Why women overrate their looks.

27 Oct

In the last thread, I had mentioned that based on some experiences I had recently had, I was starting to wonder if most women overrate their looks/SMV.  I think a couple of commenters agreed, and commenter CAB mentioned that he had seen an instance of this in a blog thread that I had linked to where a female commenter had estimated herself to be in the 7-7.5 range.  The only problem, CAB noted, was that a few weeks prior, this same commenter had posted a link to her Facebook page, which had allowed him to see some photos of her…and she was no 7-7.5.

Roissy maintains that all women intuitively know where they stand on the 1-10 scale and that it is delusional, hamsterrific vanity that makes them score themselves higher than they ought.  He is right…mostly.  I don’t think most men realize that female self-image is a maelstorm of a lot of competing messages and ideas, some of which can contradict each other yet still be held concurrently by the same woman.  Basically, women’s opinions of themselves doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and it is these exterior and interior pressures and suggestions that mold and re-mold that opinion throughout each day.  (This is partly why a woman can feel perfectly fine about her body at noon and be in tears about it an hour later.)

Before I start discussing different factors that contribute to a woman’s overestimation of her looks, I want to state upfront that no woman alive is satisfied with her body.  Every woman probably has at least a half dozen things she would like to change about her body, and that is a very conservative estimate.  This includes women who are famous for being beautiful and have bodies and faces that are the envy of most women.  Actually, those women are probably the ones most paranoid and insecure about their looks since their looks are literally their primary source of value and there is new, younger competition coming on the scene every day.  Women who claim to be truly content with their bodies either are lying or have reached a point in their lives where they’ve given up on their looks.  Sometimes the lady truly doth protest too much.

Probably the strongest factor in women’s overrating of their looks is women’s conflation of personality with physical beauty.  Just as a woman will find an average-looking man with a good personality handsome, she will also consider an average-looking woman with a good personality prettier than she objectively is.  So if a woman believes herself to have a good personality, she will probably give herself an extra point or two that a man would not give her if he saw her across the bar – or across the church foyer.  In most women’s minds, a number rating includes a consideration of personality.  And, well, how many women truly think they have dud personalities?  Have you ever noticed how many average- or below average-looking women claim to have beautiful, gorgeous, amaaaazing friends who are funny, witty, and smart to boot – and then you meet them and one is slightly cross-eyed, one is top-heavy, and one is inoffensively unremarkable, even though they’re all dressed tastefully in Banana Republic?  Which brings to me to my next point, which is….

Groups of female friends tend to become an echo chamber of inflated rankings.  Most women do not have close friend groups that include 3-point spreads of beauty.  It’s far more likely that the “pretty one” of the group is at best a half to one point better-looking than the others.  The plainer friends then normalize their rankings relative to the pretty one’s, and because they’re not that far away from the pretty one and they’re all factoring in personality points, a group of 5s can easily see themselves as 7s.  Also, girl etiquette requires friends to praise each other’s looks and insist that their friends are pretty – “You look terrific!” “You were so pretty in that dress!”  “I love your hair!” “Girl, you look HOT tonight!” – so no woman is going to say to her friends, “Um, actually…you’re sort of busted.”

A corollary to this is the opinion of Mom and Grandma.  Many mothers refuse to believe the fruit of their loins is anything but gorgeous, and grandmothers are genetically programmed to think their granddaughters are beautiful.  But if Mom and Grandma see beauty that no one else does, well……..

Another strong factor is environment.  If you’re a 7 and you live in a town of 4s, people are going to treat you like a 10.  (And, because your church and women’s groups preach against the unrealistic image of female beauty in the media, your “real” beauty is going to be even more valuable.)  People do, to a certain extent, normalize their expectations to their surroundings.  This notably includes the tendency of horny alphas to slum.  If you’re a female 5 who hooks up with a few male 8s, you’re not going to think you’re a 5 anymore; you’re going to think you’re pretty hot and those guys who used you are just big fat entitled jerks.  Then again, sometimes any male attention, period, is enough to convince a woman that she’s hot.  It’s not uncommon for a single woman in her mid-30s to have a longtime beta orbiter from high school or sleazy alpha friend who’s always looking for sex.  That the woman can reject these men leads her to believe her sexual power is greater than it is in the wider market, even as the same woman complains that she can’t find any attractive men who want to date her.

Women also have a tendency to disregard the toll that age and weight take on their looks.  A woman who was an 8 at age 18 will probably not rank herself lower than a 7 at age 38, barring a colossal weight gain or other drastic change.  Additionally, most women do not think that a 20-pound weight gain is that damaging to their appearance.  So Mabel got a little chubbier since high college…it doesn’t matter because she’s still got a great personality, great hair, and great fashion sense!  That tire around the middle?  Oh, that’ll go away when she finds time in her busy schedule to go to the gym…someday…soon…ish.  Anyway, she’s still a cooler chick than all of those vapid girls who only care about exercising and eating salad.  Men are so shallow!

Finally, yes, there is an element of delusional vanity, too.  It is just incredibly, unspeakably painful for a woman to accept that she is not beautiful and is actually not all that appealing to look at.  It is equally painful for a woman to accept that she has lost all of her beauty, especially if she was known for her beauty in her youth.  (That is why in Los Angeles it is not uncommon to see borderline grotesque-looking women in their 50s and 60s sporting immobile faces, duck lips, and breast implants as they exercise themselves into their skinny jeans after trips to the salon.  Or, see:  Madonna.)  For these women, the most delusional shred of hope is better than no hope at all.  This is also why – in my opinion – the modern evangelical church stresses inner beauty so much to young women.  If you have inner beauty, then no loss or lack of outer beauty can really hurt you.  Not that this message has no merit, but if the message is that Jesus, the Ultimate Lover of Your Soul, is relentlessly, passionately, daringly pursuing you, and not just you, but you as you actually are, not the idealized version of you that sticks to her diet and does her makeup and hair every day – like Edward Cullen a regular lover might, except for all of the icky horniness – then where is the motivation to spruce up the physical body?  Jesus already loves you as you are, and isn’t it the job of men to be more like Jesus?  The responsibility is therefore on men to be like Jesus, rather than you conforming to the world, HELLO.

But, in spite of all this, is it really all that bad for women to overrate their looks?  Most women end up marrying, and chances are, their husbands rank their wives’ beauty higher than the average man does.  (What else can explain the abundance of men on the internet who claim to be dating/married to female 8s?)  And what man wants to be with a woman who feels bad about her body, anyway?  So maybe it all works out in the end, and very few are any worse off for it.

Note: I have turned off threaded comments, so when you are replying, please specify to whom.

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67 Responses to “Why women overrate their looks.”

  1. Thursday October 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Actually, the science is fairly conclusive on this: women don’t overestimate their looks, they actually tend to underestimate how good looking they are.

    What women do do is overestimate what they deserve on the mating market. It is women’s extremely low view of the men out there, not their high view of themselves, that makes them overestimate how much pull they actually have.

  2. Toz October 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I think Roissy’s done a pretty good job of explaining what actually happens. Essentially, the average has been trending down, and hence a 6 gets treated about 2 points higher.

    That said, no matter what a woman *says* she is (7-7.5, etc), her actions will tell you what she really thinks. A 5 that thinks she’s a 7 won’t be able to reject men/be rejected by men for long before realizing she’s overrating herself. It’s only the insular girls that haven’t seen what their worth is on the market (that is, haven’t had their price discovered) that have this skewed view.

    Rather than saying she’s an 8 when she’s a 6 and then dating/marrying a 6, the far more likely scenario is that she convinces herself that she’s an 8 and also convinces herself that she’s dating/marrying an 8. Haley, as you’ve implied men do the same.

  3. jack October 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Yeah, I know who you are talking about – the self-described 7-7.5.

    My suspicion is that a lot of Christian girls give themselves points for their “inner beauty” as well.

    The problem seems to be that they don’t seem to feel any greater amount of butterflies for Godly men, even as they expect men to recognize and be attracted to their inner beauty.

    Sadly, female 4s, 5s, and 6s will continue to nourish their appetite for male 8s and 9s, while spurning (often with contempt) their male equivalents.

    Adding to the problem is that occasionally those Christian female 5s and 6s will become sexual with those higher status guys (often a calculated decision to try and get a commitment). Once this happens, they can’t really ever feel good about a male 5 or 6 again. After being used and abandoned by a male 8, the only antidote for that heartache is to gain commitment from another male 8 (or higher).

    I think this explains why so many women complain that there are no good men, even though they are surrounded by them.

    What she actually means:

    “Why are there no tall, handsome, popular/socially dominant guys with prestigious careers who are lining up to woo me?”

  4. Toz October 27, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    Jack: Why are there no tall, handsome, popular/socially dominant guys with prestigious careers who are lining up to woo me?

    Made me laugh. At least in the church context, the usual complaint by said women is something to the effect of:

    “Why aren’t the men stepping up?” By which they mean, why aren’t men who are of higher status than me asking me out? To be fair, though, when men complain of “no good women” in a church, they usually mean “Why aren’t there beautiful, Godly, unattached women trying to get to know me?” It’s essentially the same empty complaint of 5’s trying to get the attention of 8’s. Most give themselves 2+ points for inner beauty which, of course, is never obvious at first glance, but they expect the credit anyway. At church especially, people just need to be more realistic.

  5. aonymous October 27, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    two addn’l influences; place of employment and access to money for clothing. A woman who works in a quiet basement science lab will receive little attention from men. Her identical twin sister who works as a hotel receptionist or waitress might be inundated with attention. A woman with little money for clothing beyond the neutral staples will remain in the shadow of an identical twin with the money and artistic flare for discretionary outfits.

    The quantity of attention from both men and women will influence a woman’s perception of her own appearance.

  6. Cane Caldo October 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    I would have just said, “Women lack scope, and are bad at comparative analysis,”, and been done with it.

    Which is why I have difficulty maintaining a blog.

  7. unpopularculture October 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Maybe you’re overthinking this? Do you seriously want everybody to go around ranking themselves and everybody they meet? Do you think every guy does this?

    If I went around assigning numbers to women, I would give extra points for humility and take off points for vanity. But that’s me.

    Glitter, glamor, “status” — let them other dudes have it. I could care less what clothing label you wear, and most likely, I think you look better without make-up.

    In any case, even if you want to confine it to the physical, scent (including pheromones) is at least as important as looks. You can be ugly as sin, but if you are able to get close enough to someone and there is pheromonal chemistry … watch out.

    This may be the difference between being with someone outwardly beautiful but feeling “meh” … and being with someone less outwardly beautiful but feeling “HOT DAMN!”

    This is chemistry. This is not a psychological thing, it’s not affected by “game.” It is a physical sensory thing. So actually, if you really want to find a good match, just find an excuse to smell every guy you meet!

    Most guys are shallow, yes. Certainly the type who hang out on “pick-up artist” sites talking about how to “rank” women . . . duh? Not that these sites might not have some good self-realization advice to offer, and not that I haven’t used such advice to good effect. But you don’t go to that culture expecting to find well-rounded individuals.

    If you’re okay with that, well that’s your thing. Generally, I think shallow people are fine — for each other.

    Additionally, most women do not think that a 20-pound weight gain is that damaging to their appearance.

    Actually, for many women, especially younger ones, I think a 20-pound weight gain would be a plus. (And it never occurred to me that “top-heavy” might be a bad thing. o__0)

    I just wish women would get out of the mirror and enjoy life. Be healthy, but stop obsessing over your weight. Exterior stuff will go away, and what is inside is what you’re left with. The best thing that could happen to most people is an illness, a disfiguring accident, even a near-death experience. You might find that glitter, glamor and “status” in the gorilla pack mean little. You do things because it brings joy to yourself and others, and brings glory to your Creator, not because it makes you “high status.”

    Of course you can always read the Bible, which will tell you the same thing.

  8. Aunt Haley October 28, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    aonymous–
    Dressing well is a skill and an art. Most people, even those with money, aren’t very gifted and would benefit greatly from the help of a stylist. Unfortunately, many women refuse to step outside of the style box they’ve put themselves in, and many men have been socially conditioned to think that caring about fashion is gay. It doesn’t make for good eye candy.

    unpopularculture–
    Do you seriously want everybody to go around ranking themselves and everybody they meet? Do you think every guy does this?

    Every person, male or female, subconsciously ranks other people’s attractiveness. Most people will agree on the physical attractiveness of others; it is self-evident.

    I could care less what clothing label you wear, and most likely, I think you look better without make-up.

    I can’t stand it when men say stuff like this because in practice it is so untrue. A woman wearing Prada and a woman wearing Wal-Mart are going to give very different impressions. Not all clothing is created equal. I think it is more accurate to say you don’t like women wearing tacky high-end labels’ names emblazoned all over their clothing.

    Also, when men say they think women look better without makeup, they mean that they don’t like seeing women with cheap, heavily caked-on makeup, not that they prefer to see women completely bare-faced, shiny, with every pore and blemish exposed, with pale lips, cheeks, and lashes, and dark circles under their eyes. Only truly natural beauties improve with no makeup. (Jessica Simpson and Megan Fox are two such women in my book.)

  9. Toz October 28, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    agree with haley –

    makeup can be ridiculously subtle. and so is clothing. you may say all you like that you don’t find X attractive, but your reaction is likely to be very different based on the things you purport to not take notice of.

    the reason is that beauty is a lot more subtle than immediate, conscious perception. only really good artists (or those with a really good artistic eye) can say exactly what causes what. most people can’t, including, i’d imagine the poster above. it’s honestly the difference between a michaelangelo and some run-of-the-mill artist from the renaissance. the details, the subtlety simply isn’t there for most other artists. it’s the same with beauty.

  10. Wayfinder October 28, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    I could care less what clothing label you wear, and most likely, I think you look better without make-up.
    I can’t stand it when men say stuff like this because in practice it is so untrue.

    My guess is that what lot of men just can’t tell if a girl is wearing makeup or not unless it’s really obvious, and they don’t like it when it’s obvious. I do think a lot of women overdo it, and I have seen women who do look pretty good without much at all…but the girl I’m thinking of in particular took care of her appearance to begin with.

    In a post telling women what men are looking for, it’s entirely reasonable to talk about beauty. You shouldn’t get your status or self-worth from it. Being externally attractive should be for the benefit of others. Ideally, a wife should make herself as attractive as possible to her husband as a part of the whole self-sacrificial marriage.

    Yes, men should be less concerned about physical attractiveness and more about a woman’s character, but I see taking care of her appearance and keeping herself attractive within her ability as a reflection of her character. Can you get much more selfish than a woman who won’t at least try make herself attractive for the man she loves?

    Plus, beauty and vanity are orthogonal. If she’s making herself beautiful for him rather than for her, it’s not vanity. Vanity can be a huge negative, but you can be quite vain without any reason to be.

    On a more practical note, I think it’s worth exploring what each sex finds attractive in the other. I’d like to hear what women actually need from men, too.

    I don’t care what a girl’s friends think of her or what her status is in the group. I generally have no idea what the other girls think of her and (especially in a church setting) only a vague idea of how they other guys feel.

    And for a guy looking for marriage the really important thing isn’t how she looks and acts right now, it’s trying to guess who she’s going to be twenty years from now. I’d guess some aspects of this are even tougher on a a guy’s estimation of a girl’s looks than she realizes. If she’s got twenty extra pounds now, how is she going to look when she spends all day looking after the kids and doesn’t have time to even think about going to the gym?

  11. Wayfinder October 28, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    Messed up the quote from Haley there, but I think you can see where her bit leaves off…

  12. knepper October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Jack: Why are there no tall, handsome, popular/socially dominant guys with prestigious careers who are lining up to woo me?

    Reminds me of a recent church scene where the call was made for single women who wanted husbands to come up for prayer (really). The most attractive among those who came up could charitably be rated a 5. I’m sure there is not a single man in attendence who didn’t notice that fact. And most could have greatly improved their appearence by losing weight and upgrading the Walmart bargain rack clothing (or maybe Salvation Army would be more accurate).

  13. Aunt Haley October 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    knepper–
    Reminds me of a recent church scene where the call was made for single women who wanted husbands to come up for prayer (really). The most attractive among those who came up could charitably be rated a 5.

    I’m cringing in secondhand embarrassment for those women. On the one hand, I understand the sentiment the pastor was trying to convey – that God is powerful and can make the impossible possible; and that is absolutely true – but on the other, there is something humiliating about going to the front with a bunch of plain janes and worse, because it suggests that the issue isn’t so much a female one as it is an, um, aesthetic one.

    And most could have greatly improved their appearence by losing weight and upgrading the Walmart bargain rack clothing (or maybe Salvation Army would be more accurate).

    Yikes. But this is what happens when churches preach too much anti-materialism, and there is a tendency among plainer women to extend that teaching to not being willing to spend any money on their wardrobe. Not being stylish becomes a status symbol of not buying into The World’s way of thinking and of prioritizing God’s priorities over man’s. I have heard stuff from Christians on a number of occasions like “why would anyone ever spend more than $20 on a pair of jeans?” and “labels are just a way to charge you a lot of money for no reason at all”. That kind of attitude typically does not result in well-dressed young women. (Yes, you can spend your time scouring discount stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s, but those places are really hit-or-miss. Also, picking clothes primarily because they were a “deal” is a bad way to build a wardrobe.)

  14. ASDF October 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Re: Looking sharp

    Why don’t girls just learn to sew?

    There are two reasons that people pay more for clothes:

    To buy something gaudy with the brand splashed all over it so that people know how much money you have to spend,

    or

    To buy something that fits well, is well designed and constructed, and is made of high quality material.

    I spend more on clothes due to reason #2. I like clothes that fit nice, look nice, and feel nice, and you cannot find them at big box stores (I’ve tried). However, a lot of what I buy (jeans, coats, flannel/button up shirts) could easily be sewn by a crafty girl for a fraction of the price (factoring in both material cost and time spent). Sewing ability is definitely high on my list of attractive traits in a woman.

    There is no reason that a girl can’t go window shopping at the Prada store in the mall and then go home and make something halfway similar.

  15. Wayfinder October 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Re: looking sharp

    One point on favor of traditional skills, such as sewing and carpentry, is that they make you less dependent on the expensive whims of modern consumer culture. I think that it’s a tragedy that more women haven’t learned to sew.

    Here’s a question: Are there skills that add to a woman’s attraction? You mention sewing. What about cooking?

    If men aren’t attracted to a woman working like a man, would they be attracted to a woman who works like a woman?

  16. nothingbutthetruth October 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    A comprehensive approach of the issue, Haley.

    But you forgot to mention popular culture, which is constantly telling women that are beautiful, strong, independent, the world’s eighth wonder and the best that has happened after the invention of bread and cheese. You can watch the sitcoms or the commercials on TV where the man is a kind of dump Neandhertal who is not worthy to tie the shoelaces of his witty and intelligent woman.

    Or let’s go to the movies:

    “Dirty Dancing” – a homely woman gets a smoking hot guy.
    “Pretty Woman” – a hooker gets a millionaire.
    “Maid in Manhattan” – a single mom who works as a maid in a hotel gets a Senator.
    “You’ve got an email” – the owner of “the bookstore around the corner”, gets the owner of a bookselling corporation
    “Twilight” – two demigods fight for a neurotic, dull, dumb, depressed, narcissistic, boring, stupid and unbearable teenager.

    So the average women in America thinks: “I am not a prostitute like Julia Robert’s character and I am not an empty-headed like Bella. So why can’t I have my Prince Charming”.

  17. ASDF October 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    Wayfinder:

    Yes, cooking would be a huge plus. I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl who was a good cook. I have met a few girls who can “bake”, but I don’t have a sweet tooth (and a love of baking is a huge red flag for their waistline 20 years down the line). I’d prefer one who could cook a roast.

    A girl who liked to clean and do the laundry would be great too.

    People usually say “Oh, you’re just looking for a maid”. Well, maybe so. I just consider it to be a sensible division of labour in a relationship. Most two income families spend the 2nd income on outsourcing jobs that the now-working wife would traditionally have done.

    On another note, I suspect that a woman who is on board with cooking and cleaning and generally tending to family matters would have a more agreeable personality and be more committed to the relationship.

  18. Aunt Haley October 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    ASDF–
    Why don’t girls just learn to sew?

    Well, why don’t men just learn to be plumbers, electricians, roofers, and carpenters?

    Sewing just isn’t an essential homemaking skill anymore, not when you can buy inexpensive clothes at stores like Target or Wal-Mart, and minor tailoring only costs around $10 a pop.

    However, a lot of what I buy (jeans, coats, flannel/button up shirts) could easily be sewn by a crafty girl for a fraction of the price (factoring in both material cost and time spent).

    Sure…if you want to look like someone whose clothes came from JoAnn Fabrics and straight out of the Butterick pattern packet. Homemade clothes usually look homemade, but maybe that doesn’t bother you.

    There is no reason that a girl can’t go window shopping at the Prada store in the mall and then go home and make something halfway similar.

    Sure, you could make “something halfway similar,” emphasis on the halfway. But it would not fit like a Prada garment. Knockoffs rarely ever pass for the real thing. The level of detail, the subtleties of cut, and the quality of the textiles used are typically out of reach for the average at-home seamstress, even if she is quite good.

    Wayfinder–
    If men aren’t attracted to a woman working like a man, would they be attracted to a woman who works like a woman?

    Come on, dude. You can do better than a fat lob like that.

    nothingbutthetruth–
    So the average women in America thinks: “I am not a prostitute like Julia Robert’s character and I am not an empty-headed like Bella. So why can’t I have my Prince Charming”.

    This voice is at odds with the one inside her head that says, “I am not as pretty, rich, or famous as Julia Roberts or Kristen Stewart. What high quality man will want me? Wahhh, I will be single forever.”

    ASDF (again)–
    Yes, cooking would be a huge plus. I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl who was a good cook.

    How do you know these women are not good cooks? Have they all invited you over for a homemade dinner so you could judge for yourself? Must a woman be a good cook before you marry her, or would you allow her to develop that skill once you were married?

    A girl who liked to clean and do the laundry would be great too.

    Good luck finding a girl who LIKES to clean and do laundry. Most women do them because they must be done, the man will not do them (or if he does, he won’t do it well), and they would prefer not to live in a sty. I don’t, however, know any woman who professes a love of scrubbing toilets or showers or the stove or the refrigerator AND dusting all of the knickknacks and vacuuming and sweeping AND picking up after all the stuff that others leave messy AND ironing all of your shirts and pants and pairing up all of your socks and folding your underwear.

    If women truly liked doing any of these things, they would do them themselves instead of farming out the drudgery – er, I mean, fun work – to a cleaning lady (or team of cleaning ladies). Most people find ways to make time for the things they really want to do.

  19. Cane Caldo October 29, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    @AH

    You spent time deriding WalMart clothes, nut when sewing is suggested as an alternative you respond that it’s better to shop at WalMart. Not your best work.

    But you were onto something with your tradesman question. Women don’t sew, or cook, or clean very well, or beautify themselves for the same reason that men can’t learn home repair: it’s slightly difficult, and this is the land of leisure. Why can’t we just say more men and women ought to be doing these things? Laziness needs no defense.

    And we do prefer naturally pretty faces. That doesn’t mean I’m against make-up…but whenever I think about it I am unsettled about the amount of chicanery that takes place on a woman’s body: make-up; perfume; heels; bras; control-top pantyhose… How did arms escape ritual contortion?

  20. novaseeker October 29, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    Dressing well is a skill and an art. Most people, even those with money, aren’t very gifted and would benefit greatly from the help of a stylist. Unfortunately, many women refuse to step outside of the style box they’ve put themselves in, and many men have been socially conditioned to think that caring about fashion is gay. It doesn’t make for good eye candy.

    It’s also really unimportant in a LTR. When married, a good bit of time is spent with each other in much less impressive clothing, generally, even where both persons are veritable fashion plates, unless the grunt work of being married and parenting is outsourced completely. It’s nice to know your spouse can look really hot when he/she dresses up for special occasions, but in real world marriages with kids those don’t happen that often, and “style” tends much more towards the pragmatic than anything else. Some people enter this phase of marriage (generally kicks in, at the latest, with the arrival of kids) with a lot of trepidation because they can no longer easily satisfy their own constructed sense of “style” — and that can lead to issues for one or both spouses, unfortunately.

    I can’t stand it when men say stuff like this because in practice it is so untrue.

    My guess is that what lot of men just can’t tell if a girl is wearing makeup or not unless it’s really obvious, and they don’t like it when it’s obvious. I do think a lot of women overdo it, and I have seen women who do look pretty good without much at all…but the girl I’m thinking of in particular took care of her appearance to begin with.

    Well, it’s a bit more basic than that. He’s going to have to find you physically attractive without makeup on, because most marital sex is taking place without makeup on, and often otherwise in relatively unglamorous conditions. Sure, many guys like women in “subtle” makeup, but the guys who are saying they prefer very little or none are generally not BSing, either.

  21. David Collard October 29, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    My wife has rarely worn makeup. Luckily she looks OK without it. Sometimes she puts on a little in the bedroom.

    I don’t think she likes doing the laundry, but she always has, even before we were married. She just seems to see it as her job. Also cooking, although she sometimes tells me she doesn’t like it. She bakes biscuits, without my asking, and puts them in my lunch.

    We do have a cleaning lady. But my wife mops when she has not been for a while.

    She irons my shirts. She is pretty much a “full service wife”.

    I wasn’t “looking for a maid”, but I was pleased when she sort of turned into one.

  22. David Collard October 29, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    She does a lot of sewing too. Curtains, clothes, whatnot. Something she chooses to do, although I think it makes her feel thrifty.

  23. nothingbutthetruth October 29, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    This voice is at odds with the one inside her head that says, “I am not as pretty, rich, or famous as Julia Roberts or Kristen Stewart. What high quality man will want me? Wahhh, I will be single forever.”

    Well, I have to admit that, if she wants to land the same kind of man who Julia Roberts or Kristen Stewart can land, she will be single forever. So, yes, she is showing good judgment about her future.

    It is like me wishing to get the same women that George Clooney can have.

  24. nothingbutthetruth October 29, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    Well, maybe not good judgment but good assessment

  25. Wayfinder October 29, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    @Aunt Haley
    I guess what I’m dancing around in my own head is that the traditional courtship rituals were all about demonstrating a woman’s competence over and above any physical beauty that she possessed. In a more traditional society, this might be an effective way for a woman to compensate for other shortcomings. Not that this has anything at all to do with the contemporary dating scene, unfortunately.

    @novaseeker
    Good point about the makeup. I have to say that in a LTR I’d really want to see what she looked like without it. There is a difference between initial attraction and demonstrating your fitness for a LTR. If we date for months and you never let your guard down, I’m going to get a little worried.

    If I’m not going to sleep with you before marriage, I want to have some guess at how you’ll look in bed in the morning. Or how you’ll look naked. I have no evidence, but I suspect that a lot of church guys really are worried about things like that. Witness the worry about the mysterious pushup bra. Guys are scared partially because they don’t really understand how it works or if she’s using one. For that matter look at the number of people who keep saying not to marry until you know what the sex is like. Same impulse. Neither men nor women want to buy a pig in a poke.

    Again, different concerns for different stages of a relationship.

  26. cleared in hot October 29, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    Well, why don’t men just learn to be plumbers, electricians, roofers, and carpenters?

    Some of us do.

    I can do – and have done – all of that stuff at my house. I also do most of my own work on our cars.

    *MAJOR* points were scored one time when I took ten minutes to replace a $2 thermocouple in my then-fiancee’s water heater so that she could have a hot shower before all her girlfriends came over for a party…

  27. ASDF October 29, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    @ Haley:

    Doing electrical stuff is a whole other game of cards, but I’ve repaired toilets and patched up roofs in the past. I suspect that men are still way more handy than women are crafty.

    “Homemade clothes usually look homemade, but maybe that doesn’t bother you.”

    If a Chinaman earning 25 cents per hour can sew me some nice Levis, then so can you, if you put a little effort into it. Same with the knockoff dress. I’m not going to get into a point by point dressmaking argument with you here, but suffice it to say that all your objections could be overcome with a little hard work.

    Re: Cooking. I ask lots of girls if they are good cooks. Or say that they should cook me dinner. Many laugh and say that we should order a pizza or go out. Many say “Ok, I have this one dish that I can cook, so we’ll have that”. I am a good cook, but I could find better uses for the 2 hours that it can take me to make dinner. So I want a wife who can cook, but I don’t know if I could put up with a year of bad food while she figured things out. What was she doing with the first 20+ years of her life that she couldn’t figure out how to cook?

    Re: Cleaning. She doesn’t have to love it, she just has to love living in a clean house. I don’t LOVE landscaping, but I would do it as my man job, and because I like a neat garden.

    It sounds like you’re not very domestic, and so you come up with excuses for everything or try and turn the tables.

    PS How do you do quotes on here?

  28. jack October 29, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    “Well, why don’t men just learn to be plumbers, electricians, roofers, and carpenters?”

    Bad analogy:

    Women are not judging us on our plumbing, electrical infrastructure, roofs, and walls.

    This is humorously typical of a woman arguing – she finds what she thinks is the perfect rebuttal, unfortunately it is the rebuttal to a completely different argument.

    Second,

    I’ll bet you that there ARE more men who know those skills than women who know how to sew proficiently (women over 60 excluded).

  29. Wayfinder October 29, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    @jack

    Can we keep out the ad hominem bits? You don’t need it to make your point.

  30. Aunt Haley October 29, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Cane Caldo–
    You spent time deriding WalMart clothes, nut when sewing is suggested as an alternative you respond that it’s better to shop at WalMart. Not your best work.

    I did not say it is better to shop at Wal-Mart, only that it is a deterrent to learning sewing skills.

    cleared in hot–
    I can do – and have done – all of that stuff at my house. I also do most of my own work on our cars.

    Would you say you are typical or atypical of most men? I would say that possessing all of these skills is atypical in a modern, suburban/urban male, especially if he is young.

    ASDF–
    If a Chinaman earning 25 cents per hour can sew me some nice Levis, then so can you, if you put a little effort into it.

    No more racially derogative terms like “Chinaman,” please.

    So I want a wife who can cook, but I don’t know if I could put up with a year of bad food while she figured things out.

    Who says it would take a year, especially if she put in ~a little effort~? (Besides, it might take you a year to find a woman who is already a good cook, but if you marry the bad cook now, at least you’ll be getting to have guilt-free sex with her. Just a thought….)

    It sounds like you’re not very domestic, and so you come up with excuses for everything or try and turn the tables.

    Well, unless you meet me and see my abode (or talk to my friends who have), you will have no way of verifying my domesticity or lack thereof, so…are you saying that if I had agreed with you on everything, that would be sufficient proof for you that I keep a great house?

    jack–
    This is humorously typical of a woman arguing – she finds what she thinks is the perfect rebuttal, unfortunately it is the rebuttal to a completely different argument.

    Well, if that isn’t typical of a man responding to a woman’s argument that he disagrees with…. “How like a woman!” is such an age-old charmer.

  31. ASDF October 29, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    “so…are you saying that if I had agreed with you on everything, that would be sufficient proof for you that I keep a great house?”

    It would have been a good start. Your objections here fall under the category of “she dost protest too much”.

    And you still haven’t told me how to do quotes.

    PS
    CHINAMAN CHINAMAN CHINAMAN!

  32. Wayfinder October 29, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    @Haley

    The learning is a good point, actually, since the man will hopefully be learning and improving too. I feel that there’s a toolkit of useful domestic skills recent generation have neglected until they actually need them. Of course they’re mixed in with some obsolete ones too.

    More on-topic, I’ve seen good hand sewn clothes and really really bad ones.

    There’s another aspect of appearance and churches that we may be overlooking. For some of us, church is basically the only place where guys are encouraged to dress up. If I as a man went to this extra effort to wear a suit and tie and you as a woman show up in a baggy sweatshirt (as actually happened to me recently) I’m going to wonder why you’re not taking it seriously. Obviously this depends on the church, but I think men still have an expectation that they’re supposed to be presentable in a holy place. Yeah there are a lot of teenage guys that show up in t-shirts, but when I look around at the men in the congregation they’re at minimum semi-formal.

    Anybody else have a similar experience?

  33. cleared in hot October 29, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    @Haley

    Would you say you are typical or atypical of most men? I would say that possessing all of these skills is atypical in a modern, suburban/urban male

    Well, I’d say it’s probably 50/50 from my observation. I guess I am atypical, as I grew up in the concrete jungle that is SoCal suburbia so I didn’t acquire them on a farm or living in Alaska or anything.

    BTW I don’t mean to suggest that all girls learn to sew, just that a good number of men do actually have those “life” skills. Not only are we expected to (as Don Corleone put it, “Women and children can be careless, but not men.”), but in my experience it is also very attractive to women.

    @Wayfinder

    My experience is that the women almost always are better dressed than the men. And not just at church.

  34. Wayfinder October 29, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    @cleared in hot
    In daily life, certainly. And most of the adult women at church certainly are. But I have seen some exceptions among the younger adult women…

  35. y81 October 29, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    ASDF, Wayfinder: You really don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to clothes. My mother was quite a good home seamstress: she made dresses for herself and my sister, and maybe sometimes some slacks, but men’s clothing involves tailoring well beyond what can be done at home by someone who does it part time. Those Chinese garment workers have capital equipment supporting them that costs much more than what a home seamstress would buy, and they do it eight (or twelve) hours a day. If you want a shirt that looks like a sack with armholes, your wife may be able to do that, but even to produce to Wal-Mart standards is not going to be in the cards.

  36. Wayfinder October 29, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    @y81
    Actually, I hadn’t thought about men’s clothes at all. I was thinking more of the dresses some of my sisters have made. My untrained eyed can’t tell the difference between those and store-bought. I agree that actual tailoring is another skill altogether and I hope no one took what I said as an accusation that women should be sewing everything from scratch!

  37. y81 October 29, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    “For some of us, church is basically the only place where guys are encouraged to dress up.”

    I wouldn’t have thought that was the typical evangelical experience. I wear a coat and tie, and my wife wears a dress and stockings, to church, but that’s because we are over 50. Most people, male and female, are in jeans and t-shirts, or other clothes of that level of formality.

    Also, it always seems to me that at most banks and law firms, the women–except for the very senior ones–are dressed less formally than the men. You don’t see men coming to work in sandals or sleeveless shirts, for instance.

  38. Julie October 29, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Why do women overrate their looks? Well, consider that most women aren’t attracted to very many guys–really, maybe 2 or 3 out of 10 at most? OK, so with that in mind, if a woman of more average attractiveness notices that men are attracted to her, she may project and start to believe she must be in the top percentile of women. Otherwise, why are they acting attracted?

    I also wonder if this is why women so often feel they are “settling.” After all, if a man “settles” for a 6, he is probably still attracted to her–almost certainly on some level. A woman may marry a 6 and feel very little attraction for him. So, it’s not that women want to marry George Clooney–they simply want to marry someone they can feel passionate about. These tend to be men 7 or higher. A real bummer for women who are average attractiveness and cannot find a man above their level to commit.

  39. Wayfinder October 29, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    @y81
    I had a suspicion that the churches I’ve been going to have been other than today’s evangelical experience. They’ve also been short on unmarried adult women. There may or may not be a correlation.

  40. Lily October 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I just had a quick scan of the comments but making a comment because for I sew and cook which is unusual for someone like me.

    My sewing is not to the best of the sewers of my mother’s generation but as good as the good home sewers of that generation.

    I make soft furnishings, baby clothes etc. I’ve sewed since I was a little girl but I’m also quite like the ‘thrifty’ aspect. Chickens next :-)

    I could easily knock up a nice tunic or shift dress for myself BUT
    a) it would cost a lot more to make than a dress of the equivalent quality on the high street (and I’m talking pricier end of high street not walmart prices)
    b) there is no way I could get anywhere near Prada’s quality
    (whoever chose that example really chose one of the worst 3 they could have done)

    I wouldn’t even attempt to make anything like a jacket.

    How useful has my sewing been in attracting boys/men? I don’t think very. When I was younger, it was uncool, it’s something square girls do, it’s changed a bit I think.

    I think my boy quite likes it that if he takes something out of the cupboard and notices something that I will do it but he also sees it like something his mum would do for him (whilst he would usually drop it off at the dry cleaners).

    He also doesn’t like how long it takes. I made some curtains for a bedroom recently but when I started looking at fabrics online for another room, he said have the store make them as he’d rather our spare time is spent together in ‘quality time’.

    I love a very tidy and clean house but I have a cleaner. Whilst it’s very satisfying to clean out a cupboard or mop a floor occasionally, to me cleaning is not something I *enjoy* doing if I *have* to do it every day.

  41. Lily October 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    Re men being able to do stuff. Personally, I find men being able to do things attractive. I don’t think that’s unusual, it’s something my friends complain about. We all spend a fortune on handymen, plumbers etc. And a man with a drill is sexy.

    Mechanics maybe not so much, but they do appreciate having a guy know something about cars (though even if they don’t, it’s still cheaper to get them to take your car to the garage than take it yourself).

    But being able to stuff around the house, definitely.

  42. David Collard October 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    My wife learned to cook after we married. Or rather, to cook better. We had a few strange meals, but she eventually became quite OK. I also learned to do useful things around the house and garden: fixing things, heavy backyard work.

    Happy couples probably fall into fairly traditional roles around the house. There is less argument, for one thing. I have been surprised at some of the extras she has done: baking, sewing.

    We are “sex role reversed” on a couple of things. I tend to take the children to the doctor, and she is much more interested in the car.

  43. novaseeker October 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    I also wonder if this is why women so often feel they are “settling.” After all, if a man “settles” for a 6, he is probably still attracted to her–almost certainly on some level. A woman may marry a 6 and feel very little attraction for him. So, it’s not that women want to marry George Clooney–they simply want to marry someone they can feel passionate about. These tend to be men 7 or higher. A real bummer for women who are average attractiveness and cannot find a man above their level to commit.

    Yes, this is hypergamy.

    Unfortunately, what it ends up with is most women being disappointed. Most men are not 7+, of course. So most women are disappointed in terms of what they are “left with” and feel like they are “settling”. When you combine that with freewheeling divorce, you get an unmitigated disaster for most men.

  44. jack October 29, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    “Well, if that isn’t typical of a man responding to a woman’s argument that he disagrees with…. “How like a woman!” is such an age-old charmer.”

    I’m all charm, all the time…

    Original point still stands.

    I don’t disagree with your statement other than the fact that it is just utterly irrelevant to the point being made originally. That’s all.

    If you want to argue with a man, you need to learn to argue like a man. If you want to cry “uncle” (although “aunt” is probably more appropriate – heh) I’ll be glad to give you a pass in the future.

    Be tough now, this is the internet after all.

    love,

    jack: the bitter, bitter, awful man, whose words are best ignored. (really!!!)

  45. unpopularculture October 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    @HALEY:
    Every person, male or female, subconsciously ranks other people’s attractiveness. Most people will agree on the physical attractiveness of others; it is self-evident.

    Your idea of “most people” would benefit from exposing yourself to more people. (In any case, if “most people” jump off a cliff, would you follow them?)

    We all do prefer to see some things more than others. We don’t all allow these to control our behavior and limit who we interact with. We don’t all put people a box with a number based on what we see in a brief encounter.

    It’s not the fact of being visual, it’s the extent to which that controls your choices. Part of maturity (especially spiritual) is putting the superficial and sensory in their proper place. That place becomes smaller and smaller. If you are a Christian, presumably you would have the jump on this process.

    Personally, I prefer not to be judged by my looks–I didn’t do anything to come by my looks. I prefer not to be judged by my clothing, because there are, I dunno, about five million more important things to think about in life than shopping and dressing for the kinds of people I don’t want to meet anyway. For everyday purposes, it’s enough to be fitted, clean, and somewhat matching – and most important, comfortable.

    Also, when men say they think women look better without makeup, they mean that they don’t like seeing women with cheap, heavily caked-on makeup, not that they prefer to see women completely bare-faced, shiny, with every pore and blemish exposed, with pale lips, cheeks, and lashes, and dark circles under their eyes. Only truly natural beauties improve with no makeup. (Jessica Simpson and Megan Fox are two such women in my book.)

    No, I like women better without makeup. I’ve seen enough, I know the difference. Ask a guy friend or your boyfriend, if/when you get one who is really in love with you.

    Real lips are only “pale” compared to the paint your peers and artificial role models in the media are wearing. You have unfortunately been mind-cloned by the cosmetics and fashion industry to think you cannot show your face without their products. (Believe me, I am not one to parrot feministspeak–but they are right occasionally.)

    Note, I didn’t say go around looking tired and unhealthy. Skin and hair reflect internal health. Makeup only simulates it. Why not get the real thing? If you have problem skin and dark circles, get some rest, eat healthy, drink lots of water, exercise, detoxify, and take care of your skin. It will look good. Get some sunlight – sunlight is essential as long as you are not sunburning. (The “dangers” of the sun – another industry myth.) If you have acne, Proactiv is not expensive.

    The only girl I have ever wanted to marry had a face full of acne scars and wore no makeup.

    Think about the implications of lying about how you look and what kind of results that get you. Why should you have to falsify everything about yourself to get noticed? Is it worth it? Are the men you attract that way worth attracting? I know if I was a woman, I’d be like “f___ that.”

    I’m all for women appreciating masculinity, but cmon, the idea that men are all controlled by our eyes and our penises and go around grading women like sides of beef, is as insulting as any stereotype that men might put on you.

    If this is a blog for Christian singles, then you should know that Christians don’t conform to the world. Be better.

  46. y81 October 30, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    unpopularculture is being unfair to our hostess, with whom I often disagree, goodness knows, but who has the wit at least to be living in the real world of Christianity, exploring the dialectic between what we believe and how we live, rather than reciting anodyne mantras about inner or “real” beauty.

    Furthermore, it doesn’t strike me as particularly Christian to say that we shouldn’t be judged by our looks, because we don’t control them. We don’t control anything about our lives, because God is sovereign. However, I don’t read Matt. 7:1 as meaning that you can’t or shouldn’t choose a spouse who melts your butter, and looks are usually part of that.

  47. Cane Caldo October 30, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    @unpopularculture

    Yet one more person who cannot tell the difference between the way things are, the way things should be, and what he was told at church.*

    The way things are: Some people are more physically beautiful than others without regard to their piety or righteousness. We want to bang them more than the ugly ones because God designed our minds to want to bang beautiful people. This is not fair.

    The way things should be: Everyone should be physically and spiritually beautiful. Neither exists in a fallen world. For all the talk of “inner-beauty” to women, you don’t hear much about how that “inner-beauty” is but filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord. Get down off your scrap heap.

    The way the church says: Everyone who is not as pious as we say people should be is actually ugly, and it’s your sinful penis/vagina that makes you want to bang them. “Real men love Jesus”, and only cleave to the chaste girl who shows up every time the doors are open. You can tell she’s chaste just by looking at her because she’s so clearly unconcerned with worldly things.

    I was thinking about someone’s comment that a pastor called all the husband-seekers down for a special prayer. Imagine being one of the single guys in that church! Heard shortly after the service:

    “Hey, Pete, listen: I know you’ve been looking around for a date. What about Claire? Boy, she really loves the Lord. Which one is she? She’s the one over there, near the front. No, that’s Sally. I guess Sally is kind of hiding Claire. Let’s move over a few feet. Ok, now that’s Sally–she’s a really sweet girl. What was that? No, I think they’re actually well off; her father’s an engineer. Anyway, Pete, I feel the Lord’s presence here and you could be an answer to prayer. You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

    *If you didn’t/don’t go to church, don’t bother telling me. That’s the one peeve I have about the comments here. “I know better than all those sheeple who go to church because I read the Bible and it all means exactly what I think it means. Scholarship is for pagans and the weak.”

  48. Eumaios October 31, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Well, why don’t men just learn to be plumbers, electricians, roofers, and carpenters?

    Most men are better plumbers, electricians, and roofers than most women are seamstresses. Few men pride themselves on incompetence.

  49. Eumaios October 31, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Homemade clothes usually look homemade.

    You just scored an own goal. Or a tautology.

  50. Eumaios October 31, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Novaseeker: “the guys who are saying they prefer very little or none are generally not BSing, either.”

    Very true. Early in our relationship, I insisted my girl not wear makeup, and I would tease her when she did. An effective deterrent: “I don’t like girls who smell like paint.”

    Furthermore, covering up freckles with paint is at least a venial sin.

  51. Aunt Haley October 31, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Julie–
    Well, consider that most women aren’t attracted to very many guys–really, maybe 2 or 3 out of 10 at most?

    I think any woman attracted to that percentage of the men qualifies as boy-crazy. For most women, it’s maybe 1 out of 20 on a good day.

    jack–
    If you want to argue with a man, you need to learn to argue like a man.

    If I were to argue like a man, my argument would go like this:

    “See my enormous, hairy balls that could crush you like a grape? See my mile-long penis that I could wrap around your neck and strangle you with? ARGUMENT OVER.”

    But I don’t think you want me to argue like that, do you? (Unless you disagree that this is pretty much what every male argument boils down to.)

    unpopularculture–
    Personally, I prefer not to be judged by my looks–I didn’t do anything to come by my looks. I prefer not to be judged by my clothing, because there are, I dunno, about five million more important things to think about in life than shopping and dressing for the kinds of people I don’t want to meet anyway. For everyday purposes, it’s enough to be fitted, clean, and somewhat matching – and most important, comfortable.

    This sounds exactly like your stereotypical fat church girl “Jesus loves me for my inner beauty, why can’t you?” gripe.

    No, I like women better without makeup. I’ve seen enough, I know the difference.

    I don’t understand why men keep insisting that they prefer women to wear ZERO makeup and that they can tell the difference. If all of the women of the world – and this includes women over, say, age 22 – stopped wearing makeup permanently tomorrow, would there be ecstatic cheers from men, or gasps of horror and much wailing and gnashing of teeth that these women didn’t also start wearing bags over their heads?

    If this is a blog for Christian singles, then you should know that Christians don’t conform to the world. Be better.

    Then why is it just as rare among Christians as among non-Christians that a low-status man will be married to a good-looking woman, or a homely woman to a handsome, rich man? If everyone were just a better Christian, would there be more ugly-pretty marriages, or is it possible that people largely follow their deeply-encoded biological imperatives regardless of religious belief? Also, there is no command in Scripture for people to marry outside of socioeconomic class, race, nationality, or level of beauty, so “being better” in this regard is more a matter of choice for the Christian.

  52. frankly October 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    re: makeup

    if all women stopped wearing them tomorrow, I think men would be fine with it. The hot girls would still be hot, and the ugly ones would still generally be ugly. Perhaps there will be more “au naturale ugliness”, but this would generally be offset by less “clown face nastiness”

    really, it’s the women who want to wear the makeup, because it makes them feel like they have the ability to raise their attractiveness RELATIVE TO OTHER WOMEN. Maybe it works sometimes; maybe if only 1 woman wore makeup, and it was tasteful, she would stand out favorably among the horde of all the non-makeup women… but as it is, it’s a rat race.

  53. asdf October 31, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Women don’t overrate themselves per se. They just err on the positive side. They would like it to be as if they are attractive, even if they aren’t that much, and they know it. They would rather live in the fantasy of positivity and attractiveness than a mundane reality. This goes for the guys they like, they exaggerate their value as well, as well as their group of friends. It’s their positive and ornamental nature to do it. They are interested in feeling good and making an attractive, pleasant situation. I read somewhere how in the concentration camps of ww2 the women would put ornaments up and make the camps homely. As it is a man’s nature to improve fundamentals, it’s a woman’s nature to decorate it. That being said, there are a lot of bitches out there these days that need to be taken down a peg, but that will happen naturally as they age and are left behind by the alphas they think they deserve.

  54. Rivelino October 31, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    “Just as a woman will find an average-looking man with a good personality handsome, she will also consider an average-looking woman with a good personality prettier than she objectively is.”

    “Groups of female friends tend to become an echo chamber of inflated rankings.”

    This is a good essay.

    Nice blog design too.

  55. grerp October 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    I agree with several others: this is good coverage of this subject, Haley.

    Facebook is an echo chamber of complete lies about appearance. I see so many “You’re smokin’ girl!” comments given to women who have totally hit the wall or are otherwise FAR from beautiful. FB seems to be all about narcissistic denial, and everyone is in on the con. The other day one woman I know posted that cliche about looking for a knight in shining armor and only finding dorks in tin foil. She’s in her late 30’s, at least a hundred pounds overweight, in debt, and emotionally unstable. Yet she got several “I know what you mean!” and “Ain’t it the truth!” responses.

    Also, little girls of average looks get told all the time they are pretty when what is really meant is that they are prettily dressed.

    I sew. It is way cheaper to buy nice clothes used or on consignment than it would be to sew them. Fabric is pricy. I’ve also never been able to replicate designer quality – not even close.

  56. y81 November 1, 2010 at 6:01 am #

    It occurred to me over the weekend that asking a home seamstress to make a designer-quality outfit would be a little like giving a man who prides himself on his handyman skills a lump of clay and an aluminum ingot and telling him to make a table lamp.

  57. Lover of Wisdom November 1, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Haley:

    ‘If I were to argue like a man, my argument would go like this:

    “See my enormous, hairy balls that could crush you like a grape? See my mile-long penis that I could wrap around your neck and strangle you with? ARGUMENT OVER.”

    But I don’t think you want me to argue like that, do you? (Unless you disagree that this is pretty much what every male argument boils down to.)’

    I think it might be telling what kinds of guys you are around if this is your take on how men argue. Usually guys are irritated if the girls get emotional and argue from emotion rather than facts and logic.

  58. jack November 1, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Haley:

    Close, but no cigar.

    What you just did was argue like a woman who thinks she is a man. Not quite the same thing.

    Try again, please.

  59. Aunt Haley November 1, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Lover of Wisdom–
    I think it might be telling what kinds of guys you are around if this is your take on how men argue. Usually guys are irritated if the girls get emotional and argue from emotion rather than facts and logic.

    I was talking about male arguments. Pretty much every male-male argument I’ve witnessed is on some level motivated by proving who’s got the metaphorical biggest penis, i.e., establishing pecking order. When dealing with women, men usually try to shut them down by doing what jack did, which is to dismiss women for being women.

  60. novaseeker November 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    I was talking about male arguments. Pretty much every male-male argument I’ve witnessed is on some level motivated by proving who’s got the metaphorical biggest penis, i.e., establishing pecking order. When dealing with women, men usually try to shut them down by doing what jack did, which is to dismiss women for being women.

    Some of us learn that there is often little upside to debating with women. With men, you fight and spar, and yes it is about who is “right”, meaning who can convince better, which is a proxy for some kind of “penis size debate” although here it is an intellectual penis … but you still have a fight, a winner, and a loser. And more or less people expect a vigorous fight. People may not leave the fight agreeing, but there is still an upside to having had a vigorously fought battle with another male.

    With women, there is no upside. Beat up a girl intellectually? Very unchivalrous, callous, cold, unfeeing and so on. Lose to a woman intellectually? Emasculating, even if women are loathe to admit that, it is the case. So the best to do with women is not to engage, to deflect, to listen and not argue but also not agree — just take a different path. Actually arguing with women often has almost no benefit for men at all, regardless of the substantive outcome, because win or lose, it will be turned against the guy in the eyes of the woman, often.

    Sad, but true in many cases, really.

  61. Old Guy November 1, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Jack: The fact that men’s reasons for wanting to be plumbers or electricians aren’t the same as women’s reasons for wanting to sew doesn’t mean that their reasons for not doing these things aren’t similar. Mastering an exacting and unfamiliar task can be too demanding to make it worth doing yourself.

    Haley: Ask not for whom the chests thump.

  62. David Collard November 1, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Yes, a wise man eventually learns that there is no point in arguing with a woman. A light discussion is OK, but it quickly turns into a heated argument, particularly with a wife. A man is better off not arguing at all, or simply stating his position.

    There is no reason to think that men and women have to engage on all levels equally.

  63. Aunt Haley November 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    Old Guy–
    Haley: Ask not for whom the chests thump.

    Well, that’s flattering…but I also think that a lot of times, chests thump just for the sake of thumping.

  64. Joseph Dantes November 2, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    For some reason an argument has broken out about how and why women and men argue.

    It’s quite simple:
    Men argue to establish pack hierarchical dominance, with reason frequently being the decisive factor.
    Women argue to establish herd status, which involves alliance gathering, rapport and exclusion within a narrow status band. Emotion is the decisive factor.

    Men’s arguments are infrequent, sharp and then over, to preserve the serene functioning of the pack.
    Women’s arguments are long term rankling lugubrious affairs, with frenemies and ever shifting alliances.

    Truth, honor and justice are male pack concepts.
    Rapport, empathy and validation are female concepts.

    Men are typically disgusted with women’s argument style because women almost invariably immediately commit violations of the male argument honor code.

  65. jack November 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    And that violation of the honor code is why men often cannot take women seriously as leaders and opponents in debate.

    Often, you can get a woman to cede a point, then when you try to extend from that point, they will immediately deny that the point was ceded. Happens all the time.

    Emotion is wonderful – but it usually should be subordinate to reason.

    And the laws of reason.

  66. Brandon Green August 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Hello,

    Don’t mean to add to the long list. As a christian i see this same thing in/out of church.
    I am someone with some fairly decent muscles and look slightly younger than my age
    and get all kinds of attention from the ladies(both good AND bad). On one hand it’s
    from (the woman at the vitamin shop) an elongated “Have a nice day handsome”.
    To someone i don’t know approaching me and saying “You ain’t god’!
    Brandon

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