How most women sabotage their chances for meeting great guys.
The following is part of an excerpt from the new book, You Lost him at Hello: From dating to “I Do” – secret strategies from one of America’s top dating coaches (HCI, 2013), by Jess McCann
Mallory and Megan are best friends. When they both turned twenty-nine they suddenly began to worry about whether or not they were ever going to get married, so they did what a lot of women nearing thirty do these days: They consulted a dating coach. I was the lucky one who popped up in their Google search, and was subsequently tasked with figuring out why love had alluded them both thus far. They wanted to find the right guy and get married, but neither of them were meeting anyone of interest, and the few men they did find intriguing only took them on a few dates before abruptly announcing they weren’t looking for a commitment.
Since Mallory and Megan were having trouble dating right out of the gate, I knew that something about their prospecting method (I term I use for how you go about meeting new people) was off. They are both smart, attractive girls who went out quite a bit and maintained online profiles, so theoretically they should have been asked out on quite a few dates. In order to find the root of the problem I decided to shadow them out the town to see what I could see.
On the night we got together I expected to sit at the bar for a few hours watching the girls while nursing a soda disguised as a rum and coke. But before I could even dress up my drink with a lime wedge, the girls announced they were ready to move on to someplace else. In a span of just forty minutes, we covered three restaurant bars. At each establishment Megan and Mallory walked in, took one lap around the place, and announced to each other, “There is no one good here. Let’s try somewhere else.” At each location they surveyed the crowd for someone to start a conversation with, and quickly assessed that no one was worth their time. If their “Mr. Right” had been out that night, he never stood a chance.
What Are You Looking For?
Most women have a type they like physically. Maybe it’s a guy who is over six feet or hair that is dark and wavy. There is nothing wrong with knowing what you like aesthetically, but when you only judge men on their outward appearance, you are superficially looking for a mate and giving top priority qualities that actually won’t matter in the long run. When you decide that you don’t want to even have a conversation with someone based on something external, you are making a prejudgment that the person isn’t right for you.
It is a common problem for both sexes these days, after all you do need that physical attraction in order to sustain a relationship, but the problem is most stifling for women because we often become attracted to men that we get to know. We fall for friends and co-workers because when we can factor in their great sense of humor, charming personality, or witty intellect and they just somehow get cuter. Attraction for us can grow, and in some cases it can sprout like a weed. Therefore, when we decide who we will or will not converse with solely based on appearance, we are actually preventing ourselves from meeting men that we very well could become attracted to and fall in love with.
With online dating the problem is pervasive. Because it’s hard to sense someone’s personality and character through just a few words, you aren’t able to factor in any substantial qualities, and so you simply end up judging each person strictly on looks. When you judge men on just their physical appearance and nothing else, you end up only attracted to the top 2%- which is an extremely small pool to fish from.
Before I gave Megan and Mallory my diagnosis, I wanted to check out their online conversations to confirm my suspicion. When we got back to their apartment and hopped online, the proof was in their profiles. They both had a slew of potential prospects winking and e-mailing them, but both Megan and Mallory only responded to a very select few. They were prejudging every man in their line of sight, from the color of their hair, down to the style of their shoes, and anyone who did not possess the right look, height, or income, was promptly passed over.
When I gave Megan and Mallory my assessment of them, I expectedly received pushback.
“I don’t think what we are doing is prejudging. I think we are just looking for someone we find attractive. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many men out there that are fitting the criteria,” Megan stated.
I pointed out to Megan that she is so picky that she wouldn’t speak to one guy because he had facial hair. Facial hair that could have easily been shaved off.
“I just know within thirty seconds who I am going to be attracted to,” Megan stated. “If the spark is not there at the beginning, it’s not ever going to be there. And I’m not going to settle for less than what I want.”
I looked at Mallory, who was still processing the information.
“I guess I see your point,” she said. “I know that in the past I have developed attraction for some of my guy friends after getting to know them because they were super smart or funny. I think what you are telling us is that we have to give more people a chance to see if some of their other qualities override physical attributes we may not be fond of right away?”
“Exactly. You have to put more stock into other characteristics. Humor, intelligence, and integrity are all very attractive qualities that really add to someone’s appeal. You aren’t able to see these things with the naked eye. You have to get to know someone first, and that means giving men who maybe aren’t exactly your type physically, a chance to show you how hot they are in other ways,” I told them.
Mallory seemed to be coming around. Megan just sat there looking quite unhappy.
Stop Judging, Start Dating
Most women ask me how they can get over the fact that only a certain type of man attracts them. They don’t want to prejudge, but the thought of going out with a man who, for example, is shorter than they are, makes them want to give up their search for love completely. I tell those women that they are allowed to have one physical turnoff, as men certainly have one or two of their own. If height truly bothers them, they can stick to taller men, but they should try to be more flexible about how tall they really need to be. If they typically don’t like men under six feet, but they themselves are only five foot four, they should give a little and accept dates with men who are five seven and above. Those few inches may not bother them if everything else about the guy is just outstanding.
They are only allowed one physical turnoff, so I tell them to choose wisely.
Virtually anything physical can also be improved upon anyway. Weight can be lost, clothes can be changed, hair can be cut, and so on and so forth. It’s what is on the inside that cannot be so easily changed. It’s important to keep in mind what qualities truly matter in the long run and not just what turns you on for the night.
Three months after my conversation with Megan and Mallory, they were out together again prospecting for eligible guys. Megan immediately resigned to sitting at a table in the back because there weren’t any cute guys out that night. Mallory, on the other hand, kept her mind and options open. As she walked to the bathroom, she noticed a guy at the bar checking her out. He wasn’t her typical type, but she decided to not judge. When she came out of the bathroom, she went to the bar to order her next drink, placing herself right next to the guy. She could feel that he was looking her way, so she took a deep breath, smiled, and looked at him.
“Hi! How are you?” he said right away.
“I’m good. I’ve just been abandoned by my waitress,” she laughed.
“Oh, allow me. That looks like a rum and coke?” he smiled.
“Good guess,” Mallory replied.
As Megan sat alone at the table, Mallory chatted with the guy for half an hour. He asked for her number and said he would call her. Mallory left the bar that night feeling optimistic. She wasn’t sure if the guy was going to be Mr. Right, but she liked him more than she thought she would have after their brief conversation.
Today Mallory tells me she has never been so in love. She and her boyfriend have been dating for almost a year. Although she said he wasn’t physically her type at first glance, she finds him very sexy now that she knows him. Whenever they are out, they can’t keep their hands off each other!
Megan on the other hand is still very single and searching.
Jess McCann is a dating and relationship coach in Washington D.C. She is the author of the books, You Lost Him at Hello: From Dating to ‘I do’, and Was it Something I Said?: The answer to all your dating dilemmas. She coaches men and women all over the world on how to find love and cultivate healthy relationships. Visit her at www.jessmccann.com and follow her advice on Twitter @iamjessmccann