When to give up dating

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Leveling Up: Dating Out Of Your League

I’ll be honest: the cultural phenomenon that is Girls has more or less passed me by. 1 However, I will absorb the occasional moment from the show through sheer cultural osmosis – usually when it stirs up another controversy that ends up plastered all over the blogs that I steal from mine for topics read. So while I may be a little behind the pop-culture curve, there are certain issues that I find fascinating from an outsider’s perspective.

One of the more infamous moments was an episode where Lena Dunham’s character Hannah hooks up with an attractive, older doctor played by Patrick Wilson for a weekend-long sex-spree. Of course, everyone on the Internet took this in without even blinking, accepting that people are complex and varied in their desires and understanding that attraction is a complicated beast.

Nah, I’m totally fucking with you. The Internet lost its collective shit over the idea that someone who looked like Lena Dunham could stand a chance of getting within spitting distance of hottie Patrick Wilson’s cock. Evidently to even suggest such a thing is tantamount to sacrilege. To judge by the collective outrage over the episode, you would’ve thought that Dunham had murdered Ned Stark while dressed as Hitler and simultaneously shooting kittens out of a cannon that was also on fire.

Yup. Totally hideous. Can’t understand how she’s allowed to walk around normal people.

Now, late to the party as I may be, I have to say that this does bring up the ever-popular topic of whether it’s possible to date someone who is “out of your league”. After all, many of us know someone who punches above his or her weight class, dating people who they – by all rights – should have no chance with.

Fortunately for you, I know the secret to dating outside of your league. Ready?

When someone is referred to as being “out of his/her league”, it is almost always based on the flawed idea that the only thing that people value is looks. Whenever we see someone who isn’t conventionally attractive dating somebody who is more attractive we often dismiss the relationship as somehow invalid; clearly he has money, or a high-status job or some other external quality that the more attractive partner desires enough that she is willing to put up with having to toss the cave troll a handy every now and then. It’s impossible – or so the assumptions go – that perhaps she’s legitimately attracted to him, that attractiveness and desire are about more than just the accepted definitions of good looks.

Yup. There’s no way this could possibly be real love. He’s probably got her parents tied up in a basement somewhere.

We get so hung up on beauty privilege, the halo effect, the value of facial symmetry and waist-to-hip ratios and the idea that only 20% of whomever get 80% of the fucking that we tend to ignore things that don’t fit the accepted narrative. It’s a self-reinforcing story; we don’t accept the idea that someone who looks like Lena Dunham could score with a guy who looks like Patrick Wilson 2 because we never see it in the media. We never see it in the media because nobody accepts the idea that it could happen and so like an oroborous with an eating disorder, the cycle perpetuates itself. Amazingly enough in the real world, models do sleep with mere mortals. Incredibly hot dudes with six-packs, perfect teeth and manes of hair that would make Chris Hemsworth growl with envy cheerfully date – not just fuck on the sly, date – fat girls. Sometimes the cheerleader does go for the nerd instead of the jock.

Shockingly enough, attraction is about more than just whether you look good naked or not. In fact, what’s considered “good looking” is incredibly variable and influenced by a ginormous number of factors including personal preferences, cultural upbringing, social class, even ecology. The archetypal good-looking modern man, for example, is depicted as having a long, lean swimmer’s build and lacking nearly any body hair… and yet not that long ago ago the hot dudes were considerably less chiseled and Burt Reynold’s hirsute chest was the ne plus ultra of manliness.

“‘sup?”

Thinness is associated with feminine beauty now… but in the Renaissance, a woman with a more zaftig frame was the ideal; body weight was often a class-marker, as the indolent upper class was able to eat richer foods, while the peasants toiled at manual labor (and, ironically, ate a more nutritionally sound diet).

Humans as a rule have a tendency to assume that their society is the default paradigm, universally applicable to all cultures and people; Western society holds typically Caucasian features to be the highest standard of beauty, for example, and we have the media hegemony to enforce our beliefs on other cultures through sheer exposure. It’s easy to say that Jennifer Anniston 3 is the definition of beauty when every country with a satellite dish gets saturated with Friends re-runs.

And if you don’t think beauty standards change, how many women do YOU see rockin’ “the Rachel” these days?

But even when you make allowances for defining “leagues” by modern standards of beauty, what a person finds attractive is wildly variable. No matter how much the tabloids may try to convince me that Kim Kardashian is a stunning vision, I wouldn’t fuck her with a borrowed dick and Lexi Belle doing the pushing. Other people are mystified by the appeal of Megan Fox or Anna Paquin or Kerry Washington or Morena Baccarin or Jordana Brewster. I know women who can’t get past Tyrese Gibson’s five-head, George Clooney’s head-wobble or the fact that Kit Harrington probably uses more product than they do.

There are guys who get serious wood for Rebel Wilson. Women go gaga for Matt Smith and Arthur Davil and Benedict Cumberbatch.

So if it’s not all about looks, what’s the secret then?

Now don’t get me wrong: looks certainly help. Nobody’s denying that someone who’s conventionally attractive is going to have a leg up on getting a leg over.

We don’t just date people’s faces or torsos – not for very long, in any case. We date a person, not any individual feature. Looks, no matter how spectacular, eventually become part of the status quo; as Billy Bob Thornton (no model, he) once said about being married to Angelina Jolie, eventually “it’s like fucking the couch.”

Like I said earlier, when we see someone dating somebody who’s supposedly “out of their league”, our default assumption is that it’s that the uglier of the two is rich; Anna-Nicole Smith marrying octogenarian billionaire J. Howard Marshall is the Ur example. It’s an appealing idea in many ways. It assuages our feelings of unfairness that he (or she) got someone we could never have by assuming that it’s all a ruse, a simple financial transaction – a literal manifestation of the commodity model of sex – something that we could achieve if we just work hard enough/win the lottery. For many it correlates nicely with the idea that women are instinctively hypergamous, trading sex in exchange for status or support; naturally they’re just slumming it with the rich beta males while letting the alphas rail them on the side.

And yes, money is a good way of attracting people… people who only care about money. Not, I would think, something most of us would find attractive in a potential partner. Same with fame – it’s a good way to find groupies who want to bask in reflected glory, but not a good way to find a relationship.

No, attracting a partner who is supposedly “out of your league” isn’t about looks or money. It’s about what you have to offer as a person. Sometimes it is looks – we all know people who are gorgeous but absolute wastes of space – but more often it’s something else entirely.

Take Noah Guthrie for example. He isn’t a classic teen heart throb. Nobody is going to mistake him for an Abercrombie and Fitch model… in fact, he kinda looks like a stereotypical band geek.

Paul Potts is another famous example of someone who isn’t conventionally attractive when it comes to looks, yet can still set people’s hearts a-flutter with the power of his voice. Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo also had more than their share of lovers; Domingo was a notorious seducer of young ingenues. It’s not just that they’re innately talented or blessed with an unexpected win from the genetic lottery; it’s that they have a way to make you feel, creating something beautiful and ephemeral through hard work and training.

Pablo Picasso wasn’t anyone’s idea of a male model, and yet he cut quite the swath amongst the young women of Barcelona and Paris, conducting affairs with women a third his age. His passion was addictive; it could carry you away. And, importantly, he made women feel. Small wonder that so many of his mistresses were also his models; he made them feel beautiful.

Dancing is another talent that often overcomes looks. I challenge you to visit any Latin club and watch the amazing dancers. Some of the most talented dancers, the ones who are most in demand when the merengue begins or the salsa music starts to play, are often the older men; they may not look like much but to watch them dance is to watch someone be transformed. The grace and skill with which they move can be mesmerizing.

So clearly if you don’t look like a Greek God, the best option is to be insanely talented, right?

Singing, art, dance… these are all incredibly attractive skills to have to be sure, but they’re hardly the end-all, be-all of attraction. It’s about how you make the other person feel. Maybe she’s in awe of your intellect. Maybe she repsonds to your passion. Maybe it’s the fact that you have so much in common, so many shared hobbies and interests. Perhaps it’s the fact that you just get her, make her feel as though you understand her in a way nobody else does. Maybe it’s that you can make her laugh.

It’s that ability to forge emotional connections that are so paramount to attraction. Looks are great, but the ability to make you feel like the most important person in the world is better; after all, someone who looks amazing but doesn’t connect with you is going to leave you feeling cold and unappreciated. Someone who makes you feel good, who is fun to be around, is going to be in demand as a lover, far more so than someone who is pretty, but distant and unapproachable.

Now allow me to spare you the immediate and obvious rejoinder: “So why’s Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie instead of some nobody, then?”

Well Internet Straw Man, I’m glad you asked! It’s because she’s part of his world. The nobody would never be able to keep up with him, relate to him, or otherwise be part of his life the way that Angelina (or Jennifer Anniston or any of his other exes) could.

I’m completely serious. Brad Pitt is a working actor; this puts him in a very small and intimate community. The number of people who make a living from acting is tiny, and the work is intense. We see the glamour and the glitz, the red carpet premieres and the incredible parties. We don’t see the months of living in the ass-end of nowhere when filming on location, spending time away from one’s family and friends, the 4 AM call times, the fourteen-to-twenty hour days, the mind numbing tedium between takes and the unending press junkets to promote the film after it’s finished.

Sure, there are millions of women who’d cheerfully murder a hobo for a chance to bang him… but how many do you suppose could actually put up with the lifestyle that his career requires? How many women would understand that the vagaries of film production means that he’s going to be half-way around the world for months at a time, or that even if he was staying locally, he’d be too exhausted to do anything other than pass out on the couch?

The same thing applies to most models, pro athletes, and rock stars – it’s a rough, demanding life and it takes a very specific type of person to date someone whose career means that they may not be home for months or even years.

This is why celebrities tend to date other celebrities. Hell, this is why cops tend to date ER nurses; they exist in the same world, and understand the trials and tribulations that the job entails. They work well with each other because they can understand the realities of what that relationship is going to mean.

We’re a culture that places inordinate value on physical beauty. We associate good looks with talent, which is why everyone is so shocked and amazed that a frumpy woman like Susan Boyle can sing like an angel. The emphasis on physical beauty even over talent (see: most boy bands, idol singers, 99% of the winners of American Idol) means that most celebrities tend to be sexier than the average bear. As a result: when celebrities date other celebrities – again, the people who can most relate to one another via shared lifestyles and commonalities – you end up with pretty people dating other pretty people.

The mistake is to assume that prettiness is the only reason they’re together.

Related counter-argument – The World’s Sexiest Man married a woman 13 years older than him.

The idea of “leagues” is a self-limiting belief, a way of cutting yourself off from connecting with others by constantly reinforcing the idea that they (or you) couldn’t possibly see the value in anyone who isn’t just as beautiful or rich or whatever as they are. All the obsessing about “leagues” does is set you up for failure. Either you get complacent because you assume that you’re so far out of your partner’s league that he or she would never dare do anything to jeopardize the relationship – and thus quickly find out just how wrong you are – or you become so convinced that your partner is going to realize that they could do better and drop you like a bad habit that you end up subconsciously pushing them away.

Here’s the cold hard truth: if someone is willing to date you – whether you’re a toad and she’s a goddess, or she’s a 5 and you’re a 10 – then they’re in your league. There is something about you that they clearly value… just as there are aspects of them that attract you to them.

If you want to be in anybody’s league, you need to improve your ability to connect with them emotionally.

Be your authentic self, not some false front based on the idea of what you think you need to be. Be vulnerable by being open and honest about who you are – it shows that you have the strength to let others know how you feel without worrying about what other people think. Be the person who brings legitimate value to their life and some day people may be looking at you and wondering how the hell you managed to land her when she’s so clearly out of your league.

  1. Yeah yeah, obvious joke, laugh it up fuzzball… [↩]
  2. whose real life wife – in her own words – is a muffin-topped size 10 [↩]
  3. since I’m nothing if not a child of the 90s [↩]

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Was Burt Reynolds really considered attractive because of his body hair or was it despite his body hair?I’m serious. Burt Reynolds was most famous in the 1970s and Hollywood wasn’t exactly fully considering female desire yet. Burt might more accurately reflect what men thought a handsome man should look like than anything else.

This is of interest to me because I’m very hairy like Burt and stocky rather than lean.

That pic DNL posted is from Cosmo. They started posting male centerfolds in the magazine in the early 70s. Burt was the first one. Also yes, many women considered him the right of attractiveness. I think it was moreso the overall package: swarthy, masculine and macho. The body hair was I think just icing on the cake, so to speak.

When I see a guy without any body hair, no matter his age, I want to pour him a glass of milk and help him with his homework. The presence of body hair is kind of neutral to me, neither a turn-off nor a turn-on, but the complete absence of it definitely leaves me flat.

It's important to remember that women are every bit as individual and varied in their tastes as men. What the media represents as "attractive to women" is no more representative of the full spectrum of women's tastes than a movie trailer is representative of all literature, and for a similar reason: it's what's being marketed (or who's being marketed to) this year, and nothing more.

And "wasn't… yet"? Hollywood still isn't "fully considering female desire".

My boyfriend's stocky and hairy and I think he's the bee's knees. ??

yes, he was considered attractive. My mom and her friends all still swoon over hairy men. Her friend's husband looks like the missing link when he removes his shirt, and they all think he's the bees knees.

Also, we've already discovered why you're not attractive, and it's not your hairiness or your height. It's your voice/tone. So, stop trying to find reasons not to work on that one thing.

As he was married to my first celebrity crush (Loni Anderson), I've always taken it on faith that women found him DAMN sexy. The bastard.

I wouldn't say that Burt Reynolds is sexy because of his body hair, but it's definitely part of the package, as in, I don't think Burt Reynolds would be the same kind of sexy if he waxed that hair mat off. Though that seventies hairdo and 'stache would probably not go down well today.

When it comes to body hair, it's very much about individual taste, like everything else is when it comes to attraction and turn ons. I have friends who prefers guys who are smooth as a baby's bottom all over while I know others (including myself) who find it quite off putting when a guy has little body hair or shaves/waxes it off. I like me some bear man. However, grooming is as always essential.

"When it comes to body hair, it's very much about individual taste."

Exactly. Personal example: I like a very specific amount of body hair, but only in specific areas (healthy happy trail = YES, all over the pecs = NO. Mutton chops = YES (usually), full beards = NO). Personal preference is random.

That said, there are definitely "trends" in terms of attraction.

My wife says she didn't know she was attracted to hairy guys until she met me. That's true love right there.

I HATE it when guys have no body hair. The way I see it, hairy guys are sexy and manly, and extra cuddly. I love being able to nuzzle my face into a guy's chest hair! I am truly baffled by women who prefer no hair. I do not get it.

Long answer: the type of person who is considered conventionally attractive in mainstream culture is subject to trends just like everything else. If you follow any fashion blogs right now, you'll notice that suddenly, all the guys are getting beards because hairy is coming back into style. If you look at the gay community, you'll notice that there are designations for all types of men: twinks, bears, otters, whatever. The key with the gay community is that they've already rejected the mainstream ideas of what they should like, so they also tend not to give a flying fuck about these trends: gay men (mostly) feel perfectly empowered to say they prefer bears or twinks or leathermen or whatever. Women mostly don't.

I personally vastly prefer hairy men to not-hairy men. A guy who can pull off a beard is like chocolate for me: very, very difficult to resist. I think it's why I had trouble relating to the celebrity crushes of my friends when I was growing up, because I grew up in the no body hair allowed era and to be honest, they really just don't look like what I want.

Also, the peseants did not eat a nutricious diet. They ate a monotonous diet that was mainly based on grain of some sort and maybe some dairy and vegetables washed down with low quality alcohol. The potato latter helped because potatoes with some dairy are nutritious if boring.

You should read this article, because their diet probably WAS healthier because they were eating food high in phytonutrients and low in sugar.

Yeah but as the article pointed out that people started the process of making vegetables and fruits sweeter in the Stone Age when agriculture started. The other problem is that most people, at least in Europe and Asia, did not eat a lot of vegetables and fruits anyway because those things were mainly for the market. Most of the calories came from a grain of somesort with a few, and I mean a few, vegetables and some salt meat or fish on occassion. We know what people actually ate and it isn't what the foodies imagine.

People in Celtic and Iron Age Britain were almost as tall as the modern population on average (average height as opposed to individual height being a sign of reasonable nutrition) and seemed to have been relatively healthy, although their teeth were worn probably due to their grains being ground in stone quorns and eating a lot of rock and tough stuff. They probably ate mainly multi-grain porridges and vegetables supplemented with occasional meat. Under feudalism the diet was monotonous and very susceptible to a bad harvest, but nutrition wasn't usually bad once crop rotation became widespread and people started eating bean protein (beans were grown to increase the fertility of the soil which we now know is due to nitrogen fixing.). and poor people ate lots of vegetables either grown or foraged – markets not really existing for perishables at that time. By tudor times rich people were barely eating vegetables and may have suffered from scurvy. Diets really collapsed during the industrial revolution, when people survived on potatoes, flour and sugar and rarely got fresh vegetables or protein. Average height went down massively and people died on mass from poor nutrition. EP Thomson tired to work out what happened to the Luddites when their protests failed, and discovered that they probably mostly died of poverty and starvation over the next few years, but as that was quite normal for the early industrial revolution it wasn't written about much.

Thats Britain, anyway – it obviously varies depending on where you were and which century.

A diet of potatoes supplemented by a bit of dairy and vegetables is very nutritious if monotonous. Potatoes contain must of the vitamins and other materials necessary for a healthy diet and the rest can be supplied by dairy. Its why the Irish population grew rapidly once the potatoes became wide-spread till the Great Potato famine. Potatoes were one reason for the explosive growth in population during the 18th and 19th century since more people were surviving into adulthood and having kids of their own because of them among other things.

I wholeheartedly agree. Leagues are just imaginary boundaries that keep men and women from trying. Easy excuses to not try.

I also like the push of "What Do You Bring To The Table?" It's ideal on both men and women who think it's all looks/money or those who work so hard to be "amazing looking" but can't figure out their lack of personality, career, goals, and stability is why they still don't find Mr or Ms Right.

It would be interesting to apply this to men as well. Would they be offended if women of non-conventional beauty (weight, age, looks) felt as comfortable believing that all men were within their league?

He mentions this in the article several times, actually: "ncredibly hot dudes with six-packs, perfect teeth and manes of hair that would make Chris Hemsworth growl with envy cheerfully date – not just fuck on the sly, date – fat girls." Picture of Hugh Jackman and his wife, etc.

Hugh Jackman's wife (Deborra-Lee Furness apparently?) isn't so much unattractive (ok, all I've seen is that one picture, but she looks pretty to me) as old, which is another woman-man self-limiting belief (i.e. that the woman is always younger, so don't bother with older women/younger men.)

I believe the Internet tells us, the answer to this is "Yes." I see so so so SOOOOO many guys on Reddit complaining how "average" women think too highly of themselves, punch outside their weight class, how feminism has turned women into stuck-up bitches, how guys should stop hitting on girls because the guys are giving average women an inflated value of self…. I could go on and on.

Heck, there was even a thread a few days ago in the forum here about how women made prostitution illegal, so as to raise their own sexual value.

Oh, and should I even begin to get into the stories of how many angry and hateful comments I get when I say I want a guy who has a stable job, college-educated, and some hobbies? Cause, see, even though that describes me (so I am essentially asking for someone "in my league"), because my looks don't qualify me for anything but jobless basement dwellers, I should be ashamed for showing such blatant hypergamy.

Except maybe for the 3rd paragraph problem (though anyone actually using the word hypergamy is pretty suspect), those sound like MRA types, who I don't think it's fair to say represent most guys.

Well, seems to be an intersection of PUA, MRA, and Red Pill guys. Interestingly, while I do see some culture-geeks (as in, people the culture would label as geeky or nerdy) represent in these groups, there are just as many non-nerd types.

That sounds like a terrible group to be a woman around.

The Reddit hordes admittedly aren't the best sample of men, but I think I lean toward thinking Marty's overall point has some truth to it. I've heard way too many complaints from otherwise ordinary guys about "fat girls who think they're hot." A lot of those aren't even gripes about getting unwanted attention, either, the way the equivalent ones from women are. Sometimes nothing more seems to provoke them than seeing a woman they don't think is pretty have the nerve to show up at a bar in dressy clothes and have a good time.

"Sometimes nothing more seems to provoke them than seeing a woman they don't think is pretty have the nerve to show up at a bar in dressy clothes and have a good time."

1. You said dressy clothes, but I've had more than one woman express a similar emotional sentiment – to me in person – about another woman who showed up wearing something "sexy" that showed off a body that wasn't in shape to show off. I don't think this is a gendered thing.

I mean…I've seen those weirdly personal things people write online sometimes, and don't get me wrong – it weirds me out to. But I just haven't seen it being a gendered attitude in real life…

Yes, yes, thanks for informing those of us who experience it that our experience isn't valid, because someone who doesn't experience it says so. I'm certain that you are more of an expert on the behavior that is addressed towards me than I am.

Men do it with the attitude of "and despite being unattractive, she's still out of my league and won't pay attention to me." Women do it with the attitude of "and despite being unattractive, she feels more attractive than I do right now." Do you see the gender difference? Women with self-esteem do it much less. Men do it regardless.

As for this: "who showed up wearing something 'sexy' that showed off a body that wasn't in shape to show off." You're claiming that it's not gendered, then judging the shape of the woman you're talking about as though you and your friend are the arbiters of whose body is of a shape to be shown off. Since you claim that this is not gendered, I assume that you do the same to MEN? As if.

That's not really fair. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that men who are critiquing women's looks probably don't have much in the self-esteem department.

Being overly judgmental of others is almost 100% a sign of your own insecurity, regardless of gender.

You started off your comment accusing me of doing exactly what you were about to do. First you claim that because my experience isn't your experience, that mine isn't valid – the exact thing you just derided doing. Second, your 3rd paragraph doesn't even make sense, you're claiming that "men" say these things about women who they want to date? That's not even the topic, the topic was about "seeing a woman they don't think is pretty". Third, I even linked to the kind of picture that women or men make fun of in my post. If a fat overweight man is wearing a speedo on the beach, women will *definitely* make a ton of fun of him over it.

1. From my experience, it is a gendered thing. To the extent I've seen women do it, the response has been, "Ugh, tacky!" When I've seen men do it, the response has been more along the lines of, "Who does she think she is?" I'd note that the male version of this isn't always directed toward women wearing clothing that's inappropriate for the venue or that doesn't fit them. Often it's just that the girl is wearing a sparkly shirt, heels, makeup, and is obviously having a good time with her friends.

2. That's clearly meant to be silly, though, and frankly I think is meant to make you identify with the speedo-wearer. When I've seen women get snotty with guys in social scenes, it's mostly in response to being hit on. That's rude as well, but I've never seen it be taken so far as to disapprove of the random [fill in the undesirable trait] guy on the other side of the bar who's having a good time and paying no attention to person criticizing for thinking he's hot enough to go out and have fun with single people.

I agree with #1–women criticizing women for wearing things they "shouldn't" may irritate me, but I've never heard it with the same tone of "she doesn't have the RIGHT to wear that" that I hear from men saying similar things.

All I can say is that my experience is the opposite…

Not at all that that invalidates other experience, my objection is the idea that women "don't" do that and men do. It's always seemed to me that women spend a lot more time criticizing what other women are wearing than men do.

"Often it's just that the girl is wearing a sparkly shirt, heels, makeup, and is obviously having a good time with her friends."

I've never seen that happen in real life, it's always been a girl wearing something that's meant to really show off her body (tube top, skimpy clothing, super tight clothing, etc). At the same time, I'll certainly acknowledge that the fact that I've never seen it happen doesn't mean that it doesn't. If there's anyone out there who says the kinds of things I see in the comments section of some PUA sites I can believe it happens sometimes.

Certainly one of the problems with "men" do this and "women" do this terminology is that it claims that the entire group does it on a regular basis. As I've said elsewhere, I've seen women pointedly try to get one guy to fight another for her amusement. I don't think that "women" as a group do this, it's definitely a minority, and the kind of minority you run into at bar close on halloween. All I can say is that the guys I hang around only very very rarely would say anything like that, and if they do it's never someone getting dressed up classy to have a good time, it's at worst a joke about someone wearing something that clearly is trying to show off parts of someone's body that aren't in shape to be shown off (if a guy in our group wore something similar we would laugh at him to – though again that's a rarity not something that regularly happens).

"2. That's clearly meant to be silly, though, and frankly I think is meant to make you identify with the speedo-wearer. When I've seen women get snotty with guys in social scenes, it's mostly in response to being hit on. That's rude as well, but I've never seen it be taken so far as to disapprove of the random [fill in the undesirable trait] guy on the other side of the bar who's having a good time and paying no attention to person criticizing for thinking he's hot enough to go out and have fun with single people."

Wait, wait, wait – you're trying to say that a group of men will sit in a group and make fun of what a woman is wearing on the other side of the bar, but a group of women don't sit in a group and make fun of what other women are wearing? Am I understanding you right?

I was reversing genders. Women aren't generally annoyed at that group of short, or unattractive, or older men in the corner of the bar acting like they're hot shit unless they actually end up interacting with the men. If we're going to look at how women are judged by others, shouldn't we also look at how men in those same situations are judged?

I have occasionally heard women make fun of other women's clothes, but again, that's not the same reaction as I'm describing. I was unfortunately a part of a large group with some guys talking about "fat girls who think they're hot" shortly before this conversation started, and the annoyance wasn't at what the women were specifically wearing so much as the fact that they were dressed up at all, laughing, doing shots, teasing the bartender, and so on. The guy who made the comment, in particular, was irritated that they were being "arrogant."

"I was reversing genders. Women aren't generally annoyed at that group of short, or unattractive, or older men in the corner of the bar acting like they're hot shit unless they actually end up interacting with the men. If we're going to look at how women are judged by others, shouldn't we also look at how men in those same situations are judged?"

I feel like we're changing subjects here a bit. If those men are wearing speedos, or form-fitting clothing meant to show off their bodies, I think that pretty much every woman in the bar would be making fun of them, yes, even if the men are keeping completely to themselves. Frankly, someone would probably call the police.

If we're talking about men dressed normally, but seeming out of place (older men in a college bar), I think they would also be made fun of. Or if a guy was wearing a tux in a low class bar, yeah, I definitely think he'd be made fun of.

An overweight middle aged guy walks in to a bar wearing a t-shirt that's 1 size to small for him, his hair covered belly hanging out. Are you really trying to say women wouldn't be personally making fun of the guy?

"I have occasionally heard women make fun of other women's clothes, but again, that's not the same reaction as I'm describing. I was unfortunately a part of a large group with some guys talking about "fat girls who think they're hot" shortly before this conversation started, and the annoyance wasn't at what the women were specifically wearing so much as the fact that they were dressed up at all, laughing, doing shots, teasing the bartender, and so on. The guy who made the comment, in particular, was irritated that they were being "arrogant.""

Well – I mean in that particular situation, I agree with you. They were rude and out of place. But…like I said in my other comment, I've just never seen that myself ever.

But frankly, all I have to do is think back to high school to think of girls (and guys) loudly making fun of anyone else who wasn't dressed quite right and enthusiastically having a good time. I mean – I think it was a bunch of bull*** there, so I still agree with you, but I in no way seeing that being a "guy-exclusive" thing…

"Are you really trying to say women wouldn't be personally making fun of the guy? "

P.S. Sorry, I wrote my comment as I was reading it and that comes across a lot stronger than I had meant it after reading your second paragraph. Didn't mean for it to sound so strong, in the context of what you said in your second paragraph.

You realize that's a parody of a pattern of plus-size women saying that about wearing revealing clothing, right?

I have been going through the last month of posts on this blog in a fit of raging insomnia and I have yet to see you make a comment that is both

Maybe you should work on one of those, instead of giving me a headache from eyerolling while I have insomnia.

You would have a better chance in getting a great night sleep for your insomnia then Paul being either one or both of your points.

I used to right more well written posts, but it didn't stop people from pretending I was saying something else anyways, so I stopped putting the additional effort into it.

I don't really feel like I'm being unempathetic to point out that I've seen girls make similar comments about guys or other girls.

To be clear, I didn't say anything supporting guys who were saying that kind of stuff. I just said that I've seen girls say similar things in real life.

No, you just constantly come in with an unending stream of Women Are Awful Too posts regardless of topic and endless pretending that your anecdotes trump everyone else's anecdotes. Even when *everybody else's* anecdotes disagree with yours.

You're just lucky that worse trolls have turned up here and there to make you look more palatable in comparison.

"No, you just constantly come in with an unending stream of Women Are Awful Too posts"

Which are always in response to "men are awful" posts. The idea that it's ok to bitch about one gender but offensive to respond with similar stories about the other is absurd.

That's not true, I respond according to the topic.

"and endless pretending that your anecdotes trump everyone else's anecdotes"

Your offense seems to you believe that I should believe that other people's ancedotes are always more important then mine. Naturally, since mine are things from my own life I give them higher priority – just as I think that other people's own experiences should have priority for them over mine.

There's been several times – though they were a while ago – that I've been very interested in other people's stories from the other side – things I don't experience myself.

And occasionally I do just plain disagree. That's what happens, and I certainly expect that other people have their own opinions as well.

"Even when *everybody else's* anecdotes disagree with yours."

I haven't seen many of these situations. Other people not liking what I write? Yes. Having proof the other way? Not that often. Occasionally they do, like in online dating topics, unfortunately there's just no way to get past the "not sure if rare instance, or common case" barrier.

"You're just lucky that worse trolls have turned up here and there to make you look more palatable in comparison."

It's not luck, those guys are just repeating rhetoric developed with the same tactics that I find so obnoxious in feminism. A lot of the MRA rhetoric uses the same "every time I'm hurt it's the other persons fault and I'm just a poor suffering victim" mentality that feminism does. And like feminism, some of the time they're actually right on point, but nowhere near all the time.

PUA stuff isn't usually like that, instead it uses the same long-winded, logical sounding (but not really true) stories of "how things used to be" in the same manner that feminism does. "The Partriarchy" is the equivalent of "Evolutionary Biology" – both are carefully crafted stories to create an image that vaguely resembles history but it's 25% true and 75% made up in one way or another. "The Patriarchy" pointedly and deliberately attempts to compare your average woman to the most privileged and powerful men, deliberately ignoring how oppressed and screwed over your average man was at the time as well – to try to create a picture of "women suffering, men having it good". "Evolutionary Biology" does something similar, trying to create a historical basis for why things are the way they are today, completely ignoring contradictory evidence – or the basic fact that you cannot ethically actually test any of their assertions. Not that that stops them from insisting it's the "truth".

The reason why my posts are so called "palatable" in comparison is because I'm not willing to consistently go to either extreme. Occasionally go to far into one-sidedness, but then I pull back because one-sided arguing is not what I find interesting, I'm looking for a top level view that's actually balanced and accurate for either side.

I can believe that some of the well meaning women posters actually see things as something only guys do, as when I started out there were things I thought no guys did – then I would ask my female friends and they'd say something like – "Well, *you* would never do that, but I've had a couple of different other guys do that".

But yeah, I'm not going to buy into the one-gendered thing if from my perspective it's definitely not.

Liuke Eselle said, Reddit has a condensed group of guys like that, but it isn't JUST guys on Reddit. I hear that same attitude sneaking in through lots of conversations of guys I overhear, and ones I have with them myself. The Girls storyline the Doc mentions wouldn't have gotten such huge publicity…. enough that people who never watch Girls heard about it…. if it was just a tiny vocal minority complaining about it.

Well, right, I mean, some guys are jerks about that kind of thing. Like Horndog says below, we're not exactly a hive-mind. One thing that may make that attitude seem more prevalent than it actually is, is that the default response to someone having the attitude that everyone is in their league is…….nothing, so the only response you actually hear is the "who does she think she is" minority.

Perhaps neutral, progressive catcalls are needed to counteract the assholes?

"I TOTALLY SUPPORT YOUR RIGHT TO DRESS HOWEVER YOU WANT AND HIT ON WHOEVER YOU CHOOSE, WHICH IS NOT NECESSARILY AN INDICATION OF WHETHER I MYSELF MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN SLEEPING WITH YOU! HAVE A VERY PLEASANT EVENING!"

I'd like to think that the contributors to Reddit are not representative of the general population. I could be wrong there, though.

Either way,. my experiences outside the internet confirm that the answer is "yes".

We've all said this before but Reddit is awful, especially towards women. It gives you a good idea what mysoginist neckbeards think of women, but not men as a whole. It's best to ignore their opinions on most things.

Those neckbeards come from all sorts of backgrounds, hold all sorts of jobs, and probably hold power over at least one woman in their lives. I don't dismiss them.

Depends on the guy. We're no more of a hive-mind than women are. ??

Sure, there will be plenty of individuals (men and women) who will scoff at the notion that somebody as ordinary as *you* could think to be with somebody as radiant and majestic as *THEM*. Functionally, it's really no different than "I'm not attracted to you," just with an unwholesome pile of entitlement as a side-dish. Either way, there's really nothing you can do but shrug and move on; you just need to avoid taking any of their silly assumptions with you as you go.

If anything, they're doing you a favor by letting you know upfront that they are a bad person.

Oh totally. I don't think I've ever heard this from a man in person. There's a substantial population of men that aren't CRAZY in this sense, even if I have other problems with some of them. However, it does seem as though there's also a population of men who think strange things in a circle-jerk-y way.

Oh yes, yes they are. Hugh Jackman is some kind of singularity, and I am sure there are many men out there who don't think he and his wife should be together.

Frankly, I don't think most guys care. It's usually women who are endlessly saying one person in the couple is to good for the other one. I mean I'm sure there's exceptions somewhere, but if the guy is dating her the other guys don't say anything about it. The one exception is if they think she's a jerk, but that's about how she treats him and saying he can do better than her is a side topic. Like in The Hangover – the other guys express their dislike of the girl, but it's because of her personality.

Look – if a good looking guy in your group is dating someone way below his sexual attractiveness, there's several things about that –

1. He's off the dating market – which is good for you

2. He's dating a girl that you aren't interested in anyways – good for you

3. You'd have to actually have an idea about how sexy **he** is – something that's either a little taboo, or you just really have no idea whatsoever.

I once saw a Freddie Prince Jr movie where the guys on his baseball team were razzing another guy for liking overweight girls, but…I think that's the *only* time I've ever seen something like that happen. In my experience, if another guy wants to date a girl the first guy doesn't find attractive – great. Guys only get into anything like "he's to good for her" if she's a jerk.

heh, from my experience pretty much this is the case. I get a good bit of unwanted attention from women who I'd never consider sexually appealing. And who I would consider myself having to 'Date down' dramatically in order to go out with. Am i offended? Not anymore than I am when gay guys approach me to ask me wildly inappropriate things like if I want to be their cub.. I just shudder, mutter a not interested.. and get the hell away from them.

For what it's worth, I don't think Lena Dunham is unattractive. Without using a numerical scale.. so for more illustrative purposes.. my scale would be something like Cave Troll, Orc, Goblin, Druidan, Some say there are no dwarf women, Hill person of Dunland, Hobbit, Rohan, Elven Goddess.. and rate her a solid Hobbit. Usually the women who hit on me, flirt with me, or try to give me their number or find out if I'm single tend to be "Some say there are no dwarf women" to "Cave Troll"…

I quite like your scale hobbesian. I think we need to use it instead of the numeric one.

I was mostly being tongue in cheek since the phrase 'cave troll' keeps getting thrown around here..

But I can't help but think that there are just some unfortunate people out there, who through no fault of their own.. are just kind of bleh. Often though a lot of it boils down to dress and attitude on top of appearance. I think the vast majority of people are just plain… and there isn't anything wrong with that. I also want to add that I'm not making any statements about height or weight.. this scale is simply about overall appearance..

Well I wasn't being serious either. I personally find that 1-10 scale douchy and reductive, and it amuses me to use LotR references in its place.

Correct me if I parsed it wrong, but isn't the article simply proposing a different manner of seeing leagues(the worth is not inherently hierarchical)? Loosely defined, based on compatibility in place of a standard scorecard for the entire human race and horizontal instead of vertical?

"While he was only five foot three

Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole"

I can find plenty of places where people call Pablo Picasso an asshole and call him out on how he treated and viewed women.

Kira is quoting the Modern Lovers song "Pablo Picasso".

A song that will now be stuck in my head all day. At least it is a good song!

Most of the boys I fancied in school (and even now) don't seem to jive with the rest of world. Or so i thought until I found Tumblr. Tumblr is why I love the internet you guys. But yeah, whenver I said "oh yeah, I really like X. He's super cute" everyone would look at me like I'd spoken squirrel and they should take a few steps back. Usually because I faniced the skinny awkward looking kid. He usually had glasses (just like me) and had more personality or humor than the "hero" protagonist. They tended to be as stimulating as cardboard. I love finding out (usually through Tumblr) that many celebrities are just as nerdy, if not nerdier than me. It tends to make me like them even more. It's like an open letter I saw on Twitter once.

Go for the nerdy ones!

Ironically, I've consistently had this experience with being attracted to the more conventionally attractive type of man. Sometimes I think people just like to deride each others' taste for being different, whatever it is.

Oh, just the way Hugh Jackman talks about his wife makes me swoon. He's very private about his relationship, but when he does broach the subject he's so obviously in love …. sigh….

Also, I seem to remember when Dawn French's character married Richard Armitage's character on her show Vicar of Dibley, people had the same bee in their bonnet. They forgot A.) She's funny, self confident and a good person. and B. at the time she was with Lenny Henry, who is also very handsome and funny. Dawn French is my idol for life.

I've googled a couple pictures of him, and something about their body language I find really endearing.

heh, I'd completely forgotten she married not-Sean Bean on that series..

But I'll admit I considered it to be pretty preposterous at the time.. not cause of his looks but mainly just that they managed to find another actor who looked so much like Sean Bean who she had crushed over the entire series.

I agree that the idea of leagues based only on looks is a tiny needle of truth in the haystack of circumstances (aka, it matters, but only in a tiny way.) However, I'm not sure I buy the leagues don't exist -at all.- Like the Doc said, "leagues" are instead based on who "fits" into your world. I am never gonna marry a Wall Street lawyer, not only because by stereotype they seek out arm candy for wives, but also because I wouldn't fit the "hostess who runs the house" lifestyle. So, leagues aren't based on leagues, but ARE based on class, lifestyle, and similar levels of awesome-having.

"If someone is willing to date you – whether you’re a toad and she’s a goddess, or she’s a 5 and you’re a 10 – then they’re in your league. There is something about you that they clearly value… just as there are aspects of them that attract you to them."

How does this square with the phenomenon of desperation dating? I've mentioned before that nearly all of my exes considered themselves as "settling" for me, and believed they could do much better (and in their defense, they were right-they DID do much better.) Boiled down to their core, the one thing my exes seemed to value in me is that I gave them a leg up in the ego department. That is, obviously, not a good thing….

Could leagues perhaps be beneficial if they prevent people from dating down, or from suffering desperation dating? Maybe thinking with leagues could be helpful, if people always aspire to date up.

I think, even as a way of avoiding desperation dating, it has problems. If you think of yourself as dating up, then you're telling yourself you're not as good as they are. It creates a weird dynamic which, as DNL points out, can lead to insecurity-based relationship problems. I'd say it's probably better to just have a rule that you won't date anyone you don't think is awesome, or anyone who doesn't make you feel like they think you're awesome.

Also, anyone who dates someone that they actively consider to be below their league is probably an asshole who shouldn't be allowed to play in any of the leagues.

Eh, but maybe you *aren't* as good as they are. I mean, this article does a great job of lampooning leagues as far as looks go, but it seems like there ARE leagues….. they're just based on other thing (talent, passion, similar visions of life, lifestyles.)

I know we are all Special Snowflakes, but people generally do value certain things above other things. Take Girl A and Girl B. Girl A is smarter, prettier, more talented at X, more passionate about X, and nicer than Girl B. Of *course* any heterosexual guy is gonna choose Girl A. And "perspective" as far as what constitutes smarter, prettier, etc only goes so far…. We do all still live in the same reality, and you can only twist words so far. 9 times out of 10, for example, a medical doctor is always going to win over a gas store clerk in terms of intelligence.

I think it is a good rule of thumb that birds of a feather flock together. It's romantic to say opposites attract, but in my (granted) limited experience I don't see many of those couples making it long-term.

Responding to both this comment and the one before: I do think people are mostly likely to end up with partners who fit the particulars of their lifestyle and what they have to offer. But the thing is that most people have both appealing qualities and less appealing qualities, and different appealing qualities are different to different partners. E.g., some women might go for a guy who's especially intelligent, but others might prefer a guy who more on the street smarts or heart over head side, because that's how they are themselves or that's what appeals to them. And you might not find a Wall Street lawyer who'd see you as an eligible wife… but would *you* enjoy that lifestyle yourself? It's not that he's out of your league or that his lawyer-ness makes him inherently superior to you, but that you're not compatible. I wouldn't make a good hostess wife either, but I don't see that as a deficiency because I don't value putting myself in that sort of role in the first place.

I mean, there are occasional cases where someone really stands out as having a lot of widely appealing featurs, but I think for the vast majority of us, "Is this person compatible with what makes me happy and fits my life?" is a much more relevant question than "is this person within the range of general quality I can hope to date?", and much less damaging on the self esteem.

I'm with you on the 'similar visions of life/lifestyle,' but I don't think it makes sense to act like one person is just better than another person (leaving aside people who are genuinely horrible people, which I think is kind of a special case). You could say different people are in different leagues (like say, I'm in rugby, she's in soccer) and therefore are less likely to work out, but ranking leagues as better and worse seems both simplistic and harmful to me.

Most traits aren't so simple or easily comparable – say one person finds Girl A nice because she's warm and open, another person might find Girl B nicer because she's respectful and considerate. Those two people might disagree on which one is prettier. A person who hates X might not consider it a plus that A is passionate about it. Or someone who's pretty laidback might get on better with B and her enjoyment of X, Y and Z.

*Shrugs* I'm not saying you couldn't make a case for it, but seeing dating out in the real world, people absolutely think in terms of leagues and better/worse. Some qualities really are more valuable than others, and Quality is always better than Average.

I just don't see a ton of variety of desire in dating, I guess. Pull a random sample of dating profiles, and most of them are looking for the same things. (I automatically give a guy +5 if he doesn't mention rock-climbing in his profile, because it's sooooo common in my area.) It was briefly touched on in another thread, but when it comes to value, you have intrinsic value as a human being no matter what…. But value, and what attracts people, IS rather more narrow.

b) I think a big issue in this line of thought is the idea that you are dating a population, it doesn't matter what the majority of people think it matters what the ones you want to end up with think. So while some people might rule you out because they think you are "below them" ultimately they are just limiting their chance to find out how awesome you are.

So I think I am saying ultimately what people do and think doesn't matter as much as what a person or persons do and think. Relationships don't happen with generic trends they happen with people.

Sure, but they gotta start out somewhere. You start out dating a population, and narrow it down to a person. In real life, in online dating, you look for hints and clues about who you should spend your time on, and those clues/hints come in the form of List of Awesome Qualities. I suspect Leagues are just a short-hand form of this.

Rock-climbing is awesome, says the guy who hasn't gone rock-climbing since last summer. ??

It's somewhat more narrow, I'll agree, but from what I see of people, it isn't nearly so narrow as that. I've seen people that seem 'meh' in every respect I can tell dating people who I'd class as Grade A Awesome, people who like their SO b/c of how smart they are when I find them pompous idiots who use a couple of big words but don't actually know anything about what they talk so authoritatively about and can't string a thought together, people who think the people I think of as smart are pompous know-it-alls.

I think that perhaps a better way of thinking of "leagues" is not that they're hiearchical but rather flat in the sense of "there are basketball leagues, football leagues, baseball leagues". One person can belong to different leagues – but the likelihood of dating someone who's specifically not in any of the "leagues" that we're apart of is unlikely. Therefore it means that it's the case of the Wall Street lawyer – where that's a league we don't really want to become a part of. Or if it's a league we're interested in – we can work to join it. If you're not in the Wall Street lawyer league – certainly there are ways to become more apart of that world if it's something you'd want.

I see the point of the article in trying to avoid hierarchical thinking about dating. I know a guy who's not the most amazing looking guy ever and he strongly ties his worth to dating girls "out of his league". However, what this has mostly meant is that they're just very very pretty, and nothing lasts for very long. When people mention that maybe he should consider other aspects besides looks alone – he sees this as a downgrade and means that the "lower league" woman has to be absolutely amazing to make up for her looks. Not so surprising, these don't last long either. While being problematically tied to very shallow calculations of worth of the women – it also messes with his head in how he thinks about dating. Instead of it being about finding someone to compliment him, he's trying to "win" something.

My friend is a very obvious case of how leagues tie to all sorts of other unhelpful dating behavior, but in a less vicious way I see it all the time. Friends of mine will be dating men who are "so attractive" (often for a combination of job+looks) that they put up with being treated horribly. I don't know if they all actively tell themselves that they have to stay with their partner because he's so out of their league – but it can often have that tone.

What if Girl B's interests are far more similar to mine? What if Girl B makes me feel awesome? What if Girl B cares more about me than anyone else does? What if Girl B is exactly my type? What if Girl A really doesn't seem all that pretty or nice *to me*? What if Girl A is not on my radar anyway because she's already taken? What if I have less than zero interest in making these point-by-point comparisons about an individual's worth that you seem to believe guys are so fond of? What if Girl A and Girl B don't go after the exact same guy every single time? What if I've never *met* Girl A? Is everyone who meets Girl B required to spend time with Girl A as well?

What if I set up a bunch of straw men that ignore the actual point trying to be made?

IF all other things being equal (they are both single, they are both into your hobbies, they are both interested in a guy), and Girl A DOES seem prettier and nicer to you.

My point is that certain qualities are seen as more desirable and more attractive than others, and the person with more of those desirable qualities is going to win out in the dating game, and chances are you will pick someone who matches your own quantity of desirable qualities. Is this a surprise to anyone?

"My point is that certain qualities are seen as more desirable and more attractive than others, and the person with more of those desirable qualities is going to win out in the dating game, and chances are you will pick someone who matches your own quantity of desirable qualities."

But other Patrick's point is valid — things are never always equal, and individual preferences make a huge difference in determining what's "desirable and attractive."

My girlfriend has a huge playful, teasing streak. I find it fun and energizing; I could totally get somebody finding it exhausting. She's short and curvy; I think she's gorgeous, but if you prefer your women tall and willowy, she's not gonna do it for you. We share a litany of interests (games, books, improv, etc.) that a lot of people could care less about. She's polyamorous and doesn't want children; those are both pretty much mandatory for a long-term relationship with me, and would be total dealbreakers for a whole bunch of guys.

Whether she matches my own "quantity of desirable qualities" I neither know nor care. Because of who we are, she's an excellent match for me, and I'm an excellent match for her. The notion that we're together because we have some comparable measure of "value" on some arbitrary scale strikes me as nonsensical and reductive.

Even with all things being equal, I think there's something about human interaction that is always going to be variable: a degree of connection that occurs between two people when they interact, and which cannot really be quantified or predicted until those people actually interact. When you really "click" with someone, or feel that "spark" of attraction. There's a reason why those terms are used so often in the English language but can never be defined clearly: the phenomenon is often inexplicable.

This phenomenon is why sometimes you'll meet someone through an online dating site and think that they seem like just your type and you'd get along really well, maybe have some nice message exchanges that imply you'd get on really well, but then when you meet in person, there's just no connection. This happened to me on the last date I went on, and I was shocked. I was physically attracted to the guy, and we'd had some very good conversations online, and we had a perfectly nice date when we went out. But my emotional response to the whole evening was really flat. I felt like I was one of the aliens from the Neutral Planet: "I have no strong feelings one way or the other." He must have noticed the same lack of connection, because he never contacted me for a second date.

So even if Girl A may look better on paper, the actual interaction between her and the guy may not as good as his interaction with Girl B. And that's going to make all the difference. And it's not some quality of Girl A or B that would make one of them better to get along with than the other. There's some element of compatibility between the two people that cannot be measured separately. A kind of alchemy, as it were.

So as much as we can try to distill human interaction down to measurable terms, there's really no way to do so completely. There are elements to the human equation that just cannot be predicted and must be discovered through experience.

But the issue is, in online dating and real life, a guy *may* have a better spark with Girl B, but if there's nothing/very little to attract him to Girl B, he'll never find out. That's why Girl A wins…. maybe not that specific Girl A, but some Girl A down the line, because the guy will continuing choosing people with these attractive qualities, since that's all he can see.

That may end up being the case, sure, but there are other possibilities as well. Let's put your scenario into a real-life context: Girl A and Girl B are two single women who frequent the same activity/locale as Guy A. There is some amount of interaction between Guy A and Girls A and B, which is how he comes to know some of their personality traits and interests, as you describe. And, as you described, let's say that he judges Girl A to be prettier, smarter, more passionate, etc. to some degree.

Although Guy A initially finds himself more attracted to Girl A, after several weeks of interaction with each of these girls through their common activity, he finds that he just "clicks" much better with Girl B than Girl A. Guy A and Girl B have great conversations and make each other laugh. Guy A and Girl A don't have this kind of connection. Thus, Guy A ends up becoming more attracted to Girl B than he was to Girl A. Instead of asking out Girl A, as he may have initially planned, he asks Girl B out instead. They have some great dates and end up in a relationship.

Guy A initially finds himself more attracted to Girl A, so he asks her out, and she agrees. They go on a date or two, but realize they don't really connect… the spark just isn't there. A short time later, Guy A asks Girl B out. The two of them go out, find that they get along really well, and end up in a relationship.

I personally don't like thinking of dating as a competition… But if you do look at it as a competition, it's also worth bearing in mind that just because someone else may get picked first or more often, doesn't mean that person "wins." There are all sorts of reasons why a person might initially choose to date someone else. In real life, timing and context, proximity and frequency of interaction, all play a big role. In online dating, it can be a factor of how well one presents themselves in writing or photographs. But none of these things guarantee that the interaction between the two individuals in a dating/relationship context will go well. That's a much more complex factor, and is not always predictable/quantifiable, as I mentioned before.

I'm not saying I disagree with you, per se. Certainly there are traits that may increase one's appeal to a larger demographic, resulting in more dating opportunities, increasing one's chances for finding that person they really connect with. If that weren't true to some degree, dating advice sites like this one wouldn't exist.

What I am saying is that a lot of things can happen when it comes to human interaction, much of it unexpected. The complexity and uncertainty of it can be both scary and exciting. And sometimes it helps to embrace that uncertainty.

I don't think anyone would seriously argue that being conventionally attractive isn't helpful when you're trying to date people, especially online. Being conventionally attractive means that you don't have to put in as much work you to create situations where you can potentially discover compatibility with another person. This is why the Doc is often advising people to be more outgoing and sociable. But provided that there isn't a barrier like social anxiety standing in the way, I don't think that genuine compatibility is that difficult to spot.

"But the issue is, in online dating and real life, a guy *may* have a better spark with Girl B, but if there's nothing/very little to attract him to Girl B, he'll never find out. That's why Girl A wins…. maybe not that specific Girl A, but some Girl A down the line, because the guy will continuing choosing people with these attractive qualities, since that's all he can see."

It's especially true in online dating. It's true in person though to.

I mean this is one of the reasons why it's so difficult for people to meet after high school and college. And why most successful post-college relationships are with coworkers – because you actually get to know them.

But this is also why it's so incredibly frustrating to "relationship" guys – they want to get to know girls before asking them out, but they find that if they aren't starting something sexual or romantic with the girl in the first 2-3 times of meeting her he loses his chance. I mean this exactly why they get so offended by "well, you should have been upfront about your intentions earlier!" – he actually realizes that he doesn't know if he wants to date her that early.

Guys have the similar problems as well. If confidence is sexy – the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

Mr. Somewhat Confident has the same issue – he just doesn't give as good of a first impression as Mr. MuchLessSmartAndInteresting does…

Smarter, prettier, more talented, more passionate, nicer; these are all subjective qualities. No one is objectively more of any one of those things, especially not all of those things at once. Girl A may be more appealing to Guy A, heck she may be more appealing to to Guys B-Y, but if Guy Z likes Girl B more than that's all that matters.

Except they aren't *that* subjective. What you're suggesting is that words become so subjective they lose meaning. There are clearly agreed-upon definitions of what is smart, what is attractive, what is nice…. otherwise those words would be meaningless. Each word may have a slightly different shade to it, but it isn't as subjective as you are making them out to be.

I can buy smart and attractive having fairly basic definitions with some variation based on personal preference, but people's assessments of "nice" vary pretty widely. As long as someone isn't a villain who goes around twirling mustaches and kicking puppies, there's usually someone out there who thinks their personality is nice.

Talented has a pretty specific definition, so there I think it's more whether a given person cares about that specific talent.

It sounds like you're trying to impose LOGIC into dating, when dating is just flat-out unfair, subjective, individual, frusterating, and potentially awesome.

Not necessarily logic, but you are right that it's potentially unfair and frustrating. So the idea that leagues don't exist, or that someone who is not-awesome can date Mr./Mrs. Awesome, strikes me as wrong…. thus me trying to explain why I think it doesn't work that way.

I get the need to try to come up with those explanations, believe me, I was in your place before I met BF, but typically those kind of explanations just…fall apart in the real world. That's what makes dating so frusterating, it's just a set of general guidelines with loads of wishful thinking and trying to not be an asshole.

Have you read the new loneliness and dating thread on Captain Awkward? It's full of various people telling their various experiences about people dating and breaking up because they felt "meh" about the whole thing. (Also stories about dating with depression and anxiety). Anyways, give it a read. For me it helped solidify how subjective and "unfair" dating (and relationships) really are. Some people were in the "perfect" relationship on paper, but had to walk away because it didn't work for them for various reasons. Some are good reasons, others are cloudy and hard to determine; such as it is with dating.

Okay, so if we acknowledge that there are some objective and some subjective aspects to how people assess these characteristics (can we agree on that?), my question is what are you getting out of emphasizing the objective to the exclusion of the subjective? I think my phrasing may seem aggressive, but you know me–it's an earnest question. What exactly is actionable or helpful about the prospect that you are objectively "less than" a bunch of other people? How would this understanding be helpful when confronted with a potential person to date? Similarly, what do you see as the downside of emphasizing the subjective aspects? I feel like I'm writing an essay question now, but I think this point is crucial to the conversation–people have presented enough exceptions to the "league" thing that one would be justified in throwing it out the window as a concept, and it seems like that strikes you as a very bad idea. Why exactly?

I mentioned this below in a thread somewhere, but I think being realistic about yourself in comparison to others (and "leagues") could potentially save you time and having to slog through needless rejection.

I'm not really that into sporty guys, but as an example, let's say I am. I have yet to meet a single sporty guy who was into me; there is just nothing in me that attracts sporty guys, because sporty guys seek X, and I do not have X. They are "out of my league." If I just pretended there weren't leagues, and that attraction is subjective and removed from social constructs, I'd probably be flirting with/hitting on those sporty guys. Since I do not have X, each of those sporty guys would reject me.

I've now suffered through a heck of a lot of rejection and wasted time, because if I'd just been aware of leagues and objective attraction standards, I'd know that sporty guys aren't interested in me. Yeah, I might meet the 1 out of 500 who is, but that's some steep odds; I'd need the skin of a rhino to make it through all that and come out with my self-esteem in tact.

For me personally, it's a bad idea, since I have a bad enough time getting "average" (I see them as attractive, but from an objective standpoint, they are probably average to cute, much like you guys tell me I am) guys interested in me. If I were to start hitting on the absolutely-objectively-hot guys, with the idea that the whole "league" thing didn't count and it was all "personal connection"….. hoo-boy. Why don't I just buy ten thousands pounds of cat food right now, cause I am absolutely setting myself up for disappointment.

Yeah, sorry I missed that. I did reply below, but just to reiterate… I do understand where you're coming from with this. On the other hand, if you are, say, seated on a plane next to Random Sporty Guy, you don't already know that he isn't going to want to talk with you. I'm not saying you should say to yourself, "Gotta ask this guy out before the plane lands! Go!" But why not say hi and start a low-key conversation? You may have a nice chat with him, find out about some cool workout thing you want to try, find out he's blissfully happy in his marriage to another gentleman, arrange to get coffee with him… you just don't know. IMO the danger of leagues isn't whether they exist, it's in the potential to decide what another person is/wants before you know that person.

"I'm not really that into sporty guys, but as an example, let's say I am."

Instead of making this a hypothetical were you are arguing that these guys are out of your league, why not keep this to reality in which you are out of their league?

If there are leagues like you insist then I believe it is helpful to remember it works both ways, you are out of reach of some people just as they are out of your reach.

Similarities atteacting doesn't mean there are leagues. Unless the leagues you mean are from experience, a lot of guys don't actually like smart girls, though. So if Girl B is not as smart, she may be just fine. And there aren't that clearly defined definitions of those words because it is totally subjective to the person doing the judging. My ex judged my intelligence by my degree of education. Some girls I know speak more that 3 languages, have successful careers in intellectually difficult fields and still act like they're age 5 in public and everything is new and surprising to them. And you can être a scientific genius but still unable to socially put 2 and 2 together…

There are leagues" only in the sense that people have different values and expectations of the people they date. For example, since he noted preferences, as much as I find Gentleman Horndog to be a smart, cultured individual online, I am monogamous and want kids within 5 years, so it doesn't matter comment awesome he is, he's so far out of my league we aren't even playing the same sport. I find people more intimidating than others because they have more factors that attract me than others and I want to impress them. My ex, for example, was hella smart and couldn't get over the façt that I was doing a vocational degree instead of pursuing a master's. I was highly impressed by his intellect and wanted to impress him. In that way, he, as an academic, was outof my league. However, as a person who could hardly put an IKEA bookshelf together, he was "dating up" by being with me, a hot budding circus aerialist, seamstress, handy person who does the repairs around the house. We were on different pages as to longterm goals, hence the breakup. Leagues never had anything to do with it unless we let them. It's all about values and perception.

The first phrase should read "unless the leagues tou mean are values and preferences". Sorry, this thing zapped half my phrase and I didn't notice

Thank you for the compliment. ?? But it really does demonstrate the absurdity of the "leagues" framework, doesn't it?

Just the phrase "[S]he's out of my league" carries with it a crapload of implied value judgments. You and I are clearly a poor romantic match. So am I, as you (tongue-in-cheek) suggested, "out of your league" because … I dunno, you're too prudish and jealous to handle something something evolved something something enlightened blah blah infinite love?* Or does that mean YOU'RE out of MY league, because I'm a debauched manchild who can't handle the demands of a true adult relationship?

Compatibility isn't some linear comparison between two numbers. It's an insanely complex interweaving of matched and mismatched personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, needs and desires, goals and aspirations. I guess I get the desire to reduce all that complexity down to a simple sliding scale, but by its very nature, such a scale can only capture a thin slice of reality.

Embrace the vast and unknowable complexity of it all, I say. It's way more fun, if only because it's filled with so many possibilities.

* — Seriously, every once in a while, I hear some idiot in the poly community bloviate about how polyamory is a sign they're operating on a higher spiritual plane than all you poor benighted souls trapped in monogamy. It makes my idiot-slapping hand start twitching.

Your exes were assholes. Do not form theories of dating based on them.

If someone thinks that way then they are an asshole. Adults should know better than that, and if they don't then they aren't worth your time. Adults shouldn't need arbitrary rules not to take advantage of each other.

It's heartbreaking to hear yourself say your exes did "better" than you =(

Why? No reason to fear the truth. The girls really are better than me… if you want to slice it as better than me "for my exes," or better just in an objective sense, I don't much see the difference.

This difference is that your exes are not the only people in the world who you can hangout/talk to /date etc. If the people they move onto are better matches to them, and not in the objective sense that is important, because you can be a better match for may people in the world whether or not you think your are objectively "better"

Well, I think the difference is my exes are the only guys in the world willing to date me. If the only guys in the world who would date you can do much better than you, then it probably is time to examine your standards and make sure they are realistic.

Your reasoning just became circular, your rebuttal is based on the premise. My comment was arguing that you are subjectively not as good for your exes which is ok because there are many people you could date who would find you subjectively awesome.

If they're your exes, then obviously they aren't actually in your league. If they were they wouldn't be exes.

I can't understand your example. My mom is a hippy, artist non-housekeeper type who's uncomfortable in formal settings (nor is she arm candy at nearly 60) My dad is a corporate lawyer who is the top of his field in our province. They have been married happily nearly 30 years. There is much more to relationships than appearances and social status. My parents don't come the same social class or expected lifestyle at all but they are deleriously happy because they have other things in common. There are "leagues" in the sense that ot everyone is looking for the same thing in a partner, but they have little to do with anything except a person's individual criteria.

Also, your characterisation of successful lawyers seeking trophy wives to keep ousefor them is offensive to someone who grew up with those same successful big-time lawyers,few of whom fit that stereotype… Most of them are looking for intellectually stimulating women who understand the pressures of the job, are successful in some way and love them. Honestly, most real big lawyer parties now are catered and the housekeeper did the cleaning because the wife is a CEO or otherwise successful woman with little time for domestic affairs but enough money to pay for someone else to take care of them.

Honestly, I think most young Wall Street lawyers these days are slightly dorky guys who work too much, have too much student debt, and live in terror of losing their jobs. Or at least that's what all my classmates who managed to stay Wall Street lawyers are doing. They're more likely to be dating women who work than trophy wives, for sure. Most of them do better with women who are a little more goal-oriented than that, and I think the aspiring trophy wives of the world have their sights set higher.

I think there are people who maybe have that lifestyle and are seeking a partner like that, though. I just think it's probably a few more rungs up the economic ladder. Maybe…like…old money people?

On the talent thing, one really annoying piece of dating advice that short men get a lot is a reminder that Prince is only 5'2" tall and is sexy because of his talent. A lot of short men, including myself, interpret this as saying if your short and want to be succesful with the ladies than you need to have Prince's talent level and charisma.

My boyfriend is the same height I am, and I'm not a tall woman. He's not superstar-talented or Prince-famous, and he's mostly charismatic in the way that a foul-mouthed, opinionated bulldozer could be considered charismatic; he can be charming, but most of the time he's just honest instead. He has goals and hobbies and passions that make him interesting and showcase his considerable intellect and wit. He asked to find out more about some of mine so he could understand me better; I got to introduce him to Doctor Who and yoga, and in return, he introduced me to weightlifting and multiplayer real-time strategy games. He treats me like a fully-human and individual person. He's also pretty popular "with the ladies" because he's a fun person who treats them like fully-human individuals, too. It's a thing he does to pretty much everyone, and it's many orders of magnitude more important than his height when it comes to how people perceive him.

I'm not saying his height hasn't been a disadvantage or has only had a trivial influence in his life — it's been pretty painful for him at times — but it's far from the most important thing about him or even the thing people notice first. And yeah, lots of women flirt with him, and in my opinion, they're perfectly justified in doing so. He's smart, confident, opinionated, eloquent, open-minded, equal-opportunity in his respect for others, has a fantastic hundred-watt smile, looks great in a kilt (which often IS the first thing people notice about him), and is kind to kittens. He's hot like that.

That's an eminently sensible reaction. I need to get to work on my biochem education.

I am 5'4" and my ideal date would be at or around my height, preferably no more than 5'10". Population generalizations are useless for predicting individual behaviors. They should only be used for broad population trends ??

At least in my observations, men are far more wrapped up in height than most women are.

You could try being upbeat, pleasant, and charming, instead of defensive, defeatist, and self-defeating, and have a range of interesting things about that women find attractive and interesting.

I spent ten or fifteen years desperately, pathetically single, and wondered why. I was kind. I was occasionally charming. I was ostensibly pretty. I was also bitter and boring as fuck until I grew a personality beyond *wanting to get feminine attention and hopefully laid.*

As mentioned by E523, I am a towering five-eight; thanks to lifting weights, I have developed some muscles, but nobody's going to mistake me for Dwayne Johnson; I look more like someone wrapped John Cryer around Bruce Willis with a hangover.

And being okay with that, recognizing that, hey, I'm not going to be Rob Lowe or George Clooney or, god forbid, Tom Brady… it's okay. Be happy being you, and people will be happier to be around you. Would you want to hang around with someone who was always saying how much they sucked, how disappointed they were in their lot, and bemoaning what they didn't have? Christ, that's tedious. I wouldn't want to hang out with my younger self, either; that guy was an asshole.

I'm not saying my present self isn't an asshole, either, but I'm an asshole at peace with myself, though tthat doesn't mean I don't still have dissatisfactions and things I'm struggling with… but they no longer define me.

Look, if you want to define yourself, you can't do it by negation, you need to do it by accretion. Experiment. Strive. Try. Fail. Fail better. Try different shit. Keep stuff you like, pitch shit you don't.

Become an interesting person, with a perspective and some insights and an appreciation for other things; be kind when you're critical and critical despite your kindness when someone, of whatever gender, mentions something new.

You can be masculine. You can be androgynous. You can be tall or short, skinny or burly. Every human shape, as far as I can tell, has someone who's deeply, wickedly into it. If you want to appeal generally despite being abbreviated vertically, get to a gym and pick up some heavy shit; you'll take up more space physically as well as psychologically. I can fill a goddamned hallway the day after I pick up five hundred pounds, because I'm confident, not because I'm three feet wide at the shoulders.

+1 to that last bit of advice (and this whole post, really). All the short fellas I know who do well with women (often Asian dudes for some reason have spent decent time in the gym bulking up and getting ripped.

I'm certainly not advocating that being a gym rat is the only way to being attractive; if that's something LE doesn't enjoy (after giving it a try, rather than rejecting it out of hand as cave-man testosterone poisoning[1] or as acquiescence to contemporary gender culture stereotyping or whatever; I grew up as a skinny, soccer-playing kid who couldn't put on muscle if you taped a bucket of mayonnaise to my face until my metabolism slowed down in my late 20's)… doing something you resent is no way to make yourself happy, and, as previously mentioned, being angry and unhappy isn't an attractive mindset.

Basically, I'm advocating for getting to a position of comfort and confidence, because I enjoy quoting Jack Palance's Old Spice commercials from my childhood: "Confidence is very sexy, don't you think?"

[1] Rather comically to those who know me, I have been diagnosed with what's colloquially known as "Low T," and even know, after a year and a half of testosterone replacement therapy, am I anywhere into the bottom quartile of the "normal" range.

I do go to the gym. I don't enjoy it, I find it boring but I go to stay in shape and keep my weight under control.

If you find steady-state cardio to be tedious, there are definitely other ways to get your fitness fix; maybe rock climbing or yoga class (I suck at both of these things, but do yoga because I have all the flexibility of a bacon-wrapped cinder block from too long spent sitting at a desk), or a kickball league, or weightlifting, or whatever. If it's more fun for you, it's less of a chore, and you can find common ground with other practitioners to boot.

LeeEsq, you have mentioned you like dancing, perhaps you replace your gym time you don't enjoy with one of the many dance related fitness classes? I have often get an intense sweat that I have to manage while out dancing, if I was at a gym I can easily see that being great exercise.

You know what? I do all this, I really do. I work out, I dance competively, I have a social life beyond the internet and personality beyond bitterness.

But as we've discussed many, many times, there seems to be an issue with how you come across, possibly your tone and your voice. I feel like I can say this without being hypocritical: if you want help with your issues, maybe we need to see your body language and how you act in person. Do you have a video of yourself? Maybe not a video of you on a date, just a general video of you talking.

Isn't that what it always comes down to though? Our entire package, not just our looks?

For example, one of my best friends would objectively be an average to less than average looking woman, but she has this amazing light and happiness to her, so she always had beautiful boyfriends and now a beautiful fiance. She is just one of those people that everyone wants to be around and wants to know. She just exudes intelligence, charm, charisma and kindness.

On the flip side, an acquaintance from my running group is a miserable prick and exudes miserable prickiness. He is perpetually alone, despite beings tall, blonde, objectively handsome as sin, and rather wealthy, as in charter a private jet for the running club wealthy. Being in the same room with him is a trial and we draw straws for who has to sit next to him on the way to races. Men don't like him, women don't like him, hell, I don't even think bed bugs like him, because he just gives off this horrible miasma of anger, bitterness, frustration, and whininess that is painful to be around.

If looks were as important as they are made out to be, she should be perpetually single and he should have a harem, but the opposite is true in these cases, predominantly due to presentation and character I would hypothesize.

I'm not saying it's looks. Dr. NL knocked that down pretty well. But body language and tone of voice are important, and other things determine "a league" besides looks.

Not with women, really. Physical attractiveness is overwhelmingly determinative.

So not true. I've seen short, fat, and bald guys with gorgeous young women. Not just casual hookups, but actual relationships. Maybe looks are all that matter for one night stands, but if you like someone's personality, then it doesn't matter how that other person looks, you'll usually want to stick around.

That isn't even a stereotype that people generally perpetuate. Better luck next time.

Wait, are you now saying thatwomen value looks? Downthread you were saying the exact opposite

A lot of people think that I'm very sweet and they like being around me. Nobody ever accused me of being angry, bitter, and frustrated, or whiny outside the internet. I'm well-liked by friends, by professional colleagues, and by people I know through dance. My ex-dates overall seemed to thing that I was a rather pleseant fellow and most of them seemed to have fun, only one really seemed to dislike, they just did not seem to see me as dating material for some reason that I can't comprehend. Trust me on this.

Some people thing that its my voice. Others that its the vibe that I give.

Vibes can be funny things, because usually the vibe emitter is completely unaware they are giving off any vibe. I bet Running Wretch has no clue that he gives off the vibes he does. It kind of makes me wish I could meet you and give an assessment, because I feel like face to face is the only way to know. Then again, you only might give that vibe when you are attracted to a woman.

Have you ever had any dates where she wanted to see you again and you were not interested? If yes, can you think of how your demeanor may have differed? More relaxed, perhaps, because the stakes were lower for you? Perhaps showing less effort to impress?

I have dates where I definitely wasn't interested in seeing them again but none where they expressed interest of seeing me again. At first I was pretty nervous on dates, as I got used to dating I became more relaxed and now I can pretty much do first dates easily. I still haven't gotten a second date.

Hum. Definitely not a situation I can advise over pixel very easily. I was wondering, though, when you are dates are you enjoying yourself? As in honestly having a good time?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If I find that I like the woman yes. If not, no.

Another thing is that there is a limit to what I can do vibe wise. If I need to put on a vibe of somebody with at least an average in romance and sex than I can't do it because the stakes aren't that low for me. There will always be at least a part of me wondering whether I'd get a second date or something more and this will probably show up at least somewhat. I can repress it as much as possible but I'm not going to come off as Casanova by a long shot.

Coming off as a Casanova is less of an issue than coming off as stressed or worried and if you are seeing an individual first date as anything other than a low stakes game you will come off with a kind of fraught and anxious vibe, I would guess.

I actually turned down a 2nd date with a guy who had that feeling about him. I got this feeling that he was investing the date with too, too much importance and I felt this strange sense that he cared more about having a successful date with me than he did about being on the actual date with me (I am not explaining this well). He was wound so tight that it was stressful and unpleasant. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but someone who would drain the life out of you if you dated him

That made perfect sense to me; there is a difference between "I really want this date-thing to go well" and "I really hope the two of us have a good time on our date." I guess it is hard to explain well, though! Most people have at least some nervousness/hoping ya don't do anything stupid. But it feels off kilter and stressful if it seems more like it's about the date than the person.

It might be low-stakes to you and other people but first dates aren't for me and other people. If I had more experience they might but at this point they aren't. I can do a reasonably good job of pretending they are low stakes but until I get more than a repeated series of first dates than they will never be low stakes. I'm not uptight on dates but there needs to be a bit more.

Different perspectives I suppose. I have no stake when I first meet someone. I only develop a stake in a relationship when I know the person

On one of the older threads, I forgot which one. It was a couple of months ago probably.

Actually, yes I do. My dating problems seem like the person in the life boat with holes. You plug one hole and another hole appears. There always seems to be one issue or another, one trait or thing that acts as a deal-breaker. I'm looking for a little flexibility.

Maybe think of it more like going to the doctor. It's not always obvious what the problem is when you go in. Sometimes they have to run some tests and rule some things out. Sometimes there's more than one thing.

You're pursuing dating in a fairly inflexible medium, and it seems like you're mostly interested in women who have enough options that they're not forced to be flexible. You can look for flexibility, but I think you're more likely to find it offline or with different groups of women. If neither of those options appeal, then I think you unfortunately need to keep trying to figure out what's not working for you on your dates so that you can begin to change that thing.

There is always the depressing possibility that I'm not really doing anything wrong and I'm just having a long string of bad luck because I've dated a wide variety of women, tried a variety of dates and approaches when asking for a second date and so far none have seemed to work. The reaction to me usually seems to be the same that I'm sweet but not dating material so its hard to figure out what I'm doing wrong beyond a lack of sex appeal in general.

I'm basing this off the fact that my brother has similar dating problems and he has a much better sounding voice than I do.

I guess I don't understand this attitude. I get that you think you've put in enough effort and that should be sufficient. But several of us, upon seeing your video, said something to the effect of "oh, now I understand the problem." Yet despite numerous people telling you that your manner of speaking was almost certainly one of the main things–if not *the* main thing–holding you back, you continue to look for other explanations, or else complain that you've already done quite enough.

I get that being single can be frustrating–I can count the number of boyfriends I've ever had on one hand with fingers left over. But you keep making versions of the same post over and over again, saying you don't know what's going wrong. Many people have told you what is likely going wrong. Work on it or don't; it's your choice. But saying "women just need to be more flexible" and "when is it my turn?" is not helpful.

And like I said, my voice used to be really out of control and garbled. The monotone is actually an improvement. It took me a long time to get my voice under control. Getting the voice better could take a real long time, years, and I do not want to have to put in many more years of work in.

In past comments you said that your dates would see you as a nice man but not dating material. And i'm sorry but I can understand that if what we saw in the dance video was the real you and not just being awkward in front of a camera.

You were talking about something you mentioned enjoying very much, but were very flat and monotone. It didn't seem like you really enjoyed it.

I'm sorry, but monotone and flat is not sexy. And if you want to move from first date to more you do have to show more passion and interest.

Not only that, but for people who do not know you well, a monotone tone can make it very hard to read you, if you are enjoying the date, the conversation subject or even the person in front of you.

Now, can you find someone without working on improving that, I think so yes. Will it be harder, very much so.

But my opinion is that it is probably one of the major things holding you back.

And are you sure your out of control voice would be as bad now?

Sometimes quirks we get while growing up change or adjust over time. And it is very easy to develop a complex about it that might not be as relevant now.

Of course, all of this is from someone who doesn't know you personally. but I can say I was turned off by your expressions on the video.

Based on what people I know in real life say, yes if I don't watch my voice it does get out of control and my speech booms to inappropriate loudness. My voice was and still is really wild in a non-charming manner if I don't control it and measure it. It was garbled and sometimes unintelligible and fast. At least people can understand me better now.

So yeah my voice might be the big issue but believe me, previously it was a lot worse and this monotone is a big improvement and it still requires a lot of conscious effort on my part. It might not be sexy or attractive but its not as unattractive and off-putting as the previous tone in my voice.

And I hate this, I've invested a lot of time and money on self-improvement and there is always something else that needs to be worked on that gets in the way that needs to be worked on.

Lee, whatever you decide, I'm hoping it works out for you. And also… the payoff in doing vocal work is likely to be much bigger than with other areas, such as dancing or possibly even going to the gym. We use our voices throughout the day, every day, so your opportunities to benefit from improvement are many. Also, improving vocal quality is not like an off/off switch, where it will take years to see any improvement. It's more like a dial from 1 to 10. If you're starting at 1, even moving up a bit can make a big difference in your interactions. Don't let the effort it took you to go from uncontrolled to monotone dissuade you from exploring new methods. You may even feel that it's fun to do the work. Good vocal teachers are often joyful and playful people.

It seems to me that right now (based on the video) that your monotone is creating a mask or barrier hampering potential partners from connecting with you emotionally, and that's a shame. I am also working on an issue that has kept me from connecting with people in the way I desire. It's very scary to make changes that are so fundamental. One of my motivators is "Want > Fear" (what I want is so important to me that I'm willing to do anything to make it happen). Good luck.

I have to second this. A date with someone who only spoke in a flat, monotone and affectless manner would: 1 (best case scenario) make me think the person was going through the motions and wasn't into me or 2 (worst case scenario) remind me of being at a conference with that one droning presenter who you just wish would shut up and release you from your misery. Neither is a good first date experience

At this point, I think the amount of time and money I have to put in simply to get the possibility of a second date let alone anything else is ridiculous and off putting. Most people do not have to do this much work simply for the mere possibility of a second date. Its not fair. Everything costs money. Than you need to set aside time to practice till you get it right while working on everything else in your life. There isn't enough time.

Unless you're going to died tomorrow I think you have a lot of time.

And congrulation, no one is perfect and everyone needs to work on something in thier life. It sucks, both emotional and in money terms. But would you rather be where you were before or where you are now?

Well, then, Lee, trying very hard not to be harsh…. you should maybe stop complaining.

There's a certain point when it comes to receiving advice where you have to put your money where your mouth is (which is part of the reason I link up my FB profile, even though it's a tad embarrassing to know people in my real life could read my whining.) We give you advice, and you say over and over "No, it's not that." "No, it can't be that."

There's a certain point where if you keep shooting down advice, you have to be willing to keep offering people things to critique. You may have posted the video once a while ago, but obviously many of us didn't see it. Those same group of us are saying "Maybe it's your body language/tone of voice."

If you won't accept the advice on any other fronts, you're going to need to give us more fronts to examine, or stop asking/complaining.

Considering some of your posts, this is kind of rich.

Considering she does work at it even though she complains?

I'm not claiming I'm perfect….. but I CAN claim I am laying it out for all to see. If someone wanted to see a video of me, I'd probably offer it.

I just wanted to say that you are really adorable and good at videos! Being able to connect with the viewer (and not seem that you are just talking to a camera) is something that a lot of people doing tutorials, bloggers, etc. haven't mastered. You're a talented lady! The music and pacing are also really nice and upbeat.

Thanks for posting this video. Besides being a beautifully executed tutorial, it shows how well vocal intonation and body language can engage the viewer.

[Also, in case you are interested(?) The cowl top is quite flattering, though the light color washes you out. And the hoop earrings seem to me to not complement the lovely shape of your face. Long, straight earrings could be a more flattering look. Apologies if this is stepping over the line.]

Considering everything I know about basting has to do with things you make in an oven rather than things you make on a sewing machine, I actually followed that. Nice job explaining what you were doing and why.

My husband of 19 years is 5' 7", and that is about as tall as I wanted to go with a guy. He seems very tall to me. I would have been happy with a guy 5' 2" (my height) or anything in between. People I meet and run into today that I think are attractive are the shorter guys still.

Though I don't watch Girls because I don't have hbo, most of the comments and blog entries that I read didn't say at all that it was just about her looks.

It was her looks combined with the fact that she had nothing else to offer. She's not smart, she's pretty egotistical and self centered, she's not very charming, and some episodes seem to highlight that she may have some sort of psychological disorder(s).

If she was hooking up with him and she was very good looking, there would probably still be people saying "I believe it, but I still don't like it". If she had a charming personality, or she was a character that you would root for, people would probably love it. But the fact that she's not good looking **and** doesn't have personality attributes to make up for it (and apparently he's a guy she was rooting through his garbage can?) is why people thought it was both implausible and didn't like it.

It's like – if there's a cute charming geek who's socially awkward, and in a movie he gets together with the super popular girl, it might not be realistic but most people root for him anyways. But replace his personality with someone who's not only not popular or socially skilled, but someone who's also self-centered, annoying, obnoxious, rude, and kind of an ass – and **everyone** starts pointing out that it's just not realistic.

There was an article about this actually (on Slate I think), that talked about how both characters got something out of the weekend together. Patrick's character, an older, divorced doctor, got to experience one weekend without responsibility. Also, Hanna's character is self-absorbed, but she's definitely smart. She has a book deal in the show, and went to Oberlin. She can also be very charming at times, and in that episode, her youth and brazenness is what attracts him to her. She hits on him, and he's so stunned and flattered.

Haven't seen the episode, but I'd suspect the fling had no staying power because Hannah really IS a mess, prone to self-absorption and childishness. But at the same time, I agree she's clearly very smart; I've watched the first season, and my take-away is that if she'd just grow the fuck UP, she'd be great. (If Hannah really is an author-insertion character as I've heard suggested elsewhere, she's likely the ballsiest Mary Sue in the disreputable history of the trope. Lena Dunham has absolutely no fear of portraying herself in an unflattering light, which is one of the reasons the show is so compelling.)

Honestly, it all sounds completely plausible to me. It's not as though the character is a noxious asshole 24/7, and I totally get falling for her in the right circumstances.

I think even if she is an author insert, I'm not sure she counts as a Mary Sue. I've always understood the Mary Sue was being without much definable character or flaws. Hannah is like the opposite of a Mary Sue…. my guess is she isn't an author insert per say, but an author's exaggeration of herself.

Yeah, I think it only counts as a Mary Sue if it's being done unintentionally. I'm not a huge fan of either Girls or Dunham, but what she's doing is obviously purposeful. I think Hanna is a little closer to…well…whatever Nathan Zuckerman would be called.

Oh, they can be PLENTY intentional. They just tend to be so absurdly self-indulgent that you rarely see them in professional-grade fiction. I feel like you're arguing Hannah can't be a Mary Sue because she's a rare really well-done Mary Sue. ??

There's a difference between a Mary-Sue and an author avatar. A Mary-Sue is an absurdly perfect and special character who often upstages the main characters. He or she may or may not be an author's avatar into the world, but is frequently the best of the best because REASONS.An authorial avatar may be a Mary-Sue isn't always.http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySuehttp://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AuthorAvatar

I think if she's well done, she's not a Mary Sue…. A Mary Sue is meant to be idealized and created as an extension of wish-fulfillment. I think Hannah might be an exaggeration of some of Durham's traits, but there is nothing wish-like or idealized about her, thus why I think she doesn't fit the Mary Sue.

(Yes, even the doctor doesn't count, since the episode makes it clear the sexy older doc is just sort of flattered and is going through his own emotional turmoil, which is why he hooks up with Hannah; he doesn't fall deeply in love with her or even seem that into her, thus negating the wish fulfillment.)

Once you know about Mary Sues you see them quite a lot in professional fiction. Jane Eyre herself has some Mary Sue tendencies, but Helen Burns from early in that book is one of most obnoxious, sententious, tedious, hateful Mary Sues in all of literature, a blight on an otherwise agreeable book.

I HATED Helen. She was the sappiest sap who ever sapped and I wanted to belt her when I first read the book at age 12.

I've been under the impression that most people hated her, or at least considered her a nuisance that they had to deal with before they got to the good part of the plot.

I'm a little curious how she was received by the book's initial audience, though. Was she perceived as a sap even by them, or is this something that modern audiences react to more strongly because we've been exposed to so many variations on this same cliche?

I didn't hate her, I first read the book at ten and tended to read a lot of Victorian and Edwardian fiction and just took her as part of the genre. I assume that most people reading at the time would have done so as well.

I think Jane was based largely on Charlotte herself but Helen was based on her sister Maria, who died of tuberculosis.

The strange thing about Nathan Zuckerman is that Philip Roth has written himself in books as Philip Roth. Operation Shylock is one example. The entire Roth family, his parents, his older brother, and his ten year old self are the main characters in The Plot Against America.

Except your last paragraph describes most protagonists of teen sex comedies. Most of the male protagonists are sort of stupid, rather selfish, really short-sighted, sex- or status- obsessed, etc…. and yet the assumption is we will still root for them because they are the underdog, and sometimes for no other reason. Take "American Pie," one of the biggest staples of the genre. Chris Klein is the only one with any redeemable qualities; the rest of them are incredibly immature, and rather creepy (setting up a webcam so your buddies can watch you have sex with on an unknowing girl-classy!)

Hannah is egotistical and self-centered, but she is egotistical and self-centered in a way EVERYONE on the show is. The point kind of is, that's how most people are in their early and mid-20's. Charming is also a matter of perspective…. I find her very realistic and fascinating. Sometimes she's infuriating, sometimes she's charming, just like an actual human.

What I *will* say is, she doesn't act in the vein of a traditional Hollywood female…. which I think is why when I hear someone complaining that she's just soooo annoying and grating and selfish and everything, I can usually lay odds that it's a guy talking. Women seem kind of 50/50 on Hannah, but appreciate her as a character, but the guys who diss "Girls" seem out-and-out offended by her precisely *because* she is human and not a paper-doll creation like so many other portrayals of women.

"Except your last paragraph describes most protagonists of teen sex comedies."

Lol, I don't agree, if that was true Stifler would have been the protagonist.

I would disagree with most of your adjectives, actually. "nieve ", "inexperienced", "short sighted", etc, yes, but not stupid. Don't think I would really agree with selfish either – what main protagonist is being selfish – I mean more than anyone else? I agree with short-sighted, but that's kind of the point of movies/tv shows – everyone starts off being short-sighted because they can't see what else is going on, that's like the plot – at first they're short sighted, then as things go on they learn what's real and what's not and "mature", etc etc. Status obsessed is funny because *everyone* is in all teen movies / tv shows. Have you seen…say, Gossip Girl? The most status obsessed of male antagonists pales in comparison, lol.

I think it was somewhat telling that Chris Klein was the only character in the later movies to not end up married to the girl he was with in the first movies. It's…well, it's definitely what I've seen in real life. I've often been the guy with the "sensitive" vibe, and I've painful gotten rid of about half of that in my own personality because again and again if a guy has that vibe – he's single.

I kinda don't really understand your 2nd paragraph, because it rather is described by the first. I would disagree with you strongly that "most" people are like Hannah – though on the other hand, "game" teaches to be more like that, so maybe most people really are like that and they're just outside my social circle.

The blogs entries I was reading were by women, but…I mean that's interesting.

See…the thing is, I…rather agree with you about her being more realistic. Buuuuut…that "unrealistic" portrayal of women is what I see most of the female commenters here pushing as well (not you, but most of the other ones). If even you take out the top 20% of my controversial comments, as soon as I describe girls behaving in a way that's selfish, self-centered, etc, immediately someone jumps in to strongly claim that women "aren't" like that (plus that's how the articles go as well). Later, it changes to something like – well, a few women are like that, but they're rare and they're an exception, that's not what most women are like.

When I say there's a lot of girls on the personals who are selfish and just in it for the kicks (I said a lot, not all), I get a lot of negative responses – but Hannah is exactly the kind of girl who would do it for the attention then bail and just not show up when meeting because she's not sure what to do. I can totally a female character on the show who calls some guy "creepy" because she's in a bad mood and just doesn't like him and he seems harmless. They're egotistical and self-centered – they don't care about any sort of higher level "should I say this" kind of stuff.

Hannah is the girl-perspective on "game". From what I read (and for "Girls" I'm reading mostly female-written blogs), Adam – her on-again-off-again boyfriend – doesn't return texts calls etc, but she keeps going back to him again and again. He doesn't even put on a try at being charming or having deeper feelings most of the time, but this just causes her to complain about it – but keep going back to him again and again. He acts aloof and better than her and she keeps coming back – whether or not he's a "decent human being" is beside the point. When with another girl Adam dates for a while inspires online comments about how he's borderline-rapey – you notice the character is back getting together with him again in the next episode. What he did – doesn't even cause her (a non-Hannah character) to dislike him enough to stop seeing him and sleeping with him. Adam himself is practically the definition of the aloof asshole – and she keeps going back to him again and again.

From my perspective a lot of times guys don't like Hannah, but it's usually women who are insisting that women like Hannah don't exist – or are some sort of tiny minority of women that doesn't really count anyways.

Um, pretty sure video taping a girl unknowingly just to prove to your buddies you had sex with said hot girl is selfish. Pushing a girl into having sex so you won't graduate a virgin is selfish. Trying to manipulate a situation JUST because of some sexist pissing-contest is selfish. And this is me discussing ONLY "American Pie." In what instance do any of the three guys except Oz show any sign of intelligence or kindness? (And "they got into college" is not a sign of intelligence, it's a sign of a screen writer.)

And the self-obsession of Gossip Girl is the POINT. We're not SUPPOSED to find the protagonists (if such a word could be used) relate able. It's a zoo show… us looking through the bars of a lifestyle as we envision it to be. Whereas with American Pie, it's clearly written TO illicit feelings of "wow this guy is just like me!" from its teenage-and-older audience.

No, a guy is NOT single just because he gives off a "sensitive" vibe. Jimminy Christmas. Ya know why Oz is single? Because the screen writers *decided* he would be. They didn't really give a reason, or a concrete character development and explanation.

I say people are like Hannah because she is sort of selfish and egotistical…. that's part of the development cycle of the current early 20's/mid-20's. It's pretty realistic in that way. It doesn't mean she is an awful human being, OR that game works (where the hell did that come from?) but that she just isn't entirely mature and grown-up yet, and that she's complicated and full of conflicting facets.

But that doesn't mean WOMEN are like that. It means "individual people" are like that. Hannah is realistic in that she's portrayed *as a person.* Her womaniness isn't her main and singular defining trait. What you miss about other commenters is that they are trying to say women…. as in, all women, like a hive-mind… are not like that. Some *individual* women are, but not ALL women are. Can your brain make that distinction?

She keeps going back to him for complicated, human reasons. The ironic thing, Adam ISN'T trying to Game her. (And he border-lined raped another girl; Hannah is not aware of this fact.) Adam is just a messed-up, twisted kid, and in that way he and Hannah relate. It has absolutely nothing to do with him being "aloof" or "Game." It has to do with them rubbing at each other's psychological scars….. because Hannah rubs against his, just as much as he rubs against hers.

"Um, pretty sure video taping a girl unknowingly just to prove to your buddies you had sex with said hot girl is selfish."

Ok, sure, but you described their entire character as selfish. One or two selfish things is not quite the same thing. Was the redhead selfish when she lied to the guy about having seen the video, then slept with him, and left before he woke up in the morning? Was Stifler's mom selfish for sleeping with a high school student half her age? I don't remember all the details of all the plot points, but while videotaping someone secretly like that is selfish, I don't really see them being any more selfish than any of the female characters either.

"Pushing a girl into having sex so you won't graduate a virgin is selfish."

He was my least favorite and relateable character (other than Stifler I suppose), but his reasons for it (if I remember right) were always about the relationship and how he thought the relationship was supposed to go. He thought the sex was going to be great and make them closer.

"In what instance do any of the three guys except Oz show any sign of intelligence or kindness? (And "they got into college" is not a sign of intelligence, it's a sign of a screen writer.) "

I honestly wouldn't know how to answer that, as everyone except for Stifler seem as kind and intelligent as anyone.

"And the self-obsession of Gossip Girl is the POINT. We're not SUPPOSED to find the protagonists (if such a word could be used) relate able. It's a zoo show… us looking through the bars of a lifestyle as we envision it to be. Whereas with American Pie, it's clearly written TO illicit feelings of "wow this guy is just like me!" from its teenage-and-older audience. "

In one paragraph you just described how both shows are the same theme of relateable – with selfish characters.

"No, a guy is NOT single just because he gives off a "sensitive" vibe. Jimminy Christmas. Ya know why Oz is single? Because the screen writers *decided* he would be. They didn't really give a reason, or a concrete character development and explanation."

I wouldn't say that based on *just* the movie, I say it in combination with what I've seen in real life. Yeah, the screenwriters decided that – but I think they decided that because it seemed the most reasonable that he would be the one to have split up with his girlfriend.

"I say people are like Hannah because she is sort of selfish and egotistical…. that's part of the development cycle of the current early 20's/mid-20's. It's pretty realistic in that way…but that she just isn't entirely mature and grown-up yet, and that she's complicated and full of conflicting facets. "

Yeah…that's what I've been saying. She's selfish, egotistical – yeah, that's a lot girls in their 20's relate to. A character that's like that. When I write comments describing behavior similar to hers, there's usually a whole slew of comments saying that girls "aren't" like that and there must be something odd about my life that I know girls who are anywhere near that.

"OR that game works (where the hell did that come from?) …The ironic thing, Adam ISN'T trying to Game her…Adam is just a messed-up, twisted kid, and in that way he and Hannah relate. It has absolutely nothing to do with him being "aloof" or "Game." It has to do with them rubbing at each other's psychological scars….. because Hannah rubs against his, just as much as he rubs against hers."

The fact that he doesn't say "I'm doing game!" doesn't change that his character is still describing what game tries to emulate. Game describes making her chase you, being an aloof asshole but not a caring asshole, treating her like she's below you, making it obvious you have other options…etc etc etc. Some game describes how you're always better off being a little to pushy than a little to cautious – if she actually doesn't want to do something she'll let you know. Again, and again, and again this is how Adam acts. I don't even watch the show,

Whether he does it because he read it on the internet, or because of childhood scars, he acts the same way either way.

"But that doesn't mean WOMEN are like that. It means "individual people" are like that. Hannah is realistic in that she's portrayed *as a person.* Her womaniness isn't her main and singular defining trait. What you miss about other commenters is that they are trying to say women…. as in, all women, like a hive-mind… are not like that. Some *individual* women are, but not ALL women are. Can your brain make that distinction?"

I don't have any problem understanding that, but other commenters are just as quick to treat women as a hivemind and insist that "women" don't do the things and respond to things that Hannah does.

When people say "that works with some people but not others" I do not disagree with them, my point is when people say that "women" don't act like that. Well – some women do.

Hey, I think the "women" do this and "men" do that terminology is stupid and misleading to. It's the poor wording we seem to be stuck with.

Girls is a comedy. In a lot of modern comedy, most of the characters are buffoons. Since Girls is a modern comedy, Hannah and company are buffoons. Simple as that.

I disagree, quite strongly. Do you watch the show? I mean, I don't even like it that much, but I think it's clearly meant to be one of those shows where the characters are annoying and unlikable but also relatively human rather than…I don't know…an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where the characters are unlikable and clearly meant to be ridiculous.

I describe people like that as buffoons even if they are supposed to relatively human rather than clownish and ridiculous.

Then I'm not really seeing the point of the comment beyond expressing your disapproval of modern comedy. I think Marty's trying to get at some more subtle differences in characterization between different comedy sub-genres.

I'm not expressing approval of modern comedy. I'm just saying that I think the word buffoon is an accurate description of the characters in Girls and other modern comedies or comedy in general. I like buffoons. The three main characters in Bored to Death were buffoons and I loved that show. So were the Marx Brothers.

I'm having trouble seeing your connection between the people in Girls and the Marx Brothers. What do you define as a buffoon?

Any sort of overly foolish behavior engaged in a character in a comedy.

Yes, so then I still don't really see Girls as fitting that description. People on the show make mistakes, but they occasionally make good and neutral choices as well, and I don't think the show's intent is for you to laugh at these silly people and their foolish antics, but to relate to the characters at least a bit and experience some combination of cringing and laughing along with them. I don't necessarily think it achieves that goal, at least not all of the time, but I think that's what it's going for and am fairly sure Dunham means her characters to be taken somewhat seriously.

I find that very different than the kind of humor that the Marx Brothers is going for. I guess what I'm looking for is something specific about Girls that you think puts it in the buffoon comedy category. The generalization you started out with above doesn't seem to indicate a lot of specific familiarity with the show.

She was throwing the trash from the place she worked into his can. Hanna is admittedly annoying, but she's also smart and I could see her coming off as original or interesting…at least at first, to a person who isn't very familiar with her type.

Also, this gets glossed over because we're used to seeing women in their mid-twenties paired up with guys in their forties, but she's a lot younger than he is. He's recently divorced and probably hangs out with people who are mostly his own age, and this strange young girl comes over to his house and has sex with him. He doesn't have to take her out for dinner or chase after her or introduce her to his friends. He also eventually realized that she drags around a bunch of bullshit with her and is kind of a pain. It took him a couple days to notice that, but I don't think that's unrealistic either.

And I agree with Marty about teen sex comedies and not so teen sex comedies. Movies routinely ask for me to cheer on selfish manchildren in their pursuit of much more attractive women. People may point out it's not realistic, but it's not the kind of outrage that the Girls episode inspired.

Sure, I could see that. Without having seen the episode myself I hesitate to postulate more on it.

On that last paragraph, we'd have to get into a much larger discussion on the topic. But Marty was saying that a lot of those movie portrayals of women is "a paper-doll creation" – the women don't appear "childish" because they have no depth to them.

The other thing that usually happens is that the women appears less "childish" because it's the guy who has to move things forward. The person who sits back and waits for the other person to take the risks always looks less immature. Like in American Pie – the main character is incredibly "immature" and borderline creepy by setting up a webcam so his friends can see this girl get naked. But…the result of this? The cute redhead goes with him to prom specifically because she saw the video so he was a sure thing. In the second movie he "immaturely" wants to use the redhead so he can get good at making out, sex, etc for when a completely different girl arrives. But this is the catalyst that causes him to date the redhead. The person who gets to sick back and wait for the other person to figure things out is the one who comes across as more mature. They aren't really, but they appear that way.

I mean maybe I'm going off on a tangent that you weren't going towards. But while I could agree that movies a lot of times don't depict attractive men, I don't think they usually depict how anything works with women either. When you do see the few shows that focus on mainly female characters, I always see just as much immaturity. "Girls" or "Sex and the City" characters are all incredibly immature. Actually the guys appear much more mature to me – but again, I believe that's because the guys are fairly one-dimensional. There's no huge amount of depth to the guys, so they also fall into the same role I said earlier where it's easy for a one dimensional character to doesn't take risks to appear mature.

I hope I haven't completely misinterpreted what you were saying…

"the main character is incredibly "immature" and borderline creepy by setting up a webcam so his friends can see this girl get naked."

That isn't borderline creepy. That is in the capital city of creepy.

I wasn't sure what to call it. If "creepy" is about danger, it's not about danger, but it's…something else.

At the time I remember thinking it was somewhat unbelievable that after she found out, and got sent back to her home country, that she kept talking to him and wanted to visit him again.

I don't really understand how people judge the characters' intelligence on the show. What kind of evidence is there that Hannah is intelligent other than "she has the ability to write a book and graduated from college" ? Marnie could be seen as intelligent in a cunning, plotting sort of way, the british girl (forgot her name) could be seen as intelligent because she realizes that a lot of people in her life are full of shit and smartly avoids them, Adam might be seen as sort of an autistic savant kind of intelligent, hell even Donald Glover's character that only appears for one episode seems pretty inteligent, but Hannah repeatedly shows that she's helpless, needy, and not actually that intelligent based on her actions.

Paul, if you reverse the genders than you have most of the couples on tv sitcoms. If people have no problems with unattractive men with no socially redeeming traits having sex with hot women or even being married to them than I don't see why people should have a problem with unattractive women with no socially redeeming traits having sex with hot men or even being attractive to them.

I don't agree with you. I think you'd hear just as much complaining – probably more – if a balding unattractive man hooked up with a cute girl half his age. Or perhaps a better analogy would be all the "that's completely unrealistic" comments you'd get if an attractive and sexually appealing women started sleeping with a loser guy half her age…

In real life yes. On a tv show, not so much considering how much it happens in TV sitcoms.

Women do complain and would do so again if a balding unattractive male character hooked up with a cute girl half his age. Then people would forget about it and they'd complain again in a month when it happened again.

If an attractive and sexually appealing woman started sleeping with a loser guy half her age, the discussion would be half cougar jokes and half talk about whether the woman in question is pathetic or empowered. No one would be wondering what she saw in him, or questioning why a beautiful, rich doctor isn't with a non-loser guy half her age instead of the loser one.

"Women do complain and would do so again if a balding unattractive male character hooked up with a cute girl half his age. Then people would forget about it and they'd complain again in a month when it happened again."

I think that's the same thing that's happening here with "girls" though…

"If an attractive and sexually appealing woman started sleeping with a loser guy half her age, the discussion would be half cougar jokes and half talk about whether the woman in question is pathetic or empowered. No one would be wondering what she saw in him, or questioning why a beautiful, rich doctor isn't with a non-loser guy half her age instead of the loser one."

I can see where you're coming from, but I really think there would be a ton of discussion on why she's with him and questioning whether it's realistic. I'm not sure I have much more to add, but I think you'd get what you're saying first, followed by "but why would she even do that?".

So.. somehow just cause Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Al Bundy, the guy from King of Queens.. I could go on.. aren't half their wives age it somehow makes it more likely they would actually wind up with 'hot wives' even though they are all, without fail, schlubs, of the highest order.

I personally find the repetition of schluby guy with hot wife trope highly annoying.. it happens in real life I'm sure.. but not nearly as often as the TV and movies would have you believe. The reason people are upset about this is because people are upset at Lena Dunham for having the temerity to commit the crime of "Being on TV while Average".. if Girls weren't an american show, and dunham hadn't done nude scenes.. I doubt anyone would be so offended by this..

The reason people are upset about this is because people are upset at Lena Dunham for having the temerity to commit the crime of "Being on TV while Average."

The sex scenes on Girls are almost always more about vulnerability that titillation. The howls of entitled fury that erupt whenever Dunham takes her top off amuse the hell out of me. O noes; a woman has showed her bewbs and you DON'T want to jerk-off to them. The horror. The horror.

From what I've read, the sex scenes on girls are mostly about discomfort and awkwardness, not tittilation. So I kind of agree with you…

I don't think any of those characters have wives half their age. Marge Simpson, Louis Griffin…etc, are all about the same age as their husbands, though.

An infinitely more annoying example of an author doing this is "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series. Larsson himself was a crusading journalist who ran and edited a left-wing magazine that he had founded, with a particularly interest in modern Neo-Nazi movements. The male protagonist of the series, Blomkvist, IS JUST A STRAIGHT UP REPRODUCTION OF THE AUTHOR – with the exception that the character gets laid like tile with an unfeasible large collection of women who more or less throw themselves at his middle-aged ass for no easily discernible reason.

Compared with that, whatever minor artistic sins Lena Dunham may or may not have committed (I don't watch the series) must surely be minor in comparison.

Yeah, that was pretty egregious. I bought it in the first book. He had his existing relationship and then he had the thing with Lisbeth, which made sense to me because she seemed like she was aching for someone to get past her defensiveness and treat her well. That all seemed believable enough, even though the guy didn't have much of a personality.

In the later books it got ridiculous, though, especially back in the day when I didn't picture Blomkvist as Daniel Craig.

In the first book even there's his fling with Cecilia Vanger, which doesn't have a huge amount of point to it.

And, of course, he's very much described as definitely NOT Daniel Craig.

Oh, you know, I forgot about that. I'm going to take that as a sign that it didn't add much to the story and should have been cut. The second and third books were when I finally caught on to the pattern, with the third book being especially annoying.

It was pretty ridiculous, but I actually found it sort of plausible (in an over-the-top Mary Sue-ish way, of course) in that he would be an extremely easy guy to have a couple of fun nights with. He was laid back about sex, forward but not pushy, formed connections with women whether or not he was hoping to sleep with them, and was capable of not making things weird with other interactions with people he was sleeping with or had slept with. If you were hanging out in an airport thriller novel and wanted some casual sex, you could do worse.

The actor who plays Blomkvist in the Sweedish adaptation matches Blomkvist as described in the books more closely but that makes it worse in many ways. With Daniel Craig you can at least understand why Blomkvist got laid alot.

Blomkvist reminds me of the type of person that says the ideological correct thing and hangs around in non-maintstream social circles as a way to get laid.

A lot of attractive young women would totally throw themselves at Daniel Craig, for several easily discernable reasons.

Amen. That series drives me kind of crazy. I think he's a decent writer (as in, his descriptions of things are interesting and keep me engaged) but the plots in the latter books start getting ridiculous, and Blomkvist is SO insert Larsson doesn't even seem to bother trying to hide it.

The character of Lisbeth is also a little troubling, especially as she's supposedly considered a "strong" woman from the author's point of view.

I actually found her an interestingly troubled and flawed character,. She took an active role in her own life, and had her own ways of handling problems, many of them extremely problematic or unhealthy – but I don't feel like the author ever tried to portray them otherwise, or used them to make her a weak character.

Oh yes. I knew practically nothing about Larsson except what the blurb about him revealed and it was pretty clear that Blomkvist was pure wish fulfillment for Larsson. I also found Lisabeth to be evil. I understand her rage and all, certainly she has a right to be angry, but some of her actions were basically petty vengence at best like what she did to the real estate agent that helped her get her apartment in book 2. He was an asshole but thats no reason to destroy someone's life, which is pretty much what Lisabeth did to him.

Pure Mary Sue wishcasting on Dunham's part. Everyone immediately recognized that a girl like that would have nothing to offer a high SMV male with options. Hence the reaction.

Well said on the celebrity issue. People who are very compatible in almost every aspect might not work out as a couple if they aren't in the same world

I agree. Long distance relationships are hard and the space shuttle between Earth and Mars is expensive. Its much better to date somebody who lives on the same planet

Does anybody else think that Brad Pitt would have a better career if he was not as good looking? He has leading man looks and he does alright in leading man parts but that really isn't where is strength is as an actor. Brad Pitt is much better playing slightly to very unhinged people like his character in 12 Monkeys or his role in Inglorious Bastards. He'd probably receive more parts better suited to his abilities if he looked moer unhinged.

I'm ultimately going to vote no. I think we'd have seen some more awesome, oddball performances from him, but if he were an offbeat character actor he'd also have to take a lot of shallow parts in bad movies to pay the bills. As it is, he's done the leading man thing and made his money. As he gets older, he'll have a lot of roles open to him that don't hinge on sex appeal, and he'll be able to pick and choose which ones he wants. But it's an interesting question.

I think better was bad word choice on my part. I meant a career more suited to his talents. Brad Pitt is decent at leading man roles but not the best. He is awesome as oddballs though.

No…I kinda think that he *is* a slightly unhinged person himself, but because he's good looking it's considered socially acceptable. If he wasn't good looking, his only roles would be as bad guys.

It's like Tom Cruise. I never noticed how slightly unhinged he seemed until his whole fiasco, and then I started seeing it even in his older movies.

Cruise strikes me as genuinely being a bit unhinged. Pitt's always struck me as one of those people who might not have much of a personality beyond being a bit of a pothead. He's changed his public persona every time he's switched who he was dating, which makes me think there might not be a whole lot of there there.

That's really interesting. I was watching a movie with Brad Pitt in it a few days ago, and I could totally see that…

But I think that's kind of why Brad Pitt wouldn't be successful if he wasn't good looking. He wouldn't be very interesting as a mediocre looking guy.

Leagues are bullshit? Some people will find you attractive and interesting, some people will not. That's it. If you find somebody attractive, talk to them. If they don't find you attractive back, walk away without whining.

Should be a period after the first sentence. Slip of the fingers.

Eh, I think it's a good idea to be able to gauge if someone will respond to you, so you don't continually set yourself up for constant rejection. I find X type of guy attractive, but have discovered through lots and lots and lots of rejections that type X guys are absolutely never attracted to me. Yes, I could hit on the 1 out of 1000 X guys who might find me mildly amusing, but that'd be 999 rejections to emotionally slog through. What a waste of time and energy!

Gonna come across as *slightly* bitter here, but risking it: I think people who say "don't worry about rejection" and "leagues don't matter" are those who are attractive to a wider range of people, or who are naturally in a higher league. Not saying higher-league people never get rejected, or don't have their own dating hang-ups….. But if you're someone who has success 1 out of 30 times, of course you're going to take rejection a bit better than someone who only has success 1 out of 500 times.

For the 1/30 person, rejection is still a risk, but it's not a bad gamble. The 1/500 person, on the other hand, has the odds severely stacked against them. So finding a way to cut down on the rejection, and minimize time wasted, is very valuable.

I can see how someone might luck out on types (as opposed to hierarchical leagues) – like if you like super extroverted colourful types, and you are very shy, they may just overlook you – not because you are not in their league, but because their attention is drawn by other extroverts. And sometimes people are drawn to cynical, self-absorbed people who are incapable of responding in kind – who will instead dole out affection or criticism as it serves their own egos.

What type are you most attracted to? (ie. likely to result in crushing as opposed to a sensible list of what you want in a partner. I often have crushes I think would be foolish to act on)

I just saw this post, which would be an answer to a bunch of the questions I asked in another thread. Sorry! Finding ways to optimize success and minimize pain can be very healthy. At the same time, though, I think it is a good idea to bear in mind the plethora of exceptions to "leagues" or "types". We're talking about generalizations, which as somebody mentioned are problematic at best for predicting individual behavior–as a result, it is important to pay attention to the person actually in front of you for the clues he/she is giving you before deciding you know what is going to happen. Without bearing in mind the possibility of individual exceptions, leagues become a replacement for talking with or getting to know a new person.

This blog post reminds me of a certain exchange from the wonderful movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?":

Betty Boop: Yeah. What a lucky girl.

Eddie Valiant: Seriously, what do you see in that guy?

I realise that WFRR is a movie and that Jessica and Roger Rabbit's relationship is constructed, but I think it's true for most people in the real world, too. I believe that most women – drop down gorgeous or not – would rather prefer to date a man who makes her laugh and fits her personality rather than someone who is simply good-looking, in the long run. And I would think the same is true for the men. But what do I know.

Not really relevant, but until recently, I'd swear up and down that Jessica Rabbit was actually a rabbit, like that she had rabbit ears in with the hair. I saw it as a young child, and that was my takeaway. Not sure why.

Apparently you know a lot more then most T.V. Writers and Internet dudebros! Good post!

As much as I agree with the Doctor's thesis, my recent interactions with women speak to the contrary.

This past winter, after a prolonged academic career, I had finally earned my undergraduate degree and was working as a copywriter at an up-and-coming ad agency in the South End of Boston, focusing on daily, branded content for various social media outlets. And dare I say, I was pretty good at my job. The response I would receive from women upon telling them that I was working in advertising was remarkably disparate from the response I would get when I would reveal to them that I was still a student. Like, night and day. I'm talking about a warm, engaged, physical response–visibly piquing their interest–as opposed to a roll of the eyes. And some of these women were still in school themselves!

But in February, I was the first of many layoffs to come, and have been looking for a new job ever since to no avail. I've papered this town with my resume and I can't get into a room with someone for ten minutes to save my life. So for the sake of keeping the lights on, I've made a no-so-triumphant return to my former profession: food service. I'm working considerably more hours for a fraction of the pay, and it *is* denying me the opportunity to forge emotional connections with women.

About two weeks ago, I was sitting at the bar of the sister restaurant located next door to the one I am currently employed. I had changed into my streets (my uniform as I refer to it: my favorite sky blue button up, jeans, matching socks, and my reliable pair of brown, slip on boots) and had gotten a great haircut the previous day, so I was looking as good as one can after working a double shift. It was a quiet Sunday evening and the only other patrons beyond myself were a pair of women sitting at the corner of the bar. Considering how desolate the place was at the time, I could easily overhear their conversation as I wrote in my journal, trying to break a poem I had been working on for a few weeks. I quickly gleaned from their dialogue that they were academic writers, working in the textbook industry, and that they found the quality of men they were meeting as of late, underwhelming to say the least. They couldn't have been all that much older than I. They were certainly nerdy, witty, and in my estimation, conventionally attractive.

Even though I was hesitant to introduce myself (engaging them while being the only dude at an empty bar felt blatantly opportunistic and transparent), I threw out a comment that was relevant to the story they were discussing, which was warmly received, and moments later, I pulled up a seat next to them.

For about 45 minutes, we discussed a variety of topics that, thankfully, were right in my wheelhouse: the importance of devoting time to one's own creative writing while performing other obligations, discovering absurd words while playing Words With Friends, and most joyously of all, speculating about the identity of the next Doctor. As far as approaches go, it was pretty much as good as it gets… that was, until they inevitably asked what I do for a living.

"Oh, I work next door, expediting food from the kitchen."

They laughed in my face, paid the check, and left in quite a hurry.

You would of thought I told them that their heads would look good on a spit, they ran out of there so fast. They instantly wrote me off. It didn't matter how kind I was, how respectful, how much I listened. To whatever degree I endeared myself to them was gone in an instant. The "bro" thing stung a bit, too.

I haven't approached anyone since and don't really see the upside of doing so until I find better employment. I'm not crying "hypergamy!" or anything of that sort. I'm just lamenting the state of things, how, even though I know I am, apparently, I am just out of their league.

You do realize that some *people* are assholes, right?

Women statistically date sideways when it comes to employment. Though that doesn't mean all. Income status falls in the realm of "quality of life" that is completely different than leagues of socially acceptable levels of physical attractiveness. I've dated enough starving artists to know the struggle is more emotionally draining than I personally want in my life. Which falls under compatibility with a person and not so much that I'm out of their league.

I am intimately familiar with how many assholes there are walking around among us: they are my customers. The restaurant in question is right in the heart of Cambridge. I could stand on its second-story roof deck, throw a rock in any direction and hit a building affiliated with Harvard. And while every school under the Harvard umbrella proudly comprises young people from all over the world, a thoroughly diverse student body to be sure, the people who come into the restaurant are predominately wealthy (or at least they project the idea of wealth), white, and privileged. They ooze entitlement from every last pore, proudly so. I don't doubt that they put some substantial effort into their studies, but how many of them are truly going to want for anything for the rest of their days? How many of them have really gotten their hands dirty in their lifetime, worked shit jobs for table scraps, gone hungry for days, because they don't have options or others to rely on. To be sure, in my short time working their so far, I've waiting on some kind souls, but they are the minority. The majority can't even be bothered to look me in the eyes, acknowledge my humanity as it were, when I bring them their food.

But back to the women in question: I suppose what really struck me about the interaction was how visceral their response was. I mean, I've been rejected more times than I would care to recall, but no one has ever laughed in my face. Who does that to another person? Especially when that person has been nothing short of kind and respectful. Engaging them in a pleasant conversation was the extent of my intention. I wasn't trying to pick them up. I understand that *they* don't know that, but that doesn't excuse such cruelty.

Yow. That sucks; sounds humiliating. But I do have to wonder if part of the problem is presentation.

Sounds like you were very proud of your job as a copywriter. I'm willing to bet that came through when you talked about your job. Were you proud of being a student? I'm willing to bet the way you felt about that came through, too.

The economy sucks; plenty of people have been forced to put their careers on hold. Sure, some women are going to get squicked by you working as a waiter, and there's know way of knowing which ones they are until it comes up. But I suspect others will laugh it off, and possibly share a story of their own — if you present it right.

If you give off "I'm basically a hobo and I hope you're desperate" vibes whenever your job comes up, that's gonna be a mood killer no matter what. But if you can take that in stride as the temporary setback it is, that's an appealing trait.

Presentation does count for quite a bit. The job I've had for years now is one that is not particularly prestigious nor well-paying, and there aren't many opportunities for advancement. However, I haven't looked for anything "better" because I really love the company I work for–I have good friends among my coworkers, the atmosphere of the office is friendly and supportive, and it's in an industry many people (including me) find interesting and rewarding. So when people ask me what I do, instead of saying "I'm an X," I'll often go on to say "I'm an X at Company Y," which has led to some nice conversations about Company Y and its associated industry.

Maybe it was because you told them you worked at "expediting food from the kitchen". If they work in academic publishing they probably get overexposed to unusually flowery language. If thats your style hopefully you can find women who like that sort of thing. I'm surprised you didn't have it beaten out of you when you became a copywriter though.

When I was a student, my eyes would have lit up more at you being a professional writer than just another student like myself. Its not the money, it was being young, insecure and convinced that everyone else had a more exciting life than I did.

The women leaving is probably more do to with their lunch hour being over than any confirmation of leagues. They could have just frozen you out of the conversation if you being a waiter offended them so much. Good luck with finding a job you prefer.

While I would agree that the manner in which I choose to speak could be described as "flowery," that's just how, quite simply, I tend to express myself: using 10 words when 5 will suffice. Such tendencies were in fact quickly beaten out of me when I became a copywriter. And it's not so much superfluous language, "$3 words" and such, as just extra. I don't know. I've grown rather fond of it, to be honest.

That really sucks and was a shitty thing to have happen to you.

However, I think you misunderstood what Doc Nerdlove was saying. He's not saying that the concept doesn't exist, he's saying that YOU shouldn't buy into the concept of a person being out of your league. You can't control other people and their preconceptions. You can only take care of yourself and your own head space as best you can.

Though may I suggest, as a fellow underemployed copywriter, that you spin your job situation like mad? Instead "I work in expediting food,", next time try pulling a rueful face and say "Well, I was a copywriter until the layoffs. Now I'm a starving artist. I actually work next door at the __, and it is a goldmine of material for my next novel/comic strip/interpretive dance."

You're being totally truthful but you're redirecting the question from your weakness to your strength, towards what you're really passionate аbout: your writing. Even if your job sucks, you're making it clear that you yourself are still an ambitious person actively pursuing your dreams. And you set up a number of conversational branches – about your writing, about your restaurant stories, about the sucky economy, etc.

I can appreciate the idea of spinning things into something a bit more immediately pleasing to the senses, but in that moment, all I wanted to do was answer the question truthfully. I already feel an intense amount of shame with regards to the state of things, dancing around the reality of it and dressing it up with a shiny bow would just add more fuel to that self-loathing fire, I feel. I have to embrace it. And it was stated so matter-of-factly, not at all put upon. I was so breezy, I was blowing in the wind. Had they not hightailed it out of there immediately after I admitted that I'm currently a food runner, the next words out of my mouth would have been something to the effect of, "But, I'm a writer…" And then I would have described it with the same passion as I always did my copywriting.

Youch. Yeah, that was an asshole move on their part. And, yes, some women care what you do for a living. (Contrary to popular belief, some men care about this too, or at least I got lots of skepticism when I was completely out of work.)

I would agree with the others that there are lots of different ways that you can talk about yourself and what you're doing. That one in particular might make the wrong impression. I think it's something about getting too much into the nuts and bolts of the job, without mentioning where it fits in the bigger picture of your life. Talking about expediting food from the kitchen may leave the impression that that's all you're looking to do, or that your primary goal is to move one rung up the ladder at the restaurant. I suspect employed, professional women (and creative sorts, and students, and many other types) would respond better if you'd mentioned the past job in advertising.

This is another awkward bit, and isn't entirely fair, but I think you probably need to be especially careful in talking about this sort of thing with women who are slightly older than you are, especially if you look a bit young for your age. The combination of the two things might lead them to chop a few years off their estimate of how old you are and reclassify you as "that cute kid from the bar" rather than as someone who'd be a potential dating partner.

I worked at Wal-Mart in college, so I totally understand how classist people can be. For me (and I only speak for me), it might have sounded better if you had said you were a laid-off copywriter working as a waiter instead of the attempt at being clever. Sometimes clever comes off as defensive.

That man is my musical idol, no joke. He's freaking awesome.

"we don’t accept the idea that someone who looks like Lena Dunham could score with a guy who looks like Patrick Wilson2 because we never see it in the media. "

Nope. People laugh at the notion because they never see it *in real life*. Attractive, high value men don't date dumpy, unnattractive women because they don't have to, and everyone knows it. Pronounced imbalances in physical attractiveness virtually always run in only one way (see Hendricks and her weirdo-looking husband.) Women simply put less import on physical attractiveness as a signifier of mate value.

Except Hugh Jackman, who is smoking ot married a dumpy woman 13 years older than im and is very muchin love. And Toey Maguire who is attractive and very successful, if not the stud Hugh Jackman is, married a woman who is quite plain. That dude from the new NCIS who is quite nice to look at married a long-faced, plain woman, Yannick Bisson, who I find to be highly attractive, has a very average wife… And it's not like that girl in NL's example was exactly ugly and dumpy. she's justkinda average.I know quite a few guys in theater, film and circus who are gorgeous and have average or plain girlfriends or wives… The media just likes pretty couples better.

That has not been my experience, but neither of our anecdotes really count the way actual trend data would, so let's leave that aside.

What I have seen that's relevant to this discussion, though, is when a guy is dating a woman who's not traditionally attractive (especially if she's fat or tending that way), his friends will deride him and tell him he can do better, sometimes to the point that he'll hide new girlfriends from him to avoid that treatment.

And his friends are also assholes. Therefore, he should get new friends who aren't such judgmental little shits. QED.

I obviously agree with you, but it's a lot harder to cut out people you've known and shared experiences with for years than someone, however attractive you find them, that you just met a few weeks/months ago.

Are you going to start talking about werewolf sex soon? Please say yes.

2. writing werewolf sex

automatically gets +2 creepy points from me. Congratulations, you're in the lead right now…mate!)

So biologists get "+2 creepy points"?

Honestly, even if someone is writing werewolf sex, I'd prefer they skip the "mate" stuff. Shudder.

Lena Dunham isn't that unattractive. I wouldn't hook up with in her a million years because she's a whiny, racist, inane jerk who is thicker than a ton of bricks. The idea of ever having to have a conversation with her causes me mental anguish. However, in terms of looks? She isn't that bad. If you want traditional beauty, yeah, Dunham and her tattoos and hipster style probably aren't your best bet, but who cares?

In terms of the general, you seem to be resigning yourself to your socialization which is sad. Studies show that, yes, as adults, men tend to view women as objects while women view men as people. Men overvaluing physical attractiveness as a "mate value"? Gross byproduct of the patriarchy. Having no interest in beating your socialization (and it is socialization; in terms of awareness of appearance, boys and girls are shockingly similar when they're little according to current studies) for your own best interest makes you lazy. It does not increase your "mate value".

You are asserting that this is all based upon "socialization" without evidence.

"in terms of awareness of appearance, boys and girls are shockingly similar when they're little according to current studies"

Why wouldn't they be? Pre-pubescent individuals have no need to assess mate value.

. . . I'm saying that it is socialization because modern sociologists and biologists are pretty much in agreement that a large part of what we find attractive comes from our socialization. If it weren't largely socialization, we would have a far more consistent beauty standards throughout the world and across social classes but we don't. If it weren't socialization, we wouldn't have people making racist excuses about what they find attractive due to their socialization but we do.

Oh, but of course, I forgot that as soon as you turn thirteen, you suddenly start assessing mate value because BIOLOGY and HORMONES. Sexual development definitely isn't a slow process that begins when you're a toddler. Nope. If there are drastically different results between children of one gender and adults of the same gender, it definitely has nothing to do with socialization and environment. That would be ridiculous.

"In terms of the general, you seem to be resigning yourself to your socialization which is sad. Studies show that, yes, as adults, men tend to view women as objects while women view men as people."

Oh man – I've *never* seen a study that says that. Perhaps you're jumping to conclusions based on studies that say that men value looks more than women?

Not to mention that those "studies" are usually survey's, which reflect what people say not what they do. It's like the old surveys that said that straight men had noticeably more sex than straight women. It didn't make sense – if these men were only having sex with women, clearly the numbers would have to be the same. What happens is that people give survey answer that match societal expectations of what is "supposed" to be going on.

"Men overvaluing physical attractiveness as a "mate value"? Gross byproduct of the patriarchy."

One of the funniest things about the feminist movement is that after several decades of complaining about women being judged based on their looks, women got more power in the job market and their dating lives – and women being judged on their looks hasn't changed a bit, instead men are now judged more on their looks.

I've been part of several conversations among women where they went on and on and on about sexy abs on guys. It's been…3 times? All of these women described themselves as feminists.

Being attracted to looks is something inherent in biology. (I'm not saying which looks we find attractive is inherent, though, that seems to be largely socialized to me). The reason why men value looks is because men are expected to do the pursuing. Feminism never quite got girls to be the one to ask out guys (though it did valiantly try for a while), and whoever's doing the pursuing values things it can see up front more. I would bet good money that if we switched it to where women pursued guys, and men were socialized to never ask women out, women would value looks and men would be going on about personality.

"Having no interest in beating your socialization (and it is socialization; in terms of awareness of appearance, boys and girls are shockingly similar when they're little according to current studies) for your own best interest makes you lazy. It does not increase your "mate value".

Sometimes swimming against the current is worth it, but a lot of times it's not. Socialization instills you with certain values, but that in no way makes them inherently bad. Your own values of thinking that attractiveness should not be based on looks is also a result of socialization. So is the idea that we shouldn't murder people, that's stealing is wrong, etc etc etc….

It's worth noting that he wasn't "dating" her on the show. They had a weekend-long encounter.

Still not believable. A good looking doctor would not have to slum it even for a weekend fling.

And you're basing this on what exactly? Is there a study? Have you taken test samples? What about the men who are married to dating plain, not model pretty women? Do they just not count?

I think thats what Sam here is banking on.

"Still not believable. A good looking doctor would not have to slum it even for a weekend fling."

I don't know about that. I can see Eselle's point – if he had just gotten divorced, she showed up on his doorstep, did all the work for him, she's much younger than him…imagine going through a humiliating and ego-destroying divorce, then this girl half your age shows up and is excited to sleep with you. He probably hasn't had sex for years, his ex-wife has probably made him feel like he's completely and totally unnattractive to anyone – I could see it.

Patrick Wilson's wife has an answer to you. She's size 10 and muffin-tops. Patrick Wilson is still married to her. Shut it.

And as to the façt that girls put less value on attractiveness than men do… You don't know many women, do you? I'd say that we as a gender can be just as shallow as men. Just like not all men want/ need the perfect 10. And how some men look at their wives even after 40 years and 3 kids and still think she's the most gorgeous woman they've ever known… And no, that's not fantasy, I just have to look at the older couples around me to see that evidenced.

See last article for a more articulate criticism of your use of the girls/men dichotomy.

What still boggles my mind is that people can look at Lena Dunham and actually straight out call her unattractive. I don't care if you think she's not you're type and that you wouldn't go for it, but if she's unattractive in your eyes, then I pity you. You can't even see beauty beyond the socially acceptable margin.

She's not attractive (IMO) and I can see plenty beyond the socially acceptable margin, the evil patriarchy didn't have anything to do with my opinion on her looks.

No, but screaming up a storm that a woman "like that" (aka, not model-gorgeous) would end up with an attractive older guy sure does have something to do with the patriarchy.

It's one thing to say you aren't personally attracted to her, it's another to announce that she is objectively ugly and has no redeemable quality about her.

But, hey, this is just me. I don't classify people in black and white ugly/hot boxes. I can find things pretty about a person, even without being attracted to them.

I'm also not the one bringing up the 'evil patriarchy'.

I'm going to second that first paragraph. So long as we're playing this silly game, I don't find her attractive. But jeez, I'm sure other people do, and I'm fully willing to believe in a character that would.

She's attractive, but the whole look is annoying to me. It screams, look at me, what a rebel, how unique and interesting I am. In fact the Girls show as a whole seems like Sex and the City for hipsters/yuppies. Narcissism and self-absorption abound. But then again, perhaps that is the point of the show? People I've discussed this with can never agree on whether it's a satirical commentary or a drama.

So, then it's rather her personality than her looks that makes you go 'nah', isn't it? I don't think attacking someone's looks because you don't like how they act is a very healthy approach, if that's what you're going for.

I believe he was expressing distaste for her self-presentation (and then broadening his scope to include the whole show), but I don't want to put words in his mouth.

"What still boggles my mind is that people can look at Lena Dunham and actually straight out call her unattractive. I don't care if you think she's not you're type and that you wouldn't go for it, but if she's unattractive in your eyes, then I pity you. You can't even see beauty beyond the socially acceptable margin."

I disagree. I think this is actually one of those times that her personality plays the strongest role in her "attractiveness". He looks by themselves are not inherently attractive or unnattractive, but like when I say that I find her repulsive here, it's far more about what her expression conveys than it is her objective looks – http://i.huffpost.com/gen/989398/thumbs/o-LENA-DU…

While i do agree with this article , i havent seen many (as in any at all i can recently recall ) , i think every single girl i found pretty or good looking or interesting ive seen with boyfriends that are waaay to hot , as in i dont stand a chance against that guy , they are waay too nice and good looking and when i see that i feel my self esteem takes a punch to the dick ??

Would your self-esteem be any better if the dudette in question was single? What would happen if you were in a relationship with such a girl? Would you get a bout of self-doubt errytime she talks or hangs out with a guy whom you consider your better? When you look at such a dude and think he's a step higher than you, on what basis do you judge him? Is it his behaviour, the 'quality' of the ladies he keeps company with, dress sense, pure physique, confident body language, etc.?

I don't think leagues exist in the physical sense but as the Doc himself said like does attract like, and that includes socio-economic status and culture. Can a blue collar mechanic date an academic ? Sure, and it's probably more likely here in the US than say, China, where such a thing would never be allowed by the academic's family. But is it a common occurrence? I doubt it.

It might depend on the academic’s and mechanic’s backgrounds. The academic might be working class origin or the mechanic might be middle class or higher, so they might be more comfortable dating in the class they are from than they are at their current class.

For example, I have a PhD and a career that puts me upper middle class, but I am from a very poor family and community. I have trouble relating to people who have never had to worry about money, so I would probably date a mechanic before I’d date someone who threw money around like it meant nothing and could never run out.

Abandoning the idea that my romantic/sexual worth was irrevocably tied to my appearance has been amazing. I'm probably average appearance-wise, I'm overweight, I don't wear make-up, and I don't shave any of my body hair, but I have made some amazing connections.

People who weren't in my league? Probably the two porn stars and definitely the world-record holding athlete. Regardless, they were genuinely attracted to me, physically and otherwise, and I'm glad I had the confidence to be open to some wonderful people that I might have otherwise turned down out of sheer insecurity.

Fantastic–I love hearing from people who've gotten rid of insecurity and are having a damn good time! Internet high fives, Jill!

"There are guys who get serious wood for Rebel Wilson."

NEXT LEVEL PRO TIP: Stop thinking about whether or not you meet someone's standards, and start thinking about whether THEY meet YOURS. Self-worth is the most fundamental characteristic in pursuing and having successful relationships. (If you don't love, respect and value yourself, how can you expect other people to do so?) Work on this first! High self-esteem breeds confidence and is attractive. I'm not saying fake it like a PUA, but genuinely work on getting to a place where you like and accept yourself. Once you're there, finding romantic partners won't be nearly so hard.

I didn't flip my shit over the Patrick Wilson thing, but I DID get kinda pissed about the Donald Glover thing.

Why? Because nobody gave a shit about his level of attractiveness with respect to Lena Dunham's attractiveness because he is black. Let's not even get into how he's the only black person on the show that wasn't homeless and the fact that the show is all about white privileged problems.

*is a hetero black man*

Seriously, did Dr. Nerdlove just tell me to "be yourself." I've been myself for over 30 years and I've been vulnerable, open and honest my whole life. Guess what, it doesn't work! What now, Dr. Nerdlove? ??

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your

efforts and I am waiting for your further write ups

Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get

a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and

It's really true. Looks aren't everything. I was talking to a pal of mine who used to be a male model, and he was telling me about an obese girl he knew back in college. He assumed that she had a huge crush on him, and it turned out that that couldn't be further from the truth. He wasn't what she was looking for in a guy at all. It doesn't matter how attractive you are if you're not that particular person's type. Some people don't go for "this kind of thing" and others do.

Looks definitely do not compensate for lack of social skills. I recall the dorkiest, most unpopular guy back in high school was actually quite handsome. Outside of class he got loads of male modeling jobs. But his relentless personality and awkward, off-putting way of phrasing things ensured that no girl would give him the time of day. Similarly, his ceaseless chattering about anime and video games and open disinterest in traditionally masculine activities earned him the ridicule of all of his male classmates.

If you looked at a picture of this fellow you would think he was total heartthrob ladies man. But that was not the case.

Harris O'Malley (AKA Dr. NerdLove) is an internationally recognized blogger and dating coach who gives dating advice to geeks of all stripes. Making nerds sexier since 20011