Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Turn Me Off.

What do you think of when you hear the word, "picky"? It's a synonym for "finicky," so the first thing that comes to mind are skittery cats. Next: gay men.

Pickiness is one of THE top deal-breaking qualities a man can possess. Want to immediately turn me off? Tell me you're "really picky." Gag. At the risk of him becoming incredibly hurt, offended, and/or defensive, I report the following interaction:

He: I'm just really picky.
Me: That's incredibly unattractive.
He: You wouldn't think that if you were the one I was dating.
Me: Really? You don't think so?
He: Wouldn't you feel flattered if you knew that of the 1% of women I was attracted to, you were it?
Me: Actually, I am naturally suspicious of men who like me based upon my looks.

Why? Because if someone's priority of who they're with is based upon what she looks like, I can promise you, boyfriend isn't playing with a full deck (or at least a full future) in mind. Picky men=DEAL BREAKER. If a man is picky over food, it's irritating. Picky over his appearance, it's effeminate (and usually expensive and high-maintenance). When he's picky over a woman- it really means he's not thinking rationally.

Most men I know are good people. At the core, I think they really do want a good, solid marriage, children, etc. etc. But when those "really good guys" go about finding their other half by being overly "picky," it completely mystifies me. It's not a showboat beauty contest! It's not a competition or a list of pros and cons! True, lasting compatibility is special and rare because it's NOT based upon superficial benchmarks or criteria- it's developed by knowing who you are and what qualities your partner will balance you out with so you can both grow to becoming better people. Not choosing one girl over another because you don't like her hair colour or her freckles or her bra size? Details. Mere trifles. The minor details? That's exactly what they are- MINOR. Will she look this good in 10 years, after she's had 3 or 4 of your kids? Well- probably not. Will that matter if the reason you chose to be with her to begin with was not based upon superficial criteria, but elements of compatibility, mutual respect and admiration, intelligence, and spiritual goals? Something tells me that those relationships built beneath the surface might maybe last longer than your midlife crisis.

"But I have to be ATTRACTED to her!" I hear this all the live-long day. Duh. Let me ask you this, Sherlock; what is more attractive to you- a plastic doll that's constructed exactly as you'd always imagined with a resume of credentials and laundry list of features you'd always dreamed of? Or a real live woman with opinions and ideas and passions who *ring-a-ding-ding!* values and appreciates YOU for all of YOUR internal qualities? Grow up. A woman you can admire and look up to because she is your match- well, that's about to say a whole lot about what kind of man you are. When an intelligent, self-made woman says she respects you, it really means something! Because you know what? She's not with you because you have a certain job that will buy her a certain toy or ring or cosmetic procedure; she doesn't need you for that! She's with you because, even when you're at your worst, she sees who you are underneath the ups and downs- she can see into your core and she respects and appreciates and values everything- EVERYTHING- you have to offer the world because she knows who you are inside and she treasures and champions that man you are becoming. Now, doesn't THAT sound attractive?

The true measure of a man is not what woman is hanging on his arm, but what woman stands beside him, equal in measure to everything he holds dear. THAT would be the real trophy. Don't be picky. Just choose wisely.


Salt H2O said...

I love that you blogged about this. It's got to be the BIGGEST cop-out a guy has "I'm just really picky"- my favorite response is "I don't see why you're picky, the girls who date you aren't"

Dubious Brown said...

Honestly, a lot of guys I knew at BYU really did just want the McGirlfriend bimbo. Good for them, more real girls for the rest of us.

Seymour Glass said...

let's talk about this picky about food thing for just a second. that's very different from the picky-ness you're describing otherwise. are you mad because i don't want to eat sushi at any place other than my magical little sushi bar? that's not being picky, that's just knowing where the best sushi in orange county is and sticking with it. that's loyalty and taste (same goes for thai, as you well know). but if you're talking about people who are picky, and therefore unadventurous, i'm with you all the way.

Marie said...

So nice to have someone who is not wanting for male attention take up this issue (the rest of us get the "you're just bitter because you're un-hot" comeback).

An amazing, accomplished, warm friend of mine is close friends with three of the high-profile "cream-of-the-crop" guys in our ward, two of whom are in the Elders' Quorum Prez. She was unbitter and patient about men's complete inattention to her until recently, when all three of these men informed her matter-of-factly that if a man is not attracted to your appearance the first time he sees you, he will never be attracted to you, no matter what he learns about you thereafter. Conclusion #1: no point dating non-hot girls, because you can't make babies without heat, and we can't create heat with our minds and hearts -- it falls upon us like testosterone lightning bolts from on high. Conclusion #2: the concept of eternal marriage is counter-hormonal and ridiculous; God should get with it and be reasonable because stretch marks and wrinkles are non-sexy.

She is trying very hard to get back to her former non-bitter state. I hope she'll throw me a line if she does.

As she said, male friends always say, "You're such a great person -- I can't believe no one asks you out!" Then you ask them what kinds of girls THEY ask out, and they usually get a little red-faced.

I'm with you on the food pickiness, too. One of my pet peeves. Of course, I have few taste buds left after long years of tater-tot casserole.

Tannerama said...

I lost my food pickiness while on my mission. But, what crosses the line between not liking certain things and being picky? Am I picky if I don't like Mayonnaise or baba ghanoush? To me picky is "I want a chicken caesar salad with no Parmesan cheese, half the normal serving of chicken and the dressing on the side."

And what defines pickiness in appearance? The ladies don't dig on slobs. I was called "metrosexual" by my ex-girlfriend once because I showered regularly and cared about my appearance. Because I liked to smell good and wear nice clothes. I don't wax my chest. But, if I am defined as a metrosexual what does that say about the quality of dudes she was hanging out with.

There is a delicate balance between knowing what you like and being flexible with it, and being picky. Because I believe in my heart of hearts that a girl also doesn't want to hear on a date "Hell, I'll date just about anyone as long as they are a girl."

f*bomb. said...

awww, Marie thinks I'm hot! Thank you, Marie! I think you're swell for joining up on Blogg! You too, Sarita! Welcome, welcome!

Well, I'm definately not bitter (although life's experiences seems to want to teach me otherwise), but I HAVE been in the opposite odd spot where I've been pursued by guys who I KNEW had the wrong idea about me. I TRIED to explain to them that, "TRUST ME, I'm NOT what you're looking for"...but they never listen. And after 3 or 4 months of holding hands and sharing testimonies, we actually really appreciated and cared for one another for our character, humor, and spirits. Of course, it never DID work out because, well- I really was NOT what they were looking for, but at least I know that we shared a mutual respect and genuine affection for each other built out of experience and trust.

But see, that's the thing- I think that, if we're ever going to TRULY make a connection, we need to be honest with ourselves about who we really are and what we truly value. Some people really DO want to be wanted for the paycheck they can bring in, and some people really DO want to be adored for their face. More power to you. It's not how I would do things, but- as they say- every pot has it's lid.

I figure the key is if we all just cleared the air a bit and kept that focus clean enough to perceive the character of the person we're with, we'd be able to see each other to the CORE. And when you can do that, other people are always more attractive and more valuable human beings to you- your friends become your family and so on.

We tend to develop the characteristics we value the most; so when we finally meet someone where like attracts like, where you value the same things and prize the same attributes, you will be appreciated and loved in the way that you've worked so hard to develop. And the feeling will be mutual. I think that's what makes romance such a great form of love.

So be honest with yourself and THEN look at the people you date. Because, "already you know that which you need." -Yoda.

f*bomb. said...

I don't care for mayonaise, either. But I'm not about to STOP EATING if it happens to be on my bread. As for sushi---I don't know how anyone who would put raw fish in their mouth can be considered "picky."

There's a big difference between having refined tastes and being a drag to eat with. Besides, if it weren't for friends like you, I'd still be eating out of trash cans.

Rudie can't fail said...

I think that part of the problem, Farrah, is that you are asking men to take on a trait that runs counter to our nature. Physical attraction is much more important to us than it is too women. That is just the way that our brains are wired, and there is not much you can do to change it. It is not absolute, of course, but it is a characteristic that is always going to be there. I think that it is easier for a woman to be with a man that she finds unattractive than the other way around. I can't think of many examples of attractive successful men who ended up with frumpy conventionally unattractive women, but there are lots of examples of beautiful women who are with unattractive men. (Rick Ocasek of course being the ultimate case study.)

I guess I just don't really see myself ever having the following conversation with my mom:

Me: I'm dating a new girl
Mom: Really, what's she like?
Me: She is very intelligent, we have shared spiritual goals and mutual admiration.
Mom: That's good. Is she cute?
Me: No, not really. But I'm not picky.

f*bomb. said...

Awww, Rudy! I think you're funny! It's too bad you bought into the ridiculous fallicy that inner beauty and outer beauty are mutually exclusive.

And are you saying that I should subscribe to the concept that men are dirty, disgusting, hopeless, piggish morons? I think you may be hanging with the wrong crowd. Maybe ask your mom about THAT.

Michael said...

What about being picky over very non=physical characteristics?

A very good friend of mine is pretty picky about a lot of things unrelated to looks. Some of the criticisms he has had about why he didn't want to date a girl/or continue to date her are:
Bad taste in music (she likes Nickleback)
He didn't respect her field of graduate study
She liked Nascar
She showed up unannounced and interrupted the playoffs (this happened two years in a row with two different women- both of whom he broke up with shortly afterwards)
She's too picky about the food she eats
Her friends are weird
She votes the wrong way (opposing political views)
Her standardized test scores were too low for him to not think she's stupid. (this is for someone who scored at around the 80th percentile which means he thinks someone just outside of the top 20% is too stupid)

Most of these seem absurd to me and some seem reasonable, but really are any of them much different than basing who you date on physical looks?
A girl is picky about food and won't eat rice or broccoli- what does that matter eternally?
Or maybe she likes music I hate. I like music pretty much everyone hates- we can just listen to stuff we both like when we're together.

k8 said...

now hold on just a minute here...i am not necessarily disgusted by guys saying they either are or are not attracted to girls instantly. I don't think that means only supposed "hot" girls need apply. I have been around the male block enough to know that thankfully, there are as many different ideas of what makes a girl cute as there are boys. Sometimes my blonde friend gets all the attention, sometimes it's the little tan one and sometimes it's me. We ALL want to be attracted to the person we are with and while I don't condone those ridiculous group crushes on the one universally deemed hot chick in the ward, it doesn't make me mad to hear that they put some stock in attraction...

f*bomb. said...

Can I be the little tan one? Please? O, please?

There is a big difference between AttractIVE and AttractED. I have many attractive men in my circles. There are few with whom I am attractED.

Rudie can't fail said...

Mmmm, semantics, my favorite. If you find these men "AttractIVE", then by definition, you are "AttractED" to them - at least physically, or in some fashion. Doesn't necessarily mean you want to date them, mind you, but you are attracted to them. That's not biology, it's just english.

I don't actually believe that inner and outer beauty are mutually exclusive. I also don't believe that if you are not attracted to a girl in the first minute that you meet her, you'll never be attracted to her. I used to believe this, but experience has taught me that this is not the case. I have known a couple of girls who I found very very attractive when I first met them, but after knowing them for a while and discovering that they were - ummm, how to put this - "ugly on the inside", I no longer found them attractive. I don't mean "She's hot, too bad she's a b****"", but I honestly lost all physical attraction to them. Conversely, I have known a few other girls who didn't really catch my eye at first, but later did become attractive to me (physically, not just overall) once I got to know them better and discovered that they were pretty solid people. I'm not saying that I'm going to look at Rosie O'Donnell and see Jessica Alba just because she has a kind heart and a solid testimony, but you get the picture.

Part of the issue in Mormondom is that dating is not for fun or companionship, it is for finding "The One". And when it comes to "The One" you only get to choose once so you better make sure she is up to code. Guys are going to be less likely to compromise on the various points on their checklist (physical and otherwise) if they weren't, on some level, asking themselves "Could I marry this girl?" from the first time their eyes meet across the tator-tot casserole at break the fast. IMHO, if there were less marriage pressure, guys would be more likely to date a wider variety of girls and possibly, eventually fall for someone they might not have considered at first.

farrah said...

O great.
I really hate to think anyone's first thought about me is, "could I marry this girl?"
I'm much more comfortable thinking it only goes so far as, "Does she think I'm funny?" and "Can I hold a conversation with her?" and "Wow- she sure can pack away the tots!" and probably, "I bet she looks awesome naked."

Please. Like you don't hope the boys who talk to you are straight, too.

Rudy- I pretty much love your song.

Seymour Glass said...

Rudie, how you get a rude and a reckless? Don't you be so crude and a feckless...

Hear what I'm saying:
I've had this theory for a long time about men and women and attraction (and I know a thing or two about English). Basically it's that men are more interested in looks and women are more interested in persona (which is more of the combination of looks and personality in my theoretical jargon).

This is not to say that men are as superficial as we're often made out to be. But from what I've read, heard, and seen, we're very visual (also heard that's why men are so much more into porn than women). Perhaps it's cultural, perhaps it's evolutionary biology, or perhaps something else. I'm not really interested in debating that.

But having said that, we clearly are not all about looks. Persona comes into play to increase or decrease our opinion of women we know. Of course our interest in looks might also be the fact that women are just more aesthetically pleasing than men. Frankly, I don't know what you girls see in men, but bless you for seeing something.

f*bomb. said...

Mostly I'm just here for the porn. Sooo much porn...

caroline said...

if a guy is really arbitrarily picky, i hope he continues to be. makes my weeding out process much easier.

my personal favorite is when someone comments on the opposite sex's body type when their own definitely isn't in tip top shape, and most likely in worse shape than the person they are ruling out. and i've seen that happen a lot.

ThomCarter.com said...

A couple thoughts from a stranger on the East Coast.

A Great Truth of Life: Guys are stupid, Girls are Mean (Think about it)

This is a fantastic discussion. I was in a very serious relationship that turned abusive when she decided that she loved me inspite of my flaws and not because of my flaws. I think that if you can't execpt that the one you love isn't the "Barbie" or "Ken" and is their own individual then you need to grow up or take a step back.

For me, I understand what you are saying about physical pickiness, but I agree with some of the other points of view. For example, I know that I need to be with someone that prayes and takes her relationship with the Lord seriously. I don't think that this is picky, just understanding your own need.

A great book is The Five Love Languages. If you can figure out how you need to be communicated with, and how your partner needs to be communicated with, then you can find this happiness.

I truly enjoy your blog.

f*bomb. said...

I'm not even going to get into what this tool looked like. Truth be told, I assumed he was an enourmous tool, but gave him the benefit of the doubt, thought he was amusing on all angles, got slightly impressed that he might have depth and a good character, overlooked his physical appearance, and then...THIS?!?! WTF, guys? WTF? He might be a good person, and have a good heart, and have simply said something incredibly "is this fish or chicken?" from dehydration. I'm always willing to give the benefit of the doubt. But it is great fodder for fire, so...

There is a mass difference between "picky" and "thoughtful" or "wise" or "realistic." Saying, "I'm REALLY picky," implies that it is the petty, minor things you are hung up about in even getting to know someone. You never hear, "I didn't marry her because I am really picky," it's always, "I don't date because I'm REALLY picky." aka- "I don't get to know women I find superficially imperfect." My, how Christlike you are!

f*bomb. said...

I love strangers and I heart the East Coast! Welcome, welcome!

ThomCarter.com said...

I heart strangers and I think that the west cost is important. If there wasn't a west coast, were would all the happy and relaxed people be?

This really is a great blog.

Seymour Glass said...

Who wants a Barbie or a Ken? They're not anatomically correct. What would the fun be in that?

Marie said...

Ben Franklin on the benefits of courting older women (and perhaps we could add, less attractive young women who are educated and confident):

"...as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable..."

"To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick."

And the zinger:

"...covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an Old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement."


but what do I know.... said...

"Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?

Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you?"

I was thinking this when I read "Two strikes your out" also....
attraction can definitely come after you get to know someone....despite the initial "Not that hot" reaction. This has happened to me, they become beautiful because you think they are amazing, even though they were not your "type" to begin with. Body, face, weird quirks...those all become things you come to love. But I can also tell you that once the love is gone....wow...those first initial reactions are ten fold after! Not so good.....

Sarita said...

"Are you the sweet invention of a lovers dream? Or are you really as wonderful as you seem?"

I never saw the genius in those lyrics. All I saw was Clue's Miss Scarlet playing cinderella...anyone?

and Farrah, I am stoked to become one of the 32% more alluring elite that read your blog.

Ben Franklin got more than one thing right in his day. Fer sure.

Vanilla Vice said...

I was there for the now infamous picky conversation, and I actually tried to steer the "man" into a conversation that involved choosing a woman that complimented his personality. I don't know if it was that successful, but perhaps somewhere in time it will have made him slightly less picky.

Farrah, kudos to your blog. Well done.