“Nobody is indestructible. Nobody is immune from an illness. Everybody, at some stage in their life, will require the hand of friendship and support to surpass obstacles, deprivations and tragedies that stand before them. And every person would do well to appreciate they are only as tall as the shoulders they stand on.”
When we are kids growing up we can often be forgiven for thinking what will measure our success in life is purely down to how physically attractive we become. It is a naïve consideration, but understandable for one so young and innocent in the real world. It would be rare for someone to literally and genuinely say “I wish I was less attractive.” In fact in the day and age of people striving to look more pleasing to the public’s eye, the likelihood of this statement is near on non-existent.
When I wrote this chapter I was sitting in my back garden at the start of the summer season. I was sporting the start of a suntan that, in normal circumstances, would only blossom further in the impending months. As a humble, objective and unbiased man when it comes to assessment of my physical stature, I was of the opinion that I was at my physical attractiveness peak. In 3 days from that day I would be commencing 12 sessions of aggressive chemotherapy to treat a cancerous condition. I was under no illusions that I’d conceivably never have the opportunity to think in this same way again. It was because of this situation that I felt the need to explore the possibility of attractive men, in physical terms, finding it difficult to find a woman they could have visions of spending the rest of their life with.
I’m sure we all know those good looking popular guys out there that seem to be experiencing sexual encounters with inundated women all of the time. Whilst the figures are never as flattering or boastful as these men claim, it is fair to say they do acquire their fair share. Further to this, it is a fair assumption that many of these female sexual accomplishments will not necessarily be of high level physical attractiveness, they will be low in intelligence scale, or it will be a combination of both. However, contrary to a large proportion of women having a general view that good looking men live the playboy lifestyle, there are just as many men of this kind that simply and only desire to find one woman and to place efforts in making her his last ever relationship.
So the question beckons: why does the relationship orientated good looking man struggle to find this true happiness? First, because he always had some innate knowledge of being a handsome person (often through third party compliments), he sets his target girlfriend at a high level of beauty requirement. Nearly all men place maximum emphasis on a woman’s looks, therefore if this man regards himself as an 8/10 in physical looks then he’ll be seeking out females on a similar benchmark in this criteria. Many of these men also fail to realize women do not place total emphasis on physical appearance in their pursuit of men, therefore they fail to see the bigger picture of how attraction works in the mind of the opposite sex. To further reinforce his selectiveness, he may also require a certain level of integrity and personality in the women he pursues. In theory, this shouldn’t be a big problem. It’s almost like some recollections of the infant school days when kids are matched up with dance partners at the age of eight - all the pretty girls go to one end of the line, the cute boys do likewise, and they all couple off accordingly. Ugly kids match up in a similar way, and everyone is happy. However, as we grow through our years, life throws spanners into the once seemingly mutual logical theories. For men, it is quite simple: they will try to maximize the physical attractiveness of their future partner. With women, it is far more complex.
Women will always humour and gruel over attractive film stars or singers, but in reality they hardly ever desire venturing into a long term relationship with a man as physically attractive as they are. Needless to say, but important to clarify, if a man is more physically attractive than his respective girlfriend she will be even more inclined to turn away. Despite the career resurgences of women, in general terms the female race are rarely as confident, successful or fearless of rejection as their male counterparts, and they have less earning power and assets to compliment this. Ultimately, these factors manifest to bring about a relationship where the man is usually the more powerful and personable of the two. This isn’t always the case, as a man can have a presence in a working environment yet he hides in his personality shell in social environments. Nevertheless, what the woman can place on the table is her beauty. Sure, a man may have many other traits in life such as wealth, social status, power or popularity, but if he is a 6.5/10 grade in physical looks whilst she is an 8/10, she knows that despite all his superior value traits, when walking down the street together people will think only to how fortunate he is to have her. She will have conscious but unspoken knowledge of this, and it gives her a feeling of power she needs in order to infiltrate comfort and confidence in herself. In contrast, if a man is placed in this scenario that is of equal physical attractiveness (or better looking) than her, she suddenly doubts herself and wonders what she has to offer. She questions her purpose in life. There are many reasons that explain the high, and often unexplainable, number of women walking hand in hand with lesser looking men, but the least explored factor is quite likely the most pertinent. When people see this scenario their immediate thought is to what he must have to offer, but in reality it often has nothing to do with him and everything to do with her. She needs to feel a purpose in her life, and it is a pre-conceived but often deniable female thought that a lesser looking man will complete this requirement more for her.
I had a conversation about this matter during an afternoon stroll in 2008 with a woman I had only met the previous day. After a couple of beers she opened up with regards to her honest information when I asked her opinion to reasons of this kind – good looking women accompanied by lesser looking men. She mentioned the usual reasons like money, financial and emotional security, trust, status and manhood credentials. However, the most striking comment she made was with reference to the fact women have an unofficial rule to never date a man as physically attractive as them. I’d often thought this was a possibility, but until this day I’d always dismissed the reality. I’ll never forget these words as long as I live, and they acted as a catalyst to further understand the patterns of how men can appeal, or not appeal, to women. Very few women would admit to it in this way, as they would more likely turn it around to claim handsome men are more prone to commit infidelity, to be liars, or to possess no personality to go hand in hand with their looks. Furthermore, they may have had one or two bad experiences with good looking men, or they’ve heard stories second hand from friends, therefore they tarnish all these men with the same brush. This is where the genuine, honest and caring men with good looks carry the burden from mistakes of others, and the negative perceptions of women. No matter how good a guy he is, and no matter how much she finds him physically appealing, he’ll often have to find a way to get past this.
As time passes by, people naturally have less friendship networks, and the opportunities to exploit positive parts of their character become more remote. When an opportunity does come along, because of the pressure of the situation it is not uncommon for a man to fluff his lines when in the presence of women they take a liking to. The first impression is the most important impression in the attraction field, and rarely does a guy have a second chance to impress a woman he didn’t previously know.
I have also found over the years that the older the women, the more wary and insecure they are in intimate situations with good looking men. This apparent circumstance can be seen even in a comparison between a 21 year old woman and a 26 year old woman. So no matter how many times people criticize a man for doing so, and no matter how much he questions himself for this apparent predilection, there is more than just the physical benefit in relationships with younger women: their minds have not reached conscious thoughts of egoism in feeling more valued by a lesser looking man.
Another hurdle good looking men need to fight is women’s perception that all males in this segment admire themselves too much. Women can find it easy to generalize, so if she has recently spotted one or two guys checking their reflections in a public mirror (or worse still, a shop window), she will paint a negative picture for those not so vain. A man can spend an hour grooming himself with nobody around and get away with it, but one second of this seen to the outside world and it can destroy a woman’s attraction towards him. No way does she want to be with someone that uses the mirror more than she does, and in no circumstance does she need someone that clearly admires himself to the point of desperately trying to show his worth. Actions like this will give a woman trust and infuriation issues without even trying. A confident man shouldn’t need reassurance of his attraction from the reflections from outside of his own home.
On a not dissimilar point, women can develop a tendency of jealousy when it comes to their overall view of highly attractive men. It’s important to re-iterate this is usually with men they do not know on a personal level, therefore they are simply casting assumptions on what he is like, whether rightly or wrongly. Seldom do women consider their assumption to be wrong unless totally proven otherwise, and they almost always trust their gut feelings. Even if a man manages to get past this barrier, it’s incredible how many women need to consult their female, and sometimes male, friends for advice to the type of character he may be. As high value and good looking men with quality traits are hard to find, it is no coincidence these friends will often give her advice based on their own jealous agendas: hence often telling her to not date him. Then again, from a man’s perspective does he really desire to be with a woman who seeks advice on a matter like this and who is too weak to invest emotions on someone she has physical chemistry with? I personally would have major doubts and anticipate future problems due to her lack of self-belief to trust in her own feelings.
After a couple of negative relationship experiences with men (not necessarily with highly attractive men), a woman’s guard will be up and she will have a particular low opinion of the male gender for a certain period of time. She will see this good looking guy strolling nonchalantly around in nothing more than confidence and comfort in his own skin, and she will portray a view of him being a cheating, lying jerk that would be no good for her. She’d possibly even go to great lengths to convince herself she doesn’t even find him attractive. Men are generally more confident and less insecure and self-conscious than women in comparative terms, and if a woman sees a degree of swagger in him, she can translate this into a negative. This is all the more probable with good looking men in reference to their illustrations of confidence and comfort with the opposite sex. An average looking man carrying out this demeanour becomes more attractive and appealing to a woman, as he raises her perceived value of him (a value that wasn’t immediately high) in the way of acting like this. However, a good looking man acting in the exact same way will still be seen in appealing eyes by that same woman: the difference is that she believes a man of this nature and calibre is out of her league, and she consequently pre-rejects him. Women need to feel comfort in comparative physical attractiveness stakes, and if she felt insufficient alongside him, it is hard for her to know what she has to offer to the relationship. By being less eye catching, she will have at least one aspect where she holds the upper hand. So again, the genuine good looking guy has his work cut out here.
The attractive man can often have only himself to blame for being alone. When we’re younger it’s much easier in the whole attraction, dating and relationship field. A young guy sees a girl he likes, she is still in a mindset of optimism that the good looking ones are the prized asset, and everybody is happy with this situation. They date for a while, and amongst lies, infidelity or a simple means to an end, they then go their separate ways. They both may see it as a great experience or an unforgettable regret, but over time they can pass it off as a learning tool for the future. Even if she wasn’t the brightest or most articulate, this probably didn’t matter much to him then. These factors were negligible considerations back then as it was all about the physical look. As time goes on, and as minds develop, men become more particular with what sits between a woman’s ears. What was once never a major issue is now an integral part of the requirements, yet unlike women, it takes a lot longer, if ever at all, for men to compromise and rationalize on the physical attributes of a woman he regards as a future mate. Despite female protestations that men are only interested in what they see, the reality is they wonder how a prospective girlfriend will adapt at the family Sunday evening meal just as much as the female inverse view. Anyone can locate a sexual encounter on a Saturday night with the right amount of attitude, patience and perseverance, along with reducing their selectiveness in the opposite sex, but finding a woman that ticks more than just physical beauty attributes can seem a far harder task.
The final point also comes on the back of years of life development. Single men, in particular those who have never fathered children, will more than likely have built up a substantial amount of financial assets. This may be in the case of estate, investments or savings, but in any case he has a certain amount to lose if misplaced (even if innocent) emotional decisions are made. Of course until a man comes close to marriage, and this may seem a million miles away at first, this isn’t an issue. However, time moves fast, and pressures or ultimatums appear to arrive far quicker when both sexes become that little bit older. Before weeks are being counted it is suddenly approaching a year, and hints are being implied to putting a ring on her finger for a committed future together. This is all fine, as fundamentally this is what relationships are all about - finding the one to marry and start a family with. Although far from all, it is a fair assumption most single women do not have these equivalent assets, and suddenly a man can be staring down at a financial imbalance. In an ideal world this isn’t a consideration for a man, as he should simply have thoughts of being blessed that he has met the woman of his dreams, they get married, have children, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately the world isn’t ideal, and with statistical proof to more than half of modern day marriages - in some western world countries - ending in divorce, a man surely cannot be blamed for assessing the possibility of losing a large share of the hard work and sacrifices that placed him there in the first place.
This situation can prove to be more problematic for a more physically attractive man. Take a man not as good looking in the same financial imbalance scenario: he meets an attractive woman who does not have any financial savings or assets to her name, and in fact she may even have debts from previous adventures in life. In total fairness, she may not have given him any reason to believe she is motivated by his economic welfare, but because he feels privileged to be with her, any future risk is worth the gamble as he believes he may never acclaim another woman on the same physical attractiveness scale. Now back to the better looking man in this dynamic: whilst he is in love with this woman, he will be more arrogant in the way of thinking in terms of the risk versus reward assessment. He may refuse marriage commitment or give an austerity measure in the form of a pre-nuptial option. He will conceivably have more confidence in finding another beautiful woman where there is less of an imbalance in money terms. If his female partner refuses these choices then the likelihood is they will go their separate ways. What was once an opportunity of infinite love is now a trigger of reminiscing during lonely Sunday afternoons.
Over 2 years after writing all the above, I sit here in remission of cancer illness. The mental and emotional scares will stay with me for the rest of my life, but through hard work, belief and the strength from above, physical defects (with the exception of hundreds of needle marks in both arms), are now a thing of the past. As for my thoughts and opinions to why an unexplainable number of good looking men struggle to find true love and happiness: they have not changed in the slightest.