I discovered a new word that helped me understand a few things about attraction, things that I had already figured out for myself in a way, but it’s nice to see a little bit of science backing it up too.
This is why online dating is such a difficult endeavor for men, even when you’re gorgeous like me. If there’s no visual attraction right off the bat, it’s very difficult to spark attraction, unless the effort is made to meet in real life and on a regular basis to see if we can click from there. Most women will not bother, partly because they get bombarded by prospects and hence have to find a way to quickly filter out undesirables, so only the top alphas of the alphas are going to make the cut (and sometimes not even.) If you don’t look good and your profile is badly written and generic, it’s out with you. And since I’m a dude and thus especially visually oriented, if the photos don’t depict even a mildly pretty girl, it doesn’t matter what their profile says, I quickly click on to the next profile. Propinquity? Never heard of it.
Although sometimes I try to force myself to dig a little deeper, if a girl seems kinda cute, I’ll read their profiles to see if there’s anything that might offer the promise of chemistry: similar interests, beliefs, personalities, etc.. This is where propinquity comes in. The attraction is very meager, but with physical contact and compatible personalities something might eventually spark. This is why I always want to get to the face to face meeting as soon as reasonably possible. Online correspondence (where propinquity is weak or nonexistent) is just not a good substitute for real life.
Real life though doesn’t fare much better for me, because generally speaking, I just don’t like people. Once I was out of college there was only the work place and the bar/social scene where one can regularly meet and interact with women. There are no single girls at my job, and I eschew the social scenes (including church) for a variety of reasons, so the prospects of benefitting from a propinquity driven attraction were daunting indeed. My life as a deep-seated introvert meant I’ve had to rely on the initial, immediate spark of attraction more than the average person would probably need to.
Via a combination of laziness and idealism, I let the fallacy of believing that the right girl will simply love me for whom I am, and not based on how I looked or presented myself in public. And I would still agree, BUT if I’m a complete stranger to her and I’m not giving her ANY incentive to get to know me better (read: make her immediately swoon before my manly presence) then it wouldn’t matter who I was. I don’t need to be Don Juan, but I don’t have to go dousing any sexual appeal I had with a fire hose either.
I guess this means I can’t take anything for granted when I go out. Even if it’s a midnight run to 7-11, I should still go looking my best, and not sporting say, a stained undershirt and lounge pants like I used to. Or like I’ve seen some guys do, go out wearing SLIPPERS. *face palm* Although when I see that, I wonder if the competition isn’t nearly as bad as I think it is.
In the meantime I can try to find at least ONE social group or circle out there that I can participate in (whether it’s a church, book club or whatnot) but ironically, I find that an even more daunting prospect than meeting a sweet girl by chance while squeezing my melons at the local supermarket.