Hello Dr. Christie Hartman,
I just have a quick question. I have not read Changing Your Game yet, and I am recently “on the market” as a single 24 year-old handsome dude (as my friends say).
What has always been on my mind is this, in a form of a question to you:
Why are women so damn selective on who they are attracted to, but then, when you do see them with someone, that guy is usually ugly or average looking??? Perhaps it is covered in your book, and I have yet to find time to read it. I did read something with regards to having a positive attitude, but surely there is something more…?
I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.
Thanks for the question, and I’m happy to answer it because it brings up a few important issues.
First, I do recommend you read Changing Your Game. It offers a lot of insight into women’s behavior, including behaviors that seem baffling to men. But to address your question…
I’ve observed a similar phenomenon, many times. For example, one woman I know had pretty strict standards when it came to the men she was willing to get involved with. She was very specific about his necessary attributes, from his personality traits down to his blonde hair and blue eyes. Our male friends shook their heads and wrote her off as high maintenance and picky. But in the end, she fell in love with and married a guy who didn’t fit all her supposed requirements. He even had brown hair (most of it balding) and brown eyes. Ten years later, they’re still happy.
To use a male example, I also had a coworker who used to talk about how he MUST date a beautiful woman and that was that. He was a nice looking guy, but nothing out of the ordinary in terms of looks or any other attributes. On the surface he seemed… a little shallow. But when he actually brought a woman home to meet us, she was a regular girl – attractive, even pretty, but not beautiful.
So what’s going on here? Several things:
- Women Develop Attraction Differently. Women often seem picky to men because, as you suggest, Matt, they’re selective in who they’re attracted to. However, this isn’t something they choose. I’m not a big fan of hammering sex differences, but this is one area where women and men differ significantly. Men can be attracted to a woman by merely seeing her; they often feel physical attraction first, which means that they can be attracted to (and thus interested in) many women, at least at this stage in the game. Women, on the other hand, often don’t feel physical attraction for a man until they develop emotional or intellectual attraction for him, which requires getting to know him a little. So if you take a woman to a place filled with men, she often won’t be interested in any of them until she talks to and connects with one of them. So when a woman seems picky about who they find attractive, it’s usually for this reason, rather than expecting a guy to be hot or Mr. Perfect.
- Fantasy differs from real life. Often, when women talk about what they want, expect, or even require, they’re talking about their ideals, their fantasies. They may or may not realize this. So, yes, many women will riddle off a long and very detailed list of attributes they want in a guy. But in the end, they happily choose a guy who doesn’t have all those traits, who may be ordinary looking or not especially successful, because he makes her happy. And men will do the same.
- What people say differs from what they do. Research shows that, with all humans, what people say they WILL do often differs from what they DO do. This isn’t because people are liars; it’s that we engage different decision-making mechanisms when actually IN a situation, rather than just thinking about the situation. Thinking about what you want in a date or partner engages one’s intellect, whereas actually choosing someone involves one’s emotions. And when it comes to love, emotions trump the intellect every time.
So, guys, if you wonder why women are SO picky and expect SO much from men, remember that the vast majority of them are just waiting for a man they connect with. This process can take a while – several talks or dates (often more). In the end, most women (like most men) are happy the the person who seems ordinary to us, but who’s special to them.