Do Pretty Girls Have it Harder?

September 11, 2009



If you want to be happy for the rest of your life

Never make a pretty woman your wife

So from my personal point of view

Get an ugly girl to marry you

Jimmy Soul, 1970


bblove

Do beautiful women have a harder time finding real love? I bet Jennifer Aniston thinks so. The woman in this photo writes the great blog Live.to.the.point.of.tears, and is the author of Words to Date By, which I posted a few months ago here at HUS. It’s clear that like everyone else, she’s had her share of disappointments and douchebags, though I have a hard time imagining that she doesn’t get and keep whoever the hell she wants.

Conventional wisdom and research provide lots of evidence that good-looking people enjoy many advantages in life. They make friends more easily, get more promotions at work, and presumably have no trouble attracting members of the opposite sex. They are perceived to have a very high mating value.

So why do I know so many beautiful unhappy and lonely women? I know what you’re thinking: Cry Me a River.

To the rest of us, beautiful people are coasting on their looks, getting all sorts of stuff they didn’t have to work for. When I was in middle school, my family moved from New York to LA. In New York, I’d been feisty and outspoken, confident in my smarts and my Irish looks. When I got to LA I realized right away that things were not going to go so well for me there. Where I was short and curvy, with dark hair, the ideal California girl was…well, you know exactly who she was. She was the woman in this photo.

In the end, guys didn’t like me much in high school, but the girls did. I wound up as court jester to the most beautiful, perfect blondes on campus. I was granted a full array of priveleges, such as going over to help them get ready for formal dances, or coordinating the publicity for their various elections. They effortlessly reeled in all the hottest guys and made them boyfriends.

What’s changed? Well, for one thing, in that era guys derived social status from being able to attract and keep a hot girlfriend. They were pretty much the only guys getting regular sex. Today, that’s been turned upside down. In his 2008 book Guyland, Michael Kimmel makes some interesting observations about the way men aged 18-26 view relationships today:

  • “Because Guyland is so homosocial, it requires the relentless assertion of heterosexuality.”
  • “The guys who appear the most disinterested are the ones who end up being the coolest, and that the girls find most attractive. When women decline sexual advances, they threaten masculinity.  That’s why guys like porn so much:  the women are compliant.”
  • “Sex in Guyland is guys’ sex.  Women are welcome to act upon their sexual desires, but guys run the scene.  Many young women are biding their time, waiting for the guys to grow up and start acting like men.”
  • “If sex were the goal, a guy would have a much better chance of having more (and better) sex if he had a steady girlfriend.  Instead, guys hook up to prove something to other guys.  The actual experience of sex pales in comparison to the experience of talking about sex.”


For guys, scoring sex becomes the most important goal on any given evening. Therefore, it is important to maximize your chances for success by avoiding girls where the risk of rejection is high. Hooking up with a girl deemed unattractive by your buddies is explained away by your drunkenness, and is vastly preferable to “not getting any.” This leads most guys to pursue whatever woman they feel is most likely to accept their advances.

Beautiful women, expecting to have a high mating value, find themselves targeted by only the most sexually aggressive men. These tend to be men who are extremely good-looking and have a strong track record of hooking up with whomever they want. It is they who have the highest mating value, sexually speaking. If they were interested in a relationship, they would likely target girls of similar attractiveness, but few of them are. Often, very good-looking girls discover that they are only the newest challenge, the most difficult sexual conquest, for a popular guy. As long as guys derive status from “banging bitches” instead of having girlfriends, none of this is likely to change.

This short film, Not Pretty, Really was shown at Sundance in 2006. It’s less than three minutes, so hang in there – I especially want you to watch the woman who comes on at 1:50. It’s powerful and moving.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd4Gpi9ksXw


Last semester, a very good-looking young woman got the following text on her phone late at night from a frat star she barely knew:

ur so hot i wanna cum on your tits 2nite

When she told me about it, she sounded very much like the woman in this film. She said, “Guys say disgusting things to me when they’re drunk. I wish I could meet someone who wanted to get to know me, someone who would get me.”

What happens as men age and presumably become more interested in having a real relationship?

In researching this question, I discovered that the question of why beautiful women are often perpetually unattached is a very popular one on dating and relationship forum sites, which cater to singles in their 20s and older.

A representative sample of male responses:

“I find pretty women intimidating. I would rather approach a less-attractive woman who might accept my advances.”

“Most men are intimidated by good looks. They think that because she looks good, she must be high maintenance, hard to get, already dating, and snobby. The few men that do approach her are all players who like to play head games just to get into her panties and claim her as a trophy. Some men that date beautiful women know this. They know that in most cases, beautiful women are single, fed up of head games and craving for a real man to approach them and desire them for who they are and not solely for their bodies.”

“Guys don’t want other guys drooling over their girlfriend.”

“Men do not like to approach women that they believe everyone wants.”

“Yes, guys do find it harder to talk to extremely attractive girls. Not intimidation necessarily, but a conviction that they’re just not in her league. Girls need to make themselves approachable. They need to try to initiate things, make eye contact with guys that they like. They should smile and be cute.”

“This girl must have already heard all possible pick-up lines and would not welcome an approach.”

“As far as looks go, “cute” is accessible, “pretty” is inaccessible, and “beautiful”, unattainable. A client of mine used to be a fashion model in New York. She’s smart and she has been around long enough to know it’s her looks that guys are interested in, and she won’t put up with it.”

“Remember in school when the quarterback got the prettiest girl? Believe me, guys remember, and not many of us were the quarterback. Men also have problems with self confidence and when presented with a choice between a cute girl that we have a chance with and a pretty girl that seems like a long shot, we are going to play it safe and go with cute. And relationships also have economics- the more attractive the women is the more resources a guy needs to get the girl- a fancy car, nice house, good job, or at least that how it works in a guys head. You can tell me how true that may be, but even if it’s not, the perception may well be more important then the truth.”


What’s a gorgeous girl to do?

  • Bide your time, your day will come.
  • Do not allow yourself to be objectified and used as an opportunity for some player to boast about having nailed you.
  • Focus on friendships first. A guy who cares for you as a friend is less likely to use you, and more likely to develop real feelings.
  • Be approachable, so that nice guys consider taking a chance. When you like a guy, find ways to let him know that he has a shot.


And the rest of us?

  • Hey, their loss is our gain. Most relationships today develop from hookups, and if you’re more likely to get the hookup, you have a better shot at the relationship.
  • Don’t kid yourself, though. You’re just as likely to be objectified and discussed with his peers the next day. If you want a relationship, be smart about who you have sex with.
  • Ditto the rest of the advice: Focus on friendships first. A guy who cares for you as a friend is less likely to use you, and more likely to develop real feelings.
  • Be approachable and friendly. And be yourself, because you are beautiful!

The truth is, we all want to be known, men and women alike. We seek short-term validation, but what we really crave is for someone to really see us, and to love what they see. We may get there at different times, we may get kicked to the curb a few times in the process. All of us, the beautiful and the less so, have an equal shot at happiness and real love with the right person.

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  • http://FT.com/ VJ

    “Do pretty girls have it harder?” Umm not usually. And not untypically it's certainly a 'two way street'. they're also looking for the 'pretty boys' who like share in some of their characteristics, issues & problems. That's only part of the central problem here.

    The other of course is the supreme tragedy that like, they get paid more 'cause they're prettier, hired more often because of it, liked more for this, (yes, resented for it too), given free gifts just for being 'fabulous', and yeah they seemingly & often age better too. So yeah. Just speaking for my short fat slobbo self (and those of my fellow countrymen), I feel for them. I just can't tell you where.

    But No, “Do beautiful women have a harder time finding real love? ” Not anymore than anyone else. It's what they're seeking that's often the problem. If they seek to consistently demand a 'premium' of attention/worship/reward/status/riches Just because they're 'beautiful'? They're going to be often disappointed. As are the rest of us who were/are 'lucky' enough to date a few of these 'high bred' wonders. Then we come to realize that no one's ever mentioned to them about possibly adding any 'value added' features to their pretty faces and/or 'banging' bods. Like high intelligence. Or a cultivated interest in the world around them and serious study of some aspect of this. Perhaps a knowledge and participation in the arts. Some real empathy for the suffering that goes on all around us. This is what makes people truly beautiful. It's the cultivation of things concerning beauty & truth & justice. And truly, beauty w/o brains? Is really boring, just as one might suspect. It gets old very fast. Faster than anyone might suspect too.

    But yeah we do not often find this in 20 somethings or even 30 somethings, and so much the mores' the pity for it. So I strongly suspect that things 'even out' as we age. The aging beauties slowly discover the rest of the world & become friendly with more the 'normals' or 'mere mortals'. They let their hair down and come to appreciate life more for what it is and their roles in it. That's when real love can blossom for anyone. IMHO. Cheers, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    I hear you, VJ, and I expected this response. I know this does happen, beautiful women expecting to be worshipped and adored. But honestly? I personally know at least a dozen young women who are the whole package: Lovely to look at, smart, curious, funny, interesting, generous. And they're all unattached. It strikes me as bizarre. Of course, they're not alone – many young women who would like to be in a relationship are unable to find one, at least a quality one. But it's been my observation that the real knockouts often get only the kind of attention from men that no woman wants (unless she's walking the streets).

    This is generational. You and I did not live through this while young. Women under, say 30, are having a different experience. And that age will keep rising, because, graduating college students are bringing hookup culture with them into post-grad life. Hooking up well into the 20s, and even 30s is pushing back dating, relationships, marriage, for better or worse (one guess one where I weigh in on that one).

    • Bob

      “I personally know at least a dozen young women who are the whole package: Lovely to look at, smart, curious, funny, interesting, generous. And they’re all unattached.”

      Oh really? Prove it. Personally Susan, I call BS on your statement quoted above. I base my opinion on personal experience in the school of hard knocks.

    • Kurt

      The problem is that a lot of those women are so jaded that if a decent guy did chase after one of them, they are often very distrustful and frequently do extremely annoying things to scare him away. No guy wants to be with a woman who is very distrustful.

      • Jo

        “The problem is that a lot of those women are so jaded that if a decent guy did chase after one of them, they are often very distrustful and frequently do extremely annoying things to scare him away. No guy wants to be with a woman who is very distrustful.”

        You said it yourself: They’re ‘so jaded’. And why do you think that is, sir? Hmmmm, I wonder….

        After having experienced so many womanizing, frat and pretty boy-dogs, is it any wonder that a woman may become distrustful? Hmmmm, maybe that was a rhetorical (sp?) question, lol.

        • Kurt

          Those women may have experienced womanizers, but that was because those were the guys that those women wanted or hung out with. There are lots of decent guys who get ignored by many women in college. A decent guy who was ignored by most of the women in his college days is not going to settle for a jaded woman if he can help it – he won’t tolerate a distrustful and angry woman and will pursue women who seem nicer and more appreciative.

  • megslife

    I agree with you Susan that the hookup culture has hurt this aging gracefully and normalizing things out. I know that a core group of my older single girlfriends feel that they are now being passed over. Many of these girls would be considered beautiful, but they are now competing with the young 20somethings for the 30 to 40 something men. I'm not sure if it evens out as we age anymore because of this hookup culture. Dating is so impossible IMO regardless of how beautiful you are or you think you are.

  • skanti

    I have to say I enjoyed this article and especially agree with the above comments. I think dating is hard for everyone whether you are short, tall, chubby, skinny, blonde or brunette. After watching that short film you posted Susan – I definitely agree with the last girl who was tearing up. I see myself as descent looking gal – I know Im not unfortunate looking but I don't consider myself the most beautiful woman in the world either.
    I'm a medical student & last year I had a professor who would single me out in front of the class. He would call me America's Next Top Model rather than my name. In class we were learning how to do patient exams and I was always being called to demonstrate how to exam the male genitalia and always being asked about dieases related to the penis. This was on a daily basis and I began to hate going to class – I kept thinking I'm hear to learn so just ignore all the sexual innuendos. I complained every day to my mom that semester. I tried not to draw attention to myself during class like downplaying my dress or sitting further towards the back…really nothing worked. I remember getting dirty looks from other girls in class and the guys really couldn't care much (of course!). That semester was rough and I did not feel pretty really. Its kindof ashame that people thinks its ok to make inappropriate comments to any girl, maybe they think some girls are use it so its ok. Whatever the reason – I agree with what was said in the article about most players are usually up for the challenge with hot girls – so there is no quality whateversoever & most women want the quality despite their own looks. I guess the saying applys- never judge a book by its cover – even if its pretty!

  • susanawalsh

    Ugh, it is so frustrating that when the guys are finally ready for something real, there's a crop of young babes in their early 20s! On the other hand, those women are also saying their not getting any quality attention. Someone's gotta get into relationships if we're going to propagate the species…

    I think things may get a bit worse before they get better, but the pendulum ALWAYS swings back eventually.

  • susanawalsh

    Skanti, nice to meet you, thanks so much for leaving a comment about your own experience. OMG, that professor is such an asshole! That kind of sexual harrassment is inexcusable. You're smart, a serious student, and you're being singled out in the most demeaning way. How could you possibly feel pretty in that setting – it's exactly like the woman in the film.

    You also make another interesting point. Women get envious of each other, and that doesn't help. I do hear of women being excluded by other women in the workplace and in social settings, and I believe it's often because they are very attractive. They don't want the competition. All you can do is make friendships where you can, hope another woman will give you a shot even though you are pretty. It's ridiculous! Dissing a pretty woman is not going to make you any prettier, it's really not going to get you any more guys.

    You are so right about not judging people by their looks, one way or the other. We all have feelings and emotional needs.

  • hambydammit

    I know you knew I'd have to weigh in on this. To put an evolutionary spin on it, this is a perfect example of how our consistent, innate evolutionary strategies adapt to a changing environment. It's also a disturbing and stark clarification of a basic concept of natural selection: *Evolution doesn't care if you're happy. It cares if you reproduce successfully.*

    The cultural value of long term monogamous relationships has gone down very significantly in the last half-century. In and of itself, this is neither good nor bad. Many women have been liberated in significant ways, and women have more choices now than they've ever had, from full time mom to full time career, and they can accomplish pretty much any of them without social stigma. The price for that is that men have adapted to women's new dating strategies.

    The uncomfortable truth about very good looking women is that they are still women, and still likely to follow the female dating strategy, which, as you know, often involves occasional cheating. It's just a sad truth — whether they *want* to be high maintenance or not, beautiful women are offered the moon on a regular basis, and if their men are not keeping up with the hundreds of Joneses, eventually, there's a good chance she's going to like one of the offers more than she likes her man.

    Men, being slightly smarter than portrayed on sit-coms, realize that keeping beautiful women (especially in the hook-up culture) is very, very difficult, and many of them automatically put beautiful women in the hookup-only category.

    The flip side is that very attractive men make lousy long-term partners, on average. The male drive to have sex with lots of women is just as strong in them as any other man, with the notable difference that they really can pretty much have as many women as they want.

    Where it gets really nasty is that both beautiful men and women still have an instinctual understanding of their own worth. A ten knows she can date a ten, and let's be honest — fucking a ten is really exciting, even if you happen to be a ten yourself. Since we've bitten the bullet and admitted that looks do matter, we see the conundrum. A ten will feel like she's “settling” if she dates a stable 5 who isn't going to cheat on her. She'll know she could do better, and every new ten that crosses her path will make her question — “Is he the one genuinely nice ten who would be faithful and stable?”

    Of course, this isn't to say that all beautiful people are assholes. Clearly, there are beautiful people who are also very nice. But let's be honest, like when we admitted that looks matter. The more beautiful someone is, the more they can have if they want to take it. Mating *is competition* and it's just not in human nature to try not to do as well as you can. We humans also tend to think of ourselves as “special individuals.” You can see it in the video. We all think we're different from the crowd. We think, “Yeah, I'm a ten, but I'm not like all the other tens. I'm nice and caring and wonderful and smart.” We overestimate our own potential for remaining faithful. Women look at the guys who pass them up because they're too pretty and think, “WAIT! I'm not like the other girls!” The thing is, maybe you're not, but guys, like girls, play an ODDS GAME when dating. The odds are not good for dating a ten, either in getting her in the first place, or keeping her. Most men prefer to go after what they know they have a good chance of getting.

    It's natural to take it personally, but not accurate. If you look like other beautiful people who hook up all the time and don't make good long term partners, that's what people are going to think you are. They aren't being mean to you personally. They're just playing the odds. Here's a hint, though. If you're genuinely beautiful, find a way to stand out from the other beautiful people. I rarely, if ever, approach beautiful girls at bars, but if I saw a beautiful woman in the science section of the book store, I'd almost certainly approach her. (In other words, if you want people to know you're not a dumb blonde, prove it.)

  • susanawalsh

    Haha, Hamby, I knew you'd weigh in, and I had a pretty good idea what you'd say! (I'm just about ready to start finishing your sentences for you.) I'm really glad you said it. What I really like about your perspective is that you set the conundrum up as a problem to be solved. Which is exactly what it is. You point out the need for a specific strategy, and I love it! And the thing is, most beautiful women don't want to be hit on in bars, because those are the guys who will probably send a disgusting text at closing time. But to be approached in the science section of a bookstore? How romantic! (It's also in keeping with my recent post “How to Find a Great Guy”, which says pursue your interests first, and get out as much as you can doing so.)

    I also appreciate getting the male point of view. For example, I never thought of this:

    “Men, being slightly smarter than portrayed on sit-coms, realize that keeping beautiful women (especially in the hook-up culture) is very, very difficult, and many of them automatically put beautiful women in the hookup-only category.”

    Specifically, I hadn't thought about hookup culture making women more difficult to hang onto from a guy's point of view, but it makes total sense.

    So thanks.

    • Michael

      But to be approached in the science section of a bookstore?

      The science section of the bookstore is not exactly conducive to conversation.

      • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

        It can be. Random encounters are the fourth most common way that dating couples meet. Approaching women during the day in a place where you may have common interests is good strategy.

        • Michael

          It can be. Random encounters are the fourth most common way that dating couples meet. Approaching women during the day in a place where you may have common interests is good strategy.

          Would it be a good idea for me to loiter in a particular section in a bookstore, from open until close, until I find someone I might possibly like?

          And it is fairly obvious that loitering in a grocery store just to meet girls is not a good idea.
          .-= Michael´s last blog ..Michael is now friends with eldorado Restaurant lounge =-.

        • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

          NO! Loitering around hoping women will come in is creepy. Just live your life and pursue your interests. Be open and friendly. Say hello, offer to help, etc.

  • bblove

    Oh my god Susan, I'm just scrolling through and I almost didn't recognize myself. Ha! I'm so flattered. Thanks for the shout out, as always. I'll be blogging about this later … have a lot to say on this topic.

  • susanawalsh

    bblove, I would LOVE to hear your views on this topic. When I found this pic on your blog I knew I had to use it. Your appearance vs. your sharing in the universal struggles was just too mind-blowing to ignore. BTW, today's post touches on this theme as well. Maybe you're too perfect!

  • Dashiell

    Terrible advice:

    What’s a gorgeous girl to do?

    •Bide your time, your day will come.

    Congratulations, you've hit menopause and will never be a mother.

    •Do not allow yourself to be objectified and used as an opportunity for some player to boast about having nailed you.

    Femenists are the worst. If you get the feeling the guy is trying to play you, reject him. If you don't get that impression, don't invite it.

    •Focus on friendships first. A guy who cares for you as a friend is less likely to use you, and more likely to develop real feelings.

    Push a guy who's attracted to you into the friendzone, he'll hate you for life.

    •Be approachable, so that nice guys consider taking a chance. When you like a guy, find ways to let him know that he has a shot.

    Approachable gorgeous girl? -> Saved for Christ, or STDs.

    Here's real advice: When you're in a sexually charged social environment (bar, party, club), be above it all. Have fun being with you're friends, talking to people, joking around. Don't try to fit in with the bright-eyed prey. If you do, there MUST be something wrong with you.
    Instead, be open minded to finding a love interest in situations and places where sex doesn't take precedent (grocery store, chamber of commerce event, blockbuster, DMV). If you act conducive to romance when a guy isn't anticipating it, he is more likely to search for a justification of chemistry than reducing you to game.

    • Michael

      Instead, be open minded to finding a love interest in situations and places where sex doesn’t take precedent (grocery store, chamber of commerce event, blockbuster, DMV).

      Grocery store again ?

      Since when do people meet in grocery stores? Or Blockbusters? Or DMV’s?

      Do you really think it is a good idea for me to loiter around a grocery store, Blockbuster, or DMV from opening to close just to meet someone whom I would want as a girlfriend?

      Where do people get these ideas?

  • susanawalsh

    Hey Dashiell, thanks for commenting. We always appreciate getting the Y chromosome view around here. You make some excellent points, I do have replies:

    1. By saying bide your time, I really wasn't thinking years. What I'm saying is that you are going to draw lots of douchebags, and if you are in a hurry to find someone, you are likely to engage in wishful thinking and waste time on an unworthy guy. It can be very, very difficult to tell a good guy from a jerk early on. Jerks have a way of being really attentive and sweet until they score the touchdown (doesn't apply to PUA types, obvs.) So what I mean here is take a deep breath, dial down the anxiety, and let things proceed naturally. But your point is well taken. Women wait too long all the time, and then fertility becomes a major problem. We were designed to procreate by the age of 13, so delaying a full 25 years is very risky.

    2. First of all, using the word objectify doesn't signal my political leanings. And as I stated above, women are not very good at getting the feeling a guy is trying to play them. If they were, it wouldn't happen so much. How does one invite a guy to play them? How does one prevent it, or “not invite it?”

    3. I'm not suggesting pushing a guy into the friend zone. What I have seen work very well is a situation where the girl is super hot, the guy not as hot. He doesn't make a move, b/c he knows he is not in her league. But he is happy to be part of her circle, her crowd. As she gets to know him, if she likes him (because women select men on a variety of qualities, not just looks) she can signal her interest. The second he thinks he has a reasonable shot he takes it. He can't believe his good fortune. She must work to convince him she really likes him. The end.

    4. Re being approachable, see above. You're wrong about beautiful women not being approachable. Guys think that women will only go for a less hot guy if he has money or status. Not true. I've seen girls get really into guys without either, because they looked for and found other qualities in him. Like humor, self-confidence, kindness, intelligence, creativity, loyalty in relationships. Guys don't want to believe this. They think the Beta has no shot. Wrong. Game won't get you anything real. Being real will get you something real. By the way, because casual sex is so readily available, most guys with options are more reluctant to commit. This scarcity of relationship opportunities means that women (even beautiful women) will have to cast their nets wider. Hence the increasingly popular term: Boyfriends are ugly.

    Your real advice is right on. I've written about the best way to meet new people (see How to Find a Great Guy) – it's to pursue your own interests, get out of the house as much as possible, maximizing your number of interactions per day. And take that cell phone off your ear. We're on the same page there.

  • Dashiell aka The "Y"

    Hey Susana,

    I really appreciate your response to my post. I apologize if it had been a little crass. I didn't take time to read more than this article before posting my response to those four points of advice.

    To touch on your first response, with regard to waiting, I find it very interesting that you acknowledge the biochemical preconfiguration of women (girls) to be hormonally and reproductively active mid-puberty. This could be the subject of a very interesting article, as I forsee the politicization of 'age of consent' and 'gap between childhood and adulthood' culminating in a pervasive societal dialogue, drawing upon human biology, the history of marital conventions, zoology of human-like species, agency of young adults, and of course countered with just as many arguments and evidence points around nuclear family politics, socio-religious conceptions of decency, the notion of proper edification and child rearing. Unfortunately I imagine that things will get worse before they get better, with horrendous stories of perverse injustices, and the draconic punishment of benign transgressions. Where the chips will fall is anyone's guess.

    And to your second point. This one had me excited to reply.
    One invites getting played by presenting a fear of getting played with helpless or futile gestures of chagrin.
    Let's say a guy talking to a lady, in a sex environment (bar), just picked up on an indication that this lady thinks he's hilarious. This guy is now confident that this lady will giggle through the entire telling of his favorite recollection; he's in the driver's seat, she's on board: he's psyched. Figuring that attraction is not an obstacle at this point (either they are both attracted to one another or have qualities of the nature you mention in paragraph 4), his main focus at this moment is to stroke his ego by eliciting forth her adorable smile (doesn't matter if she's hot or not, we adore making the ladies smile) and he likely has the intention of taking this conversation, evening, night, weekend, relationship, as far as she's willing to go.
    Here's where she screws up.
    Realizing that she is smitten with this gentleman, the fear of being mistreated or cast aside in favor of the next better thing sets in. Her chin draws in, her gaze down. When he leans in for a kiss, she meekly inquires 'are you just going to use me'?
    He is now.
    She has just offered herself as available to be used. She has let him know that if his answer to that question is 'of course not, babe' that he can have his way with her any way he likes and then be done with her when he so chooses. And of course the guilt is already diminished because she was the one who set up the expectation of getting used. Furthermore, she has just blown his buzz, having gone from engaging, curious, suspenseful, passionate chemistry to: 'make me a promise of intention for commitment and I'll fold my hand and give you my chips'. BAD.

    Alternative ways she should have handled this:
    Play him. Ask nothing about him that he doesn't offer to share about himself. Express more interest in filling your drink than any idle conversation. Be the one to guide the night to its final destination (if that is your desire) or be the one to call the night over when and where you say so.
    Nothing is going to make that guy more attracted to you than the impression that you were out to use him. One, it indicates that you are somehow interested or attracted to him. You don't even have to let him have a kiss, so long as you acknowledge that he was your consort for the evening. Two, it shows that you can take charge of your own romantic destiny, that you value your time, importance, goals (This also indicates that you don't have a history of being trampled by assholes. Guys HATE getting that impression, and will usually either bail or take up the role of asshole and put you through the shredder once again.) And three, 'she doesn't want some kind of commitment?' is a great quandary to leave him with. You're probably wondering 'won't he think I'm a slut?', and the answer is no. He'll be trying to tell himself 'alright, a lady with no strings!', but what he'll really be dwelling over is, 'why doesn't she want to make something real of this? what am I going to have to do to make her want me? how am I going to be able to prove that we're compatable for the long term?' Now you've got a guy that's going to work for you. Does that mean you're in the clear? no. Does this work 10 out of 10 times? no, especially if you're really having to act to pull it off.

    Now, if you're the kind of gal that refuses to kiss a guy until he's made an oath of fealty, there are ways of doing so without setting yourself up for disaster.
    Firstly, if you are this type of girl, then you're probably a cock-blocker to guys doting on your friends, and an all-round buzzkill for most things exuberant. But this isn't necessarily the case. In fact, on the other hand, this attitude/behavior should prevent you from being considered a tease (I say 'should' – this behavior doesn't give license to lead guys on) and should establish you as a person to be taken seriously.
    It is paramount that you do achieve being taken seriously, as many men will read this prude behavior as mindless enslavement to convention. There are three vehicles of communication that will command a man to take you seriously in this scenario: 1) be blunt (not brusque, but like a cowboy over a spitoon: you're on your time, no one is rushing you, you have your questions, and you're unabashed about expecting answers) 2) be impassioned (fiery, not lugubrious: 'I will cut your balls off' – guys love to hear the ladies threaten violence) or 3) be humorous, which is perhaps the best way to be taken seriously in all walks of life, and in this case it more easily allows for the poise necessary for the first two options to work.

    She, “Promise me you'll never cheat on me with your secretary.”
    He, shocked, and confused, “What!?”
    She, “I'm serious, no necking, no spanking. Nothing.”
    He, “I don't even have a secretary.”
    She, “Someday you will.”
    He, “Well, yeah, I suppose I might somehow. Ok, fine.”
    She, “Promise me.”
    He, “Alright, I promise. I'll never cheat on you. I don't know why you'd think I'd be the kind of guy-“
    She, “You had better not. I swear I'll cut your fucking balls off.”

    And there we are, a romance is born. And believe it or not, this could be a first encounter exchange. And if you think her phrasing this joke having set up the expectation that they were likely to spend their lives married together would send him running, you're wrong. It hints at a confirmation that she takes him seriously as a candidate for the long term (or that he would have to be for a chance at getting anywhere, and many of us are happy to play by those rules), but it can also be taken as an anecdotal setup for a joke that clearly seeks to be taken seriously as a 'you had better not screw around' statement, and in no way suggests that she expects to rush in to marriage. (PS – if you try using this dialogue and the guy accuses you of wanting to marry him, take it and run with it; doesn't matter which direction, but if you don't have something funny or pithy to follow up with, the situation could turn around on you pretty quickly).
    The point and purpose of this exchange is that the next time cheating pops into Guy's head, and inevitably it will (whether he has any intention of committing the act or not, it is a thing that occurs to people) this exchange, and her subsequent threat, will quickly come to mind, and it will occur to him that She is a cognizant, participating party in this bond, and hopefully – my thought – he will think to respect her, for her agency, her humor, her contribution, and her threat of cutting off his balls.

    Bottom line, do not plead, that is asking to get trampled. And a direct demand is only a step up if he thinks you're intelligent (humor = direct + intelligent). My advice would be to avoid the expectation of adultery entirely, and if you must address it, use one of the three vehicles mentioned above.

    3. I'm sorry, but I disagree. I have heard enough women tell me that they 'know whether or not [they] would ever want to sleep with a guy in the first thirty seconds' that there must be some validity to it. And I believe this truth contributes a lot to the etiquette of introduction and is one of the underlying purposes of immediate displays of wealth and refinement (poise and rolex), but that is another topic.
    Ladies are welcome to play hard to get. However, indicating a desire to cultivate a friendship is a grave insult to man that wants to make you his. Plenty of men are spineless enough to endure this charade, but Hollywood has made this form of relationship appear a lot more passionate, inspiring, and hopeful than it really is.
    The hypothetical that you provide… I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but honestly, I can't. A guy that 'can't believe his luck' being able to retain the attraction of some super-hot lady – who is 'league' hot, which is a very different thing from super-hot on its own, as 'league' hot would indicate that she, he and others are aware of the value of her hottness – simply doesn't make sense. For, if she is one to recognize the value of her attractiveness, then an enduring attraction to man who lacks confidence in himself, requiring that she PROVE she really likes him, is hard to fathom. I mean, is this guy some sculptor working for an NGO who happened to find the cure to this lady's mother's degenerative disease? Even if that were the case, where is his confidence then? Why can't this guy at least trust in the chemistry between them? This story ends with her getting snatched up by a proper alpha capable of communicating that her affection is appreciated and reciprocated without giving way to weakness.

    4. They 'LOOKED FOR and found better qualities in him'? Well, I think I've made it obvious that I am no fan of idealism, and the notion that anyone seeks out qualities in others to be attracted to is certainly idealistic. However, I do subscribe to the notion that women can be moved by qualities that are not physical-attraction-oriented. After all, aesthetic appeal is not our strongest suit on the overall. Nonetheless, advocating that men 'be real' is a cop out. Being 'real' can mean different things at any given moment. Most men have a conception of what it means to be charming, and most men will try. Unfortunately, often times you will see a failed attempt at charm mercurially descend into bitter invectives, as many men do not take well to rejection, and that IS being real, and it is very unattractive.
    As for your allegedly popular term 'boyfriends are ugly', propagating such an outlook would be terribly corrosive to womankind's self-esteem, which in turn would lead to more 'readily available casual sex' and, of course, even more reluctant men. “I don't want to be ugly.”

    I look forward to reading more of you work. Thank you once again for your reply.

  • susanawalsh

    Dashiell, that is awesome! There is so much good stuff here, I'm gonna tell you right now that I'm going to rip it off and use it. Love, love, love the male point of view. Your advice on how not to get played is priceless. My only objection, and it is a big one, is that these techniques are so artificial, so contrived. As a marketing person, I'm willing to acknowledge the effectiveness of the message, but honestly, can't we ever just let our hair down and relate to each other? I'm a big proponent of strategy, but I'm exhausted just reading your recommendations, valid though they seem.

    Re #3, it's true that there are some men that have it made sexually within 30 seconds. But the nature of woman is such that her attraction can grow as she becomes acquainted with a man and sizes him up. Because we are not utterly beholden to the good looks piece, we often get the hots for a man as we get to know him better and discover other qualities in him. I am 100% sure about this. I have seen this happen many, many times. The message to men is: you may know you want to bang someone right away. She may not be sure. You need to invest time to relate to her on an emotional level – that is where her sexual desire will come from.

    Finally, I'm not suggesting that “Boyfriends are ugly” become the new slogan of young women everywhere. It's just something I've heard from young women, and guess what? They're willing to consider it! Honestly, women may be biologically programmed to want Alpha, but we are very torn. Betas can be such good boyfriends, and that's what we want more than anything else.

    You may be interested in my new post, which explains how the Pill is tilting women increasingly toward choosing Beta. Interesting research.

    Dashiell, I know well how time consuming it is to leave a thoughtful and lengthy replay. I appreciate your effort, thoughtfulness and articulate explanations a great deal. As a woman, I NEED to know what men are thinking in order to give any advice that's worth a damn. I need both sides of the story. So thank you.

  • Nicole

    I get so many vulgar comments/requests from men.. I started to think it was because I looked like an easy lay. The nicest guy I've ever dated was one I met when I was over weight for a little while. Recently, I lost more weight and have gotten much more male attention.. even was stopped on the street a few times. Yet, the men always end up asking me for 'pictures' or talk about how they want to take me from behind or whatever. It's perplexing. I can totally empathize with this article. Also, it's not necessarily easier, especially as an attractive woman, to get better jobs or promotions. It's assumed that I'm probably not very intelligent or not taken seriously for some reason.

  • susanawalsh

    Nicole, thanks so much for leaving a comment. From reading this post and the comments, you know that you aren't alone. One thing that happens, I think, is that when a guy encounters a girl who he knows is way out of his league, he has nothing to lose by being rude to her. He knows he can't attract her with conventional lines, so he goes for broke. I can't imagine it ever works, but who knows.

    It's interesting to hear you bring up the issue of weight. I have heard from women before who feel uncomfortable with a lot of overt male attention as they just walk around, etc. Putting on weight, dressing down, and so on is one way of giving really pretty women some anonymity.

    You also make an interesting point about the workplace. Beautiful women are much more likely to be harrassed or objectified. If you look like Madeleine Albright, for example, you can go about your work without sexual tension getting in the way.

  • susanawalsh

    Nicole, thanks so much for leaving a comment. From reading this post and the comments, you know that you aren't alone. One thing that happens, I think, is that when a guy encounters a girl who he knows is way out of his league, he has nothing to lose by being rude to her. He knows he can't attract her with conventional lines, so he goes for broke. I can't imagine it ever works, but who knows.

    It's interesting to hear you bring up the issue of weight. I have heard from women before who feel uncomfortable with a lot of overt male attention as they just walk around, etc. Putting on weight, dressing down, and so on is one way of giving really pretty women some anonymity.

    You also make an interesting point about the workplace. Beautiful women are much more likely to be harrassed or objectified. If you look like Madeleine Albright, for example, you can go about your work without sexual tension getting in the way.

  • lisamg

    Yes Pretty girls IMO have it harder. All my life I've been told how beautiful I was, smart and funny. I'm 27 years old and I am still single. I honestly don't know what guys want. I'm attractive, smart and well educated and I am not a conceited bitch. I just don't know!

    • chique

      that is so true! im in the same predicament as you darling!

  • susanawalsh

    Hi lisamg, thanks for leaving a comment. As you can tell from my site, and the other comments, you are not alone. For beautiful women, I think being perceived as approachable and attainable is key. But it's important to focus on the right guys. You know exactly how to identify a player, and you should avoid him at all costs. There are lots of great men out there who want love and a real relationship. But you are never going to find one in a bar trying to hit on women. You've got to figure out a way to get out there and interact with more people overall, and different kinds of men specifically. Too many women waste their youth and beauty on douchebags!

  • susanawalsh

    Ugh! That text! Look, men have always been interested in sex and always will be. That's fine. But I hate it that they show so little respect for women, objectifying them in this way. So many women get a lot of the wrong kind of attention from men. No woman wants to walk down the street and be ogled by strangers.

    The really awful thing is, these tactics must work at least some of the time. This guy must find that he gets a lot of sexy texts back when he says that kind of thing. Women need to demand more respect, and punish guys who don't offer it.

  • Sam

    The thing is that text is inappropriate – because his attentions are unwelcome. If they were welcome then it would be a bold flirting gambit to which you might respond differently. The problem is, whether he should or not, he doesn't know if they're unwelcome or not.

    Yes he should have left such texting until it's appropriate to your relationship, but maybe he figures it's a short cut to finding out if he has a chance. It's also possible he likes you, but is rather clueless about interpreting people/women, so has somehow got the idea you would welcome such attention. I guess he's no longer under that misapprehension.

    I should make clear his style is very different from mine, but if you want to understand what's going on it's helpful to focus less on your own reaction to him (which as I pointed out might have been different had he been more attractive to you) and more on what he may have been trying to achieve. I doubt that being disrespectful was his intention. I also don't think this necessarily 'comes back to sex' despite its obvious sexual overtones. He doesn't sounds like the most clue-in guy about approaching women. He probably had a few drinks and completely overplayed what sounds like an already poor hand.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Hey, Sam, just want to say welcome to HUS! There are a lot of great discussions happening on various posts about relationships and dating, so have a look around. Thanks for commenting.

    • verie44

      This actually isn’t true. I actually have (had?) a crush on him — I think he’s really an all-around amazing person. His approach totally sucked, but if he were to ask me out I would definitely say yes. He also knows girls well enough to know what kind of interaction works, I know this for a fact. The fact that he chose that one to use on me is disheartening, that’s all I’m saying.

  • Steve

    This is a really interesting topic and I have oft thought of the various issues attractive women have to deal with-and its enlightening to hear some stories.
    However I must just get one thing straight in my mind – I dont think in any way attractive women have it worse than more moderate or less attractive women. I just think that they have a different set of problems. Given the multitude of benefits available to attractive women I cant help but feel a little sardonic about the idea of beautiful women exclaiming about how hard they have it…and a less attractive woman often leads a very testing life ending up working hard and give her energy selflessly to strive for self-worth….

    Im sorry if that sound cynical but I have to vocalise it…

    Ok now I have stated that – I do sympathise with the grossness that women have to put up with. I was walking home with a friend from work the other day who is a gorgeous and lovely blonde – and some motorist came past us and turned right and as he did it he shouted ‘I’ll have sex with you tonight’. I have to say I was flattered but guys arent really my thing-and the car he was dri….

    Seriously tho she was perplexed and I honestly didnt know what to say about it – to check if she was upset…It must be pretty unpleasant to be objectified like that by some random beast.
    I think it comes down to what type of person you are and how you learn to deal with your looks. If you are sensitive person – you might be upset by the rampant attention. I totally sympathise with that – as it might often be a bit too much what with the way guys are sometimes. Ive recently put on a bit of weight due to a health problem – but previously I have had been regarded as very handsome. There have been times when Ive put on one of my extremely sharp tailored suits to go out in and I walked into a place and felt a strong sense of people staring at me – and got a lot of attention. Although I like to look good – being quite sensitive and if I felt low that day – I actually didnt always like that extra attention – it felt a bit much. The thing is this adoration has not been earnt.
    On those occasions I remember thinking to myself ‘this is what women must have to deal with ALL THE TIME-being stared at whilst having no idea about who they are inside’…that must be difficult.
    If you are not sensitive you might be narcissistic then good looks might become a power issue and something that leads you to be manipulative…or maybe you can learn that good looks are just one level of who you are and associate with others who have a strong sense of self and feel the same?
    Anyways just comments – Im learning a lot from this blog thanks Susan and others for the discussion. Particularly enjoyed your extended monologue Dashiell. Sadly Im not so lucid or eloquent today…but I guess….at least I got to say lucid and eloquent in a last gasp attempt at proving my articulacy in a slightly absurd way-trying to be funny. And a little sleep deprived. Bye!x

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com susanawalsh

      Hi Steve,

      I hear you – and I think you’re right that beautiful women just have a different set of problems. One of the reasons I wrote this article is that so often women feel that if only they were as hot as “so and so” they’d have it made. Also, it depends on what a person wants. There are probably many beautiful women who love getting free stuff and lots of attention from random strangers. However, those who would like a monogamous relationship can find it a real challenge. The men confident enough to approach them are often players, and they intimidate lots of other men.

      I think you make an excellent point about earning admiration. A beautiful woman may get a lot of guys chasing her, but she will often feel that they don’t see the real her. Her looks get in the way. And as you say, gratuitous sexual attention is offensive.

      I will agree that narcissists are often good looking, and I’m not sure which comes first. Are they people who have lazily learned to rely on their looks to get them ahead? Or are they narcissists who can be especially toxic due to their good looks?

      • Michael

        There are probably many beautiful women who love getting free stuff and lots of attention from random strangers. However, those who would like a monogamous relationship can find it a real challenge. The men confident enough to approach them are often players, and they intimidate lots of other men.

        This might seem like a radical idea, but maybe those women, who do not want to initiate being approached by players, should approach men to whom they are attracted.
        .-= Michael´s last blog ..Michael is now friends with eldorado Restaurant lounge =-.

        • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

          Yes, I encourage this. A good start is a smile and three seconds of eye contact, which is the threshold for attraction.

      • Steve

        “One of the reasons I wrote this article is that so often women feel that if only they were as hot as “so and so” they’d have it made.”

        Very fair point – yes I hear this sentiment a lot if indirectly…actually that made it a lot clearer!

        “However, those who would like a monogamous relationship can find it a real challenge. The men confident enough to approach them are often players, and they intimidate lots of other men.”

        This makes a lot of sense – and it must over time become a point of disillusionment…probably at first it is exciting while younger…

        Yeah – men and women’s value is in so much more that their image and appearance. The subject of narcissism is an interest of mine and I recently read a very revealing book on the subject. Many people view narcissism as someone who loves themselves. However narcissists dont and cannot love themselves or others. They are obsessed with creating a fixed mask to hide emotional numbness. They cannot accept their true authentic ‘self’. They seek power (in their image) to dominate from a deep fear of being humiliated. Its something thats thought to be caused by some emotional trauma in childhood…the source of which is outside the scope of this post…

        But there is a wider concept of narcissism in our society now days that did not used to exist to such an extent. The image – how we look and display ourself – is of huge importance in our society. This is my opinion is out of balance. Core values of dignity, respect and authenticity in our society take second place now to appearance and power. Previously in cultures an individual would gain high status from having a dignified and wise character. However now we have the age of celebrity where people will do anything to gain power through fame – they are prepared to trash their dignity in order to get it.
        How does this relate to female issues? Well its understood by some that looks count for females – more so than males. I propose then a narcissistic society will only take this (proposed) evolutionary norm and drive it out of balance. And so no wonder beautiful women feel disillusioned by men who are not interested in their true ‘self’ – their character and who they are on a deeper level.
        Im still developing my thoughts on this so please excuse me if something doesnt quite sound right or some of my generalisations are clumsy….but the more I understand the more I see the lack of value of the feminine nature that exists in our western society. As opposed to the surface image-to which huge value is attributed. No wonder beautiful women feel angry-its like they are being put on a pedestal for only one fraction of their potential. So rarely do I ever hear of anyone praising how nurturing, caring, loving a girl is. And at worst if someone is very caring they can even be manipulated or used-rather than adored and praised for this trait. All billboards ever display is physical beauty. I never read an advert that says ‘She blooms life, she pours love and nurture into her children to create positivity, The foundation of life is built on her love – the glue that holds the family unit together…’.
        Maybe thats just not sexy enough and sex sells – our society is obsessed with a sort of immature form of sex – rather than a true representation of what sex is. Narcissistic also I guess.
        Just like us humans are not living in balance with the earth at the mo (destroying it and trying to control it), I also believe our society is completely out of touch with the importance of the feminine nature. Its kind of shameful when I think about it…of course there are worse examples (Sharia law etc) – but still – its something that often people dont realise how important it is perhaps because we are now so bombarded by image all the time rather than taught the issues of real value in life.

        • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

          Steve, I agree completely. Does the book you read go into this more contemporary view of narcissism? I’m quite interested in this topic. Actually, I just put up a post that addresses what you’re talking about here. It’s not really my usual fare – we’ll see how it goes over.

  • Lily

    Honestly it sounds so conceited to agree with this but even last night I had numerous uncomfortable situations related to this topic (people think I’m conventionally beautiful)… I went to town with my mixed group of friends to play pool, I was just wearing jeans, ballet shoes and a peacoat, and I still got drunk guys saying the rudest things to me. I also got called a snobby bitch twice by different guys after I didn’t respond to their passing comments (even though I smiled politely). Wow. Then on the drive home my flatmate asked me again why I don’t have a boyfriend and told me I was really weird because of it (he had been constantly hitting on me lately which makes my life so uncomfortable). Lastly I talked to a guy I met recently and have hungout with a few times and talk to a lot online… super funny, smart, good looking.. which I thought was finally a good sign and that he liked me or whatever… then he proceeded to tell me that he was ‘pleasantly suprised at how pleasant I was’ after getting to know me. I questioned this, to which he pretty much stated he expected me to be dumb because I look like a shallow and fashionable person, and that he was suprised that I love to read and know about things he doesn’t. Like Kierkegaard. Or Lutherism. Um, is that a compliment? I look like a dumb snobby bitch… thanks. By this stage I wanted to cry myself to sleep. Ha. Also last night found out my incredibly beautiful best friend from high school ( like Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie beautiful!) is on heavy medication and suicide watch because she tried to kill herself 2 weeks ago. So please don’t think people who are ‘good looking’ have life easy because no one does. P.S. I’m only 20 so sorry if this reads like a ramble in Cosmopolitan.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Lily, thanks for leaving a comment. I wrote this post because I have heard a lot of stories like this from really attractive women. So often people believe that if only they were better looking they’d have it made and be happy. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. We all have our problems. I’m sorry your friend is so troubled- I hope she will get help and get better.

  • Miranda

    This is a great post! There’s no way of saying this without seeming full of myself, so I’ll just say it: I’m a noticeably attractive woman. By that I mean that I get a lot of compliments from strangers daily, I get stared at a lot, and occasionally I’ll get something free.

    But, I wasn’t always this way; I used to be 80 lbs heavier and I was virtually invisible to most men. The attention and perks are all VERY new to me (it started in January when I moved to the most shallow city in existence- LA) so I know how it is to be on both sides of the tracks. Life really is… different for pretty people. I’ve watched the difference in my own life, and those changes are both good and bad.

    While people are much nicer and trusting towards me, I really do feel like a lot of the new friends I have only like me because I’m pretty. And I’m certain that I only got my newest job as a hostess at a restaurant because of my looks. While at work I get a lot of unwelcome comments from male customers, and older men seem to think that it’s perfectly fine to touch me without my permission. And like Lily, if I reject a guys advances I’m immediately called “snobby” or a b*tch.

    Also, lately I’ve felt like a lot of guys I date think of me as some sort of accomplishment. Like, they’ll immediately take me around their friends and I can’t help but think it’s because they want to show me off. And on top of this, I think that a lot of guys with good intensions are afraid to approach me or show interest in me for fear of rejection, so I have to make it painfully obvious that I like a guy before he’ll initiate something with me.

    Don’t get me wrong, overall I’m loving this newfound attention and popularity, but this article is very true. It doesn’t bother me too much though, I feel like because I attract more guys, I’m more likely to eventually meet a really good one.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Miranda, that’s fabulous, congratulations! Of course you are enjoying the admiration of men! It’s very interesting that you’ve experienced it both ways and can be objective about the difference in the way you’re perceived now that you are thin.

      I agree completely that by attracting many guys, your odds of meeting a good man are high. It’s good that you recognize the need to signal your interest, so that a man who isn’t cocky or a player will still feel confident approaching you.

      I wish you all the best!

      • Poly Desi

        Miranda, you had a boyfriend take you around to meet your friends because he wanted to “show you off”, I’ve had the opposite! I was involved with a man who, while everyone else said I was beautiful, was ashamed of me because I was not his usually “ethnic type”. It feels horrible to be thought of as “attractive” by everyone but the man who is supposed to “love” you.

  • Kurt

    I joined a new gym a couple years ago and there was girl who was good looking and I think she was a little taller than me. I saw her running on the treadmill and noticed her but never assumed that she would be interested because I had always assumed that tall girls wanted tall guys. Well a week later I was stretching in a small stretching area near the treadmills and I sat down next to her because it was crowded there was no where else to sit and stretch that day. I looked over to see the people running and I saw that she was staring right at me. I looked away and then back and she was still staring at me. I was in total shock and I couldn’t even talk. I was embarrassed about that, and I did eventually manage to talk to her, although I thought I had blown my chance by the time I spoke with her. (If the same thing were to happen to me today, two years later, I think I handle it much better.)

    So I think that pretty women do have it harder because sometimes even if they do give guys eye contact, the guys don’t know always what it means anyway.

  • Bob

    “I personally know at least a dozen young women who are the whole package: Lovely to look at, smart, curious, funny, interesting, generous. And they’re all unattached.”

    Oh really? Prove it. Personally Susan, I call BS on your claim. Experience and the school of hard knocks lead me to my conclusions.

  • A.M.

    Thanks for this article! I know I get damn offended when people assume that I have it all laid out for me because I’m pretty, intelligent and well-groomed, because in my experience it just isn’t true. When I was a plain, dorky teenager with frizzy dishwater hair boys would talk to me; as soon as I grew out of my awkwardness, being a late bloomer, they just completely dried up. On the other hand, all my less pretty friends have bagged wonderful men as long-term boyfriends.
    The only guys who approach me now are douchy let-me-buy-you-a-drink-and-spike-it types who make it absolutely plain that they’re only after bragging rights. If I reject them coldly and so make myself look unattainable – ladies, would you feel good about knowing that the only men who don’t treat you like a pretty leper are only after descriptions of how you do in bed?

    Thankfully, nature’s given me options so I don’t have to settle for rubbish men. Thumbs up for that, Mother Nature – I appreciate it greatly.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      A.M., thanks for leaving a comment. I have a question – Mother Nature gave you options – but how do you connect with men if they’re intimidated by you?

  • Calvin

    Pretty girls get everything given to them. So yes, they do have it easier.

  • karen

    I agree with everything the writer says. I’ve always been an introvert who was more interested in politics and current events than the latest reality show. As a teenager and college student I had bad hair, bad acne, didn’t wear makeup, and was totally ignored by guys. I distinctly remember being introduced to one particular guy 3 times in a one month period in college and he never remembered me. I was invisible to the opposite sex. I’m in my late 20’s now and my appearance has definitely changed for the better. I can walk into a room and both men and women turn to stare at me. I’ve been allowed to enter clubs without having to wait in line. Yet, I’m still single. Guys stare at me but never approach me. They know my name even though I don’t know theirs. My current job leaves little opportunity for meeting single men. When other females find out I’m single, they are shocked because it is naturally expected that I have a current boyfriend. My female coworkers are surprised to learn that I spend my weekends by myself.

    I used to think that attractive women have it easier but I was wrong.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Karen, welcome, thanks for leaving a comment. If you want guys to feel comfortable approaching, you’re going to have to actively encourage them. Make eye contact (3 seconds is the threshold for attraction) and smile. Also, don’t rely on the bar/club scene. You’re going to have better luck in situations where you can get to know someone and make them feel like they have a shot. Since your work does not afford this opportunity, it means pursuing interests and friendships in other ways. I wrote a post about this:
      http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2010/05/15/hookinguprealities/57-ways-to-meet-the-love-of-your-life/

  • Julia M.

    Hi Susan,
    I’m a 20 year old college student and I really related to this article. There’s no way of saying this without sounding vain, so I’ll just say it – I’m attractive; I get frequent comments in the streets, have been approached for modeling, get hit on only by the meathead player-types, and people are always shocked to hear I don’t have a boyfriend. In fact, I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never even been kissed. This is likely a consequence of my shyness going up. During high school I was completely absorbed in my studies and genuinely had not developed interest in boys yet. Now that I am interested in dating, I have no idea where to start. I am still very shy around boys because, as said before, I have literally zero experience. I don’t even have any good guy friends. When talking to a guy I’m interested in, I get very nervous and turn bright red. To avoid this, I tend to put up walls and avoid contact altogether. I know this only makes me seem standoffish and intimidating but am often too afraid to take the risk of opening up. I know that you’ve said pretty girls have to encourage men to make them more comfortable, but I have no clue how to do this. Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome shyness in this situation? I’m just fed-up with passing up guys I’ve been interested in simply because I don’t know how to indicate my interest without clamming up and feeling insecure. I’m not interested in the hookup culture and am just looking for an authentic connection with someone.
    Any advice would be very much appreciated!

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Hi Julia, welcome! If you’re shy you need to take it slow. Definitely stay away from the meatheads! I would try to meet people naturally around a common interest – both women and men. Try being a friend first – and if you like a guy, you can begin to let him know by giving him some special attention, perhaps touching his arm, smiling and making eye contact, etc. If you are very attractive, your odds of being liked back are going to be pretty high, so I would encourage you to go for it if you catch feelings for someone. Your biggest problem is likely to be all all of your guy friends want more, but hey, that’s just the price you pay for being hot…

  • karen

    Thanks for commenting but I’m also dealing with the fact that any guy that I’m remotely friendly to thinks that I am attracted to him.  When my looks changed for the better I became friends with one guy who actually approached me and talked to me.  I made it clear that I only wanted to be his friend. I also was not physically attracted to him at all. Fast forward two years later and he decides that it is time for us to be more than friends.  I say I still only want to be his friend and he never talks to me again.  He was so angry with me when I rejected his advances. Before my looks changed, guys only considered me as a friend, no matter how friendly I was was them or how much I blushed and stammered in the presence of a particular guy.  Now, if I even talk too long to a guy or even look in his general direction, a guy thinks that I am interested in him when I’m not.  I’m so used to being invisible that now it scares me to be the female who get the attention of most guys.  I don’t know what to do with it.

  • Nicky

    As a male I find your article skewed here’s why (from a guys perspective and social psychology):

    1. Being a player has nothing to do with looks. There is no relationship to womanizing and a guys looks (social psych lit mentions that a man’s looks has little correlation to how he dates, its the opposite for women.). Although attractive men are the rare breed that actually get ‘hit on’ by women. This is what people are missing.

    2. Attractive women do not have it harder in life. they have an easier time (work life friends) and can draw from a massive pool of eligible men. They can afford to be picky. The rare 10’s are often met with resentment jealousy and admiration by other women below her looks wise. Still this does not detract from her overall social value in life. This is the only major con an extremely attractive woman can have.

    3. Most women, any women, are objectified by men. It is a patriarchial leftover from our traditional culture. Thats why feminism arose.

    4. Hooking up is less advantageous for average women because they draw in less men and most of these men do not want commitment and if they did they would want the best looking woman they can get. Related to no. 2.

    5. Attractive women are single, but never miss out on dates. They can afford to be picky. Also related to no.2

    6. the male response is deceitful. Here’s why: average men do not ask out women straight away. They play the ‘friends’ card first. Its funny they end up in it too most often.

    7. Where does the attractive woman get all this wrong attention from? It cant be from attractive men because as part of the bell curve, like attractive women, they are rare. This wrong attention they’re getting comes from the average to low average dudes using deceitful techniques, and bad pickup lines.

    8. Your guyland post about hot guys banging the most chicks vs. the traditional hot guys settle with hot chicks makes no sense. It is a two way street that is enacted upon in the hookup culture. Women also engage in this behavior. This also has nothing to do with being attractive.

    9. Attractive women have it harder because they can be more picky. Attractive women draw from a lesser pool of extremely rare attractive men. Being an attractive woman has not correlation to sexual promiscuity (social psych). Being more attractive saves a woman from promiscuity actually.

    10. The girls in that sundance film are a far shot from being really attractive. They fall within the normal bell curve- 5’s to 7.5’s.

  • dream puppy

    Attractive women have it much harder when they start to believe their own hype. I touched upon this on Darlock’s blog. A lot of men will put pretty girls up on pedestals- its no wonder many start to think that they are head and shoulders above everyone else….and then they become too picky, rejecting perfectly good mates for Billionaire Tom Brady look a like who never comes.

    However, aside from the problems that arise from being willfull and choosy, it is better to be a pretty girl than an ugly girl. Life is easier. You have more choice of dates, and when problems arise you have a better chance of getting them solved.

    I was never a beauty queen, but am definitely above average. Recently, after driving my husband crazy for the 10,000th time I broke some mundane rule, he turned to me and said:

    The rules just don’t apply to you eh?

    I thought long and hard about it, and realized, that in many instances, they haven’t.
    1) I was allowed to drive home by a policeman after blowing over the alcohol limit
    2) I have been pulled over 4 times for bad driving and given a ticket only one of those times (and another officer at the court reduced it)
    3) I washed my passport before an international trip and got a new passport in 3 hours (it usually took 3 weeks)

    I don’t know if these are good things. They have made me a little spoiled and reckless, but I know they wont last forever. I don’t feel that conflicted about it though. I know I’ll miss it when its gone…..

  • Sabrina

    I was actually not going to watch this video. WOW ! But after watching this video, I realize now what is going on. I am sad sometimes when men stare at me. It is difficult for me to figure out what their thinking. It makes me nervous. Yes now I believe I have been used by men who bragged about it later. I feel like the girl in 1:50, but it’s difficult for me to bring my self to tears. I want to. I wish there was a way that a beautiful woman could avoid feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Such a real break through!! I needed this.

  • Cheryle

    Imagine every person on a bus looking up towards you and then staring all the way to your destination. Or image walking onto the train and every head on that train turns. Imagine just walking in the grocery store and having men and women stop what they are doing and just turn towards you as you walk by. I smile a sweet smile if anyone makes eye contact with me. I say “Hi” to some people who make eye contact (young, old, fat, slender, male, female, tall, short)and they look shocked that I said “Hi”. Like beautiful people are not supposed to be nice or something. I just do not get that thought process.

    I am told that I look like Uma Thurman, Cindy Crawford or Shania Twain at least seven times a week. I do not have as high of an opinion about my physical make up as others seem to. I do not keep track of the latest celebrity, the latest look, or the latest fashion. I wear tinted moisturizer, Burt’s Bees lip protector, put my hair in a french twist, wear Eddie Bauer crew necks, long pants, and basically think….Well, here I am , take it or leave it.
    I dress for comfort, not to entice or to create interest.

    I know that I contribute to society by working with children, volunteering my cooking skills at a homeless shelter, giving blood to the American Red Cross, and by donating high nutrient food items to our local food pantry. I know that I make a difference in other people’s lives so I just live day to day taking it all in stride.

    Let them stare — I am just human. If beautiful people would just not get involved with the hype that surrounds the myth of beauty, then life can be rather normal.

  • pretty lonely

    People seem to think I’m attractive. I’m 27, tall & slender, working on a masters degree. I have continuosly attracted guys who keep me around, we end up cultivating a great friendship & spend tons of time together, but I end up feeling stuck as the girlfriend instead of their partner, they never want to marry ME. They never buy me meaningful or sentimental gifts like I do (doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful). I am still keeping hope at age 27 that I will find a husband but am becoming worried.
    I have had to work hard to get where I am, pay for college on my own, support myself, I had a difficult childhood and worked hard to overcome that. I do volunteer work, I have lot’s of hobbies like playing guitar, writing music, making short films. I can hold my own in a conversation and enjoy topics like politics, film, music, cultural affairs, however, I am in no way overbearing and I am a generous listener. These discussions are always fun, not argumentative or competitive in nature.
    I am considering chopping off my hair to make myself less attractive, I wear very little makeup, I dress in higher quality age appropriate clothing that’s not revealing. I feel I need to start playing the field of men, because it would improve my chances of ever getting married at this point. Maybe if there’s competition I won’t be taken for granted. I’ve spent 4 years with two different men exclusively only to find out he’s not going to propose, that’s 8 years of my life! Since men are such flakes there’s no way I’m going to have kids. Based on men’s behavior I greatly fear becoming a struggling single mom for life. I am trying to find a great partner and marry him, that’s it, I don’t even care if we ever own a home, and I don’t even need a wedding, going to the courthouse is FINE. I have reasonable expectations, certainly lower expectations than my married friends. The most insulting thing is when people assume I’ve had everything handed to me on a silver platter, I don’t let that pass, and they certainly look shocked & apologetic when I set their little selves straight. Another “problem” is that I am also a “nice girl” and nice girls seem to finish last. People used to say I must have men lined up around the block, anything could be further from the truth and I am starting to feel bitter resentment that the girls who are self absorbed and demand constant attention are landing all the blokes. Books I’ve read seem to suggest that being myself is a bad thing, and that’s why I’m still single. Apparently in order to win a man’s respect I have to play the “game” and be very hard to obtain, a “challenge”. Lately to deal with the disappointment I have turned to buddhism and found some relief there. The only way to win it seems is to desire nothing. For me, my life is naturally driven by love, so there is a great void since I have no partner to share it with. I have lived alone and independently for years, however, it feels unnatural to live alone now and I long to share my life with a mate who has a deeper understanding of life. I guess it’s up to me to initiate things and be the one to pursue men since guys rarely approach me, (they just stare at me, check me out). As usual I have to do everything myself *irritated sigh The fairy tales should have the woman rescuing & sweeping prince charming off his feet, that seems more realistic for today’s “standards”. Ha! How jaded am I?

  • http://burlesquemama.wordpress.com violet streak

    great post!
    there is a darkside to everything. i am a curvy, wear alot of black have dark hair wear nerdy glasses, my younger sis is petite with a “nice” body. i have been witness to how men treat her, looks glances, or heard her tell me stories of older men in their late 30s at work. sexual inuendo ect.
    i use to think she had it so good, until i realized we both had it good and bad in different ways.

  • http://burlesquemama.wordpress.com violet streak

    also my beautiful sister doesnt know she is beautiful. i have realized many “beautiful women” dont know they are beautiful.
    i on the other hand think im gorgeous too bad the rest of the world doesn’t know it. 😉

  • Marc

    Pretty girls that say they are rarely approached don’t know the other side of the coin. Ask an average woman and a pretty woman how often they are approached in a month…you’ll see.

    Another issue not discussed here, which is very important; is leagues. Most younger people shoot out of their leagues for many years. Unfortunately, we don’t determine our own leagues, the public in general does. Water finds it’s own level, and the process can be painful.

    I am guilty of this also. I consider myself a solid 8 who pursues 9-10, while the 6-7-8’s pursue me. In time, I will capitulate, but only when I “am getting old”. I will date these women briefly, but always am looking for something better.

    With women, they many times waste their youth/beauty getting free stuff, dating tons of bad boys, taking free trips with old men, sleeping around, etc. They don’t even give any thought to offering their future husband their “good years”. Then, when they have “had their fun”, they look to offer their husband stretch marks, wrinkles, unhealthy hair, etc. THE GUY THEY COMMIT TO, THE ONE WHO WILL SUPPORT HER THE REST OF HER LIFE, DOESNT EVEN HAVE A MEMORY OF WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG AND HOT!!!! The club heads and players got the hot, young body…..the husband gets the high mileage one!

    As her looks fade into her thirties, her standards don’t. She still thinks she deserves the life she had ten years ago. That’s when the bitterness sinks in. Ladies, cash in your chips early, BEFORE the looks fade. Give your future husband your best years….you know he deserves it.

  • Kurt

    @Marc, this is kind of off-topic, although I do agree with you and am amazed when I see women in their late-30s struggling with dating even though they were probably above-average looking if not hot during their 20s. A lot of those women are bitter because they got used to bad boy-type douchers kissing their asses when they were younger and better looking, and now they have ridiculously high expectations despite having little to offer as they reach the end of their fertility. Of course, none of the guys they dating during their 20s wanted to marry them, as they were nothing other than a piece of easy ass.

    I don’t think that some attractive women in their 20s really realize how good they have things until their looks start rapidly fading. Dating is so much easier for women at that age than it is for men, but too many women waste their best years.

  • Jess

    Dear pretty lonely,
    Sorry to hear your story pretty lonely. You are are obviously ready for an LTR.
    I would suggest speed dating, just to get back into flirting.
    .
    Don’t be over keen though, it can appear needy and also be sure you really like him for him.
    Dont just stay with a guy cos you want to be married.

  • Jess

    To girls:
    If you don’t want to be checked out change the way you dress.
    If you have a half decent body and wear a shortish dress men will check you out.
    When I was younger, I had a baby face and slim body but by dressing casually I was almost invisible. When I put a mini skirt on men virtually salivated in public.
    So don’t underestimate the power of clothing.

  • Jess

    To Marc and Kurt
    Yuk to everything you said
    I wish I could erase your comments from every girl who ever reads those comments.
    .

    You do realize you are reducing everything down to youth and beauty?
    My best years are ahead of me.
    I am 40, have more wisdom, have a few tricks in the sack I never had at 20, and pobably have a better dress sense than when I was at college.
    True I have a few more lines and I’m proud of every one of them.
    I would certainly find a 30 yo mam more attractive this his 20 yo edition
    I think when you grow up a bit you may have a different perspective.
    .
    I would say to girls to enjoy life whilst you can.
    True one should always aim realistically but beauty is only skin deep.
    .
    Thev bitterness I see from girls is due to men cheating or being lied to.
    Plenty of women have fun young and settle later in life, just like a billion men before them.
    Please dimiss the comments of Marc and Kurt. Its not 1940.

  • terre

    On the contrary: girls, I would quite studiously ignore Jess’ comments. The pleasures of youth may be strong and intoxicating, but when the baby rabies kick in (and they do for every girl once she crosses the threshold) you’ll be in a world of hurt trying to find a suitable mate. Your fertility begins to drop at 25, and by Jess’ 40 it’s entirely vanquished. The choice is yours, but at least give it some measure of thought.

  • Jess

    I have my 2 kids so vanquishment be damned.
    Fertility really drops off at 38 according to the NHS.
    From 18 onwards there is a slight drop-off on the graph or increased risk of complication.
    So according to terries logic all 17 year old girls should try and get pregnant.
    .
    As it happens in terms of genetic disease, the mans age often is more critical. ( nhs info).
    This is because sperm is manufactured during the lifetime of the man whereas eggs are made in utero and then stored so the dna is always pristine.
    .
    If you marry young and then get divorced does that help girls?
    What if they marry young, to the wrong person and waste precious years?
    Isn’t it better to have fun, know what you want and make a good choice? A lasting choice?
    Where are these women that terre are speaking about?
    In my experience active women tend to get the guy. Just an observation across many countries. The women who are childless are that way irrespective of sexual freedoms. Again just an observation.

  • terre

    First of all, I’ve no idea where you got the NHS information that “fertility really drops off at 38”. That’s completely wrong. Women have 12% of the ovarian reserve they were born with by age 30, and 3% by age 40, by which point the rate of miscarriage will also be over 50%. Her fertility peaks at 26 and declines at 30. Down syndrome is also extremely common in babies born to mothers older than ~35.

    Secondly, the risk of a marriage ending in divorce steeply increases once a girl has at least one extramarital sexual partner. This is probably due to the effects of pair bonding. I’m not really advocating that girls marry at 17 or do anything bar whatever it is they want (why waste my breath?) but they should understand the consequences of their choices, and those are no longer in question.

  • Obsidian

    Jess,
    I have to ask: what is the point of you being here?

    My reason for asking is because, I’ve been reading your comments here in this venue for sometime now, and they seem incredibly defensive. Not that there’s anhything wrong with that per se, but it is interesting to see. It seems like your defending something, and I want to know what that something is.

    As to the current topic at hand…

    In terms of the USA, all the data as we have it, from sources such as the US Census etc, it clearly shows noted patterns. For one thing, when it comes to divorce, Men remarry at much higher rates than do Women, and this is especially true the older they get. Moreover, the former tends to marry much younger the second time around than the latter, if the latter remarries at all.

    Second, Women over 35 have a much harder time in the SMP than do Men of the same age. By the time tnhey both hit 40, the Men are having a much better time of it in aggregate, than are the Women; for all intents and purposes, and again I’m speaking in aggregate terms here, the Women begin to become invisible sexually, to the vast majority of Men. In general, and in the main, Men prefer younger to older Women, all things being equal. Yes, there are some exceptional Women out there who can continue to attract Men regardless as to their own age. You may indeed be one of them. But all it takes is a quick look around to confirm what I am saying in the main, is indeed true. Nor am I making a grand value judgment statement here. I don’t have a dog in the fight and it makes me no difference one way or another. I am simply just stating what by now be easily observable facts of life.

    Holla back

    O.

  • Jess

    Hi all,
    No I don’t mind you asking at all. I make regular comments on a number of blogs ranging from third world politics to feminism to Palestine.
    I used to be very political and a lapsed member of various pressure groups.
    .
    Blogging saves me from bending the ear of my partner I guess.
    I only engage in threads that interest me or I have personal experience of.
    .
    I guess therefore that my reasons for posting are similar to other posters but you would have to ask them to be sure.

  • Jess

    Terre
    I was perhaps sloppy with my terminology.
    If you don’t like the nhs as a suorce then you could go the baby centre web site.
    fertility does drop continuously from 18 to 50 but that just means it takes longer for a 35 yo to get pregnant than a 25 yr old.
    What is critical is the infertility graph and that spikes at……38!
    .
    There is also a corresponding spike with diseases but they are still relatively rare.
    Do remember many genetic issues come from the sperm anyway.

  • Josh

    Why is it “being approachable” is so far down the list on things for “hot girls” to do. Good guys are sick of being treated like crap because of stigmas.

  • Jess

    Instead of spike I should have said sudden increase.
    .
    Obsidian,
    I haven’t looked at the data myself but am happy to accept the trends you assert.
    The thing is there is always other factors at play.
    I guess a guy would prefer a girl of 25 to 35 but what if the older one was his sexual and spiritual soul mate?
    The trends you mention are not of identical humans so extrapolation is iffy.
    .
    My grandmother lived a life of servitude and sexual repression.
    I, lucky cow, lived an exciting fun life and have been blessed with 2 happy kids.

  • Jess

    Thus you will understand I would prefer any child of mine to enjoy the freedoms I had.
    And ‘marry before you are on the shelf’ is something my grandmother was told. Yuk.

  • Sharon Cox

    Jess,

    Stop it please! Grow up and face reality. All of us 40+ girls are less desireable, …and thats it! You love your wrinkles??? Shut up stUpid. You love being 40+ ???? Because I hate it. But, we had our chance with our youth, and we have passed the torch to the new, young beautiful girls. Support them, don’t hate on them. I am jealous….and happy for them.

  • filrabat

    To bring some additional motivation to push ourselves to change our SMP habits:

    A lot of these issues are due to the fact that we’ve only had a post-hunter-gatherer (i.e. post animal) way of living for roughly 10,000 years – which is not even an eyeblink in evolutionary terms (more accurately, 10,000 years is the initial nerve impulse that causes the eyeblink).

    Back in the days when all we had to do to survive was learn how to gather nuts and berries, and make spears, spearpoints, and traps to capture and kill game — it made perfect sense for teenagers to be mothers and fathers. This continued to be arguably true for western peoples well into the Middle Ages. BUT…with the increasing necessity of education and increasing skill demands as time goes on. Even worse, our instincts are more geared for short-term thinking – not long-term. Back in the pre-agricultural, animal-like, eras, what happened as a consequense of actions 10, 20, and 40 years down the road made little to no difference on our lives or the lives of our descendants. In a post-hunter-gather society, what we do CAN EASILY make a difference 10,20, and 40 yrs down the road…or even centuries (e.g., even today, America is still living with the consequenses of plantation slavery – namely stubborn, though declining, race relations issues). Likewise, a 16 year old in 13,000 bc, or even 3,000 bc getting pregnant by a bad boy probably didn’t affect her future life much or that of her famiily. However, in 2010 ad, and even for a few hundred years before, her (and the cad’s) choices DO have an impact on how their children will turn out, and on their long-term marriage prospects.

    Our day-to-day physical environment has changed. By consequense, the very way we make a living has changed. Also by consequense, the very ways we become prepared to be able to raise children has changed. But WE haven’t Our technological development is by far outrunning our psychosexual evolution. It may or may not be true that humans are made for long-term monogamy, but divorce usually hurts children profoundly, if not severely; or at least their relations with their parents and (potentially) future relationship partners.

    We just have to accept the fact that we’re now in an era where the game of sustainable-over-the-generations survival and procreation are played by entirely different rules. BUT…the one thing we humans are good at is figuring things out. That means anticipating what may happen in the far future and disciplining ourselves to achieve the best result. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10, we use the phrase “human nature” to mean “our base animal instincts”. Therefore, to say that we can’t help ourselves in this regard is to imply we have no more capacity for choosing our own destiny than wild animals do. This is insulting ourselves, to say the least.

  • filrabat

    Correction:

    I meant to say “where the game of sustainable-over-the-generations survival and procreation operate by entirely different rules”.

    My apologies for the error.

  • Kurt

    Jess, I don’t doubt that you and other women typically find a man to more attractive at age 30 than you would have found the exact same man when he was at age 20.

    Men, on the other hand, place more emphasis on physical beauty than women do. You might know a “few tricks in the sack” at age 40 than you would have at age 20 yourself. However, most men don’t really care that much if their sexual partner is relatively inexperienced and actually most men would prefer to marry a somewhat sexually inexperienced women instead of a highly experienced woman.

    The vast majority of men think that women in their mid-20s are far more physically desirable than women who are closer to 40. I defy you to find one reputable survey contrary to this.

    A single man who is 40 years old might settle down with a 40 year old woman if that is the best woman he thinks he can get and who will be loyal to him. However, I honestly think that most single 40 year old men would prefer to settle down with a 30 year old woman or even younger if they thought that they could get one who would stay loyal.

  • Jess

    To filbabat,
    Great post. Well put and I concur. We should take responsibility for our actions and be mindful of consequences. Regardless of urges.
    .
    Kurt,
    My point was that in your earlier post you reduced a persons worth down to beauty and age. As you get older you might find your view changes.
    .
    In isolation yes a 25 yo women is hotter than a 40 yo generally speaking. But that does not mean to say women desperately have to spend their youthful fun years worrying about chastity of landing an acceptable hubby. You sound like a victorian uncle.
    You may know lots of childless unhappy 39 years women who had lots of partners in their youth and are now haggard and unwanted. Well if thats your observation I can’t argue with that.
    All I can say is that an attractive modern women in her late 30’s wants a relationship then she tends to succeed. They may have to join an agency or put on a nice frock but they get there in the end.
    .
    I’m trying to think of any of my college friends or colleagues without kids or partners. It’s not easy.
    I had few gay friends who never adopted.
    I knew one stunning friend who had severe mental issues. She was still single last time I heard.
    Some of my lesser conventianlly attractive friends took a while to settle but they got there.
    All of the sexually active girls did ok in that regard later in life. So don’t get the need for panic.

  • Kurt

    Jess, I am not in my 20s – I am 35 and I do prefer slightly younger women – they are better looking and are often nicer and far less jaded than women my own age. You are married, so you are out of the game now. However, when you were dating were you ever out on a date with someone with a sense of entitlement, and a bad and negative attitude? The women whom I have been out on dates who were like that were in their mid-30s and they were just awful. Maybe I am meeting women in the wrong places, but it seems as though many women in their mid-30s are like this.

    I am not saying that I wouldn’t marry a woman who was 35, but she would have to be an exception person. I want to start a family and want a woman who is likely to be fertile.

    Is it unfair to view a woman in her late 20s as a better mate than a woman in her mid-30s, if all other things are equal? Maybe it is unfair; however, I bet that a large number of single women in their mid-30s unfairly excluded a large percentage of men who were the same age as them when they were in their mid-20s because they thought that those guys were boring or lacking in confidence.

  • Jess

    Well I agree with one thing. When it comes to biology life is seldom fair or kind.
    Otherwise there would no such thing as varicose veins, double chins, impotence, early menopause or bald patches.
    .
    I agree, all things being equal ( they never are) a 20yo is more attractive than a 40 yo.
    It’s almost beyond denial. But that was never in dispute.
    .
    If you find women your own age jaded that may be a reflection of your company or you picked incompatable 40 yo. I think many 35 yo men might find a 25yo a tad naive and immature. A bit irritating perhaps? Or perhaps you like the fact they admire the older man. They may appreciate your solvency perhaps?
    .
    I am glad the 40yo demonstrate e

  • Jess

    I am glad the 40 yo s demonstrate feelings of entitlement. They should do, just as men should do. It is good to have esteem and good ( though not ludicrous) expectations. Life and experience have perhaps brought them this confidence.
    .
    Clearly they are not your cup of tea and if you are dating a 25 yo and younger both happy good for both of you.
    .
    In the past if these women may have rejected you it was maybe because they weren’t attracted to you? It doesn’t mean they were just holding out for the 9’s of the world?
    Maybe at 35 you have style, means and confidence now?
    Who knows? But as you say life isn’t fair.
    You are doing ok now. As will most these women eventually.

  • terre

    To be quite frank, Jess, we can’t say for certain what the future holds for promiscuous women because American women have never in history been as promiscuous as they are today. Given the plummeting rate of marriage, I don’t foresee anything particularly pleasant.

  • Jess

    ‘anything particularly pleasant’ – hilarious.
    Oh there will be a wailing and a gnashing of teeth!
    .
    Women have been enjoying sexual freedoms for a while now.
    Birthrate seems ok. Divorce may be on the increase as both sexes prefer not to stagnate in bad marriages.
    Also a lot of couples don’t bother with marriage anyway.
    I’m not aware of any normal sexually active women who has failed to get an LTR when she was ready.
    So like I say, no need to panic girls.

  • Höllenhund

    “Birthrate seems ok.”

    Did you actually bother looking at the stats? They are way below the replacement level everywhere in the West.

    “I’m not aware of any normal sexually active women who has failed to get an LTR when she was ready.”

    How do you explain the louder and louder complaints of middle-age women that they cannot find an “eligible” man? The widespread complaints of women in general that men are “avoiding commitment”? Yes, woman are able to form LTRs – just not with the men they can get to commit.

    Just keep fiddling as Rome burns, Jess. Your solipsism is hilarious.

  • terre

    Jess, half of babies born in the U.S. are not white/Euro-American. The U.S.’ birth rate is being bolstered by its unusual status as an immigrant nation; whites outside of Utah and the South are suffering from sub-replacement fertility levels on par with Western Europe. In Germany, the problem is so bad that housing developments are being torn down by city planners (Berlin is infamous for being a squatter-friendly metropolis, since the ratio of people to houses is so disproportionate).

  • Kurt

    Jess, yes it is true that many 25 year-olds might be immature and some might appreciate a man’s “solvency.” However, there are also many older women who are also the same way. In fact, older women are often worse about the money thing because they are desperate to get married and want a man with money who would be a good provider.

    You might find this hard to believe, but there actually are some well-balanced attractive women in their late 20s who are genuinely attracted to men in their mid-30s and it really isn’t because of the men’s net worth. I actually find that if anything many women seem to undervalue a man’s earning capabilities.

  • Jess

    I saw a documentary last month that said there was global overcrowding.
    Due to longer life expectancy and industrialisation of the third world we are facing a energy and food shortage.
    I also know that london suffers a nurse and midwife shortage so i wasn’t aware of a birth deficit as such but I’m sure your data is reliable.
    .
    I have heard women sometimes moan about commitment. But at the end of the day the guy caves or she finds someone who does commit.
    .

  • Marc

    Good points Kurt. I am 31, and have zero attraction to women in their 30’s or 40’s. I recognize some of them are beautiful, but there is no “click” in my brain. It’s not my fault, it’s 3 million years of instinct.

    I want to give my future child the best chance at being healthy, and younger women produce healthier children, period.

    Also, I deserve to have the best years of the mother of my future child. I am planning ahead, nothing wrong with that. A 32 yo may look good today, and be somewhat fertile. But, what about in 10 years????? A 22 yo is going to look better and be fertile much longer.

    There’s nothing negative about what I just said, it’s all positive…..unless you’re a bitter 45 yo.

    I agree again with Kurt. I never met a normal man who wants a girl with lots of “tricks in the sack”. I would prefer a younger, less attractive girl with zero tricks, than an attractive women in her 30’s or 40’s with “experience”. Yuck.

  • Marc

    Well each to their own marc.
    Some girls in their 20s do indeed prefer guys in their 30s so you will make out fine I’m sure.
    .
    Happily not all men demand their partner be a decade younger than themselves.
    .
    Also many men do like the idea of an experienced girl and I know plenty of women who have married younger men. I don’t think they planned to, it was just who they fell in live with.
    .
    If however Marc, you find yourself rejected a lot by 25 yos you may wish to realign your criteria but I imagine you shouldn’t need to.

  • Jess

    Sorry, last post was from me not Marc
    Jess

  • Rye

    The post originally started off as a post on “too attractive” females not being approached, but has evolved into a “do men prefer and exprienced women or a young one”

    Jess,
    As a young woman who surfs countless blogs and is fascinated by this topic, I am going to have to say the points you are trying to assert are wrong. Dead wrong.

    Susanawalsh.
    Great site! Some good articles for young ladies to read. With regards to the recent posts, I would suggest reading blogs by Roissy, Roosh or listening to youtube clips of Tom Leykis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmBB3pwuvqg

    If women truely wanted to *learn* the unabashed male perspective, they would have to *listen* to an unbaised male point of view. When you read posts by Marc, Kurt, or Dashiell, you know you are getting the real deal. The reason many men do not want to commit to older, “experienced” and “liberated” women is simply because of the baggage that comes along with them. Plus, Jess’ assertion that younger women are immature is pure gibberish. Men are simply wired to desire younger women.

    I am 19 years old, a swimwear model, and about to graduate college this summer. I have my priorities straight. However, hearing stories of women not being able to find a mate in their late 30s and 40s makes me sad. Young women today need the guidance of older women to give them good advice about getting a mate (start looking seriously for a husband at 23 years old, and marry at 25-30). Advice from clueless women like Jess are just hurting women’s perceptions of themselves.

    -Rye

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Pretty Lonely
    It sounds like you are really, really discouraged. I can understand why if you feel that you have spent eight years unproductively. I would say that the most important things for you going forward:
    1. Definitely take the initiative with men you find attractive.
    2. Don’t waste time on men who do not share your values. You don’t need four years to figure out a man doesn’t want to get married to you. Qualify men by determining whether they want the same things you do before getting very involved.
    3. Do not attempt to hide your beauty. Cutting your hair short is not the answer if your goal is to look less attractive. Embrace your own looks and make the most of them. Just understand that the men who are most likely to approach you are probably the least worthy.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Oh pish posh, Jess. Honestly, this is nonsensical. Of course fertility is tied to youth, and drops off well before 38. In fact, I recently read that there is a huge drop at age 27. I’m sure this can easily be researched by studying infertility stats, which have skyrocketed with the average age of marriage. We begin menstruating at 11 – do you really believe we’re very fertile 26 years later? And even if we’re capable of bearing a child at 40, suggesting that we’re just as desirable is preposterious. That’s not to say you can’t find love and great sex at 40 – but you’re going to be up against stiff competition from younger, more nubile, and yes, fertile women. The press is full of these spinster sob stories, as are the self-help bookshelves. Mike C just linked to this article, which is germane to this topic:

    http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/111695344.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUvDEhiaE3miUsZ

  • filrabat

    The big elephant in the room of this discussion I see here is this:

    The male libido cools down as they age. Maybe not for all me, but a staggeringly high percentage of them considering the typical male reluctance to admit to a decreased libido due to its supposedly “unmanliness”. Even at age 30, men’s libido’s – though still somewhat strong – aren’t nearly as tyrannically high as even five years earlier. And yes, this does vary by individual, yes, but this is an overall general tendency for the male gender as a whole. By 35 and especially by 40, a lot – and I mean a lot – of men start to think “Sex? Ehhh…ok..”

    I myself had this happen to me a bit earlier than usual (around 28, 29-ish..hard to pinpoint). Certainly by 30 I started to enter the “Ehh, ok” phase, and has only declined since. In fact, for several years, I wondered if I was turning asexual. I eventually decided I wasn’t turning into one, given that women can still attract my attention just from their physical features and certain personality traits alone. But that doesn’t hold my attention nearly as much as 15 years ago. Result: I find myself less and less motivated to meet women, no matter how young or nubile or curvy or accomplished. Women (at least as far as relationships are concerned) are simply not relevant to my happiness at my age (43) and haven’t been for at least 14 years.

    I only bring this up because women seeking husbands can always – according to popular myth – look to older single men. This is simply untrue more often than we think, for reasons described above. Life’s experience with drama, relationship politics, etc. only further reinforces the apathy. I’d imagine this is particularly true for men with lots of bad experiences with women in their younger days. Why would they want to date the very types of women who rejected them in their younger years (i.e. the hot ones, even solidly intelligent and accomplished attractive women). In fact, they’re probably glad their libido is – if not dead, at least on the way out. Oh, they still find such women attractive and may even have sexual fantasies about them – but that’s as far as it’s gonna go. Granted, younger men do make poor choices in women too but this does not change the fact that MANY men’s libidoes decline as early as their 30s. This also does much to reduce the supply of available older men the women of marriagable age want.

    As for the men in their early 30s still in the dating market, their priorities also changed (at least the committment-minded ones). Substance,personal content, and overall integrity and trustworthiness will count for more – and they will sacrifice A LOT in the way of beauty, style, charm, personal charm, accomplishments, and even intelligence to get that substance, integrity, etc. They’ve had their experiences with “hot” women, and found that so many were not good wife material, or even considerate of other’s concerns. The aforementioned natural decline of the male sex drive (at least in many men) only makes it easier to succeed at what I just described.

    So it is that the posts discussed immediately above have a lot more urgency than is commonly thought — unless we want to completely do away with not just marriage but with committment and parenthood altogether (I’m not holding my breath for that one).

  • Jess

    Good point filibrat,
    I’m afraid nature didn’t really design us so well when it came to this issue.
    .
    Women reach their sexual peak at 40 but mens is at 18.
    So this is a bit of a bummer for both genders.
    It may explain the cougar thing but most women cannot stand 18 yo guys despite the fact they may be the most sexually compatible in terms of sex drive.
    For 1000s of years life expectancy was 22. Nature didn’t figure us living till 75.
    Plus life is not sentimental, nature only cares about us living long enough to breed not the complications of LTRs.
    I don’t think this issue is thought about in advance by people though, they tend to follow their heart instead but it’s a highly pertinent point. The 35 year old guy may have trouble keeping up with his 25 yo wife 10 years down the line.
    Hope you are listening Marc?

  • Jess

    Dear Susan,
    Did you find my 2 missed posts? One appeared for a day and then vanished.
    .
    Re: fertility.
    I know you appreciate science so I used several sources that gave the same info.
    Nhs, baby centre web site, several USA fertility info sites.
    They all said the same thing.
    Fertility does steadily drop off in a straight line from 18 to 50. The line is gentle though.
    .
    So yes there is a link with age- we agree on that don’t we?
    Fertiltity graphs are a measure of pregnancy verses copulation attempts.
    So you have to do it more times to concieve if you are 30 compared to being 20 (probably)
    However infertility( a total inability to conceive) only suddenly increases at 38 ( though the USA sites said 35-40)
    I didn’t see anything about infertility jumping up at 27. Are you sure thats right?
    Happy to be corrected of course. I agree it’s important girls have this critical info.
    .
    Desirability-
    I have just read back my posts and I did make it clear that 20 yo women were hotter than 40 yo women. So I think we already agree there.
    That does not mean to say I would go along with marc’s attitude though which was a bit shallow IMO.

  • filrabat

    @Jess

    “I don’t think this issue is thought about in advance by people though, they tend to follow their heart instead but it’s a highly pertinent point.”

    That is precisely the problem – more specifically a combination of hormone intoxication and a frankly obsolete brain architecture. If I had the Power of God (so to speak), then – given that we need much more education to make a living than even 50 years ago, plus that the very physical environment we live in is not fit for a Stone Age mentality — then, with that “Power of God”, I’d reset human biology to where both genders don’t hit puberty until around age 25, perhaps even 30. We’d have more life experience by this time and (likely) know what the whole point of romantic relationships are in the first place: primarily reproductive (from a strict biological perspective).

    BUT..the silver lining in all this is that we humans are pretty damned good at figuring things out. We have greater capacity for forethought than animals do. We’re the only animals that figured out (to a great extent, at least) nature’s game plan for us AND the ability to question the relevance of that game plan, including it’s timing.

    Therefore, at this point, the problem isn’t so much our brain’s ability, or even our sex drive. It’s our culture. We do not have a culture that encourages a conscious and deliberate postponement of things romantic and sexual before thinking of the consequenses. That may work fine in the animal kingdom and perhaps even primitive societies, but not for an Industrial Age one and certainly not for a Computer Age one. We have to face the knowledge that not only our biology, but much of human nature itself is frankly obsolete. Ironically, that knowledge can help us navigate the relationship minefield – IF we consciously and deliberately decide to overrule our biological and emotional natures. In fact, that’s the only hope there is.

  • Marc

    Women are revered in society for motherly qualities. This means youth and good looks. (Healthy, fertile, and more likely to pass our genes succesfully).

    Women like handsome men also. But, men are more revered in society for their ability to bring meat back to the cave. (Income to feed the babies and……pass genes). It goes on and on. It’s no big secret.

    Boobs? Why do men love boobs? They are not “for us”. They are for feeding babies, thats it. We like big, healthy looking boobs because it appears they have sufficient milk to provide for our babies….thats it!!!

    Whether you like it or not, we live subconsciously. We have 3million years guiding our moves. You can intelligently argue all of it, but you’re not going to buck mother nature and her 300+ BILLION years of experience.

    Back on topic about pretty girls having it harder. Many do. Think of this. The bell curve, most people are 4’s,5’s and 6’s in the looks department. Most people get together with people in their same league. That being said, a gorgeous woman actually has MUCH LESS opportunity in the dating community. She can/will only date a guy who is also a 9 or 10. There are not many 9’s or 10’s available. The 4’s 5’s and 6’s have billions of choices for mates, whereas a 10 has very little choices. Could be very frustrating, especially since most women in their teens and twenties desire a man slightly older. Most high value 30 year old men have been taken. This leaves them lowering their standards, or sticking to their guns and being constantly frustrated. “Why can’t I find a good guy” really means “I am pretty, and deserve a hot, rich, romantic 30 year old, but can’t land one”. The competition for that guy is fierce, believe me. There are MANY more hot young girls, than high value 30 yo dudes.

    Susan and Rye, good comments. Rye, I am happy to share genuine thougths about how us guys think. Unbiased, sometimes hard to swallow, truth.

  • Jess

    Yes, I think it’s important that people reject ancient notions and look at things altruistically.
    It’s so true that youthfull mistakes can be so disastrous.
    .
    However it’s so difficult to change the urges.
    A horny young guy will always lust after girls.
    And you cannot force a girl to fancy someone she doesn’t.
    In crude terms, if they dont make you wet or hard, it ain’t happening.
    Of course this is ancient biology and should be dismissed as you say.
    But how does one achieve this with ethical means?

  • filrabat

    BTW, I can also say “you can’t force a guy to lust after girls he doesn’t find even marginally attractive. And you force young girls to be turned off by confidence, money, social suaveness, swagger, and “alpha” traits” – foir both genders, at the expense of the boring but important traits that make up a truly sustainable relationship.

    For the human species as a whole, it’s so deeply rooted in our DNA and/or neural architecture that we can’t come even close to eliminating this disconnect between our biology and our technology-oriented physical environment. We can minimize or maximize these tendencies in people with heterosexual urges of normal strength for that age though – chiefly through changing the culture and (for those who care to call it this) mass propaganda. We have a chance with young people whose sex drives are considerably weaker than the norm, yes. BUT, as I said, we can’t come even close to eliminating this problem for the youth / young adult population as a whole. All we can do is hope that we simply evolve out of this eventually (but that’ll take at least 100 generations, if it can be accomplished at all).

  • filrabat

    BTW, I don’t think I contradicted myself in the last two posts. My point was that even though we can’t eliminate our “choosers” (i.e. the bundle of ideas in our brains that cause us to involuntarily be initially and superficially attracted to someone) – we CAN question how reliable our “choosers” are. But only rarely do we ever do so, at least not until we’re in our late 20s at the youngest. Therefore, we need to change the culture so that it encourages (even demands) skepticism about our “choosers”, even as we can’t eliminate our urges.

  • terre

    Jess, you can’t just name your sources when you make a claim that “[…] fertility does steadily drop off in a straight line from 18 to 50. The line is gentle though.” You have to link to them, or at least name the studies. 50-year-old women are nigh infertile.

  • Höllenhund

    “Women reach their sexual peak at 40 but mens is at 18.”

    ROFL/LMAO! Do I even need to point out the rather obvious evidence to the contrary?

  • Jess

    Terre,
    Try the ‘baby centre’, nhs websites, or type in ‘infertility and age’ into your search engine.
    The baby centre has a graph showing infertility and fertility plotted against age on the same graph.
    .
    Hollenhund,
    Am I to assume you disagree with the sexual peak thing? It’s a well known truism in the uk.
    I think it came originally from kinseys research.
    I looked at the web and some people refute this though.
    Tbh I have always had a fairly good libido since 18 but most of my friends say they are much more sexually needy since hitting 30.

  • Jess

    Filibrat,
    Yes I agree, if only we could change the ‘choosing’ mechanisms.
    .
    But in the uk we have had massive safe sex campaigns but we are still having 8 yo kids having terminations, STDS are on the rise, most pop music is highly sexual.
    .
    Nothing less than a dictatorship could avert this in my view.
    .
    I know I’m not providing any helpful suggestions- I wish I knew how to solve this issue.
    I think alcohol and drugs are the real enemies because it removes inhibitions or even consciousness. Thing is prohibition didn’t work to well when you guys tried it?

  • terre

    Jess, those “massive safe sex” campaigns are part of the problem. If you assume teenagers are supposed to be having sex, you normalize that expectation and the astute ones will start doing it. Their parents aren’t teaching them about soul partnership or chastity, they’re just letting them take lessons from wherever (crappy pop music that shoves sex to make a buck) and when they get to school and realize they’re supposed to be having sex already it causes panic and untold anxiety. I know because I’m young enough that I was pushed through one of the UK’s constant “sex ed” classes.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Rye
    Thanks for the comment – I’m trying to be that wise old woman :)
    .
    @Marc
    I agree with your comment 100%. It’s all about biology, and promulgating the species. Once we accept that, we can be more successful in mating.

  • Jess

    Terre,
    This is the age old dilemma- how to stop humans doing something they enjoy but does long term harm.
    I think the ‘ just say no’ approach has been tried many times but it just doesn’t seem to work. USA tried it with drugs. So did the uk.
    USA tried it with alcohol. Never works.
    .
    So I think the thinking is that ‘if we can’t stop them then we at least should educate them’.
    I agree this is only partially successful but may be the best of 2 poor options.
    Driving something underground just means misinformation and ignorance which could literally cost lives.
    It’s true that if 15 yos are given a condom demonstration it normalizes teenage sex.
    But trust me you do need to teach them this otherwise the teenage pregnancy figures would go up even more. A lot more.
    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t eh?
    Ps don’t get me started on the media sexualisation of children!!! Another thread entirely i think…

  • karen

    @Marc
    What you say is so true. I guess I always believed that most college educated people wouldn’t start to settle down till their late 20’s at the earliest. Imagine my surprise when over the last couple of years I’ve been meeting all of these great guys who either married while in college or soon after college graduation. Where I am at, it is very difficult to meet a guy in his late 20’s or early 30’s who is college educated, single, and has a great personality. Most of the guys who meet these characteristics have already been snapped up. All the single guys are usually players or guys that even your average plain Jane didn’t want. I still remember being 23 and thinking that there was no rush to find a mate. Now, a few years later, I have having a hard time just meeting single men. And I know other females who are in my same predicament. These females are also ready to marry a good guy and have babies but they just can’t meet any. And we don’t want rich, good looking alpha males but decent guys that we can see ourselves growing old with.

  • Rachael

    This article is almost 100% on point. Except in high school , I had trouble making and keeping friends. The very same females who would say I was “gorgeous” were the very same ones lying about me behind my back and so on.
    After so much unwarranted drama with so many females, I finally decided to just give up on female friendships altogether. My friends are family members.
    I still get the petty and insane behavior from random women at work, school and so on. I ignore it all. I don’t think women realize how stupid and obviously insecure they make themselves look when they behave that way. *SMH*
    Also, I rarely date. Men who approach me only do so after lots of eye contact, smiles and soft conversation. The worst is when a guy who wants to approach loses his nerve. They don’t know it but I spend MOST of my nights alone.