I read your column without fail every issue. Now, finally, I’ve got a problem worthy of your attention. I’m a single male in my late thirties and I’m looking for a committed relationship. I’m searching in all the usual places (Match, Chemistry, OKCupid, PlentyofFish) but I haven’t had any luck. I really thought I’d be with someone by now. I had a crazy time in my twenties and then I started a business in my early thirties. Because I had to pour all of my energy into it, dating was impossible. I didn’t have a lot of money or time, I didn’t sleep a lot, I didn’t take care of myself and looked like Hell as a result. But I’ve gotten my act together since and I couldn’t be more ready to meet “the one.”
The problem: I am picky as Hell when it comes to women. Looks are very, very important to me. I like a woman who wears makeup, paints her nails, tweezes her eyebrows, has straight white teeth, big breasts and a big booty. She should wear high heels and have a nice hairstyle with no gray hair. And she should take care of herself. Down there. If she doesn’t do all of these things, I won’t ask her out for a second date.
And me? I’m not “hot.” I’m 5’6”, I have a large nose (although I’ve been told by some it’s my best quality), I’m losing my hair and have gained weight in the past few years. To top it all off, I don’t really know how to dress. But here’s what I do have to offer: I’ve got a great sense of humor, I’m financially stable, and I can make a mean salami omelet. That’s not so bad, right?
I don’t blame my friends who say they won’t set me up anymore because I am unrealistic and have outrageous expectations. It’s true. I know the gap between what I expect and what I can get is massive. But that’s what I’m attracted to and there’s a part of me that believes I’ll get it while the other part of me is getting lonelier and lonelier and wants to lower my standards. I just don’t know if my body will follow, if you get my drift.
Please don’t be too tough. I can’t help being this way.
Pig on Prospect Place
What I find most disturbing here (beside the salami omelet, yeech!) is that you write of no other qualities that you’re looking for in a partner. No mention of spirituality, politics, sense of humor, disposition. Nada. Weird, don’t you think? You gotta know that looks are the only thing that don’t last. I was a looker in my thirties but now, nearing fifty, my face has begun its descent down my skull. You have/had a mother and a grandmother. They were once on the market and someone was kind enough to overlook their physical imperfections and have sex with them to make you. You need to get over this. Now. It’s standing in the way of your happiness.
Pig, even if you were a George Clooney look alike, I’m not sure the woman you’re waiting for exists. She might for a couple dates but then I expect you’d find her ass a little flat or her skin a little rough. You’ve been watching way too much porn. Go online and see what Cindy and Beyoncé look like without airbrushing. Women don’t look like the images you have in your head. You have an illness, and frankly, I don’t have a lot of empathy for you. Men like you who internalize all the crap out there that makes women feel really shitty about themselves. But, I also hear that you understand how crazy you are and that you want to change so that makes you a smidgen likable. So…here’s a story for you.
When I was in high school I dated a boarding student at the prep school up the street from my house. Spenser was handsome, rich, drove a Beamer, and was known to date beneath him. That’s where I came in. I was “a townie” which to him meant I knew the back roads and where to buy beer after the first six places carded. On weekends Spenser and I would make out in his common room and later I would watch him play lacrosse. One night someone had some pot, and we were in the woods sitting on logs around a small fire. Spenser and I were making out as usual and suddenly I had the sensation that I was macking a giant golden retriever. He wasn’t the best kisser to begin with, but he was profoundly horrendous after a little weed. After that night, and I’m not proud of this, I couldn’t bring myself to see him anymore. I made excuses the following three weekends which was enough time for him to find someone else to slobber on. “The Spenser Effect” trailed me for half a dozen years after that night. It would happen without warning (with or without pot) and ruin whatever fledgling relationship I was embarking on. All of sudden his butt looked like an eggplant or his laugh sounded fake or his ugly shoes made fart sounds. I would find one thing to distort and obsess on which would dash the tenderest of potential love upon the rocks.
I finally shook “The Spenser Effect” in my mid twenties and settled down all cozy with a complete psychopath for a few years, just when “The Spenser Effect” actually would’ve done me some good. Today, I’ve been with the same guy for over fifteen years and he’s got a toe that looks like a smashed jellybean and it doesn’t bother me at all!
So that story is one to let you know, I kind of hear you. I never needed my man to be ripped or wax his chest but I did need him not to kiss like a dog. How did I get over it? I wanted love in my life. I learned to acknowledge the effect and move through it toward the light—the light within the person. Yes, his nose breath smells like vinegar but so do Easter eggs. I like Easter eggs and I like the way he listens to me even when I have no idea what I’m saying. It’s not “settling.” It’s stepping out of the fantasy world where all girls bleach their anuses and into the world where a deep connection with someone is possible.
Here’s the practical advice.
Find someone you like. Silently acknowledge your pig voice when it tells you about her crooked teeth with a “thank you for noticing, inner pig.” Then, if your date is kind and interesting and somewhat appealing to you, go out with her a second time. And then a third. Delay the physical contact for as long as you can. When you think you can wait no longer, wait one more date. Then, go to bed. Now, by this time you’ll be so comfortable with each other, she might just let you tweeze her eyebrows as foreplay. This might not be love, but it will be a step toward something real.
I hope you soon learn that girls who don’t paint their nails can be goddamn sexy. Just as I hope they learn that short balding guys with big noses can be sizzling hot. I have moderately-sized hopes for you, Pig. Keep in touch.
See you next time.