests you is what’s in Us Weekly, it won’t hurt expand your intellectual horizons. (Unless you’re a 10. Then you will probably be forgiven for being shallow. But if you’re a 10, you probably don’t have trouble attracting attention in the first place, so….) This goes along with…
- You need better social skills. Don’t expect other people to entertain you or keep the conversation going. People get resentful when others expect them to do all the heavy lifting in a conversation. Learn how to listen and how to ask questions that keep conversations afloat. Also, make eye contact and learn how to give a good handshake. Have a shortlist of conversation starters mentally on hand if you struggle with coming up with ideas.
- You don’t go anywhere where you can actually meet single members of the opposite sex who are realistic marriage prospects. This ties into…
- You want someone of a caliber you can’t realistically hope to attract. Age, wealth, looks, talents, intelligence, etc. are goods you bring to the mating table. Don’t overestimate the value of yours. If you’ve got a 5 face and a 20-lbs. overweight body, the charismatic, single, multi-talented church worship leader isn’t going to go for you, no matter how amazing a man of God he is or how good of friends you think you are…or how much your female friends encourage you to keep your hopes up because you are an amazing person.
- You honestly haven’t met anyone who sparks with you even though you take care of yourself and have a good personality. This one is perhaps the toughest to deal with and has no easy solution.
Just remember – is everyone you know who is married drop-dead gorgeous and the Most Amazing Person Ever? No? Then there’s always hope for you.
Also, about Hollywood beauty and the images you see in film and on TV and in magazines:
It is true that Hollywood, the primary American cultural arbiter of beauty, has rather narrow standards. It is rare to find a principal actress in a movie or television show who exceeds a size 6, tops (the exception being actresses who play “types” or are there mainly for body image affirmative action – but even these women, for the most part, aren’t bigger than the average American woman, who is a size 12 or 14, depending on which poll you use). But Hollywood is a manufactured fantasy world, with its inhabitants carefully selected to fit within certain parameters, at least on the screen. This extends right on down to the extras; it is rare for even the background actors in a typical production to be obese or objectively unattractive, on the whole. In the real world, you will not find a general population ever to be as good-looking as the people of a Hollywood production. So with that in mind, it’s really pointless to compare yourself to the people in a movie or TV show. Those few people were selected out of hundreds or even thousands to fit specific needs demanded by the script, director, and/or producers. Real life isn’t like that.
The thing is, men know this. They have eyeballs and can tell that the women that surround them in everyday life are not Jessica Alba, Megan Fox, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, or any of the little pretties on CW shows. Yet somehow these men manage to date and get married to regular women, so they can’t be that picky about looks. If every man held out for a 10, hardly anyone would be married.