What’s a Girl to Do?

I try really hard not to judge people by outward appearances. I feel really strongly about this, so much so that my grad school research/master’s project was about the topic. The pressure for women especially to be thin and beautiful (by society’s standards not by God’s) is very real and I believe damaging to many a self esteem out there.  We’ve all felt the pain of rejection in one form or another. For me it’s usually that I’m too tall or not thin enough. For others it may be that they’re not the “right” color; they’re facial features are not quite the ideal; they’re too short; too thin; not blonde; too blonde; bald; hairy; wrinkly; disabled. The list goes on and on and on. I believe that our appearance-driven society has turned us into a very critical species that has difficulties looking past the exterior. We put way too much emphasis on how someone looks and way too little emphasis on inner beauty.

Having said all of that, I cannot deny the importance of attraction in the game of love. The naive, idealistic me of 10 years ago would say that it truly doesn’t matter what your partner looks like; it’s what’s inside. While I would really like to say that’s true for me, honestly it’s not completely. Here’s how I discovered that….

A few years back I took my first foray into the world of online dating. I was so skeptical about the whole process in the beginning. I mean, how well could you really get to know someone through emails and phone calls? Well, fast forward a month or two and I was eating my words. I felt I had really gotten to know a guy in another state. We had great phone conversations and long daily emails. I was surprised at how well I felt I knew him. We talked about meeting. I had never even seen a picture. I was just sure it didn’t matter since the spiritual, emotional, intellectual chemistry seemed to be there. I booked a flight to see him. Then he sent a picture.

I hate to admit this – as I really try hard not to be shallow – but when I saw his picture, my heart sank. I guess I had an image in my head, based on who I knew him to be and it was very different from real life. It’s not that he was ugly. It’s just that I was not attracted to him. I decided to rise above. The person he was would trump the looks category and things would be fine. I found that just didn’t happen, as much as I tried to be open minded and make things work. You can’t force attraction (though I do believe a person can become more attractive to you as you get to know them). 

I struggled with this for awhile. Did it mean I was shallow? Honestly, I don’t think so. For me attraction is a package deal. I don’t have a certain type I’m attracted to.  It’s a combo of personality, sense of humor and all those other important traits, (and yes, looks).  I have dated guys that the world would not consider good looking, yet I saw something in them, and was truly attracted to them. I can’t explain why I was able to be attracted to them and not other guys who were no less attractive by society’s standards.

So what makes someone shallow? I’d love to hear your comments on this. Do I have any right to call a guy shallow when I’ve just said that attraction is a factor? Does it mean that we are all shallow in our own way because we have preferences?

I guess in my mind, shallowness is:
1. Taking one look at someone and making up your mind before you’ve even spoken to them.
2. Being excessively picky about looks (this is so subjective though….what’s excessive?).
3. Never considering someone who does not precisely fit your long list of preferences.
4. Factoring in how others will view your partner and how it will reflect on you.

So now that I’ve opened that big ol’ can of worms, I have a dilemma. I’ve been corresponding with a guy on eHarmony. Not serious yet, but we have made it to the ever-elusive “open communication”. He did not have a picture displayed. He finally revealed it to me and once again, I’m finding myself not attracted.  To complicate matters, he’s revealed how nervous he was about sharing his picture because he “knows how he looks to others”. He even said that he hopes I will still communicate after seeing the picture.  Obviously he’s not very confident or perhaps has already suffered rejection in this area. (Honestly this may be part of the lack of attraction, as I like confident men).

I feel for him. While I believe in honesty; based on some of his statements, I also believe that rejecting him based on attraction would crush him. I think I may be one of the first women he’s corresponded with, as he made the comment that he feels communicating with me shows that he is really coming out of his shell.  So now the quandry is how do I respond? I would really like to hear your comments, especially from my guy friends (you can leave a comment anonymously if you like). Come out of lurking and help me out here.

I suppose I have several options. Some of these I would never do, but I’m putting them out there…
1. Be completely honest and tell him I’m not attracted (which would probably crush the little confidence he had in joining eHarmony).
2. Just don’t write him back (which I’m sure would be obvious to him).
3. Continue to casually write until there is another reason to break it off, or until the emails just dwindle.
4. Be so obnoxious that he wants to stop writing.
5. Make up an excuse (i.e. I’ve met someone, I’m not ready to date, etc.).

None of those options seem really great, and some of them are just plain dishonest. So let me know….what’s a girl to do? And what makes someone shallow?

~ by tawnyamarie on November 30, 2007.

8 Responses to “What’s a Girl to Do?”

  1. I think one picture does not a person make. I know of people I have been attracted to that I wouldn’t have felt anything for if you’d just shown me a picture.

  2. Well you’re right, though I have more to go on than just the picture (and I think a lot of that is playing into my reservations). Actually today I’m leaning more towards at least meeting him before I rule him out. If it was a long distance thing that would be another matter, but it’s not, so no reason not to meet him.

  3. That love-at-first-sight thing is much more common in romance novels than in real life. A little chemistry is nice, but not necessary. Remember that in many countries, and many years ago in this country, marriages were arranged by the parents. The couple did what they could to make it work, and in most cases, after a gew years they did truly love each other. So, if you don’t find this guy actually obnoxious, give him a chance. Later, you can let things cool off, if you see it’s not going to work.

  4. Arranged marriage! Why didn’t I think of that sooner? That would solve all your problems Tawnya! Can I have your parent’s phone number? Just kidding friend!

    Since we talked about this on the phone and I’ve had time to think about it, I have to agree with what’s been said here already. Being one of your best friends since we were 17, I can honestly say you are NOT shallow. It’s o.k. to want to be physically attracted to someone. Who doesn’t? I also agree with you and Patricia – sometimes a physical attraction grows as you get to know a person. Since he lives close, I’d meet him and get to know him a bit better. At the very least, you both decide it’s not going anywhere and end it. At the best, things work out well. In the middle, you have a new guy friend. Take it as it comes, trust your gut instincts, and trust your friends – we all seem to be saying similar things.

  5. I think there needs to be some physical attraction in a relationship. Of course, getting to know someone’s personality is what mostly makes them seem either more attractive or more unattractive, depending on their inner beauty.

  6. Meet him. You have nothing to lose. 🙂 There were no sparks when Chad and I met…on either end. Things like that do grow with time. Trust me. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

  7. When Nate and I first met…he thought I was a snob. I wasn’t overly attracted to him, either, but my parents were pushing me to “get out there” and THEY liked Nate. So, why not? Even though it definately wasn’t love at first sight…it didn’t take long for me to be attracted to him as we had such a connection….what I would call “kindred spirits”. We had so many things in common and so much to talk about that being physically attracted seem to just “come” with it even though I don’t think either of us were attracted physically at the beginning. So, all that to say. Give it some time to become his friend. If, after you are friends, the attraction is still not there, then it’s probably not going to work. Don’t make yourself miserable by trying to spare his feelings, either. This will make you unhappy and eventually him, also.

  8. http://www.milliondollarbody.com/jubilee2007
    Remember, you are a winner and God has the best for you.

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