Some time ago I was following an interesting thread on a dating site’s message board about relationships. One guy chimed in and complained about how women were viewing his dating profile but no one ever sent him any emails. So I checked it out to see what he wrote about himself:
“I rarely attend Church… I’m on SSI disability, so, please don’t expect a rich guy. I live with my parents, but pay rent.”
Um, well, ok, I could think of one or two things he might be doing wrong here.
I don’t know why it’s not readily apparent to some, but your dating profile isn’t exactly the place to be front loading everything that’s wrong with your life. Life certainly has its ups and downs, but what woman (or anyone for that matter) would want to be around a guy who is a constant Gloomy Gus?
I suggested that he highlight his positive qualities instead of emphasizing the bad. Maybe he has a good sense of humor. Maybe he’s smart and intellectual. Maybe he’s devout and doesn’t attend church because he’s a free thinker (women love renegades).
What struck me though was not his naivete but the advice women in the thread were giving him. Actually, it wasn’t advice, it was more along the lines of general platitudes and emo-positive sentiments. “Don’t worry, there’s a special girl out there waiting for you!” “Just be yourself!” “Don’t give up!” That sort of thing.
Maybe one or two women said the same thing I did, which was that he had a poorly written profile that needed to be revamped, but they were drowned out by all the ubiquitous cheerleading.
I have to wonder how sincere some of these responses were. Did these women really believe all he needed was some encouragement, or did they know deep down just how bad his profile truly was, and were merely humoring him? Or were they really that ignorant themselves?
I’d like to believe it’s ignorance for the most part, because it’s hard to stomach the idea that so many were intentionally being devious. And yet it happens often enough that I can’t help but regard any advice women give me about dating with inherent suspicion, unless they’re people I’ve come to know and trust after a great deal of scrutiny and time.
Logically, you would think the best source to find out what women want in men is well… women. And yet much of what I’ve heard has been so patently and utterly dishonest. If I were to ask any woman at random what they are looking for in a man, she would likely say, “I want a man who is kind and caring” when the real truth is, “I want a man with muscles.”
So why not be honest? Because the latter would make her seem shallow, and in order to present herself as enlightened and superior to the oafish neanderthal ways of men, she will of course opt for the answer that paints her in the best light possible.
Men do this to women as well, although I think it’s more of a problem for us because we have a tendency to take everything women tell us at face value, and for whatever reason it seems hard for us to stomach the notion that women might be just as “shallow” as we are when it comes to attraction. The irony of it is that I don’t regard attraction to say, muscles for example, as being wrong or shallow. It’s just how it is, and in fact a good incentive to keep me going to the gym. It’s the dishonesty that grates on me. Relationships have to be built on trust and honesty, even if that means exposing how “shallow” we can be at times, and if we can’t learn to be honest from the start, I don’t see how that would bode well for the future.