Building Attraction: Which Matters More, Looks or Personality?

There’s a lot of debate about building attraction when it comes to dating. One of the perennial debates is whether looks make a bigger difference than, say, one’s personality. It’s the Star Wars vs. Star Trek debates as both sides try to convince the rest of the world that the other are shallow homonculi or people deluding themselves about their chances.

Except, as it turns out, there’s actually an answer. One backed by science, in fact.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s a generally accepted truth that people who are conventionally physically attractive have an advantage when it comes to dating.

"Actually, it's a major inconvenience. You have no idea how troublesome it is having to handle women throwing themselves at me all the time."

“Actually, it’s a major inconvenience. You have no idea how troublesome it is having to handle women throwing themselves at me all the time.”

Not only do visual signs of health – clear skin, facial symmetry, etc. – stir certain instincts in us all but attractive people also benefit from the halo effect. Because they’re good looking, they’re also seen as being more trustworthy, kinder and smarter – all very attractive traits to have. And by virtue of being more attractive, they tend to have more attractive girlfriends and wives – after all, people tend to date other people at their “level” of attractiveness, no?

One would assume that the plain, even homely, people out there are for all intents and purposes, shit out of luck. If you’re not blessed with Tyson Beckford’s smile, Ryan Gosling’s dreamy eyes and Brad Pitt’s abs, you may as well just hope to find someone who’s willing to put up with you in order to avoid a life of desperate loneliness, right?

Well… not so much as it turns out.

In fact, the attractiveness of physical looks changes rather drastically over time. While being stunningly good looking helps with initial impressions, its value levels off very quickly and becomes much less important over the long term while other factors increase dramatically. While good looks certainly help, science has found that desirability and building attraction is about more than appearance.

So if you’re not the best looking man around, let’s talk a little about how one goes about building attraction over time.

Good Looks Vs. Personality

In evo-psych circles, a lot is made out of one’s “mating value” : that is, the aspects of attraction which are intrinsically based on certain favorable traits. Some, like financial success or social status, help ensure that any child will be raised successfully to adulthood. Others, like physical attractiveness and athleticism, are inheritable traits that help assure the child’s own reproductive success.

Except science has shown that this isn’t strictly true. In fact, UT Austin researchers Paul Eastwick and Lucy Hunt have found that it’s uniqueness that defines attractiveness over time rather than just looks or charisma. In their paper, Relational Mate Value: Consensus and Uniqueness in Romantic Evaluations, Eastwick and Hunt found that over time, who we consider attractive changes – people we may have seen as “alright” at first become far more appealing to us while people who are hot as a four alarm fire at first actually find that their advantages decline in importance.

In their paper, Eastwick and Hunt point out that in general, people tend to form a relatively uniform consensus1 about somebody’s appeal fairly quickly. For example: people would generally agree that Channing Tatum is a good-looking, charming guy for a potato. Jonah Hill is somewhat less so while Steve Buscemi is considerably less physically attractive.

A very charming 'tater indeed.

A very charming ‘tater indeed.

Based on these initial impressions, you would think that Tatum would be hands down the winner in any romantic contest, while Hill and Buscemi would be left to fight for the scraps of affection from any woman willing to have them like a pair of lonely methed-up gibbons with knives strapped to their arms. Except that’s not how relationships are formed. In fact, very very few people (between 6% – 11%)  fall in love at first sight or form a romantic relationship with someone they’ve recently met. In fact, a large proportion people in relationships or ongoing friends-with-benefits arrangements tend to have known each other for quite some time, from months to years.

Plus – as many people will no doubt rush to point out in the comments – they would much rather be with the scintillating (if less classically handsome) Jonah Hill or the talented Steve Buscemi than Mr. Tatum, no matter how good he looks shirtless and buttered up like an ear of corn… which is precisely where that “uniqueness” factor comes in. Someone – many people, really – may think that Channing Tatum is good looking but dull as a brick, while Jonah Hill can consistently make her laugh and feel good about herself. Other people may find Hill’s humor grating and prefer Steve Buscemi’s understated talent and presence.

So when you put the “traditionally attractive” traits in competition with “uniqueness”, which wins out?

In their piece in the New York Times Eastwick and Hunt write:

For one of our studies, we recruited 129 heterosexual individuals across several small undergraduate classes. These individuals indicated, at both the beginning and the end of the semester, the extent to which the opposite-sex students in their class possessed a set of desirable qualities. We found that consensus dropped and uniqueness increased as these students got to know one another over time. After three months, uniqueness dominated consensus for all desirable qualities: attractiveness, vitality, warmth, potential for success and even the ability to provide a satisfying romantic relationship.

(Emphasis mine.)

In fact, amongst people who know us well, that consensus on whether someone was attractive or not disappears entirely.

In a related study of approximately 350 heterosexual individuals, we collected these same measures in networks of opposite-sex friends, acquaintances and partners. Among these well-acquainted individuals, consensus on measures of mate value was nearly zero.

What happened? Well, as many people will tell you: getting to know somebody over time makes them more attractive to you. Yes, there will always be people who are able to leverage looks for a short-term advantage, but in the long run, it’s getting to know someone that ultimately makes them more attractive.

Now, let’s talk about why that is, and how playing up what makes you you is important when it comes to building attraction.

How Personality Wins Out When Building Attraction

So why is it that people who may not necessarily push our buttons right off the bat become much more attractive to us? It’s something simple, actually. This is because of a psychological quirk that marketers have long exploited: the Exposure Effect. When you’re exposed to something repeatedly, you tend to develop a taste for it. It becomes preferable to you because it’s familiar. This is why that annoying earworm you heard on the radio goes from being a mind-numbing “GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD” terror to a guilty pleasure to something you find yourself grooving to… sometimes within the span of days.

The Exposure Effect works on humans too; increased familiarity with somebody can make them seem more likable and pleasing. In fact, studies have shown that the more two people interact in a face-to-face setting, the more attracted they feel to one another… as many a person who’s found themselves interested in their best friend (or their best friend’s sibling, for that matter) can tell you. Attraction, after all, is about more than looks. It’s about how someone makes you feel. This is known as the Reward Theory of Attraction: the more somebody’s presence makes us feel good, the more we prioritize that relationship. We associate those feelings with that person and develop a new appreciation for them, a fondness for the things that make them uniquely them. This is why the way the way somebody wrinkles their nose when they laugh can make your heart race, even if they’re not objectively beautiful, while a gorgeous woman can leave us feeling cold.

Objective beauty doesn’t necessarily win out in the long run: because the way we feel about people changes how we perceive them.


Exposure alone doesn’t automatically mean that two people are going to fall in love. After all, anyone – and I’m including myself in this – who’s played the Platonic Best Friend Backdoor Gambit has their tale of woe for being trapped “in the Friend Zone”.  Nice GuysTM try this all the time only to fail when women see through their agenda. Exposure doesn’t magically make love happen, it enhances the dominant emotion someone feels for you. If someone finds you kind of annoying, repeated exposure only serves to reinforce this. If someone things you’re cool however, getting to know you over time, building attraction, makes them much more likely to be interested.

If you want to level the playing field when it comes to attraction, you don’t want to just hang around in hopes of breaking someone’s resistance down (also: ew). You want to let people – whether friends in your social circle, classmates, coworkers or fellow regulars at your favorite bar – get to know the awesome person you are. How do you do this? Well to start with:

Nail The First Impression

There really can be no underestimating the power of a first impression. Getting off on the wrong foot with somebody – say, being rude and dismissive to someone – can affect how somebody will see you for years to come. This is why you want to make as strong and as positive a first impression on somebody as possible. This is why to start with, you want to dress well. Clothes do make the man after all; wearing flattering, well-fitting clothes goes a very long way to creating a positive impression of you. It tells other people that you put the effort in to take care of yourself and that you have confidence.

And showing that confidence is also key. Confidence, after all, is sexy, and being able to show it (even if you don’t feel it) makes you more intriguing and appealing to others. Making strong (but not too strong) eye contact, standing upright with your shoulders back and demonstrating relaxed body language all show that you’re confident in yourself and in the value that you have to offer other people. Shrinking away from somebody or folding in on yourself tells the other person that you don’t believe you have anything about yourself of value or interest… and believe me, most people are going to take you at your word.

"I guess it's nice to meet you. But it's not like you're going to like me anyway. Nobody does."

“I guess it’s nice to meet you. But it’s not like you’re going to like me anyway. Nobody does.”

All of this ties into the most important part of making a good first impression: bring the positive energy. We instinctively like people who like us, after all. We can’t help it. By being warm and friendly, showing the other person that we’re interested in them and genuinely pleased to meet them, we make them want to spend more time around us. The best first impression that you can leave someone with is that you’re a cool person who thinks that they’re cool too.

Bring The Fun

If you want people to get to know you – and thus see how awesome you are – then you have to be someone they want to spend time with. Which means you want to be someone who’s fun. Fun, after all, is the most attractive trait someone can have – more than looks, more than money or status or popularity. Being fun is one of the easiest ways to tap into the Reward Theory of Gratification. To give an example: one of the sex-gettingest men I know is short and stocky… but he’s also easily one of the funniest people on the face of the planet. He has a lightning-fast wit and always has a story on hand and a joke ready to go. Whenever we’re at a party, he’s the center of attention because people love talking to him. We all want to hang around and spend more time with him because hey, he’s an awesome guy and makes us all laugh.

And he gets sex (and dates and relationships) the way cheese gets mice. Even the people who aren’t into him right off the bat warm up to him fairly quickly. He may not be their type at first, but they love spending time with him and he grows on them.

Now think about the people in your life – your co-workers, your classmates, your social circle – all of them.  Most of the people we know are more or less nondescript. They’re nice enough people, don’t get me wrong but just… kind of there. They’re pleasant. They’re non-memorable. But we all have those few friends who stand out. They’re the ones who make us laugh or who always have the best stories. They’re the ones who are always doing cool, exciting things and make us want to do cool and exciting things with themThey’re passionate. They’re alive. They’re just fun. 

Now which group of people would you want to be spending more time with? The pleasant-but-kind-of-dull ones? Or the ones who liven up a room and make you feel good?

"So... anyone up for that documentary on the highway system?"

“So… anyone up for that Ken Burns documentary on the highway system?”

Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that in order to win people over you have to constantly be playing the dancing monkey and always putting on a performance. Nobody can be “on” 24-7, and being around the ones who try gets exhausting.

Just try imagining being with Robin Williams in his mountains-o'-coke days...

Just try imagining being with Robin Williams in his mountains-o’-coke days…

You just want to be someone who’s fun to be around in general. You’re a cool person, not the entertainment director.

Building Attraction By Playing The Long Game

A lot of people get caught up in the idea of instant attraction; they believe that in order to be successful in love, they have to be someone that people immediately fall for. Someone who can just walk into a place, charm the room and walk out with a lady or two (or three) on their arm.

Sorta like this.

So basically Tony Stark…

The idea of being that person, the “love at first sight” guy, is so pervasive that many people think that if they can’t be him, then they’re doomed to a life of Forever Alone.

But relationships don’t work like that.

Relationships that form quickly – the “love at first sight” kind – burn out quickly as well. They’re formed on surface impressions – physical looks, superficial charm, etc. – and that attraction fades as the couple gets to know each other better. This is why high school is so often a rolling morass of relationships, with couples getting together and breaking up seemingly within days, if not weeks: they’re falling in limerence with the surface, not the core and the appeal vanishes quickly.

Playing the long game, however, means letting things build. It’s the slow simmer rather than the fast boil, the gradual building of true attraction. Most relationships, especially ones that are going to last, are built over time. Building attraction is a process, and when it works, it’s magic. There’s nothing quite like that realization of a newfound desire or realizing that somebody is suddenly incredibly hot.

Yes, people who are conventionally good looking have the initial advantage. But by being someone worth knowing, someone that people want to be around and spend time with… as they get to know you, they’ll begin to realize just how attractive you actually are.


  1. Operative word: relatively. You’re pretty much never going to get  100% agreement on any subject []

  • GuestoftheGuest

    *waits for the usual suspects to bemoan their looks anyways in the comments*

    • _Shifter

      Which sadly, the mistake is actually not their physicality, but their opinion of it, that makes them not look attractive.

      I actually found this "building attraction" out (saying I don't consider myself "attractive" according to general view) when I tried BEING more positive (being pessimistic, trying to think of things more realistic, mixing both positive and negative when need be).
      I suddenly found out that people saw me differently, looked at me differently; less negative, or more positive, depending on your glass.

      • devicat26

        I have popcorn

    • Okay, I get the temptation and even the necessity of poking fun at trolls or as a way to vent frustration when it seems you're just spinning your wheels with someone you're trying to help, but…. come on, this kind of preemptive mockery is just not cool. Yeah, some of us are annoying and frustrating, but we're taking about insecurities that effect us in a real and very profound way. Would you enjoy it if you were talking about your deepest (and perhaps irrational, but show me an insecurity that isn't in some way irrational) insecurity in a place that's supposed to be about helping that insecurity, and people insisted on laughing at you and poking you with sticks because you're not over it fast enough for their tastes? I mean, solving this kind of stuff takes time, support (like, oh, say a community build around giving dating and social advice), knowledge, and a good deal of luck and fortitude. You probably WILL see the usual suspects because no body solves their personality problems in a matter of a few blog posts.

      Call out the trolls when they're trolling and all that, but sitting back with a "Ho, ho, let us laugh at those who are not as enlightened and mature as we are because they haven't magically fixed their deepest emotional scars!" just comes across as kinda mean. Yet he who solved all of his emotional flaws without long-term work and support throw the first stone.

      • enail0_o

        Marty, please put this on your list of Why You Are Awesome.

        • … I'm not sure that being unpopular and telling other people they're mean is a very good candidate for Awesome Traits? (I wrote the above preparing for many, many down votes, but decided it was worth saying, even if nobody was going to listen to One of the Usual Suspects.)

          • Kathleen Henry

            It's an Awesome Trait precisely because it was worth saying. As a community, we like to think of ourselves as compassionate and helpful, but pre-emptive mockery is not either of those things. It needed to be said, and braving the (almost certain) negative reaction *is* an Awesome Thing that is indicative of an Awesome Trait.

          • But if something in Unpopular, how can it also be Awesome?

            Now I know media (books, movies, TV shows) has beat it into our collective cultural brain space that if you are spouting the rebellious or "unpopular" view point, you are obviously The Hero and righteously correct, but I think most of us realize that isn't how things actually function in the real world. Hell, a lot of nerd-centric problems could probably be traced to the idea that being unpopular automatically means everything you believe/think is right.

            So, if it's an unpopular opinion, doesn't that mean it is something that is wrong, or at the very least, something not shared by a wider community? (I frequently voice unpopular opinions despite knowing people will hate me for it, cause, hell, they hate me already *anyway*, not because I actually think I am Righteous or have an awesome opinion.)

          • eselle28

            I'm going to go in reverse and take an example of someone I know who's very popular in a certain crowd…and who's also very prone to making bigoted remarks and to assuming her religious beliefs are shared by everyone. Does the fact that she's popular with certain people make her opinions awesome? How does that square with the fact that she'd be remarkably unpopular if she had different peers, and close to unemployable if she lived in certain areas of the country?

            That's a fairly extreme example, but I think there are cases where someone is unfairly maligned, and considerably more where it's a matter of tastes varying. That doesn't mean it's not worth it for people to consider that it may be them, of course.

          • Joy

            "Women should be allowed to vote" was once a very unpopular opinion. The rightness of an idea and its popularity are two different things entirely. An idea can be both popular and right, neither popular nor right, or one but not the other.

          • enail0_o

            I have a great deal of respect for people who will stand up for what they believe is right in the face of disagreement, embarrassment or unpopularity, especially when it's to defend someone they think is being treated unkindly.

            Of course, if what they believe is something I think is terrible, that tends to counteract it, so there isn't a hard-and-fast rule here. But I still would have a certain amount of respect for their courage and integrity.

          • Kylroy

            Even if you're One of the Usual Suspects (not Kevin Spacey, I hope), you are genuinely interested in hearing people's answers; most of the Usual Suspects are just looking for confirmation that they're Forever Alone no matter what DNL is saying.

            This community is pretty good at listening to what you have to say, even if it's unpopular, as long as you will listen in return.

          • kath

            But if she were that Usual Suspect, that would also contribute to her Why She Is Awesome list 🙂

      • Jenn

        But at the same time it does get tiring when you feel like you're shouting into the darkness. And as awesome as I think this community is I also think it can't offer the help that some people need. And that in some case the people here don't want help they just want reaffirm they're own beliefs even if those beliefs are misguided.

    • WaywardSon01

      I admit I still have issues with my looks…but that's really my problem and I hope by the time I'm ready to put myself out there that I won't let it sink me if it's not gonna sink me with the lady in question right off the bat. And if it does, well, it is what it is, hopefully I won't scare away the next woman that catches my fancy :p.

      And of course, little by little I'm trying to do things to make myself look better. *Sings* [I'll] do what's necessary 'cause/even a miracle needs a hand.

  • Okay, now here's my nit-pick about personality and fun: the argument seems to go that building attraction (whether platonic or romantic) through personality is a better bet than looks because we supposedly have better control over our personality. But is changing your personality really a more attainable goal than changing your looks? My own personal survey says: Nope!

    The problem I run into is that when trying to embrace the "fun" in my personality, I just come across as…. fake. Telling stories make me come across as hogging attention and thinking "too much" of myself. Making other people laugh, due to my sense of humor, comes across as usually deeply inappropriate. Hell, trying to get a word in edgewise among folks makes me come across as pushy and too-talkative.

    It's the same old kernel that we always come back to with self-improvement; if you know you're doing something wrong, but have no idea how to fix it, then what? People find my "real" personality annoying or boring (or some combination of the three), but my "trying to improve" personality comes across as trying *way* too hard and ending up annoying anyway, just for very different reasons.

    Also, how do you let romantic/platonic attraction "slow boil" when in most social situations, you only get one real shot at connection? Unless you keep getting tossed into the same social scene through some other forced means (work, a class, a shared hobby) the chances of meeting the exact same people again so you can continue to show them how awesome you are, are very slim. Either they have to seek you out to build something, or you have to seek them out… and you seeking them out doesn't work if your impression on them wasn't impressive enough the first time around.

    What if, in order to get people to like you, you have to change your personality…. but changing your personality means you come across as fake and disingenuous? Then what?

    (Should also be mentioned: the whole "Personality Over Looks" thing seems to be a cultural belief that's applied strictly to men. Ladies, culture says, you better have both! It is no longer just enough to be hot-you have to be hot AND awesome! The gender-swapped scene of Amy Pond would be played for laughs, not emotional relevance, and man does that burn my toast.)

    • Kathleen

      Marty, can I ask what makes you think that you come across as fake, or attention hogging, or pushy, etc? If it's your friends…. well, you've mentioned on occasion that your circle of friends is quite toxic, so if that's the case, (and were I you) I would be very hesitant to accept their perceptions of who I am, because they don't really have my best interests at heart. I know how attractive and cathartic a "it's true because it's painful" outlook can be, but sometimes perceptions of ourselves are painful /and wrong/.
      Take it from someone who's brother used to make her feel awful no matter what she said… which lead to her deciding that she talked too much, and she should just stop. It took a long time to realize that it wasn't me, but my brother who was the problem. He can't handle dialogue, only argument (that he must win, otherwise he's crap).

      Of course, I'm not trying to sell you the idea that personal change is easy. It's really difficult even with professional help – even more difficult than changing your appearance, professional help or no. But the point of "changing" your personality is that the change is not faked. It would *be* your new personality that people see.

      (You're absolutely right about "personality over looks' being male-gendered, although I would say that for women, personality is – in some circles; trophy wives, mistresses, models, etc – optional compared to looks. Of course, when that's the case, it's not exactly a 'whole being' approach to the relationship)

      • "But the point of "changing" your personality is that the change is not faked. It would *be* your new personality that people see."

        Well that goes back to the fundamental question of SHOULD you change, just to get people to like you. And where exactly you draw that boundary on what to change and how much. For example, I'm sure a hell of a lot more people would like me if I gave them my entire paycheck and hand-delivered lunch to them every day, but the advantage of them liking me doesn't out weight the cost of changing myself.

        I think I come across as fake, attention hogging and pushy cause that's usually what people tell me, or how they respond to me. Their body language, their facial expressions, or the way they snap to someone else in the conversation seems to suggest strongly I have walked over some kind of social line.

        I get the impression of attention-hogging, for example, because when telling a story, no matter how short I keep it, people interrupt, or immediately jump the conversation to someone else (themselves, other people in the convo) the nanosecond I'm done. They don't ask questions, or come back later for more stories. That's part of why I also think I come across as pushy… I really have to force myself in any conversation that isn't one-on-one. People talk over, interrupt, or forget me unless I am actively shoving my way in.

        And as far as fake, that's more of a guess, but that's how I feel whenever I'm engaged in a conversation I have no footing in (which is a lot of em.) Like, say, a group of coworkers standing around talking about IPA's or stouts or something, I either sit there silently, force my way in to ask questions (which isn't always enjoyable for people who just want to chat, not educate), and if I try to join in, I give myself away entirely by clearly having no frakking clue what I'm talking about. ("IPAs are too hoppy for my tastes." "Uh, IPA's aren't hoppy at all?…")

        • Kathleen Henry

          It sounds like your social circles aren't a good fit for you, then. Which necessarily anyone's fault, to be clear. Just because you don't have a lot in common with them, or the topics you are knowledgable about are not the same as the ones they're knowledgeable about doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with you, or with them. The problem I have is that if your social circles putting you down, then they are not a good social circle to have, whether the source of those put downs is their own issues, or a lack of distance. Again, I'd think *really* hard (okay, I think I understated this last time) hard about forming my opinions of myself based on what they say. For example, what the cause of their 'immediately move onto other topics' behaviour isn't that you are attention-hogging, but that they are comfortable with a dynamic in which they can expend their energy on other people because they're comfortable neglecting your attention needs?
          It's all about perspective. And no (in case you were going to bring this up), there's no 'right' perspective. But it certainly seems like, whatever the cause, your social needs aren't being met in your relationships.
          As for changing for others to like you… I'm not so sure that "should I change so others will like me?" is the right question to ask. "Should I change to be happier with who I am?" is the right question. Obviously, in toxic situations, the answer answer can be hard to discern, but asking the right question is the first step. In my example, a "should l change to make people like me?" question would be, "should I only ever say things that [brother] cannot shoot down?" (Answer, gained through years of trying: No, because that's impossible, and tantamount to silence. Being 'forced' to be silent to avoid pain does not make me happy)
          The better question would be "Should I change how important [brother]'s opinion of me is to me?", or "What is really causing me pain here? Is it what I am saying, or is it the reaction? Is it possible to change what I'm saying to be less painful? Or is it more worthwhile to change how I am affected by the source of that pain?"
          Obviously, I'm simplifying, and obviously, change is really hard to come by, but in short, the line is where you draw it. You should use your happiness with who you are, and your happiness with your interactions with others (also known as "how's that working out for you?") as a measuring stick. And you can always redraw where the line between change and don't-change is 🙂

        • IPAs are totally hoppy! And anyone who is into beer should be thrilled to educate someone else, that's the best part of being into beer!!!

          I agree with the others in this thread, I think you just have really shitty friends. Your stories here are always interesting, and you give a lot of time and attention to other people's comments (showing that you are definitely NOT an attention hog) and you show an intense willingness to self-examine and make change – all signs of a good person.

          I had a controlling father and then a controlling boyfriend, and then two boyfriends after him that didn't like dealing with other people's emotions, so I was conditioned to think that no one ever wanted to hear about my feelings or have "talks" with me. I'm still working on overcoming this, thanks to some amazing friends and a new boyfriend who is 110% about communication. My point being that it wasn't that MY emotions were annoying, like I thought for so many years, it was just that the people I wanted to discuss them with weren't receptive to ANYONE'S. So, maybe you've been gaslighted, the way I was?

    • Mengsk

      "The problem I run into is that when trying to embrace the "fun" in my personality, I just come across as…. fake. Telling stories make me come across as hogging attention and thinking "too much" of myself. Making other people laugh, due to my sense of humor, comes across as usually deeply inappropriate. Hell, trying to get a word in edgewise among folks makes me come across as pushy and too-talkative. "

      I can be fun and charismatic, but it is really inconsistent. Sometimes it's really easy, and other times it feels really forced and uncomfortable. After a lot of really bad and embarrassing experiences trying to be social, I found it really helpful to think about the situations in which it felt easy and try to spend more time in those situations with those people.

      • enail0_o

        Good point! I'm the same way – I'm not good with people or bad with people, I'm just only good with the people I'm good with. And those are the people for me.

        Someone that makes you feel like your best self is probably someone to spend more time with. Someone you always come away from feeling awkward and kind of bad about yourself, probably not so much, even if it's not b/c of anything bad they're doing. There are great people who just don't happen to bring out the best in you.

        Of course, self-esteem can be a factor there too, so taking this idea too far could result in not being around anyone if your self-esteem is not so hot.

        • LTP_aka_TheWisp

          "Of course, self-esteem can be a factor there too, so taking this idea too far could result in not being around anyone if your self-esteem is not so hot. "

          I was about to take your comment as confirmation of my status of a man-like alien before this line 😛

          • enail0_o

            If being on this forum has taught me anything, it's that you have to consider the self-esteem factor in everything.

        • MapWater

          I'll put my hand up in being much the same myself.

          I used to think I was really terrible with people, but it seems to come in waves with me *and* depend on who I'm interacting with. Sure, there's A LOT of self-esteem issues to suss out still, but I can at least try and think positive, huh? As much as I used to disagree with it, fake it until you make it actually does seem to be working.

          It's a Socially Awkward Miracle!

          • kath

            Me too. I have situations in which I am great, and situations in which I am bad, and situations in which maybe no one notices, but I FEEL super awkward. Sometimes I feel like practicing at the situations I'm bad at, and sometimes I want to just be in my social element.

            Also I think faking it until you make it is great advice. I have done it in other areas (unconventional fashion) and people seem to just roll with it.

      • And sometimes it's not always about being the gregariously fun one. A person can be passively fun too. Among my two or three very best friends, I may be a boisterous one, but among larger groups, or those with whom I'm less familiar, I'm the quiet one. I'm the one who listens mostly, but can still pop out a zinger or two. People rarely forget about me, as I find other, non-verbal ways of staying in the conversation, and can be counted on to laugh at everyone's jokes. There are many small ways to convey a sense of 'funness' without acting like you popped out of a Jack-in-the-box. And if that's something that feels natural in social settings, go for it. It especially works with friends who have VERY large personalities. My husband's friend-set needed a 'passive fun' when I moved to LA (bunch of performers & comedians to the core), and I think having someone who wasn't competing for the best joke brought some balance to the group it needed.

    • Emily

      I disagree about men not going for personality over looks, but it's a different kind of personality. While I think women are more likely to be attracted to the guy at the center of the room, the person with energy that's the most fun, guys, on the other hand, are more likely to be won over by girls who are nice and supportive. Now, whether that's a good thing for women or not is a totally different conversation, as is the question of if a person can change to be more nice and supportive. But based on my experience (and messages in pop culture) the not-as-pretty girl can get the guy if she's supportive, nice, and friendly– the "girl next door."

      So, the gender-swapped version of the Any Pond quote is, in the eternal wisdom of Silent Bob, "You know, there's a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you."

      • Huzzah for the Clerks quote!

      • Incompetent

        In my experience, the 'alpha party animal' type (someone who is enthusiastic about everyone around them having fun and is good at organising events) attracts plenty of attention regardless of gender. In some cases, people like this seem to have an almost hypnotic ability to lead the crowd to their preferred social activities, and I'm sure sex appeal has something to do with this. It's difficult to tell though if the positive response is more due to it being an appealing personality type, perceived social status or simply visibility.

    • Brandon

      I definitely struggle with projecting the fun personality thing too. I'm taking a public speaking class right now and what I've been beginning to realize is the importance of engaging myself and to practice doing that by presenting to myself in the mirror. I know that might sound a little crazy, but it's helping me to see myself from a third person perspective. It's like if you were talking to you, trying to get your interest piqued and invest more time and energy what sort of expressions and body language, tone, would you use and what type of mindset would you be in? That mirror time is what is really helping me to harmonize all of that fun/engaging personality in a way that is genuinely confident and sincere. Basically, I'm starting to think what it comes down to is if you can't move, influence, or affect yourself in the message you're communicating, you won't be able to move influence, or affect others. It is pretty tricky developing that kind of self-awareness (which in turn develops into true self-confidence), but I think that's what makes or breaks you in terms of connecting with your audience of 1 or more people and being able to have more control over you social fate.

      • Ha, it's interesting you should bring up public speaking. Back in high school and college, I did a lot of public speaking/theater. Per instructions, I would practice in front of the mirror, and being my own audience, augment my performance so that I came across sympathetic/persuasive/calm, etc. But no matter what I did, any time I got up in front of coaches or judges, they would all think I was coming across as "bitchy." They would play back a video of me, and while what I was seeing would read as a certain emotion (fear) to me, it would read as something else (bitchiness!) to them.

        Finally they gave up, and started type-casting me as villains/the Tracy Flich speaker-archetype.

        Maybe the part of me that reads how other people come across is broken, since the body language/tone/energy that reads a certain way to me doesn't seem to read the same to everyone else?

        • Waddles

          Yeah, I think nervousness can manifest itself as aggression sometimes; you're overcompensating, snapping at people because you're tense, etc. People who are very comfortable in their environment probably don't need to be aggressive (although unsure what the cause and effect is in that). It's a hard thing to master, and takes practice, but certainly it's worth it as nothing turns me off someone faster than feeling tense around someone (not saying you were, of course, just an observation from my life). And of course, assertiveness is different; someone who talks a lot can be good, because they fill in awkward silences and can seem engaging and interesting, but also read the other person and dial back if they feel like the other person is pulling away mentally.

        • A person's fear and nervousness can totally translate to aggression to outside observers. I often notice no one ever actually looks as vulnerable as they feel, making the decisions they make from that nervousness look intentionally hostile. I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to find out many friends and classmates thought I was stuck-up throughout all of middle school. In my mind, I was protecting myself against everyone who wanted to make fun of me or bring me down. As a result, I read positive interactions as neutral and neutral actions as negative, and my behavior based out of fear was construed as arrogance to those who couldn't see inside my brain.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        One thing you might try is working backwards. Start from something that effects you already. What's the funniest thing that ever happened to you? Its going to be a lot easier to tell that story in an engaging manner.

        • celette482

          Or the most fun thing you've ever done. Some people have legit trouble picking out funny anecdotes about themselves. It's really an upper level communication skill to tell a funny story, because most of us just have normal, not comedic film days. Sure there are moments of hilarity, but they can be highly contextual. People who are skilled in storytelling can make those mundanities come alive. But it isn't easy.

          Instead, describe something you did that was *fun*.

          Otherwise, GJ is right, when you're describing something positive, it's easier to come across as positive.

        • Well that's the strange thing. I feel like I am telling pretty funny, positive stories. My "kooky Japan" stories are pretty great. But they just don't seem to… pop. People laugh, so it isn't like those scenes in movies where the only person laughing is the person who told they joke, but it's almost like… "obligatory laugh, quick, let's move on."

          Ugh, maybe it's useless to keep posting here. I just feel endlessly like I'm broken, or live in some parallel universe from everyone else. Everyone else seems to get this stuff, or at least how to fix this stuff, and I'm just spinning my wheels annoying everyone with my inane, useless posting.

          • Guest #2

            I don't know much about this, but what about some kind of dating/social coach who gives you feedback about how you come across, or even maybe group therapy for people with social difficulties?

          • Well I have talked with past therapists about fixing my social skills, but they never seem to think my social skills are, well, in need of fixing? Like I don't have social anxiety, or the inability to understand social rules in context, or the big hall marks of autism. It's like you have to identify what's wrong with me first in order to correct it (through therapy or other means), and no body quite knows how to diagnose me….

          • LTP_aka_TheWisp

            Could it be that you are just living in the wrong place and/or socializing with the wrong crowd?

          • Eh, it's happened so frequently and with such a wide demographic of folks, I'm pretty sure I'm the problem.

          • Kathleen Henry

            I sympathize with the feeling :/ I do hope you keep trying to make new friends and/or social circle, though. From what you've said of them, they don't sound like 'good' friends.

          • I dunno, they'd probably all tell you I'm the bitch. 😛

          • Kathleen Henry

            lol And that would be their opinion. You certainly don't come across as a b*tch here (hate that word :/), nor do you come across as attention-hogging or fake, or annoying or boring. So the question is, if I find you to be a person who frequently makes me think about aspects and facets of an issue that I probably would not have considered before (a trait that I find stimulating and enjoyable) and your friends say you're a b*tch, who's right?Them or my lying subjective opinion lol?

          • Blurgle

            Do the corners of your mouth droop when your face is at rest? When you smile, do they move outwards and not up?

            I have this, and it's been identified as the reason some people automatically assume I'm a bitch, without my even opening my mouth.

            And sadly that's one facial feature that isn't amenable to plastic surgery. It's related to the location of certain muscle attachment points.

          • MapWater

            I have this problem. Down-set corners of the mouth and a stilted smile unless I bare my teeth.

            Coupled with the fact to furrow my brow, I think I give off a less than friendly vibe.

          • Ethyl

            I think we've talked about this before but is it possible that your interpretations of other peoples' reactions are wrong? A lot of times depression and anxiety like to convince us that we know some kind of real and painful capital-T Truth that nobody else sees, but that's just their defense mechanism because if we realized how much they were twisting up what we saw and heard, we'd tell them to GTFO.

          • fuzzilla

            FWIW, I had great results in group therapy w/r/t how I come across and affect people – more importantly, I came away with a great *understanding* of the nuts and bolts and whys and why nots of human interaction (as opposed to just practicing some mannerisms for social success).

          • ajamjar

            Same, fuzzilla.

            And, although we're on-line and can't see each other's expressions or body language, I think the comment section can work in a similar way. If someone isn't relating to people here or is getting a bad reaction, it sometimes says more about them than the problem they think they have. Chances are what happens here is happening in real life, too – only people don't tend to tell you they're offended or turned off in real life; they just avoid talking to you.

          • LTP_aka_TheWisp

            Totally, I've learned (and am learning) a lot about myself just by posting here.

    • Waddles

      I actually have a problem with Moffat's shows and gender in general; it's fairly subtle, but it does treat its smart, powerful female characters quite badly (along with Watson's mumbled homophobia); the story usually comes down to them accepting the widsom and authority of the male protagonist. You could argue that Dr Who and Sherlock are both austere, distant figures who are always supposed to be right, but I gather Elementary plays Holmes without making them an a-hole. I'm not saying that people shouldn't watch or enjoy the shows (or that it's not indicative of gender issues in the TV/film industry as a whole), just that I'm not entirely surprised if a gender-swap would show a male character in a more favourable light.

      • eselle28

        Ugh, the Irene episodes. Just ugh. I like most of the rest of Sherlock, but it's not completely without problems.

        • Waddles

          Yeah, the shows are mostly fun to watch, it's just a few things that didn't sit right after extended exposure to them that soured me on watching the rest. In any case, I suspect I'd just be disappointed that the next Doctor isn't going to be like this: (warning: whole lotta swears)

          (For the people who don't get that, Peter Capaldi used to be in The Thick of It as a sweary spin doctor, which is the show that Armando Iannucci dropped to go work on Veep, and it's very, very good).

          • Waddles

            Ooh yeah, forgot, Capaldi also rules in Children of Earth, which was an excellent Torchwood miniseries and well worth digging up, even if the Torchwood bits are the weakest part of it.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Elementary falls into the opposite and more common trap of "men are logical, women are emotional". Holmes is always right about things that can be solved by science, reason or logic but Watson (the woman) is the one with a capacity for empathy and compassion. Holmes's emotional range absent Watson's interference is cold indifference, cold hostility and cold rage. Then again, I haven't watched it since the Irene. . .er. . .Moriarity episode.

        • fakely_mctest

          Eh, I have no particular dog in the Sherlock v. Elementary debate — watch the latter, no interest in the former (Without a Clue gets not enough love for my liking) — but I think the writers have done a really excellent job in showing Watson's increasing detecting abilities as well as offering glimpses into Holmes's emotional side (as much as he tries to pretend he doesn't have one) as well as doing some major work on the "your asshole actions have direct and devastating consequences" front.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I really like both but I feel like any comparison is apples to chainsaws.

          • enail0_o

            This! They have very different goals, strengths and weaknesses.

        • LeeEsq

          Thats really different from the original Holmes. In the novels, Holmes could be really lacking in relatively common knowledge and scientific facts if he didn't think it was relevant to his vocation as a consulting detective.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Eh, sort of. He monologues on not knowing that the earth revolves around the sun but comes back in the same story knowing plenty about astronomy. More like he deliberately overstates his ignorance to make a point.

          • LeeEsq

            Thats a more likely interpretation.

      • LeeEsq

        The original Sherlock Holmes was something of an asshole but Dr. Watson roughed out the edges a little. The Jeremy Brett adaptations from the 1980s are the most true to Holmes' characterization in the books.

        • +100000000000

          Also, Jeremy Brett as Holmes is another "don't swoon for the actor, don't swoon for the character, but oh lord the combo" for me.

          • Ethyl

            Yes. Oh lord.

    • AstralDazzle

      Do you know what exactly people consider "deeply inappropriate?" And is that something you can tone down or eliminate? For example with some people I know, one or two funny self-deprecating comments or snarky comments about celeb gossip or current events is funny, but after that the self-deprecation or snarkiness is off-putting *to me* (most seem to find friends with similar senses of humor and to do fine in the sex, love, and marriage, dept…although not necessarily the kind of relationships I'd want).

      Or, explicit joking about sex and sexuality among friends I know well is fine and funny to me; making fun of a previous partner or a casual/professional acquaintance insinuating how I would be in bed is not.

      In other cases,the humor seems to be a cover for testing boundaries (this doesn't sound like what you're doing but I throw it out there for contrast–and venting!). For example, I went on date with someone who has a big personality, and that was't an issue. I didn't find myself all that attracted and I didn't really respond to escalation of touch or extending the date, but I did enjoy our conversation and wasn't in a hurry to leave. We went out a second time, and pretty much everything out of his mouth was inappropriate. The following details have been changed, but the sentiment is the same: telling the couple next to us at the bar that later we were going to get a hotel room and shoot up heroin; asking me to convince him he didn't objectify people after a story he told; telling me I really didn't have indigestion from the spicy food I ate (gaslighting ya think?). I mean he did this all in "Ha! Ha! I'm so charismatic and blunt and open-minded" way that I'm sure he thought it was funny, but couldn't he see that I was not laughing? I worried he'd blame my fade on anything other than the inappropriateness, not knowing that I also had cut contact with someone I was already super attracted to for making similar types of disturbing statements.

    • Glory

      I think it is less about trying to be a generic or cliche type of fun, but rather about not being afraid to open up and share yourself. Everyone gets excited about *something*. Everyone has passions and things that nake them laugh and they find fun. “Being fun” socially means being able to express and communicate those things clearly and letting other people into that part of yoyr life.
      it may seem awkward or unnatural at first if you’re usually more reserved, but that changes with practice. Either way, it isn’t fake–it’s really allowing others to see more of who you really are.

      • LTP_aka_TheWisp

        I like this way of framing it. I am very reserved, and so I've always felt like that I'm just inherently not fun. But I think you're right, it's about being open about expressing yourself.

    • Stardrake

      As a gynosexual male…

      I've HAD the Pond scene a few times, and every woman I've been seriously attracted to since, oh, year 10* has been a case – girls and women that the first time I met them I didn't really notice, but over months and years of getting to know them I came to realise that they were actually made of undiluted awesome, and physical attraction built from there as I came to notice their better features that were not apparent on the first meeting.

      Now, I've noticed for a lot of that time that my attraction pattern is not the same as is supposed to be typical for men, although I don't know how much that is because it's actually atypical, and how much it's just that the cultural belief is that men (should?) only go for the physically hottest women. However, while I think physical appearance probably is more important for how much a man will be attracted to a woman than vice versa, I suspect the gap is actually smaller than a lot of people think – and may largely be explained by women having less cultural pressure to go for only the hottest partners.

      *With the exception of the relationship that started online, where I didn't even know what she actually looked like until personality-based attraction had already built, and for some time even then all I had was an unflattering photo that it later turned out she was deliberately using to screen out people who might be just interested in her looks.

    • For me I just write down most of my thought process. For example. If you sent me a message saying hi I was would. "Oh Hello, How are you?" or When someone Ask you how your day you can write back "Well, its was interesting I met some cool people,,, my air conditioning is on too much, so I'm a bit cold, How are you?"

      Well, just remember if you change your personality then slowly change it to who you are while you get to know someone, thats the test. Some can deal with it while others can't.
      2 For seeking out its more write with your personality in your words, you win some/ lose some but just try to be perceptive about other peoples current and future and past state and comment on it. For example if you notice last week was sneezing the whole time and this week they seem fine you could say "I noticed last week you seem sick, but you look like your all recovered". Thats a good and okay way to start a conversation. Pick one or two people to observed that you think you might be able to get along with and try to learn how they are feeling by how they hold themselves.
      Well looks is one thing but being able to make a conversation go smoothly is another.

      Hope this helps, CK

    • I strongly disagree with the article above, personally I believe that there is no such thing as being attracted to someone because of their personality; and I can back down my belief with proof. Humans are made to to be attracted to appearance, I personally believe if a female or male comes up to you and tells you that they are attracted to your personality, character, and the way you do things; they are a complete lie. There not a complete lie because their lying on purpose; they are a complete lie because they don't understand what they are attracted to, they think they are attracted to your personality or character but truth is that's not really what attracts them to you. It's like me going to a jewelry store to look at watches, I'm not going to sit there and look at the the ugliest watch in the store; I'm going to go and buy the best looking watch there because of appearance to how good the and detailed the watch looks not because of how quietly it ticks. Basically what I'm trying to say is that it's in humans genes to be attracted to appearance not personality. Someone can have the most perfect personality that you feel fits you, but if they are ugly asf there is a possibility you will move on. This my personal belief; I'm not saying I'm right because anyone can be wrong, but it's just what I believe until someone proves me wrong.

      • One_True_Guest

        I'm not sure what to say to you man. You seem to be willing to be proven wrong and willing to say you might not be right, but at the same time you completely dismiss a scientific study that backs up the whole people do fall for personality thing based on the fact that you don't. So . . . I'm not sure what can convince you nor who could possibly prove you wrong.

        You do you. You believe what you want to believe. And quite frankly if you are not attracted to personality but only to looks that's totally cool. But I mean. . . you are wrong in the general. You just read an article with actual facts that explained as much. Not much more anyone can say to you on the subject.

      • thathat

        I can back down my belief with proof.

        Would you really? Because:

        I personally believe if a female or male comes up to you and tells you that they are attracted to your personality, character, and the way you do things; they are a complete lie

        Seems to indicate that no, you won't. That you'll just dismiss people's lived experiences and personal statements about what they're attracted to if it doesn't gel with whatever you already believe.

        So your idea of "proof" must be something like running wires through people's brains to completely, mathematically demonstrate that you're wrong.

        It's also pretty awful to compare complex, nuanced people with inanimate goods that you purchase. I mean, look, if YOU only care about appearance, that's fine, you do you. But there's, like a whole host of people (including, say, asexuals and gray-aces/demisexuals) who don't feel that way.

        It's like you're partially colorblind and refusing to believe in Green because you personally don't perceive it.

  • Guest #2

    So, basically, this explains Benedict Cumberbatch.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Or Pedro Pascal. Skinny, middle aged, a little scruffy but. . .dayum! Amirite, ladies?

      • eselle28

        Oh yeah. I"ll admit I raised my eyebrows a bit at the casting, but once he was on screen…wow.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          He and I are the same age, same build, same height. I think he's my new Archetype to borrow from or Patronus or whatever. Just. . .if anyone catches me monologuing during a fight, call me on it quick, ok?

          • Gentleman Horndog

            POST-mortem speeches, son. POST.

            You don't spike the ball until you're actually in the damn end zone.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I was reminded of zombie and/or slasher movies. Always put one more in the head, just to be sure. Of course, survival wasn't his goal.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Rule #2: Double Tap.

            Though, yes. And I have a (book-based, spoileriffic) theory that he secretly won.

            Even though, erm, yeah.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Spear in the head, you know he's dead.

    • thathat

      Also Chris Eccleston.

      And Charlie Day. Good lord, Charlie Day in Pacific Rim. (Okay, that's not fair, because my type is short, bespectacled, and genius enthusiasm. Dang, it's like that movie was *made* for me.)

      • StarlightArcher

        I'm the same way about Mathew Gray Gubler. I love me some lanky nerd boys and Dr. Spencer Reid is every bit my kind of catnip. Then I started learning about the actor and found that he's not only breathtakingly gorgeous but he's also a goof who draws, does magic and his favorite holiday is Halloween. I swear to the gods, it's like they made him solely to break my heart.

        Of course when I sat my best friend down to watch him in action, she could only ask why I wasn't paying more attention to the muscled hawt dude in the same show.

        • fakely_mctest

          The thing that gives me the sads about MGG is that he's besties with Terry Richardson. 🙁

          • StarlightArcher

            Is he still? Man, I was hoping it was a phase he'd outgrow when he learned what a perv & bad dude Richardson was. Now I've got a sad too. 🙁

    • OnlyYevster

      Yea no, I still hate that racist, transphobic potato. His personality is the worst. Now, Pedro pascal or Raul Esparza I can get behind, or in front, or under, or on top of…

      • Christine

        Sorry, lost in the reply arrows here. Who are you saying you hate?

      • thathat

        Is Raul Esparza the one who plays ADA Barba the Sass-Master? Because yes.

        Seconding Christine's confusion. Which potato are we talking about?

    • Kazhulhu

      I don't know, I would think it would be the opposite. He's hardly endearing.

  • enail0_o

    I assumed it was the voice that explained him.

    • celette482


      • I would just like to go on record as the official anti-Cumberbatch of this website. I thought he was a little weird-looking at first, but he gets less and less attractive every time I see him on screen.

        I'm not saying this to yuck anyone's yum, but to remind the men reading this that women have diverse tastes and preferences.

        • I find him attractive in very specific roles. Like he was amazing in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," but not my attractive cup of tea. Yet I find him remarkably good looking in Sherlock. I find a lot of actors morph like that for me*, so perhaps using Hollywood as a barometer of people's Attraction Spectrum is kind of pointless anyway.

          *I somehow find Neil Patrick Harris *hotter* than usual in his Hedwig pictures. I…. don't know what that says, exactly.

          • celette482

            See, I don't like him as Sherlock (I mean, I love what he's doing with the role but…) but I like the Actor himself and how he comes across in interviews.

            Roles are like 99% of why I find famous people attractive.

          • I think I've said this elsewhere, but Chris Evans as Captain America, oh my god. I don't find either of them hot separately, but together? Hello, sailor. Which I guess is a pretty good example of personality over straight-up looks – Chris Evans' face (and body) look the same in all his roles, but I react very differently depending on who he's playing.

          • eselle28

            Oh, that happened to me too. Actually, to be more specific, it happened for me with The Winter Soldier. Before then, I thought Chris Evans was a nice looking man both in and out of the role, but didn't really get a strong "ooh, sexy" reaction.

          • celette482

            I have *Thoughts* about Chris Evans in The Winter Soldier. A lot of thoughts. Private thoughts.

          • thathat

            The best reaction I can imagine from him:

          • celette482

            Probably. I might prefer the Sitting In the Movie Theater Watching His Own Film smile, but I'll readily admit, my thoughts would make him very nervous.

          • thathat

            YES. Oh, man, I'm glad to know it's not just me–seems like everyone just thinks Chris Evans is this sexy dreamboat of the Charming Potato variety. And…eh? He was literally the Avenger who's appearance made the least impression on me–nothing unique or charmingly rumpled like RDJ, Renner, and Ruffalo. But then you watch him, especially in Winter Soldier and…oh my. He's just this angel, and the character he plays is such a *good* person, but without being a generic Good Guy Boyscout, just a genuinely good person who you would want to be around (as Hawkeye says in the comics, when he's around, he makes you want to be a better person). And Evans just nails it, which is such a hard line to walk (because, again, so easy to fall into Generic Good Guy mode). He's the Captain America that I wish were real.

            Him being sweet and funny in his interviews doesn't hurt either.

            Jeremy Renner fits this too. I didn't get why the fangirls were excited for him until Avengers came out and I saw him in action. He has an odd face, but it's appealing when you get used to it.

          • celette482

            For whatever reason, the elevator fight scene was what really nailed it for me. I can't quite describe.

            I've always *liked* captain america in the comics, but not in a "liiiike" sense.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Was it the way that, even though they were about to betray him, he gave his co-workers a chance to walk away peacefully before they forced him to beat them senseless?

          • celette482

            I thought that was damn cool, yes. And very Cap. "I don't want to hurt you. But yeah, I'll beat you senseless with your own limbs if I have to."

            I like to imagine if one of them had said "You know what, I'm sitting this one out" that guy would have been left standing without a mark on him and all the others lying at his feet.

            He doesn't want to kill Nazis, he just doesn't like bullies. And only a bully would beat people up without giving them a chance.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            My Cap Mancrush — to the point that my fiancee and I named our new car after him — came in Avengers.

            "Put on the suit. Let's go a few rounds."

            Steve is so pissed at Tony that he'd like to administer a punitive beating. However, doing so in that room would have made Steve the kind of bully he despises. So he told Tony to put on his suit first, knowing full well that it wasn't leveling the playing field so much as reversing it; in an undamaged Iron Man suit, Tony can go toe-to-toe with gods.

            Steve didn't care. Steve's is the kind of decency that's in full force even when it's actively working against him — and he doesn't care. He doesn't angst about doing the right thing when it's hard, he just shuts up and does it.

            Put on the suit.

          • celette482

            Oh yes, I loved him in the Avengers (just not to the point of… naughty things). The way he immediately went to town on Fury about the end of WW2 and Phase 2. It was like "Guys, come on. We KNOW better than thsi!"

            I'm sure this won't happen but I would love for Coulson to get his darn cards signed.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Steve didn't care. Steve's is the kind of decency that's in full force even when it's actively working against him — and he doesn't care. He doesn't angst about doing the right thing when it's hard, he just shuts up and does it.

            I haven't seen Winter Soldier yet so most of this conversation is going right over my head but this, this is an excellent lesson and one that I give the writers extra credit for delivering without being preachy about it. Cap doesn't need a wheel of morality segment because he demonstrates it through action.

            You hear that DC! Show, don't tell!

          • celette482

            Oh yeah, we don't need people to explain his motivations. And they are "simple" but complex at the same time, because doing the Right Thing actually takes a lot of mental effort, as it turns out.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            There's two things going on for me here:
            1. In fiction if you have to have a segment where someone says "he's a great guy who made hard choices to save us", chances are you didn't show it.

            2. In real life, if you have to say "hey, I'm a decent guy who did the right thing", chances are your motives were not related to doing the right thing.

            In both cases, if you're someone who's in the habit of doing the right thing as a matter of who you are without making a big deal of it, people will notice.

          • enail0_o

            It's like people who go around announcing that they hate drama. If you have to say it, it ain't true.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Or in Ren Faire circles, vocal proponents of honor and/or chivalry.

          • eselle28

            Or people who loudly proclaim that they're good Christians (probably applies to other beliefs as well) in situations where religious belief shouldn't have much applicability.

          • thathat

            Oh geeze, the elevator scene. It's the way he's not angry, he's not dramatic or surprised even. Just disappointed and sad. "Aw, you? We ate lunch together." He's resigned and hurt, but still completely confident in what he needs to do.

            Broke my heart, because the opening of Winter Soldier (an elite team of spies in perfect accord doing a daring rescue) was everything my inner ten-year-old wanted. And then…aw, SHIELD guys, no.

          • celette482

            SPOILERS (well… at this point… anyway)

          • thathat

            nooooo…that makes me sad.

            Because Sitwell. Baby. Why?

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Which also shows-off that sense of decency I was referring to.

            He's horrifically outnumbered. He knows what's about to happen. He'd be justified in striking first to whittle down their numbers before they realize he's on to them.

            But, until about twenty seconds ago, he rather liked these people. And maybe one or two of them would, if given the opportunity…?

            "Before we begin…."

          • eselle28

            Yes. That. Well, that and everything about the way he interacted with The Black Widow.

          • celette482

            I LOVED that. They best not get romantically entangled after this movie went so far to make them into friends with a real relationship.

          • eselle28

            I would like to think they know better. I had expected the movie to push them together romantically, and I'm really relieved that someone realized those two characters were unlikely to click in that way. It also really pulled Steve out of the '40s and into the modern era when I saw that he was capable of having a real friendship with an attractive, sexual woman.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            I loved it, too. I thought it was a great representation of two attractive people who knew they'd be an utter train wreck as anything other than friends and colleagues. And I thought it said so much about him as a character that, despite being a product of a completely different era, he obviously accepted Natasha as a fellow soldier.

            That, and I thought their banter was a great counterpoint to Steve and his new friend Sam. Remember how Steve managed to NOT sound like a dick when directing some friendly teasing Sam's way? ("You call that running?") Natasha had done the same damn thing to him, teasing him about not being as skilled in her area of expertise (you know DAMN well she'd ask out the cute nurse across the hall), and he handled it with grace and humor.

          • celette482

            I'm just a fan generally when writers recognize that, despite the fact that these two characters are the right gender, age, and attractiveness, they really shouldn't be dating. Not now, not ever. Not saying that no one could be right for Romanov or Rogers (hello! I volunteer as tribute!), but together they have too many issues that the other one can't help. Have faith in your characterization. Recognize that really truly some people wouldn't get together.

            Also Sam. I am pro-Sam.

          • eselle28

            It's also nice to see characters who are portrayed as being emotionally mature compared to some of their peers behaving like thoughtful adults. I think whoever wrote the movie took some time to really think about who the characters are and what they'd do, rather than coming up with a plot and applying the heroes to it, which always makes me happy.

            I am also pro-Sam. I read an interesting essay that pointed out that his relationship with Cap actually got the structure of a action movie romance arc with the meet cute at the beginning and the fighting alongside each other at the end. Not that I think the movie implies a romance in any way, but it's nice to see it subverting some of the tropes.

          • thathat

            I am so pro-Sam.

            Also pro the idea of a superhero movie with women but no romance in it. There's Natasha and Hill. There's Sharon who miiiight be a romantic thing later, but wasn't in the context of this movie. Three women and not one of them needs to justify their presence by being someone's romantic interest.

          • eselle28

            Yes, I liked how the Sharon angle was handled as well. There are some sparks of interest and something might happen later, but at this point in time, no one has the time or is in the right headspace for that.

            Since we're heaping praise on the movie, I'm going to stick it with a critique regarding those three good female characters: the movie doesn't pass the Bechdel test (I only noticed this because I had two dates to the movie and so watched it twice), and there are only a couple of lines between the female characters at all. I don't think all movies should have to pass it, but I think it's pretty lazy in a film where there are plenty of women and where it's established that Natasha knows and likes both Maria and Sharon (a smidgen of praise: it would have been really easy for them to write the vampy female character as a woman who dislikes other women, and I applaud them choosing not to do that).

          • Guest

            I agree. And wouldn't it have been nice if one or two or three of the folks in the elevator had been women? Or when they went in to rescue the crew of the ship? I'll believe we've really made strides with this issue when women are being used casually, not only for important plot points (the fact that there was only one female board member and you realise the only reason for that is because of Natasha later on . . . ).

          • Gentleman Johnny

            My impression from Avengers is that Romanov's vampy is an act, a role that she plays to take advantage of the fact that the bad guys expect it of her. Sort of like how Loki thinks he's broken her later on. Underneath it she's really quite compassionate and reasonably well balanced for a comic book secret agent with a mysterious dark past. She just happens to have a job where a seductive smile is part of the uniform.

          • eselle28

            That's mine as well, and it's not spoilery to say she continues to be developed in that direction in The Winter Soldier. She has her shell and even underneath it she's not not naive or soft, but there is a real person in there who's capable of friendship.

            It would have been easy to write her in a very one-dimensional way, though, and I appreciate that they chose to go with a more complicated take on her. The character who's marketed as The Sexy Girl often ends up being a bit cartoonish, flirting or sleeping with all the men and being enemies with women she has no real cause to dislike.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I definitely give Kudos to Guillermo Del Toro for going the "let's not make the pilot partners into a romance thing" route.

          • celette482

            Sometimes you're saving the world and it's no time for love (doctor Jones).

            Personally, if the world were ending or whatever, I would be falling for all sorts of people. Get it in while you can, right? But that's why you don't want me on the A-team.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Seems to work for Face Man. What really jumped out at me in Pac Rim was the raft scene. That's where literally every other movie would have had them kiss and be Happily Ever After but Pac Rim deftly subverted that and let them have a strong relationship as partners without it having to be romance as well.

          • enail0_o

            Pac Rim? Is that where humanity uses giant robots to run around a maze fighting ghosts of different colours?

          • thathat

            Oh geeze, the elevator scene. The analysis that's been floating around tumblr just makes it hit so much harder.

            He's not angry. He's just disappointed, and sad. As soon as he realizes what's going on–which is very quickly (another really attractive thing about Cap)–he gets this look in his eye as each new person boards. "You too? We ate lunch together. We fought together. You too?" But it's not overblown, it's not dramatic woe. Not surprise. Just a very tired resignation and the willingness to do what needs to get done.

            I was never a huge Cap fan (bought into the boyscout+Miller/Ultimate version which is just so wrong), but the movies have made me reevaluate.

            That and Mark Waid's "Man Out Of Time." All the tears for that Grand Canyon scene.

            Which, sliding back on topic…now I'm thinking how many people–well, girls in particular–decide a character in a *book* is hot. Even with minimal description, or an unfavorable description, if the personality is interesting and *unique* enough…bam, he's apparently sexy.
            (Obviously, the appeal of a fictional person is that they are fictional and you can put them away if they act like jerks.)

          • celette482

            Speaking as a girl, I have to agree with your sudden back-on-topic observation. I have a list, a very long long list, of book characters that I am half in love with. Sure, looks matter, but seriously, when I say "I'm attracted to his personality" I mean that shit.

            I think the personality trait I find the most appealing is competence.

          • Kathy

            And *this* is why Miles Vorkosigan is damn sexy – not just to book readers, but to women within the Vorkisiverse.

            In fact, Bujold does *really* good job in Komarr and A Civil Campaign of showing Ekaterin gradually falling for Miles as she gets to know him – see the conversation she ends up having with her brother and Vassily about Miles's looks in the latter.

          • celette482

            Gee, isn't he short and disabled? *gasp*

            Oh wait, he's awesome and confident well before he actually had the skills to back up that confidence.

          • Wondering

            Same here. I was never attracted to an actor until Hugh Jackman came along. And he's the only actor I'm attracted to still.

            But I find lots of actors attractive in particular roles. That attraction doesn't last past the role, though. Like Ben Browder as John Crichton? Holy cow, he's smokin'. Ben Browder on his own? He seems nice.

            Like kleenestar, I don't find Benedict Cumberbatch attractive, either. Nor have I found the characters he's played attractive. But I find him a mesmerizing actor in the roles I've seen him in, and that makes me want to watch him and gets me excited when I hear he's been cast to play someone.

          • eselle28

            And this is where tastes kind of vary! I'm not really into John Crichton in a sexual way, even though I think the actor is handsome, because John kind of gets on my nerves (I'm using present tense because I'm actually in the middle of Netflixing the show).

            I find Hugh Jackman sexy regardless, though. In other superhero news, I'm only attracted to Tom Hiddleston when he's not playing Loki (Loki always looks like he needs to wash his hair).

          • Wondering

            Yep, definitely varying tastes. I don't find Tom Hiddleston or Loki attractive. 😀

          • Kathy

            Hiddleston himself is a really good example of an attractive personality, I think. I know a *lot* of people who reacted with bafflement to him being considered sexy, until they started seeing him interviews (which is a recent thing!).

            Also, check out some of his earlier/younger photographs, pre-Thor and even during Thor promotion. He doesn't dress particularly well and his hair is often an unruly mess. He has benefited a lot from professional styling and hairdressing.

        • fakely_mctest

          I will sit at that table with you. And I have liked some…unconventional looking people in my time, but I can't with him.

      • OtherRoooToo


        And that black velvet voice doesn't hurt.

  • eselle28

    I agree with everything in the article, but that quote at the end makes me cringe, because it's Steven Moffat and I'll believe he feels that way when he shows a man falling for a not-so-attractive woman…or at least considers allowing a not-so-attractive woman on the show.

    I guess on that point, I wonder if it's worth thinking about this from both sides? It's all good and fine to hope that your looks will grow on people, but I think someone who's playing the long game might want to at least consider checking in with themselves now and then to see if they might have developed some attraction for someone they previously overlooked.

    • Ospero

      The episode that quote is from ("The Girl Who Waited", for the record) wasn't written by Moffat. I have no idea whether that makes it better, but Tom MacRae (the episode's writer) doesn't have the same record of rather misogynistic things that Moffat does.

      • eselle28

        It makes it a bit better, but I have to say that the Amy-Rory arc is kind of tainted for me by some of Moffat's stuff, and by some of the lapses in storytelling. It's awesome if other people find it romantic, but I don't think it will ever get the "awww!" response from me the way other things will.

      • That does make me feel better. I hate Moffat with the burning hate of a thousand suns.

      • It's still a problematic episode when you consider how BOTH Amys' autonomy are stripped away by the men in her lives though. 🙁

  • Wondering

    “So… anyone up for that Ken Burns documentary on the highway system?”

    Haha. I'm the weirdo who would love to watch a Ken Burns documentary about the highway system. I have so many books about the history of roads in this country. Part and parcel of my love for and fascination with road trips.

    • The history of anything can be fascinating if you spin it just the right way. It's why I never got how people claim history is the most boring class in school. (No, that would be grammatical English, kay and thanks.)

      Do you own a pair of driving gloves? 🙂

      • eselle28

        Ah, see I do get why people think history is boring, because I think it's sometimes taught in a really dry way. I thought it was dull when I had a series of "memorize the names and dates and battle fronts" teachers. When I got one who made it about more than that, I changed my mind pretty quickly.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          This is one really cool part of growing up in the Mid-Atlantic (region of the US, not the middle of the ocean). Most of the first 100 years of American history is within a four hour drive.

      • Wondering

        I do not own a pair of driving gloves, no. Hee!

        And, hey! I taught English grammar at one point.

      • inertia19xx

        I have always believed that there is something in Hstory and Science for everyone to enjoy.

        They are both such broad topics that it would be difficult to hate everything about it. In high school, I hated Biology, was okay with Chemistry and LOVED physic. In college my program was very physics based, it had a lot of ecology, which I liked…. I still cant stand biology though.

        I love aspects of history a lot.

    • StarlightArcher

      I really liked his mini-series on Prohibition. Very informative and a great way to spend a Friday evening.

    • Waddles

      Yeah, the highway system has a lot of interesting politics associated with it, like how it was effectively a military response to a general being unable to lead a convoy across the country in war time due to the poor quality of the roads, along with the US's uneasy relationship with public spending versus private sector stuff, etc. Then again, I just watched a half-hour documentary about two Dutch guys making a videogame, so maybe don't listen to me.

      • enail0_o

        I want to listen to you, that sounds awesome! 😀

    • fakely_mctest

      Me too! I read that caption and I was all: did Ken Burns do a documentary on the highway system? There's so much there there when you consider the role of the automobile in the midcentury American idea of autonomy as well as the politics involved in Ford lobbying HARD for dismantling a lot of the train system.

      But then I read a book on the banana industry last year. I'm super fun at parties, I swear!

      • Dr_NerdLove

        He did. It's called Divided Highways, based on the book by the same name by Tom Lewis.

        Fun fact that wasn't included in the documentary (that i recall): The US Government seriously considered using nukes to create a pass through the Rocky Mountains. The only reason why they didn't was because they couldn't accurately predict where the fallout would land.

        • username_6916

          Operation Plowshare was an awesome idea, they totally should have done it! What could possibly go wrong?

          I'm reminded of the plan to dam the San Francisco bay to create freshwater lakes in the north and south. The army core of engineers even went so far as to build a scale model of the bay to determine the effects of doing just that. I believe they determined that the bay would just silt up if such a plan was ever enacted.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Was Operation Plowshare even a real thing? I mean, I know it was a real project but I've often seen it referred to as a thin excuse to keep testing nukes after the above ground test ban on nuclear weapons.

        • Wondering

          He did? Clearly I need to watch more TV and read fewer books.

          Off to Netflix.

        • Gentleman Horndog

          It has nothing to do with highways, but my favorite reckless use of nukes in the '50's: The Pluto Project.

          Short version: Imagine an unmanned drone (with the best guidance system the 1950's had to offer) roughly the size of a locomotive doing MACH 3 at treetop level, spraying radiation like an excessively-mobile Chernobyl, occasionally spitting out nukes. It will eventually run out of bombs, but because it's a fission-powered ramjet (fun fact: nuclear reactors can actually get a pretty wicked thrust/weight ratio when you don't bother with any shielding), it will fly until the airframe gives out.

          They actually successfully built the engine before the project was cancelled due to one simple question:

          How the hell do you test it?

  • Aggrax

    Well, I suppose it's good to know that I don't actually need to do much in order to avoid people becoming attracted to me.

  • LeeEsq

    Shouldn’t the answer be it depends on the situation? Some people are going to prefer looks over personality at times. It isn’t a game of rock-paper-scissors where one trait always beats out it’s other trait.

    • inertia19xx

      If there are people who prefer looks over personality I would rather not date them… I want to be liked for me. Who I am not what I look like. I dress myself, do my hair, and play with my appearance for myself not for males.

      I have found taht people who put a lot of stock in physical appearance tend not to take me the way I am… more so kinda paint who they want me to be over my personality…. I dated a couple when I was younger…. none of them for very long.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      I think the type of situation that it depends on was pretty well covered within the article.

    • Waddles

      I guess there's two facets, first that you need an impetus to approach someone, and looks help with that (even if it's not conventional hotness), and second that you need to be physically attracted to someone to push past just being good friends. Like you say, it depends on the people, too. With dating sites, I've noticed that certain ones are geared towards different stuff – OKC is very word/personality-heavy, which is good for nerds who like words, whereas other sites only list physical traits, which is good for fitties who like OK this rhyming thing was a bad idea (this includes adopteunmec, which I was vaguely disappointed by because I liked the idea of a female-oriented dating site).

  • LeeEsq

    How do you play the long game if you keep having the experience of not getting a second date? I understand that my dates are going to fall heads over heels in love with me at first but there needs to be enough of an interest for continued contact. You can’t play the long game without some sort of short game.

    • eselle28

      You don't play the long game with people you meet on online dating sites, or with people who have already agreed to go on dates with you. Online dating is a short game strategy. A long game strategy would be to cultivate additional friends or to network with friends of current friends, and work on slowly building attraction with those people.

      • Guest #2

        Well said.

      • LeeEsq

        I’ve done the long game strategy to; that is I’ve asked out women friends that I’ve been kind of to very interested in after taking steps to build attraction by flirting and testing the waters. I was rejected every time.

        • eselle28

          I do know you've tried long game strategies in the past. But I think the answer to your question of how to adopt long game dating strategies to online dating is that, for the most part, you can't. Most of the other people on the site will have a short game mentality, and since people have little investment in each other prior to meeting, there isn't all that much incentive for people to stay in contact if things don't go well initially.

          It doesn't really sound like women reacting poorly to your looks in the short term is really the issue for you anyway, since you're very successful in getting first dates online (I'm assuming you have pictures posted and that they look like you).

          • Guest

            Exactly. Remember what the doc said about fun? Remember what people tell you, Lee, here about how your voice and mannerisms make you look and sound bored and uninterested in what you are talking about? That is likely having a greater affect on your dating than your looks. You get the first date. You have succeeded at the positive first impression.

            I think for you you really need to work on your presentation style and how you interact with people. But you really hate it when we suggest that so I don't know if this time it's going to make a difference for me to say it.

          • Guest

            Regardless, that's my advice for working on the long con for you.

          • LeeEsq

            When I go out with people after a dance event or something or go to a party, people think I'm a fun sort of guy in a wry sense even if I don't comparatively know them that well. My brother's girlfriend things I'm funny and I only interacted with her on Face Book posts. Many people of both genders seem to like me and think I'm interesting to be around. Its just that this doesn't seem to translate into romantic or sexual interest often.

            My personality is somewhat subdued and I generally prefer to say a few really interesting things than dominate the conservation with many small and dull things. I'm not wild.

          • Guest

            Okay, cool, you clearly don't think you have anything to work on, so I guess my prediction was accurate. Sorry man, I can't help you. If you are doing everything right, I agree, it's really friggin' weird you can't get a second date.

          • LeeEsq

            Its not that I don't think I have anything I have to work on, its just that what to work on is seemingly unending and contradictory. People on this site things my voice makes me sound bored but I've also been told my voice can be very out of control by people who know me in real life. Most people who know me in real life think that I sound better and more in control in video clip than normal. I've told to be more fun but also not to dominate the conversation so much. People generally seem to like me but women don't like me that way.

            My fear is that the long game is going to be such a long game that its going to last until women are in fertility crisis and thats its just going to be rush, rush and hurry, hurry because I want to have babies if not longer. I'm in my thirties and I don't have time for this shit anymore. The longer I have to wait, the chances of getting the type of relationship I want decrease.

          • Jenn

            Could part of the problem be your pervasive belief that any woman over the age of twenty two is a fertility obsessed harpy just waiting to trick you in to a lifetime of servitude? Because I could see why that might be why you have trouble getting second dates.

          • Ghest

            I don't think you can draw conclusions from how you interact with your brother's girlfriend on Facebook because it sounds like you present yourself very well in writing. Since you get a lot of first dates from online dating, in general, it sounds like your looks, your "stats", and how you come across in writing are not the problem. You have mentioned that you have a lot of female friends. Can you ask one or several of them for a very blunt assessment of how you come across or what might be the problem with dating? Maybe even try a practice date like DNL mentioned he did for his perpetually single friend who didn't seem to have anything "wrong" with her?

          • LeeEsq

            The other thing is that I'm not really sure why telling a man to be "fun" is any less troubling than telling women that they would look better if their "smiling." I realize that there is a lot more bad history behind the latter but your still being told to act in a way that you would rather not. The "fun" personalities annoy the hell out of me and I have no desire to act like that.

          • Guest

            When someone asks for advice, then offering them tips is sort of what is going to happen. Women get upset being told to smile by strangers who they aren't interacting with and don't want to. They get told that because even a strange woman who you don't know still should always look sweet and happy for all men. And that sucks.

            But you know what, I've been told to smile more when I've asked why people think I'm sad about something. I really do have Bitchy Resting Face. And so, in certain situations, where my goal is to make people comfortable and where I'd like to impress them, yes I do make an effort to smile more. To the point where it has become a lot easier for me to do it without having to try.

            I'm not saying you have to be bouncy and off the walls Robin Williams, I'm telling you that your monotone is offputting. To many. Lots of people here have told you so.

            Regardless, you have said that people like you and think you are fun and awesome, so clearly the problem is with everyone else, not you.

          • LeeEsq

            The monotone is not my normal speaking voice. I speak in a monotone when I'm exercising the most control over my voice. My normal speaking voice is another turn off because its out of control and very fast.

          • Guest

            Well then, that's a problem too. There isn't only one way of speaking that turns people off. People also hate vocal fry, talking too quietly, talking too loudly etc. If that's the problem, then work on that.

          • Christine

            Hi Lee,
            It sounds like we've heard your monotone, controlled voice on the video, but not the out-of-control voice. I'm not a voice expert, but I do have some experience (voice acting and reading audiobooks), and it sounds to me that with the right teacher or coach, your out-of-control voice could be channeled to convey emotions and passions better. That would give you a better shot at making a connection with a person you're interested in. I really do wish you would at least have a consultation with a qualified voice expert to find out what your options are.

            Also, it seems to me that when people say "fun" you think of life-of-the-party, Robin Williams-like performance mode. In my experience, when most people say "fun" they mean more something like: has a sense of humor, likes to smile and laugh, and is comfortable with being spontaneous (at least to some degree). "Wild" isn't necessary.

            Have you seen the movie Strictly Ballroom? Remember that the greatest regret was "We lived our lives in fear." Don't let that happen to you. No one is going to get to know you if you don't let them in.

          • LeeEsq

            Well, I let people in. I'm spontaneous at least in the sense that I'm willing to be flexible with plans rather than insistent and go with the flow. I have a wry sense of humor based on how other people react. People seem to like talking to me, especially once they get to know me.

          • trixnix

            Sorry Lee, that vote was meant to be a plus one but for some reason it made it a minus one. Just in case you're wondering about that minus vote on the above comment. It's a mistake.

          • raindancing

            Balanced that out for you.

          • Christine

            So, Lee, why do *you* think you don't get second dates?

          • LeeEsq

            I don't know. It could be a wide variety of factors and it could be different things for different women. There isn't necessarily one reason. The various issues around my voice might be one. Some women might not simply feel any chemistry with me for some reasons. There could be some body language issues.

    • HLM

      In what way, if any, would you consider your interactions with women you are attracted to as dynamic, vigorous, passionate, expressive, raw, enthralling, sensual, sexual, evocative, exciting, edgy, opinionated, excited, etc. ?
      Also, in what way would you consider any of the these sorts of terms for your dancing?

    • Kazhulhu

      To be completely honest, I don't think the long game really works. While I'm sure that over time, any physical irregularities we may have found less attractive do even out, when you've compartmentalized someone as a friend or someone who you aren't attracted to, the rest of the relationship goes down a certain path. Obviously, there have been friendships that turned into full fledged naughty bumpy relationships, but it seems like the path to a friendship and a relationship tend to go their mutually exclusive ways and develop along different lines.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I'm not doubting that you've had this experience. All I can say is that hasn't been mine at all. The two are nearly identical for me except that there is often a reason (or reasons) why I would not date a particular friend. Sometimes its as simple as them already having a boyfriend. Sometimes its that their life is a wreck or that I'd be their sole source of stability. Over time those things can change. I've ended up dating quite a few friends because they broke up and I asked them out shortly thereafter.

        • Georgia_D

          I agree. Many of the people I have had relationships with / sex with have been friends first. There are friends I don't think of in that way, friends I could think of in that way but it would be really unwise and friends it never occurred to me to think of in that way until they said or did something that shifted my perspective. For me a friend turned lover is the best kind of lover.

  • inertia19xx

    Personally I have never really been able to be really attracted to someone without having some kinda of interpersonal attraction to them. As in attracted to their personality. I have a lot of Demisexual tendancies. If someone is trying to rush me into feeling things from them it works in opposite ways. There have been peple I have been attracte to quickly, but it is because we hit it off quite quickly on getting a feel for eachother's personality and it just worked.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      So much this. I find all sorts of people aesthetically pleasing but there's a big gap between that and sufficiently attracted to want to have sex with. If there's not a bond based on personality in that gap, it just doesn't happen. That's why I'm so picky about second dates. There's got to be at least a potential to bridge that gap on the first one or its simply not worth the time.

    • Waddles

      Yeah, seconded. I find it very hard to get attracted to people quickly, so for meeting people randomly it's hard to get the impetus to pursue them with the idea that you might hypothetically get a spark later on, rather than jumping into bed first and asking questions later. Then again, maybe it is just a case of playing the numbers and getting better through experience at reading personalities quickly?

    • AstralDazzle

      I usually have to have many conversations with someone to develop attraction, but once I develop the attraction, it can be a pretty intense mix of limerence and pantsfeelings! In the handful of times I've had an immediate attraction, they didn't generally turn out to be decent people, so I don't really trust it. It's like I can smell some kind of transference of an issue I haven't healed! Although in the last case, I think he's a good guy, we just have some overlapping family of origin and relationship issues we're working on healing. (How I can pick this up the second someone walks into a room I don't know, but he also was a physical type that I do generally find attractive, so there's that). I was lucky to find that out before the attraction went anywhere, and we can simply be flirty buddies every once in a while.

    • adamhunter1223

      I'm right there with you dude. I've never looked at someone and just started thinking love/sex. The only times I've ever become attracted to someone were when I've known them for a long time, like on the order of months or years…this means that the people I most often fall for are female friends (what few of them I've had), and after you fuck THAT up once you never do it again. In college it's a bit easier since the length of a semester isn't long enough to trip my attractiveness trigger (for lack of a better term) so I don't have any chances to inject a whole bunch of awkward into a professional-esque environment and make any potential group projects uncomfortable.

    • MapWater

      Like the others above, I'm similar.

      I've only had one girl that I was immediately attracted to. Funnily enough, after being able to sit and talk with her, she proved to be fascinating personality-wise too.

      However, many others I may consider attractive but not necessarily *be* attracted to them.

  • etherealclarity

    For me I have noticed that the better I know someone and the more I like them, the more attracted to them I tend to be, even someone who I initially didn't find attractive at all. This effect has strengthened the older I get… slowly, friends to whom I had no attraction whatsoever for years are becoming quite attractive. This isn't something I'm really acting on since I'm married and we are *currently* monogamous (though that may end up being somewhat renegotiated), but it definitely has made itself known of late.

    And I can't tell you how many times that I have seen someone who looks very conventionally attractive (even someone who is 'my type') and I've seen them and thought intellectually that they look very nice but had no sexual attraction whatsoever. I've never really had a lot of celebrity crushes, but the ones that have stuck are generally the ones whose personalities shine through interviews.

    Jake Gyllenhaal might be an exception to all of this. Maybe. Also David Krumholtz, for some reason. But that's about it.

    • ApocalypseApple

      As attractive as I find David Krumholtz, I have a hard time seeing him as anything other than the dude who stabbed my favorite character in ER (it was a phase, don't even).

      • etherealclarity

        I never watched ER, so for me it's all about his small roles 'Serenity' and 'Freaks and Geeks'. 🙂

        • dddd

          FREAKS AND GEEKS. HOLLA!! He WAS hot on that. I sound like I'm 12, but, oh MAN, do I love that show.

          As for what you've said, I am in complete agreement of becoming more attracted to someone as you get to know them. I remember finding this guy totally average-looking, but over the months, as we got to know each other – friends – I developed one of the biggest crushes of my life on him.

          I would add that what I find interesting in myself, and perhaps other women have felt this way, is that I've been friends with guys with whom I've felt SOME initial attraction – not that I necessarily found them attractive, but that I was attracted to them – and then as I got to know them, the attraction totally disappeared.

      • thathat

        Bernard the Elf. Wednesday's crush from Addam's Family Values. 10 Things, Serenity, that one episode of SVU (where he's both disturbing and precious), Numbers… He's freaking adorable.

        …which means now I really want to see him play a bad guy. Is he bad in ER, or just having a crazy moment?

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Wait, that was him in Addams family Values? Holy crap!

          • thathat

            Yup. He's been playing the Nerdy Guy for quite awhile. Little me never stood a chance.

        • ApocalypseApple

          He plays a scizophrenic who's afraid the doctors are going to take his organs.

          So he's not villainish, but he played the role convincing enough that I always think back to it when I see him in another role. Especially because the little behaviourisms he used for the scizophrenic are often very similar to how he played Charlie in Numb3rs (which I did love him in though).

          It's only one episode (and one where he returns seasons later to show how things have changed) so it's easy to watch if you're really curious.

          • thathat

            Huh. He plays a schizophrenic in SVU too. Well, an eccentric toxicologist who gets a bit of overexposure to some of his chemicals. He's got a gift, I guess.
            I wish I liked Numb3rs. I tried to watch it, but the FBI characters were all so dull. But I might check out that ER episode. (Ah, who'm I kidding, I'm totally checking out Numb3rs again at this rate too. Stupid thread's got me all in a David Krumholtz mood.)

          • ApocalypseApple

            I agree that the FBI characters weren't the most interesting, but I mostly found it interesting how they incorporated math into your average crime episode, plus the interaction between the brothers.

            If you're checking out the episode, it's 13 in season 6. Though you probably didn't need me to tell you that, considering the internet's existence and all.

          • thathat

            Thanks. That does help my laziness! I blame you entirely for the Krumholtz-binge that this weekend will inevitably bring. ^_^

    • thathat

      Oh, David Krumholtz.

      I have had it *BAD* for him ever since I was a kid, thanks to Bernard the Elf. He's still so freaking gorgeous. (Why yes, he did define my "type" from an early age. Dangit.)

      I always get leery at the "attraction grows where it wasn't once you get to know someone" thing. It's not that it's not true–absolutely it's true. But for me, my best friend is someone that initially I was attracted to (like, 10+ years ago), but that I haven't been attracted to for almost as long. We've been roommates, we know each other backwards and forwards, so in theory, we really should have had a *click* moment–and almost everyone expects us too. The only *click* moments for me are the ones where I realize how very much I don't want to date him and am glad we put a kibosh on that before it got out of hand.
      I know that's the exception. But I get so tired of people always expecting that there should be romantic sparks. Sometimes familiarity just breeds…well, not contempt, but excruciatingly platonic emotions.

      • etherealclarity

        Two things to clarify.

        First, attraction often grows for me given how much I like a person and how long I know them, but I definitely recognize that it doesn't for everyone, nor does it happen in every situation (even for me, for whom it happens often).

        And second, attraction and date-ability are not necessarily the same things. I have friends who I'd potentially be interested in doing sexy things with but who I have zero interest in dating (nor would I if I were single) because our personalities wouldn't mesh in a relationship. And certainly some people whose long-time friendships I value greatly but wouldn't want to sleep with or date even though I think they are good-looking people, because I am not attracted to them on some level.

        Attraction and willingness to date and how we decide who is 'good-looking' are all very nuanced and individual things, I think. 🙂

        And I totally forgot about 10 Things and Numbers. Damn. I am glad it is time for me to leave the office. All of this David Krumholtz talk….

    • ajamjar

      "For me I have noticed that the better I know someone and the more I like them, the more attracted to them I tend to be"

      Me too.

      To take it further, I have never been attracted to "silver foxes", but last year I met an awesome guy who had prematurely grey hair. It never grew beyond a fun crush (this seems to be an alien concept here) and it just evaporated on its own over time, but now my eyes automatically pick out grey haired men in a crowd – they have become attractive to me.

      • etherealclarity

        Oh man, yeah, definitely this. I used to only really like straight hair on guys, but after I dated this one guy with (moderately) curly hair, suddenly curly-haired guys keep catching my attention. And weight! I used to really only be drawn to slender guys, but then a while back I developed a MASSIVE crush on this heavier guy and now weight just doesn't play into attraction for me at all. I crush on the skinny guys, I crush on the bigger guys… they're all fair game as long as they are awesome people to know.

        And ditto on the fun crush thing. I have had this conversation with a few friends of mine. Heck, I have fun crushes even though I'm married.

  • Suika

    For many people, acquiring an attractive body is far easier than creating a pleasant personality.

    • inertia19xx

      sadly I think you might be right about that.

    • Waddles

      Depends; for me, cultivating a better personality is probably easier than going to the hassle of moving to a flat that isn't next to a bakery.

  • LTP_aka_TheWisp

    Am I the only one who felt a little dissonance between the "nail the first impression" section and "playing the long game"?

    • eselle28

      Yes, there is some, but I think it's in reaction to the realities of dating. Everything there except dressing well goes to people's impression of your personality rather than your looks, and even if you're playing the long game, you do need to give people some reason to socialize with you in a platonic way again. Not coming off as rude, insecure, negative or bored are all things that are recommended for people seeking friends.

      • ajamjar

        I think even dressing well says something about your personality. The packaging says a lot about the product inside, even at a subconscious level.

        • eselle28

          That's true, especially if someone's made an effort to dress in a way that's congruent with their personality or lifestyle (my experiments with using Tinder while a friend watched over my shoulder revealed that I'm repelled by cowboy hats to an almost hilarious degree).

      • ajamjar

        Is it the word "nailing" that's creating some of the dissonance, I wonder? Because, more often than not, you don't meet someone for the first time and think 'OMG! THEY'RE AMAZING!' But there is *something* there that makes you open to spending more time with them.

  • FunkyD

    To dwell a bit on the final Doctor Who quote, the key aspect that is glossed over in this article – and pretty much all other articles on this topic ever – is the juxtaposition is "So beautiful" vs. "Not bad, they're okay". It's certainly true and empirically proven many times over that a great or, more importantly, a compatible personality can make someone more interesting to anyone but the shallowest of people. And, indeed, that may eventually create physical attraction where before there was none and culminate in romance. What's not ever mentioned, however, is that there are definitive limits to that dynamic. They are (mostly) subjective and vary from person to person, but everyone has them. Everyone knows people who are so physically unattractive to them that no degree of admiration for their personality would ever make them consider them in any other way than platonically – the proverbial and, in such cases, inescapable "Friend Zone".

    So, if you're a great person and physically "not bad" to most people, advice such as in this article may actually be helpful. But if most people's initial physical reaction to you is "Ugh!" (for any one of a plethora of reasons), then you are indeed shit-out-of-luck. Sure, there is still a chance you'll find a person somewhere whose preferences differ from those of most people. It happens all the time (only takes a a little longer – or a lot), so don't go jumping off a bridge. But still, for people like that the advice in this and similar articles is about as helpful as a third nipple … which, incidentally, most people don't find attractive, either.

    • Jenn

      Thing is that just like there is no universal state of attractiveness there is no universal state of 'ugh' either. And when I think about the people who get that response from me it's more about what they did then how the look.

  • Blurgle

    Guys have to take this advice and turn it around on themselves, too.

    I have known a lot of guys (and particularly nerds) whose only criterion for a mate is appearance. For them, nothing else matters: once they've got a hottie, they glom onto her like a barnacle on the Mary Rose. They don't care about her character, values, personality, brains, or ethics: looks is everything.

    And it bites them in the butt, because that attitude pushes away women of character and confidence. No secure, mentally healthy woman likes to be treated like that: it's demeaning and shallow. These guts inevitably end up either with insecure, needy women, with the mentally ill, or with users who target the "looks is all that matters" crowd – addicts, con artists, and gold diggers.

    Sadly, if you ever bring it up to them they screech in rage and accuse you of wanting them to date women they don't find attractive. OF COURSE that's not what anyone is saying: we're saying, looks are a great starting point but they should never be the end point. You need more than looks. It's like buying a house: no matter the curb appeal, you check the furnace and the roof and do a title search.

    • MapWater

      Spot on. In fact, out of all the many subcultures I've had a hand in / am part of, the nerdy and geeky are the worst offenders when it comes to only focusing on appearance.

      I can only speculate why, however, and I can only speak for the groups and circles of nerds I've dealt with.

      • Blackhat

        Because nerds are generally horribly immature?

  • mangaengel

    I agree pretty much with everything said, especially since I experienced it myself.
    Met some insecure and shy dude, didn't felt anything but pity for putting him into the situation. But when he got used to me and got lively and proved to me that we shared actually he lot, he became instantly handsome in my eyes.
    A guy even just recently looked pretty good, but when he used confidence, a good sense of humour and witty comments, I felt like I was in the room with the very person that won the "Sexiest man alive" award.

    So whenever I read people whine about "Why am I in the friendzone, I am such a nice/good-looking guy", I really just wanna shake my head, because – in all honesty – a bunny is pretty nice and a parrot can look pretty beautiful, but I still probably get way more attached to a cat or dog that I can play with for hours and just have fun in their presence.
    It only gets worse, if those people actually only act like they are nice to get "bonus points", because it makes everyone (taking people of all genders and sexualities in consideration) feel like a idiot that can be played a prank on. It's like acting all gentleman to the beautiful ladies, but not holding the door open for a elderly woman, it is just wrong and people notice that quickly and its one of the most unattractive things there might be out there. Its just way too obvious and nobody is gonna make people like that more then a "friend", since shallow people that act like a nice person just to get you (and where you don't know what they will be like once you actually agree on a relationship) are really not what most wish for as a partner.

  • trixnix

    Before anyone gets too annoyed about me writing this, it's worth remembering that I was being told how much of a piece of shit I was by my peers from a very young age. Confidence in being attractive to women/women being interested in me has never been easy to come by.

    In my social circle right now, two of the guys considered "creeps" by the women in the group have got girlfriends. Which makes me feel pretty shit to be honest. I'm liked, on average, better than both those guys and mostly because I'm not seen as "the creepy guy in the group". But those two guys have girlfriends. Could the difference between them and me possibly be in first impressions of physical looks?

    Indeed, I heard one of the women in the group describe one of the "creepy guys" as "attractive in some ways". Something I'd be unlikely to get as a compliment regardless of what I did or said. So he's creepy but attractive in some ways. And I'm going to guess, because his mannerisms were creepy at the time, that the "some ways" translates as "physical looks".

    I've had a lot of horrible stuff said about me and to me over the years (my favourites being: You're so ugly if you wanted casual sex you'd have to pay for it/see a prostitute, the only good thing about you is your time keeping, you're unattractive physically, the only way you'd get sex is if you raped someone….and so on) so I'll admit that confidence with women I'm interested in is hard to come by. I'm physically unattractive. Of course I'm not gonna barge in there like I own the place or like some arrogant twit. I'm not an extrovert. I do like meeting new people and spending time with them but I don't need it.

    I always felt I had to prove myself more than the other oragnizers of the meetup group I'm a part of because I'm the unattractive, over looked guy who doesn't register on women's radar as a dating option or even as a sexual being. Which is why I do feel a bit miffed these days since myself and a few others have been keeping the group going for the past few weeks and without us there would have been no events. But I doubt the main organizer appreciates our efforts. Now, if I were better looking…would those efforts be more appreciated?

    Generally speaking, the more time a man spends with a woman, the more likely he is to be put in the friend zone. Which makes "the long game" much more difficult.

    Am I funny? People around me comment that I am and under my real name I've written for comedy performers. Does it get me dates? No, of course not. Because being fun to be around and being attractive are not the same thing. I have lots of friends who enjoy spending time with me and many of those are women. Does that make me attractive to women? No, of course not. Because friendship is not attraction.

    Whenever anyone mentions this they get told about someone's mate who totally gets girls by making them laugh despite being, fat, ugly, stocky…well those guys are like four leafed clovers. Rare. Not the norm.

    I've had my hair done differently which cost a fair bit but has improved the shape of my face. Still missing the proper jaw but can't have everything.

    • Guest

      "Whenever anyone mentions this they get told about someone's mate who totally gets girls by making them laugh despite being, fat, ugly, stocky…well those guys are like four leafed clovers. Rare. Not the norm."

      Not true. This is true:

      "Whenever anyone mentions this they get told about someone's mate who totally gets girls by making them laugh despite being, fat, ugly, stocky…well I JUST CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL those guys are like four leafed clovers. Rare. Not the norm. EVEN THOUGH I HAVE ENOUGH EVIDENCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE'S EXPERIENCES IT ISN'T TRUE."

      The rest, well you and I are at a difficult place right now, I'm not sure why I'm even commenting. Because I care still? Because I saw those pictures of you and now know you are a very average normal looking man? Because I now know your outlook really is all because of your trauma, not because it is true? I dunno.

      I stand by what I said: You deserve a better social circle. You are not unattractive. You have a lot to offer. And you are holding yourself back thinking otherwise. And it DOES come out. It even comes out in your pictures where you even when you are smiling look a little sad. It's palpable. And I'm sorry for it. And I hope someday you get over this hurdle. I really do.

    • Being conventionally physically attractive helps with short game, but you are fairly physically average – not ugly as you seem to think. Plus, you also seem to be failing at long game. That suggests that you have problems over and above your looks. I can see some of them very clearly but you can't imagine that anything about you is less attractive than your face. Well, I've seen your face and I can say that I've dated multiple men less conventionally attractive than you, but never a guy anywhere near so hung up on self-pity or so toxically insecure. If the women who spend time around you don't want to date you, the problem isn't some mythical friend zone. It's that they don't like what they get to know – and I totally get why they don't want to get involved.

      • trixnix


        I appreciate your advice and you may have a point. I would just like to point out that you don't know me as a person.

        The assumption here seems to be that I come across as being hung up on self pity or so toxicaly insecure. I happen to think that this is not the case and I have no evidence from my friends to suggest it. I'll admit I don't like myself. Really hard to do that when you consistently get told you're shit and it's been going on since you were young. But that doesn't mean I spend my time spreading that about the place.

        I've got a lot of female friends. You'd have thought that if they didn't like who they got to know, they wouldn't share with me their concerns about other guys in the group. You'd think they wouldn't trust me we have that stuff. But they do. They like me as a person. They trust me. They just don't find me physically attractive. What is basically "the friend zone".

        In terms of my face, I'm working on noting the reactions of women that fall into the category of "instant reactions". And it's those reactions that factor in to the thinking about my face. Doesn't mean I can't imagine anything being more unattractive than my face.

        If you can see some of "them clearly" then by all means let me know.

        • I really don't believe you when you say these things don't come across in person, but okay – let's take that as a given.

          I think one big thing you don't talk about is body language. I know it doesn't come across perfectly in photos, but in some of your pictures you came off as cringingly insecure and quite unappealing, while in others you looked great – rather above average than below. I would suggest that you think about body language rather than looks per se, because right now you don't seem like you are making the most of what you've got.

          • trixnix


            I can't say for sure that these things don't come across in person. I don't know. I just doubt most people are paying that much attention to me to be able to notice.

            Not sure if it's possible to answer without going to a lot of trouble but it might help to know which photos convey insecure and unappealing and which conveyed other stuff. I can repost the links to the photos here if it helps but I don't want to make everything about me.

            As for body language, it is worth keeping in mind I've had some pretty darn painful damage to muscles and tendons in my body recently and it's only really now that my back has regenerated enough for me to hold my body in certain ways. There was a point where I couldn't walk to the shops down the road. Nothing compared to what others go through but it terrified me.

            Not sure if it makes any difference as nobody seems to have noticed yet, but I've had my hair styled and cut a little bit differently in a proper salon. The stylist also did the eyebrows and recommended I get them threaded rather than waxed.

            I've also got two new men's fragrances as a bit of a confidence lift. Uomo by Valentino which is a seriously classy scent for a man and Pi by Givenchy because it was recommended here and I liked it when I tried it. Those are for giving me a bit of a lift confidence wise.

          • People often don't want to say anything explicit about changes to your appearance just in case they're wrong. A friend of mine just got a great haircut and I didn't say anything for almost four days because I realized I had no idea how long she'd had it. Finally she brought it up and I got to tell her how awesome it was.

            If you bump the forums thread with your pictures, I'll tell you which ones come across better than others.

            Also, what you are saying makes it seem likely that body language is part of the problem. Are you suggesting that it's harder to work on that than to work on your face, or are you just giving me context?

          • trixnix


            Thanks. With regard to body language: I used to get a heck of a lot of involuntary muscle spasms and movements during my recovery. My body language isn't harder to work on than anything else. It's just how I move my body is only really now coming back under my full control. I lost the use of my arms for a day which wasn't that bad really but at the time it freaked the heck out of me.

            The forum thread with the pictures in is:….

            As i say, new haircut. The stylist made the hair cut lighter and gave me some room to style small parts of the haircut. I think it looks good but boy did it cost more than my usual hair cut. Actually, working it out, it was roughly five times more expensive than my normal haircut at the barbers I used to go to. But I got fed up and decided to try something new.

          • etherealclarity

            Wow, you are *way* cuter than I expected given all of your negative talk about your own appearance.

            Seriously. Anyone who has been talking trash about your appearance is full of shit.

          • trixnix


            Thanks. I don't get those kinds of comments outside of the internet and it's really good to hear them. I've gone through life being bullied a heck of a lot, teased, taunted and basically made out to be a bit of a joke by a lot of people. I've had quite a few people talk trash about my appearance over the years and I also get the feeling a lot of the time that if I have an idea and express it, people don't pay that much attention or disagree with it. Whereas if someone they like better has exactly the same idea, people listen.

            I am responsible for my emotions and can work on various things. But having the confidence to get that kind of thing working is really difficult because boy do people like to tell me they think I'm a piece of shit. That negativity has been with me for years and from a young age and it makes me doubt myself a lot.

          • ajamjar

            It's a shame that guys don't tell other guys they're hot.

            One of the nice things about being a woman is that your day can be filled with compliments – usually from other women.

            Whereas women don't tend to compliment men on their appearance unless they know them quite well because there's always the worry that the compliment will be misinterpreted as sexual interest.

            So if you're hearing it and having it affirmed, it doesn't necessarily mean that nobody is thinking it.

            (I saw your pictures. I thought you looked cute.)

          • ajamjar

            ^ that should be "if you're NOT hearing it and having it affirmed"

          • trixnix


            Thanks. Much appreciated. I've had male friends make jokes about my "bad looks" before. So hearing the positives on here certainly is appreciated.

            None of the women I know give me compliments on my appearance. And I certainly wouldn't expect them to and don't feel bad because they don't. What does bother me is the negative comments about my appearance I have had from some women I know as I feel they were especially mean and without provocation. That they had the intention to hurt and not to provide constructive feedback.

            It would be a weird world if women started stopping me to tell me they liked my appearance and I'm honestly not sure what I'd do if that happened as there isn't a plan in my head for how to respond to that. I have plans to respond to bullying and belittling but not for positive stuff.

            There may be women thinking I'm cute and that would be great whether I'm interested back or not. I'm not interested in acting like a dick just because I might not feel the same back.

          • ajamjar

            Do you think maybe people have said these things, not because they're true, but because, for whatever reason, they wanted to hurt you and insulting your appearance was the easiest way for them to do that?

            I once (briefly) dated a guy who would say mean things just to hurt my feelings. Once we were talking on-line and I told him it was late and I had to go to bed and he replied, "Yeah, you need your beauty sleep." For the life of me, I still have no idea why he said stuff like that because I was attractive enough for him to date. But I did know it got old fast. You don't need people like that in your life.

          • trixnix


            Sorry to hear about your experiences with the guy who insulted you.

            It's certainly possible that people wanted to hurt me. Not sure why but it's possible. I have no evidence that a lot of people would want to hurt me but who knows. Maybe I wind people up the wrong way for reasons I don't know about.

            It's just been a kind of accepted narrative for a long time and some people have spent a lot of time and effort to inform me how much of a piece of shit they think I am. I remember being told I was ugly when I was in first/elementary school (to give the US equivalent alongside the UK version) and it kept going and spread to some very aggressive bullying. Telling people about it didn't do anything and I'd often get the impression or directly be told that it was my fault that the bullying was happening because I was "odd", "weird", "moody", "bad" or something along those lines.

            The most hurtful stuff were the implications that I'd need to visit a prostitute if I wanted casual sex. Not because I have a problem with sex workers. But because the implication is I'd have to pay to get sex because I'm "ugly" and women wouldn't want me like that. Same with the "the only way you'll get sex is if you rape someone". Rape is awful. I've worked with rape victims. To have it suggested that the only way for me to be with a woman sexually was to hurt someone like a rapist hurts someone…that made me sick to be honest.

            If I got rid of everyone who ever said hurtful stuff to me from my life then I'd lose a lot of people. Yes, maybe that would make things better but I'm not sure.

            I tend to like to give people genuine compliments because I know how much bullying sucks. A friend from school tells me she still has a Christmas card with a compliment I gave her on it. She's kept that for over a decade. I also started something recently to use social media (so often used for cyber bullying) to give people compliments that are genuine and meant.

            I'm not just a guy who complains about his looks and dating life on here.

          • ajamjar

            "A friend from school tells me she still has a Christmas card with a compliment I gave her on it. She's kept that for over a decade."

            And that in itself is a huge compliment to you.

            When you say it's an accepted narrative, that's how it's coming across to me, too – that's it something that's been going on for so long, you've accepted that it's true and internalised it.

            Am I right in thinking you're a psychologist or am I mixing you up with someone else?

          • trixnix


            I'm a psychotherapist. Though not working much right now because I basically ended up with mild PTSD and depression as result of my injuries last year and they want to ease me back into work slowly.

            Maybe some people seeing my pictures might not think I do given their positive assessment of my photos, but I do get an awful lot of crap from people about my appearance, my "lack of attractiveness" etc.

            It's just been there as a narrative for so long now.

          • ajamjar

            Well, you know what they say about doctors making the worst patients …

          • OtherRoooToo


          • Kathy

            You know, sometimes the people who were close to us growing up – or even are part of a close friendship group – aren't the best assessors of our attractiveness to others. Because of course *they* don't look at you that way!

            This is especially true of a toxic, bullying environment, where what is said is less about truthfulness than the desire to hurt.

            I can't find it now, but there's a video on Youtube somewhere of my current crush and MTV-voted sexiest man alive, Tom Hiddleston, saying that his sisters told him he looked like a toilet brush when he was younger. Not exactly a flattering comparison, huh?!

          • Devlin_Mor

            I'm so sorry that you feel this way about your looks – even though I guessed it was mostly internal I was still surprised to see how different you look to the way you describe yourself.

            You must know that bullies pick up on what someone is sensitive about, not what is actually bad about someone. Kids especially are very good at that, if you are harking back to high school insults. Think back to other people you know that maybe got called ugly or fat or slut – was it because those descriptions are accurate, or because thats what they flinch and blush at most.

            I only ever got catcalled about being fat a few times when I was underweight after sickness. This completely baffled me at the time, but i think its because the catcallers thought I was probably dieting or even anorexic. Most of the time I am average weight, so they probably don't think its a sensitive topic. I get called slut instead – by people who have no idea about my sexual behaviour and just know its a hurtful thing to say.

          • ancolie

            Hey trixnix, I'm a longtime reader but hardly ever comment. I've been rooting for you for awhile because you are a genuinely good person with a kind heart (and pretty goodlookin' ;D). Reading this thread, a new question popped into my head, and I hope you give it some consideration. I know that it's hard for me to change things if I don't really grok the root causes, y'know?

            With that in mind, here's my question:

            Are you friends with your friends (or remain friends with them), despite their awful behavior towards you, because you want to prove them wrong?

            You say you've grown up with this sort of bullying and horrid treatment (believe me, I understand). I don't know if your mates are the people you knew in primary school, but they certainly sound very similar (especially regarding their treatment of you). And even though you probably grew up hating the jerks and thinking, "screw them!" … when you hear that stuff often enough, you internalize it.

            So perhaps, deep down, back then and today, you're seeking to prove them wrong (and gain their approval) but you've internalized it so much you aren't aware of it? And rather than seeking out friends who really do care about you deeply and treat you like friends should, you stay with these bully archetypes because the only way you feel YOU can discredit those internalized insults and fears is to have those who planted them in you discredit them first?

          • trixnix


            Thanks. Years ago there may have been an element of wanting to prove people wrong. I'm not in touch with people from school much anymore but back when I was there was a period where I wanted to prove them wrong about their jokes and jibes that I couldn't get a girlfriend/that I was unattractive/ugly etc.

            And maybe a few years ago when I was still in contact with my former friend, there might have been a little bit of wanting to prove people wrong.

            I've often felt I have to prove myself. Not necessarily prove other people wrong. Other people are going to think whatever they want about me at the end of the day and after all the events of last year I don't feel the need to prove other people wrong anymore. Doing that takes a lot of energy and I don't have much to spare these days.

            It's more that I find it hard to stand on an equal footing with other guys around me and go beyond that and stand out for who I am.

            Right now, I really fancy one woman. Couldn't talk to her last year. Now we have good conversations and we know each other better. I can't work up the courage to ask her out. But I still worry that I'm leaving it too long. It's just weird for me to think someone would be attracted to me. The feedback I get about my looks here unfortunately doesn't translate into my life outside the internet. I wish it did.

            There's really no point in trying to prove anyone wrong. It's more about proving myself.

          • Kmr

            I've definitely approached/flirted with guys who look like you in real life before.

            But I'm a fat woman, so my attention tends to be laughed off or met with disinterest, so I can also definitely understand where you are coming from on "if somebody 'better' has the same idea it gets more attention" thing. It's really infuriating.

            One of the things I saw you mention is that you have written for comedy performers. I've spent some time doing stand-up comedy and one of the things that I noticed in the comedy community, at least in my area, is that it's VERY cutting and not particularly supportive in traditional ways. It's like a constant roast environment where "affection" is doled out through insults and very harsh interaction even among friends. I don't know if this is the environment where you've been subjected to some of the shit-talk, but if it is, you have all my empathy, because it is so damn hard to cut through the bullshit posturing.

          • trixnix


            Thanks. Much appreciated. Sorry to hear that your attention tends to be laughed off or met with disinterest. If it helps, I've been head over heels several times for women with fuller figures.

            I don't hang around much in the comedy community. Though I do know a few comedians on the UK circuit and have friends who know more than I do. I've written plays that have been performed at an amateur level and contributed to jokes and routines to comedians. It's usually only the odd line or short routine.

          • Let me be very honest. You look good. You have a good smile and your clothing choices look good for your frame. Based on physical attributes alone, I think you are more than "average" looking. Particularly with that smile. I agree with etherealclarity that those who are talking down on your looks are full of it.

            Have you sought therapy to help you? It sounds like you are a trusted person within your social circle, perhaps you should ask some of your friends if they know someone they can set you up with.

          • trixnix


            Thanks. Much appreciated. I rarely get positive comments about my appearance. I've sat through years of negative comments about my appearance, how unattractive people think I am and being made to feel like I'm not physically good looking enough.

            In terms of therapy, I had six sessions with a counselor to help me deal with the accidents, injuries and what is most likely a mild form of PTSD. Six sessions is all you can get for free on the NHS and I had to wait fourteen weeks to get those. These days I'm frustrated that any improvement is put down to the anti depressants they put me on and not to the hard work that I've been putting in to my own life. I want the anti depressants gone because they're a mark of the bad things that happened and I want to move on from all of that.

            Plus there's evidence that putting me on the pills was a rash decision in the first place. A hospital doctor put me on them after they released me from the hospital after having a very nasty infection. And that was an after thought because they thought my mood was low.

          • I went through four years of couples counseling and therapy to help me get over my social anxiety issues and I still take Rhodiola to help with my social unease. It was expensive but money well invested. I intentionally found a therapist that wouldn't resort to drugs but instead taught me how to process and handle the emotions I deal with. It was a hunt but also well worth it.

          • trixnix


            Thanks and good to hear you had success with counseling and therapy. My social unease has lessened a lot recently. You'd never really have seen younger Trixnix organizing socials for a meetup and meeting and introducing himself to new people.

            I had the six sessions with the counselor the NHS paid for and those helped. It's just a very long winded, waiting list based system which takes forever. If I'm honest, going through the system here as a patient/client has left me feeling a bit jaded about my own career choice. I know lots of people with depression and anxiety issues as I go to a support group when I can. Yet they're stuck in the same system trying to get help that I've been a part of.

            I haven't said this to anyone but my supervisor but I'm really not sure I can do it anymore work wise.

          • Ethyl

            Gonna try this again. You need to speak with someone specifically about what very much appears to be body dysmorphia. Your interpretations of your appearance and the amount that you focus on certain aspects of your appearance are not realistic. Getting counseling for PTSD or anxiety or depression isn't going to get at these issues, whether it's six sessions or sixty.

          • trixnix


            In terms of counseling, I tried my best to cram everything I could work on into the six sessions. Short of calling in favors from my friends in the therapy world, I've really not got much of an option counseling wise. It takes ages to see a counselor via the NHS. For the six sessions, I was referred in October last year and wasn't seen till Feb of this year.

            The PTSD stuff (mild) and anxiety stuff/depression stuff was directly affecting my quality of life for a while and it made sense to deal with that first. I've got no chance of dealing with anything if I'm frozen by nightmares about being in hospital.

            I just find it hard to reconcile things in my head. I mean, I appreciate all the good comments about my appearance given here. And I'm not lying when I say I've never heard those kind of comments before. It's not how people react to me in the world outside the internet. I don't get that kind of feedback from people. Which makes me confused to be honest.

          • Ethyl

            Oh I'm not saying the time spent on other stuff was wasted, just that you're throwing out "yeah but I already saw a therapist" as an answer to people who think you have some very serious problems that should be taken care of by a qualified professional. It's like saying "ow my leg hurts," and having us go "yeah you should talk to someone about that," and then replying with "well I already saw a doctor for extensive testing where we diagnosed my IBS, so." And we're all like "….?"

            I'm no expert on the UK health system, but if one can find low-cost mental health care in the US, where our medical system is garbage, I am sure there are more resources around you can tap into.

            Because I'll say it again: what you are saying, how you are describing feeling about your body, sounds really seriously not ok and like a very big, very real problem. Not a "oh maybe I need to smile more" kind of "going to work on" but a very serious mental health consideration.

            Oh. You know what it's like? It's like when a friend is telling you stories about their new relationship and the "issues" and "arguments" they have but it's actually really scary and abusive and they're trying to make it sound like it's just this no big deal thing. And you're all like D: and they're all like "but it's ok because I looooove him so much and really it was my fault he hit me!" Except you're the one being abusive to yourself.

          • trixnix


            I'm not throwing anything about. Unless I want to pay a huge amount per hour, my options regarding counseling and therapy are to see my GP and get put on a waiting list that could be anything up to 14 weeks and beyond. There are free courses available sometimes during the year but as for low cost mental health care…erm…nope. You either take the free option which takes forever or you pay private fees and I can't afford it right now.

            There's obviously something that stops women seeing me as a dating option. Stops me from being on their radar like that. Because I really don't get the kind of compliments I've had and appreciated here in normal, everyday life. I don't have women react to me like that and the furthest I've got recently was a kind of lukewarm text back from a med student I liked.

            I feel like I'm largely ignored or even invisible to the women around me and there has to be something causing that and I've gone through and altered what I could and it's not had the kind of effect I was hoping for.

            I had one woman in a club shout out that I was "unattractive" when I wasn't even talking to her, I've had female friends tell me I'm physically unattractive. Being kind to myself isn't going to solve that.

            I want to date but nothing I do works and it gets frustrating.

            I've got wonderful people on here giving my good comments about my appearance. Yet in real life, I get largely negative comments about my appearance and how attractive I am regardless of what I try or do. It messes with my head.

          • Maybe it's something about where you hang out? I know that if I go to a dance club, I'm likely to take shit about my age and my weight. So, fine – that's part of the social context, it's not something about me.

            Also, why don't you get on that waiting list for free therapy right now? I don't think the issues you're struggling with are going to disappear in fourteen weeks, and if they do you can always use the time to talk about something else.

          • enail0_o

            It's understandable that it's messing with your head, and I think it's good that you're recognizing that.

            It sounds to me rather like you're around a lot of mean people, who are very good at identifying your insecurities and attacking your weak spot. That's something bullies are very good at. You've mentioned having been bullied a lot in the past, which means that your radar for what's okay treatment and what's bullying or cruel may be skewed.

            When someone says something mean about your appearance, before taking it as truth, could you try and think about whether it's something that a kind, decent person would say to someone who was ugly. If it's not, chances are pretty good that they're a jerk who wants to hurt you, and that what they pick on has less to do with what's actually true about you and more to do with what will believe and what will hurt you.

          • Ethyl

            I think you have tunnel vision here, because a very cursory google search indicates that there are options for people on low/limited incomes, the Samaritans, various support groups and nonprofit organizations who can help you find a therapist who you can afford who charges on a sliding scale. Someone more familiar with the UK health system and where you live would probably be able to provide even more options. Why not call someone like the SANE helpline or Mind and see what they have to say? Your problems are big and real and you need professional assistance.

            Regarding this: "I'm not throwing anything about. " Can I just say HOW ANNOYING it is when people pick on your word choice and argue with that instead of addressing the point of your comment? It's extremely frustrating and makes it so I want to engage even less with you.

          • Trixnix


            I'm not arguing with your word choice. I wanted it clear that I wasn't talking about mental health issues in a throw about manner. That I was and would take such things seriously.

            The Samaritans listen but don't advise as it's largely staffed by volunteers and not mental health professionals. Mind have been helpful already but they often get booked up. I go to a depression support group when I can and that has free counseling but, again, a long waiting list.

            I'm a fairly newly qualified therapist but I've been in this job long enough to know it's rare to find someone in the private sector who charges on a sliding scale. We have huge problems revolving around people with low incomes not being able to access the support they need when they need it and those problems are often voiced at support group meetings.

            It's still hard for me to balance the positive comments I get about my appearance on here with the fact that I'm pretty much overlooked by women as a dating option in my life outside the internet.

          • Mel_

            It's still hard for me to balance the positive comments I get about my appearance on here with the fact that I'm pretty much overlooked by women as a dating option in my life outside the internet.

            Well, various people here have offered various suggestions for why you might be getting overlooked that aren't because of your basic physical appearance. Off the top of my head: insecure body language; your depression and/or insecurities coming across in the way you talk; assuming women aren't interested and backing off without giving them a complete chance to give you a chance; the (not global) attitudes of your particular, younger social circle. There were probably more too.

            Remember, no one's said they can't understand why you'd have trouble dating. They've only said they don't think it's because your looks are something most people couldn't find attractive, and offered alternate explanations that seem more plausible to them.

          • etherealclarity

            I totally get that feeling, I really do. I was bullied when I was younger, and I've had people tease me about my appearance a bunch too. A few guys asked me out as jokes (though thankfully I recognized the "joke" and didn't play along). When I was older, someone let me in on the fact that a group of guys that I thought I was close to had been calling me 'The Pelican' because I have a large nose. For a while I had a best friend who seemed to feel like it was her job to undermine me – tell me things about my appearance that implied that I was heavier or less attractive.

            So believe me – I get it. And it totally sucks. It's really, really hard not to take those things to heart, particularly when you're not really getting the positive feedback to balance out the hurtful shit.

            No lesson in this comment. Just a lot of empathy and an internet hug. *hug*

          • trixnix


            Thanks and sorry to hear about your bullying experiences. It really has been a case where I rarely get positive feedback to balance out the hurtful shit. Not that I'm owed that. Of course I'm not. It would just be useful. Because it's felt like being constantly undermined and "told off" for being me.

            Especially when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex. I was told I was ugly and horrid before I really understood that I liked women. Or anyone. I was a child when I started getting that stuff thrown at me.

            I'm told that I should be proud of myself for having got through all those injuries last year. I don't really know what being proud of myself is or what it feels like. It involves liking myself and that's weird to me. I mean, really weird. I don't understand it. I don't assume women are going to be interested or attracted to me because it's been so long that I don't expect it and even when it did happen I had no idea why.

          • etherealclarity

            It's really hard, you know. And there are all of these mixed messages. "Self-esteem should come from within and not be dependent on other people's approval", but also "if no one likes you then the problem is probably you", right? All of those contradictory messages make it really hard to sort through everything and come up with any sort of healthy self-image.

            It's worth trying, though. It's worth trying to find a balance somewhere in there. I wish you the best of luck with it, I really do.

            And whatever small help a random internet stranger can offer is limited, but you seem like a genuinely cool person, based on your posts, and as I said before, quite nice-looking. Definitely attractive. 🙂

          • trixnix


            Thanks. Much appreciated. I have always had a loving family. It's hard to forget something (the bullying) that was both relentless and seems to crop up even these days. I've already mentioned various negative comments from people in the past few weeks alone. This really isn't hanging on to stuff that happened at school.

            I certainly don't feel entitled of female attention. It's just not really being "noticed in that way" over such a long period of time has made me think I must not be attractive or "good enough". Of course you don't need to be "attractive" to be "good enough" but the two kinda equated in my mind to the same thing.

            Thank you for the compliments. Very much appreciated.

          • trixnix


            Okay, the body language thing is going to be a hard one to work on. Not saying I can't work on it. I can. Just I wish it'd had been something easier that needed my attention. The whiplash I suffered was severe. It ripped my muscles and there were some nights where I'd have so much pain pressing down from my shoulders that I thought I'd broken my shoulder.

            I'm not slouching because I necessarily want to slouch. My lower back is weaker than normal and it hurts to hold a stand up, shoulders back position. Sometimes I might be slouching because I lack confidence or I'm not comfortable in a situation and a lot of the time it's because I can't hold any other position very well.

            As for looking people straight in the face. On photos, my eyes tend to look to the corner because they're searching for where the camera is. Plus, my eyes are very sensitive to light and when a camera flash goes off, my eyes can close meaning I end up with pictures of me with my eyes shut when I hadn't intended to.

            I'm told I have quite powerful eyes and I do worry that looking people in the face could come across as confrontational.

            As for my smile, if I'm not careful, that smile ends up looking creepy. I'd rather not have a creepy smile so I try and control it.

            Your feedback has been very helpful so thanks for it. I just really don't know where to begin sorting it out.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            On scents:

            There are two I wear, both have gotten me nothing but praise for how good I smelled.

            Y'ves L'Homme
            and Nemat Amber essential oil. A dab on the finger tip at the wrists and sides of the neck.

            The second one especially. It smells like "clean". It's only noticable if you're up close, but every woman who's ever gotten close enough to smell it has made a point of telling me how *good* I smelled.

            In the US you can find it at Whole Foods. You should be able to find it at similar stores in the UK. You can also find it on Amazon.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'll have to check that out. I've been riding on some BPAL samples that I like all year, a very earthy one for showtime because it helps put me in the right frame of mind, cinnamon and/or black pepper based ones when I'm out and about to get in trouble.

          • trixnix


            What are BPAL samples?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab sells samples of their scents, little 1/32 oz bottles that are $3 or 4 each. I went in on a bunch of them with one of my cast members. We checked them out and split the ones we liked, which didn't overlap much.

          • trixnix

            @GJ. Thanks for the explanation.

          • thathat

            BPAL does a lot of good scents. I remember the friend who got me into them would get a bunch of the "masculine" ones for her husband.

            I like the idea of getting someone to go splitsies with on them to try new ones.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            We ordered several sample packs, so probably 20 in all. Of that, I found three to four that I liked and haven't run out of any yet. Not bad for $30.

          • trixnix

            Thank you to everyone who has replied and offered their comments and insights. It got to 3am when I was replying last night and I'm running short on time right now but will reply in greater depth later on.

            Thanks for the scent recommendations @DrNerdlove. YSL L'Homme was recommended to me and I tried it out at a local department store. My aim is to build up a collection of scents/fragrances but oh my gosh do they cost a lot in my country. We have this thing called VAT and Duty which are taxes and they push the price up no end. I couldn't afford the bottle of Uomo by Valentino so I bought the body spray instead. But I'm starting to think that was a false economy.

            I love Uomo because it's really classy but I do also want to try L'Homme and several others. Will check out the essential oil stuff.

          • Zarzia

            I'd like to see the pics if you are willing to post them again. I've seen your posts about this on a few threads and I'm curious now.

            Hope you won't mind my saying so but with fragrance, a little goes a long way, and a lot often makes people go a long way away. I've sniffed fragrance on a man that was rather swoon inducing, and I've had guys get in the elevator or sit near me in the movies that had so thoroughly doused themselves that I go a headache and felt sick after just few minutes being around them (I'm kind of sensitive to strong scents, as are a lot of people I know).

          • trixnix


            Thanks. The forum thread with the pictures in is:….

            This is a newer one taken since the slight change in hair style/hair cut:

            I agree a little goes a long way with fragrance. I'm not convinced I'm smelling things as well as I might and think the infection I had might have messed with my nose a bit (unconfirmed medical guesswork but I've noticed a drop off in my ability to smell things).

            Are women, as a general rule, more sensitive to smells like fragrance then men are? I've heard that but not sure how true it is or could be. After all many people responsible for the perfume in men and women's fragrances are men.

          • Women tend to, on average, have more sensitive hearing, smell, and taste than men. They also have better peripheral vision, while men have better central focus vision. That said, I haven't read those studies in probably a dozen years so for all I know they've been debunked. 😛

          • Joy

            Kleenestar, the breadth of your knowledge never ceases to impress me.

            I've also read that women have a better sense of smell than men, although I hadn't heard those other things. Anecdata from my own life seems to confirm this, although there always does seem to be that one little old lady who just douses herself in perfume (our senses of taste and smell diminish as we age, particularly after the age of 60 or so, so it makes sense that some of the worst olfactory offenders are older).

        • Possibly the reason you get "friend zoned" when knowing a girl for a while is because you don't like yourself. You don't have to be a bastion of self pity for the fact that you don't like yourself to come through, especially to those who have taken the time to get to know you and be around you for a while. One of my exes is like that – he actually comes across quite charming at first, and it's only when he feels safe with someone and has been around them a lot that the self-hatred starts oozing out.

          You need to find a way to love yourself – don't underestimate how critically important this is! I'm still working on it, I know how hard it can be. You have my deepest empathy.

    • LeeEsq

      Love has no logic. It really doesn't. Women generally don't see me as creepy but at the same time don't quite see me as romantic material for some reason. If anything, they seem to like me on average at least platonically. Maybe its my height, my voice, or a combination of factors. Maybe its just plain bad luck and randomness.

      • trixnix


        I feel pretty much the same. I'm not the creepy guy but I'm not the "romantic interest" guy either.

        • LeeEsq

          Some creeps have qualities that defeat their creepiness in some situations. In one of the dance studios where I live, there is a creepy middle-aged guy that can get very grabby and aggressive with women. Its a minor miracle that he hasn't be sued or had a complaint lodged against him yet because he is still at the studio. I once asked a woman why they put up with him and was told that he is such a good dancer that putting up with his antics at the studio is worth it. This might be true for others. I guess for heterosexual men, the equivalent would be dealing with a woman with lots of issues and drama simply because she is incredibly hot.

          • trixnix


            Perhaps. I have no real problem with other people being happy. Just in my darker moments, it can upset me that two people who are regarded as "behaving in ways that make women feel uncomfortable" manage to get dates and relationships and I don't seem to be able to. Of course, in reality, it's probably not a reflection on me or them or worth worrying about.

            Indeed, I was quite happy for one of those guys until he started making the prostitute comments to me. All that effort giving him advice, constructive feedback, help, going to singles nights with him, helping him plan his dates….and I get that from him? Yeah, that annoyed me. Chance I could have misunderstood that or it was the drink talking but I didn't like it.

          • Iris_8

            This person is a bully. He enjoys having power over people–that is both why he harasses women, and why he says horrible things to you. He is saying crap to you about your appearance because it is an assertion of his dominance, not because it is true. I would recommend responding in those circumstances by drawing strong boundaries.

            You don't want to freak out and seem insecure, but don't just ignore it and let him treat you like that. Say something like, "Wow, that was really rude," and then leave. Alternatively, you can turn it around and laugh at him for saying something so stupid, but only if you can successfully pull that off.

            Bullies like to have people around who let them dominate. We talk a lot about boundary-pushing behavior in regard to sexual harassment, but it is also something that happens in other harassment and bullying. When he says something like that to you, he is testing to see if you allow it. If you do allow it, it is likely to get worse.

            This person is just not a decent person. When I know people who act like this, I keep my interaction with them at the level of 'minimal civility" when I can't avoid them, and otherwise keep my distance completely.

            You certainly shouldn't take his comments to heart.

          • trixnix


            It's not necessarily that I allow it so much as I really don't like conflict. And I used to get told off a lot for even having never mind expressing my own feelings. If I were depressed, I'd be told off because it made other people around me feel bad.

            I've had a lot of people over the years say mean things about me and to me. Make out that I'm desperate to women in a club or bar, laugh at me for various things, claim there's nothing good about me, claim I'm unattractive (women as well as men saying this type of stuff).

            I have a survival confidence in that I tend to get through things fairly well. But an inner confidence about myself is hard to come by.

    • FormerlyShyGuy

      I don't know if it will resolve your confidence issues but if you talk to your dentist they can create a mouth piece that will move your jaw in forward to correct an overbite, aside from the change in appearance this can have significant benefits for your teeth since it stops grinding. I have not noticed more women being attracted to me with my new jawline but when I do get my head on straight and act confidently I definitely do both with the old look and the new. I think that improving your look is a band-aid at best due to the way you write on here you really need to work on your inner confidence, if you don't you may just move on to the next thing about your body you do not like.

      If you have a significant overbite like I did then I stand by this recommendation but I don't see one in the pictures you posted trixnix.

      I am not a dentist and I am not willing to pretend to be one on this blog, I just had this issue corrected and figured it might help trixnix.

      • trixnix


        I don't think I had such an overbite and no dentist has ever told me I did/do. I did need emergency dental surgery earlier this year to fix a tooth that had caved in but beyond that things have been okay on a dental front. I stepped up my care of my teeth after needing the emergency dental treatment.

        Inner confidence is not something that comes easy to me. At least not in a "I like myself kind of way". In a survival way, yes. I've had to face some serious crap recently and I got through that. Lost my senses for a bit but got them back again. Spent a long time terrified that my body wouldn't move properly but that got better.

    • Otranreg

      Whenever anyone mentions this they get told about someone's mate who totally gets girls by making them laugh despite being, fat, ugly, stocky…well those guys are like four leafed clovers. Rare. Not the norm.

      This 'oh, I've got this friend. He's a morbidly obese dwarfism-ridden elf. Raging pussy fodder. Seriously.' bit has been regurgitated so much it's not impressive, even if it is true. Even if this magical creature does exist, this fact does mean anything to any people who have issues with looks and doesn't give them any promise, or lets them feel any better.

      It really sounds like 'Hey. I know someone who looks exactly like you. The only visible hair on his head grows from his ears, and he sports an impressive phillips-screwdriver-shaped wart on his chin. But hell, he's worked on his double entendre plumbing jokes so much, they're so original that his plunger is always on the job, and Benny Hill is totally rolling in his grave!'

      • Okay, so if you don't feel that learning from romantically successful men who aren't conventionally attractive is helpful, what about learning from women who choose to date men on the less conventionally attractive end of the scale? I'm very happy to help guys who are concerned about their looks figure out what it takes to attract a woman like me – and for the record, yes, I really do exist.

        • Otranreg

          'Choose to' or 'end up having no choice but to'?

          • Chose. I've certainly dated conventionally attractive men, and I've never had trouble finding a date. (A date with the guy I wanted to be dating? Oh, yeah, heartbreak. But dating guys at all levels of conventional physical attractiveness? No problem.)

            In fact there was a significantly more conventionally attractive guy who was chasing me at the very same time that I was falling for my now-husband – who, by the way, had never dated anyone before me – and I didn't even consider that guy as a potential partner.

            So … don't you think you might learn something from me?

          • And by the way, I'm being careful to say "conventionally attractive" because I pretty quickly learned to find my partner hot as hell. We've been together nearly eighteen years and he still gives me butterflies! But I certainly didn't think he was even average-looking the first time we met, and I know that his physical problems (e.g. his limp) don't help him fit the conventional attractiveness mold.

          • Otranreg

            No, I doubt that I can.

            Because I have certainly not dated conventionally attractive anythings, and I have had trouble finding dates.

          • So, perhaps I could advise you on where to find women like me, how to identify them, and what appeals to them.

          • Otranreg


          • Otranreg

            And what can you, a stranger who doesn't know me at all and most probably doesn't know the place where I live, offer me beyond the generalities that I have heard a hundred times before?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            What do you stand to lose by listening? I would think the gains, however unlikely you find them to be, are obvious. So its on you, man. Is it a useful investment of your time to read a comment which has effectively zero chance of making things worse and a slim to moderate chance of being useful?

            Also, Kleene, I volunteer as tribute!

          • Otranreg

            a slim to moderate chance of being useful?

            Seriously? Let me put this euphemistically: 'slim to moderate' is a gross exaggeration.

            But fine, if you're so intent on wasting your time, go ahead: say what you want.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            At this point I'm mostly interested for my own benefit. I can get dates, that's easy enough. Finding someone who really fascinates me is turning out to be quite the challenge. Kleenestar has shown herself to be quite empathetic and charming, so if she's got suggestions on meeting women as cool as her, I'm going to be taking notes.

          • I just don't get why you wouldn't listen to some advice from someone who is offering some help. At worst, it's advice you've already heard and, pretty clearly, disregarded. At best you get some insight into helping yourself get better at dating.

            Win-Win in my eyes.

          • Otranreg

            No, it's a lose–lose. It may not be obvious to you, but the odds aren't high that I would hear something worthwhile.

            So the advice giver would likely waste time.
            And the advice taker would likely waste time.

            How is this a win-win exactly?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You don't want a free lottery ticket? All good. No one's here to change your mind. You have to do that part for yourself.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Because people often see themselves as unique, despite having relatively common problems. Its "no one understands me" writ large.

          • Otranreg

            Yes, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my having hearing it all, and knowing that there won't be any reasonable amount of new input – certainly not from strangers.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Fair enough. One wonders why you read a dating advice site.

          • Otranreg

            Certainly. Say this enough times and I might even leave.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Honestly, makes no difference to me either way. If Doc's column isn't helping you, go find something that will. If it is, great.

          • Otranreg

            Sure, I wonder what it has to do with me, though.

          • Well okay then. I'm not going to get into an argument with you about what advice is and isn't useful. I hope you find some things on this site that do help. Best to you on your journey.

          • I'm out for the next two days, but how about we take this up on the forums on Friday?

          • Otranreg

            Sure, I'll probably be unbanned there by then already.

          • Max

            I'm gonna hazard a guess that the reason the advice won't be useful is that Otanreg would have to actually take the advice and make changes, which he isn't willing to do.

          • Otranreg

            Oh, yes, the advice must be impeccable, and whoever refuses it must be shit.

          • thathat


    • Jenn

      I have to ask why do you use the insults thrown at you years ago as the way you define yourself now? Why are you still letting school bullies control your life?

      Look I was bullied too and it's hard not to internalize that, but at the same time at some point it just becomes an excuse, a reason to not deal with the real issues.

      • trixnix


        I'm certainly not writing "I was bullied, everyone feel sorry for Trixnix". I know other people who have been bullied far worse and I've worked with them to help them overcome those issues.

        There's always been a background negativity thrown at me. Not just at school but elsewhere too. Maybe not as bad as the bullying at school but still people throwing insults, laughing at me, saying horrible things. For example, "the only good thing about you is your time keeping" was said not at school but about a year or so ago. For some reason, some people like throwing negative stuff at me.

        It's not an excuse not to deal with stuff. I have and am dealing with stuff. It's just hard for me to positively define myself when negativity just sees to follow me around. I'm not a negative person. A cautious person? Yes. But not a negative one. Yet, some people like to give me crap. The "friend" suggesting i couldn't get casual sex and would have to pay for it was about two or three weeks ago. These are not insults that have faded with time. They're stuff that still goes on in my life.

        I wanted to be like my father. I wanted to define myself as a copy of my father. And it really did hurt to realize how different to my father I actually am. My father doesn't care that I'm different to him but I did. With all the bullying and being so different from my main role model for how to be a man, I spent a lot of years wondering if I was "bad" or "defective" in some way.

  • trixnix


    There's no way to edit my post but okay, it should say "I just can't help but feel those guys are like four leafed clovers". I've spent 32 years on this planet and I've never seen one of those guys ever and I am taking other people's experiences into account. It's just hard for me not feel like those guys are rare when I've never seen one.

    I appreciated all the comments I got from the photos and as I said back then, unfortunately, those are not the kinds of comments I get in everyday life. I wish they were because people here were very kind about my appearance and much more positive and kind than people generally are in everyday life. That really was very much appreciated. I can't help but feel that if I am an average, normal looking dude then I'm swimming in a sea full of above average dudes.

    I don't like looking at my face in photos. Especially when I'm smiling because the whole thing just seems to contort itself. I'm not sure it's that palpable in real life because you'd actually have to notice me or be paying attention to see it and I doubt many people spend their time paying me that much attention. I did the best I could when it came to healing myself. I guess if I look a little sad it's mainly because I asked for my life back, got it and still can't make things work properly in it.

    • Guest

      So you're sad. And that's okay. You've had a lot happen to you recently, and have had a very difficult past. You are sad. You need to acknowledge what a big deal that is. You are sad. And that is affecting everything else. How you come across to others, how you put up with people who are below average I think in the friend department. You have to start focusing on the deeper things. I really think you use your looks as a scape goat, as a thing to latch onto, to focus all your negative energy towards. Because it is safe. You can't change much about your looks. But to focus your energy on the inside, on what's really wrong, that's scary. Because that means there is something you can't see. That there is something that can be fixed but you don't know how to.

      I understand that fear. I relate to that fear.

      But it's something you are going to have to face if you ever want to get to a good place. No woman, no being popular with girls, is going to fix that.

      • trixnix


        I'm not sure how much it might effect how I come across to others because I really doubt many people pay attention to me in the first place. As for people being below average in the friend department, I don't know. I could have done without the "prostitute" comments but at least I'm not being bullied anymore.

        I've not been sad before and not being sad still didn't get me dates. I don't use my looks as a scapegoat. I appreciated all the positive comments I got when I showed what I look like. Believe me, I did. Such comments are very rare things so I treasured them. It's just unfortunate that that's not how people view me in the real world outside the internet. I wish it was. It''s more like I can't shake the sense that there's something bad about my looks. Not that I think it's the only possible problem.

        I'm under no illusions that being popular with women would fix anything. It'd just be nice after everything and all the crap. I'm not sure there's anything on the inside that needs fixing in relation to dating and I've tried a lot of the other stuff not related to looks improvement. It's just frustrating when nothing works. When it seems like the more you try and improve, the less women actually like you. The more you work on yourself, the less women actually like you.

        • ApocalypseApple

          You might be underestimating how good people are at reading body language and how much your inner ongoings influences the way you behave in general.

          I say this because I struggled with the fact that my insecurity and depressive feelings bled through into my behaviour. Most people won't be able to pin down *what* it is exactly, but they *will* get a certain air about you. And because they don't know, they (sadly) often take the route of avoiding it, just to be sure. It sucks, it sucks bad, but it's true that people will always notice *something*, and them not being able to pin down why often makes it worse, because they start filling things in you're not sharing about yourself.

          It may be either because you're hiding a huge part of yourself, acting happy when you're not, suffer from a general 'dead' feeling inside, it doesn't matter what it is and to what extend. People are social creatures and they noticed somehow.

          It helps heaps to be open about things. I don't mean you should share your entire life story and give people your deepest secrets, but do it in simple ways. When you're nervous talking to a woman, she'll notice something. If she's not sure what it is, she might see it as a red flag. You explain why you might come across a certain way, that may change things around significantly. You still have the same body language, yes, but they are viewed through different glasses.

          But I only say this based on the few comments I've read, so I won't say that this *definitely* applies to you. I obviously don't know you well enough to say anything definite.

  • LeeEsq

    Yeah, I'm really not happy with the concept of the long game. I understand it in theory but it seems to much like the romantic equivalent of the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, the version where the ants take pity on the grasshoppers and save them, with the person playing the long game getting to be the ant. It just conjures up nightmare images of people having fun in their twenties and most of their thirties but getting desperate as they get older to settle down and turning the people playing the long game and leave the ball in their court to meet their domestic expectations. Maybe if the ants are lucky, the grasshoppers will go through the motions of being a boyfriend or girlfriend for awhile before laying down the law.

    • thathat

      I…I think I see where you're going with that analogy and just…I don't think it's a very good one.

      TBH, I think a lot of grief here is coming from looking at what *other* people have–which you're only seeing from the outside at that (you never really know how happy average couple on the street is in their relationship). I go down that path sometimes too (especially back when I worked public service. "Gah, that patron is such a horrible human being. How come SHE'S married and wealthy…"), but man, if you gotta, just make it an occasional trip. Because just dwelling on the hurt/insecurity that other people have something you don't is gonna do you no favors.

      …why does the ant want the grasshopper anyway? I thought the grasshopper was a dick. He freeloads too.

      • LeeEsq

        In the old version the ants leave the grasshoppers to die but you really can't morally let someone die just because he or she is an asshole or even actively evil. Thats why they updated the fable and have the ants save the grasshopper. The right thing to do isn't always what makes you feel good. From a romantic perspective, many people are so desperately afraid of being alone that they will put up with anything from a partner. I would not but that doesn't make my frustration any better. I realize that I'm only seeing the public face of a couple and that for all I know, they could be miserably angry at each other all the time in private. It is still awkward to look at PDAs.

        • Maggie

          They updated the fable? What? That's kinda… I mean the point of the Fables de Lafontaine were to teach moral lessons like "don't be lazy". Updating them is all kinds of wrong…

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Its not a lifetime commitment. You can shift gears back and forth based on what works for you at the time.

    • Jenn

      I really don't follow. I mean I thought that fable was about responsibility and building a good work ethic and realizing that sometimes you have to put off the stuff you want to do, to do the stuff you need to do.

      I mean putting up storm windows and taking in the gardening equipment isn't much fun but it's something I'll be thankful I've done if a big blizzard hits.

      I just don't see how it relates to dating other than they're good qualities to have or want in a partner.

      • username_6916

        I'm not Lee, so my view might be very different than his, but I can see how it follows.

        Imagine that I've spent my time making sacrifices for my future and the future of whomever I marry. I've studied hard, I've avoided fleeting romances, I've focused on the qualities that make a good husband over those that make me good at dating. All of this is not fun in the short term, sure, but in theory it should pay off in the long term. Now, imagine being told that everyone you might court has been doing the opposite, having fun that you've been missing out on so that you'd be better prepared for the future. Now, you're expected to provide a good life for and commit yourself to someone who hasn't made any of the sacrifices you have.

        Now, that hardly seems fair, does it?

        • eselle28

          I don't think that works so well with Lee's situation, as he doesn't particularly want to be a husband anytime soon and seems to prefer to date the grasshoppers of the world.

          As for whether an ant dating a grasshopper would be fair, I think that would depend on whether you see any value in the traits that a more fun-loving woman who's spent time cultivating social skills might bring to the table. If you do, I'd say that's a fair match. If you don't, you shouldn't be dating her – and while it might be frustrating if people don't want to arrange their lives so you find them suitable romantic partners, that's not really a reasonable expectation to have of others.

          • username_6916

            Honest, I see something of a negative value to that. "Fun-loving", in this context, seems to also come with a sense of an having an inability to commit or compromise. Why put the effort into forging a relationship when there's a dozens other hot guys/gals out there? Why make sacrifices for a partner if you can just get another one with ease? Why do all the hard things when it's far more fun to just party right now, only to ask the hard things of /someone else/ down the road?

            Beyond that, it seems that the whole point of this blog is telling to arrange my life so that others can find me a suitable romantic partner. Why is it a reasonable expectation for others to ask of me, but not of me to ask of others?

          • eselle28

            I think you'd do best to chalk that up to a difference in personal taste. It doesn't sound like you value those qualities, so you shouldn't seek out a partner who has them. Other men do like those traits – I know many women who are dating or married who are more grasshopper types – and they're probably better partners for them anyway.

            The difference is that the blog is giving advice to people who are asking the implicit question, "How do I become more attractive to potential partners?" The main articles give advice on how to be more broadly appealing, and comments and the letters section can provide advice on how to be more appealing to specific types of people. Your "fairness" situation seems to be asking the question, "How can others be more attractive to me?" It doesn't really work that way, because some women who don't meet your expectations may not be seeking partners at all, others may not be seeking partners who are like you, and still others may be potentially interested but decide that your price of entry is too high. All that can really be done if you have unusual tastes (or unusual tastes for your community) is to do your best to seek out people who are on the same page.* I assure you that advice sites for women who are looking for men with your value set give plenty of advice on how to please those men.

            *Although we want very different things from our relationships, I do understand the frustration to some degree. My community is full of traditional men who really get into performing masculinity and who mostly already have children – not a lot of liberal, irreligious, childfree braniacs in these parts. But it's not really the responsibility of my neighbors to have lived their lives so that they're perfectly suited to be partners for a woman who probably isn't offering what they're seeking in a partner anyway. It's just a mismatch on both parts.

          • Ghest

            If we are specifically talking about Lee, he has said he wants someone fun-loving and has said that is one of the most important things he would want in a partner. He has also said that ONS, casual sex and casual relationships without commitment are all things he would like.

            If this is about you, you don’t have to date or pursue anyone who you think comes across as commitment-phobic, unwilling to compromise, or who has a vastly different idea of fun from you. Some people see “fun-loving” as code for club-going, constantly-partying extroverts. There are plenty of people who have a different idea of fun – fun could be an all-day session of Twilight Imperium, a 4 hr Wagner opera or a 4 day hiking trip (note: these are all based on the tastes of actual people I know). What would your idea of fun be?

          • username_6916

            "Some people see “fun-loving” as code for club-going, constantly-partying extroverts. "

            Yes, that's more or less how I'm seeing it. With a side of lots of no-strings attached sex and "relationships only exist to add value to my life". And a side of "you must always appear happy and confident".

            It's gotten to the point that I have a reaction of disgust when I read about people who 'love to laugh' in their dating profiles. Certainly, there are important, or at least more interesting things to be doing, yes?

            " There are plenty of people who have a different idea of fun – fun could be an all-day session of Twilight Imperium, a 4 hr Wagner opera or a 4 day hiking trip (note: these are all based on the tastes of actual people I know). What would your idea of fun be? "

            Uhh… All of that. And a few other things too.

            I'm not a complete curmudgeon. There are things I do and want to do solely for the enjoyment and adventure related to them. But, most of the time in a relationship, you're not engaging in such activities. Most of the things we do are not as entertaining, but still necessary to a functioning life. It's how well we get along while doing everyday things that determines the likelihood of success in my view.

            That's also something that our modern, western approach to dating really doesn't seem to do a good job of measuring. Perhaps because we are so focused on finding 'fun loving'.

          • Ghest

            So the reason people keep talking about fun-loving women and why ants should date grasshoppers is that Lee has specifically said he wants a fun, bubbly, cheerful woman to have a short-term relationship with and really wants to avoid the daily drudgery of everyday things in the relationship. It sounds like you want the exact opposite – you want something serious and committed with someone who will share your daily life with you. For you, it sounds like the best strategy would be to seek out other ants.

            “It's gotten to the point that I have a reaction of disgust when I read about people who 'love to laugh' in their dating profiles.”
            I haven’t tried online dating but from what I hear this is a common cliché on people’s profiles. However, it does sound like online dating is a good strategy for you if you are looking for introverted women. There are probably other filters you could use as well, for example, only contacting or responding to women who have “long term dating” checked. It should also be pretty easy to avoid people who talk about their wild nights out or bar-hopping or have pictures of them at a club or something.

            There are several reasons people will focus on fun. In general, people do love their fun and are dedicated to their hobbies. For online dating – what you do for fun will probably give potential partners a better idea of your lifestyle. Most people assume that in any long-term, committed relationship there will be lots of working, grocery shopping, laundry doing and tired nights at home with TV and frozen pizza. But most people also want a social life, to do pleasurable things, and focus on their interests and they want to know how a partner will fit in with that.

            When you first meet someone or are dating them, it helps to have a lot of positive interactions and having fun will help with this. Fun doesn’t have to be bar hopping until 3 AM, it can be a good conversation about your childhood pets and analyzing the latest X-Men movie together. Also, women are often expected to organize and maintain the couple’s social life so if you have your own hobbies, interests and things you do for fun, then it will suggest that you are not expecting someone you date to act as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Also, doing fun things can be a good way to meet people – you can join a gaming group, chat with people at the intermission of an opera, or try to find a hiking/outdoorsy group to join.

            It’s definitely important to see how you interact in everyday life, but that’s something that usually has to happen over time. Both of you have to decide that the other person is someone that you want to spend everyday life with as well.

          • Maggie

            Why are fun-loving and commitment-phobic synonyms? I think someone who loves fun is someone who finds the fun in every day life as well as someone who is up for adventures. I'd much rather be with someone who sees the joy in life than someone who's only about work and duty and responsibility. I mean my full-time career is one of the most fun things in my life. And I can go on and on about all the awesome things my students did this week and what projects I'm thinking up for them and how adorable they are when they get excited about something… I want someone with the same passion and commitment to joy in life.

        • Jenn

          Well why does someone making different choices make them a bad partner? Just because someone hasn't made the same choices as you doesn't mean those choices are bad.

          • username_6916

            If my sacrifices don't make me a better partner, then why have I done them? If they don't make me a better partner, have I wasted the last 6 years of my life?

          • eselle28

            Does it have to be universal? Your choices could make you a better partner for some people, and have no effect on or make you a less suitable partner for others.

    • eselle28

      I don't see how this is a reasonable fear on your part. If there were really a line of desperate thirtysomething women scheming to force you into the husband role, I think you'd find that a larger percentage of them would be interested in going on second dates with you. A lot of this sounds like irrational anxiety talking, and I suspect this fixation is one of the real barriers to you finding someone.

      It's also kind of a strange analogy, because it suggests that the best strategy for an ant-type would be to hole up with another ant and enjoy the fruits of their labor together, and you're generally very put off by women with the cautious, restrained personality traits that you value in yourself.

  • Mr. Gray

    I do have to mention that this was always something I viewed myself as “boring”. After a while I finally realized that I am boring when it comes to things that bore me (socializing, partying, etc). But when the topic was something that interest me (nerd culture) then I was more engaged, more lively, more fun. My friend put it best “When we talk about usual guy stuff it’s like you never have anything to add, but when you talk to your fellow nerds it’s like you turn in to the fanz.”

    • Falcon

      Just to clarify – did you mean "The Fonz"? That would make much more sense.

      On another note, I can relate to that – your post describes me quite well.

      • Mr. Gray

        Yes I did. Sorry for the mis-spel

  • ElJefe

    I like the idea of the "long game" because in it getting laid or getting a hot girl/boyfriend is basically a side effect of self-improvement. I think too many people come into dating advice with the mentality of "if I do X then they'll do Y and then everything will be happily ever after." However, improving oneself for ONE'S OWN SAKE (capitalized for emphasis) does far more than just adopting some great lines for the purpose of getting random lays and validating one's own ego.

    The best interactions of my life have come only after I began to improve myself for my own sake, not to get laid or look better in the eyes of others. With "long game" the most fundamental aspect is knowing that if I work hard enough and improve myself I will find another person I am mad about who loves me back as well. However, this is merely a side effect of improving myself for my own fulfillment.

    • thathat

      Very well-put!

      That seems like such a healthier mindset to have–even if changes don't yield instant Significant Other, the end result is still generally being a happier, healthier person.

    • username_6916

      The question becomes, how do we define improvement? I often feel that a lot of the things that people advise I do to improve my odds at courtship are no improvement at all, at least not as I define it. Take the advice to change your wardrobe, for example, from simple, inexpensive and practical garments to delicate, expensive, uncomfortable and perhaps sometimes even dangerous (a necktie or a scarf is a very bad idea around machine tools) garments. Or the advice to bury your true emotions and display 'confidence', even if you have no real reason to. Or, asking us to be entertainers of others.

      All of this is for the sake of changing other's views of us. We wouldn't bother if it wasn't what others, including potential partners, think. Why would we?

      • ElJefe

        I work out because I enjoy lifting weights. The fact that it makes me look buff and that attracts women is a side effect of the fact I love lifting weights.

        I dress well because I like looking sharp. The fact it makes me more attractive to women is a side effect of the fact I like looking sharp.

        I like to entertain other people and make them laugh because it makes me feel good to do so. The fact it also endears people to me is a side effect of this.

        See what I'm getting at? Please, what is "improvement" in your mind? I think you're afraid to change and resisting or denigrating advice is preferable to actually changing.

        • username_6916

          Of those, the only one I'll agree with is athletic training. It's quite possible to enjoy the activity for itself, and it's quite possible to compete with only yourself making improvements that are in no way measured by the views of others.

          On the other hand, what looks sharp, or what is entertaining is measured by the opinion of others.

          • thathat

            So what *is* "improvement, to you?

          • username_6916

            The question isn't what is improvement. Certainly all of those are improvements in how well he is received. The question I'm having is if these are improvements for their own sake, or for the sake of impressing others.

            I would say that building or using a skill that I find useful or fun is an improvement for its own sake, although even here there's elements of being more impressive to others. If I could take the time to re-learn Android, for example, I could make money from other people on the App store. Yes, running your code on a phone (!) is rewarding in and of itself, but I'm getting external approval and motivation too. Even learn this one skill wouldn't not be entirely for it's own sake.

            I have no desire to be confident. Confident people are more likely than not to be victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect than have any real ability, or real value as a person. Confident people are con man (and women), used car salesmen, politicians… They don't understand nuance, they don't understand the details, or the laws that govern the system. You can be confident that you build a perpetual motion machine, but that doesn't make the underlying ideas any less absurd.

            I have no desire to be 'fun'. I hate parties, I'm a teetotaler, and find mere hedonism to be the antithesis of self reflection and self improvement.

            I have very little desire to play dress-up in day to day life. Formal clothing restricts movement, is painful or uncomfortable, is very hot or cold, is expensive, must be dry cleaned and can contain loose elements that can get caught in moving machinery. Even some of the less formal suggestions made around here have the same issues.

            And, yet, look how much advice regarding courtship focuses on these attributes. If I were to make these changes, it would solely be to improve my odds at courtship. I don't see any other advantages to them.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            And yet all of these things as they effect relationships really come down to self-esteem. We're not talking empty confidence to bludgeon ahead at a lost cause or use people because you can. We're talking the confidence to realistically undertake a challenge in the first place; something like being confident that you could program a useful ap if you brush up a bit as opposed to expecting to knock out an ap in a weekend that will let you retire rich.

            We're not talking the fun of the guy who gets plastered and puts a lampshade on his head, who everyone laughs at and uses that laughter in place of respect. We're talking about having passion, interests that light up your day, things that you do just for the sake of enjoying doing them.

            We're not talking designer suits. We're talking finding a style that you like, that suits you; clothes that are comfortable and fit, not that cut off circulation.

            At the end of the day, what we're talking about is cutting out the irony, the distance, the negativity as a defense mechanism. We're talking about knowing yourself and owning it to your core, not proving yourself to others. We're talking about caring enough about who you are and what you like to stand up and be the best version of that person that you can; of being able to look in the mirror and be proud to say "yeah, that's me".

            Even if your life is a bleeding train wreck, if you can look in the mirror and say "I spent my day cleaning up wreckage and that's not bad for a day's work", that's a start.

          • Mel_

            So you've never put on an item of clothing, looked at yourself in the mirror, and thought, Hey, I'm looking good? Because I'm capable of telling whether I think I'm looking "sharp" and feeling good about that even if I'm alone in my house. Maybe that's not something that appeals to you, but you can recognize that for other people there is some inherent enjoyment in it.

            Entertaining, yes, that's clearly something you can't do by yourself. But you can cultivate interests that you do enjoy for their own sake that lead to your being entertaining. (e.g., One of my best social skills seems to be making wry observations to get people laughing. I started saying those observations in the first place because I found them amusing in my own head, and I continue to look at the world around me from different angles and note the absurdities of it to myself when there's no one to share those observations with–I just do it out loud in company more now that I've realized other people appreciate them too.) A lot of being "entertaining" or an enjoyable conversationalist, at least, is figuring out what parts of your existing personality and interests are already something other people will relate to/appreciate and how to best express those.

  • HermitTheToad

    Theoretically, is it even possible to…I'll say, 'expand' the no. of people you're physically attracted to? Could you change yourself to be attracted to more different types of people?

    Thanks in advance.

    • nameless coward

      I think for the most part the physical attributes you find attractive isn't really a conscious thing that you can control. However, tastes change and exposure to different "types" may help you flesh that out. And I've done like the article discusses where I've found myself become physically attracted to someone I wasn't initially all that in to after getting to know them.

  • nameless coward

    So you can compensate for looks by having a sparkling, effervescent, outgoing, extroverted personality. Wonderful, unless you happen to be an ugly-to-average introvert. Incomprehensible as it may seem to an extrovert like the good doc, not everybody has the actual capability of being the life of the party.

    • HermitTheToad

      "Incomprehensible as it may seem to an extrovert like the good doc, not everybody has the actual capability of being the life of the party."

      That's not exactly the point. Just pay attention to this:

      "Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that in order to win people over you have to constantly be playing the dancing monkey and always putting on a performance. Nobody can be “on” 24-7, and being around the ones who try gets exhausting."

      "You just want to be someone who’s fun to be around in general. You’re a cool person, not the entertainment director."

      • nameless coward

        Some people just aren't all that fun to be around though, tbh. If I had it my way, 6 nights out of 7, and sometimes more, I'd sit at home reading and listening to music. I find it exhausting going out most of the time, and after a little while I just want to go home and be by myself. And I can't think of too many things on this planet that would make me more uncomfortable than being the center of attention at a large gathering of people. It's hard for guys like the doc to understand, because the nature of extroversion is that you get energized and recharged by socialization. Even if you're a shy extrovert (not an oxymoron) you *desire* the interaction and socialization. For introverts its the opposite. And that can make introverts objectively not so fun to be around sometimes. That does make it harder to get to know people, and for people to get to know you, but the alternative is putting up exactly the type of front the doc describes.

        • HermitTheToad

          I hope I didn't come across as dismissive before. See, I get what you feel because…..shit, I don't have a social life and I missed out on learning important social skills as a teenager. Living with a largely insular, anti-social family doesn't make things any easier either.

          I think the important things to think about are: Is your introversion, shyness and feeling like no one wants to be around you, making you happy? If you're comfortable as you are then, great!

          If it's not making you happy, then you need to consider whether it's worth working on those aspects that would make you more socially attractive. It's a hard question to wrestle with, no doubt, but it won't be a problem that's unique to you.

          You don't have to be the centre of attention in order to be memorable. Having interesting, fun interactions with small groups (or even one person at a time) can be enough.

          • ajamjar

            And, if you're a people watcher, sometimes it's fun to hang out with the person on the edge of the party watching everyone else. It's still being involved, even if you're not at the centre of it.

          • nameless coward

            Nah, I didn't take it that way, I was just further elaborating.

            I do wish I had less social anxiety and I'm considering maybe even getting into some therapy to address it. I'm 27 years old and I've had varying degrees of social anxiety since I have living memories (3-4 years old). As far as introversion though, that's something much closer to innate. There's literally chemical differences in the brains of extroverts vs introverts. Regardless of if/how effectively I'm able to address my social anxiety I'm going to be the type of person who needs down time to re-energize and who will be drained by social interaction.

            I'm much better in smaller groups or within the small selection of niches where I'm comfortable. If you meet me in the right context you may not ever know I had any social anxiety (although you'd probably still be able to peg me as an introvert). But most of my interests are sausage fests 😀

          • Kmr

            I'm turning 35 soon months and I also had SEVERE social anxiety, depression, and avoidant tendencies for most of my life, made more severe by various rejections and bullying throughout my early years. I'm also an introvert who before I got into a roommate situation with one of my best friends would sometimes happily go weeks without human interaction beyond work and phone calls to my parents.

            It has only been the last few years (basically since I was 27/28) that I've started to find my way in being comfortable in crowds and being able to pace myself to both have fun in groups and require less solitary time to recenter and get back to myself. One of the things that I've found is that as I've learned to manage the social anxiety better (medication and lots of therapy), the level of exhaustion that comes of being out and socializing and dealing with people has lessened. I'm not saying that I'm not still an introvert, because I definitely am. But without the additional stress of the overwhelming anxiety, I don't need as much time to recharge and it takes less effort to prepare for facing large group activities.

            So in other words, I definitely recommend working on the anxiety through therapy, and I wish you the best of luck if you decide to. Because I think you might be pleasantly surprised at how much of a positive change it can make.

        • enail0_o

          Fun doesn't have to mean 'life of the party.' Given that a good chunk of the population is introverted, there are a lot of other people out there who think reading and listening to music at home can be fun. Of course, you're not going to meet anyone while staying at home reading, so if you do want to meet people and get to know them, you'll need to figure out a balance between social and your kind of fun.

          But that doesn't have to mean large gatherings or going out clubbing all the time: board games or rpgs with a small group, hiking, quiet conversations in a coffee shop, listening to live music, those are things people do for fun! And you can set your schedule for your own comfort – going out one night a week is a perfectly reasonable thing to do!

          • nameless coward

            I suppose that's true. Like you said though, it's a little harder to meet people when your interests are more solitary. And you do have to find a particular type of person who is going to find that "fun" or even interesting. If I meet a girl like that I will wife her immediately 😀

          • Mel_

            You've probably already considered if not tried this, but as a fellow introvert with social anxiety troubles, online dating was a godsend for me. Getting to know people a little, and knowing we were on approximately the same page (considering whether to date each other) before meeting in person took a lot of the edge off my anxiety. And it's a good way to meet other introverts who similarly don't socialize in large groups very often.

          • nameless coward

            For sure. I'm actually currently "off the market" for a little self-improvement and reflection, but when the time comes I will definitely consider online dating.

          • Falcon

            What if you're really bad at putting together a profile? I signed up on OkCupid a few days ago and, as expected, I managed to string together a few paragraphs with great difficulty – resulting in a less than captivating profile. Certainly not something that would stand out from the crowd (in a good way, anyway).

            I don't know if this is because my life is empty, because I'm a bad communicator or a combination of both. I've faced this problem with school assignments, resumes, job applications, interviews and in some other situations. I've taken a few tiny steps forward over time, but I'm still pretty far behind.

            I was tempted to write a post on Facebook to solicit help with writing an online dating profile, but I held back. It doesn't feel like a particularly good idea, but I don't know what else I can do. There are obviously some major issues that need to be addressed here.

          • reboot

            There is a thread in the DNL forum for online dating profile review. Reading it and/or posting in it might be helpful

          • Falcon

            I'm aware of it, however, as I said, I need to fill it in first. It would take a detailed discussion/Q&A session with a person who could draw things out of me. I might even learn something about myself in the process.

            I don't know anyone who could do that for me, even if I offered compensation (which I'm willing to do).

          • Gentleman Johnny

            There are also several online dating articles in the archive on how to fill out a profile and how to efficiently deal with the questions.

          • Falcon

            I think my needs are beyond the scope of this site. I'm not saying Dr. NerdLove is useless, but there are some deeply rooted issues here that need to be addressed.

            One of the sections in the OkCupid profile is "The First Things People Usually Notice About Me:" – I literally DO NOT KNOW how to answer that. People don't tell me and I don't ask them.

            I can describe my general approach to life with a few examples:

            – I enjoy driving cars and working on them. I have several ideas for project cars, such as engine builds and conversions. However, they stay in fantasy land and aren't likely to progress beyond that. I do have an opportunity at my fingertips these days – I was going to put my car up for sale a few months ago, but my dad and I have decided to have one car between us and split the costs, since neither of us uses it much. This means that we will soon have one excess car, which could make a nice project. These things can be money pits, so I'd have to be careful, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

            – I would like to do some laps on a race track. I feel stifled by street driving. I have not taken significant steps to make that happen and I am not planning to do so. Another pipe dream.

            – I attend acting classes. People talk about things to do to support/further your acting career, but I'm not interested in doing the hard work. It's as if the words go from my ears directly to the neural garbage bin.

            Now, you may ask: "Why would someone want to be in your life?" I don't know the answer to that, I just hope that there is something good there.

          • thathat

            '"The First Things People Usually Notice About Me:" – I literally DO NOT KNOW how to answer that. People don't tell me and I don't ask them. '

            No one's asking you to be psychic and no one's running your profile through the scantron to make sure you picked the absolutel 100% truest answer.

            Figure out what your most noticeable physical attribute is. Hair, height, smile, eyes…or less physical, like laugh or voice or energy. It doesn't have to be SUPER noticeable. Just pick something about yourself–preferably something you like–that someone would notice after spending very little time with you.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            OK, if there are deeply rooted issues somewhere, I'm not seeing them in the rest of the comment.

            The first thing people notice about me is – this thing I just made up right now, like Eddie Izzard's rule about flags.

            About me – I like driving cars and working on them. There's nothing like tearing down the highway or the track on a summer day with the top down and the wind in your hair etc.

            On a side note: its ok to not want to be a professional actor and still enjoy acting classes. One of the main reasons I don't run a show professionally is that its not fun anymore when its something I have to do 40-60 hours per week.

            Wrapping that stuff up for public dating profile consumption isn't any harder than it is to present being a comic geek, a cosplayer or running a post apocalyptic burlesque show. Think about the kind of people you want to meet and how you can make what you do sound appealing to them.

          • Mel_

            Definitely OLD requires its own set of skills. It helped for me that I'm very comfortable expressing myself in writing, for example. It's not going to be for everyone.

            From what you've said in your later comments in this thread, though, it sounds to me like the problem isn't being bad at putting together a profile but not… having the material to work with, so to speak. If you have few passions in your life, and the interests you do have you don't put much energy into pursuing, then–to be frank–you're probably going to have trouble presenting yourself as an appealing dating partner in any setting. There are a lot of good reasons for that: people want to date someone who has a reasonably full life of their own so they don't feel responsible for being their partner's whole focus, it's hard to have enjoyable conversations with someone who doesn't feel very strongly about anything, never/rarely following through on goals can be a red flag for a person's ability to look after themselves, etc. But it obviously sucks when you find yourself in that position.

            Do you have any idea why you don't pursue your interests further/more? e.g., Is it lack of confidence, worries that you'll fail? Simply not feeling like the enjoyment would be worth the effort? It sounds likely to me that you could be dealing with anxiety or (my first instinct) depression, which can manifest as apathy rather than sadness in some people. *raises hand* When I was at my lowest point of depression, I had trouble motivating myself to do even things I'd used to love, and couldn't summon excitement over pretty much anything.

            Even if you aren't dealing with something clearly diagnosable, it might be worth talking to a professional (therapist, counselor, spiritual adviser if that's a fit) to help you work out why you feel your life is empty and how you can do more to fill it. You sound as though you're feeling overwhelmed, and it helps a lot to be grappling with that sort of problem alone.

          • nameless coward

            I know this wasn't addressed to me, but that's right where I am as well and why I'm taking some time to do some personal development before I start dating. Circumstances have really beat me up the last several years and I'm at a point now where I've lost interest in damn near everything I used to enjoy, and couldn't afford them anyway even if I wanted to. IMO, for me at least, when you're at that point, that's not a good time to be getting into a relationship of any kind. It's just going to lead to dysfunction that makes everything worse instead of better.

          • Maggie

            I have to say kudos for you for taking time to focus on yourself and getting yourself to a place where you feel happy. Not everyone has the self-awareness to even notice when that's necessary never mind actually take the time to deal and heal.

          • Mel_

            Realized the last line should say, "it helps a lot *not* to be grappling with that sort of problem alone".

          • Falcon

            It's a Catch-22 – I'm unhappy with my dating/sex life and preoccupied with it, so I don't feel motivated to do anything. I know I struggle with anxiety. Depression is a possibility; I don't know for sure. I can get some relief by distracting myself with other things, but it's transient.

            A few weeks ago, I spent the better part of a weekend, plus a bit extra, fixing something on a car, which involved pulling the dashboard out. Once I started, I was on a roll and I just wanted to keep going. I was in the zone – nothing else mattered. Despite some frustrations and aching muscles, I had a lot of fun.

            Regarding what I was saying earlier about project cars, in case anyone's interested, here's a video to show you what is possible. The car in this video is the same model (even the same colour!) as my dad's one:

            For reference, a typical Toyota Corolla would do a quarter mile in ~17 seconds, so a sub-10 second car is a freakin' rocket!

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Getting started is always the hardest part, isn't it? You look at ripping out the dash and replacing all the instruments and its So. Much. Work. Once you get going, though, its just step 1, step 2, step 3 etc.

            Same thing with your OLD profile. Dig in and start filling out the bits you can. If you get stumped by Six Things or The Most Personal Thing, skip it for now. Fire some stuff off. Go back to the sections you skipped and fill in something that shores up what you already have. Take another pass to tighten it up etc.

            I'm going to skip questions here because there's a whole art to it. Doc's got a great article, though.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Hi, average introvert looking here. There's a difference between being the life of the party and being able to make a good impression one on one. Yeah, I can be the life of the party in maybe 15 minute increments. Mostly, though, extended interactions with a group mean I need to hide out the next day and recover.

  • Brandon

    "All of this ties into the most important part of making a good first impression: bring the positive energy."

    I think this is the most important sentence in the article.

  • Shpon

    I've tried this. Being super-fun to be around is exactly what gets you taken advantage of. It's what gets women thinking you're a great guy to spend time with and cadge favours from when she feels like it, but somehow not quite boyfriend material. And as you're smiling on the surface, she'll assume you're totally happy with this arrangement. When she finally faces the fact that you're hoping for things from her, she'll either go berserk and feel massively betrayed that this wasn't all for free, or she'll feel too guilty to reject directly and pull a long, slow fade.

    It annoys me that the dating industry is constantly telling everyone "you're not good-looking enough, you're not confident enough, you're not fun enough". Beyond a basic minimum, becoming 10% wittier or 5% more generous won't help you at all. A woman will be interested in the guy who best represents the things she personally prioritises, not the guy who is best on paper.

    • Guest

      . . . "For free" . . .


      Just . . .


    • eselle28

      You can be fun to be around and still set boundaries. And if you're doing favors for your friends for anything other than "for free" I would suggest you not do favors.

      I do think there's some truth in the last paragraph. People don't just pick the person who's best on paper. But, for people who routinely struggle with dating, I think there often are areas where they may need to improve and weaknesses that are turning off a good portion of their potential dates. Waiting for someone who finds those traits unobjectionable is one option, but I think improvement is the other. The fact that many qualities get listed is because people have deficits in certain areas (personally, as a woman, I'm kind of jealous that guys are given lots of possible options for improving themselves, since advice for women tends to be restricted to a couple of traits).

      • Shpon

        I agree with you to an extent, but it is extremely difficult to get genuine advice on what your weaknesses are and how you could improve them. But I do think a very common weakness is inability to forge an equal relationship, rather than one that's entirely on her terms. I've fallen into this trap so many times, and I have NEVER thought "if I do her this favour, she'll owe me sex" – that's a straw man argument that I totally reject. It's always started with me thinking "I don't want to be mean or disappoint her, I want to be honest and helpful".

        • eselle28

          "But I do think a very common weakness is inability to forge an equal relationship, rather than one that's entirely on her terms."

          Yeah, unsurprisingly, I don't agree. There are a lot of men who'd do well to be upfront about the fact that they want relationships rather than friendships, and to stop spending time with women who've made it clear they aren't on the same page. There are also a lot of women who are quietly tolerating Nice Guying and favor sharking instead of calling off unsatisfying friendships with men who are looking for romance or sex. And once we talk about people who are in relationships, I find it more common for men to expect relationships to be entirely on their terms than vice versa.

          • Falcon

            How do you avoid crossing the line between showing interest and coming on too strong? If the other person is an acquaintance through a shared activity and you've barely had any contact with her, it feels like asking her out would be too sudden. If you keep that topic off the table, it's all purely platonic.

            Is there a way to find the right balance? Does it have to involve trial and error and possible awkward feelings? You can be blunt with me – no need to cushion the impact.

          • eselle28

            Asking out an acquaintance at a shared activity is a pretty warm approach. I'd suggest initiating at least one conversation with her and possibly two, then asking her out at the end of the conversation if you seem to enjoy talking to each other, and then listening to her response. One or two instances of talking to a woman shouldn't be enough for her to start asking for favors (and if it is, that's a good person to avoid), so there's not much risk of running into the described problem.

          • Falcon

            That's not the risk I'm worried about. I'm worried about making her uncomfortable by suggesting a date-like activity – not a good thing when you may have to see each other again. That's where I was going with the "coming on too strong" question.

          • HermitTheToad


            If you ruminate too much on what people will think of you, you'll go through life as a mute i.e. you're damned if you do, damned if you don't, so 'Just Do It'. You can't know how someone will react ahead of time. If she's uncomfortable, just be sincere in your apology and back away. Mitigate any awkwardness by owning what happened and try to not make it too much of a big deal. It's OK to make mistakes.

          • Mel_

            Yep. The key is not to make the date suggestion too emotionally fraught. Ask her out in a way that's easy-going and low pressure–"Hey, it's been great getting to know you better, you want to make it a date and grab dinner on Friday?"–being as relaxed about it in your voice and body language as you can, and if she turns you down, stay easy-going and relaxed–"No problem, I just had to ask."–and stick to talking about whatever acquaintance-y things you were talking about before from then on. If she sees that you're not going to make a big deal about being turned down, and can still interact with her in a friendly way, she's unlikely to feel uncomfortable, at least not for long.

          • raindancing

            Exactly– the main reason why women tend to get uncomfortable when someone in their activity group asks them out, is that too often, declining a date results in temper tantrums or passive-aggressive jabs, and sucks all the fun out of activity time. So the main thing is to be cool if she turns you down: "Too bad. Well, I had to ask. So how's your spot-welding/birdhouse-building/costume-making/activity-thing going?"

          • thathat

            Just ask someone if they'd like to get a cup of coffee. That's a good, neutral, pre-date sort of experience. Helps if you can name a specific, non-chain cafe that is a place you want to check out. ("Hey, have you been to Common Grounds?")

            If she's straight-up not interested, she'll probably say no. If she's a decent person, that'll be the end of it, because getting asked to coffee isn't that big a deal, and asking, say, a classmate or someone you see often but don't really know out to coffee shouldn't be coming on too strong.

            If she says yes, y'all get coffee and chat and maybe get better acquainted, for a given value of "acquainted.

          • ElJefe

            I don't think there's such a thing as "coming on too strong," rather just inadvertently (or advertently) crossing boundaries. If you're interested in someone show it. This took me forever to figure out because I assumed that showing interest was somehow rude or too forward. If you're interested, let them know in a socially acceptable manner. Asking someone out for a drink is a pretty universal one. And don't over think it, just do it. "Coming on too strong" usually involves either behaving overly needy (clingy) or just expressing the wrong amount of interest at the wrong time.

          • Falcon

            "…rude or too forward.", "… expressing the wrong amount of interest at the wrong time." – yes, these are the fears that plague me. I think the general consensus, which hasn't been explicitly stated, is that this DOES require some trial and error; it can't be eliminated completely.

            I'm surprisingly comfortable with making mistakes when other people aren't involved. I got a motorcycle Learner's Permit in December 2012. Riding was quite hairy at first, but eventually I got the hang of things.

          • eselle28

            This is just one woman's perspective, but I'd say the least uncomfortable outcomes are either being explicitly asked on a date (using that word; not just a date-like activity) or the guy deciding that it wouldn't be appropriate to ask me out and choosing to do nothing. The in between things are where a lot of the awkwardness comes in, at least if I'm not already socializing with the guy in question.

            To me, "coming on too strong" isn't about a guy being direct. It's about him either being crude or refusing to take no for an answer. If you wouldn't do either of those things, I think asking for a date is just fine – and I'd say it's the preferred approach here rather than the long game, since you don't have much of a platonic connection with this woman to build from.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Its as awkward as you let it be. If you're already having a one on one conversation its easy enough to ask. If you get a no, just shrug, chuckle and say something like "worth a try" then go right back to the conversation at hand. . . which I notice everyone else has said already. . .

            the important point is not to follow a no with "why not" or "oh, come on, give me a chance" or whatever. If she's not interested, let it go.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          In order to have a relationship that's not entirely on someone else's terms, you need to have terms of your own. What that really means is you need to have boundaries. If you really hate the opera or BDSM or roller skating, say so. You'll lose some potential partners but you'll be doing it in service of finding someone compatible with a relationship that you actually want to be in.

          If we're talking more people being "just friends" when one of them wants a relationship, that's not something that women do exclusively. A relationship is going to grow to whoever's comfort level is hit first then develop from there.

          • enail0_o

            OTOH, if you hate singing opera WHILE engaging in BDSM AND rollerskating, best keep quiet about it, it probably means you're dead in the soul. 😛

          • eselle28

            What about those of us who are still leveling in "walking while chewing gum"?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            That comment makes me feel so much better about how awkward my Oberyn Martell moves look. I'm a long way from a butterfly kick with a 360 roll.

          • Gentleman Horndog

            Eh, don't sweat it. Oberyn never learned the simple double-tap.

            Master the basics first.

        • thathat

          ' I have NEVER thought "if I do her this favour, she'll owe me sex" – that's a straw man argument that I totally reject. It's always started with me thinking "I don't want to be mean or disappoint her, I want to be honest and helpful". '

          I think you kind of are falling into that trap, though. Maybe not the "favor=you own me sex" blatant one. You know better than that, and really when it's laid out that obviously, it looks so gross most people reject it.

          But you talk about women being upset that the favors you were doing weren't "for free." Which indicates that on some level, you were doing those favors to build up points. Maybe not sex points. Maybe just relationship points.

          Favors are a *lousy* way to set a foundation for a relationship. Because even if you were doing them because you just wanted to do something nice, if you're hoping for more and haven't articulated it yet, it's going to be awkward and uncomfortable when you do–especially if you let it go on for awhile. You put people in a bad position (me, personally, I really hate getting gifts and favors unasked for, from almost anyone. It's a huge guilt thing).

          If your mindset is "I don't want to be mean or disappoint her" that's fine, to a point. That's usually the mindset a woman has when she agrees to go on a date with someone she likes but doesn't Like, though. It's not a comfortable place to be. You can tell someone no (in regards to a date or a favor) without being mean. You *shouldn't* bend yourself into a pretzel to avoid disappointing someone over something as small as a favor. If you want to be honest, but upfront about your feelings as soon as possible.

          If you want an equal relationship, you have to find someone who wants to be in it equally. And don't woo someone by coyly doing favors while keeping your real feelings on the down low (and don't assume the other person can tell you have those feelings).

          • Shpon

            Favours are a bad way I agree, but how are you supposed to build a foundation for a relationship? Real feelings that actually mean something beyond surface physical attraction can only grow over time. In the real world it's risky and bit sleazy to be saying exactly what you're feeling about her when you've only just met.

          • eselle28

            Spend time with her? Share your feelings about pretty much everything else in the world? Flirt a bit? If it seems like the flirting is returned, suggest that the two of you try dating without any emotional confession of love?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You can spend time with someone without it being all about doing favors for each other. Hang out, talk, go on a date, share your interests, have a drink, go dancing, play video games together. . .

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Have you tried being fun and spending time with someone who think you're a great guy and then saying "hey, I really enjoy being around you. Would you like to go on a date to [thing] this [day]?"

      Or maybe when she asks for favors that are way out of your way, instead of smiling on the outside and grumbling on the inside you could say "I'm sorry but I really can't."

      You know. . .being honest.

      • Shpon

        Yes, I have tried both of those. If she can cling to the plausible deniability that this still just as friends she'll say yes , if not she'll suddenly remember that she had a boyfriend all along, who she hadn't thought to mention until now.

        • What in the world are you talking about? Perhaps the women you have been around are just not very good people. You make it sound like the women you associate with simply are in this to use you. If that's the case, then those specific people suck and you shouldn't waste a lot of energy thinking those people are representative of dating as a whole. If you are spending time on these kinds of people, just stop and try and find people who, you know, enjoy you for you. Admittedly that search can be difficult but isn't that the point of dating?

          I've found that by being explicit about what I want out of a relationship, IE plainly stating that I would like a relationship, works wonders towards figuring out if the other person is on the same page as me. It also helps both of us determine if we want to invest more time into one another.

          As to an inability to forge an equal relationship, you'll have to explain more what you mean there because it doesn't really make sense to me what you are decrying. Relationships aren't exactly equal, that's just the way it works, but I take your argument to mean you want there to be more give and take (as in both parties feel invested). It seems to me you are generalizing to the whole a problem that exists for a subset of people who seem to enjoy leeching from you. Don't waste time on those people.

          I think the Dr.'s advice is not to simply just be fun and outgoing. If that's all you do, yes, you'll in fact be taken advantage of by lame people. I think you should take his advice to mean you also need a sense of who you should attempt dating. IE being fun loving around immature people will increase the probability of me being taken advantage of (because immature people tend to, no surprises here, be immature with their relationships). You can't just be fun loving to everyone you need to be judicious and know who is worth being fun and outgoing with.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Even assuming that's true, excellent! You've now saved yourself weeks or months of pretending to be someone's friend in order to try and get a date you weren't going to get anyway. Now you can either give up on thta and be friends or give up on that and not be friends. Either way, you know to look elsewhere for a date.

        • Mel_

          Easy solution to both: Ask the question so that plausible deniability isn't possible (e.g., if you explicitly call it a date–and if you want to make even more sure, say you're interested in being more than friends), and if she brings up a boyfriend, accept that she isn't going to date you and if you don't want to be around her as just a friend, stop hanging around her and move on.

          I'm not sure what's so hard about that? If you can't make yourself clearly ask a person out, that's something you need to work on, not other people's issue.

          • Guest

            I think the fact is there is plausible deniability for him as well. I can relate to that. I would go out with people where it likely WASN'T a date, but no one said as much, so I could pretend that it actually was.

            I think he doesn't want to be straightforward because if he is he fears the answer will always be rejection. But, as everyone has already said, if the girl is going to reject you she will reject you regardless. However, until she rejects him he can pretend that she might not, and that is a safe fun feeling to feel. I've done that myself with guys when I was in highschool. And it never worked out, btw. But for those months I got to have a lovely "What if" crush on someone.

            Anyway, I now approach romance very differently and don't behave like that anymore. But the plausible deniability on the side of the person asking is also a reason why people are specific. Everyone gets to play makebelieve in the scenario.

          • Guest

            * that should be "aren't specific"

          • Mel_

            Oh, I can totally sympathize with a fear of rejection and wanting to keep plausible deniability for one's self, too. But if that's the case he really shouldn't be talking about how awful women are for supposedly taking advantage of him when he's perpetuating the situation by avoiding letting them know what he does actually want from the relationship. If he doesn't want people asking for/accepting favors or encouraging interest from him unless they want to date him, he has to be willing to check whether people want to date him–he can't have it both ways.

          • Guest

            I agree completely. I wasn't saying it was an excuse for his behviour, but simply another reason for it. A reason I'm not so sure he has acknowledged for himself. He seems to place a great deal of blame on the women, and doesn't seem to realise that he's actually getting something out of it too. He's scared. He's scared of rejection. And so he protects himself. But in doing so he makes himself vulnerable and allows himself to be used. I think he needs to acknowledge how much responsibility he bears for his current situation. Not just blame the women who probably do also take advantage.

          • Mel_

            Ah, yes, we agree then. Although I really don't like the "women taking advantage" framing of these sort of situations in general–especially when the guy claims it's all or most women he's been interested in. It seems to me that feeds into the whole idea that women are magically more socially adept and aware than men, and can tell when a guy has a crush on them and is being friendly because of that, and thus are able to "take advantage" by asking for/accepting friendly gestures they know the guy isn't really offering as just a friend. I had crushes on guys I was too shy to ask out directly but tried to make friends with, and sometimes I did favors for them like helping with homework or lending items, but I never assumed they knew I was interested or that they were purposefully manipulating me (they didn't act as if they did), and when nothing came of it I accepted it as energy expended toward a failed goal by my own choice, not something I gave unwillingly through some sort of coercion.

            I mean, are there people out there who will notice someone has a crush of them and use that as a way to push for things they wouldn't otherwise expect? Sure. But they're not the majority of people, and I think there's a tendency for guys to assume that's happening whenever they like a girl and do things for her and she turns out not to be romantically interested, regardless of whether there's any actual evidence that she knew or was encouraging more than was fair from the guy, because of that supposed magical social adeptness. Better to assume people don't know what you feel unless you tell them, unless they're doing obviously manipulative things*–more often true, and leads to much less resentment.

            *Edited to add, I did have a crush on one guy who was being a jerk about it, so as an example of what I mean by obvious: he went back and forth between making fun of me for my interest (so clearly he knew about it) and encouraging it by acting like maybe he returned it, and when I started ignoring him–because, jerk–it clearly bothered him that he couldn't play those games any more and he tried to cajole me back. The guys who I don't believe were at least consciously taking advantage never gave any indication they were aware I might be seeing them in a romantic light, never did anything that was obviously more than friendly as a way to keep me on the hook, and faded out of my life without a fuss when I let myself fade out of theirs because they weren't invested in the "friendship" in the first place.

          • Guest

            Absolutely. We do agree completely. It's just I'm trying to give the OP a bit of the benefit of the doubt here. I mean, to me it says a lot about him that the only women he know are manipulative and horrible. But I am willing to assume he somehow attracts that kind of woman for the sake of argument. I'm more interested in his changing of his behaviour, than attempting to change theirs.

            But you are right. We women are so often expected to know how to behave in any and all situations. I have been accused of being a game player more often than I can count because I didn't realise a guy had a crush on me. I'm just as socially awkward as the next person. I spent my entire highschool having crushes on guys and never telling them, just being in love with them from afar and creating fantasies in my head. It was for this reason that I didn't date at all until University. I liked the fantasy WAY more than the reality.

            Anyway, the point is, yes to all you said. It is more likely the women aren't aware that he is doing them favours because he is attracted to them, but there ARE a few women out there who do take advantage and I don't think it's fair to just assume he's totally clueless about his own situation.

          • Shpon

            Thanks for the benefit of the doubt! I've known many, many women who are not at all manipulativve or horrible – it's just that they've tended to make it clear from the start that they're not interested in anything beyond friendship. But I do seem to have an uncanny knack for attracting the manipulative and horrible ones. Usually, I would say, it's that they (secretly) have a boyfriend who they're not that into, and are trying to find a guy to give them the attention and entertainment they're not getting from him, without it quite being cheating.

          • Shpon

            A mixture of things. I do think there are various times I've been genuinely messed around, e.g. where a woman pressed me aggressively to show some interest in her, then when I agreed to go on a date she stood me up or flaked out. Or times where I really did make it clear that I was hoping for a relationship or a date, and if she wasn't interested that was fine but I'd rather know before, say, committing to travel a long way to meet up with her – and she carried on saying yes only to flake out at the last minute.

            I do accept that I find it really hard to be upfront about what I want when it comes to dating, such as using words like date and relationship directly. As I've had lots of great platonic interactions with women, maybe that's the missing link. I don't think that will ever be my strength, but perhaps I can improve at it somehow. But again: whenever I've tried being bolder, it's always gone disastrously wrong. My fear is not so much the rejection itself, it's the secondary social effects. For example, if you met someone through a club or society, and then gossip goes around that you hit on so-and-so and she was uncomfortable, that's ruined your whole standing with that group of people.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            OK, so you're trying to strike a balance between being honest and avoiding making people uncomfortable. When you put it that way, that's a good goal to have. There's some articles in the archive and a few good comments above. The short form is don't make a big deal out of it, even if it feels like a big deal to you. If you do overstep someone's boundaries then apologize, back off and don't do it again. If you already have an easy time of platonic interactions, those two things alone will take you pretty far when it comes to moving up to dating.

    • Ghest

      If you think this woman is taking advantage of you, why the hell would you want to date her? Since you’re so worried about being in a relationship that’s “entirely on her terms”, why would you deliberately SELECT for someone who has shown you that she is a selfish friend? It is doubtful that such a person would want to be fair and take the other person into consideration in a romantic relationship, which has higher stakes and is more emotionally involved than a friendship.

      If by “spend time with and cadge favours from” you mean that she is taking advantage of you, see above. (I also wouldn’t want to stay friends with someone who was a bad friend; at the very least, I would pull back on the friendship, make her a small doses-friend, see her only in groups etc.) However, most friends do spend time with each other and will do favors for each other because they care for their friends – there is also an expectation of reciprocity. This isn’t going to be one-to-one or “your friends should do whatever you want” but there should be a general pattern of reciprocity over time. For example, if you provide emotional support to your friend by listening to her problems, she should be willing to do the same for you. If your friend is also doing these sorts of “friendship favors”, then she is not getting anything for “free” – she is behaving as a friend to you.

  • Kazhulhu

    Well, I'm glad in some ways that Bukowski's Most Beautiful Woman in Town was right that a lot of people coast by on their perfectly shaped ears, or whatever it was she referred to.

  • trixnix

    Having taken onboard the advice about body language from people here, I've had a go and got some new pics (Picture 1)

    My eyes close automatically when taking photos and it's a huge effort to keep them open. I'm not closing them on purpose. (picture 2) (Picture 3). Body shot.

    The whole "shoulders back" thing causes a fair bit of pain at the moment as my muscles are getting used to it.

    In every picture apart from Picture 3, the blazer is a YSL designer jacket.

    In the third picture, the jacked is Daniel Hetcher with a DKNY T Shirt.

    • nameless coward

      Just my personal opinion, but I would recommend ditching the double breasted jackets and blazers. They don't really look good on anyone, IMO, and the heavier you are the more cylindrical they make you appear.

      • enail0_o

        Oh, I love double-breasted jackets! And you're looking pretty sharp in all those photos, Trixnix!

        • trixnix


          Thanks. I have a large collection of designer jackets these days (I could hire them out) which means I can experiment with different looks and what looks good on me. My best buys were a beautiful D&G jacket and a Versace one. Plus a vintage YSL.

          I wanted to mark out a difference between the me who went through such horrible things last year and who I am now. A new image. It's costing a bit. My haircut used to cost £6.70. It now costs £30.00. But the difference is night and day. It doesn't feel as heavy as it used to.

      • trixnix


        Thanks. Interesting perspective. The jacket in all but one of those pictures is a recent purchase and it's a YSL jacket and a wonderful thing too. No chance I'm ditching that. I have quite a collection of smart jackets at the moment and got a lot of compliments for a few of them. I'm not used to people complimenting my clothing so that was a surprise.

    • Georgia_D

      I have a problem with closing my eyes when people take my photo so I feel your pain : )
      I love the jacket! I'd go with more fitted jeans personally, but those are fine. You look great!

    • Pictures 1 and 3 are so great! Picture 2 is, well, I can see that you're making a huge effort to keep your eyes open. But still, you're not doing that weird side-eye smirk thing, and that's awesome.

      I know it's an effort to keep your shoulders back but I think it really pays off in how cute you look in these photos.

      Two things that would up your cuteness quotient even more:

      1) Get more fitted jeans. The blazers are stylish and polished; it looks like a different person picked the jeans. If you need to, you can get your jeans tailored for a better fit.

      2) Shape your eyebrows. I know it's a pain, but it will open up your eyes and draw attention to their beautiful, unusual shape.

      • Ethyl

        I second the rec for better jeans and also some snazzier shoes to go with them. In the third pic your jeans are bunched a bit on top of your shoes with the tongues of your shoes out. I know that's a "look," but I think different shoes would make the whole look neater and more polished. You want to be Richard Hammond in this photo, not James or Jeremy:

        • trixnix


          Thanks. The jeans being bunched into my shoes is an accident and not a look I was going for. The shoes I'm wearing are casual trainers and they make it easier for me to walk (other shoes really hurt my muscles in my legs and knees).

          • Ethyl

            My bad, I assumed you were going for some kind of hip-hop look (e.g.:…! You can get really great shoes that give you proper arch support etc without getting sneakers. Check out shoes by Merril — I buy a pair of their black moccasins every other year to use as work shoes. Snazzy, go with everything, and really good for my lousy feet.

      • trixnix


        The side eye smirk thing is not something I do deliberately or really have much control over. I think it's just my eyes looking for the camera as it''s a bit of a pain to get other people to take photos of me.

        As for jeans, I went with a more boot cut style. Not really going for a look and trousers are a difficult thing at the moment. I've got short legs compared to the rest of my body. Not sure I can afford to have tailored jeans.

    • Kathy

      I don't think that hat is doing anything for you – it's the wrong shape, or something. It's emphasising the roundness of your face and head.

      Maybe experiment a bit with different hat styles? Or go without a hat?

      • trixnix


        Thanks. The hat has gone down very well in real life and I've enjoyed not appearing bald or balding for the first time in a long time. I get what you're saying about it emphasizing the roundness of my face and head but going without it knocks my confidence and (in my view) my attractiveness down significantly.

        As for different hat styles, I tried a lot and all the others made me look a lot older than I actually am. That or they made me look like I watched cricket all the time.

        • Kathy

          Hmm, I think perhaps you'd be better off embracing the view that bald is sexy (a great many women find bald men sexy!). After all, you have to a take the hat off at some point.

          You remind me a lot of my friend's husband, who is balding. You have a very similar face/body type to him too.

  • Anonymous

    I gotta say I agree with Marty Farley on this one. The whole "personality over looks" thing doesn't really go both ways in terms of gender, because men are a way more visually-oriented species. Women take both looks and personality into account, but men pretty much go for what appeals to the penis. Tons of gals would go on a date with Steve Buscemi instead of Channing Tatum…… but on the other hand, I can't think of any guys who would pay more attention to Lena Dunham than Cheryl Cole.

    The whole hypermasculinity culture that Dr. NL has discussed in his other articles makes it basically impossible for women to not be absurdly scrutinized for their looks. Being unbeautiful is a barrier that, sadly, many women struggle to overcome in a way that men don't have to.

    • Blackhat

      To be fair, the harshest critics of women's looks are other women and they tend see very different things as desirable from men.

      Guys go for looks when they just want a bedwarmer but personality for a partner. Nobody wants to get stuck with some horrendous shrew, no matter how nice her norks are.

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  • Kitty

    This article is spot on, I don't date at the moment but I have noticed that people are not exactly averse to being around me in fact the mere fact that I talk to people makes many want to see me again. I am one of "those" people who are a bouncing ball of energy and personality despite all the hell I went through growing up, despite being a fairly dark stumbling ball of misery/energy for quite a few years before I got all better from my far too many scratches and flesh wounds. In fact all that hell turned me into a comedian without me realizing it, which means I'm going to try my best to be fun and funny actually I never try it just happens.

    But it only works if you really are naturally fun, funny, and full of personality if you try to fake it people can tell (just like we could all tell that Kristen Stewart would have exactly three facial expression in every movie she would be in, and we were right) and will take advantage of you.

    Because you can't fake that "energy" bouncy fun people that seem like a human energy/happy drug have any more than you can fake the "charisma" people with powerful personalities have, you have to find your own inner fun side in order to make it work. In other words you have to find the real and good, fun things about and focus on making them stronger, and it really works..mind you I would not know I never try to be fun or have personality it just happens like that.

    Oh and there is a downside to the big personality/fun energy thing because of being that sort of person you are very likely to attract negative people who will be like vampires and try to suck the energy and personality from your veins; so always carry a stake and a silver knife just in case.

  • Great delivery. Solid argսments. Keep uр the great

  • 1LonelyGoatHerd

    I'm 28 and have bad eczema. I've never been in a relationship and am still a virgin. Articles like this make me feel better, but I think I am too old now and have come to accept that I'll probably remain single now.

    The exposure thing is very true (in terms of endearment and annoyance.)

  • Novembre Pleut

    I'll throw my two cents in here, as with anything, I think neither should be viewed in isolation but in tandem, with varying levels of each being important. The main thing many people tend to look over is confidence which i think has the capability of magnifying both.
    IN any case, i've written my experience of the age old tale here and thought I would share it with you all.

  • alloumiritz

    So…. basically only extroverts can pull this off?

  • eselle28


  • jcorozza

    Yup, because only ugly/fat people get married. It's not like…people of all types marry, and they often marry other people of all types. Nope. Can't be that.

  • FriedSteakEater

    Could someone give clarification as to the definition of "not conventionally attractive"? I hear the term thrown around a lot within dating conversations, but I'm really not quite sure what it means. Is it a euphemism for being homely, or does it simply mean that somebody's looks don't fall in line with a particular mold of beauty?

    For instance…. Mia Wasikowska, Leslie Caron, Lupita Nyong'o and Audrey Hepburn are hauntingly pretty women who definitely do not fit the PUA/Sports Illustrated cheesecake ideal. None of them would be adorning the walls of teenage boys' bedrooms. Does this mean that they aren't conventionally attractive? Like if Audrey Hepburn walked into an Austin bar, would nobody would give her the time of day? It does seem like a lot of guys have an idea of what they think they're supposed to find sexy, and screen out women who aren't overt bombshells (even if they might be just as beautiful in a different, more unusual way)

    • eselle28

      I use "not conventionally attractive" to mean people many would consider homely, plus people who are plain, plus people who are considered to be attractive but in a very odd way or who have appeal to a very niche market.

      All of the women you listed are conventionally attractive, as are almost all women (and also most men) who are successful actors. It doesn't just include a particularly sexy sort of beauty. Most people who are widely agreed to be good-looking are included. I do think that sometimes men (and also sometimes women) fixate a little too much on certain kinds of beauty, but I'd actually say that there are types more in demand than the one you describe. Effortlessly Hot But Not Super Vampy Girl Next Door is a very popular one, for instance.

      I think the point of using the longer term is to recognize some degree of variance in taste and that not everyone is going to be in perfect agreement about who is appealing, who is unappealing, and who is average.

      • FriedSteakEater

        I see what you mean, but the line between being homely and simply not fitting a particular type of beauty seems pretty hazy when you consider how people's (mostly men's— as Doc points out, women are often turned on by a wide range of qualities which could be personified by Channing Tatum or Steve Buscemi) attractiveness ideals can be so narrow. I mean, I know who *I* think looks good, but I question whether that is reflected in the eyes of the rest of the world.

        Lupita Nyong'o, who you and I both agreed to be very goodlooking, gave a speech for Black Essence where she talked about how she spent all of her young life hating her black skin and constantly needing to win the approval of all the people who kept taunting her looks. Obviously THEY didn't perceive her to be "conventionally attractive." All the fashion deals she's been getting recently, I suspect, has a lot to do with magazines wanting to showcase women whose beauty is frequently overlooked. When was the last time you saw a really dark, flat-chested gal with big lips, full nose and shaved head in a makeup advertisement? The main reason for Audrey Hepburn's success (apart from her acting talent) was arguably the fact that her boyish appearance was so atypical…. her style was a major departure from the pinup girls of the 1940s and 50s.

        I think it is definitely true that some people are universally beautiful (blonde-haired, blue-eyed, voluptuous cheesecake models….. you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't consider Heidi Klum attractive) and others are not.

        • eselle28

          It's not an exact classification, and I think everyone who uses the term recognizes that there's some subjectivity and disagreement about even what society generally, and not just given individuals with their particular quirks, considers attractive. I still think it's a useful concept even if it's not one with perfectly defined boundaries.

          I think your reference to the era Hepburn lived in speaks to the difference between "conventionally unattractive" and "currently trendy in media." Cindy Crawford didn't stop being someone many people found beautiful when Kate Moss and heroin chic were the trend in magazines, and Marilyn Monroe didn't stop being beautiful when Twiggy came along. Granted, there are times when cultural standards harden around a particular trend to the point where various societies might completely disagree about who is attractive (there are certainly some cases in the 1500s where it's hard for modern viewers to understand what the appeal of someone is), but I don't think Hepburn was that far out of the mainstream for her time period. Before she was famous, she supported herself by working as a model, so I think it's safe to say that people found her beautiful even if she wasn't of fashionable 50s type.

          I'm not going to argue that blonde hair, blue eyes, and a voluptuous figure are privileged traits that play very heavily into concepts of conventional beauty, but I think you're off with regard to the universality of the preference. I know several men who wouldn't necessarily call either woman ugly, but who would also not single them out as attractive. Particularly in geeky and hipster circles, neither woman really has the idealized look. Both are what I'd consider conventionally attractive to a high degree, but part of the reason for the "conventionally" is that there's always some room for disagreement.

        • Georgia_D

          I don't find Heidi Klum attractive. I find all the other women you mention attractive except Mia Wasikowska who I find okay looking. So beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder : )

          That said, some people have a far wider appeal than others. Tom Hiddleston has a huge appeal. I have never understood it, myself, but I know he has it because I have access to the internet. If I met a Tom Hiddleston look-a-like then I would assume that he would be very successful in his personal life (assuming that his personality and personal habits were also good). However, I would not be interested in him myself.

          I think that it doesn't really matter whether your ideals match up to the rest of societies (as shown some of mine match up to the majority view and some don't.) As long as you know what you find attractive and remain true to it then that's all that counts. For you and anyone you may end up dating.

          • Starleitmotif

            And I find Mia Wasikowska gorgeous but not Heidi Klum–I certainly think she *is* conventionally attractive, but I personally don't find her attractive at all.

            Also, I definitely know of at least one teenage boy who thought Audrey Hepburn was the sexiest and most beautiful woman who ever lived and did have posters of her on his wall. I know this because I was a teenage girl with a huge crush on him and who was about as opposite from sylphlike, gamine Audrey Hepburn as I could be–on the tall side, long blond hair, what my cousin refers to as a "German milkmaid build." We used to have movie nights because he was a big film buff, and I always felt like hiding his Hepburn movies. (I do not miss being an insecure 18-year-old. I still have my moments from time to time, but at least I don't get eaten up by jealousy of celebrity crushes anymore.)

  • FriedSteakEater

    "I don't find Heidi Klum attractive."

    Are you male or female? I don't think there is a single heterosexual man alive who doesn't ultimately fantasize about a statuesque woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits. And I'm not saying this to be whiny, bitter or resentful. Just acknowledging a fact of life. There is a reason why women in porn look the way they do. Who a guy settles for in dating and who he whacks off to are two completely different things. Introduce me to a guy who doesn't get a hard-on when he sees Ursula Andress emerge from the sea in a white bikini and I'll eat my laptop charger.

    "I think that it doesn't really matter whether your ideals match up to the rest of societies (as shown some of mine match up to the majority view and some don't.) As long as you know what you find attractive and remain true to it then that's all that counts. For you and anyone you may end up dating."

    I'm not talking about my ideals, I'm talking about other people's. It's just tricky with dating because it's hard not to feel inadequate when it seems like guys have a uniform consensus in regards to their physical preferences. Doc's article addresses how women consider multiple factors in what attracts them ("conventional" looks being only one aspect). But for men, traditional beauty is much more of a dealbreaker.

    • One_True_Guest

      I do. I know many. In fact I'd say of my male friends Natalie Portman is pretty much the most popular of actresses, and she is pretty darn far from statuesque, blonde hair, blue eyes, big tits.

      Honestly I think what you want to talk about isn't actually what you brought up. You aren't actually interested in the notion of what is conventionally beautiful, if it changes over time or not etc. I think the real issue at hand is your own dating insecurity, your fears that men only like one thing and that that means you aren't going to attract anyone. And I hate that you feel that way, because it's simply not true. The point that the Doc makes in this article works for women too. Have a look around and see all the couples. Many of the women are not "conventionally attractive" – by which I mean both Hollywood and porn actress attractive. The fact is we all have our fantasy, but most of us know we live in reality. And most of us know there's more to attraction and falling for someone than outwards appearance. And the people who don't have serious toxic issues and aren't worth your time anyway.

    • squaredogX

      I'm a man and while I recognize the appeal of Heidi Klum, I don't feel it myself. I much prefer Audrey Hepburn, but as others have said her beauty is still "conventional" in the sense we're using conventional and nonconventional here. As someone else said, most actors and actresses are attractive people, so anyone we'd mention who was known to lots of people is likely to be an example of a type of conventional attractiveness. For my part, if I look nothing like any of those types, however varied those types are, I still feel a bit less than. Maybe more than a bit.

      Then I realize though that I don't view women that way. I'm quite attracted to women I actually see in my day to day life who look nothing like Audrey Hepburn or any other "type" of conventionally attractive woman. I also struggle to believe that other people can look at Channing Tatum or Ryan Reynolds and not cringe a bit looking at me (OK, cringe is too strong) but I believe that that's my head messing with me, and not totally reflective of reality. Most days.

      I think of it as a sort of "registering" process. Some threshold of attractiveness is met and the person registers as attractive with another person. Some people register more strongly than others, but registering at all is plenty effective, especially if your non physical qualities are also appealing. I don't know that this is "truth", but it helps me make sense out of seeming contradictions and answers the question, "if Channing Tatum is her ideal and I'm decidedly not Channing Tatum, then how am I also attractive?". I see it happening with me with non Audrey Hepburn women, and I try to have faith it happens something like this for others.

    • "I don't think there is a single heterosexual man alive who doesn't ultimately fantasize about a statuesque woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits."

      I don't find Heidi Klum attractive at all, and what you just described might be my anti-sex equation. Then again, there's "conventionally attractive" and there's conventional model attractive and those are two different things.

      I'm actually not a huge fan of Natalie Portman either, but she is very much a huge nerd beauty totem for a lot of men (and women).

      I certainly don't think Heidi Klum is ugly, far from it, and I know she's obviously attractive (as are all models), but they're not really attractive to me in terms of having that thing that revs my engine.

      There are "Conventionally Attractive" Suicide Girls, in the sense that they can have tats and piercings covering their bodies but are obviously attractive women, so "conventionally attractive" contains a lot of separate groupings that individual men may or may not like, and not every man automatically likes any single group as a given.

      " Introduce me to a guy who doesn't get a hard-on when he sees Ursula Andress emerge from the sea in a white bikini and I'll eat my laptop charger. "

      You should probably get a tall glass of water because that does nothing for me.

      And amusingly, what a dude whacks off to is often the less conventionally attractive women and styles. The conventional middle class dude who secretly likes Suicide Girls or BDSM or furries or whatever. They're not all sitting there with a copy of the Victoria Secret special and a box of kleenex. Especially not in the internet age. Whacking off is when you're more likely to see men indulge their real preferences rather than the socially ordered ones like Heidi Klum, et al.

    • Georgia_D

      I'm female (bisexual, but female). Even so, men are not a monalith, as squaredogX and James Gilmer have shown. One of my early boyfriends had a huge thing for red heads. He might have been quite happy with Heidi Klum, if she'd dropped in his lap, but I suspect he'd have been happier had she dyed her hair red.

      I agree with One_True_Guest. It's really hard to deal with your brain telling you that you're unattractive and no one will ever want you but try not to believe it because people will be attracted to you.

  • deleted1206753

    Really? That's very interesting, where do you live? I have literally NEVER ONCE heard a dude describe Natalie Portman as sexy. I always got the impression that she was more one of those actresses who girls want to emulate because she's a great role model, stylish, well put-together, etc.

    I certainly don't want to be a whiny, bemoaning commenter. Those Reddit ranters who kvetch on and on about being forever alone because they aren't lantern-jawed studmuffins bore the ever-loving shit out of me, and I don't want to be like that. I'm not attempting to throw a pity party here, but it's just that I hear men at work and school CONSTANTLY discussing women's bodies/appearances (and I mean constantly!). I wouldn't be naturally inclined to spend a lot of time thinking about looks, but it's clearly a subject of vital importance to a lot of people, and it's hard not to internalize a lot of the remarks I hear throughout the day. I really do feel embarrassed to approach guys when deep down, I know there's probably a 98% chance that I'm not going to be their type. I don't think most guys are into very tiny Asian chicks, except for a handful of folks (behold the Creepy White Guys of online dating) who have a specific fetish for it. And how can you know if someone you just met happens to have eccentric taste in women? I don't want to date someone who thinks "well she's okay, but…"

    • Wondering_

      Natalie Portman is my husband's celebrity crush/wow-she-turns-me-on person. I have never once heard him express or exhibit interest in tall, blonde women. I used to watch Project Runway regularly, and he never gave Heidi Klum a second glance. He says Heidi Klum is an attractive woman, sure, but she doesn't do anything for him.

      I think any time you are going to think or state a generalization, you're going to be wrong. You can't say all men alive "ultimately fantasize about a statuesque woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits" and have that be a true statement.

      Maybe that's the case among the sorts of men who would talk about women's bodies at work (at work? really? that seems so inappropriate). Or maybe men in the conversation are going along with the other men to seem like they fit in even if they don't really think that. There's some performative masculinity involved when you're having public (at work!) conversations about women's bodies. Or do you think that you may have some confirmation bias going on regarding these conversations because that's what you're attuned to hearing?

      • FriedSteakEater

        In the past few years since I graduated high school, I've been working 40 hours a week as a cook at Applebee's (sucks, but I'm saving up to move to another state). The guys in the back of the house literally talk about whatever the hell they want; it's only us and there's nobody around to hear them or monitor the appropriateness of their conversations. The way they speak is pretty unfiltered, I'm definitely not exaggerating when I hear them talking A LOT about women's bodies (along with the latest UFC fight scores, repairing their cars, rappers and the like). I never actually heard any of them say anything disrespectful to me, they're perfectly nice guys but based on their discussions, I'm fairly sure I know exactly what they think of girls like me. It's not that much different from the way I heard guys talking about women when I was in high school, or the conversations I periodically overhear from college boys and men at the gym. Furthermore, whenever I watch movies with my dad or my uncle, they always fawn all over blonde bombshells. I'm definitely aware of the concept of confirmation bias, but I keep hearing similar messages in multiple places which makes it hard not to feel self-conscious and discouraged.

        • Mel_

          Just keep in mind that even if you are hearing all the public conversations about women that men near you are having, the content of those conversations is still biased by the following factors:

          -You are only hearing the guys who are confident and comfortable enough with their tastes to discuss them publicly in group conversations that people they don't know well can overhear (or they are only discussing those tastes they have that they are confident and comfortable enough with). They're also specifically the kind of guys who feel comfortable talking about women primarily as physical objects. I know there are plenty of guys who aren't comfortable talking in such a way about women's appearances, whose tastes you therefore aren't hearing about, and plenty of guys who have other tastes they aren't as comfortable mentioning, and there's no reason to assume those tastes are the same as those you're hearing about.

          -You say you're hearing these messages from men in "different places," but they're still all the tastes of men in a relatively small local area. Surely you recognize that tastes vary across subcultures and regions? There are tons of conversations between guys on the internet about what they find physically attractive in women, and most of those I've seen are not only, if at all, about tall blond big-boobed women. There are guys right here expressing tastes that are different from that. Don't they count just as much as the guys you're hearing around you?

          -Related to the above, you are mostly going to hear guys talking in group settings about women the other guys have a point of reference to. So, women they all know personally, or women who are celebrities. And those groups are going to be restricted by the demographics of your area and the current standards of celebrity beauty. The fewer examples of a certain type there are that the guys can point to, the less chance there is there'll be someone of that type they're attracted to and feel is "known" enough that there's any point in bringing her up.

          • ^everything that Mel said.

            Seriously, that's one of the best and most concise takes on this I've seen, especially for the factor of pointing out that guys discussing something even semi-privately with other guys aren't always to be trusted because sometimes we're still saying what we think the prevailing masculinity of the day should have us say rather than what we actually feel.

            There's also loads of other factors getting thrown into the mix from classism issues; the ideal Penthouse woman isn't the ideal Playboy woman isn't the ideal GQ woman isn't the ideal Sport's Illustrated woman.

            Even something like being a nerd means suddenly my supposed preferred woman has changed again to Natalie Portman (classic beauty but not TOO classical and she "looks" smart!) to Allison Hannigan (she's a girl next door sort of MPDG! Nerds like that) and you can do that for any group that men belong to, going up and down the ladders of class and divisions of where you fall on the masculinity scale to tell you what you are supposed to see as your "goal" woman or who it's assumed you'll find attractive.

            A GQ man wouldn't want a Penthouse woman! That would be below his class! That guy isn't out for a Hooter's girl, he's a sophisticated man who prefers whatever is in at GQ right now.

            There's also a huge difference between finding someone attractive and being attracted to someone. There's loads of women I know are attractive, but they're not always the ones I'm attracted to, and sometimes there's women who wouldn't really be considered "attractive" past a certain point that I am attracted to.

            The inability to understand the difference between attractive and attracted to trips up some guys I think, because if you get told you're supposed to find one sort of person attractive your entire life but actually are attracted to someone far outside your supposed parameters, it's going to be jarring for that guy, and it often ends up the sort of thing that just gets dismissed as "fetish" instead of "The thing I'm actually attracted to".

    • Mel_

      I think Wondering raises good points about performative masculinity and confirmation bias. Also, the more "conventional" a guy's physical tastes are, the more likely he's going to feel comfortable discussing them in public loudly enough that random women can overhear. 😉

      Even we narrow it down to "tiny Asian chicks," though, do you really think there's enough of a shortage of guys who've drooled over Lucy Liu over the years (without having to be creepy fetishists) that doing so would be considered "eccentric"? (She's maybe not *tiny* tiny, but she is shorter than average.) She's 47 now and I still see guys talking about how hot she is in Elementary. I haven't seen anyone telling those guys they have odd taste. And totally anecdotally, I know many Asian women who are married, extremely happily on both sides by all appearances.

      It might help to realize that I think for pretty much all of us who aren't actress or super-model beautiful (which is the vast majority of us), we have a pretty low chance of being any particular guy's definite "type". I doubt more than 2% of random guys would make me take a second glance if I passed them on the street. If you approach someone, you're not being presumptuous, assuming they must find you attractive–you're checking to see if they happen to. As long as you're considerate about it, there's no reason to feel embarrassed. If a guy approached you in a considerate way and you just didn't happen to find him attractive, would you feel *he'd* done something embarrassing by taking the chance? Anyone who's rude to you over something like that is a jerk–they're the one doing something wrong.

      Finally, consider that most of us have physical ideals in our head but can find a wide range of appearances beyond that very attractive, especially in combination with a personality and behavior that turns us on. We aren't only "really" into one narrow type and anyone else is "just okay." If most guys would only be satisfied with a tall, blond, large-boobed model then, er, the vast majority of us are out of luck? And yet most guys seem to find not tall blond large-boobed models they are very excited to date and/or hook up with.

      (As a side note, I in no way intend to dismiss or downplay the concerns of dating as a woman of color. That definitely adds an additional layer of challenge. I just don't think it in itself means there's no point in trying.)

      • FriedSteakEater

        I live very close to San Francisco, a large city which actually has one of the most concentrated Asian populations in the world. Yet in the area which I live (extremely liberal and metropolitan) there seems to be a very strong preference for voluptuous blonde women. I have NEVER seen or even heard of anyone drooling over Lucy Liu. In fact, earlier this week I was at a cafe near UC Berkeley and I overheard these guys at another table talking about the dime-a-dozen Asian chicks on campus and one of them was going on about how he was dying to hook up with a girl who's "blonde and perfect." I very seldom see Asian girls dating non-Asian guys around here. In the few instances that I do, it was usually a white guy travelling in Asia who met a woman there and brought her back.

        This is probably the first time I've ever heard anyone acknowledge small Asian women as physically attractive (apart from the online dating creepers). Based on this thread, I suppose there probably are a couple guys out there who legitimately are into that, but I never met one in person. I guess I'll just have to go out and look really really hard. I just don't want to date someone who would be settling for me because they couldn't get a blonde chick….. at the moment, that doesn't seem like a realistic expectation. Who knows, maybe things will be different when I move to NYC. But I won't count on it.

        • Are you talking about Asian men or all men or something else because I also live in the Bay Area and I think the mass transplant of tech bros may throw things off since many of them coming up from nothing assume they get a Wolf of Wall Street blonde the second their app gets picked up but even then…among the men I know in the area they're not looking specifically for that tall blonde and they're talking about them usually in terms of them being so rare in the Bay Area (as opposed to somewhere like LA).

          If you head somewhere like Chicago or Michigan or elsewhere in the states there are plenty of men who absolutely love small, Asian women. Some of that is tied to wanting to feel tall, some of it is simply that it's not a body type that's seen a lot, and the funny thing is that I've heard LA people complain that all it is down there are tall, blond, fit, white model types.

          I sort of think it's more a case that women with those features aren't really seen much in the Bay Area as opposed to anything else. Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt, but it can breed a sort of situational blindness where the look or person that stands out and is "exotic" becomes sought after or a fetish object.

          The white women I know complain about dating in a Bay Area for lots of reasons, and one of them is that they feel "plain" next to the Asian women and mixed race women, this is especially true of women who've moved here from out of state from places where the social make-up for different.

          I'm not sure the grass is really greener on any side of the fence when it comes to dating, tbh.

          • Starleitmotif

            I think there's a tendency to be attracted to something that is different from what you see every day. I'm pretty sure it's one of the reasons redheads are often considered attractive–they're comparatively rare. I'm from the land of tall Scandinavian blonds, and I've heard a whole lot of guys talking about how they like petite women or Asian women or the aforementioned redheads. When I spent a summer in Brazil, I was constantly getting male attention because of my blond hair and blue eyes, and it freaked me out because I went from being absolutely invisible to being stared at, and I didn't know how to handle it. So if you live in an area with a lot of one particular type of person, it's possible you're just hearing people respond to what is less common and therefore stands out.

            For whatever it's worth, over half the Asians I know are dating or married to people of other races, and that goes for both men and women. Some of that may just be different demographics, but I assure you that many people do find Asians plenty attractive in a non-creepy way.

            Which goes for both genders–we've had more than one Asian man come on here in the past complaining that nobody finds Asian men attractive, despite many assurances to the contrary. Heck, the reason I started watching The Walking Dead was because of Steven Yeun, and the reason I didn't watch this season was because I'm afraid they're going to follow the comics too closely, and I just don't want to see that. 🙁

        • Mel_

          I totally believe your experience. I just think you're making a mistake assuming that it's universal, and assuming that because you hear some guys talking this way, there aren't other guys even in your area who aren't talking where you can hear them but do like your "type."

          If you're specifically looking to date a non-Asian guy, I know tons of Asian women here, who were born here or moved here in childhood, who are married to or dating white guys. Again, anecdotal, but not less valid as a data point than your own experience if we're talking about what's happening across the continent. And practically every Asian guy I know has mostly/entirely dated Asian girls, if you're not excluding them from the range of possibilities.

          Since you're not planning on sticking around that area anyway, maybe try to seek out more discussions online so you can see a wider range of opinions? I mean, just to take the Lucy Liu example–I did a Google search for "Lucy Liu sexy" (without the quotes) and it gave me nearly 400,000 results. Do a few searches for discussions of guys talking about what they like (I found this one real quick, as an example:… ) and even if you don't find a lot talking about all your specific features, you'll at least see they're talking about a lot more than just that one type you're assuming they all want.

          I have to say, I particularly find your fixation on the blonde thing odd–the idea that no guy could possibly find a woman truly attractive and sexy unless she was blonde. I mean, okay, that's what you're hearing from a fair number of guys around you, but… You have heard of Angelina Jolie, right? The Kardashians? Eva Longoria? Beyonce? Rihanna? Megan Fox? Jennifer Lopez? Just to name a few of the many non-blonde celebs who are or have been very popular and are known in great part if not mainly for their sex appeal. Even if the guys around you aren't talking about them, clearly someone is, or they wouldn't be turning up on all sorts of hot lists and getting cast as sexy characters in movies and so on. Do you really think any guy who had a chance to date/hook of with any of them would just be "settling" because they're not blonde? *scratches head*

          • FriedSteakEater

            Eva Longoria, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, JLo and the Kardashians might not have blonde hair (though Beyonce has bleached her hair a number of times), but they are all very European-looking women who definitely fit into the vampy, Playboy bombshell type that most men seem to covet. The women I see on a day-to-day basis who seem to have more dating options aren't necessarily Photoshopped magazine-perfect…. but they've go that same kind of look. Attention-grabbing hourglass body, overtly sexy Caucasian features, etc. And they are often blonde.

            I personally don't have any racial preferences in regards to dating, but I find that I have absolutely nothing in common in terms of lifestyle/interests with Asian people around me. I'm looking to date creative, artistic types….. all the Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian) dudes I know are in math/science fields and that's pretty much the exact opposite of me.

          • Wondering_

            Can I ask what you're trying to get from this conversation at this point? And that's an honest question, not a sarcastic one.

            I feel like you've moved goal posts, from "statuesque woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits" to "European-looking." I'm not sure if you're doing it on purpose to be argumentative, or if you're trying to pin down for yourself what you're bothered by and concerned with.

            We've — women talking about men we know, men talking about themselves, both talking about people in relationships — assured you that not every one desires the limited type you hear about and many people do desire small Asian women. If you don't believe us, I'm not sure what more a group of internet strangers can say to help in that regard.

            Are you looking for assurances from more people? Are you looking to discuss some other aspect of this issue? Are you feeling out how you feel? Something else?

          • trundlebear

            *mumbles* And on a two-year-old article instead of, say, something current where we tend to cover this exact thing ad nauseum.

          • That was an odd discussion with now deleted account…especially the swerve into weird racism with "all Asian men are into math that's why I don't date them".

            I mean, I guess it was mercifully short compared to some of these go-arounds, but one of the odder ones.

            I always wonder if some of these are people looking to spark a specific reaction who then get upset at not triggering it.

          • Wondering_

            Oh, wow. I didn't realize she'd now deleted her account. That is odd.

          • eselle28

            I'm going to call trolling. Perhaps related to a recent other deleted account troll?

          • BiSian

            I'm going with that. The pattern is consistent.
            Bro, seriously. Find a better hobby. This one's pathetic

          • Mel_

            I wondered about that even before the account deletion, actually, but I checked and the poster is at least definitely in California (which the other person was not). Also she (assuming pronoun) did post on other, recent articles under this account, and has never used any other account that I can see other than when she was first posting she was using a Twitter account instead of an ID one.

            On the other hand, it does seem weird that she went at this subject so obstinantly on this very old article, the twitter account she used just a few months ago no longer exists, and there's at least one apparent inconsistency across her stories about herself. So while I'm 99.9% sure it's not THAT dude, I wouldn't discount there being some sort of trolling element involved.

          • Wondering_

            I was surprised when "she" used the word "tits." That's not a word I hear women use often, at least in my experience. So, now with the rest of it, this makes me suspicious of trolling, as well.

          • Mel_

            I will note that she had posted as long ago as a year and a half, never gave any indication she was anything other than a woman (and spoke specifically as a woman regularly), but didn't comment very often or very provokingly. So if this was a trolling thing, it was *very* long game. I think it's at least equally likely she simply was in a really bad mental space, went off on this tangent, and then was embarrassed when she started to get her thoughts and emotions more sorted out, hence the deletion. The only *really* weird thing is that it happened in this old a post, but she could have been going through the archives and the content in this one set her off.

            (The possible inconsistency I mentioned had to do with her age, and was fairly slight. She's also talked about her race and her concerns about not being seen as attractive enough/other types being the only ones seen as attractive/hearing guys talk about women in certain ways consistently across her comments; this is just the first time she's gotten so narrowly focused and vehement about it.)

          • enail0_o

            I do wish people wouldn't go deleting their accounts as soon as anyone suggests they might be trolling. If you're going to troll, stand by it, dagnabbit!

    • enail0_o

      FriedSteakEater, I'm wondering if you live in an area without many Asian people? I'm in a pretty multicultural city in North America, and from what I hear considered attractive here, your 'obviously everyone finds them hot' and 'I don't think most guys are into' types actually sound quite odd to me. "Tiny Asian chicks" actually tends to be one of the types I see talked about as pretty high on the scale of what's considered attractive here (and not just among icky racial fetish types), up there with "statuesque woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits," which I sometimes get the idea people think of as a bit cliched, passe or "too mainstream." What's considered Most Attractive varies a lot by region, subculture, social group (and of course, as others point out, what's broadly considered Most Attractive is not the same as what individual people find attractive).

      (And for another random data point , neither Natalie Portman nor Heidi Klum are women I hear mentioned as an example of hotness much at all.)

    • Gentleman Johnny

      FSE, I run a burlesque show. I work with women anywhere from 5'1" to 6'3" in a wide range of builds, ages (23 to 40) and ethnicity. I've been doing this for about five years across several dozen performers. The majority are in happy relationships. It may not be sociological grade data but the best predictor I've seen of who is in those relationships is personality. The ones whose insecurities can make them difficult to deal with are generally single. The ones who can project confidence, enforce their boundaries and are fun to be around are usually not. This is almost completely irrespective of what they look like. Guys can (and do) go on at length about their ideal physical woman as if they could just call up the factory and order one to spec. That's talk and as much about saying the "right" things in your peer group as anything. What people most respond to is someone who's a match for them.
      So, knowing that you're a small Asian line cook doesn't tell me nearly as much about who would be interested in you as knowing what you do on your days off would.