Translation: she’s not hot enough for him.

7 Nov

Boundless, how I hate hate to love love thee.  Thou art truly the gift that keeps giving.  Without thee, this blog would not have nearly as much reason to exist.

John Thomas has a new column up today called “Wondering Eyes,” in which he advises a male reader on what to do about his girlfriend:  namely, that he intellectually recognizes her as quality but his heart’s not in it anymore.  Reader self-castigates this as “pride.”

In his response, Thomas spends a lot of words telling Reader how he needs to have God’s Spirit transform his mind and examine the why of his desire to see what other girls are out there.  (Does it really require examination and prayer to explain a man’s desire for variety?!?!)  Says Thomas:

You’ve got to come to a place where you are grateful, excited and entirely content with the gift of another person in your life.** But where pride is blooming in the heart, there is no room for true gratefulness.

(**Insert manosphere railing against Thomas’s underlying pedestalization of “the gift of another person,” i.e., women.)

But really, Thomas could have saved himself a lot of virtual ink, because the problem is evident in Reader’s first two sentences:

I’ve been dating a wonderful girl. She is witty, intelligent, adventurous, talented, and above all she loves God in a way that I really see as a gift. She has a true passion for Him.

Notice how he NEVER MENTIONS THAT SHE IS GOOD-LOOKING TO HIM.  And he KNOWS she is below his SMV, because later he says:

I’m a good-looking, guitar-playing, God-loving man.

Right on, bro.  Jacob Fink approves.

But more seriously – Where Thomas sees Reader’s problem as an issue of lack of gratefulness, the real issue is a very simple one:  she’s not hot enough for him.  At least Thomas correctly advised Reader to break up with his girlfriend.

ETA:  On further reflection, I’ve also concluded that Thomas is wrong that Reader is immature and is not ready for marriage.  I think, based on Reader’s comments, that he WOULD be ready to move forward toward marriage IF the girl in question met his physical attractiveness requirements.  But she doesn’t, hence Reader’s gut telling him to bail.  And now I’m REALLY hating John Thomas for criticizing this kid for both immaturity as a man and as a believer.

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50 Responses to “Translation: she’s not hot enough for him.”

  1. Mark Slater November 7, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    The flowery prosaic in Mr. Thomas’ essay is as thick as jungle foliage. Nonetheless he manages to give some pertinent advice:

    “If you want to leave, you better do it now. And that is exactly my advice, for her sake and for yours”

    Mr. Thomas then proceeds into several paragraphs of “Christianese” [Thank you, Aunt Haley] warning about pride, maturity, “grass is always greener”, etc. (If I handed in such a long-winded report at my work, I’d get my ass kicked).

    Reader evidently cares very deeply for this woman, but clearly he just doesn’t *like* her in the sense that a man wants a woman. Mr. Thomas’ instruction is valid.

  2. Jennifer November 7, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Please, enough of the SMV crap. He can be unnattracted to her without her being “beneath” him in such ridiculously literal terms. Haley, why do you read Boundless?

  3. Jennifer November 7, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    It is good to tell men not to let their eyes wander and to kick the female buffet desire, for instance. But the guy here also never even said he was IN LOVE with her to begin with. It sounds like he just thinks he should marry her because she fits the good girl ideal; NEVER works.

  4. the cottage child November 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Y’all, I don’t know, but judging from the language, do you really believe this letter was written by a man, even a young sensitive one?

    I keep telling myself to stay put, but my prodigal son-like heart wants to leave.

    Girl-speak. And I mean decidedly immature female, not a guy who sounds girly, or one who is not particularly macho.

    That said, the girl who wrote it wants to know why her bf won’t marry her, and it’s probably because she’s not hot enough and/or because she goes around talking like that. “No sudden movements” would be my advice to the poor guy.

  5. Will S. November 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    @ CC: Good observation; it does seem more like sort of letter a girl would write, “I love him, but I’m not ‘in love with him'”, blah blah blah. Do you suppose Boundless may be resorting to ghostwriting letters, to generate content? Hmmm…

  6. Aunt Haley November 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    You guys have read stuff by the male Boundless bloggers, right? Is it really so hard to believe the Reader who wrote in to Boundless was male?? I mean, you guys criticize the church for being full of manginas, and now you’re wondering whether Boundless has women writing letters purporting to be male readers?

  7. Will S. November 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Fair comment, Haley; if the Boundless male readers are like the Boundless male writers, I suppose it’s not a stretch, at all. Both equally sackless, as we say.

  8. the cottage child November 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I’m just saying I don’t think even “manginas” (that word – ugh) talk/write like that – I just don’t think it was written by a man. Maybe I’m being overly… optimistic?

  9. jz November 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    correct me if I’m wrong , but the bible doesn’t provide any guidance for dating/ courting/mate choosing, does it? . It guides wrt. marriage/divorce, but not dating. (“don;t yoke yourself to a nonbeliever”, is the only exception I can recall). Arranged marriages were the context within which the bible derived.

  10. Jennifer November 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Nope, I HAVE heard guys talk worse than that, CC. Try reading a few pages of the novelization of “Fireproof”. Thank God the movie wasn’t half as corny, interestingly. The guy who wrote the book was SO clearly trying to be moving and it was some of the WORST writing I’d ever seen. And hell, I’ve seen Vision Forum “manly men” talk like simpering dopes, hilariously ironic since they love to present themselves as macho men.

  11. y81 November 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I agree with Jennifer. There’s a lot more to sexual attraction, or “chemistry,” than SMV. Plenty of times two people, who would seem to any objective observer to be at approximately the same level, don’t hit it off. Contrariwise, I have seen plenty of (at least seemingly) happy marriages where the couple are not at all at the same level in terms of SMV, but apparently it works for them.

    And BTW, Haley overrates “hotness.” If you make a guy feel really good (I mean emotionally, not by gratifying him sexually), you’re plenty hot enough for most men. As my old boss used to say (she was talking about sales, not dating, but she didn’t really distinguish between the two), “Look them in the eyes and make them believe they’re the most important person in the world, and they’ll buy.”

  12. jack November 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    My guess is that her personality does not move him much. I have been smitten over some very average girls and bored by hotter ones.

    I love girls with really big vocabularies. Sweet and witty is a tough combination. Besides, most any girl that is in good shape is hot enough for me.

  13. OffTheCuff November 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I love girls with really big vocabularies.

    I dare anyone to say this phrase aloud and not laugh.

  14. jack November 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Regarding the purple prose of John Thomas, yeah, it is over the top. I feel like I need a shower after reading him. It’s all gooey and full of phrases like: ‘having a heart-throbbing passion for Christ”.

    John Thomas is just another exhibit of the feminization of Christian men.

  15. Hana November 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    “I agree with Jennifer. There’s a lot more to sexual attraction, or “chemistry,” than SMV. Plenty of times two people, who would seem to any objective observer to be at approximately the same level, don’t hit it off.”

    I agree with this, because I’ve seen it happen (I had a blog entry about a real-life couple who experienced this situation, actually; but I took the blog down). A few weeks ago, I had a friend visiting. She’d seen this couple together the first time they were dating, but they’d broken up. Since then, my friend had moved away, but she’d heard this couple was dating for a second time. She asked me about them. When I told her they weren’t together anymore (again), she looked shocked. “Do you know what happened?” she asked. “Just from seeing them together the first time, they looked like they were a good match!”

    The only thing I could tell her was that sometimes people who look like they are a good match from the outside actually aren’t a match once they get to know each other.

    “And BTW, Haley overrates “hotness.” If you make a guy feel really good (I mean emotionally, not by gratifying him sexually), you’re plenty hot enough for most men. As my old boss used to say (she was talking about sales, not dating, but she didn’t really distinguish between the two), “Look them in the eyes and make them believe they’re the most important person in the world, and they’ll buy.” ”

    Aha…I’ve discovered that this last line is actually pretty true. Men shouldn’t tell women about it unless they want to be reeled in by it, though…I think it’s one of the secrets of “girl game”. ;) Men are actually a lot more emotionally susceptible than they appear. Well, most men, maybe not alpha players.

    But in general, a girl wins no matter what when she acts feminine, polite, and gives a man her full attention when he’s speaking. If he’s the least bit physically attracted to her, he just became more attracted. If she’s attracted to him, she has a chance at getting him. If she’s not attracted to him, she just acquired a beta orbiter (they can be useful!). If he’s not the least bit physically attracted to her, she never had a shot at him anyway, but at least she’s ensured that he’ll give her the time of day the next time they meet, instead of completely ignoring her. Girls shouldn’t underestimate the power of emotional connection.

    That Boundless entry confuses me, though. It almost sounds like a parody of a Boundless question, with phrases like “my prodigal-son heart”. If this guy is high status, why does his writing drip “Christianese”, like a girl’s writing? (Are effeminate men that attractive in church circles? Perhaps worship-leading, guitar-playing ones…)

  16. A November 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    he intellectually recognizes her as quality but his heart’s not in it anymore.

    I think in this case you are right: the issue seems to be her attractiveness.

    But there are cases where the girl is both good looking and a good person, but is either boring or is just plain incompatible with you. And let me state this clearly: attractiveness + good character is not enough to sustain a relationship in the modern world, even among Christians. You need some level of personal compatibility too.

  17. A November 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Yes, looks are not the only thing men look for in a woman, especially in a wife.

    BUT:

    1. Every guy has a floor for the SMV/hotness of the women he will date long term or marry, below which he will not go, no matter how cool/nice/compatible she is.

    2. The more attractive the man the higher that floor will be.

    So, for example, a male 10 will be more likely to marry an 8 who is a great person than a vapid 10, but he’s still not going to date below an 8. A male 8 is unlikely to go below a 7 etc. etc. etc.

  18. modernguy November 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Reading the manosphere you start to get the impression that physical attractiveness is all men care about. To paraphrase Seinfeld, have you been down to the dmv lately? Most people are ugly. The important thing is to be on top of the things you can control. Stay in reasonable shape and don’t be a bitch, and someone will be happy to have you.

  19. A November 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    If you make a guy feel really good . . . , you’re plenty hot enough for most men.

    Only because most men aren’t that attractive themselves and have to take what they can get.

  20. A November 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    If you make a guy feel really good . . . , you’re plenty hot enough for most men.

    In other words, this is completely untrue for more attractive men, the ones most women want to date.

  21. Jennifer November 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Thanks guys, I’m glad you agree.

    “Sweet and witty is a tough combination”

    A good one.

  22. Ceer November 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    It’s entirely possible for a less physically attractive girl to simply pique a man’s sexuality. Even a 5 who gets bonus from girly behavior (Dalrock’s definition) can snag the occasional male 8. However, Hayley’s right that a man’s natural instinct would be to wander. If such a match could be made, relative alpha status would be easy to maintain. Wouldn’t it?

  23. Hermes November 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Right on, bro. Jacob Fink approves.

    That’s Cubbie to you.

    I’m a good-looking, guitar-playing, God-loving man.

    This sentence could have been shortened to

    I’m a guitar-playing man.

    without losing its meaning.

  24. Aunt Haley November 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Hermes–
    Did you see the tweet I made about your favorite clothing retailer??

  25. jack November 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    A:

    That is the curse of being a female – most of them are not attractive enough to get the man they really want. But they often can serve as a short-term sex toy for those men.

    And as far as your first post, pointing out that most men are not attractive, just wait for menopause when most women turn into man-lite. This is part of the reason why I will remain single rather than marry women my own age (early 40s).

  26. John November 8, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Personally, I think the reality of this particular case is somewhere in the middle. We all agree that the letter writer needs to leave his girlfriend, but quandary seems to be about WHY. Frankly, I think the key issue IS a maturity issue because personal immaturity makes a difference in all other areas.

    1) He’s never dated anyone else. While it’s possible to get insanely lucky and end up with a great marriage partner in the first relationship you try, that’s the exception not the rule. If he feels he’s wondering what else is out there he’d do well to date some other people. The experience will help him grow and gain a more mature perspective.

    2) He doesn’t mention how she looks. Haley seems to think this points to a lack of attraction, and I think this is partly true, partly untrue. She was attractive enough for him to start dating in the first place. Sure, he might now realize that his rank is higher than hers or he could do better, but nowhere in the letter does he acknowledge or recognize this fact. That doesn’t mean he’s stuck with her; he hasn’t married her yet. However, a more mature individual would at least realize that, and a seriously mature individual would recognize that getting married means willingly choosing someone and sticking with them even if you could do better later. He would then make a choice to either get committed or to let her go if he thinks the rank difference is a deal-breaker.

    3) He’s got a pride issue. I do think Mr Thomas is correct in some of his analysis of pride problems for this guy. For one, he thinks he can lead her spiritually while still in the same attitude he’s in while writing. Also, he intentionally self-denigrates himself with “Christianese” (“prodigal-son heart” etc). I’d be willing to bet that half the reason the letter was written was a fishing attempt for a holier-than-thou compliment and sympathy for the pious young man. However, personal experience has taught me that the more mature an individual, the less they have to rely on the flowery words and attitude to express themselves. Mature folks just say it like it is.

    A functioning, properly working marriage is one that requires a mature attitude and mature skills from both individuals. Maturity comes with time, experience, humility, and a willingness to learn from our mistakes. So what would a mature man look more like in this case? He’d know where he was in ranks and appreciate the rank of his bride-to-be; and he’d help and encourage her in the qualities that make her attractive to him (while at the same time maintaining his own rank for her benefit). He would be capable of spiritual leadership, not because he thinks he can, but out of a place of humility and continued desire to grow and learn and be a better man/husband/leader.

    Until the original writer can find himself looking more like that he’s going to have a hard time committing to any relationship.

  27. jandy November 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Jack,

    I’m sorry to say it but again, you are he saddest, most bitter-sounding man in the blogosphere….

  28. David November 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Not mentioning her looks is a dead giveaway. Most of the guys on Boundless who are in happy relationships describe their wives/girlfriends with a laundry list of traits, and beauty is almost always one of them. No one is going to say their girlfriend is unattractive on Boundless so the reader neglects to mention her looks at all.

  29. jack November 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    jandy-

    You said it before and I missed it? My bad – I would have thanked you.

    Please google the phrase “feminist shaming language” so you understand why I think your comment is worthy of disregard.

    Btw: Your flaccid attempt at rebuke cannot change the facts of what I said. Women eventually hit the wall and become quite unsexy.

    Clock is ticking.

  30. Hermes November 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Haley,

    Not until you pointed it out. I knew you’d come around. When samsonsjawbone finally successfully fixes us up, our kids will look so cute all decked out in their Kohl’s garb.

  31. Aunt Haley November 8, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Hermes–
    I hope you’re aware that samsonsjawbone has made exactly zero efforts toward fixing us up. As a result, I feel confident that my future progeny are safe from Kohl’s “fashion.”

  32. y81 November 9, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    I dunno, Haley, maybe you can get more out of this blog than just arguments. It worked for Ann Althouse.

  33. jandy November 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I hate feminism. I’m a total traditionalist, l love the patriarchy, and am engaged to a wonderful man who is a leader in every way.

    You still sound that way.

    Sorry.

  34. jandy November 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    And yes, you are right. Women do hit the “wall”. No getting around, over, or under it :o

  35. jack November 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    You still sound like a bullet point list of shaming language.

    Sorry.

    Time for the chicks to learn some new tricks.

  36. Chris November 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    I dunno, Hal ey, maybe you can get more out of this blog than cjust arguments. It worked for Ann Althouse.

    Yeah, right.
    Ann is (for those who do not know) a professor of law in Wisconsin. She is now married to someone who commented, then they met. But she is politics blogger, and they lived nearby
    This blog is read internationally, as a consequence of the export of this particularly noxious Christian dating culture.

    This old geezer may be solo, but he is no fool… I think Haley is much younger than “half my age plus seven”

  37. Aunt Haley November 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    y81–
    Well, never say never!

  38. Asher November 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    The one downside of waiting for marriage is that you don’t find out how the sex is until after you’ve committed to forever. As a man, I gotta say that hot sex has to be a good portion of a woman’s SMV. I’ve dated hotter than my wife, but our sex life makes me forget any other woman exists. I have always intuitively known how hot the sex would be with any particular woman, and I have always been dead right.

    Maybe this guy has the same instinct and she doesn’t arouse him, sexually. It reminds me of a great post you made on how church women, and men, often dowdify themselves, the money quote going something like “this year at the summer retreat Jimmy will finally see the God’s inner beauty in Susie”. At least that’s the gist. Priceless. I’ve since quoted it to Christian friends.

  39. Hermes November 12, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    Haley, I’m sure you’d like to check me out, and that’s cool. Here’s the contact info of some people we know in common/my pastor/my family, etc. Or if you prefer I first talk to someone you know, I’d be glad to do that. Whatever makes you comfortable.

  40. Ryan R. November 13, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Haley,

    I want to thank you for taking Boundless head-on. I’ve hated that website since I first discovered it in 2006 yet its one of those sites I check periodically just to keep my hatred alive. It also helps to serve as fuel for my fire to stay away from church and Christian women. The honest appraisal of that site and its writers is refreshing.

  41. Jennifer November 13, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    One site is a poor excuse to avoid church and women.

  42. Will November 13, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    He never said that was the only site he used as an excuse to avoid church. He also never said he avoided women, just christian women. Not sure what post you’re reading.

  43. Gregori November 13, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Is it possible for two people that have absolutely no physical attraction to one another to love one another and be devoted to one another in a marriage? Does that kind of love exist in humans?

  44. Jennifer November 13, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    It’s the only reason mentioned. There are many things I hate, with a passion, but I try to avoid them; it saps strength otherwise.

  45. laceagate November 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Isn’t there research to demonstrate that for long-term relationships, men prefer a woman with a face that is considered attractive to him? Compare that to men preferring a body that’s attractive to him for short-term relationships?

    I think in this instance, the girl in question doesn’t meet up with his standard of beauty. Every man has his “preferences” which are based on attraction, and attraction isn’t something that can be helped. Why marry someone you aren’t attracted to? You are asking for disaster.

    I recommend that any man looking to marry should make sure that the woman in question has an attractive face to him and her body mostly meets his preferences.

    I also find it funny that the authors at Boundless talk about pride and all this other fluff when in Scripture, there are references of a man being captivated by a woman’s beauty. Perhaps we should ignore that little tidbit to not hurt people’s feelings?

  46. Aunt Haley November 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Hermes–
    Your game is definitely improving. It pays to take tips from the pros.

    laceagate–
    I also find it funny that the authors at Boundless talk about pride and all this other fluff when in Scripture, there are references of a man being captivated by a woman’s beauty. Perhaps we should ignore that little tidbit to not hurt people’s feelings?

    My guess is that John Thomas took it for granted that Reader was sufficiently sexually attracted to his girlfriend, hence all the admonitions to grow up.

  47. samsonsjawbone November 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Hermes has a favourite clothing retailer?

    I hope you’re aware that samsonsjawbone has made exactly zero efforts toward fixing us up.

    Quite, quite.

    In other news, dinner for two at my house next month. I won’t be there. Who’s available?

    Haley, I’m sure you’d like to check me out, and that’s cool. Here’s the contact info of some people we know in common/my pastor/my family, etc. Or if you prefer I first talk to someone you know, I’d be glad to do that. Whatever makes you comfortable.

    Incisive and perceptive sarcasm? You’re learning the game, Herm.

    Your game is definitely improving. It pays to take tips from the pros.

    Well, darned if I wasn’t pre-empted by Haley herself.

  48. Wayfinder November 16, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Is it possible for two people that have absolutely no physical attraction to one another to love one another and be devoted to one another in a marriage? Does that kind of love exist in humans?

    While some rare humans could handle that, it is much better not to marry at all in that circumstance. (I Cor 7, etc.) If you are married, sex is a requirement. If you have no desire for the other person, you have no real reason to get married.

  49. Badger November 19, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    “now you’re wondering whether Boundless has women writing letters purporting to be male readers?”

    It’s well-known that advice columns cook up fake letters. I know this because I used to write fakeys for a college radio show’s advice panel.

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