Saturday, March 27, 2010

"I'm a Confident Woman with a Positive Self-Image" - Really?

Something to think about ladies.  Of the 14 online dates I've been on over the past two years (yeah, I haven't been working it all that hard, see "An Unremarkable Life" post below), fully 12 of them have proven to be a 'coffee date' 'sale' based upon what I'd have to call 'false advertising'. That's a PRETTY high proportion and a significant expenditure of time invested in what turned out to be 'dead ends' for me.

What I'm talking about when I say 'false advertising', of course, is NOT the "Ab-Rocket" (although the idea that you can get something you want with no effort is directly related to the 'Cinderella Conceit'...) it's what seems to be the feminine penchant for stating in their profile that "I'm looking for an honest, confident man who is comfortable with himself", then posting carefully edited, cropped, posed, blurred/low res, old photos of themselves that hide their current shape.  A female friend of mine who is over 40 explained that it is not just an effort to keep their size under wraps, but also reflects a desire, having reached maturity and having gone through some disappointments with men, to find a guy who loves them for who they are, not for their middle-aged figure.

I get it.  Sadly I'm not hardwired to do so (see "...Male vs. Female Hard-wiring" immediately below) and, having maintained my shape, I unreasonably (according to many!) expect to date women who have done the same.  Trim women do exist (my ex, who's now in her mid 30's, being one of them), but either they have no need for the use of online dating sites because they're getting more than enough attention offline, or the trim girls who post recent pics illustrating their real proportions get so much attention from the lads that my sad attempts at witty repartee go directly into the 'delete' bin following a single glance at my photos, in favour of those who more closely resemble a Hollywood heartthrob!

The nature of online dating, however, seems anathema to seeing, in advance, a reasonable facsimile of how you girls look at the moment.  The temptation to 'fudge' is simply too seductive to resist!  Given the option between pressing 'upload' on recent full-length photos, or cropping them at the waist, or laterally across the thigh, or at above the upper arm, etc., most women just can't bring themselves to upload as-is.

Now while I 'get this', too, I urge you to think about the consequences.  You claim you want "honesty and confidence", but in the first moment of meeting you, your prospective partner immediately discovers you're somewhat lacking on both counts!  "WAIT, it's not the same for women!"  "You don't understand!"  "It's because of male fixations..."  Blah, blah, blah.  I call 'BS', ladies.  We're going to see you as you are anyway, so why try to hide it?

There it is again, that fantasy 'Cinderella thing' creeping back in!  AND in the minds of fully mature, experienced women, no less!  I am convinced that the REAL reason for so many of you, knowing full well that we ARE going to size you up immediately upon meeting you, are convinced, in your heart of hearts, that maybe, just maybe, we are going to lock eyes with you and realized that, despite your current proportions, you are THE ONE.

[Now if you are under about 27 and reading this (highly unlikely, given the effort it takes), you won't understand, so skip ahead, but if you are old enough to have gone through a couple of longer term relationships and to have dated a mess of guys, you KNOW that, while you've had a bunch of one night stands which initially, in your inebriated, spontaneous state, felt kind of like he was 'Mr. Right', in the cold light of day you quickly realized he was just another "Mr. Right Now" (more power to you for exerting your freedom to satisfy your natural and healthy urges!). Combining the deeply held desire to realize the fulfillment, even momentarily, of the dream of 'love at first sight', with alcohol, raging hormones and inexperience, is the fuel behind more unwanted pregnancies than irresponsible male behaviour, I'm convinced.  It's the primary element central, subconsciously, in driving the girl to abandon common sense.  All men need to abandon common sense is an injection of testosterone, which is exactly what young men experience constantly, starting at about the same time they start joining gangs and spraying graffiti...]

MOST of the really great relationship any humans have NEVER start with a moment of mind-altering, nether-regions-tingling, instantaneous mutual-recognition, as romantic and improbable as that would be.  The best, most well-grounded relationships begin with exactly the same pattern our ancestors went through during the seasonal tribal get-togethers that took place regularly during our hunter-gatherer evolution:

  1. Girl and boy notice each other amongst many others at a distance as the tribes come together.
  2. Some eye contact is made with both this one person and several others. 
  3. Eventually, as the day progresses to evening and they've had a chance to see each other doing various things (dancing, shooting arrows, wrestling amongst the boys, primping amongst the girls, etc.), they get closer and talk a bit.
  4. The parents notice and speak amongst themselves about whether there might be a good match in the works. 
  5. The family/friends offer their advice and approval.
  6. Maybe some kissing and canoodling goes on by the river-side.
  7. Then the tribes part ways for another three months and the romantic pressure builds, as well as the opportunity to meet someone else or lose the feeling of attraction.  
  8. Another tribal get-together takes place and the 'dance of romance' might continue.
Perhaps the courtship eventually built up over time into a marriage, perhaps it only leading to a new baby arriving, but what took place back then, and still does today when you meet a man at work and get to know him over many meetings and observations, is a slow build, NOT an instantaneous attraction.  The latter is NOT a good thing to base long-term compatibility on.  Starting as friends first has been proven categorically to be the best way to establish a long-term, solid, loyal (respectful) relationship.

How do we start off a decent relationship via online dating sites?  Easy, by not only revealing something about ourselves personality and interests-wise via a written profile and details about ourselves (divorced, no kids, 3 dogs, etc.), but also through some recent full-length photos that give prospective partners the chance, upfront, to see how the other person is going to look if we agree to a 'coffee date'.

I'm the first one to admit that I feel like I've aged 10 years in the past two since the end of my marriage (that's aged physically, emotionally I feel like I've finally climbed out of an ancient pit where 'old souls' go to die!) and I probably show it, but when you look at my range of photos, you're getting a pretty honest impression of how I look.  Professionally taken photos, or heavily cropped/edited shots, are hardly going to give anyone a realistic impression.

I went back to photos from my distant and recent past, from my two charming ex's and a few of many girlfriends (arranged chronologically--and two were in their mid-30's when the shots were taken) just to see if I was somehow 'colouring' my memories and that my predilection for 'trim posteriors' is a recent thing.  Nope.  Net-net, if yours is much larger than theirs, no offense, but sadly we're not likely to make it to home base, but best of luck in your search!

To read my more recent post about how human nature works most naturally in picking dates click here:  "The Dating Appeal Funnel."


  1. To avoid first-coffee-date disappointment - why don't YOU try being more honest and put in your profile your maximum hip width, weight and dress size of the type of woman you are attracted to? Say its a dealbreaker. Thus you will avoid timewasting email banter and coffee dates destined to go nowhere. Just a thought.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Robyn! Kind of misses my point entirely, however.

    Here's a male complaining that it is patently ridiculous that women are posting 10-15 year-old, carefully edited photos of themselves KNOWING that they are going to meet their dates face to face, and your suggestion is that I announce up front that I'm not interested in plus-size women. (I actually do, despite the hate mail it earns me - see post above.)

    Now why should it be men's responsibility to be honest about their predilections when all that's required is honest photos on the women's part? Human dating appeal is FIRST visual and only much later about personality. See The Funnel" in my more recent post above on "The Addictive...Appeal of Online Dating":

  3. Hi there Cynic,

    No, I didn't miss your point entirely. I got it. You want to see the photos. The women don't want to take the photos or show you the photos because you will reject them if they are too fat. They don't know how fat is 'too fat', and they secretly hope they are not too fat, despite knowing they probably are.

    I'm just suggesting a way for you to make sure your time doesn't get wasted with the fatties, as you seem to be very annoyed by that.

    Sorry, I couldn't see where you said that you got hate mail for saying you are not interested in plus size women.

    Your funnel concept is excellent. Also your discussions on how men and women want the same but also very different things from each other in a relationship (paradox) and our expectations are way too high for reality.

    You say that women cannot have hot sex and long-term love and have to choose one over the other. Do men have to make the same choice? Which are you looking for and which will you sacrifice?

    Glad to hear you have crawled out of your cave and have rejoined the world. Wishing you success in your quest for love and lust, and look forward to your future posts.

  4. Sorry, I meant that the above post was written to explain my disinterest in plus-size women, and it, and my profiles which have a line addressing the issue, do generate some angry responses that I do not post.

    Both men AND women have to compromise as, inevitably, our partners bodies and our own age. Hot sex has a LOT to do with newness/unfamiliarity AND body shapes that we are pre-programmed to be attracted to. Some guys have a plus-size fetish, some like grannies, but in most cases the fetish develops early in life and does not change as our partners mature.

    I have already sacrificed the hot sex, both in my last 10 yr-long relationship and over the past few years of "semi-involuntary celibacy". Right now I'd say I'm more ready for the sex than a relationship, but that's a very short-term thing, I think, having left my last relationship VERY reluctantly, still hoping we might start a family.



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