Mope Against Hope
My co-worker always has "a great weekend!" compared to my lame ones. In fact, my whole summer's been lame because I can't find a girlfriend. She keeps telling me if I stop "looking" I'll meet somebody. I believe that's true for women, not men. A woman just needs to show up and men hit on her. She'll enjoy herself, give out her number, and perhaps go out with a guy. She may discover he's married, or has tons of baggage, but she had a good time and a few free meals, and her self-esteem remains intact.
According to you, all a girl needs to do is "show up." Okay, maybe so--if the girl's name is Angelina Jolie. She can probably put as little prep into going out as some guys do: Hose herself down, shake the water off like a big dog, slap on some deodorant, and dig through the pile for a shirt and pants dark enough that the biohazards mostly blend in.
As for the mere mortal woman who just shows up, guys mainly notice her when she's blocking their path to the woman who spent countless hours trying to look like all she did was show up: plucking, teasing, squeezing, highlighting, low-lighting, pushing up, working out, sucking in, and, for the truly fun part, paying $100-plus dollars to get waxed and plucked in the last place you'd ever want tweezers or hot wax.
Yet, in that utopia in your head that is being female, no woman's ever too fat, too flat, or too aggressively average-looking to be hounded for her phone number. And then, even if a girl's looking for love, it's all good as long as she can snag a free steak or two before she discovers Mr. Wonderful No. 7,412 is just looking to have sex with somebody other than his wife: "Crushing disappointment? Thanks, I'll take mine medium rare, with a side of garlic mashed potatoes."
The truth is, your co-worker who always has "a great weekend!" probably doesn't feel that way because she has dozens of men drooling into her shoe. Research by psychologist Martin Seligman and others shows that people with an optimistic orientation toward life are not only happier but more successful in getting what they want. There's more to this than running around telling yourself you're wonderful or buying into pop fluffology like The Secret, which claims people are only fat because they're thinking "fat thoughts." (Couldn't possibly be that they're doing it while speed-eating donuts.) Get Seligman's book Learned Optimism and see how to put a more positive spin on your setbacks, and rejigger where you put credit or blame. Stop complaining and look on the bright side, and you may find that's where the girls are.
But, wait--aren't you supposed to stop looking? Well, yes, but that doesn't mean staying home and waiting for women to parachute into your backyard. It means stop looking desperate, which is how you come off when the success or failure of your weekend hinges on your ability to make total strangers you have no control over bend to your will.
Beyond that, I suspect you aren't looking for love so much as you're looking for victory--making your approach more us versus them than us connecting with them. Changing that takes time. Start going out just to have fun, and show interest in women beyond merely acquiring one, and you should come to appreciate them, and not just in the way a lion appreciates a zebra.
Time Flies When You're Having Fund
Recently, you printed a question from a 62-year-old guy dating a 27-year-old lawyer. He's not loaded, by any chance? If he is, it shouldn't be long before she has the best dermatologists money can buy for her "lousy complexion." Call me cynical, but maybe somebody should warn the guy.
Somebody should warn a lot of people: Maybe it's pure love, or maybe it's fear of dying alone. Maybe he's found "the one," or maybe he's tired of looking. And maybe she glanced at her biological clock and was suddenly in the market for a paycheck with sperm. Somehow, of all the ulterior motives, people get wiggiest about money.
Let's say this guy's rolling in dough, and that's partly why this woman's rolling with him. If she makes him happy, what of it? Would he be happier alone, rubbing his hands together, "Ooh, thank goodness my wealth is safe and sound"? At 62, the guy probably doesn't need to be told that some women make their money the old-fashioned way--they inherit it.
But, mindful of your concern, I asked whether he's loaded. He e-mailed back, "I wish!" And you know what that means. His girlfriend's probably taking him for everything he's got: an old futon, a case of Metamucil, and his beer cozy collection.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com.
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