Leveling Up: How To Be More Attractive In 5 Easy Steps

One of the ongoing debates that crops up when it comes to dating advice for men is: “How important are men’s looks?” Just check the comments section of this blog; whenever I talk about what women find attractive in men, people will inevitably show up and insist that all of this is bullshit and that women are interested in tall dudes with rippling washboard abs, blindingly white teeth, pecs you could bounce rocks off of, an Audi R8 and a 7 figure bank account.

Which is why Dwayne Johnson has been People's Sexiest Man Alive for seven years running...

Which is why Dwayne Johnson has been People’s Sexiest Man Alive for seven years running…

Others will insist that looks don’t matter at all and that it’s strictly a matter of one’s character.

So here’s the cold hard truth: good looks matter. But they also don’t.

Confused? It’s understandable. The issue comes down to the differences between how men and women define “attractiveness”. Men tend to have a more uniform definition of what they consider attractive while women’s definitions tend to have more variability. Men tend to assume that women view men with the same metrics that men view women – that is, that women will put greater importance on facial symmetry, height, body fat percentages, penis size and muscle tone.

In reality, being attractive to women is a combination of a host of factors, coming together to build a holistic version of desirability that’s based on more than just whether or not one has Scandinavian cheekbones and piercing blue eyes.

Good looks in men certainly help when it comes to attraction; nobody is denying that. But there’s a difference between being good looking and being attractive. And there are many ways for a man to make himself more attractive.

The Difference Between Good Looks and Attractiveness

There’s no question that good looks help in life. Humans are psychologically predisposed to be more positively inclined toward people who are physically attractive; a cognitive bias known as the “halo effect” influences people’s judgements and impressions about a person based purely on their physical appearance. A person who is blessed with good looks will frequently have a leg up in the world.

However: The definition of what women consider to be “good looking” varies wildly. Men tend to think that all women go for Chris Hemsworth’s god-like build and leonine mane of hair, when women may be far more likely to scream for Joseph Gordon Levitt’s more wiry frame, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s gap-tooth smile or Matt Smith’s unique fivehead.

I mean, some women dig the Easter Island Moai look, y'know?

I mean, some women dig the Easter Island Moai look, y’know?

A person can be good looking… but still be unattractive and have little success with women. A man can be far less than model-gorgeous and still be incredibly attractive to women; in fact, one of the most popular, sex-gettingist men I have known is short and fat, yet attracts women like cheese attracts mice.

The men who are most invested in the idea that women only like guys who look like X often need to believe that attraction is immutable; it takes the pressure off of them to be responsible for their own successes – or lack thereof. It allows them to put the blame on others – on women who have “unfair” standards, on the media for promoting certain looks, on their own genes. After all, short of painful surgeries, there’s not much a man can do about the shape of his face or his height.

Attractiveness, however, is about more than facial symmetry and height. It’s about how a man presents himself – the way he talks,  the way he dresses and his attitude… and it’s surprisingly easy to sabotage one’s own attractiveness by accident.

Step One: Embrace Proper Grooming

This is a no-excuses step. There’s more to grooming and self-care than the usual male ritual of “a couple of spritz under the pits and out the door you go”… if you even get that far.

You wouldn’t think that much of this would be necessary… until you’ve spent some time at a convention; there’s a reason why nerds are associated with stench. If a woman gags when gets within two feet of you… well, you’re not going to get anywhere with her, let’s just put it that way.

Absolute minimum of grooming means brushing your teeth, flossing, mouth wash and a decent deodorant. The 99 cent drugstore special is not going to help you here and most of them are going to leave white residue on your clothes. You’re better off to shell out for something at the level of Anthony’s Logistics for Men than Speed-Stick.

Also: no Axe anythingEver.

However, most men stop here when it comes to personal grooming. This is a mistake; part of grooming means taking care of your face and skin. After all, 99% of communication means being face to face with people – why wouldn’t you want to keep up the maintenance of the one area that everybody is going to be looking at?

It’s time to embrace proper skin-care. Many men will avoid this for fear of being too “metro” (read: gay) and as a result… they look terrible. Their skin looks old and dull and detracts from their natural looks. Proper skin care will make you look younger, more alert and – importantly – more attractive. Start with going beyond washing your face with bar soap, which will actually dry your skin and make things worse. You want a facial cleanser – preferably one with 2% salicylic acid – in the morning to help wash away dirt, debris and oils that lead to clogged pores and zits.



Follow this up with a moisturizer with sun-screen. Sun exposure ages your skin and leaves you at risk for skin cancer; this is why you need the sunscreen. Meanwhile, the moisturizer keeps your skin firm and smooth, minimizes fine lines, and preserves skin’s elasticity.

At least once a week, use an exfoliating scrub. Think of it as sanding away the top layer of paint on an old house; you’re getting rid of the old, damaged, and dead skin and letting your real face shine through.

Also: learn to corral your unwanted hair. Get a decent pair of tweezers and attack your eyebrows and any ear and nose hair. Keeping bushy eyebrows under control (especially if you tend towards a unibrow) will work wonders for improving your look and confidence, and you don’t want anyone getting in close to notice stray nose or ear hairs.

(This, I might add, gets much more important the older you get; when you start losing hair on your head, you start gaining it everywhere else.)

While I’m at it: take care of your damn hands. You don’t have to go out and get a mani/pedi (but I do recommend it) but you want to keep your nails neatly trimmed (not bitten) and filed with care to avoid points or raggedy edges. Women definitely notice your hands… and there are many (ahem) performance reasons why you will want to keep your nails short and clean.

Step Two: Get a Haircut.

Cold hard truth: women hate your hair. Sorry.

Most men have absolutely no idea what to do with their hair. They go to the barber or Supercuts, get the exact same haircut over and over again, and never stop to think just how much a decent hair cut can change how they look. There’s more to a haircut than just trimming off a couple of inches here and there; a proper hair cut can completely transform your face, bring balance to your features and help frame your personality.

Also: No ponytails. Very few men can pull off long hair and unless you are ripcord, rockstar thin, that includes you.

Some of us learned this the hard way.

Some of us learned this the hard way.

This means you need to get a decent hair cut.

  1. Find a good stylist. Do not go to SuperCuts or that place in the mall; you want a proper salon or barbershop and that means being willing to pay. Sorry, but this is definitely one of the areas where you get what you pay for. It can be hard to find a new barber or stylist (I hate it, personally) because it can be hard to find a good one, but it’s vitally important. Word of mouth is the best way to find one, but Yelp and Google Reviews can help lead you in the right direction.
  2. Bring a photo. Yup, it’s a chick move, but it helps you communicate exactly what you want to your barber instead of trying to convince him or her to read your mind. Just be willing to be flexible; a good barber will be taking your head and face shape, hair thickness and texture into account and not everybody is going to be able to pull off the same style. If you have curly hair, you’re going to have to learn how to work with it. If you have thinning hair, you need to learn to embrace it and just start cutting things short.
  3. Use some product. Different hair products are suited to different hair styles – wax works better for thicker, coarser hair while clay or pomade works better for thinner or silkier hair. A little bit of hair product can turn a sloppy look into something nice.

While you’re at it: start attacking your facial hair. Some people can pull off facial hair. Some can’t. If you have patches of bare skin in your beard, you need to just accept that you may not be one of them; a patchy, scraggly beard makes you look more like Chester The Molester than the God of Testosterone you think you are.

That being said, a nicely trimmed1 beard can help strengthen and add definition to an otherwise weak jawline. Keep it short and neat and for fuck’s sake don’t let it grow into neckbeard territory. Shave your neck; your beard should stop just under your jaw line – not so close that you look overly groomed but not so far that you look like you spend all your time in your mother’s basement running 25 man raids in World of Warcraft.

 Step Three: Your Clothes Need To Fit

There is nothing that drives me crazier than people who wear clothes that don’t fit properly.

Most men out there do not wear clothes that actually fit them. Many times, it’s that they are so simply out of touch with how clothes are meant to fit; they dress for comfort, under the assumption that clothes are supposed to be roomy. Others are insecure about their bodies and wear larger clothes in an attempt to disguise it.

This never works. In fact, wearing clothes that are too large will serve to draw attention to the fact that you’re trying to camouflage a perceived flaw.

(The less said about “relaxed fit” anything the better.)

At best, wearing clothes that don’t fit looks sloppy and immature, making even the most expensive, stylish clothes look like something you picked up from the Lost and Found. At worst, you look like a kid trying to play dress-up in his daddy’s clothes.

PLEASE stop doing this.

PLEASE stop doing this.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • A shirt’s shoulder seam should sit at your shoulder joint. If it goes any further, it’s too big. Cuffs on a dress shirt should not reach past your wrist.
  • A dress shirt’s collar should be loose enough so that you can slip two fingers into the neck without effort.
  • Blazers, jackets, and sports coats should also have shoulder seams that sit at the shoulder joint. The sleeves should stop around 3/4 of an inch from the back of your hand, allowing just a little cuff to show.
  • Pants are meant to sit at your natural waist, approximately three finger-widths below your navel. If your pants sag below your waist without a belt holding them up, they’re too big.
  • Jeans should feel snug; they’ll loosen up as you wear them, so you want a pair that fits slightly tighter in the waist, thighs and seat than you’re used to.
  • The bottom of your pants leg should sit just at your shoes. Some dress pants will have what is known as a “break”, where the pants crease into a natural fold from resting on the top of the shoes. A “medium” break is traditional – a shallow crease with the back of the pants coming down to midway between the top of the back of the shoe and the sole. A full break is more daring as it creates a very deep crease and brings the back of the pants leg to just above the sole of the shoe. No break is considered to be more retro – think Mad Men – and is often a feature of tailored Italian suits. Jeans should have a very slight break. No pants should have more than one crease; if they do, they are too large.

If you’re the sort of person who has a hard time finding clothes that fit, then a tailor is absolutely your best friend. A skilled tailor can make clothes look absolutely amazing on you. This is why so many celebrities look like a million bucks even when they’ve thrown whatever shit they have to go to the grocery store: they have everything tailored, including t-shirts and jeans. Find clothes that fit over your widest, hardest-to-size feature2 and have the rest adjusted to fit. It costs less than you’d think; just factor the price of tailoring into the cost of the clothing.

The simple act of switching to clothes that fit you properly will completely transform your look and sillouette with minimal effort from you.

Step 4: Straighten Up

This is another simple tip that so many men seem to miss: sit up straight young man!

We’ve become a desk-bound, sedentary society and we’ve been paying the price for it ever since; we hunch over our desks and computers like monks illuminating manuscripts in drafty monasteries and it is absolutely ruining our backs. Good posture can make a night-and-day difference in your appearance. Straightening out your posture will leave you looking taller, stronger and more confident… and you’ll feel infinitely better too.

No jokes here. You'd be amazed at how many back problems result from poor posture.

No jokes here. You’d be amazed at how many back problems result from poor posture.

Look in the mirror, then turn to your side. Look at where your head and chin fall in relation to your chest and shoulders; you want a straight line from the crown of your head to your spine. Your ears, shoulders, arms, knees, and feet should all form a straight line, not hunching forward with a curved back and spine. It helps to imagine a string attached to the top of your head, directly above where your spine meets your skull, pulling you slightly upward. Use that imaginary string to lift yourself up, letting your arms dangle loosely from your side and leaving your knees slightly bent; you want a relaxed, at ease look, not military precision.

While you’re straightening up your back, look at how you’re holding your shoulders. You want to pull your shoulders back so that you have a straight line from the junction of your neck and shoulder to your deltoid; this is where you want to position your shoulders when you’re standing naturally. Years of slouching and computer use will have trained your shoulders to slope forward, so it will take a lot of concentration and practice to make this natural.

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed and your toes pointing straight forward or at a slight outward angle.

Learning to adopt proper posture will help lengthen your spine, which will help you stand a little taller. A straight spine and your shoulders held back will also help you project confidence; when you hunch in on yourself, you’re tacitly telling the world that you’re afraid to take up space and you’re curling into a defensive position. Confident people stand up straight and aren’t afraid to take up space; having your arms dangle at your side will make you seem more at ease and add a swagger to your walk.

Incidentally, this is one more area where yoga is absolutely invaluable. Practicing yoga twice a week will make adopting good posture a habit and help build up the muscles you need to maintain it.

Step Five: Clean Up Your Diet

The food we eat is killing us.

We as Westerners eat too much fat, too much high-fructose corn syrup, far too much salt, and entirely too much caffeine… and we’re paying the price for it. The health cost is obvious – plenty of ink has been spilled about the obesity epidemic in this country – but it also is making you less attractive.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t about weight; this is about the way food affects the way you look and feel. You are literally what you eat and shitty food is going to make you look like shit – it screws up your skin, your hair and body… not to mention the effects of all that salt and processed food on your internal organs and circulatory system.

I’m not going to advocate any particular diet because, frankly, diets are like putting a bandage over an arterial hemorrhage. They’re a stop-gap solution at best and never last in the long term. Proper health comes from proper nutrition and that means a total lifestyle change, not just “going paleo” to fit into a new pair of jeans.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you: this is an area I struggle with. My addiction to Diet Dr Pepper is legendary and I will eat damn near anything if you deep fat fry it. But even minor changes can produce major results. Start simple and small and build up; trying to go cold-turkey is only going to ruin your efforts and sabotage any progress you make.

Here’s what you want to do:

Drink more water. Just upping your water intake will do amazing things for your skin. Cut out sodas entirely if at all possible, as well as most fruit juices; these are liquid calories, period. If you have to have fruit juice try to stick to freshly squeezed and organic; your morning Tropicana has more chemicals and added sugar than you realize. Diet sodas, by the way, aren’t any better. Aspertame is known to actually make you consume more calories; your body is convinced that it should be getting more calories and tries to make up the difference by tricking you into eating more elsewhere. Coffee and tea are… ok; odds are that you need to cut back on the caffeine as well so try to keep them to a minimum and as little milk and sugar as you can get away with.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. You almost certainly aren’t eating enough; however much you’re eating, you need to increase it. This is where most of your nutrition is going to come from, not to mention fiber that’s going to solve many of your (ahem) gastric problems. Wherever possible eat it fresh and organic – health claims aside (many of which are scientifically dubious at best) organic produce just tastes better. It’s night-and-day different.

If you're like me, you just recoiled like a vampire from a cross.

If you’re like me, you just recoiled like a vampire from a cross.

Cut the hidden calories: fatty sauces, salad dressings and spreads. All of these are sources of bad fats that you often overlook when you’re considering trying to eat better. It doesn’t help to eat more broccoli if you’re going to drown it in ranch dressing first.

Stick to lean protein: chicken, lean cuts of beef, turkey, fish.

Avoid simple carbs – potatoes, white bread, sugar, white rice. Yes, you need carbs for energy, but these turn to glucose and from there to fat with absolutely no nutritional value to justify eating them. Complex carbs – sprouted grain breads, brown rice, sweet potatoes, green leafy veggies, legumes, apples, pears, mangos – have nutrients and fiber that offset the bump to your glucose levels and they’re far better for you.

Cut out processed foods entirely. If your dinner involves ingredients you can’t pronounce, never mind find on its own at the grocery store, you’re eating crap that should never be put in your body. This includes high-fructose corn syrup: that shit is in everything.

A healthier diet will make you  feel like a new man – you’ll have more energy, you’ll feel more positive, and your immune system will be boosted… and you’ll look better too.

The tricky secret of attraction is that it doesn’t take very much to make it happen. A couple of minor changes have a major impact that can turn your dating life around.

  1. Take very careful notice of that word there… []
  2. In my case, it’s my chest. If I find something that fits across the chest, it hangs like a tent around my mid-section. If it fits around my waist, I look like I’m about to Hulk-out []


  1. This article has my mood going up and down a lot. "Ooh, I already do this! Aww, I don't do this and I wouldn't know where to start. Ooh, I'm already making strides in this!"

    Thanks again, Doc.

    ('hair care', 'skin care', and 'good eating', in that order. Guess I'm looking into skin products next weekend. And posture.)

    • I'd stay away from Proactive for skin care. I have very oily yet sensitive skin, and while their system worked for a few weeks, it ended up really stripping my skin, and I was back to being similarly acne-prone inside two months.

      I've had the most success with the Bare Escentuals skin care line. Their oatmeal scrub is a gentle cleanser (and as a powder, you can either use it as a daily wash or make it more gooey and apply it as a mask) which smells fantastic (cause, oatmeal), which I then follow up with their moisturizer. Has done wonders for my skin.

      • Dr_NerdLove says:

        Proactiv is also know for making it next to impossible to cancel your subscription with them and charging you for products you didn't actually order.

      • Duly noted. I used a similar product to Proactiv for years as a teenager and I really think it must have stripped everything good out of my skin. Now I've cut out all benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid from my skincare regimen, but I'm not sure where to go from there. Diet changes + hydration have been helping but I still need to figure out exfoliation and moisturizing that won't mess up my combination oily/dry face. I'll have to check out Bare Escentuals.

        • I'm an esthetician and I can help you out, maybe. Everyone's skin is different, but I used to use Zest on my face all the time and I think I stripped it and turned it dry and sensitive. So, here's the thing. Grapeseed oil. You find it in the grocery store or at Target, etc. It's a key ingredient in most high end moisturizers–and you can find it in the food aisle. The molecules are tiny, it will soak in within ten minutes and it kind helps supplement your skin's natural protection. Balances both oily and dry skin. Doesn't seem intuitive, but it's true. Hope that helps. When I use it daily it cuts way down on my breakouts.

        • fakely mctest says:

          I have wicked oily skin thanks to a heaping dose of Italian ancestry. It used to be pretty bad and the thing that I've really found is that the less I sort of fuss over it, the better it looks.

          My facial cleanser of choice is Dr. Bronner's castile soap. It's not drying like a bar soap or anything with SLS in it. I can buy a big bottle and it lasts ages. On the rare occasions my skin feels dry or tight I use Cetaphil without water.

          At night I use Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (which I get in the largest bottles possible off eBay): http://www.amazon.com/Kiehls-Midnight-Recovery-Co…. It's a bit spendy but has been so worth it. Even if I've gotten a sub-optimal amount of sleep it makes me look less like the Cryptkeeper the next day. It might seem weird to put oil on already oily skin, but it's actually helped to sort of calm things down. Plus it smells really nice. c:

          • It doesn't sound strange to fight oil with oil; that's what you're doing with Castile soap, after all. Castile soap: soap made in Castile, Spain – from olive oil!

      • If you have oily skin, Neutrogena is affordable and has all the active ingredients necessary.

        For geeks, I can't recommend the blog Beauty Brains enough. It's run by chemists and skeptics that are pro-beauty, but can give you the lowdown on how not to get ripped off.

        • Thanks for the Beauty Brains tip. Another good one is cosmeticscop.com.

        • If you can get it, Kiel's Blue Gel face wash is also good for oily skinned faces. Outside of New York City, you might need to go to Bloomingdales or order it online to get it.

        • I totally second the "Neutrogena" recommendation. They have stuff for all different skin types, and I've always been very happy with them. They're great for sensitive skin, too. I use their "healthy skin" daily moisturizer, spf 30 every day, and their "healthy skin" anti-wrinkle cream (with retinol) at night. (I was starting to get fine lines, and the anti-wrinkle cream worked wonders). I am routinely told I look up to 10 years younger than I actually am. (I also eat well, drink plenty of water, and get regular exercise.)

          Bonus: I called them once to complain about the packaging of the night cream (it was excessive, and non-recyclable, except for the very outer paperboard layer). The *very next time* I bought it, the packaging was reduced and 100% recyclable!

    • Paul Rivers says:

      Yeah, I wanted to add – there is a *danger* in trying out new skin care products. I tried out a new face wash, my face started having these little areas where it was always red and irritated. Stopped using the facial wash – it didn't go away for over a year. Finally it seems to have gone away, but I had to stop washing it even with a mild soap before it seems to have dissapeared…mostly.

      Not sure what else to say about it, but my face looked worse than before for a couple of years.

      • if you have skin problems, the best thing you can do is see a dermatologist. Sometimes all you need a certain prescription for a few months. Your skin ends up adjusting to proper oil levels and eventually you don't even need the medication. The best thing I've ever used is cera ve cleanser and facial moisturizer.

  2. superdude1999 says:

    What do you recommend for bad lips? My lips are always dry and (embarrassingly) I tend to pick at them when they get kinda scabbed up. Should I just use more chap stick, or is there stronger stuff?

    • fakely mctest says:

      Vaseline and a washcloth. Put a bit of Vaseline on a dry washcloth and scrub gently to exfoliate your lips. Top it off with lip balm. I like good ol' Carmex. Tried a lot of different kinds but that's the one I keep coming back to.

      You shouldn't have to do the exfoliation thing more than once per run-in with dryness, but definitely keep using the Carmex.

      • Dr_NerdLove says:

        I would actually advise AGAINST Carmex. It's designed to be addictive rather than a curative. I'd recommend Burt's Bees for chapstick on top of a gentle exfoliant. You may also want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush rather than a washcloth (although I wouldn't put Vaseline on it.)

        • superdude1999 says:

          So… I should use a toothbrush (wet I assume) to brush my lips to exfoliate them (I'm new to this, so I'm guessing that should remove the dead skin), and then use Bert's Bees as a chap stick when the get dry? Should the brushing be a part of my daily routine?

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            If it's a chronic problem, then rubbing it across your lips a few times at night then applying lip balm will help soften them up and remove the dead and dry skin. Just be sure to do it gently and with a moistened toothbrush with soft bristles. You aren't trying to make yourself bleed, just clear things off a little.And yes, the Burt's Bees will help keep them from getting dry.

          • Just brush your lips when you're brushing your teeth, and then use the Burt's. Also, put some Burt's on at night, so they'll have the whole night to absorb the moisture (you can also use Vaseline, but it tends to get a bit messy and can leave oily marks on your sheets. Vaseline is also fantastic for super-chapped winter hands, but if you put it on overnight, you'll want to wear gloves or socks on your hands, or it will get all over!)

      • Guys, Vitamin E oil. Works wonders on chapped lips. Put it on after your shower and don’t worry about the glossiness. It’ll absorb in about 10mins and leave you with amazing soft lips. I use it for winter chap every year.

    • Stronger stuff can actually make them worse, as you train them to not bother moisturizing themselves. Go for chapstick and wait for warmer weather.

    • I second the Vaseline suggestion, not just for exfoliating, but as a substitute for chapstick. A lot of chapstick type products can be sort of addictive – they train your lips to get dry without it – and Vaseline isn't as bad for that.

      • Also strongly in favor of the Vaseline suggestion – not Vaseline lipbalm, but your average petrolium jelly. I really like the kind that comes with cocoa butter in it.

        Unlike most capsticks that serve to "rehydrate" the lips, the Vaseline provides a barrier between your lips and the dry air. Works very well.

    • I got this one for you!

      So, I used to have really chapped lips because I was on Acutane (acne medication), and my dermatologist recommended 2 things:

      1. Rosen's ointment – if you go to any pharmacy, the pharmacist can mix this up for you using Domeboro (aluminum acetate), Aquafor, and Zinc Oxide. You can only apply this stuff at night because it's white, but it is the best thing at curing really chapped lips.

      2. Vitamin E capsules – they are filled with this oily Vitamin solution inside. You just cut off the end of the capsule and wipe the oily substance on your lips, and toss the rest of the capsule.

      • I had really bad (bleeding awful scabby mess) chapped lips for years, then I found out that chapped lips are a sign of severe dehydration so I cut out soda and began drinking only water throughout the day and the problem disappeared, only took about a week too. Highly recommend it. Also: DON'T PICK. Vitamin E as suggested at night before bed is great too, but is only treating a symptom of a larger problem.

    • BritterSweet says:

      Dry lips are usually a sign of dehydration. Are you drinking enough water?

    • Burt's Bees plus using sugar to exfoliate dead skin periodically works well.

  3. This post reads like an article in a women's magazine. Which is fine, if you look at it through the same filter: while all of these suggestions are true in the sense that they do help, some are more realistic than others in terms of making them part of your daily life. Eat right? Yeah, that's a good thing to do, but it's a huge lifestyle change and it's not a magic bullet answer to your love life. Same with the personal grooming tips – moisturize and get manicures and whatnot if you like it, but do it *for yourself*, not for any perceived change in your attractiveness!

    I'll freely admit my type tends towards tall, skinny, nerdy, and preferably Asian – all four of those are important, and none of them are really something an individual guy can change about himself. Within that broad "type," though, I do tend to go toward guys who are funny, have good hair, wear properly-fitting clothes, have at least decent skin, can talk to me without talking down to me, etc. – things a tall skinny nerdy Asian guy would have control over. It's worth cultivating those aspects of yourself, even if you have to accept that your basic body type won't be every woman's type no matter what you do.

    (For what it's worth, my husband is neither particularly tall nor particularly skinny nor Asian – but he's nerdy as hell and he's got all the other wonderful non-physical qualities I love, so there's hope for you guys out there who don't fit a "type!")

    • superdude1999 says:

      I think what he's going for in this is that these processes may start as perceived magic bullets, but as time goes we will realize that the positive effects we get from them will be worth it in their own right.

    • One of the things that the Doctor constantly goes on about is that *confidence* is the single biggest issue in most of the assorted love life problems that nerds go through. And the point of this article is that these lifestyle changes will make you feel better and more attractive, which will build your confidence, which will make you more attractive to your gender of choice.

      I also noticed that most of the items in this list are pretty gender-neutral. That's not a bad thing. Men and women aren't as different as the marketers would like us to believe. But this website is targeting the male nerd demographic, so he writes it from that POV.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      "This post reads like an article in a women's magazine….

      Same with the personal grooming tips – moisturize and get manicures and whatnot if you like it, but do it *for yourself*, not for any perceived change in your attractiveness!"

      Usually I'm the person saying what I dislike about the article, but saying "do it for yourself" regarding looks is definitely a more feminine phrasing than anything in the article. It's a pretty silly phrasing to – *of course* if I'm putting time into how I look – it's target is other people, and a perceived change in attractiveness.

      "Which is fine, if you look at it through the same filter: while all of these suggestions are true in the sense that they do help, some are more realistic than others in terms of making them part of your daily life."

      Here I agree – I used to read advice articles as like a manual of "do all this stuff". At some point I realized that they're just waxing on about a million different possible topics. It's more like "here's some ideas" than "here's a specific 5 step guide that should be followed to the letter".

      There are other things more important for attractiveness than your looks as a guy – but that's like saying the brakes on your car are more important than the steering wheel. Of course they are, but society has gotten more superficial in general, and looking better just makes things easier.

      How you look makes up 50% of your initial impression. It's a lot less work to look good and start off with a positive impression, than it is to try to work yourself out of a bad first impression with your personality. It's not that you can't do it – it's just that it's a whole lot easier not to have to in the first place.

    • It isn't about fitting into any one thing I don't think, but when you've sat down on a date with a guy after prepping for it, and you can smell he hasn't even brushed his teeth. Well, any connection we may have had will pretty much be tarnished.

      I like geeky guys, but the issue I've had is so many just don't put a lot of effort into how they look, and I'm not a supermodel, but I was raised to at least take pride in my appearance, wear nice clothes, and the like, so yeah, to me, that is important. I have not gone on second dates with guys over something like miss-fitting clothes and a crazy neck beard. Maybe I'm too vain, but also there was a lack of confidence with those guys as well, a desperation that made me feel like I wasn't what they wanted just who was there.

  4. Great advice, Doc. I have learned that women and men really do not measure "attractive" in the same way, but this is actually great news for men! Only thing I would disagree with…beards. The "trimmed just under the jaw line" is a very 90s look to me, and is also a very young look. Once you become a M.A.N. the beards can get bushier and go further down the neck. Check out how Ben Affleck or George Clooney trim for a good example of Man Beard. Now that I am a bit older, I much prefer a bushier, more grown up, manly beard, or a nice shave, to the jaw line trim (always reminds me of 90s boy bands…). Thanks for this post, and for sharing that pic! Total agreement there- I have never, at any age or style, found long hair on men attractive. Not a fan of earrings on men either…boy I am coming off really old today.

    • What's always interesting to me is that what I consider to be attractive (as in guys that I consider to be cute when I walk down the street) are not necessarily the guys that I date. I'm not usually attracted to long hair, but I've dated guys with long hair and liked it a lot. I don't normally like bushy beards but I've been in relationships with guys with super bushy beards. This is also true with short guys, bald guys, or whatever. I've also found that as I get older, I'm even more broad-minded in what consider attractive.

      • I've had similar experiences. I really don't find blonde hair attractive in general, but I've dated two guys with blonde hair that I found attractive. It has something to do with personality…. when a guy has a personality I really click with, and has other things about him I find attractive, I can overlook something that would otherwise turn me off.

    • Not only do women and men not measure "attractive" the same way, all women do not measure attractiveness the same way. As demonstrated by the fact that there's no physical feature I find more attractive than well-kept long hair. Which I think, from conversations with friends of mine who really dislike long hair on men, is probably going to be a fairly polarizing choice–some women will hate it but some will love it. (Except for mullets. Nobody has ever looked good with a mullet.)

  5. Fun story: freshman year of college, my then boyfriend used to put on Axe body spray RIGHT before we'd make out. To this day, I can't smell Axe without wanting to make out with someone. Damn you, Pavlov.

    As for looking for a new person to cut your hair, you can get a quality experience without having to break the bank. My city has an Aveda school; part of their training is spending 6 months actually on the salon floor, cutting and dying hair. An instructor comes over to inspect the student's work at least 3 times a session, and it's far, far cheaper than going to an actual Aveda salon. I love them, and highly recommend finding a beauty school near you.

    I also wish that guys who are so sure that women see attraction like men do, could be a fly on the wall during a women-only conversation. I went out with girlfriends on Friday, and when comparing notes on what we found physically attractive, the findings were wildly different. My one friend loves guys who have a "lumberjack" build, my other friend prefers the trim-average-height look, and I like em short and barrel shaped or tall and wiry.

    • fakely mctest says:

      I second the Aveda Institute suggestion. If there's one near you they also do student massages. Nothing like a massage to help in a posture-improvement project.

      For hairstyle pictures, this has been my go-to site for years: http://www.ukhairdressers.com/style/style.asp

      You can search by hair type and gender and things. The layout is sort of embarrassingly bad, but I prefer it to casting about all over the internet for pictures.

    • Re:female attraction- yes, this exactly. At some point, a bunch of friends had put on love, actually, and the guys in the group were all asking which actor the women though was most attractive. Of the three women there, for each dude, only two of us agreed he was hot (you know, beyond the general this is a Hollywood production and therefore everyone is implausibly attractive) and the third didn’t. And which two agreed was pretty much a crap shoot.

  6. Greenfire says:

    Here's an interesting Tedx talk on good posture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1luKAS_Xcg I think a lot of people try to "stand up straight" without ever thinking about the position of their pelvis. But it really does affect how you slouch.

    Plus, it makes your butt look good…

    • I was definitely nodding along to the posture part of this article. I just got back from St. Louis Comic Con and I noticed SO MANY good-looking men and women absolutely ruining the effect with bad posture. Especially anybody wearing a skimpy costume. Shoulders forward, hunched spine, self-protective pose, terrible. If you're going to bare the skin, OWN IT like the badass you are.

  7. ahahha, that picture never fails to amuse me 😀 ahhh, high school anime geeks. anyway A HUGE YES!!YESS!!YYEEESSS!!! on trimming your fingernails/keeping your hands neat, please!!! my first boyfriend (waaay back in high school) had raggedy, longish fingernails and one time, getting a little over zealous with the makeout session, he rammed them up my vagina. let's say to this day I still flinch thinking about it. for the love of God, trim your fingernails if you are going to put them near sensitive lady parts, I beg you.

  8. superdude1999 says:

    Any recommendations for a really good toothbrush or razor? Is an electric toothbrush a good investment? (Making a list).

    • I like electric toothbrushes because they clean really well but don't damage your gums, like you can do manually if you're a hard brusher like me.

      With most men I've known (including my dad), it's trial and error with razors, and it depends on how close you like to shave. Electric razors tend to leave a natural looking 5 o'clock shadow which I personally really enjoy. Otherwise, the shaving cream is just as important as the razor (from what I've seen on men whose shaving results I've enjoyed).

    • fakely mctest says:

      I remember reading an article many moons ago where they compared plaque removal efficacy of various toothbrushes and the plain Jane flat bristled ones actually came out on top. That's what I still use to this day and they've worked brilliantly. Plus they're only like 99 cents or something.

    • On the shaving cream side of things, I can't recommend an old-fashioned brush and shave-soap combo nearly enough. It takes a little bit more effort, but it makes shaving a very pleasant, almost meditative ritual that is truly relaxing after a long day. I also find I get a much closer shave with only the slightest pressure on the razor which results in less burn and fewer nicks. At this point, I'm still using the Sensor 3 cartridge blade as switching to the brush solved most of my shaving issues. If Gillette ever stops making those, I will upgrade to a safety razor.

  9. This is a great post!

    Sometimes I look at muscular guys at the pool or the gym, and they're so pleased with themselves thinking I'm checking them out. I was really thinking, "that guy looks like the alien from Prometheus."

    As a woman, I couldn't agree more on grooming. If you don't even clean your hands, we are sure you are dirty elsewhere too!

    I'm not sure about the diet. Just eat real food, mostly plants, not too much. I find it very annoying when guys (and girls) watch their diet too much. Guys who snack every 2 hours annoy me. Snacking is for children. Picky with food is also childish.

    • I agree with the pickiness. Nothing is less attractive than a man who orders chicken fingers at an ethnic restaurant.

      I disagree with snacking. I've been with a lot of guys who have really high metabolisms and are literally hungry all the time, so I don't think there is anything wrong with snacking.

      • Same. As an adult, you get to have five things you don't eat just because you don't like them (not including things you have dietary or health restrictions on). Learn to like everything else. You're a grown up.
        I snack all the time, so I really can't get on anyone's case about that.

        • I dunno, as long as you're not being rude about it, I don't see why an adult shouldn't be able to say "hey, I don't enjoy this food, I will choose to not eat it when it's up to me" for as many foods as they want to.

          Of course, being unwilling to try new things or taking pickiness to the point where it's inconvenient for the people you're eating with – totally unappealing!

          As someone who needs to eat VERY regularly or risk hulking out and/or fainting, I feel pretty strongly that snacking is a-ok!

          • I agree for the most part. I'm talking about "steak and potatoes" men. I'm sure you've met them:
            "You want to go grab Indian?"
            "Ugh no, gross."
            "How about sushi?"
            "Ew. Raw fish, how can you eat that?"
            "How about Mediterranean?"
            "I don't like the texture."
            "Too many sprouts."

            I'm sure you get my point.

          • I agree on the not trying new things position because you can miss something delicious… but there is such thing as having sensitive mouth or taste buds too. As an example, I like the taste of strawberries, but the texture just doesn't feel good on the tongue, so more often than not, I'm not gonna eat them (I share this trait with my cousin). Seafood (especially sushi) has this seawater tang that's hard to get out of it, so I'm more likely to try someone else's than order it for myself (share this trait with my Grandaunt).

            I also get made fun of for ordering a cheeseburger at one of the Chinese restaurants in town, but it's literally the best tasting burger I've ever had. Don't always bash the guy who's missing the point 😀

          • Where are all these places that sell chicken fingers and cheeseburgers at Chinese restaurants?? This is a mystery to me.

          • eselle28 says:

            Pretty much any small town, and also in a lot of larger towns if the type of food being served is considered "exotic" by the local residents.

          • Oh, this makes sense, thanks.

            After some bad experiences, I've developed pretty strict policies about eating Chinese food in small towns. If the restaurant sign uses that bamboo font, for instance, it's a hard no.

          • eselle28 says:

            Given the quality of our Chinese food here, I would have to endorse your policy. Mexican tends to be edible but not spicy, and stay very, very far away from the sushi.

            That being said, it gets frustrating when people who were brought up with those subpar restaurants aren't ever willing to try anything different, because then you never get to try the good examples of those things when you're traveling somewhere else.

          • Most of the cheap Chinese restaurants in New York also make fried chicken and fries. Even in the big city, we have a lot of unadventurous eaters. I eat practically anything. The only thing that really disgusts me are beans.

          • I think it must be more of a small town thing. Where they aren't sure of getting enough business for the actual Chinese food, so they offer safe menu items that unenthusiastic family members/dates/friends dragged along will be willing to eat, which makes it more likely the enthusiastic people will be willing to come back?

            Edit: Heh, eselle beat me to it!

          • It hurts on the inside that this doesn't happen in big cities.

            And also explains why some of you get annoyed by someone who won't eat Indian or won't eat this or that. That kinda stuff seems like it could be date-breaking, no?

          • Oh, I'm also kinda lucky in a way too. My mom grew up learning how to cook italian, and she lived in an even smaller place that had chinese take-out, when they went out of business, she got a copy of their recipe book. 😀

          • Mmm…home-made Italian… I just discovered the joys of making your own spaghetti.

          • Very cool! I wish I was half as good at cooking Chinese as I am at eating it, heh.

          • But think how sad it would be if you were only half as good at eating Chinese food as you were at making it! All that delicious food, and you'd just keep missing your mouth! 😛

          • eselle28 says:

            It's not date-breaking, but it gets difficult when you see someone regularly, because it means that their "not that place" vote always wins. And it kind of hurts my feelings when someone flat out refuses to try something I've made, especially if I've been asked to make dinner.

          • Wow, who would do that? That's so rude!

          • eselle28 says:

            Someone I dated last summer! And it wasn't even anything that was very unusual – the offensive items were a chickpea-based salad that everyone else has liked (he'd never had chickpeas before) and a yogurt-based sauce for the chicken that was deemed "creepy-looking."

            I'm happy to be sensitive to allergies and to a certain amount of pickiness, but if you're very particular, I think you need to accept that you're not going to live out your dream of having your woman cook you dinner.

          • Speechless! 0_o

            To be fair, I did once know someone whose family refused to eat couscous.

          • eselle28 says:

            Their loss!

          • When someone refuses to even TRY the dinner he's *asked* you to make, on the grounds that it's "creepy-looking", that is someone for whom you will never, ever cook again. And anyone who's going to insist his "Me no like!" trumps your choice of restaurant EVERY time – that is someone who deserves your careful attention and analysis. That's someone who is both selfish and childish, and who the heck needs to be in a relationship with someone who has no problems hurting your feelings? Ugh!

          • Wait, what part of it hurts? The not having awesome cheeseburgers at Chinese restaurants, or the not having to drag unenthusiastic people along?

            In relatively diverse cities, some people would take an unwillingness to try different cuisines as a bit of a sign of a parochial attitude. I think city folk often value an interest in broadening horizons, while – in my (fairly limited) experience of smaller towns, it seems like there tends to be more of an emphasis on shared cultural experiences.

            Maybe it's because cities tend to have more people from other parts of the country and other countries, so you can count less on finding common cultural touchstones, so instead you have to connect through an interest in learning about each others' cultures?

          • The chinese cheeseburgers. That thing's been known to put a smile on my face that lasts for hours afterward.

            As an aside, city living vs. smaller town living is fascinating to me, especially when you get someone from one and put them in another.

          • Sorry, didn't mean to give you a sad impression of cities. I promise there are lots of great burgers, too!

            I've been spending a bit of time in a small-town environment regularly over the past couple of years, and I'm totally fascinated by this too. In a way, it's a bigger culture shock than with anywhere else I've been. I have a bad habit of approaching things from a horrible city snob mindset, so I've really been trying to understand it more and appreciate the good points.

          • Haha, it's just something I otherwise hadn't considered. I've only been to a big-city once (Vancouver and that was get in, get in a hotel, watch the Canucks, back to the hotel, get the fuck out the next morning) so the little things are always interesting. My sister relayed to me a time when she said "Thank you" to a store clerk in Vancouver and they looked at her like she was an alien. Or a different time when a bunch of actors were putting on a play in town to try and drum up more support for theatre stuff in the area, and they loved how laid-back everything was (only having two people in line ahead of you in line when buying groceries was a pretty big deal to them).

            I think one of the most interesting is growing up around a lot of people who would complain that there was nothing to do here… and then they'd move to a larger city, and eventually would return back to that "there's nothing to do here" complaint within a year.

          • Hmm, Vancouver must be less friendly the Toronto then! I say "thank you" to store clerks all the time, usually after they've said it to me.

            I think maybe if you grow up in a place with only a limited number of things to do, you're not in the habit of seeking new experiences out… So even if you move somewhere that has more possibilities, you don't necessarily take advantage of them. It seems like there's nothing to do because you don't have much instinct developed for going out and finding stuff, or you're not aware of what you could even be looking for?

          • I also think there's that six month to a year honeymoon period where they hit up every novel thing they can. Once it wears off, back to same old (which for a looooot of people from here, is usually some combination of getting drunk or high)

          • Yeah, I can see that too. Sometimes people assume that they'd be interested in so many more things if they just had the opportunity… but then when they get the opportunity, it turns out they don't find those things all that engaging after all. Actually I find that many people who regularly complain about being bored, actually are getting some perverse enjoyment out of being able to complain about it, and enjoy not doing anything and complaining more than putting in the effort to do something a lot of the time, regardless of where they are.

          • eselle28 says:

            There's definitely some of that wherever you go. People tend to be really bad about taking advantage of the opportunities around them. I also neglected to do a lot of the exciting things when I lived in a larger city, and there were definitely times when I was bored and had "nothing" to do. That being said, I also had times when I enjoyed those activities, and I liked living somewhere where a lot of the people around me had some interest in those things too.

            I think that can be the case in smaller communities. A lot of people I know say they like living here because of all the outdoors activities that are available. They don't always take advantage of them to the fullest, but I'm guessing they also like living somewhere where there are lots of fellow campers and skiers around to do things with.

          • That's funny. I know city people tend to be pretty cold/un-talkative, but saying 'thank you' really doesn't seem so alien to me. Shorter line-ups at the grocery store would definitely be a perk! Vancouver's a really nice city, though, from what little I've seen of it.

            I've got to say, with those people, it sounds like they're the problem, not their location. There's only so much you can expect the location to do for you, after a certain point, you've got to entertain yourself!

          • I figure the coldness is just a time thing. It seems like if a city person wants to get something done, they have to fight the crowds, fight the lines, fight the traffic or bus schedules, and just gogogo or they may not get where they need to go.

          • That's probably part of it, the pace certainly seems faster the bigger the place.

            I think it's also just about the sheer number of people. . When you're surrounded by so many people, you have to create a little mental space for yourself in other ways, so there's a bit of an unspoken rule about keeping some distance – on public transport, for instance, everyone sort of pretends the other people don't really exist. For the most part, the only people who break that are people who want money from you or people with pretty major boundary issues for one reason or another. So if a perfectly reasonable person from somewhere without that rule tries to chat, they're going to get a pretty suspicious response.

          • Not that this counterexample means the case isn't valid, but as a counterexample: Calgary, AB is surprisingly friendly (you do say thank you to bus drivers and clerks and people who move out of your way on the train and so on), and people from elsewhere comment on how friendly it is. However, it is totally 100% go-go-go, way more so than Vancouver. It is the sort of place where everyone is working ridiculously hard, and pushing themselves and each other, and generally, in my opinion, not in a good way. Work life balance is mostly a buzz-idea here. But get out of the elevator with a lost look on your face in an office tower and people will be offering to take you to the next tower in the same building which houses the office you are actually going to.

            I didn't mind Vancouver being less friendly, I avoid eye contact with strangers whenever possible, which is a lot harder in Calgary. I also loved that Vancouver was more relaxed, and there were a lot more flowers to stop and smell!

            (I was born in Calgary, moved to Vancouver for 4 years to go to university, and then moved back to Calgaryl)

          • This might explain why so many people I know who moved to Calgary eventually moved back to BC.

          • My cousins have always lived in a small town, so I go a taste visiting them while we were growing up. I think the biggest difference for me is something that could be a benefit if you have the right personality: the community vs. anonymity factor. I remember walking to the corner store with my cousins, and pretty much everyone we passed would say "Hi" to them by name, the clerk knew exactly who they were… I can imagine if you like that sort of communal atmosphere it'd be nice feeling you were surrounded by people who knew you.

            Me, I like being able to leave the house and not have to worry if I'll run into someone I know and need to make small talk when I'm not in a socializing mood.

          • For the past few years, I've been living in an area that has more of a community vibe (within the city, so relative to less community-ish parts of the city) , and for the first time in my life, some of the store clerks know me and I'll occasionally see people I'll recognize on the street.

            It's kind of nice, and it's only to a very low degree, but it's also really annoying knowing that if I go to a particular place, there's a good chance I'll have to chat a little. I'm used to being anonymous and antisocial! :)

          • I think I'd go out more often in a city-type setting because of the anonymity.

            Living in or near them, and dealing with the rush and cost of living… I'm not so sure about that.

          • Some cities are more laid back than others. I hear that West Coast cities tend to be pretty chill, so you're on the right side of the continent for that.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Depends on the city. Portland and the general San Fran area are, in my experience, pretty chill for big cities. Los Angeles is meth and bullets and boob jobs and smugness all wrapped up in smog and spun at 78 rpm. Vegas (ok, not technically West Coast but basically part of California) comes in two flavors – hustling or starving.

          • The cost of living definitely sucks. I periodically go through phases where I look into smaller cities nearby to see how much nicer a house we could get for the same amount of money and try to convince myself it's a good idea… But for me, the benefits of living here far outweigh the downsides.

            I get what you mean about the rush, though. I grew up here, so I'm used to it, but when I go to *really* big cities, like NYC or London, I feel overwhelmed there. I think, though, you can get to know a neighborhood and live in a way so you don't experience the rush too much, if you give yourself time to adjust. There are tons of smaller shops and restaurants I can go into and not have to worry about lines most days, for example, and if you walk along the smaller streets instead of the main roads, you can often go minutes at a time without running into anyone even close to the center of the city. If the west coast cities are more laid back, like enail suggests, there's probably even more of that over there.

          • Wouldn't know either way, I'm not sure there's any way I could afford living near them anyways.

          • People manage to get by in expensive cities just like they do in smaller, cheaper places. I think salaries do tend to be higher, and unemployment lower, so it balances out in some ways.

            In my opinion, living in the right place for you can make a huge difference to a person's happiness, so if it's something you think you might like, I think it's always worth keeping it in mind as an eventual possibility, even if it's not doable now.

          • Yes, this. It's all about compromise. I would rather live in a not entirely ideal location within the city, in a house that's cheap and looks it, and have everything the city provides, than live in a bigger nicer house somewhere else. If you're willing to share living space and just have a bedroom to yourself (my brother's doing this) you can get by not too far from city center for less than $500 a month in rent. And there's tons of cheap food etc. to be found if you learn where to look. Just to use TO as an example. If you'd be a lot happier in a certain location, it can be worth it to trade that for a smaller/less attractive living space or what have you. Even if the best you can get is a minimum wage job, you can make it work.

            I know it's not possible for you immediately, Moose, but it's not completely out of reach. :)

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            I'll always take higher cost of living over a long communte and high cost/high pay over lower cost/lower pay.

          • I'll take the higher cost of living over the long commute. I wish my high cost came with that high pay thing you mention, though :)

          • I still have a long commute, because I live close to downtown and work near the suburbs (and have no car–to get to and from the day job takes me a little more than an hour each way). But to me the higher cost is totally offset by the higher access to all sorts of… I guess you could say "resources", that are important to me: lots of like-minded creative people, huge variety of shopping, eating, and entertainment possibilities (including lots of indie stuff that isn't likely to make it to smaller towns), major museum and art gallery, public transportation so I don't have to drive, easy access to a major airport when I want to travel… It would be very hard to give all that up.

          • This! I don't think I'd ever willingly give up being able to step out my door and walk to places I'd like to be, or being somewhere where the people are diverse and I can find ones who share my values and respect my interests.

            I'd find it stifling being car-bound, and even more stifling being somewhere where there's one norm and deviation it is frowned upon.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Different people's tastes certainly differ.

            I've been to New York, but I don't think I'd ever willingly give up being able to step out my door and go jogging at any time of the day of night without a worry about my safety (as I guy I admittedly have more latitude for that). I found it incredibly stifling to be in new york and be unable to use a car – need to carry something bigger than a backpack? Want to pick someone up on your way over? Don't want to be worried that you'll end up stuck somewhere and public transportation has stopped running? Do you need to go somewhere where the subway doesn't go?

            I also found figuring out what was running when and where confusing, but if I lived there I would probably get used to it. Ditto with worrying about taking the public transit and ending up in a really bad neighbordhood, but I suppose if I lived there I would figure it out.

            I found it stifling to not being able to just drive a car when I wanted to be able to go somewhere.

            Everybody has their preferences…

          • Well, there are matters of degrees, too. *I* would find NYC overwhelming myself. But in Toronto for example, lots of people do have cars and drive regularly. I would own a car and use it if it wasn't so expensive. It's only really difficult to get around or find parking in the downtown core, which is a pretty small area. And the public transit is a lot less convoluted than the NYC system–the routes are pretty much always the same, no stops skipped, etc.

            And if I wanted to jog, there's a huge park three short blocks from my house with lots of paths. :)

            So there's really a wide range of possibilities between the smallest hamlets and the biggest cities. It's not like small town and big city are complete opposites. Which is good, because different people have a pretty wide range of preferences!

          • I had a dream last night that I was in a city, and everything just kept going wrong. 😐

          • It's not the cities' faults! Cities aren't all evil!

          • And there are also fairly small places that have what we think of as more of a big city vibe, places that attract a lot of artists and have a good deal of diversity.

          • eselle28 says:

            New York is actually a very safe city, at least in the areas where most people would consider moving to. Granted, that's at the cost of having a police force that employs a bunch of violent lunatics, but the streets are generally safe and well-lit and have people on them at all hours. I felt much more comfortable wandering around at 4 in the morning than I have in other places. Of course, there's some privilege talking there – I'm taking things from the perspective of a young white woman who lived in gentrified areas.

            The point about not having a car is correct, though. I think my personal ideal would be somewhere that had a mix of walkable areas, public transportation, and that was still not so congested that it was possible to have a car.

          • There's also the fact that, in Canada at least, studies show that small towns actually have a higher rate of crime than large cities – and rural areas apparently have more homicides (by population) than either cities or towns. I'm not sure how true this is worldwide, though.

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            The point about not having a car is correct, though. I think my personal ideal would be somewhere that had a mix of walkable areas, public transportation, and that was still not so congested that it was possible to have a car.

            Haaaaaave you met Austin?

          • eselle28 says:

            Heh. A good friend of mine lives there and is always trying to convince me that it would be just about perfect for me. I've only visited during SXSW and ACL, when it isn't exactly business as usual in the city.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "The point about not having a car is correct, though. I think my personal ideal would be somewhere that had a mix of walkable areas, public transportation, and that was still not so congested that it was possible to have a car."

            Yeah, you know, I agree with you 100%. Both walkable and car access would be my ideal.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Part of it for me is also that the economics are to my benefit. If my cost of living doubles and my income doubles, my disposable income also doubles but the prices of luxuries like video games, movies and new clothes don't double. So not only do I have access to more things to do, I have more money to do it with.

          • Good point! 😀

          • Oh, I'm pretty sure if I looked I could find a Chinese restaurant in Toronto that also serves burgers. I just wouldn't eat there when there are hundreds that specialize solely in Chinese food (and hundreds of others that specialize in burgers). 😉

            I think whether it's an issue in dating depends on how big a foodie the one person is, and how picky the other person is. e.g., My husband and I both love tasty food, and variety. There are certain types of food I love that he isn't keen on, and vice versa. But there are enough types that we both love that we have a variety to choose from whenever we go out or order in, and we rarely have the same type more than a few times a year. And we eat the types the other isn't so keen on when we're with friends or out by ourselves.

            I think I would find it hard to date someone who didn't enjoy anything except standard North American type cuisine. But someone who's less into food, or has more restricted tastes themself, probably wouldn't care. What I think people find most annoying are those who dismiss different types of food as "gross" without even trying it, just because it's different, which suggests a general lack of open-mindedness.

          • A lot of restaurants will serve things that aren't on the menu. You just have to ask.

      • Nothing? Really NOTHING is less attractive? How about John Goodman's naked body? Guys who look like Hugh Jackman, Ryan Gosling, and Ryan Reynolds eat five to six small meals a day and are VERY picky eaters.

        • Height is a big factor. I'm 5' 8" and I have been with some very cute girls (to be crude, 7's and 8's, and an almost 9). I'm handsome and Hugh Jackman fit. Also, well educated and stylish. Supposedly, I'm wickedly funny. But what's helped me is going after only girls with short brothers and/or short dads. Nearly all the cute girls I've scored with have dads or brothers my height. I'm Jewish and pursue my share of Jewish girls, which helps.

        • Oh, I thought you said nothing is less appealing than pickiness.

        • eselle28 says:

          My guess would be that they're not ordering chicken fingers, though.

          Personally, I'm not up for dating someone who's on an extremely restricted diet that's not medically necessary, and I'm fine passing on the movie star bodies that come from eating…these days the new thing is paleo, right? But this is one of those things where women are going to vary, and I'm guessing that the guys who are on restrictive diets have no problem finding women with similar or compatible eating habits, so it works out for everyone.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            The paleo thing always makes me laugh. The logic is that our caveman ancestors were really healthy and didn't cook food. So if you don't cook your food, you'll be really healthy. The problem with this logic is that our ancestors didn't do it by choice. Once they figured out how cooking worked, they starting cooking their food.

          • I think you might be confusing two branches of a similar idea. Paleo does base its diet off the idea of the caveman…. but not so much the raw-food thing, as the protein-and-vegetables thing. The philosophy is that our bodies aren't designed to break down carbs as easily as it breaks down meat or vegetables…. fruit, and especially grains, were not a large part of a hunters-and-gatherer society's diet. Yet if you look at most modern meals, they lean heavily in the direction of carbs-grains and fruit. The Paleo lifestyle is essentially eat all the meat and veggies you want, including good fat, and stay away from grains as much as possible (have fruit, but if looking for weight loss, track how much.)

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Ah, ok. It still falls afoul of the same logic but it is different. I mean, again, when our ancestors learned agriculture, they started eating a lot of grains and fruit. We've done that for about 5,000 years successfully.

            It just feels like saying our ancestors' lives were lower stress so we should throw away cell phones in favor of bull roarers and smoke signals. That might be terribly wrong of me, it just seems odd to say our ancestors of millenia ago, who adopted the things we do now, would have been smarter not to.

          • Yeah, the argument goes that we were hunters-gathers (and thus evolved that way) for something like 250,000 years, and have only been agriculturally driven for 5,000 years, so our bodies haven't evolved enough yet. I don't totally buy it, but it isn't without its merits…. especially since a lot of grains and processed foods (at least in the US) are infused with high fructose corn syrup; highly addictive, shown to contribute to retaining weight.

            Like I said, I don't buy the reduced carbs idea all the way through, but a diet that avoids processed foods (as in, you cook everything from scratch, raw ingredients and the like) DOES have the right idea I think.

          • My personal food philosophy developed along the lines of, "The closer the food is to its natural state, the healthier it is for me to eat it." So, meat and vegetables, yes – but also fruit and grains. It's more a matter of, eat cherries rather than cherry pie. The less processing my food has undergone, the less likely that it will be bad for me – baked potatoes rather than French fries (rather than fried anything, really). And if there's an occasion when I simply MUST have sweets (under pain of death? seems unlikely, somehow) – better ice cream made with cream, fruit, and sugar, than some chemical admixture that promises to be "low fat/low calorie".

        • It's called hyperbole, people use that literary device when they want to get a point across, and I'm sure you're not that dumb as to misunderstand that.

          On that note, picky eaters are extremely unattractive to me. No matter how hot they may look. I like men who are game for trying new things and that includes ethnic cuisines. Picky eaters tend to thing everything out of the norm is "gross" – which means I can't ever introduce them to my parents, since my family is Russian and we eat Russian food.

          • I love things out of the norm. I'll eat any type of sushi. But I want to keep my six-pack. To me, "picky" means avoiding anything fattening. To me, being thin is a religion (and, please, respect my religion as you'd respect that of another person). I'm a picky yet adventurous eater. I might not eat fried insects, but I'll eat almost anything else. But I do not eat white flour or refined sugar. Nor do I eat potatoes, but those restrictions are so I can look like Hugh Jackman.

          • I'm not trying to date you personally. That was a comment on general attractiveness, you don't need to get defensive every time someone says they don't like a quality that you possess. I am not for everyone, neither are you.

          • I am very, very defensive about discussing thinness on websites. That much is true. In the past, on other blogs I've innocently written something like "I'm a thin guy who prefers thin women" and been crucified for it.

          • No one was talking about thinness. We are discussing picky eaters. Those things are not related. At all. It's not about "I'm picky because I want to eat healthy." but more about "I'm picky because I am not open to new experiences." Which are completely different things.

            We aren't talking about body size, we are talking about how open people are to new experiences, including cuisine. You like thin people, good for you, we aren't discussing that.

          • To me, that was the subtext, because of the comment about Prometheus that was part of the post that started this thread. That poster made a comment about seemingly vain fitness guys assuming her gaze was one of admiration when it was truly one of disdain. That poster was absolutely talking about body type. She invoked the pre-men from Prometheus.

            Accordingly, I associated her comment about finicky eaters with her attitude toward flexing gym guys, which tied the topic of eating with the topic of body type (in this case the ripped body type).

            i think my inferences and assumptions (regarding subtext and intent) were entirely reasonable and logical. Reread her post.

          • Yes, but you replied to my response, in which I agreed with her about picky eaters, saying "Nothing is less attractive than a guy ordering chicken fingers at an ethnic restaurant."

            Seriously for an English Ph.D you are not that good at getting the basic point of a sentence. Clearly, what I was saying, that it is unattractive when men are unwilling to try new foods and act like children saying everything is "gross".

          • who calls things "gross"?

            I'm confused. I live in a nice part Manhattan. People in my neighborhood spend hundreds to go eat tasting menus at new, experimental creative restaurants. People where I live are foodies. They read magazines about new food. They travel to Europe to try new restaurants.

            That being so, to me, "picky" CAN ONLY mean "not eat fattening food", because people I know spend lots of money and time trying new food.

            Maybe the problem is that I am very much not the target audience for this blog. I'm 41 and am part f the top 5% of earners. I'll just leave.

          • You do realize that not everyone lives in NYC and not everyone has that really specific experience that you have?

          • Robjection says:

            You're confused because you don't think there exists anyone outside of NYC. I'd wager that the majority of the commenters on this blog lives outside of NYC. Hell, I'm not even sure if any of the people who comment on this blog other than you are from NYC.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            I've spent my time there. I'd even hazard a guess he's from the general Astoria area.

          • I live in NYC, but I didn't realize the term picky *only* meant "not eating fattening food." Huh, must have been using it wrong all this time. Darn my non-cultured slang.

          • Where I live, "picky" is much more likely to mean "only eats cheeseburgers" than "won't eat fattening food." It's trying to go out to eat as a family, but my brother won't eat anything "weird." It's the woman at the office who causes our lunch outings to be restricted to about three places and who actually did say "ew, gross!" when I told her my favorite restaurant was the Indian place by my house.

            So yeah, your particular experience is not universal.

          • Also, you're allowed your preferences, but don't act as if being thin makes you somehow oppressed. Our culture is very thin-focused (please hold you comments about health, etc.) and fat people are actually treated very badly every day of their lives – so a couple of people getting upset at your comments about thinness does not oppression make.

          • I never said I was oppressed. I just don't understand the bitterness behind negative votes.

            I used to be an English professor. I didn't earn much. I saw the women I wanted getting with more financially successful men. I didn't get bitter. I just switched to finance.

            If something bothers you enough to be bitter about it, make the effort to change it.

          • Apparently you're getting downvoted by "fuller-figured" women who believe plumpers should be the apple of mens' desires as well as their supportive men.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Yep, that's me, a full figured woman dating a full figured woman. . .we might be 250 lbs together, soaking wet in winter clothes.

            On the other hand I am a supportive man because I'm not going to date someone who's not worth being supportive of. I'm also supportive of people in the comments who have issues they wish to get better at. Who are you supportive of, Gil?

          • Anyhow, what is defensive about my post? It's received two thumbs down, and I'm not sure why that is. What do I say that deserves thumbs down? That's a very sincere question. As I read it, I've expressed my interest in being an adventurous eater and in staying fit. I don't see anything overtly objectionable to it yet two people evidently found it objectionable.

            is the word "thin" objectionable? Is that it? Can I not use that word here? I'm perplexed.

          • I wouldn't get too worked up about the vote values. It's not a condemnation, just a sign that someone happened not to like the comment.

            I can't say for sure, since I wasn't one of those two people, but if I was going to guess I'd say it's less likely the word "thin" than the fact that you called your interest in thinness a "religion" that should be respected on the same level as other religions. I'm not even religious myself, and I find that pretty belittling to religions in general, so I can easily imagine someone who is religious finding it offensive.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Dude, if you start counting every up and down vote, you're going to start feeling persecuted, flip your shit and downvote every post by every person you consider an enemy in every article, past and present. . . like Gil did. Anyone can come from anywhere on the Internet and hit the up and down buttons. Be zen about it.

          • The most downvotes I ever got was on a Justin Bieber-themed post. :3

          • I was not one of the down-voters, but I echo Mel's sentiments. I'm a little put-off by the amount our culture is coming to moralize food…. as if the food you put in your body somehow says something about your character or your values (which is strongly linked to the idea that body shape somehow equals specific character traits.) I think THAT is the attitude people are responding negatively to in your post.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Ironically, I have embraced street food. . .not trendy food trucks. . .sketchy chrome pushcarts, precisely because of the smug-value attached to organic this, vegan that and gluten-free the other. You'll never find a better gyro than right outside Grand Central Station at the halal cart. The area around the Winter Garden tends to have a good selection, too.

          • I suspect you are correct. I think a lot of people detect (or at least think they detect) the unattractive tones of moral superiority being associated with thinness, and, consequently, moral deficiency being association with heaviness (i.e., anyone heavier than that range approved of by the "thin"). I'll say one thing for that attitude: it's every bit as unpleasant – and unfounded – as assuming one's own religion is morally superior to that of everyone else.

          • Fried insects are supposed to be very high in protein – in case you find out that you are required to eat some. :)

          • hyperbole. I know the word. I have a Ph.D. in English from Brandeis.

          • That's why I said " I'm sure you're not that dumb as to misunderstand that."

            It was a comment on the fact that instead of focusing on my point, you focused on my wording.

          • Why did someone give me a thumbs down for having a Ph.D. from Brandeis? I'm not boasting.

          • I'm…. pretty sure mentioning what exact university you got your PhD from, in order to support your viewpoint (instead of just letting your statements stand for themselves), comes squeaky-close to boasting.

          • Because no one on the internet cares where you graduated from, because anyone can make any claim they want, but it's pretty difficult to support it.

            It's the content of your statements that matter, not where you got your degree. And so far, your statements haven't contributed much of substance to the discussion.

            So maybe you went to Brandeis, maybe you didn't. Don't know, don't care. I do know, however, that you don't appear to have much that's worthwhile to say.

          • Since we're throwing out random comments about how great we are, I'd just like everyone to know that my looks have been described as "Ryan Gosling's head on Channing Tatum's body," and I am also responsible for saving an entire Amazon village from starvation.

          • Just the one? 😛

        • John Goodman's naked body? Why do you assume that women will think that John Goodman's naked body is unattractive? John Goodman is a 60 year old man and a talented actor. His weight fluctuates a lot but this doesn't make him unattractive. In fact, I think he's kind of cute in a bear sort of way and his talent makes him even more attractive to me. He's also been married to the same woman since 1989 and I would guess that she does not think his naked body is unattractive.

          This is a good example of what Dr. Nerdlove was talking about when he said that women have broader ideas of what counts as attractive. Also your rating women in a post below as numbers is pretty gross.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          "Guys who look like Hugh Jackman, Ryan Gosling, and Ryan Reynolds eat five to six small meals a day "

          The current belief if you read body building or weight loss forums is that this whole "5-6 meals a day" is a just another made-up idea that sounds cool but doesn't make any real difference whatsoever. If it makes you feel less hungry, great it helps, but your body really doesn't care about this at all. It processes the calories and such exactly the same way whether it's 3 meals or 6.

          • See for example "Eat Stop Eat" by Brad Pilon. I'd also check out some of the good nutrition blogs (Whole Health Source is quite good).

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I looked at "Eat Stop Eat". Sounds like it says the same thing – eating 5-6 times a day doesn't make any difference.

            Eat Stop Eat sounds interesting. It's all just trying to find a way to reduce your calories without feeling like you're reducing your calories.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      For some of us, snacking isn't a lifestyle choice, its a metabolic necessity. If I go four hours without eating, I'm running on fumes. Then again, I buy frosted mini wheats instead of chips, carry granola bars with me etc.

      I can also be picky about food, although more in terms of not liking X unless its prepared very skillfully. Then again, the easiest way to avoid ordering chicken fingers at an ethnic restaurant is to pick a restaurant that you like in the first place.

      Edit: having read the whole thread, I guess I don't qualify as picky. I can find something in pretty much any cuisine that I'll like.

    • "Snacking is for children"

      This goes against everything I believe in.

    • The type of "pickiness" that gets me is when someone orders an entree, and then proceeds to make additions and subtractions to it that basically change the entire thing to something else (and not because of allergies or special diets, just because they "don't like" whatever those things are).

    • Disagree on the food. I've tried more species, preparations, etc. of food than almost anyone I know. I also have a number of things I have tried, and learned I don't like. As an adult, I reserve the right to not eat what I don't like.

      Hunger is also a trigger for my migraines, so I snack throughout the day on nuts and fruit. I don't think it's childish at all to snack. Some people need to eat more often to stay alert, healthy and happy. If eating three meals a day works for you, great, but it doesn't for a lot of people.

  10. Thank you for this. I would just add that as men, you have two options for your face. Either you grow a beard, which you a groom and keep in check, or you're clean shaven. I prefer guys who shave, and you need to shave every day (or at least every day that you're going out and socializing with people). The perpetual post-5 o'clock shadow is not so much visually unappealing, but it hurts my face to kiss you! Look, I shave my legs if I expect someone to get close to them, please shave your face if you expect me anywhere near it.

    • I don't think 5 o'clock shadow is so much a problem (it looks pretty, feels lousy, but realistically can't be avoided by some guys unless they walk around with electric razors in their pockets), but I agree that it's beard or clean shaven. Novelty facial hair is almost never a good idea, and even the few guys who pull it off would look more attractive if they did something else.

      • Sure, a naturally occurring 5 o'clock shadow is fine, if it's actually past 5 o'clock and you shaved in the morning. I went out with a guy who said "Oh I only shave once a week." Well, that one day should be the day you see me then. If I shaved my legs once a week, I would sure as hell make sure that the day I shaved was the day someone might touch them.

        • Shaving once a week seems like the worst of all possible choices, since that's just often enough to keep the hair sharp and makeout deterring, but not often enough to actually be clean shaven on a regular basis. Someone who likes that look should just go for a closely trimmed beard and spare whoever's kissing him some pain!

      • Paul Rivers says:

        "I don't think 5 o'clock shadow is so much a problem (it looks pretty, feels lousy, but realistically can't be avoided by some guys unless they walk around with electric razors in their pockets), but I agree that it's beard or clean shaven. Novelty facial hair is almost never a good idea, and even the few guys who pull it off would look more attractive if they did something else."

        I actually *hate* novelty facial hair, but I've known a couple of guys who suddenly grew it, then got more dates / a girlfriend. It was never the "carefully" trimmed or sculptured kind of stuff, it was mostly just some scruff.

        I don't really understand it…but it happened a couple of times. Not entirely sure how that worked…

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          By novelty facial hair are we talking like the gamekeeper in Hunger Games and the bad guy from Wild Wild West or like mustache and goatee?

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Judging from a quick google image search of "gamekeepr hunger games", not like him, or like the bad guy from wild wild west. To quote myself "It was never the "carefully" trimmed or sculptured kind of stuff, it was mostly just some scruff. "

            Like this (if this links works) – http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkqg7i6OQe1qckazh….

            *Not* like this – http://img2.timeinc.net/people/i/2012/stylewatch/

            It's often a "I shaved yesterday, but didn't bother doing anything today" kind of look.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            OK, cool. I just heard "novelty facial hair" and stared thinking of the wildest things I could possibly get away with. I could probably rock the Gamekeeper look if I had a month or two hidden away from public view to get it grown out and even.

        • Sometimes having "scruff" can make a guy with more of a baby face look more mature, which can = more attractive even if it isn't the nicest looking scruff ever.

          Or it is possible the facial hair and the increased dating success were not actually causally related but just a coincidence. Who knows! :)

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "Sometimes having "scruff" can make a guy with more of a baby face look more mature, which can = more attractive even if it isn't the nicest looking scruff ever."

            Hmm…yeah, come to think of it these guys did tend towards having younger looking faces to begin with…

          • I happen to prefer baby-faced guys. Definitely prefer clean shaven to any kind of facial hair.

        • eselle28 says:

          Oh, I don't define some scruff as novelty facial hair. That's just not shaving very often. Like I said above, that's not much fun to kiss, but it can be very flattering on lots of men.

          By novelty facial hair, I mean the soul patch, the chin strap, the ironic mustache, and other things of that nature. I'm sure there are women out there who like those looks too, but I can't really recommend them.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I think the "soul patch" combined with facial hair on the chin are the last one I saw. If you're thinking of styles where it's like the first thing you notice, it's not like that, but it's there.

            It was just weird. Most people were like "I don't know about that" or "it doesn't look bad, but it doesn't look good", but than *bam* he gets a girlfriend. Obviously it's a bit ancedotal, but still…there's *something* going on there, one doesn't usually start dating someone right after they go out of their way to look less attractive…

        • Starbuck_ says:

          Ah see, I find the first photo of this guy WAY attractive. I'd probably risk the whisker burn.

      • I agree that some novelty facial hair just looks silly or like a guy is trying too hard, but in many cases it definitely works. I had a boyfriend with a soul patch, which I always throught would be silly, but looked great on him. He shaved it off once and it made him look 12. Full beard would have overwhelmed his face. Needless to say, he grew back the soul patch 😉 I like it when guys experiment; it's like girls trying different hair styles and lengths when they get bored.

    • I think the biggest thing for guys to remember is that beards are not a "get out of grooming free" card. Beards don't require daily maintenance the same way a clean-shaven look does, but they do require regular trimming at home and the occasional professional trim when you want to keep them looking really nice. They can do wonders for face shape – my husband looks 15 without a beard, and 35 with one. When he's fifty he will probably still look 35, because the beard covers up many of the natural signs of aging (wrinkles, skin texture, etc).

      That said, when he gets past Obi Wan Kenobi into Chewbacca territory, I have to remind him to get a trim :-)

    • For some men, clean-shaving is an oxy moron. Even when I shaved everyday, this started when I was 12, I never looked particularly clean-shaving. There was too much hair. Its why I grew a beard.

  11. The skin care stuff is rather nice to know, even being female…I'm one of those women who almost never use makeup (reserved for formal events, maybe, and performing onstage, which I haven't done in years) and I've long since defaulted to the mentality that any advertisement for women's beauty products is just part of the "conspiracy" to make women feel insecure about themselves so they will throw dollars at the beauty companies. Having just a straight "here's what keeps your skin healthy" is really refreshing and I may have to look into that.

    I do have to disagree on one point….I find long hair on guys VERY attractive, especially if it's dark. But, as Doc had pointed out, every woman is different in her "type" (that said, the cleanliness and tidiness of said long dark hair is DEFINITELY important).

    One final tip: Make sure your breath is decent! Tictacs, mouthwash, brushing your tongue, whatever you need to do, but don't go around with sour breath.

    • The usual way to tell "guy with long hair" from "woman with long hair" from behind without seeing their face is whether the hair is stringy and greasy or not :- Guys, you can keep your hair long, but PLEASE take care of it! This involves using "girly" things like a good shampoo and conditioner and a reasonable hairbrush. A guy with long CLEAN hair is sexy; a guy with long greasy-looking straggly hair is not.

      • This, this, THIS!

        I had an ex who never wanted to cut his hair because he thought it would make him look "old". But he never GROOMED his hair properly and it was a horrible, snarled mess. The fact that his hair was dry and fine and broke easily didn't help matters at all.

      • Defectivesealion says:

        Guys with short hair need to remember this too! Conditioner boys, conditioner! I knew a guy who was struggling with dandruff, I asked him how he washed his hair and he used a 2-in-1 SOAP and shampoo. NO, just no. That is designed to dry out your skin. I switched him to a head and shoulders 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and he hasn't had dandruff since.

    • There's a difference between wearing makeup and having nice skin. Honestly, when I'm taking good care of my skin and am well-rested (well, theoretically; I'm never actually THAT well-rested), I don't need to do anything to my skin, makeup-wise, and it feels a lot better.

  12. Paul Rivers says:

    "people will inevitably show up and insist that all of this is bullshit and that women are interested in tall dudes with rippling washboard abs, blindingly white teeth, pecs you could bounce rocks off of, an Audi R8 and a 7 figure bank account."

    While I agree that MOST of these things are exagerration (like I like a certain kind of legs but it's not a deal breaker, many women like abs but it's not really in their top 3 priorities), there's 2 that I think are true –

    1. Teeth – woman definitely don't like horribly discolored teeth. Women definitely noticed when I got out of college and got my teeth whitened. But that's not a big deal – you can buy crest white strips on amazon and whiten your teeth that way, it's less expensive than a couple of haircuts.

    Come to think of it, I really think this should be on the list above. You don't need "sparkling white" teeth, but noticeably yellowed teeth definitely seem to be a downside. But it's *really* not hard to change. It's far easier than even the haircut, let alone getting in shape, changing your diet, etc etc.

    2. Height – say what you want, if you look around at couples you only very, very rarely see guys dating girls who are taller than them. And if you're short, that's a fair amount of girls.

    Not that one should give up, but I think it's a bit disingenous to say that this isn't an important (and unfortunately unchangeable) attraction factor for women.

    • Height is a big factor. I'm 5' 8" and I have been with some very cute girls (to be crude, 7's and 8's, and an almost 9). I'm handsome and Hugh Jackman fit. Also, well educated and stylish. Supposedly, I'm wickedly funny. But what's helped me is going after only girls with short brothers and/or short dads. Nearly all the cute girls I've scored with have dads or brothers my height. I'm Jewish and pursue my share of Jewish girls, which helps.

      I'm as tall as half of my ex girlfriends' dads and within 2 inches of 3/4 of my ex girlfriends' dads.

      I may start a dating support group for short guys here in NYC just to meet their sisters!

      • Gentleman Johnny says:

        I'm . . .within 2 inches of 3/4 of my ex girlfriends' dads.

        I don't know how much that says. I mean, yeah, there are a lot of 6'+ guys out there. 5'9"-5'10" is pretty much the center of the bell curve, though. I think 3/4 of my ex-girlfriends dads were within 2" of you, too.

        • I was kind of wondering how he goes about meeting all these women's dads (or brothers, I suppose) before deciding whether it's worth "going after" them. Seems like a guy would have more success just asking out whichever women he finds attractive, seeing what they say, and if it's a no moving on, rather than only pursuing women after he's had the chance to meet the whole family. 😛

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            More likely its a trend that he sees after getting to know them. I could see that going from "huh, that's interesting" when its three women in a row to "ok, there's a trend here" when its 10 or so.

          • That would make more sense. It's just he specifically said "what's helped me is going after only girls with short brothers and/or short dads." Sounds like a conscious strategy… Just a bizarre one! 😉

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I don't know how you'd figure this out either…but if one could it makes a certain amount of sense to me. People take a lot of their cues about what's masculine or femine from their parents. A girl with a short father is a lot less likely to feel like being short makes him less "manly" than someone with a tall father.

            Seems like every time I meet a girl and we really click (socially, sometimes romantically and sometimes not) it turns out her father was some sort of software guy or something like that…

          • I suspect that's more the case with personality than appearance. My dad doesn't at all fit the type I generally find physically attractive, and none of my boyfriends or even the guys I've crushed on have looked at all like him. On the other hand, I do see personality similarities. Mostly in that I tend to go for guys with geeky and creative interests (because I share those) and my dad has geeky and creative interests (guess where I got them from! heh).

            I would say, though, that a woman with a short father is more likely to be short herself, and "tall" is relative to whatever height you're at. At 5'4", I run into very few guys who aren't taller than me–it doesn't take a 6'-er to make me look up.

          • This!

            I'm usually attracted to guys with darker skin than my family (my parents are both white) and the body types/looks/heights have ranged widely (usually never remotely resembling my father). My family often jokes about this and my dad teasingly asked me once "Aren't girls supposed to like guys that remind them of their fathers?" Little does he realize that most of the guys I like contain the qualities I most admire about him: intelligence combined with avid curiosity, a certain type A neatness, the ability to converse about the world, and a feminist* philosophy. And an addiction to fantasy books and sci-fi shows is always a plus 😉

            *Since the word "feminist" is often misconstrued, I just want to clarify that my father brought me up never even thinking a word like "feminist" was necessary until I was exposed to greater society and realized that sexism still exists. Also, when my mom asked me "you mean you won't quit work when you get married and have a baby?" and I said "of course not, I'm going to law school because I love law and want to be a lawyer," my dad actually clapped.

          • To clarify – there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman making the choice to be a stay-at-home wife or mother. My mom did it, she was fantastic at it, and I'm very grateful. It was the implication that I *should* stay at home because I'm a woman that I was protesting.

          • Well, I'm tall for my family – I take after my mother's side of the family (tall men, relatively tall women), and at 5'7", I'm the same height as 2 brothers and my dad. Only one brother is taller; my sister is only 5'2", so she got the short genes my brothers got. OTOH, I don't consider 5'7" short for a guy; to me it was simply the usual. I don't consider a couple/three inches or so shorter than me to be too short for me, either – it just doesn't seem important.

    • I don't know if the thing about teeth color is cultural, but I've noticed by what I've read that in America there tends to be more emphasis on that than in Europe, at the very least where I live. I agree that nobody (or the great majority of people, since you never know what some folks may be into) likes severely discolored teeth, but as long as they are healthy and taken care of, I don't think it poses a problem. Natural teeth shades have a lot of variation.

      About the height thing, it's true that some women look for men taller than them, but I also think it's worth noting that the average man is taller than the average woman, so it's easy to see couples where the man is taller. That said, even if I haven't met many girls for whom a guy's height may be a dealbreaker, I agree that short guys have it harder.

      I'm just being nitpicky though, because overall I agree with everything you said.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        "I agree that nobody (or the great majority of people, since you never know what some folks may be into) likes severely discolored teeth, but as long as they are healthy and taken care of, I don't think it poses a problem. Natural teeth shades have a lot of variation."

        There's a range of coloring where it doesn't matter (they don't need to be pearl white or anything), but generally speaking if I told you a character in a book had yellow, stained teeth – you're alreayd expecting he's some sort of villian or undesirable character, you know?

        I mean seriously, when I whitened my teeth several girls actually said something within the next 2-3 times I saw them. I think one just becomes acclimated to whatever they see – and on tv everyone has whitened teeth. In real life nowadays almost everyone has whitened teeth, especially if they're below 40 or 50.

        Now that it's easy to get your teeth whitened (like I said, you can order crest whitestrips on amazon), you really stand out as an exception not having it. I mean – I've known plenty of people who took care of their teeth their whole lives, and their teeth looked fine. I was a little lazy about brushing though…

        "About the height thing, it's true that some women look for men taller than them, but I also think it's worth noting that the average man is taller than the average woman, so it's easy to see couples where the man is taller. That said, even if I haven't met many girls for whom a guy's height may be a dealbreaker, I agree that short guys have it harder."

        Yeah, but there's a difference between a dealbreaker that people are aware of and one that just happens. One of the last girls I went out with, I liked, but then we hung out more and there was just…something about her that I could tell I'd always find very unnattractive. I still don't know what it was – she was much shorter than me, and it just hit something in my head. But at the same time – I've found other girls of the same height attractive and haven't had any of those negative feelings about it, so was it the height? Was it something in the way she walked? I dunno.

        There are more taller guys than taller girls, but I don't know if I know of *any* couples where the girl is taller.

        "I'm just being nitpicky though, because overall I agree with everything you said."

        lol, I make those comments sometimes, fair enough…

        • Eugh, yes. I have to admit I'm a little biased on the subject, but I see a lot of guys at conventions with less than ideal teeth and it sets my skin acrawl. (Okay, I'm a LOT biased because I'm in the dental profession and I'm trained to look for this stuff.) For me, the trifecta of lady repellent is significantly yellowed teeth, visible plaque and calculus accumulation, and gums so red and swollen they look like they could just pop like a balloon. The number of women who are going to be willing to kiss you will drop significantly if it looks like you haven't brushed your teeth in a week or more.

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          On the one hand I know a few couples where the woman is/was taller. On the other hand, I know a 6' burlesque dancer who, while not exclusive about dating taller guys is MUCH more attracted to them. Lucky for her, the next camp over from where we were at the event where we met, one of the guys was like 6'5".

        • *Waves hand furiously* Oh, me, me, call on me! Now you know OF at least one couple where the girl is taller: my brother married a girl a couple of inches taller than he is – and she wore some dashing high heels at the wedding, too! His being shorter doesn't bother either of them. Come to think of it, my other brother was with a taller girl for about 30 years. And I've dated, and loved, a guy who was shorter than I am. So that's three you know *of*, even if you may not know any directly. Oh, hey! Diana was taller than Prince Charles, so, you know of at least FOUR couples where the woman was the taller of the two.

      • There's *definitely* a variation between what is considered "attractive" when it comes to the whiteness of teeth in America vs. in Europe. Americans seem to be obsessed with blindingly white smiles. I've seen people here (in the States) who have had their teeth whitened to the point where they actually look a little bit blue (I've often wondered if they'd glow under a UV light…). It starts to look unnatural after a while. In Europe, there's a much wider (and more natural) range of what's considered attractive.

    • hobbesian says:

      Not debating you on the teeth thing, in the US it's a huge HUGE deal. It doesn't matter if you brush and floss, and have reasonably okay teeth.. people still find fault if they aren't perfect.

      Chiefly I think that's socio-economic in origin. If you have perfect straight white teeth it means you have the money to go orothodontics and teeth whitening done. It tells a potential partner WAY more about your family and childhood than your clothes or hair do.

      • I want to say because I could see people getting paranoid because of this comment–I'm not in the US but pretty close here in Canada, and have traveled throughout the US, and I've never found that teeth are *that* big a deal. I mean, yes, if someone has really obviously crooked/stained teeth that may be remarked on. But I have a slightly crooked tooth on at the top front and a very crooked tooth at the bottom front, and honestly I don't think people generally even notice. The top tooth is visible when I smile or am talking, but it's not crooked enough to catch the eye–someone would have to be staring at my mouth from just a few feet away to even really see it. And the bottom one, despite being very noticeable if I crane my jaw open for someone to see, is almost always hidden behind my lower lip. So in my experience people aren't catching every imperfection; it's just if it's eye-catchingly bad that they notice.

        • hobbesian says:

          well I live in the South.. where it's pretty unfortunately common for people to make fun of the waitress at Waffle house due to having less than perfect teeth, as if she could afford to go to the dentist for anything less than emergency anyway, and the quality of your teeth/dental care is directly proportional to how much money you have or if your job offers insurance.. so here it basically forms the dividing line between true middle class & Up and everyone else.

          I've also had relatives in the UK be very curious because mine aren't perfectly straight or pearly white.. "I thought everyone in America had perfect teeth"… that kind of thing..

      • Paul Rivers says:

        "It doesn't matter if you brush and floss, and have reasonably okay teeth.. people still find fault if they aren't perfect."

        Hmm…I don't think that I would agree going that far. Noticeably yellow teeth, or one of those "is that tooth growing…sideways?" kind of teeth is a problem. But smaller differences in that are closer to "not quite perfect"? I…would just disagree. I'm not sure anyone looks that close…

        I mean, I see from your comment below that people evidentally talk about it a lot in the south, but living in Minnesota it's not at all a common topic. Probably have had more conversations on the topic of "blowjob lips" (lol) than teeth nuances.

        "If you have perfect straight white teeth it means you have the money to go orothodontics and teeth whitening done."

        On teeth whitening, I would disagree pretty strongly. I think it's a combination of that everyone on tv has white teeth, combined with the **low** cost of teeth whitening that makes you stand out if you have yellowed teeth.

        On orthodontics, I'm not as sure. I happen to have decent teeth by default, and I grew up in a middle to upper class suburb, so I don't really have the perspective to guess what it's like for people who don't can't afford braces/etc.

        But – I will say that "perfect" teeth are often what the villian in a movie has. Used to be if there's a British guy and he was a villian he always had "perfect" teeth. If I remember right, the actor playing Norman Osborne in spiderman was given a set of "perfect" teeth for the role – there's something about absolutely straight and perfect teeth that lend themselves to being a little creepy and villian roles.

        If you're missing teeth or something like that it's often a sign of low classness, but in Minnesota at least I don't think people care *that* much about "perfect" teeth…

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          There is a sort of super-perfect style associated with villains (and The Mask), where they're not only perfectly sized and aligned but unnaturally white. If I were to win the lottery (without buying a ticket, mind you), I would definitely pick out some villain photos, walk into the sedation cosmetic dentist and say "give me these".

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Man, have you read the back story on The Mask? Evidentally the movie was an adaptation of a comic book…ok, let's put it another way – inspired by a comic book, but basically a totally differently themed story. In the comic book The Mask causes the main character to eventually end up dead after causing horrific mayhem, and "straightlaced" cop is a more interesting character who ends up putting on the mask and almost killing his partner. The comic was evidentally more like "Spawn" than the movie, which was more like The Genie in Aladdin…

            I loved the movie, but I always wondered where the weirdly dark parts of it involving the Stanley Ipkiss came from, when in other parts of the movie he's a little more on the "to nice" side. Or why the "mask" on him always looked a little evil and creepy. I guess it was the other way – he originally got horrifically dark, the harmless slapstick was more what the movie changed it into to make it mainstream and watchable…

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            I worked in a comic shop at the time so, yeah, I was pretty up to date on the comic.

        • Actually, the cost of whitening strips can wind up being pretty prohibitive, if you're on a tight budget and your money is earmarked for such things as mortgage, medicine, food, shoes for kids, etc. And the East Coast has more in common with the South, and with California, apparently, than it has with Minnesota – teeth are noticed. One small child asked a local cashier if she was sick, and she said no (with some surprise). Turns out, he was from California, and he had never seen someone with crooked teeth! And it's not as if she was sporting movie monster fangs, either – her teeth were just a little crooked. But the boy had never seen anything like them before – not in person, not on TV, not in the movies.

    • I can’t lie that there are women who care about height. I’m not one of them. My last two bfs were shorter than me but in great shape and the one before them was like a foot taller than me and hefty. Their confidence in themselves and their way of taking care of themselves added intensely to their attractiveness.

      There was a totally hot, but TOTALLY hot guy I once tried to date. Intelligent, opinionated, lively, engaging, chiseled, ripped, creative, a genius in his profession and semi-famous, eligible – and 4’11”. Did I care that he was six inches shorter than me? Hell no. Going into the situation he was batting a thousand. And then he spent most of the night complaining how no woman ever wanted him because he was so short. He was so busy complaining he was totally oblivious to my increasingly obvious signals. I threw a couple of sizzling passes his way and he just didn’t catch them because he was so busy obsessing over the fact that he was short. And his misery and complaining were what turned me off. I gave up trying to talk him around. A while later he gave me the same line again that NO woman would EVER want him and I told him I knew for a fact that wasn’t true because I had tried like hell to get his attention on our first date. He was shocked and then sheepish. By then it was too late and we both knew it.

      The other guys I dated who were shorter than me, amazing people, are attractive because it’s clear they have so much else going on that height never shows up on their radar as a problem and so it isn’t one. And they also do everything this article advises and that sure doesn’t hurt. They have a strong sense of who they are and play to their strengths. It’s a pleasure to be around a guy who looks after his appearance and is at ease with himself.

      We all gotta accentuate the positive. Rock what you got.

      I would only add thing #6 – get to the gym.

  13. I think the main problem with men and long hair is that most many aren't willing to put in the work necessary to keep the long hair looking good. Out of all the men I've met with long hair, only one really put the necessary effort to keep his hair looking nice. Long hair isn't really that easy to maintain, it requires constant washing and shampoing, and enough time to properly dry.

    • Dr_NerdLove says:

      I can tell you from personal experience: it took about an hour of blow drying and brushing to maintain that ponytail – which was about the ONLY redeeming feature of having it. I looked like a dork but my hair was GLORIOUS.Sent from my iPhone

    • True. Heck, I had hair down to my butt and even my hair looked like a snarly, hippy nightmare almost all the time. Part of the reason I'd never have hair like that again. It is HARD to take care of. It never looks like the Pantene commercials.

  14. Artimaeus says:

    It's all good advice, especially regarding the diet. I've noticed that what I eat also determines how much exercise I get, since I almost never want to exercise if I'm feeling bloated or fatigued.

    Random, but was I the only person who through of the opening to american psycho when DNL was talking about skin care?

    • I can be very sensitive to food during a workout, and what actually makes me perform best is to have little-to-nothing to eat beforehand. I have a healthy meal post-workout, and it makes me feel great.

    • hobbesian says:

      as long DNL doesn't ask me if I like Huey Lewis and the News I'm not super worried..

  15. What is the problem with Axe?

    • eselle28 says:

      A lot of the products just don't smell very good. There are admittedly a few that don't have offensive scents, but I think those suffer from being associated with very young boys who overapply them.

      They're also not formulated much differently from other products in the same price range (inexpensive grooming products tend to be the same handful of chemicals with different scents), so there's no real reason to risk the juvenile associations.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      I think everything Axe makes smells like a chemical factory. I suspect its secretly one of the three components that produce Smilex when mixed (see 1990, Michael Keaton Batman). That said, I know some women who really like it on guys and some women who really like it on themselves. Personally, I'll go for a more "girly" scented soap, shampoo etc as long as it smells like what the label says it does.

      My all time favorite was only at Target and they've since quit carrying it – Evermen Jack body wash, Cedar scented.

      • If it's the cedar scent you like, have you tried either Crabtree and Evelyn or Caswell Massey? Either/both of them should carry something to your liking; I used to enjoy sniffing the sandalwood and cedar scents they carried that were designated as being for men.

        And Axe produces dreadful scents and worse commercials. Blech!

    • It's cheap and juvenile. There's a world of sophisticated, adult male scents out there. It would be like me still wearing Exclamation or Sweet Honesty, which was big during my junior high/high school years.

      • eselle28 says:

        Exclamation! I bought some tiny bottles of it awhile back a gag gifts/nostalgia stocking stuffers, and wow, were my parents ever tolerant when I was 12. There's no way I'd want to be in an enclosed space with that smell, let alone sit across the dinner table from it.

        • Ugh, isn't that stuff just vile?? I didn't even like it, but I wore it anyway because…it's just what you were supposed to like!

          Aaah, being 13.

          • eselle28 says:

            The scent reminded me of the time I was moving and a couple of different bottles of cleaning products were punctured and mixed together. There's nothing natural smelling about it at all, just alcohol and chemical notes. I remember liking it at the time, but I also hadn't been diagnosed with allergies at the time. Maybe I just wasn't able to smell properly.

  16. GREAT ARTICLE. Though I have a few things to add to Step 4, things to think about and that could help some folks out if they spend a huge part of their day at a desk. Many of us nerds spend much more than half of every day at the computer, and getting a decent posture for yourself at your desk/computer/workstation can help you tremendously in getting better posture and feeling better.

    For desktop users: make sure your computer's monitor is straight ahead of you, parallel with your shoulders. the top of the monitor should be roughly at about eye level (maybe slightly above eye level if you've got a large one) and be positioned arm's length away from you. Also: Keyboard placement is important, when typing/mousing, if your forearms are 90 degrees, you're at a good height.

    Attn: Notebook users (like me): a notebook, by itself, can sometimes get you to curl inward. the keyboard and screen being so close together, you're looking a lot further down (letting your back get used to leaning forward) or if your desk is high (or chair too low), it brings your arms up a bit too far.

    There's not much you can do if you're a mobile worker (going to coffee shops, bars, restaurants, etc.) you're probably used to it. But it will help, when at home, get a wireless keyboard (or a cheap USB one) and put that Notebook up on a stand, or a few books. Keep that mousing/typing surface at a good height where your arms are good and relaxed, and your monitor is at a height that will keep your shoulders and head facing straight ahead.

    I work at a computer all day at work, and a longer time when I get home. Getting everything set up to where it's properly ergonomic has done wonders for (a) noticing the posture you have and (b) getting yourself a better one. My two cents.


    • To add one more idea: If you work in an office and they don't have a problem with you doing this, you might want to consider using a yoga ball to sit on at your desk. It forces you to engage your core and abdominal muscles, which strengthens them, and you'll also burn a few extra calories, as well, because you have to be "active" to stay on it.

  17. hobbesian says:

    How come all your advice on this always seems to boil down to "SPEND MORE MONEY!"… I mean I'm sure it makes you look nicer, but still doesn't mean we can all do it.

    The skincare, okay, a bottle of neutrogena 2% is 4$.. a decent deodorant is 4$.. But if I go out and get a 100$ haircut (or even 50$), it won't matter how much it improves my look with women because gasp, now I don't have the money to 1) go out to meet her, or 2) take her out on a date if she's amenable.

    I also have long hair, and I know how to take care of it, and I have no plans to cut it off. if 'Women' as a monolithic entity (which they aren't) don't like it, tough. If anything I've had more who wanted to play with it than for me to cut it off.

    • fakely mctest says:

      There's a middle ground between Supercuts/the local barber and a $50-$100 haircut though. I spend about $50 per haircut, but that's with a top tier stylist. Men's haircuts at the place I go start at $34 and my salon has been consistently named as the best place in my largeish city.

      There are also beauty schools where you can get your hair cut less expensively. And if you have long hair you won't necessarily have to do as much maintenance as someone with shorter hair that grows out of its cut faster. A good cut is really an amazing thing because, even when it's growing out, it will make your hair look better overall.

      • hobbesian says:

        There is a barber college in town, but I'm not sure I'd feel any more comfortable going there than I would to the dental college.

        Normally I spend about 25$ on a haircut if I get one, but I've not gotten one in over a year, and I personally think the long hair kind of suits me.. it makes my face look a lot less round than when I have my hair short.

        I also just found out that the anti-biotic I had been taking for my acne had increased from 10$ to 200$ due to a shortage of one of the ingredients.. hooray..

        • Even if you have long hair you still might want to consider getting it professionally trimmed. This gets rid of split ends and makes your hair look better. Or you might want to get your long hair styled. A lot of guys with long hair actually have layers. These have to be professionally cut but they look really good and are fun to run your fingers through.

          Women with long hair get hair cuts and a hair cut does not necessarily mean that you hair gets cut off.

        • Beauty schools are the best because not only are they cheap, but the instructors are RIGHT THERE to assist if something goes wrong. In a regular salon, if you get a bad cut, you are rather stuck with it if you don't want to make a lot of noise and seem rude…. In a barber or beauty school, the instructor will say, out loud," This looks bad, correct it." They will also talk a lot more about how to cut and style your hair, since that is part of the schooling. At the Aveda school where I go for hair cuts, the student will say to the instructor in front of me," She wants X, so I am going to do Y," and the instructor will say," Wouldn't doing X in Z way look better with her type of hair?" It's instructional for me, it's very safe (no worries about a bad cut), AND inexpensive. Win all the way around.

          • hobbesian says:

            It's a consideration, there is one in town.

          • Aveda. Aveda. Aveda. They know what they're doing, even if it's the Aveda school. (They also have really great social responsibility as a company, and they encourage their employees toward those types of activities and charities as well.)

    • Hey, man, if it's workin' for you, it's workin' for you! DNL's advice is arguably for the men for whom it is NOT working.

      • hobbesian says:

        No, it's NOT working for me at all, because the girls who seem to be attracted to me, I'm not attracted to back. If it were working for me, I wouldn't be at this forum in the first place. I just kinda get sick of every piece of advice on this place being "well, just change EVERYTHING about yourself and your lifestyle and then maybe you will increase your chances by a minuscule percent".

        Case in point, I've had exactly one message on my OKCupid profile.. from a gay guy in his 40's who got really angry that I didn't want to be his twink and let him buy me stuff.

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          Well, if you're not getting the results you want with what you're doing now then yes, you're going to have to change. Which do you want more, improved success (not just with women, this appearance stuff applies everywhere) or to keep your hairstyle?. Its totally your call.

          Results don't come free of effort or money.

          • Seriously. :/

            "I don't WANT to cut my hair, but I don't WANT any of the women my hair attracts. But I want women to be attracted to me". What exactly is the solution, here??

          • eselle28 says:

            Well, to be fair, I don't think it's necessarily changing the hair. There are things that people are going to find too important about themselves to change. He could consider getting a haircut. He could spend some time observing the kind of men that the women he wants to date find attractive, and see if he could be more like them in ways that don't have to do with his hair. Or, if he really doesn't want to be anything like the guys who appeal to the women he likes best, he could reconsider what qualities he's looking for in women.

          • I've given such similar advice here to others, but it's usually ignored.

            If you want hot party girls, you have to become what they go for. Ditto if you want muscly gym rats. Or whatever. If that's too much effort (and it usually is, because pretending to be something we aren't is draining), I suggest they reevaluate their criteria. But that usually earns cries of "so I'm just supposed to find fat, ugly people attractive then?"

            I admit to being a little cynical here though.

          • The funny thing is, I suspect the sort of people who are so different from the people they want to attract that they'd have to make huge changes to become appealing… probably wouldn't actually enjoy being with the people they think they want to be with all that much, once they had the opportunity. I mean, I guess if you're just looking for sex and a certain physical/personality type turns you on, that can work. But in terms of dating, if your priorities and interests are totally different… What are you going to have to talk about? What are you going to do together?

          • eselle28 says:

            Generally, I think that's the case. It's easy to fantasize about being with someone who's completely different, but if you have so much contempt for someone's friends and dates that you wouldn't want to be more like them, I think it's worth considering why you want to date that person.

            I do think sometimes people get caught in a rut of not expressing themselves at all outwardly and then being frustrated that people don't catch on to their unique inner selves very quickly (I'm guilty of this) and that some others don't realize what signals they're sending to others (I'm mostly thinking of a very quiet, nerdy friend who kind of needs to ease out of the long hair/bandanna/metal t-shirt look, because it doesn't reflect who he is anymore and tends to intimidate the women who he wants to date). But I don't think that's as likely to result in the same kind of emotional reaction as a conflict between the person who you really are and the kind of people who you think you want to date.

          • Do you think there could also be a certain amount of self-loathing going on? If someone wants a partner that is totally different than themselves, is it possible it's because they don't like being with themselves very much? But then, if they don't much like themselves, why the resistance to changing into what they imagine they do want?

            PS: According to the friend I got into a debate with this weekend, you talk about the relationship. About your day. You talk about the shared things you build as you go along in dating. And you talk by listening to them go on about what they are passionate about. I…. sort of see their point, but my fundamental question was, how does such a relationship even get started before you have that shared history? Do you just-not talk for the first few dates?

          • I could see self-dislike coming into it–particularly if they do *want* to change but feel they can't (e.g., they want to be more outgoing but are so shy it feels impossible to get there). The people who don't want to change I'd figure are just not thinking beyond the physical attraction. Which I suppose is easy to do if you haven't been in a relationship yet so you don't have a clear model for what that involves.

            And I guess I could see a relationship like the one your friend suggests working, but I'd find it incredibly boring! If you don't share any interests, then how interested are you going to be in the passions they're talking about or what they've been doing with their day (or they with yours)? And how long can you discuss your shared history before that gets tired? And what do you do for dates–just go out to dinner all the time or else do some activity that only one of you actually enjoys? To me sharing your passions and interests with someone who *gets* you, at least to some extent, is one of the best parts of being in a relationship. I don't think you're wrong or unrealistic to want that. (What qualities does your friend think you should be looking for, if not that?)

          • I think it's a combination of self-hatred and a defense mechanism. If your crushes are always hopelessly unattainable, and you are unable or unwilling to adjust yourself to attract them, they will remain safely in the realm of fantasy, thereby sparing you the pain of real life. The fact that this mechanism also makes them miserable is still preferable to feeling possible real-life rejection/messy intimacy.

          • Ah I thought the same thing as you! I like learning about new things, but I want to have SOME common ground so I don't have to thoroughly explain everything before actually getting to the meat of what I want to discuss. Example would be: I want to discuss Song of Fire and Ice story arcs. Frustrating: having to explain what the heck Song of Fire and Ice is.

            I'm gonna get around to starting this topic up in the forum, I hope you will drop by!

          • Hmm, I think my line is that I'd be okay with having to explain what Song of Fire and Ice (or whatever, since I'm not that into that particular one), but where it'd start getting frustrating is if I'd have to explain, or even justify, the whole fantasy genre instead of just encouraging them to watch/read it too so we could discuss!

          • eselle28 says:

            I think it's sometimes pure physical attraction and sometimes a status kind of thing. A lot of this angst seems to come from nerds lusting after ordinary folks or ordinary folks lusting after subcultures that are perceived as cool. Nerds especially have a weird thing about social status, where there's a strand in the culture of looking down on non-nerds and people who like more mainstream things and another strand of idolizing those people or considering them prizes.

            I don't expect to date a gamer who likes travel, reading fantasy novels, independent films, arguing about politics, watching football, and going out dancing to stupid '80s music. That would be impossible, and I'm sure we'd get sick of each other instantly. But the last time I tried dating someone who didn't read, mostly watched broad comedies, didn't understand why people played video games, and wasn't much on going out, we ended up talking about work and repeating stories about things we did in college to each other. I guess some people are able to get past that and form the sort of deep emotional connection that allows for more emotional conversations, but I never felt like we even got to know each other well enough to talk about personal things. I think some of those couples who have nothing in common bonded because they went to school together or worked together, and maybe have drifted apart a bit since then in terms of interests?

          • "I think some of those couples who have nothing in common bonded because they went to school together or worked together, and maybe have drifted apart a bit since then in terms of interests?"

            Yeah, I've had friends like this–people who were similar enough to me in personality that we got along when we were seeing each other regularly, but then once we stopped having that enforced time together, it became increasingly obvious that when left to our own devices, there was very little we enjoyed doing together other than sitting and talking about very limited subjects… I no longer see those friends any more. It's nice to have them when you're in a school or job situation and you just want someone to bond with while you're there, but not very emotionally satisfying in the long run.

          • You've just described pretty much every friend I've ever had

          • Sadly, that's basically every close friend I've had… I have lots of common interest based friends at the moment but none of them I feel close enough to to talk about particularly personal stuff. The trials of being an introvert–so much effort to really get to know people when you're not forced to see them five days a week! 😛

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            people have things they're not willing to change. People have things they won't get without changing. The important thing is never to forget that this is a choice that is within that person's power to make. Make the decision and own it rather than feeling powerless because you can't have it both ways.

          • eselle28 says:

            Yes, that's probably the best way of looking at it. It's ultimately up to you, and there are choices, and deciding to do nothing is a choice too.

          • hobbesian says:

            Oh, I love this, you guys seem to be assuming an awful lot about me because of a statement I made. Let's put this into perspective, if I'm after Geeky girls into costuming, re-enacting, steampunk, what have you.. It doesn't make much sense for me to start wearing sweater vests and get a nice side part now does it? The girls I'm attracting don't have the wrong interests, they just have the wrong body type, OR, they are into drugs, which are both serious no-no's.

            I'm not out trying to pickup a party girl, or basically anyone who would ever consider a Coach purse a worthwhile purchase, or who would shop at a Mall store.

          • eselle28 says:

            I think this has sort of branched into a general discussion.

            So, you've mostly been able to girls who are in the right subculture, but who aren't a match in other ways (I don't think drug use is something you can easily predict) or who have the wrong body type. I think, then, that your next step is to look at who the geeky girls who you do find physically attractive are interested in are dating or seem to be attracted to, and see if there's anything that it seems like they're looking for that you might not fit right now, and then to go from there.

            Articles like this one can help people solve problems, but they can't always diagnose what exactly you need to focus on.

          • Um, I'm into costuming and shop at a mall store? Which kind of goes to show that your initial judgments of people might be a bit skewed.

            What body type exactly are you trying to pick up? Do you match that body type? Does your style match their style? That's the fundamental point.

          • hobbesian says:

            All I'll say is, yes, I match the body type I'm looking for.

            Generally speaking they go after guys who look.. remarkably like me.. theres just not very many of them. So say, I've come across a few in my years of doing these sorts of hobbies, but they always seem to already have boyfriends or are married.

            I'm sure people who are into this stuff shop at mall stores.. but do you make it a point to have HcO or ABERCROMBIE emblazoned across everything you wear? Those were more what I meant by Mall Stores.. the kind that charge you money to advertise for them.

          • Then maybe you should stop being so shallow. I also exclusively go for geeky women, as I want someone I can share my interests with (but you can add goth or metalhead to that). However, I learned to appreciate and love bigger bodies. Many geeky women (and of course, men) are bigger, and this is often because when they were younger, they were ostracized by the popular girls, and thus turned to the geeky interests that those other girls were not into. Also, you will find many women with bigger body types as that is just how Western society is going. If you really care so much, as I do, about finding women with similar interests, you will stop going by what society and the media tells you that you should be attracted to, and instead learn to find all bodies attractive.

          • hobbesian says:

            Yeah.. I knew that was coming. I'm of course shallow because I want to date some one I'm actually attracted to…

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Well, your options basically go like this:

            Don't date. This is a valid option and not a value judgement.

            Put on your best self so you can approach these few women without reservation when/if you find someone who is both attractive and single. That's pretty much the subject of this entire blog, not just this post.

            Keep in mind that the in this specific example, there will be a LOT of guys expressing interest in any conventionally attractive, single woman in the community. I've literally watched an entire cafe full of men form concentric circles of chairs around an attractive, articulate (taken) woman who was new to the environment.

            Date people you're less than attracted to. We've pretty much established elsewhere this can be a BAD idea.

            Consider people you might mesh with who are outside of the period costuming community. Theater, dance classes, art walks and any number of other activities attract the sort of people who will have similar interests but aren't part of this small and sometimes quite insular community.

            As said before, if what you're doing isn't working, you should probably do something else. If you don't, you'll continue to get the same results. Feeling powerless is one thing guaranteed not to change your situation.

          • hobbesian says:

            Dating someone you aren't attracted to, and especially doing so just for sex, is morally repellent.

            I don't feel powerless so much as a day late and a dollar short.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Yep, so that pretty much leaves expanding your circle of potential dates, not dating or doing things to make yourself more attractive to your target audience.

          • eselle28 says:

            Then it sounds like appearance isn't the problem you're facing. Check that off, and move on to one of the other things.

            I'm not going to tell you to try to date someone you don't find physically attractive. I've tried that. It's a disaster, and if it goes wrong, it can hurt both people. Granted, I think it's important people separate what they find attractive from what they think will get them social approval, but if you've done that, go on looking for the body types you prefer.

            Since you indicate that you aren't meeting many women who do meet your standards, I think that what you may need to do is to try to broaden your dating pool – by looking outside your familiar geeky circles, by trying online dating, and (okay, this is the hard one of the bunch) by being open to the idea that there are women who share your geeky interests but who may not be advertising themselves as geeks in the way you're used to (you might be missing some closet geeks who dress in very mundane ways but who share at least some of your interests).

          • hobbesian says:

            That's basically what i'm trying to do, but unfortunately I am currently stuck in a VERY rural area.. so my interactions with other people, let alone other geeks, tend to be in very contained areas, basically it makes meeting people extremely difficult, but short of taking out huge student loans in order to move.. I don't know if there is much that can be done about it.

            I'm not concerned about "Social approval" at all.. if I had been I wouldn't have dated the girl who had a half inch hemispherical difference and who's arms were covered in scars from where she'd cut herself as a teenager. I liked her personality a lot.. and her face especially, but she's also the reason I now have a Zero Tolerance policy for drugs.

          • eselle28 says:

            Oh, then I sympathize. I don't think this series of articles really addresses living somewhere where your dating pool is very limited, and simply narrowing things down to "people who live near me" means that a lot of other things need to be compromised on.

            All I can say is that if that's your primary issue, rather than people finding you physically or impersonally appealing, then you shouldn't take all of the recommendations here so much to heart. Unfortunately, changing your dating situation might mean working to take your life somewhere else in the long term and making it as good as possible in the short term. Or at least that's what I'm going for as I'm searching for employment elsewhere. That might mean concentrating on other aspects of your life or trying to make new friends, while being open to dating if someone does happen to come along.

          • hobbesian says:

            Unfortunately. I mean don't get me wrong a lot of what is in this article are useful.. and I am trying to transition to my more academic side rather than my dragonriders of berk side.. it's just taking time and I'm having to make up my mind what exactly I'm willing to compromise on.

            Ultimately it does seem to be more about my geographical location than anything else. I have no problem flirting, I have no problem getting interest from girls, and I certainly have no real shortage of girls I find attractive (usually like the example above, another flawed dog, like me) It's just finding them when there really aren't any places that people like that hang out.

            Rural areas are nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to sentence any young person to have to grow up in one.. they are a recipe for small mindedness and drug abuse.

          • Seriously, what's wrong with shopping at the mall or wanting a nice purse? Even some of us girls who like cosplay, Doctor Who, (and geeky pursuits, ad nauseum), actually like to wear nice clothes, carry nice purses, wear high heels and makeup, and get our hair done.

          • hobbesian says:

            And effort and money doesn't get doled out without the guarantee of results.

            I think that leaves us at an impasse.

            See, that's sort of how I look at it, if it comes right down to it, I'd rather keep a dollar in my pocket than gamble it on a lottery ticket. yeah, I could hypothetically win the lottery, and every time I don't drive to the store and buy a ticket I'm guaranteeing I won't win the lottery.. but eventually those dollars add up and you can do something with them that you really want to do.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Everyone who starts their own business does it with no guarantee of results. The go to business school, find backers, do market research and whatever else to improve their odds but no one's promising them a profit. No risk, no reward. The question is if the potential risk is worth the potential reward. That's not my place to tell you.

          • hobbesian says:


            In that case, no, the risk is not worth the *potential* reward. It is only worth the guaranteed reward.

          • Very few rewards are guaranteed, though.

          • Robjection says:

            I'd go even further and say that, technically, no rewards are guaranteed. Some come really close but none are ever certain.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Well there you go. Don't do it, then and accept that your odds are lower.

        • Well, geez, then cut it! If it's really that bad, why would this:

          "If anything I've had more who wanted to play with it than for me to cut it off."

          matter? If the girls it's attracting aren't the ones you want? You're setting yourself up to be damned if you do, damned if you don't.

        • eselle28 says:

          I don't think the site's message is to change EVERYTHING. There's advice on lots of different topics, but that's mostly because different people have different challenges in dating. There are also some people who have a few different things that could use improvement, and offering advice in multiple areas lets people pick which ones would be easiest to focus on.

          Some people don't have the ability to improve their appearance, or have strong feelings about how they look and wouldn't want to change it (I can sympathize…women are generally first told to lose weight and change how we dress when we ask for dating advice). Other people might find some advice on tweaking their looks helpful if they're feeling intimidated by the advice about getting hobbies or learning how to talk to strangers.

          I would say that if you're attracting the "wrong" women, it's sometimes worth thinking about why you're getting different results with them than with the "right" women and what those "right" women seem to be looking for in men. Sometimes people end up inadvertently marketing themselves to the wrong type.

          • I would love to hear more about this. Without fail, I seem to somehow be marketing myself to 40+ year old divorced guys, and really have no idea how I am doing such a thing.

          • eselle28 says:

            I don't think that's the kind of wrong signaling that I'm thinking about. I'm thinking more about someone who lusts after hipster chicks and keeps attracting the young professional crowd, or someone who wants a sweet girl for a quiet, low key relationship and keeps attracting party girls, or the female dating equivalents.

            I think the broader culture has already done the marketing to 40 year old divorced guys (or, for 5 years older me, 50 year old divorced guys) by encouraging men to think of women as expired and invisible after a certain date. They're not willing to consider dating women in their own age groups, so especially online, they tend to get a little desperate and aggressive and target women who aren't actually open to dating older guys and who are otherwise not very compatible.

          • Hehe, yeah, I was mostly kidding. Though this does put me in mind of a debate/argument/fight I had with a friend over the weekend. One of my standards is that I want a guy who has a similar lifestyle and hobby collection to me (not everything, just SOME overlap in shared hobbies-we both love reading history, for example, or are really into cosplaying), and my friend thinks that's the most ridiculous criteria and that I'm setting myself up for a horrible relationship if I'm looking for shared hobbies instead of…. other things. Complete tangent, am thinking I'll stick something on the forum about it, just the "birds of a feather flock together" thing fascinates me in terms of relationships.

          • eselle28 says:

            Ah, didn't get the sarcasm, probably because I'm feeling a little cranky about that particular point today (yet another message from an older gentleman who I keep blocking and who keeps making new profiles…).

            That would be an interesting discussion, but yeah, probably easier to talk about on the forums than on the men's looks page. I'd kind of like to see people's thoughts on that, since one of my challenges in dating recently has been that I can't find many people who have much in common with me.

          • Pursuant to the above conversation, it's like if someone complained about how no fun, hipster chicks go for him, but he hates their music, dresses extremely conservatively, doesn't get sarcasm, etc. And then when someone's like, "Well, perhaps you should try wearing skinny jeans and thinking things are ironic" and he lashes back with how pointless that would be and way too hard. Then someone says, "Well, maybe hipster chicks aren't actually compatible with you" and he responds "That's just who I am attracted to and I can't change that!"

            Like Johnny says, it's like they want it both ways.

          • Exactly! And why would someone want to be with you if you disdain everything they're into?

            I think this must be a similar mentality to seeing people you're attracted to as objects–so nothing matters about them other than the way your hormones react when you look at them.

          • They could also represent that which you feel is denied to you: beauty, popularity, acceptance, social and sexual validation. You crave, yet resent, them at the same time. And yes, it's definitely seeing them as objects. Symbols.

          • hobbesian says:

            The only thing I'd find worrisome about dating Hipster girl is.. I'd have no idea if she actually enjoyed the things she was doing or was just doing them for "Irony"… you just never can tell if they're taking the piss or not and are gonna go home and make fun of you on their blog.

          • Well, for pity's sake, if you figure it out, please let me know, will you? I've found myself in that position since I was about 16. I would wind up catching the eye of the father of whoever I was visiting. Not exclusively, but certainly a preponderance. The only answer seemed to be aging into that market :( which was not exactly the solution I was looking for.

            Maybe they see you as the personification of youth and beauty, which is rapidly slipping from their grasp? (No, I'm not being ironic, I'm serious.) Maybe you project an aura of intellectual and sexual sophistication?

            Maybe they find your appearance intriguing – a tribute to your costuming abilities and your gift for hunting the unusual at the mall (or resale/ consignment/secondhand/thrift shops) (btw, I share your interests – pity I'm not in the Preferred Gender Pool, but it would be good for a cup of coffee).

        • I don't think changing your hairstyle is changing EVERYTHING about you, is it? Heck, it's one of the easiest and most superficial things to change. I understand your frustration a tiny bit, since I am told constantly by men to grow my hair out, when my hair reaches a certain length and then just stops growing….. but still.

          If you want to keep the long hair, ask for layers, make sure you are shampooing, conditioning, and combing correctly (do NOT comb when hair is wet, it results in follicle breakage.) Girls will give some leeway to a guy who has long hair that is gloriously well-kept.

          • hobbesian says:

            No, but it's an asset say, when I go to SCA as a Viking, or what have you.

          • That's why the Internet invented wigs, my dear sir.

          • You can't find any women who appeal to you among the SCA, Markland, or any of the other (many) re-enactment groups out in the wide world? Not to mention the various steampunk gatherings, and various associations that draw those who are interested in costume? Not everyone interested in costuming goes to CostumeCon, but a heck of a lot of people do, and all these sorts of folk frequently share their interests online. You haven't found a single website that includes your interests AND draws women with the same interests? You might not find a gamer, but you might find yourself someone who's happy to swing a sword in real life.

          • Exactly. I literally change my hair every week. I've been through 3 different shades of red withing the last month or so. I grow my hair out to my waist and then cut it all off. It's really no big deal.

          • It's taken me a long time to grow my hair past my waist, and as tired as I get of well-meaning strangers asking me if I'm going to donate it or of one particular coworker who keeps dropping unsubtle hints about how much she enjoys changing her hair and don't I think that would be fun, I'm not willing to cut it off. Anything above my elbows leaves me anxiously trying to will it to grow faster.

            I have no idea how attached hobbesian is to his hairstyle. But for me, a suggestion to lose 10 pounds, dress in trendier clothing, and act more assertively actually feels easier and like less of a big deal than a suggestion to cut my hair.

          • I'm sorry… My best friend is like that too. I always have trouble relating, since I've grown out and donated my hair 5 times now… But, I also have a flair for the dramatic – I love the look on people's faces when I first chop it all off.

          • Oh, no worries. :) And I definitely think people who are that attached to our hair are in the minority, but we do exist.

          • For the love of god, don't cut it. Long hair is hot as hell. Assume they're not well meaning and all trying to sabotage you

            As for guys and hair… I dunno, I think it's a huge blindspot. I have no idea how to choose the right celeb or whatever who has the same headshape that would style it to fit my face. And sometimes what's in fashion is just horrifying (hello, mullets and faux-hawks). I'm a sure a lot of guys are just fine leaving well enough alone.

            I think there's an element of objecting to looking like a lot of the people you grew up hating too. You don't want to look like someone you don't like, even if it is stylish or fashionable.

          • hobbesian says:

            I'm pretty attached to it.

            I think if I lost 10 more pounds my doctor would scream at me.. he's already made me start taking vitamin supplements.
            Depending on when/where I'm going.. I'm either dressed like Eliot from Leverage, or like Sherlock from Sherlock. Really just depends on where I'm going. I'm built more like Cumberbatch though.. and actually get told a lot I look like "That one guy from Lord of the Rings" by which I assume they mean Legolas…

            But mainly I just don't want to cut it because I think it suits me. It's not like it's butt length or anything either, I'd say It's just about like Elliot's or maybe Jax's from the first season of Sons of Anarchy.

          • I didn't mean that *you* should lose weight or change how you dress (apologies if that's how you took it, rereading my comment I could see how it could be interpreted that way). Just that as advice goes, I'd personally be more willing to and would probably find it easier to do those things than cut my hair. And I figured if I felt that strongly about having long hair, others might as well.

            Incidentally, that's actually my favorite length of hair on a guy (also, yay for Leverage, and I am sad and grumbly that it was cancelled).

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Yeah, but once you have hair that long, its distinctive in a way no haircut is, no matter how good. I had a guy friend who had hair down to the back of his knees. Took him forever to take care of it but he had a kind of hippie vibe to start with so it really worked for him.

    • I guarantee that close.y following the regime means spending about 1/10th what women do to meet YOUR basic standards of beauty. So kindly suck it up and quit whining.

  18. But what do you do if you are bald? forever alone?

    • become black. blacks guys can pull off bald. if you are not black, adopt hip hop style. make bald seem like a fashion choice.

    • Bald can be very attractive. You would be surprised how little most women care about a full head of hair. Also many women like the shaved cue-ball look.

      Personally, I would take a bald guy over a guy with long hair in a ponytail any day. I can't stand hair longer than chin-length (I like the tousled surfer look a la Brandon Boyd) on men.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      Yeah, bald is totally sexy. Just look at Patrick Stewart, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, John Malkovich, Simon Pegg (not bald but getting thin), Karl pilkington. . . I think the secret is mostly learning to own it. Don't be self-conscious about it.

      • Yes, own the baldness. I've found that men who accept their lack of hair actually gain self-confidence. It's like the acknowledgment triggers something in their own self-image.

      • A lot of women were pretty keen on Yul Brenner in The King & I (he was in his mid-30s). For a more contemporary example, Vin Diesel's been shaved-headed all along, as far as I know, and he got popular in his 30s. Not someone you'd want to model in personality, but I recall many women talking about finding Edward Norton rather hot-looking as a skinhead in American History X (late 20s). And Chris Daughtry had a lot of female fans when he was on American Idol (mid-20s) and after. Oh! And that dude who played Lex Luther on Smallville had an awful lot of fans. He can't have been that old.

        Does that help? :)

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          Is something about Vin Diesel's personality repulsive? The only thing I really know about him off camera is that he still enjoys tabletop RPGs.

          • fakely mctest says:

            Pretty sure Mel was talking about Ed Norton's American History X character's personality as being sub-optimal for imitation.

          • Yep, exactly.

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            Vin Diesel got Dame Judy Dench to play D&D, produced the first good movie tie-in video game AND can make a room of grown men cry with a single word. Vin Diesel is a household god at NerdLove Industries.

          • To be 100% clear, I wasn't insulting Vin Diesel. The comment about not wanting to model someone in personality is in the sentence about the Edward Norton character. 😛

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Wait just a second there! The first good movie tie-in video game was Tron in 1982. Then there was Star Wars – the wire frame one, Deadly Disks of Tron, Star Wars Trilogy, Star Trek, Robocop, Goldeneye, I rather liked Godfather. . .but he did possibly make the best movie tie-in game.

      • Gentleman Johnny says:

        Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Simon Pegg all rocked the bald or ultra-short look before they were middle aged.

      • I know he's older now, but apparently Patrick Stewart went bald when he was 19, and he's done pretty well for himself. I'm sure it must be scary, but please don't despair that it means you can't be attractive – whether or not the examples given are naturally bald or not, people find them perfectly attractive without knowing whether they could grow hair if they wanted to.

        • fakely mctest says:

          Sean Connery was bald by 21 as well. The hair in James Bond movies? Toupee, baby.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            The fact that they put a toupe on him shows how important having hair was in order to be a sexy character, though, it doesn't show that it doesn't matter – quite the opposite.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            In nineteen sixty-whatever. Remember, the Burt Reynolds look was the height of sexy once, too. Neither is particularly pertinent now.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Not sure how that applies at all – if anything, men were definitely expected to be less good looking then they are now.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            The underlying message was "definitions of attractiveness change quickly".

          • eselle28 says:

            I'm not sure to what extent that's true. I suspect that looks were slightly less important in the marriage market, given that income was more important, but male TV and movie stars were still expected to be very handsome by the standards of the day.

            We've had 50 years of fashion, and shaved heads have been part of several broader cultural trends that have taken hold since the 1960s. I'd also note that while Sean Connery was older in a lot of his post-bond roles, there were several where he was both bald and considered to be attractive and sexy by female fans.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Yeah, but he also has stories about how terrifyied by it he was.

          My hair is thinning, and like "admabluth" said, it's kind of terrifying. It's honestly made me realize how women must feel about their boobs – here's a physical attribute that is a huge factor in attraction that you have no control over and is only going to get worse as you get older.

          Even worse, your own sense of attraction is often formed when you *had* hair – you go down several notches in attractiveness and you wonder if now you'll only be attracted to people who used to be a possibility, but are now completely out of your league.

          I don't think you're "doomed forever", but society has gotten more superficial, and most examples of bald guys are either guys from over a decade ago, or muscle-bound guys. Now don't get me wrong – I don't have a problem working out. That part is fine, if I can put effort into looking sexier and that will compensate, fantastic. The feeling is more that I'm not the "huge muscles" kind of guy, and girls attracted to that aren't the kind of girls I'm interested (on a personality level).

          And there's a lot of guys for whom the bald just doesn't look good. My old barber was like that – I kept forgetting he was 5 years younger than me, because he looked 5 years older.

          Now it's not like there aren't plenty of other people who have these problems. Women with unchangeable ugly visual characteristics have it even worse, because while women judge based on looks more than they used to, it's still not quite as important to them as it is to guys.

          But it still sucks.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            I'm exactly where you are. I spent most of my 20's with ponytail long hair. Now I'm having to worry about sunburn on the back of my scalp. Try short hair. Find a cool hat. Most importantly, though, the amount you worry about it makes a bigger impression on people than the way it looks.

            Its as awkward as you make it.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Also, regarding celebrities, have you noticed how in the last decade NO ONE on tv is ugly if you think about it? I don't think Steve Tyler would have ever made it today. The last kind of ugly guy I know of to be famous was Marilyn Manson.

      • MordstihJ says:

        I can't name any names, but, um, I've seen women drooling over hot young bald guys in porn.

      • Gentleman Johnny says:

        You'd never know if a young celebrity shaved his head because he was balding instead of by choice. You'd always be lead to think it was by choice. . .and you can do the same.

      • I don't know… It seems to me if you have examples of men who women found attractive while bald in their earlier years, it shouldn't matter whether they were naturally bald or shaved. It's not as if women only found those bald men attractive because of some unconscious sense that the hair could grow back. (In other words, they would still have found those men attractive if the baldness had been natural.). It's hard to give examples of famous people you'd know who were naturally bald in their 20s not because that doesn't appeal to anyone but because it just doesn't happen that often.

        But I'm sorry to hear that your concerns about your hair are causing you so much stress. I'd imagine it's particularly hard to be losing a feature that you're used to having admired.

        BTW, not a famous example, but one of my husband's friends went mostly bald in his 20s (to the point where he started shaving his head because that looked better than leaving what little hair was left), and he was a skinny nerdy type, no Vin Diesel, and he's continued to have an active love life. I also went on a couple dates with a guy in his late twenties who had a shaved head (not sure how much style vs. necessity) and didn't have the tough-guy look (more of a yuppie), and I found him totally attractive (he was the one who declined to continue seeing me). It's definitely doable.

      • You don't have to have a Vin Diesel persona to carry off bald well. A friend of mine started going bald in his early 20s, so he shaved his head. He is a very dapper dresser–I often see him in suits, with coordinating pocket squares and cufflinks. The bald head just looks like another fashion choice, and it really works for him. He's also married to a very attractive woman, so clearly the lack of hair did not bother her any.

    • If you're going bald, just be ballsy and shave it all off. I far prefer the cueball look than the "I am desperately trying to comb my remaining hair over the bald spot." Bald can be very hot.

      • Gentleman Johnny says:

        Be Patrick Stewart, not Donald Trump. I'm probably within a year or two of this myself.

    • My hairdresser is bald (irony) and he is HOT. Baldness is only an issue if the dude has a complex about it.

    • Defectivesealion says:

      My high school boyfriend started having to shave his head when he was a freshman in college. It definitely did not detract from my attraction to him then. And he didn't have any trouble finding a girlfriend after me. You just have to own it.

    • it's almost like people forget that sometimes you like someone because of their personality. All this stuff just helps. I think slightly long hair on guys is really sexy, but my ex shaved his head. I was still super attracted to him. I have dated my share of dudes who completely didn't take care of how they looked. I had to beg my ex to stop wearing t-shirts that had so many holes in them that people thought he was homeless. I still dated him!

      It just shows that you care about other people when you bother to look nice for them.

  19. Paul Rivers says:

    I agree 100% that the current fashion is well fitting clothes.

    I feel like part of the reason people don't do it is because it hasn't *always* been the case. Looser fitting clothes were more the style in the 80's, something that didn't quite fit right was practically the style then – an "I'm so cool, I don't even care" attitude was expressed with looser less tightly fitting clothes.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      So were neon pastels, like multiple different ones in the same outfit. We learned better. :)

    • Agreed, it is definitely time-specific. But I would argue that being able to keep up with the times is more attractive. One doesn't have to be a fashion plate, but not looking stuck in the past improves your image. I feel like it goes double for folks over 30 not to still have the same haircut/clothes they wore in high school!

      I recently reconnected via FB with a couple dudes from my old school. They legit have not changed their hair style ONE. BIT. since then. It's…weird.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        "But I would argue that being able to keep up with the times is more attractive."

        Yeah, I think there's something to.

        On the other hand, this sometimes applies to people in the other way to. Being "to" fashionable sometimes signals someone who's tastes change with the winds. There's sort of a line between "can't keep up with the times" and "is a slave to whatever whim is going on right now".

        It's kind of cool if you meet someone who's fashion is out of date – *if* you're really into whatever the culture that look represents was. I miss the days when you could fairly easily find brighter colors and less drab looking shirts. Everything at the store now is earth and flat tones (for guys fashion). Whenever I meet a girl wearing brighter colors, it's almost always a good time.

        • eselle28 says:

          Generally, the people who make clothes that aren't the latest trend look good have put some thought into the matter. I think the ideal is to develop "style" – a general sense of which colors and shapes work for you and what general aesthetic is right for your personality and lifestyle – and then tweak it in small ways as broader fashion trends change.

          Even people who are going for vintage looks generally need to pick which styles they wear carefully or occasionally add non-period pieces, because some things just can't be made to look right to modern eyes. For instance, someone trying for an '80s look might pick up on the colors and some of the clothing shapes, but skip the zoombas and the perm.

        • Really? I thought bright colours were really in right now, even for guys! Shows how much I know about fashion!

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Nah. Even my SHIELD and Green Lantern t-shirts from Target are pre-faded.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Yeah, it's kind of nuts…I know I'm not the only one who would like a little cheerier wardrobe, but you just can't buy it…

          • Oh, Paul, of course you can! You're just not looking in the right places. :) Try: Consignment shops, secondhand shops, and thrift stores. Check with local theatres, which sometimes sell off stock. Check for items in stores which carry ethnic goods, such as Indian shops, where you can certainly pick up men's embroidered shirts. Check shops in neighborhoods with strong ethnic ties; I've been in shops that catered primarily to African-American men, and I've seen teal suits and red suits, among others. Check at Ross, at TJ Maxx, at other discount stores; you may find your bright bits there, rather than at the mall. It was only a year or two ago that I saw beautiful men's shirts in paisley and in florals. The ones that didn't get sold in Big Name Stores will make their way into the discount shops like Marshall's, and from there they'll find their way to thrift stores. Failing that, though, there are other ways to get what you want. You may choose to learn to sew: even with the loss of many local fabric stores, there's still a world of fabulous fabrics, silks and wools and cottons and linens, ramie and hemp and bamboo, tencel and rayon, waiting to be made up into clothes. There are all kinds of patterns available, modern, ethnic, and historical, particularly for shirts and waistcoats. If you like the idea of clothes custom made for you, rather than by you, it doesn't have to be by an expensive haberdasher or tailor; there are seamsters and seamstresses in every city, and a lot of talented stitchers online. Check online – there are websites that carry vintage clothing, and there are websites which offer copies of historical clothing. Some websites will carry ready-made reproductions, some will make garments to your specifications. You absolutely CAN buy it – or make it, or have it made.

            It just takes approaching the problem from a different angle, rather than assuming there is no solution.

          • hobbesian says:

            All I'll say is, yes, I match the body type I'm looking for.

            I keep finding like.. bright yellow and pink pants and stuff, for guys mind you.. It's as bad as the incessant barrage of plaid shorts that have been in style for the last half decade.. ugh. Too much color..

        • Classic pieces, my friend. Rather than be the clothes-horse that changes their look every time a fashion article is published, I've learned the key to looking fashionable and also up to date is getting those classic pieces. The tailored pants, the perfect suit jacket, the little black dress. Some things look good in any fashion climate and update really well.

    • eselle28 says:

      Yes, that's definitely something that swings back and forth, which is a good excuse for adults (men and women) to pause every few years and think about how they present themselves. Some people can pull off styles that are intentionally retro or vintage, but being unintentionally out of step with current trends because you haven't thought about your clothes or hair in a decade rarely comes off well. It's also good to occasionally stop and think about whether your look still works for your age and your persona.

    • fakely mctest says:

      I think that's the difference between fashion and style though. Well cut clothes that are closer fitting are more of a timeless style than an of-the-moment fashion. I mean, look at pictures of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. Pleated pants aside, those were some well-cut suits. Or Richard Gere in American Gigolo. These are two characters who are quite stylish. Being fashionable is more for the touches that go along with style.

      Sadly, eye-searingly bright neons are totally back this season, which is too bad since approximately 7 people on the face of the planet looked good in them the first time around. :c

    • basic trends for men stay very similar over time. Look at the basic men's suit. It pretty much has not changed significantly since the 1920s. In fact, when homeless shelters are asking for business clothing donations, they will allow a men's suit that is 20 years old but not a women's suit of equal age. This is because women's fashion changes so quickly compared to men's. Just dress like Don Draper all the time and you'll be fine forever.

  20. there you go, proof that attraction is not universal.

  21. YES! Proper grooming and hygiene is so important for attractiveness, for both men and women. I've seen men who weren't 'hot' in the conventional sense (i.e. short, a bit pudgy, face less than average) and thought 'meh' – walk past them and get a whiff of that fresh clean smell along with some nice deodorant, and suddenly I want to jump their bones. I love inhaling the smell of my man's clean skin, and a good deodorant coupled with that is an amazing turn-on (though the deodorant is optional). It's very intimate to be able to get so up close with each other and know that the whole experience feels good.

    Conversely, I've seen 'hot' guys who looked very dapper in their suits, but then up close I realize he probably hasn't washed his hair (perhaps his whole body) in days and has a BO stench that could kill a cow. Makes me dry up like the Sahara. Deodorant on dirty skin/hair is gross and does nothing to help it. Especially around my area, I notice that a LOT of young men don't wash their hair daily or even every two days. You can SEE the grease, and dirty hair looks dull and unhealthy. It seems to be worse with guys whose hair has even a bit of curl.

    Though: If I ever made a dating site profile I'd really want to mention the hygiene thing since it's so important, but it sounds overly… picky? Obvious? Negative? Whatever it is, it doesn't sound like it belongs on a good profile. :/

  22. Becca C. says:

    These things are all really important, thanks to the Doctor for putting them out there. Hygiene and well-fitting clothes go a looooooong way! Even if I'm only semi-attracted to someone, a "cultivated" appearance with some thought put into it can amp that attraction up. My boyfriend (who is new enough in my life that I still get butterflies applying the word "boyfriend" to him) isn't the most conventionally attractive guy ever. He's tall, lanky as hell, has a big nose and not much of a jawline, his hair is a curly coarse mop, and he's often sporting a few days' worth of stubble. But the way it all comes together… he wears really close-fitting clothes that show off that lankiness, rather than trying to bury it in big t-shirts, he picks clothes that show some personality (newsboy cap 24/7, Batman Converse sneakers, shirts of his favourite bands), his hair is *purposefully* mussed.

    Also, even though his teeth are insanely crooked, they're well taken care of and his breath is always great. Goes SUCH a long way.

    Excuse my rant. I just think he's the hottest thing ever. Just goes to show you: you can be super average looking, even weird looking, but if you take care of yourself and present yourself with some confidence, the right person will be ALL OVER YOU.

  23. Anonyleast says:

    Any hair suggestions for the bald since 21 among us?

    • Anonyleast says:

      I mean, I could put product on, but it's just going to sit on my bare scalp, or do weird things to what's left on the sides.

      • If you don't want to shave it all for the cue-ball – keep the sides short. Ask for a 1 or 1A at the barber shop. And moisturize your scalp like you would the rest of your skin.


      • Per the other responses posted, keep what's left short, unless you opt for shaving it all off. Moisturize your scalp as well as your face, and remember to use sunblock every day, even during winter, even when it's cloudy! If you're posing for pictures, such as at a wedding, you may want to run a discreet swipe of translucent (i.e., not coloured) face powder over your head to prevent shine from causing glare, or throwing light in weird ways. (Yes, you can buy your own powder compact. Revlon makes a nice inexpensive translucent powder you can pick up in any drugstore.)

        You may choose to experiment with different beard and mustache styles; a well-styled beard and mustache can be really sexy combined with a bald head. Make sure your eyebrows are neat – don't let them become Old Man Shrubbery, or the dreaded Unibrow, unless you're hoping to grow a ZZTop beard. Eesh. You're not aiming for the Mad Wizard look, I trust. Something in the nature of a mustache and goatee would be dapper, or a well-trimmed Elizabethan-style beard. Lord knows there's a myriad of styles to experiment with: look at old sculptures from Rome, and paintings from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, through the Cavaliers and the Restoration. Look at engravings and photographs from the 19th century – the Victorians romped through forests of facial foliage, each bloom more incredible than the next.

        And there is also the option of becoming a collector of hats. No, not baseball caps, or, worse yet, truckers' caps – those are female repellants. But there are still shops and websites (such as The Village Hat Shop) which carry an array of different types of men's hats – fedoras, bowlers, top hats, straw hats to ward off the sun, fur hats to ward off the cold – these would be well worth investigation.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      Shave it, own it, develop a good Patrick Stewart impression and jokes to go along with.

    • Rock it! Make the dome kinda shiny if ya can. Shave it all off and be proud.

    • Shave it, use sunscreen and moisturiser on it.

      After you've done a shave, splash some freezing water on it – closes up all the pores and gives it that super super smooth texture.

    • JaneRoland says:

      If you do have any hair, either keep it super-short or shave it all off! Bald guys are hot!

  24. The most elegant solution to the hairdo is a razor and a shower :)

    Haha seriously tho I struggled trying to figure out what to do with my receding hairline for ages. When I finally took the plunge and razor shaved it all, it turned out that my head shape and face perfectly suited the style and now everyone I know likes my look best with the hair gone. No need for an expensive hair stylist here! :)

  25. Yes, that exactly.

  26. eselle28 says:

    Or you could be someone who just got full very quickly, and made wonderful Chinese food for everyone else.

    I had a friend who was like that with baked goods in college…you'd open your dorm room door and find cookies or tarts outside, with a note saying she'd been stress cooking and didn't want to end up stress eating. Best dormmate ever.

  27. I'm a somewhat new fan of this site, and while I've had a few minor issues with some things in the past, this is the first time I've felt the need to comment.
    You're usually pretty good at avoiding generalizations, you've made some big ones here. I'm going to mostly focus on what you said about hair, as that seems to be the biggest one, and it is the most personal for me. I've had long hair since I was 15 (now 24), and most of the compliments on my appearance have been about my hair (or my eyes). It probably started with my older sister being mostly attracted to men with long hair (you mentioned JGL, and she was devastated when he cut his hair), but every girlfriend I've had said they preferred men with long hair. Now, this also goes along with subcultures; I was first a metalhead and only dated other metalhead, and later I became involved in the goth community and dated women within it. So, as you tried to say, attraction is subjective, but it is much more subjective then you say. If someone is part of a subculture and trying to date people outside of it, they're going to get a lot of rejection. You see that a lot with geek guys who refuse to date geek women (and don't get me started on my issues with your "Don't Date Geek Girls," as that is a whole different conversation). The same thing about hair can be said about clothes and facial hair (I've known many women who love men with full beards. Granted, I just have a goatee).
    However, you are of course right about cleanliness, posture, and attitude. Yes, there are women who refuse to date men with long hair and/or beards, but I don't want to date those women either. There are plenty of women who prefer men like me, and I prefer them, too. If I man has long hair and/or a beard, as well as good hygiene, posture, and personality, they will have no problem finding women who are attracted to them. I am living proof of that.

    Oh, and your "ripcord, rockstar thin" line is also completely wrong. Throughout most of my life, I had been "chubby" to varying degrees. I have actually recently become very thin, as I been attending college on a limited budget. And believe it or not, ever comment I've gotten from women about my weight was that I looked better when I was chubbier (and these are the same women who prefer long hair).

  28. hobbesian says:

    Okay that's weird.. it just merged two of my posts.. only the bottom part is relevant to op's question.

  29. Greenfire says:

    Did anyone else follow the link to "Get That Cool Haircut" and think the guy in the first pic is kind hot? I mean he actually has really nice hair. It's shiny and healthy, and is actually in a long hair style. It's obviously been recently trimmed, not just "I haven't been to a barber in years". And he has a great smile. and a nice jacket.

    I'd do him. 😀

  30. hobbesian says:

    what the heck.. why does it keep sending my posts to the wrong places?

  31. JaneRoland says:

    As a straight woman, I just want to cheer for "chop off the ponytail!" Seriously, ponytails are UGH. I only knew one guy (out of my many, many geeky guy friends) who could pull it off, and that was back in college, and even he looked better when he cut it off.

    In the interests of full disclosure, plenty of my female friends like long hair on guys. Some of them even dislike short hair! But just for myself – can't stand it! And guys, you may think you know how to care for long hair. But 99% of you don't.

    • slowriot23 says:

      I'm ok with long hair in men. What I cannot even understand, let alone like, is mustache. I have never seen someone with mustache that doesn't look like a pedophile/psychopath, nevermind looking attractive.

      • janeroland says:

        Agreed! I think there's more universal agreement on this point than on long hair, at least among my friends.

        • It's a matter of taste, and what you're used to. There have been decades when any man with pretensions to being an adult would have facial hair. I happen to like mustaches (when cared for), and beards as well. I also like long hair. But I'm eclectic rather than exclusive; I have also found bald guys attractive, and clean-shaven guys. But my personal preference is long hair, and some version of a beard and mustache.

      • Mustaches seem very 70s to me and always remind me of my dad.

      • Greenfire says:

        My husband rocks an awesome mustache. It gives his face some shape. Without it he looks younger, but much fatter. He is, however, 48. I think you have to be a certain age before a mustache looks good.

  32. Hair is a big one. I hate ponytails on men. I don't mind balding guys but I had a boyfriend who was balding and kept having comb overs and clipping his hair into different places which was kind of a turn off. I don't know why it turned me off but it did.

  33. MeSoBeta says:

    "and there are many (ahem) performance reasons why you will want to keep your nails short and clean."
    I don't understand this one…

  34. slowriot23 says:

    Hey, do you have any tips on how to look older? I am almost 30 and I look 13. Well, not really 13, but everyone thinks I'm in my early 20s, and once they asked me for my ID to make sure I'm older than 18 [that was like 2 years ago]. Should I start smoking and drinking, maybe do drugs for couple of months?

    Jokes aside, good article. It sounds like something all grown ups should know anyway, but we don't. I'm sometimes too lazy to do all these things, but I feel like lately I'm getting better at life, so in this part of it too. Not spectacularly good, but better than I was [which, I guess, wasn't that hard anyway, since I was a mess]

    • Paul Rivers says:

      Having facial hair, even just a 5"O'Clock shadow, does help. I started shaving at night so it would grow in a bit by the next day for this reason.

    • eselle28 says:

      Like Paul said, facial hair can really help with this. You also might want to go through your wardrobe and see if you can mix some pieces that say grown-up in, especially with your most casual clothes.

      That being said, 30ish guys who look like they're 22 have a certain appeal to them, so it's not a total curse!

      • slowriot23 says:

        Thanks. Don't think I'd look good with facial hair, though. The fact that I'm really skinny [tho that's changing little by little] could play a part in all this. To be honest, that whole thing is not too big a problem for me, it doesn't bother me that much. But it's just fun [and sometimes a little embarrassing].

        Like, one time a neighbor asked me how's it going at school [that was when I was 27].
        When I said I finished high school a long time ago, she asked me about college and how that goes. I said 'not really great, blah blah', she said 'Well, it doesn't really matter, you have a lot of time, as long as you finish by the time you're 25' :)

        • Yeah, I'm sure that's part of it. You might try to gain some weight, and at least TRY facial hair. I know DNL just dumped on stubble, but it can at least look, if not feel to a partner, really good. It's definitely around in pop culture enough. You might also examine your wardrobe. It might seem unfair that you "have" to ditch clothes your peers can pull off, but wearing button downs instead of tshirts and suits instead of jeans will really help.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Ditto to Akai's suggestion.

          • Defectivesealion says:

            Personally I really like the feel of stubble. I know it irritates some people's skin, but I find it very manly and have never had a problem with it. So don't discount it.

          • slowriot23 says:

            I tried facial hair, few years ago. I don't look great like that, at least I don't like it. Same goes for suits. That just looks too serious for me, no way I'd wear suit, unless I really have to.
            I like more casual outfit. I don't think I wear anything childish or something like that, and it is clothes that fit me in terms of the size. I might be kidding myself, but I think I have a sense of style, but the truth is – I could [and should] have more clothes, and more diverse clothes. The problem is – money.

          • Greenfire says:

            When you go to get your good haircut, ask the stylist for advice on what type of facial hair would look good with your shape face. They style facial hair too. Check out Haircuts for Men http://haircutsformen.org/buzz/pages/facialhair.h… If you click the thumbnails they discuss why it works with that shape face.

          • Don't forget to check discount places such as Ross, Target, Marshall's, and TJMaxx. In addition, there are consignment shops, secondhand shops, and thrift stores. There are a lot of very well-dressed people who are wearing clothes that someone else owned first! It's both cheaper and environmentally aware to recycle clothes. Same principles hold true for second-hand clothes shopping as if you were buying from Neiman Marcus – the colours that flatter you won't be different, your clothing still needs to fit you properly (better to pay for alterations and have fewer things that fit you well, than to have a larger wardrobe that looks awful), and it still needs to be taken care of in its turn.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          If your options are that limited, I would still suggest that you try facial hair rather than sticking with "I don't think it would look good". Like I said, just shaving the night before works for me, for some people who grow it slowly it can be a couple of days.

          It's really difficult to say what looks "good" for attractiveness – like I said in another post, I've seen a number of guy friends do some sort of facial hair, it seems like it's worse looking, then suddenly they're dating someone (obviously more than just the facial hair played a part, just sayin'). Don't know what it is.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      Looking 25 when you're 30 is a good thing. It might have been a pain in the ass earlier in life but you're at the point where it really starts working to your advantage. Roll with it.

      • It also means you'll be taken less seriously in anything you say, and women your own age will assume you're too young for them.

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          I never really felt that reaction but I can be kind of intense, so that might have offset it.

        • hobbesian says:

          That's basically exactly my experience. I have way more luck talking to girls who are way younger than me than I do with women my own age. The problem is when they actually find out how old I am.

          Apparently, I'm really cool and worldly and intelligent and cultured for a 22 year old.. but I'm a loser for a 28 year old… cause I got hit hard by the economic downturn and am just now going to college. meh.

          • Is this a sex thing or a relationship thing?

            If it's just the former, lie.

          • And sifting through a college crowd looking for a relationship is probably not the best place to be doing it either…

          • Not every college student is just looking for casual hookups. I know many people who've had pretty serious relationships with people they met in college – I'm married to mine.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Wow. . .just wow. . . REALLY?

          • ???

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            You just said "if its just a one-off, lying is fine."

            Remember, if its fair for you to do it, its fair for her, too.

          • Unless it'll land someone in jail or you're otherwise causing them harm (STD or etc), yeah, lying's fine. Especially for a one-off.

            Half this site's content is about altering perception. If this guy is cool as a college kid but a loser as a college adult, I don't see why just being a college kid is that big of a deal.

          • Some of that got worded wrong. I don't think relationship lying is good, nor portraying things incorrectly if that's what you're looking for.

          • Robjection says:

            Nope, not buying it. Lying = implying that they aren't worth the truth and prompting them to believe falsehoods = inherently harmful. It's never OK.

          • There's a difference between portraying yourself in a certain way and outright lying. He can certainly make an effort to behave confidently and like sex is not a huge deal, and I'd recommend that. But if asked point blank, it's pretty sketchy to lie about something that directly relates to what you want the other person to do with you.

            Consider it from a practical perspective. If it's a one time thing, the two of you just have all this chemistry and run off to bed together, it's unlikely the subject of how many past partners is going to be asked. That's more of a relationship getting-to-know-you conversation. You might get asked if you've been tested for STDs, and you can say you're clean without mentioning that you know this because you're a virgin.

            So if the other person asks something like "Have you done this before?" it's probably only going to be because they can tell that you seem uncertain or anxious. Which means that if you lie, they're quite likely to assume that either you're not really that into them (which could end the encounter partway through), you're a selfish partner (if your nervousness is coming across as you not paying attention to their reactions or asking what they like–which could also end the encounter early), or that you are in fact lying (which is not exactly going to endear you to them). If you own up to your lack of experience–you don't even have to say you're a virgin, you can just say you're "something of a beginner" or some such, which is still true but might feel easier to say–then they'll know the real reason for whatever awkwardness they noticed and will more likely be patient with you, because you have a perfectly good reason that doesn't involve lack of interest or caring.

            Might you end up with someone who reacts negatively and doesn't want to keep going with someone less experienced? Sure. But anyone that judgmental, I suspect is not going to want to keep going with someone who comes across as an uninterested or selfish lover too, so you'd lose either way.

          • I think the lying being discussed here was about age, not sexual experience. Still pretty darn sketchy, though.

          • Ah, I missed that. Um, okay, so my comment doesn't actually relate. Sorry for not reading more carefully.

            I'd still say it's unlikely for your exact age to come up during a one-night hook-up, especially once you're a fellow student. I don't recall ever asking another student how old they were; you just kind of assume everyone's in the same age range unless there's an obvious reason not to. And if a person's only interested in you for brief, casual sex, why would knowing your age affect that? Having delayed college isn't going to change your physical chemistry. Concerns about your life course are only likely to matter if you're being considered as relationship material, and there we're all in agreement that lying is not cool.

          • Not bringing it up, a-ok, but I think lying's uncool even for casual sex. I'd feel pretty creeped out if I had sex with someone who I later found would lie so freely about something so trivial. It would certainly make it unlikely there'd be a second go.

          • Oh, yeah, I don't think a person should lie regardless. Like I said, I don't think even if someone knows the person's age, in a casual sex situation, that it's likely to make a difference. My point was more that it seems unlikely to come up in the first place in those situations, so why even worry about it? :)

          • eselle28 says:

            Yeah, the problem with this kind of lying is that the same person who thinks it's fine to lie about trivial things because others shouldn't care about them anyway might not have the same definition of "trivial"as you do. I've certainly met people who think it's fine to lie about their (theoretically monogamous, highly jealous) partners or their STD status on the grounds that people shouldn't care about those things.

          • If it helps, there's a pretty good chance I'd lie (or perhaps "twist") about sexual experience, so your comment's still valid.

            (If this hypothetical she lets on that she doesn't have much or any experience, definitely come clean, she may want someone more experienced to show her what's up)

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            Little, seemingly harmless lies can have consequences well out of proportion to the level of the lie.”I'm over 18″”I've never slept with anyone else.””I've never had an STD.””We always used condoms.”Even when the truth is potentially uncomfortable, it's better to veer on the side of honesty. Honesty means never having to remember what you said the next day. It's not about “twisting” the truth, it's about how you present it. Being a virgin or having little sexual experience isn't shameful, but if you present it in the same way that you would tell someone that they have cancer then people are going to take it badly. Present it as no big deal and then it won't be one.And frankly, if they're going to freak out over being 28 (or a virgin) then do you REALLY want to be dating/sleeping with them in the first place? Congratulations, now you're dating (or sleeping with) an asshole. What's the point?

          • There's two things that kind of swirl into eachother.

            1. It weirds people out, who otherwise wouldn't be
            2. It's also in a way that "To get experience, you need experience" thing

            And if they're an asshole about it, what's the harm being done?

          • eselle28 says:

            You make yourself into an asshole in the process.

          • I think I could live with that.

          • eselle28 says:

            That's unfortunate. But even if you don't care about other people, it's still not a very practical move to make claims about your sexual experience that simply aren't true. It's one thing not to disclose, but if you're going to lie, you'll need to be convincing about it. Most people who are lying to try to compensate for a perceived flaw are not at all convincing and many end up alienating the people they were trying to impress.

            You also substantially increase the possibility that your partner will be dissatisfied with your performance by setting up false expectations – and that's a great way of making sure that a foreplay session turns into an excuse to go to bed early or that a brief sexual encounter never turns into repeat business.

          • You're not guaranteed satisfaction no matter what… and I'd rather be a "bad lay" than inexperienced.

            Not that I wouldn't try anyways.

          • So, do you think it's okay if a woman lies to you and cares more about getting what *she* wants from you than being honest?

            Are you okay with the fact that lying could very well mean screwing up any chance of having an ongoing relationship with the woman (sexual or otherwise)? A woman's a lot more likely to want to keep seeing a guy who's inexperienced but enthusiastically engaged than a guy who seems to just be a "bad lay". She's not very likely to want to keep seeing you if she finds out that you lied (which can happen pretty easily, unless you're going out of you way to somehow meet people who could never interact with anyone else who knows you). You could be sacrificing a whole lot more sex (and other things, if you end up wanting more than sex) by assuming you have to lie.

            Are you actually going to feel good about having sex, after the fact, if you have to worry that the woman might not have been interested if you'd been honest? You could just be setting yourself up for more insecurity.

            And being totally practical, why do you think it's more likely that a woman who can tell you don't know what you're doing (which, as I said above, is probably the only reason this will come up in a ONS type situation) will continue the encounter if she thinks you're just bad or inconsiderate–ot a liar–than if she thinks you're teachable? You could be making it harder, rather than easier, for sex to happen at all by lying.

          • Replying paragraphically:

            As long as it doesn't involve jail time or health risks, go for it, I don't see what kind of lies can actually hurt otherwise.

            Yes, I think I would be okay with it, because the alternative (them knowing) seems more likely to mean nothing happens at all.

            I think that's going to happen anyways, so that's not too concerning.

            The inconsiderate part wouldn't happen. I'm certain I wouldn't be worried about asking what she liked or what she wanted. If she walks out, that's fine, because it's still farther than I've ever gotten otherwise. As for the teachable part… even if it's only temporary, that puts a woman in a position of dominance, which, as I understand it, only a small minority of women like. I'd still rather just be bad at it.

          • Greenfire says:

            Check out Fetlife.com and see how many women like to be dominant. You might be surprised.

            Lying is bad, m'kay? "Spin" is fine, though. Don't apologize for being a virgin. You're not a loser, you just have high standards. You've never met the right woman. Until now. 😉

          • Well, if making yourself into an asshole is the goal, this sounds like a pretty good start.

            OTOH, if having sex with someone is the goal, not sure this is your best strategy…

          • I'd rather not be one but… this is something that society in general doesn't give you much latitude on. Fuck'em.

          • It's not society you'd be sleeping with. It's a human being. Many of whom are perfectly okay with their partner being less experienced.

            I mean, hey, nothing anyone says here can force you to behave one way or another. But you're responsible for what you put out there into the world. You don't seem to like the fact that some people are judgmental, assholes, selfish, etc. in other contexts. Just consider that if you go around acting like a selfish asshole, or even talking about how it's okay to be a selfish asshole like you are here, you're contributing to the problem.

          • "Less experienced" yes. No experience, no. It may not be society, but society does shape how a lot of these people think.

            I believe more in "do unto others" than "be the change you want to see in the world."

          • Briznecko says:

            So you would be ok with your potential sexual partner acting like an asshole and treating you badly in order to get laid?

          • You may want to change that around some, I'm not sure that works from a female perspective.

          • Briznecko says:

            Would you want your potential sexual partner to say: "Hey, nice chest. But your dick is small, you're not smart, and you're a stupid inexperienced virgin. Lets fuck."

            If you are willing to lie to your sexual partners and be, as you say, an asshole, then I'm assuming you would expect your sexual partners to treat you the same way?

            How about instead of wining about assholes and your boners, work on being a decent person who treats other people as human beings?

          • Briznecko says:

            Christ. The last sentence should be:

            How about instead of wining about assholes and your sad boners, you can work on being a decent person who treats other people as human beings?

          • My first reaction reading that was to snicker a bit because it's funny.

            And if that were to actually happen for real, I'd expect her to leave, not end it with "let's fuck." Because otherwise it's a sexual challenge and… pretty hot.

            Also, I'm not sure where you're getting this thing about not treating people like decent human beings from.

          • Outright lying to someone so they don't get the chance to make an honest decision about whether they want to have sex with you isn't really treating them like decent human beings, to my mind.

            Perhaps a better example would be if she finds out somehow that you're a virgin, says she's cool with it, but then when you get in the bedroom, she walks at the first sign of inexperience.

          • And it'd still be farther than I've been before so, I'm not losing out much in that situation.

            And ya know, the fact that you guys are equating virginity to things like statutory rape, infidelity, and… I don't know what you call infecting someone with an STD, but I'm sure there's degrees of assault to it… it tells me that yes, it is a much bigger deal than you guys are letting on, and yes, I shouldn't be honest about it.

          • eselle28 says:

            We're giving you examples about lying, and why you it's not fair to tell people that they don't get to care about something. Frankly, it's hard to pick other examples with you, because you've made it clear that you don't have many requirements for a sexual partner.

            Putting aside the morality angle, this will not work, and you actually will be losing out on something. If you make out with a woman, tell her you're a virgin and she bolts, it's the exact same response as you'd get as if you tell her some nonsense story about your sexual conquests and she bolts. In both cases you're further than you've ever gotten before. With the first one, there was at least a chance she would have been okay with it and decided to have sex with you, though. I don't think you're going to be able to lie about this convincingly enough for there to be a chance of that happening in the second scenario.

          • Wouldn't make up anything about sexual conquests, just not telling her that there haven't been any.

          • eselle28 says:

            That's non-disclosure, not lying. I would say that if she doesn't ask, you at least have some grounds to assume she doesn't care. I'm giving you a bit of a hard look here, because this topic initially started when you recommended someone actively lie about his age rather than just not mentioning it.

            What happens if you guys are flirting and she asks you a question about sex, though? Or perhaps something goes a little wrong, and she asks if you've done this before (not in a mean way)?

          • To clarify, not mentioning it if she doesn't ask is no problem. It's only lying if asked that I'd consider assholery.

          • If she's that much of an asshole, I'm thinking the chances are pretty good that she'll also be laughing in your face and making fun of you to everyone she's ever met.

            I don't actually think these are in any way equivalent, and I'd be surprised to learn that anyone else does, but we're trying to come up with a more clear-cut example that might make you understand why lying is an asshole thing to do. You're taking away their ability to decide what's important to them for themselves. See eselle's point.

          • Annnd if she's that big of an asshole, she'll be laughing about a virgin to everyone she's ever met.

            There isn't a downside to any of this.

          • What I was trying to say there is that it's lying that isn't threatening anyone's safety, but it's still a shitty thing to do. Wouldn't you prefer it if a woman just announced they don't like virgins than that they lied about it?

          • Aren't women socially conditioned to lie about it anyways? That whole "won't outright say it, but hopes you get the drift" anyway thing?

            I'd expect that to happen more than anything.

          • I don't think you've got a good grasp on the social-conditioning-indirectness thing, but I think that's a whole nother discussion…

          • eselle28 says:

            There are plenty of ways women can be lying assholes that will increase their chances of having sex.

            She's having a herpes outbreak and tells you it's something else. Neither of you have a condom, so she says she's on the pill. She tells you she's single, when in reality her husband is wondering where she is and is going to make a bunch of harassing phone calls to you when he finds out. She tells you she's 19 when she's actually 15.

            Now, some of these things are traits you say you'd care about. But you've decided what is and isn't important for other people to know about you. It's entirely possible a woman will decide that these things shouldn't matter to her sex partners.

          • Already covered the STD and age thing, not cool. The husband thing is not cool either, because he can damage my physical health (and I'm certain my hypothetical response to the harrassing phone calls wouldn't help…). But being honest about myself doesn't mean she'll be honest about herself, so the attempted guilt-trip falls a little flat.

            I don't want accidental children, so condoms or it's not going in. That's an uncrossable barrier, unless I turn up sterile (or am sterile) at some point.

            My virginity isn't going to land someone in jail, isn't going to make a spouse mad at me (because I don't have one), and isn't going to make someone sick for a few weeks or the rest of their life.

          • eselle28 says:

            You've decided it's not cool. She might respond that most sexually active adults have already been exposed to the herpes virus, or that her parents or husband or law enforcement will never find out. She thinks it's unfair that society makes it harder for her to have sex, so if she has to be a bit of an asshole to get what she wants, she's going to do it.

            That's the problem with lying. You're making assumptions about what it's okay for the other person to care about, which in turn makes it difficult for you to insist that everyone else should respect your requirements for a sexual partner.

            I agree that being honest about yourself doesn't guarantee that your partner will in turn be honest with you. It just means you don't have to hang out in the same category as the asshole women.

          • You can protect yourself from most of that (actually dangerous stuff) initially.

            I'm sure there's safeguards to protect from my malicious virginity too (this is getting sarcastic, but it's goofy as fuck to be equating them)

          • eselle28 says:

            Like I said, it's kind of hard, because you seem to view getting sex as such an achievement that you're not applying the filters that most of us do to our partners.

            But there is actually some harm that's being done. If you lie and get away with it (you won't), you will have substantially decreased your partner's opportunity to have a good sexual experience with you. If you say something, she might decide that she doesn't want to sleep with a virgin and would rather do something else. It's more likely that she'll just take charge a bit, and give you some instructions she wouldn't have with a man who just finished telling her about his last couple of girlfriends or fuckbuddies. Lying in a way that deprives her of this choice isn't a grave moral wrong, but it's a moderately shitty thing to do and basically means that you don't care if your partner enjoys herself as long as you get your sex achievement. Not cool.

            It's kind of academic, though, because dude: this will not work. If you have so many hangups about this, you're not going to be able to construct a plausible set of lies.

          • Yes, like an XBox achievement. Once you pop it, it doesn't matter anymore.

            Second paragraph, I way disagree from things I've heard. Maybe I've just hit up the wrong circles for these kinds of stories, but I don't think it's more likely she'll take charge.

            I care if she enjoys herself, but it's also not a given that she'll enjoy herself with any experienced guys either. I wouldn't feel bad about this. If she told me what she liked, and I tried my best, and it still didn't happen for her, no loss, I just couldn't do it, and I'll get rated with the other bad lays. At worst, I've wasted someone's night.

            Lie by omission.

          • eselle28 says:

            Ew. Moose, just, ew. Even if your virginity isn't a valid objection to you as a sexual partner, that attitude is. What if someone else doesn't want to be your xbox achievement?

            Having been a woman who's slept with a few virgins, I have a differing set of experiences with regard to this. Also, just generally given your description of yourself and your hobbies, you don't seem to hang in the kind of scene where you're likely to stumble home with a drunken one nighter who won't ever see you again. Your most likely potential partner is a girl you've been on a few dates with, who's more likely to react gently to this kind of thing.

            I would say that omission is fine on this subject. If someone asks, I think truthfulness and an outright refusal to answer the question are acceptable responses. Lying is the shitty choice. And, again, this topic started with your recommending someone else lie overtly.

          • I don't hang in a scene. :p

          • Have you been meaning 'lie by omission" all along?? B/c I at least was taking you to be talking about outright lies. I think it's been mentioned in other threads that being a virgin isn't mandatory disclosure information, it's only the actual lying that's an issue.

          • Lie by omission, or keep it small.

          • Also, 'like an XBox achievement' is about as unsexy an attitude to sex as it's possible to have.

          • There is something wrong with you if you've gotten to this age-ish and haven't done anything, so yeah, there's an achievement factor to it.

            "Oh, that's what it's all about." It's very hard to pass it off as no big deal when it's treated as such a big deal.

          • Moving to the thread at bottom to respond. Too squished here.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            There's something wrong with you if you've gotten to the age of "mature adult" and think of sex in terms of a video game achievement metaphor.

          • I'd also like to add that sex tends to work better with a minimum level of trust and relaxation.

            If you're so focused on keeping something from them, you're probably going to be investing so much effort into keeping barriers up that the sex would be likely to be mechanical at best, and probably unbearably tense (which is very different from just nervous & awkward).

          • It's not that difficult to keep things from people.

          • Being as closed off as humanly possible is not really a great attitude for sex.

          • One thing is not "as closed off as humanly possible."

          • No, but one thing that's at the top of your mind hte whole time b/c you're so worried about it might well be.

          • Briznecko says:

            Oh! So YOU get to decide what is cool and not cool FOR THE WOMAN. I see. Of course women and their silly little woman brains cannot fathom how to be empathetic and compassionate people who are capable of overlooking your virginity, right?

            PS: All of this bullshit about women only giving the sex to assholes? It's sexist bullshit. Please stop being a sexist asshole.

          • So, basically, you'd rather not be an asshole, but if it's more convenient to be one, hey, why not?

            Please think about this one the next time you're planning to complain about assholes, b/c you're kind of abandoning that high moral ground here.

          • Well, really… two things.

            1. What good is the high moral ground if it doesn't work?

            2. Me being a "bad lay" isn't going to hurt anyone.

          • 1. I think you've got a pretty basic lack of understanding what morality is and what it's for here. If you're only a decent person as long as it gets you everything you want, you're not a decent person period.

            It's not the being a bad lay part, it's the lying part (see my comment above), and the fact that you don't care to make the choice that will make her more likely to have a good experience, if it means there's a chance you won't get laid.

          • 1. No one 100% inhabits the entire moral ground, so you're condemning a lot of people to "not being a decent person."

            2. What's the difference between "what do you like?" as a virgin and "what do you like?" as pretending-to-not-be-one. The performance is not going to differ all that much, if at all.

          • 1. Sure, no one does. But I think it's pretty safe to say that "only acts like a decent person when it gets them what they want anyway" is so far off the moral ground they need a passport to go there. Even just "lies about minor things to have sex," without otherwise being a particular asshole, isn't all that great either.

            2. I think Mel covered this pretty well. The liar's nervousness or uncertainty is likely to come across as uninterested, selfish or, well, a liar, none of which make for a good lay.

            But really, performance is very much aside to my point; however the performance goes, you're not giving her the chance to make the decision for herself. Which is, IMO, a shitty thing to do to someone you're trying to have a very intimate and vulnerable-making experience with.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Hi, Moose. Guy who can get women here calling bullshit.

          • Greenfire says:

            If you are a "bad lay", you will never get another shot at her. If she knows you are inexperienced, she is much more likely to give you a second chance, now that you are less nervous. Heck, she may even decide to teach you a thing or too. :)

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            You realize you're saying “I'm cool with being an asshole if it means I get what I want”, yes?

          • Ya. That's usually the point of being one in the first place.

          • BritterSweet says:

            Welp. I think that settles it. You are an asshole. Congratulations.

          • Okay

          • This is a terrible habit to get into. First of all, it's a shitty thing to do. From a more practical perspective, it also prevents making genuine progress on this front and has the potential to backfire.

            The general narrative of your life is something that you're probably going to end up telling people for much of the rest of your life. Especially in the case of something like, "I went back to college when I was 28," it's going to come up in other discussions, like job interviews. It's so much better to learn how to talk about these things in a positive, engaging way now than it is to invest a bunch of time and effort into learning how to lie about it.

            Beyond that, this can actually be a fairly hard lie to tell. In a small community, odds are good that he'll fuck up the lie or that someone will eventually mention the correct information. And then, instead of being the cool, slightly older classmate, he's the creep who's lying about his age to pick up younger girls. This is not a good label to have, and it's the kind of thing that will make it harder to meet people.

          • hobbesian says:

            I'm not looking for casual sex. Never have been. That right there has been the under-riding problem with me dating since well.. ever. I've always treated every potential date as a long term commitment.. I'm the exact opposite of commitment phobic.. commitmentophile maybe? I dunno what you would call it.

            I also have a really really difficult time judging people's ages.. I tend to either drastically over or under estimate them. I've been shocked to find people who, to me, look like they should be in their 30's are actually younger than me by several years, so it's not like I go out purposefully looking for girls way younger than me.. but the closest town to me is a college town so chances are it's going to happen at some point.

          • hobbesian says:

            Also, WOW, I had no idea when I replied to Moose's original suggestion of lying that this was such a huge thread.

            I just want to stress.. lying to potential partners is NEVER okay in my books. I don't go to any great lengths to tell people how old I am, but if they outright ask, and generally they do after having talked to me for a little bit, I'll tell them. That's when the problems generally start. It's understandable though, as it's a pretty typical townie routine to go hang out at the student bars and try to pick up coeds and lie through your teeth to do it.

            There is even a video on youtube about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvhBW9Y0lxc

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            There's a video about how to do it? I'm watching TV, so I'm not going to play it now. Is it a serious video? Because, dude, that's fucked up.

            Moose, don't be that guy!

          • I think you need to learn how to reframe what you're doing with your life in a more positive way. You've mentioned school a couple of times, and it's always managed to come off as something you find embarrassing or that you think makes you a loser. Even if you're not 100% happy about how things are going in your life, there are ways of describing it that emphasize the positive aspects of the situation and that don't derail an otherwise light, fun discussion. If you lead with the most depressing angle, that's going to be the impression you make.

            You can't possibly be the only 28-year-old at your school – not in a time period with a slow economy, a number of returning veterans, and university schedules that lead to 5th and 6th year seniors.

          • Yeah, when I was in university, there were tons of people in their later twenties who had just gotten started late or were working through their degree part time, and a fair number even older (middle aged +). You're pursuing a higher education and showing a desire to learn and grow: that's commendable regardless of how old you are.

          • hobbesian says:

            I know for a fact i'm not the only one, right now I'm at a 2 year commuter school and I'd say it's a pretty even break.. maybe 35% of the student body is over 25. At the school I'm transfering to, in a student body of 25,000, which will include MA and PHD students.. the student body will probably be even more in my favor.

            But yes, I do view it with a certain level of embarrassment because I view it as having to start over. I had a full time job, I had an apartment, I had a fiance, I had all these things which established me as an "Adult".. and then poof.. all of it was suddenly gone and I'm left to start over again in a world which, for all intents and purposes I never understood all that well the first time.. I enjoyed being an adult.. hanging out with the same few friends.. not having to worry about dating (she found me, much easier!), basically I'd succeeded in checking off a lot of boxes on the "Adult checklist" and then had to go back and erase them all. Partly I just feel like a loser for having wound up in this situation.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            it happened to a lot of us, Hobbes.

          • Honestly, the "adult checklist" is not as important a sign of adulthood as stuff like experience, the ability to take responsibility for your actions, doing what you're doing and rolling with the punches when shitty stuff happens – all the stuff you've learned from your "adult" checkboxes is still with you, you haven't lost that.

      • slowriot23 says:

        Yeah, as I said, I don't consider it too big of a problem. It creates… silly situations sometimes, but I find it more funny than a big problem. Being skinny – that was always a huge point of insecurity for me, and still is [even though I'm not that skinny anymore – now I'm, ehm, normally skinny, as opposed to unhealthy looks of some 5 years ago [I'm really tall, 195cm, and had 62kg, looked like someone who doesn't have enough money for food. Now I have 83kg, could use 5-10 more, but I look normal]

    • I don't know if this is going to sound weird or stupid, but doing heavy weight training might help. It sounds like you might already be doing that, since you said you are getting less skinny. I don't know why (testosterone? cutting fat?) but guys who bulk up tend to become squarer in the jaw/face, from what I've seen. Asian guys tend to look VERY baby-faced, but the ones I know who are into the bodybuilding thing look a lot older and more masculine than they did before they took it up. A lot of baby-face is fat in the face (not excessive fat, just fat), which is partly why women who have a bit more fat in the face compared to those with more hollowed cheeks (like athletes/competitive bodybuilders with extremely low BF%) look way younger.

      The tips for dressing appropriately, good posture, and getting a good/mature haircut are good too. Wear slacks instead of jeans. A polo shirt or nice sweater instead of a T-shirt. Leather shoes instead of sneakers. A nice men's watch, with a leather or metal strap, will also add sophistication and maturity. A proper cologne will also signal maturity, although of course that's up close instead of at a first glance across the room.

      • slowriot23 says:

        Yeah, I've read a lot on work out for skinny people and everyone says that's the way – lifting heavy [and eating a lot]. I think I'm doing good for now, gained some 4kg in these 3 months since I started going to gym, and actually found out I have some muscles.
        One of my problems is good posture [lack of it, rather]. I have to work on that a lot. Not sure if bad posture makes me look younger, but it definitely makes me look worse.

    • Grr! Arrgh! says:

      Actually, For a lot of baby-face or skinny guys, what ends up making a big differnce is properlly fitted and age-appropreate clothes. If your clothes are too big or baggy, you're going to look like you're playing dress up in dad's cast-offs which will make you look less mature. Ditto if you havn't updated your casual wardrobe since college. I'm not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit on the weekends but if you're young-looking and skinny, nice, well fitted dark jeans in a modern cut plus a soft sweater or a fitted (not tight) nerdy t shirt from threadless will probably go a long way in maturing your look. Where as baggy t-s and old jeans are going to get you, "Oh, do you need help finding your mommy?"

      If you're totally cluless about clothes of creating a "style," flip through an Esquire (do NOT read any of the articles if there is a photo of a woman next to it) or surf the men's wear section on one of the better department store websites – Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks, Barneys. You definitely don't have to spend that much on clothes, but those sites usually have more sophisticated looks, a greater variety of styles and more information on cuts and fits. Find a few looks you like, crib the pictures, and go out and find some similar, comfortable pieces in the correct size.

  35. Another thought vis a vis food: you can cheat on a diet; you can't cheat on a lifestyle. The worst thing I see from people who diet is that when they cave and eat a little bit of something that's off-limits, and the DIET IS OVERRRR. They've failed, so they might as well give up. Now I'm not on any sort of diet, but (for instance) I rarely drink soda. Rarely, not never. When I really want a soda, I have a soda. It's not great for me, but one isn't going to kill me, and it doesn't change my lifestyle significantly, the way I might if I decided to give up on EVERYTHING because I slipped a little bit.

  36. PlotJunkie says:

    I'm just going to leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5bMPS76SEQ

  37. I just really, really want to emphasize the posture point.

    I'm not a man, but I had to learn the hard way what the importance of posture is and this isn't even about outer appearance only. I was plagued with daily headaches for at least 2 years before I found out that it was my hunching and hiding that caused it. I was in the middle of puberty and my breasts were growing significantly bigger, so it was very awkward to straighten up literally the day after my physical therapist told me what the problem is.

    In the end it really pays off, though. You might get some weird looks because people do notice, but at some points you'll start getting compliments and you will be taken serious more often. I see so many young men and women forgetting the importance of their backs and it just hurts looking at it (seriously, how do you not get back pains?), especially tall ones trying to overcompensate. You might not be insecure, but hunching your back does make you look so.

    Once you straighten you will look more confident, your clothing will look better on you and probably fit better, you're less likely to get injured when someone stumbles into you and it creates sexy back muscles (okay, don't take that last one too seriously).

    I'm just glad I learned this early, because a weak back runs in the family, but apparently this is not something people naturally find out.


    • High School storytime:

      I'm tall, I hunch(ed). I found out about this posture business in Grade 10 or 11, thought "no fucking way is it that easy." Tried it out, the next day I "could swear" a few more girls were turning their heads (they totally were, I just refused to believe it because ugly nerd was the place my mind occupied, and still is a place my mind retreats to)

      Hard to keep up with a lot of sitting activities like gaming and internet browsing though.

  38. Definitely disagree with Dr Nerdlove’s statement about long hair. Everything else- yes. If you have thick enough hair, aren’t going bald and are prepared to take care ofit it looks gorgeous. Men immediately become more attractive to me if they have long hair.

  39. Continuing the thread with enail and eselle from above, that was getting too squished:


    It depends what she's asking about. And to be honest, even if it costs the night, I'm actually more interested in seeing if I could fake my way through it or not. I know more than I probably should for my "position", I'd want to see how well it matches up to a normal person's.

    The "have you ever done this before" thing, probably situational too. There's some things I wouldn't be able to get away with, some that I might be able to do a "once or twice."

    • Re: "There is something wrong with you if you've gotten to this age-ish and haven't done anything, so yeah, there's an achievement factor to it."

      There's something wrong with you when you treat it as something wrong with you. Honestly, sometimes you seem like two totally different people about this. When you drop the obsession with getting the sex achievement at whatever cost, you're perfectly capable of sounding like an appealing sex partner, inexperienced or no; I can try and hunt out the thread I'm thinking of as an example.

      Whatever attitude you're operating from when the situation comes up is going to come through to your potential partner, and affect both the likelihood of the encounter and the quality/chance of a repeat, so it's really worth your while to focus on the better mindset.

      • Just describe it, I'll probably remember it.

        • Here it is, from the Women and Casual Sex postl

          "Probably a good half a zillion things in my case. I disagree that porn is a bad thing from that perspective. Mechanics-wise, mostly ignore it. Fantasy, role-playing, creativity-wise, Gold Mine. Which can motivate the imagination to start thinking up some interesting things on its own, diamond mine. Even the simple stuff like finding the "spots" on a woman's body that would drive her wild seems fun. And it seems mostly obvious when they're actually enjoying themselves even if they're not saying too much.

          Thinking on it, it's not so much instruction or training that's needed (but I'd be completely fine playing that role too) as it is not blowing the load early and having a bit of leeway when it comes to something awkard mechanically going on"

          Which guy do you think is likely to be sexier, the guy who's thinking the above, or the guy who's thinking: "You're not guaranteed satisfaction no matter what… and I'd rather be a "bad lay" than inexperienced," and "Yes, like an XBox achievement. Once you pop it, it doesn't matter anymore" ?

          • It's all coming from the same guy, so which cancels out which?

          • Depends which one's dominant at any given time. You switch up your attitude a lot, and one is much more appealing than the other.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Whichever you feed more.

          • I'd also add that, if you've got an attitude of "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get sex, even if it means acting like less than a decent person" that's likely to come through in the vibe you're giving off.

            Even if all you mean is "I'm willing to lie about something non-harmful," not anything worse, the impression you give off is going to be "I want sex, whatever the cost." I'm sure you can imagine why that might activate a woman's creeper sense.

      • hobbesian says:

        I'm not sure where this "if you haven't reached such and such an age and had sex, you're a loser" stuff came from..

        That is not the issue at all, the issue is I'm just not interested in hook ups and casual flings or one nighters.. Sex isn't actually super important to me, it's simply a perk. I'm much more interested in finding a partner to spend time with, and who I can go out with, etc. Sex is easy to get if you have no self respect, or respect for other human beings. It's the relationship that's hard to get.

        • Mel had mistook one of the points for something else, and we kind of spun off from there.

        • Gentleman Johnny says:

          Sex is easy to get if you have no self respect, or respect for other human beings.

          Don't be that guy, Moose.

          • Robjection says:

            Don't bother Gentleman Johnny. From what I've seen in that other thread, he doesn't believe in the idea that people have the right to honesty and he's perfectly OK with hurting others by being an asshole for his own benefit. He is Chaotic Evil to the point where he makes Belkar Bitterleaf look like a saint. He is already that guy.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            1. Its a running gag now.

            2. I don't agree, I think he's more frustrated and lacking in good examples.

            3. I write more for my own amusement than out of any expectation that I can change things.

          • Virginity makes me chaotic evil, eh?

            This kind of consistent reaction to it, yet I should be honest about it with a girl in real life?

            I've already said that I won't do "anything" just to get sex, there are hard boundaries I'm not willing to cross, including lying to a fellow virgin or inexperienced person.

            But… I'm not convinced otherwise. Worst case, she doesn't have a good night or leaves, which both could happen anyways if I said anything, or with another person more experienced. Her health and safety are not being damaged in the slightest. So, all it is is a personal hang-up that she wouldn't know about otherwise.

            For my next trick, I'm going to rob a bank, poison the well and steal candy from a baby, because I'm definitely chaotic evil enough to do this kind of thing. :p

          • eselle28 says:

            Your virginity doesn't make you anything, except a virgin. Your attitude about your virginity is unhealthy, though I wouldn't say it's chaotic evil.

            I think the biggest problem is your attitude that losing your virginity is an achievement, valuable more for checking off the box than for pleasure or intimacy, and worth violating rules to attain. That attitude could very well hurt someone. I've said multiple times that I've slept with virgins, but I would not be willing to sleep with someone who viewed me like that, and I'd be quite hurt if I found out after the fact that one of my sex partners viewed me that way.

            Maybe rather than keep pounding on the lying point, it's worth going back to the drawing board and seeing if you can find a different way to think about sex.

          • Now you're just being deliberately obtuse. Robjection clearly said that it was your belief that people don't have the right to honesty and that it's okay to be an asshole to others if it benefits you that she's* calling "evil", not your virginity. Unless you're aware of some alternate definition for virginity that means "person who lies to others for their own gain"?

            But sure, why not pretend she said something completely different than what she did so that you can turn it into another excuse for why you couldn't possibly be honest? Apparently that's all that matters to you. Which is the real problem. God forbid someone else's opinions of what they want to do with their body should interfere with you getting to do what you want with their body, if you decide for them their their opinions aren't valid enough.

            I'd get into all the ways it could go worse than your scenario (even people who are communicating openly and know their partner well can accidentally physically hurt one another when they're that intimate), but frankly, letting a person decide for herself what matters to her in someone she has sex with should be reason enough. I don't care if someone's criteria are totally ridiculous–if they only want to sleep with people who have polka-dotted skin who can play the tuba, that's their right, and it's not okay for you to take away their right to decide.

            *I am pretty sure Robjection has identified as female previously, but if I'm wrong, apologies for the pronoun mistake.

          • Robjection says:

            Just to clarify, I am in fact male. Prior to getting an IntenseDebate account, I commented here under the name Robert. Don't worry, it's not the first time I've been mistaken for a woman online.

          • I can't remember why I thought that–obviously your avatar is a guy–thanks for clarifying!

          • hobbesian says:

            Nope, that guy, or girl (trust me), is not a nice person..

    • Okay, I'll try this one more time.

      You keep saying it doesn't do any harm to lie about something like this. Not mentioning it is fine; if she doesn't ask, she doesn't care, so it's not even lying by omission, it's just the subject not coming up. But the thing is, if she *does* ask, putting you in the position where it sounds like you're saying you would lie, she obviously does care. It matters to her in some way. And it's harming her to decide for her that she couldn't possibly have a good enough reason for caring that she's owed the truth–to decide that your desire to get this "achievement" is more important than any way this information could possibly factor into how she handles the situation. You're harming her by taking control over part of her decision-making for her without her knowledge or permission. You're basically taking away part of her free will.

      Just because *you* can't think of any reason your experience or lack thereof should make an important difference to someone else, doesn't mean it's impossible that it could. It's not up to you to decide what should matter to someone else. Especially when you're asking her to do someting incredibly intimate with you, to trust you with her body and her physical safety at very least. You can't possibly know whether it might harm her, which is exactly why it's problematic to decide for her.

      • This this this this this this.

      • Why do other people get to decide which private details about my life I have to be willing to share? I don't expect truthful answers to invasive questions even if I might have perfectly valid reasons for asking them. (Just to be clear, I make the best effort I can to avoid asking such questions.)

        • Other people don't get to decide which private details of your life you're willing to share. But if you're not willing to share something, the not-asshole thing to do is not to lie, but to say, "I don't see how that's relevant" or "I'd rather not share that" or whatever. Just because you accept that other people might lie doesn't mean that's okay behavior–many people would expect not to be lied to.

          And to be honest, I don't think the question "Have you done this before?" or "Is this your first time?" is particularly invasive when it's regarding an activity you're about to do with that other person. How is your experience or lack thereof *not* directly relevant to what you're about to do? Would it be invasive for a person to ask if you've played tennis before when getting ready to play doubles with you, or if you've been to a particular country before when planning a vacation together? If you feel you can't trust this person enough to *talk* about sex honestly with them, then you probably shouldn't be actually *having* sex with them. It doesn't have to be a huge deal; you decide how much weight you put on it.

          (Obviously it's invasive if asked in a context where you're not currently engaged in or on the verge of being engaged in sex with the person asking, because then it isn't relevant. And I do think there are occasions where it's not asshole-ish to lie in that case–basically, if you need to protect yourself because you know the other person will verbally or physically harass you if you give certain answers. But "if I don't lie, she won't sleep with me" isn't protecting yourself from harm; not sleeping with someone doesn't hurt you.)

          • But if you're not willing to share something, the not-asshole thing to do is not to lie, but to say, "I don't see how that's relevant" or "I'd rather not share that" or whatever.

            This seems like a good way to avoid the situation, but will reveal even more than saying the truth outright. Statements don't exist only in their literal meaning, but also in what they imply in conversation.

            And to be honest, I don't think the question "Have you done this before?" or "Is this your first time?" is particularly invasive when it's regarding an activity you're about to do with that other person. How is your experience or lack thereof *not* directly relevant to what you're about to do? Would it be invasive for a person to ask if you've played tennis before when getting ready to play doubles with you, or if you've been to a particular country before when planning a vacation together?

            Whether something is invasive is not something that the asker decides, but the person that's being asked. It's not unreasonable to assume that the question is ok, but that doesn't mean that it has to be. The difference to your examples is the cultural context; in general it's not unusual if a person has never played tennis, and it carries no stigma.

            On a tangent, I like to social dance, and when I get the chance I like to dance with new people, often beginners. Most of the time they'll tell me that they are new by themselves, but I've stopped asking myself, and I don't ask for details of what they can do anymore. It might put these follows, who often feel bad about their level of ability, into a negative head space from the beginning, and can make me formulaic and stick to what I know my partner knows. Instead, I focus on trying to make the dance as fun and creative for both of us as I can, and pay attention to what happens in the interaction to adjust the technical complexity. It seems to work better.

          • "I don't see how that's relevant" tends to be a defensive statement, but something along the lines of "It's kind of a drag to bring up old relationships. I'd rather concentrate on hanging out with you" or turning it around by saying "That's kind of an uncomfortable subject. Why do you ask?" can work, especially if the question is one like "How many people have you slept with?" That's generally my answer to the question. I'm fairly sure that people take that as a sign that I've had a fairly large number of partners. That's fine. If someone cares deeply about that information, they're probably not the right partner for me, and I don't care so much about sleeping with or dating them that I'm going to disregard their wishes and giggle and say "3." (I'd note that this is something that's stigmatized as well. I'd add that I'm not declining to answer due to the stigma, but because it's a bit more complicated than giving a number, and requires some discussion.)

            I agree that it's kinder not to ask people about things they might be insecure about. However, there are ultimately people who don't want to dance with beginners. I think those people should get to make that decision. They may miss out on some enjoyable experiences with new dancers, or with experienced dancers who might just not feel like going over their resumes, but I don't think people should disregard their wishes and lie to them.

          • Your first suggestion seems rather close to lying to me, at least by intent if not technically Can non-existing old relationships be a drag to bring up? Sounds like a topic for the semanticians. Is "It's been a while since the last time and I think you're really exciting, so I'm a bit nervous." a lie?

            I agree that the second one will work for some questions, but there is a crucial difference. Are you happy with your number of partners, or are you unhappy or even ashamed about it?

            Whether it may be more kind to not ask people things was a tangent specifically related to Mel's question in a more general context, and was not really meant as an analogy. I agree that people should have the right to not do things with people they don't want to do these things with, but I also think that people should not have to disclose personal information that they do not feel comfortable with sharing. And yes, these two things may be in conflict, and quite possibly there are no good solutions in some cases.

          • I don't disagree with anything you've said here. But I still think it's unfair to your partner to outright lie to them if they ask you something about any activity they're about to engage in with you. I suspect many/most people do take the approach you do with dancing, and don't ask because it's really not that important to them one way or the other. No problem then! But like I said to Moose, if they *do* ask, it's because it's important to them in some way, and it's no more fair for you to decide that giving them incorrect information won't affect them than for them to assume you should definitely not find the question invasive and have to answer at all. (Keeping in mind that regardless of what it "reveals", declining to answer is always an appropriate alternative.) Your concerns about social stigma don't trump their concerns about knowing a relatively basic piece of information about an intimate act they're about to get into with you.

            Also consider that the stigma around lack of sexual experience would decrease if more people would own up to it calmly and treating it like no big deal, rather than confirming the bias by acting as if it's shameful and trying to hide it.

          • You get shamed for admitting to the social stigma, it doesn't exactly improve the bias to own up to it.

          • I'm not saying that if you tell an individual person that you're a virgin in a nonchalant way, that individual's bias (if they have one) will necessarily be less. But it could be, over time. That's how people end up changing their opinions about things–by having experiences that run contrary to those opinions, which prod them to reconsider. And simply making yourself an example of someone who is less/not experienced and sees it as just a normal facet of their life, not a horrible flaw, has an impact that can echo out into society. Every time someone comments on this blog saying how much people will judge a lack of experience, how you're better off lying or pretending, there are people reading that who might now be more convinced that it's a shameful thing, and then when they talk to other people about sexual experience, they'll say negative things about being a virgin too, and it just keeps echoing on.

            The only way you can change society's attitudes is by sending out a different message. Or at very least, avoiding adding to the existing negative attitude. You made a comment earlier about how the principle you'd use is "do unto others". Well, if you treat virginity like a shameful thing, you're telling others you want them to treat it that way too. If you want them to treat it like it's no big deal, *you* have to treat it that way.

          • I'd rather be normal, I'm not interested in changing society or all that other business.

            When you're told it is a shameful thing, it's hard not to treat it as such, especially when people will drop you just because of it.

          • How many people exactly have "dropped" you for being a virgin? You haven't even been pursuing women for a long time, you've said yourself, so I have to assume you're basing this idea of how people will treat you for being a virgin based on media, conversations overheard in your limited environment, etc. Not exactly reliable sources. There are plenty of people who don't think being a virgin is shameful, and who won't avoid you because of it.

            And I was only elaborating on the societal change point because that's the point you focused on. Regardless of whether you care about the impact on society, it is still not okay for you to take away another person's right to make their own decisions about what they do with their body.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Oh no, someone might say something negative about you if you tell the truth! By that logic, you should probably never take a stand for anything.

            Are you saying this from actual experience? Have you been shamed for being a virgin by people who were otherwise decent towards you? People who were going to be assholes anyway don't count.

          • I don't want to take a stand on anything, I'd just like to be "normal." :p

            IRL, no, because I don't tell anyone. Online, seen some and heard some, and seen and heard examples.

          • Don't forget that online brings out the asshole in people!

            You take a stand once or twice, people get over it, poof! You're "normal."

          • Online brings out whatever's lurking below the surface that someone can't let out in the open for fear of consequences/reprisal :p

          • Ah. So when people say things that prove your assumptions, it's because they're being more truthful, but when they say things that disprove them, it's because for some reason those people feel pressured to be open-minded online?

          • Depending on the corner of the internet, yes.

          • You're going to keep interpreting everything in the way that keeps you holding onto your existing beliefs, aren't you? Given how miserable they make you, maybe you should try some different interpretations for a change?

          • It increases the misery to give something the benefit of the doubt, only to be proven right originally.

          • But in trying to prevent that disappointment, you're also making really damn sure your worst and most misery-inducing ideas can never be proven wrong.

            It's that 'living your life based on fear' thing again; it's not a healthy way to live.

          • So why should anyone ever give you the benefit of the doubt, if you're not willing to extend the same to anyone else? Is their potential "misery" somehow less valid than yours?

          • They shouldn't, hence the "this is why I'd lie about it" stuff.

          • You don't actually think someone should give you (or, presumably other inexperienced people) the benefit of the doubt that you might be worth having sex with?? You think that would be a mistake on their part? That's… I don't even know what that is.

            And the fact that that means that you're seeing this not just as lying about something minor, but as trying to *trick someone into having sex that you believe would be a mistake for them to have*? That's genuinely awful.

          • Well then the woman shouldn't give you the benefit of the doubt when she sees any hesitation from you, and immediately assume you're not experienced enough before she even asks. Or really, she should listen to all the negative stereotypes about guys only wanting their own pleasure and not caring about their partner, and not go anywhere with you in the first place. And no one should ever give you a job because they should all assume that if you had useful skills you'd have a work history. And we shouldn't even be bothering to talk to you because we should assume you're too "evil" or whatever to change. And so on.

            This is taking "always assume the worst so you don't get hurt" to its logical conclusion. I don't think you really do want people to *never* give you the benefit of the doubt.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            It increases the misery to give something the benefit of the doubt, only to be proven right originally.

            Then never trust anyone. Just understand that precludes any sort of close human relationship.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            OK, so you actually have no evidence that being an asshole and/or lying will get you what you want better than telling the truth will.

            Honestly, you don't have to take a stand on anything. You can be ambivalent about everything. I mean I personally can't imagine finding nothing in the world worth standing up and/or fighting for but its not on me to make that call for you. You sure seem to stand up for the ideas that people deride virgins and assholes get all the girls, though. You might find that putting that energy into something else will get you better results.

          • More like assholes are more likely to get more of them. I don't think every guy who gets girls is an asshole (I know one who's the farthest thing from one and he's pulled a lot in his life). :p

          • Well, guess what, all you have to do is google "would you sleep with a virgin guy" and while you'll find some women saying no, there are also lots of examples of women online saying they would, and often that they have, including guys older than you. I've even seen women saying they'd prefer to sleep with a virgin! Why do the negative people count but not the positive people?

          • It feels like the negative is much more common, whereas the positive is something of a rarity, or even a forced answer just to appear open-minded.

          • You really think women are making up the fact that they've slept with 20-something-year-old virgins just to appear open-minded when they're posting anonymously online?

            Anyway, when I look into the topic, and looking at responses from *actual women* (a guy saying he gets turned down doesn't count because there's no way of knowing whether he's accurately reporting *why* he got turned down), I see about 50/50 women who wouldn't sleep with a virgin and women who would, not the former being much more common than the latter.

          • BritterSweet says:

            Confirmation bias. You have it.

          • The people who were first willing to come out as gay were most certainly shamed, (as well as harassed, ostracized, threatened and harmed) for admitting to something that was almost universally stigmatized, much, much more so than virgins are stigmatized.

            The fact that they had the courage and the conviction to do that, to say they're not ashamed of who they are, meant that when I come out to someone here and now, chances are, they're not going to blink an eyelash. Things have changed because of the people who spoke out. Maybe sometimes I'll get a bad reaction; that's a risk I'm willing to take (assuming we're not talking safety). My speaking up could mean that the next person won't get that bad reaction, and the person after them, and the person after them.

            It's hard to get any respect when you're living your life out of fear.

          • Except gay is not entirely controllable (and isn't, if you exclude bisexuals).

            This is just ability (or lack thereof) to make women value you enough to hop in the sack.

          • Come on, you're being ridiculously literal here. It's an analogy, and I don't see that it being about ability or choice rather than something one is born with makes any difference to how people change their attitudes.

            If the image someone has of a gay person is something awful and then some perfectly reasonable and ordinary person they know and respect says casually "hey, I'm gay", that might change their opinion.

            If the image they have of virgins is something awful and then some perfectly reasonable and ordinary person they know and respect says casually "hey, I'm a virgin," why on earth wouldn't that have the same chance of making people rethink their perspective?

            It's not like there aren't a wide variety of types of people who are virgins or different reasons people might be virgins. And a person's not having had sex really has no inherent meaning other than that they haven't had sex, so there's no reason the popular image can't change.

            It seems like *you* think it's a failure, so you can't conceive of how people might come to have a different attitude. Why make yourself part of the problem?

          • Being one is an indicator to other people "wow, there must be something wrong with this person if no one else would get with them." It's more of a red flag than something inherently, and they could always just go find someone who isn't one(because there's a lot more of those around). I may be being too literal, but they don't match up very well, in my mind.

          • For people who are strongly homophobic, they're pretty attached to the idea that there's something wrong with someone who's gay, and it can be supported by some pretty fundamental things about how they evaluate the world (eg. religion); I'm pretty skeptical that this would be a more changeable belief than any stereotypes about virgins. I've found it amazing how much peoples' set attitudes can change when they get to know someone on a personal level; I think this could be just as true with something like virginity.

            I can't quite figure out how to put this, but I feel like there's something off in the way you think people decide if they're interested in someone. If someone's interacting with you, they're attracted to you, they like you enough that they're at least talking pretty seriously about sex with you, maybe you're already getting started (the points when I'd think the question could reasonably come up), it seems unlikely to me that most people would say "forget about this guy, I'll just find someone else," just because it's your first time. It's almost like you're assuming people operate on some kind of points system, with virginity subtracting a lot of points, so the points drop too much and they'll move on to someone with a better score. It's about less quantifiable things like connection, trust, attraction, not just a ranking system.

            You know, Moose, you're kind of your worst enemy sometimes.

          • Yeah, I have a lot of trouble picturing how you think sexual encounters come about, Moose. Casual sex usually seems to happen with people flirting in bars and clubs, building chemistry, and deciding to head off together. If virginity comes up in that context, it's unlikely to until after you're already hooking up, and a person who was into you enough to go with you after knowing you just a few hours is unlikely to suddenly be so turned off by that one factor that they aren't still into you.

            Not-so-casual sex usually happens in the context of a developing relationship, where the person not only has chemistry with you but also an emotional connection–they find you physically appealing and also like your personality, etc. If they're into all those aspects about you, they're even less likely to suddenly not want to be with you if they find out that one small thing.

            From what I've seen, most guys who complain that women keep turning them down because they're a virgin, they're pursuing women who they're not already in a relationship with, and they're mentioning it before they're anywhere near actually sleeping with the woman, so quite possibly the woman just isn't into them for any number of other reasons and either the guy assumes that's why or the woman uses it as an easy excuse. Have you really seen many people report that they were in the middle of the act, the woman asked, and she took off immediately upon hearing? Or who had a steady girlfriend who broke up with them when she found out?

          • I've heard of women walking out of ONS's (to be honest, I think they assume most people aren't virgins and then freak when they are), I've heard of women ending relationships, or even a story where a woman THANKED her man for not telling her, because she would've gotten out of it otherwise.

            I think it's one of those creep radar things too. Spider-sense tingles because the situation isn't normal.

          • I didn't say it doesn't happen, I asked if you've heard of it happening *many* times. (And from the woman, not the guy involved.)

            As far as creep radar, if the woman's creep radar is telling them something's off, and she thinks it's that the guy is inexperienced, and she asks and he says no… isn't that worse than if he admits it? If he seems off and it's not just that he's inexperienced, then she'd have to start wondering if it's some other actually creepy thing.

            Edit: Actually, you know what, even arguing this point doesn't matter. Because it wouldn't matter even if you've heard of many women ditching guys for being virgins. Because as I've said over and over (and you haven't responded to once, I assume because you don't have a good argument for it so you're choosing to ignore this point), it's the woman's right to make that decision. She has the right to decide she doesn't want to have sex with a virgin, she has the right to decide she doesn't want to date a virgin. She has the right to decide to only sleep with a virgin if he's also ten feet tall and purple; she has the right to decide she'll only sleep with guys who were born on the moon. (If that means she doesn't end up having sex, well, that's up to her.)

            Social stigma is not an excuse. Possible negative responses are not an excuse. It is not okay to take away someone's decisions about what they do with their body away from them. Period, full stop.

          • See my post above about creeper sense – I think you're worrying about the wrong things.

          • CaseyXavier says:

            The 'social stigma' isn't even worth worrying about when you're fessing up to just your bedmate anyway. If your partner is a decent person (and decent partners are the only ones worth even having) they won't care. Treat intimacy and sex like a fun adventure you're both embarking on, rather than a steep mountain of Expectations. I was an older virgin (mid-late 20s), never even fooled around much, but my partners have all had much more experience than I did. So I was just like, "yo I'm kinda new at this, let's take it slow and have a laugh". And we did. Had fun exploring what worked for each of us and what didn't. It was just No Big Deal.

  40. Proven wrong for you, I mean. A good part of the world is going about its business proving them wrong in general every day.

  41. Gentleman Johnny says:

    Last thought on this. I guess what I'm trying to say, Moose, is nothing I haven't said to you before. You have this idea about how the world is. Assholes get more girls. Virgins are the subject of derision and scorn. People will hurt you if given the chance.

    Your priorities in order seem to be not giving people a chance to disappoint you and having sex one time (achievement unlocked). You give the impression that if you could avoid people completely after this, you'd be just fine with that.

    So right now, the things you're willing to take a stand for are:
    your right to be an asshole, despite the fact that you're too down on yourself to make an approach at all, let alone go in and try to be a fake alpha bully,
    the fact that no one would want to have sex with you EVAR if you tried being honest about yourself,
    that relationships aren't worth the effort because people just let you down.

    Do you really want those things to be the defining points of your personality? If you do, that's fine. If you've already decided that relationships are never going to work and sex is just an achievement to unlock, pay a hooker and be done with it. Stick to the Interwebs for social interaction, where you never have to expose the real you and can deal with criticism without witnesses. I will never try to talk you out of it again.

    If that's not what you want, the first thing to do is recognize that this is your choice. You've chosen to take these as your assumptions about the world and to expend your limited resources fighting against contrary evidence in an effort to keep them true. As long as they're true to you, because they're not universally true, your experiences will confirm them and your actions will be shaped by them. If you want different results, you need a different approach.

  42. I have a very long question about clothing (and how my brother is driving me nuts) that I will be submitting to you Dr. in a few weeks, when I am done school.

  43. Good list, but I can't believe you didn't mention getting in shape. Not just for vanity purposes (though this is an article about vanity, some I'm not sure what the deal is), but also for health, energy, and confidence reasons. Just like a proper diet, proper exercise changes the way you FEEL.

    A good hour of cardio 3 times a week can do wonders for depression and anxiety issues. Speaking as someone who has struggled with both. You'll also just have more energy and generally feel happier and more outgoing. Exercise definitely helps in the looks department, but the improvements to your energy and mood are even more important, IMO.

  44. AngelCakes says:

    I can attest to the effect yoga has on posture. After my first week of doing it slouching became really uncomfortable. I still slouch at times, but it’s not as pronounced and I can’t maintain it for very long. It’s just more comfortable to sit and stand up straight now.

  45. frikijdm says:

    Step 6 could easily be: Get out more and meet new people. :)

  46. v3rmili0n says:

    Give people half of a normal banana and half of an organic banana without telling them which is which and observe the "night and day difference."

    Better yet, cut one non-organic banana in half and give it to someone, telling them that one half is from an organic banana and one isn't.

    Observe that night and day difference -.-

    It's sort of like giving someone two glasses of tap water and telling them one is a from a secret Japanese holy mountain spring and triple distilled for purity or whatever bullshit you want to make up and watching them marvel at the night and day difference they're completely imagining -.-

  47. It’s an amazing piece of writing designed for all the online people; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

  48. I tried Googling local tailors and got nothing.

    I tend to wear the smallest sizes I can get away with (I hate loose clothes), and there's not much adjusting that can be done if there's just not enough material there.

  49. ashleywills says:

    I'm with you on a lot here, but the beard advice – shave just below the jawline – naw, nice try but this is definitely personal preference on your behalf. Keeping the neckbeard (providing it's not too insane) is my preference and I've always thought that shaving the neck but keeping hair on the face looked naff. Especially when it's freshly shaved. The contrast is striking up close and visually off putting.


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