Lower your standards.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you should get married to someone you don’t love and don’t really want to be married to. I’m just saying that much misery in the world is caused by people’s nets being too small.
Start with physical attractiveness. You will not have failed to notice that there is a very widespread consensus among men as to which women are pretty and which aren’t, at least when the women are strangers and the men hence “unbiased”. Hollywood has no trouble knowing whether an actress will be physically appealing to the vast majority of men. Even relative degrees of attractiveness are a matter of rough consensus. Think about what this means. It means that the husband of the median woman will have thought half of women more attractive when he first met her. The husband of women farther down the scale will have at first found the great majority of women more attractive.
Of course, men don’t choose wives just based on looks. But just adding other qualities doesn’t change things, at least insofar as the states of those qualities can be ranked by desirability and that ranking is the same for most men. I suppose that some personality traits are not thusly rankable, but many qualities–related to age, health, demeanor, femininity, maternal impulse–are.
Men tend to evaluate women on an absolute scale. A man may, for instance, decide that all of the women available are very attractive or that none of them are. For women choosing a husband, the situation is worse. Again, men can be ranked by women on some of the most important traits with much consensus. However, one of the traits by which women judge men is social status, and that is a zero-sum game. In a room full of admirals, the captain has low status. To the extent that status is necessary for attraction, some fraction of men must be unattractive to women, regardless of how much each man can do to improve himself.
Putting all traits together, everybody has a lower bar of attractiveness below which a person of the opposite sex is not an appealing marriage prospect. Game websites offer men advice on how to raise their own attractiveness level to clear more women’s bars. I won’t comment on how good their advice is, but I’ll agree that raising your attractiveness is certainly useful to the extent you can do it. However, you mustn’t neglect the other bar, namely your own. Men and women are condemned to loneliness just as much by their own bars as by the opposite sex’s.
“You’re saying I should make myself marry an ugly woman?” No, with that attitude, you would be a curse to her. I want to help you improve your ability to recognize women’s beauty. I claim that what you call more vs. less beautiful is often a case of obvious vs. subtle beauty. Becoming a connoisseur in matters of food means being fussier than the average person, seeing faults where others would just see a good meal. To be a connoisseur of female beauty, I say, is the opposite. There is no value in spotting faults in obviously beautiful women. Rather, you should learn to see beauty that the untrained eye would miss.
How do you do this? There’s no studying involved, no reading, no exercises. It happens automatically. Can you remember a time when you were away from women for a week or more, and after that practically any woman looked good? Can you remember spending a lot of time in a place with a small number of women, how maybe at first none of them seemed pretty, but after a few days of nothing else to look at, you started seeing a few of them in a new light? When obvious beauty is absent for a while, a man’s eyes adjust, and he starts to see the less obvious (but still real).
Masculine nature combined with large groups and the media conspire to make this difficult. Put the average man in a crowded room, and his eyes quickly fall on the most attractive woman in the room, and to that spot they return as often as propriety allows. Most men are often in large enough crowds that the prettiest woman present is very pretty. Even when alone, television, movies, and magazines bombard a man with images of exceptional female beauty. His beauty standards are getting calibrated to attractiveness levels far in excess of what he can realistically hope for in a wife.
So here is my first piece of advice: stop looking at pretty girls. By this I obviously mean to stop looking at them unnecessarily–if a pretty girl is talking to you, of course you should look at her. However, if you’re like most men, you’re looking at pretty girls far more than social interaction demands. Do this, and your brain will start looking for attractiveness in the girls you’re allowing yourself to look at. The girls who once seemed marginal now seem definitely kind of cute, and the girls who seemed plain-but-not-ugly now seem marginal.
Once your brain has recalibrated to properly appreciate the women in your league, you may pursue a mate intelligently. Once you’ve got a girlfriend, you can stop worrying about not looking at more beautiful women (at least, insofar as lust isn’t an issue). Getting to know and care for a girl will automatically atune you to her beauty. Once you’re in love, you will realize that you prefer this girl to the ones you had once thought you wanted. (If you marry her, you’ll also condition yourself to associate sex with her, which is beneficial.)
That’s my advice to men. I’m not oblivious to the fact that having unrealistic expectations in a mate is much more common among women. I suspect it’s the main reason women don’t marry or divorce. Not being a woman, I can’t say concretely what girls can do to properly appreciate the men around them who are their realistic marriage prospects. I expect there’s something analogous. Stop reading romance novels, perhaps? Avoid unnecessary interaction with high-status men?
Again, I’m not telling you to settle for something not good that you don’t want. I’m saying there’s a lot of really good stuff right under your nose that you’re missing.
Filed under: Uncategorized |