I met today with a couple of female friends, and, as is usually the case when two or more female friends gather, conversation turned to dating and male/female relationships. At the moment, none of us is dating anyone nor has any prospectives in the pipeline, so whoever out there thinks that “good girls” get snapped up like cake at a Weight Watchers meeting, think again.
One friend mentioned how she had gone to a recovering addicts celebration/gathering at another local church and had become annoyed by the fact that as she was walking to the venue from parking, a very good-looking young man was walking not far behind her yet did not attempt to strike up a conversation even though it was evident that they were going to the same place. Eventually they were forced to stop at a light, whereupon my friend took it upon herself to start talking to this guy, and they chatted all the way to the church. Tonight she was planning on returning to the same church with some hopes of seeing him again.
After hearing this story, I said that I almost never talk to men who I think are good-looking because I assume that I will not meet their minimum standard of attractiveness and they will act like they would rather have their teeth drilled without Novacaine than talk to me. I’ve had this happen before. The man will give half-hearted, simple-sentence responses, never look you in the eye, act agitated, and generally give the impression of someone who is silently cursing his upbringing as he tries to tolerate your substandard presence for the minimum time required to feign politeness. It is a simultaneously depressing and infuriating experience and is a huge waste of time.
My friend expressed great surprise at this revelation and quickly assured me that I could have anyone that I wanted. I immediately shut down that possibility, citing, well, my life to date. My friend told me that I needed to stop thinking this way. I pointed out that life experience made it pretty difficult to. My friend then said something that surprised me: that she talks to men assuming that they will be interested and that men’s standards of attractiveness are not actually very high so long as you act smiley and bubbly.
I suppose, on the one hand, that to have success, you first have to have a successful attitude. Surly warts do not win hearts. On the other hand, the laws of the sexual marketplace are pretty immutable, and the likelihood that you will be the one to defy them successfully is pretty low to nonexistent. I just know, both through reading and from experience, that if I find a man attractive – especially if he is objectively good-looking – then lots of other women will think the same. And given the statistics of it all, the likelihood that I will be better-looking than all of the other women who are interested is probably going to be more or less zero; in other words, he will always have more appealing options than myself. There is always going to be someone who laughs more at his jokes, who thinks he is smarter than I think he is, who wears a smaller clothing size than I do, who has a prettier face, who has a better body, who is more charming than I am, who is less opinionated than I am, who is willing to get in psychological turf wars with other women in order to get the guy, who is willing to make herself more sexually available, and – the older I get – who is younger than I am.
So whose approach is better – the optimist’s or the rationalist’s? I don’t know. Probably the best thing is to find someone you think is good-looking that no one else thinks is good-looking* and who honestly thinks you’re the best he can do even if it’s not true (if he’s good enough for you, he can probably do better than you). I think it’s pretty rare, though not quite as rare as finding a unicorn or a chupacabra.
*The guy I had a massive crush on during my freshman year of college is someone I thought was fairly textbook tall, dark, mysterious, and handsome (AND A GOOD DANCER. AND SMELLED DIVINE), but my friends all made eww faces when I said I thought he looked great. Of course, he ended up marrying the annoying girl from our dorm. Oh, well.