Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lori Gottlieb's "Just Settle" Theory of Romance is Dead Wrong (But Probably Right)

I have yet another new dating theory, one that is especially relevant to the starry-eyed females out there who insist that they will settle for no less than Superman and Clark Kent in one package (another of my popular posts in the sidebar) and that is that, if the key to outstanding sexual compatibility it both elusive pheromones (that happen to be opposite in regard to MHC -- link) and the luck of running into someone who happens to be very compatible with regard to ‘sexual technique’ (which can be learned/taught, but that requires staying together through that process), then the fantasy of running into a potential partner ‘by luck’ with whom appearance alone (love at first sight) is quite patently ridiculous.

Why? Because if what these women (not YOU, of course ;-) who I call "Prince Charming Seekers" are really after is a very deep and instinctual connection in terms of compatibility on both love-making AND psychological factors (sense of humour, intelligence, temperament, etc.), then appearance is not actually high up on their list.  What IS of crucial importance to these ‘Seekers of Prince Charming’ (all of us, really) is finding out whether the pheromones are right (which requires intimacy WITHOUT perfumes/deodorants — and that usually does not happen until after the significant time/energy investment of multiple dates) AND (again) until after the significant time/energy investment of multiple dates (which are necessary to gradually learn about the psychological factors).

In other words, in order NOT to waste a lot of time dating only to find out that the intimate compatibility is lacking, we should be (you’re going to smell a male rat here, but that is not at all my intent) having as much intimacy with as many potential partners as possible -- and NOT based solely upon their looks (although I think body shape is a very significant factor for most people), but rather upon how ‘sexy’ we find them.  Kissing and ‘clutching’ (being in very close physical contact with each other) is really the only way these mysterious physical compatibility factors get revealed.   Most adult singles have forgotten this.

Back to my ongoing point (sort of), online dating does not reveal things like how an individual moves, or how confident they are in the way they carry themselves, only face to face dating reveals those things. If we were all having many, many dates, rather than attempting to winnow the prospects down through artificial (and NOT advantageous) means via online dating sites, if we were all “getting jiggy with it” with more people (at least to the point of kissing and ‘clutching’), we’d be gradually getting closer to meeting a potential GREAT match.

Recently I met a very attractive mature woman who is just 9 years younger than I am (yes, I tend to aim younger still as my ex of 13 years was over 17 years younger) who I would have flat out rejected on the basis (age box) of her profile alone in years gone by, but because I have been opening up to this new theory of mine this past year I started agreeing to go out for a drink with any woman who’s figure appeared to be my ‘type'.  I then went ahead with ‘canoodling’ with any one of those dates who seemed to be interested in doing so (in the past if I wasn't starry-eyed by about 5 minutes in I'd politely exit stage right) regardless of whether their personality was less than 'scintillating' or the conversation was less than engaging.

I found most weren't of any further interest to me (NO! I was not having ‘one night stands’!) on the 'mystery pheromonal' front and/or technique front (i.e. "Is she/he a good dancer/kisser?'). THIS one particular woman, however, was like a dream come true. From the first touch of her arm to the first time her shoulder slipped under my armpit on the couch, there was magic and fireworks!  Further intimacy only proved this to be completely true — but the reality was it was there from that first embrace and tentative kiss.  Later dates only proved that, while she is a bit too shy for me on the psychological front, her overall ‘package’ is highly compatible with mine, and mine with hers (understanding that we all have to compromise to maintain relationships).

Sadly it didn't work out for other reasons (she is no longer living in my home town and there is no such thing as a functional long-distance relationship for any adults who crave companionship and intimacy), but it did prove to me that we all would do well to remember WHY we used to neck with anyone we found "sufficiently attractive and willing", it was not simple 'horniness', it was 'shopping'.  We were searching for the initial signs/signals of compatibility of pheromones and technique to begin the 'bonding process', the release of oxytocin into our brains gradually and repeatedly that leads to us feeling 'attached' to another human being.

Without A) finding, through trial and error, that mysterious physical/pheromonal compatibility first to start the intimate bonding process we cannot get to B) gradually uncovering the psychological compatibility.  Our starry-eyed notions that we can do this in reverse, first become 'friends', then later check for compatibility on the intimacy front (or worse, by reading a bunch of questionably true details in an online profile), leads to so many mature, post-divorce single women demanding Superman and Clark Kent in one package.  Without that intimate connection upfront, this cynic doesn't believe you are likely to find 'fireworks' waiting for you on date #6 (or whenever you get there)!

The reason I dragged Lori Gottlieb's theory ("Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough", based upon what her research into fellow single women revealed about their shared 'universal list' of 300 criteria that needed to be 'right' before agreeing to a second date) into my title is that I believe there is something to be said for NOT 'just settling' for a nice, Clark Kent type of guy because "the wild 'bonding' sex doesn't last all that long in any new relationship anyway", but rather settle for getting intimate on Date Two with even the average-appealing guys (girls) in order to find out whether or not you might find a deeper compatibility with them on the intimacy front.  What's very important, however, is that the intimacy does not involve alcohol or other stimulants.  You have to know if it is real and mutual, not just a baser need being satisfied.

More on the Superman vs. Clark Kent issue here.

I've been fortunate (callow?) enough to have had a lot of intimate experience in my life, AND to have found real, true love a few times (never quite the same twice).  In my experience, and that of others with a lot of experience, finding that amazing intimate connection, the compatibility in the area of both pheromones and technique, is rare.  And it is rare with the people we actually get intimate with!  In other words, there are tons of people we are attracted to, but most of them don't agree to get intimate with us.  Out of the few who do, it is only about 5% who turn out to share that amazing, mind-blowing, Superman and Lois Lane type of magic in bed.  And it does not go away.  That compatibility lasts a lifetime, even if the individuals drive each other nuts and they break up.  Finding (or making -- learning how to be a good partner) a way to stay together requires even rarer compatibility and compromise.  I've been willing to hold out and wait for it, and then try to compromise, maybe most people should just "Settle for Mr./Ms. Good Enough"!  ;-)


  1. From FauxLibrarian (32 yr old single woman) via email:

    Well, I have dated handsome hipsters bereft of assets, but I still didn't find them sexy or alluring. I still think the slutty "sniff test" (that appeal pheromones and fuckability) will actually keep your stupid relationship alive and keep things going. Doesn't matter how "nice" your potential partner is on paper. I still think men want their woman to be attractive and don't care about income, smarts etc. Caveman impulses for ideal waist-to-hip ratio still inform mating selection. (biopsychology!) but yes..I am trying to care less about dollar signs and paper-asset-goodness and really I'm just trying to find the sexy (plus all the other stuff my mother says is important in a man). Oh, about my age range preferences...I am ok with older anyway...more life experience is generally a good thing. The human race is doomed if all we do is meet online. I wonder if I should say I want "casual" encounters, but that would open the floodgates to ugly/uncouth. Welcome to the jungle!

    1. Well I think you are onto something, FauxLibrarian. Men at your age are VERY interested only in waist to hip ratio at the expense of all other things, yes. Why? NOT because they are stupid or lacking in moral character, but because their brains are at the point in life where all that is important is competing successfully in the workplace with other males for success and having sex with women of healthy childbearing age/condition.

      Most women at your age, having aged past the point of merely being desirous of worship for the way they look (i.e. How “hot” they look), have stepped it up a notch to Laura Gottlieb’s 300 criteria for a second date, which only makes it that much more difficult to find a match among all those men just looking for WtoH ratio. The men aren’t in the mode of answering all the 300 questions as they only have the one (or three, WtoH ratio having been determined seeing her at a distance: “Is she cute, kind and interesting enough to spend another few hours with?” -- and then “How much time/$ will I have to invest before we have sex?”). So if a woman in her early 30’s has sufficient brain activity (an inquiring mind, a need for deeper conversations, etc.) and maturity, she is most likely to find a more compatible match in men a decade+ older.

      But back to the casual dating issue and how the ‘GIB’ match (good in bed) can keep a stupid relationship going, yes, it is a big risk, actually. ESPECIALLY at your age, as you have come to want it all (not you, but your same-aged women), Superman in bed and Clark Kent the rest of the time. The problem is that to find the Supermen (one in 20 in my experience) you have to get jiggy with all 20 — or actually many more to find one who ALSO is a Clark Kent on a going basis. (Note: I don’t think you have to have sex with them, although having discovered a strong pheremonal and physical compatibility, the desire is extremely strong once you’re arrived at the kissing and ‘clutching’ stage...) Hence the rarity of couples out there who have found the elusive combo.

      The danger is in settling for the sexual thing (i.e. Stopping further searching and just having great sex with this newest Superman as much as possible), even though the relationship will never be any more than ‘stupid’. The allure of that rare sexual compatibility connection makes it tough to walk away from it after learning that, of the 300 criteria, the guy only scores 128 (or 5!). THAT is the challenge, not only to canoodle with enough potential partners soon enough after meeting them to find out if they are Supermen/women compatibility-wise, but then move on from the addictive nature of the sex if they are not a match on sufficient (compromise is needed!) criteria.

      Thanks for letting me blather on... ;-)




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