lundi, juillet 11, 2011

Physical attraction and dating: are you? were you? does it matter?

Tackling the whole question of physical attraction, and of dating, can be a very dangerous enterprise.

You are guaranteed, almost, to offend somebody.

I could go with generalizations and probably not make you irate.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

It's character that counts.

There are many anodynes that do, indeed, contain a grain of truth -- but obscure more than perhaps they reveal.

I think it's an important topic, and so, instead of resorting to cliches (I hope) I'm going to look at it square in its wizened eye.

I want to confine my observations to online dating -- because the advent of online dating has really changed the landscape of dating.

In the good old days, you might meet someone at work, or at a dinner party, or walking your Jack Russell in the local park. That is still a possibility, but becomes more difficult as one gets older, and more settled with a group of friends and work companions.

As you spend time with someone, he or she may grow on you -- the way they smile, the way they listen when you are feeling a bit down, the way they laugh when you crack wise.
But when you cruise through profiles online, you are much more bent towards judging someone's personality through his or her appearance.

And that's true, even though, as we know, not everyone photographs well.

Guys are more blatant about this than women. They generally seem to ascribe it to being hard-wired to judge a woman on her looks, or, in an attempt to avoid the question, to "being shallow." I can't tell you how many times I've heard that and curled my lip (out of sight, of course). Why not just say it matters?

I have a theory about dating -- which is that, generally, you tend to end up with someone at your general level of physical attractiveness. In some ways we are hard-wired to judge someone on the basis of his or her looks.

BUT we all have templates of what we consider physically attractive -- thank goodness, or we'd all be going for the smoldering dark ones and the species would not go on.

I confess that while I don't care about whether a guy has hair atop his scalp, a commitment to physical exercise, and a certain level of curiosity and intelligence are alluring qualities for me. I'm active, and I want someone who will put that near the top of his list - without gettin' all crazy, of course.

However, I don't care about how much money a guy makes, or even what he does (unless it's illegal, and then it would be too much work to care).

So, at the risk of being politically incorrect, I will come out and say that I need to be physically attracted, and not just a little, to a guy to pursue a relationship.

But that's me. Thank God, that doesn't need to be you.

And there are mitigating factors that enter into these choices.

Some of us are willing to overlook classical appeal for security, or intelligence, or the sense that we've met our best friend or soul mate.

Some of us are less willing or interested in tolerating solitude than others.

Others of us are more extroverted, and in need of a foil.

The reasons people get into relationships are endless -- and some women may be willing to compromise on their "ideal" guy (which is a great thing, in my opinion).

As I said, online dating, with its emphasis on the physical, may have complicated as much as it solved in the dating/mating arena.

Which is why, in spite of my prejudices for lean and slightly nerdy, I'm glad to see a classically attractive woman with a not-so-classical guy, or vice versa -- and to find out that they met online.

And after a guy contacted me recently and said he saw my profile and liked my "pics" I wrote back and commented that he'd better like more than my pictures...because I was known to be a bit of a handful. Gracefully taking in my implied challenge, he wrote back with some details about our possible commonalities.

Amor vincit omnia?

Sometimes. Check and see if the moon is full -- it may improve your chances with her.

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