Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't Shoot The Messenger Part II: For The Men

Ok, the much anticipated Part II … Men, know I’m on your side too and trying to help. Please feel free to refer to the title of this blog in any moments of doubt.

I start with a story. When I was a 23 year old law student, I visited my grandmother in South Florida during Winter Break. One day at the beach by myself, I met “Bernie.” Bernie was more than twice my age, with a belly the size of a woman carrying twins and hair that had abandoned his head to make a sizable carpet on his back. I was friendly to Bernie after he struck up a conversation with me (for starters, I was a captive audience and didn’t know how to extricate myself – damn that sugar and spice ... see April 23rd blog). At one point, Bernie mentioned that he was a lawyer and so I was slightly more interested in continuing the conversation (as everyone in law school tells you, network, network, network).

On day two at the beach, there is Bernie again. After chatting with Bernie further about law school, etc., I’m actually looking at Bernie now as my “friend,” Bernie, the lawyer. So when Bernie overtly hit on me on Day 3, I was in utter disbelief. “You have got to be kidding me. Is this guy for real?” were just some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I left the beach in disgust. To me, it was as if I had just been hit on by one of the men at my grandmother’s bingo social. I went back to my grandmother’s condo, interrupted her bridge game and proclaimed something I finally grasped at the tender age of twenty-three: there is no limit to men’s egos … they all think they have a chance! *

In New York, we all see Bernie at the bar - hitting on all the pretty young things and declaring that he’s not interested in dating anyone even remotely close to his own age. He’s hypercritical of women who he doesn’t care to even get to know, critiquing their every physical and personality trait while he is far from the perfect catch. Now, the guys are likely reading this Blog and saying “well this one’s not so bad, after all. It doesn’t even apply to me.” It does.

See, the problem is NO guy sees himself as Bernie at the Beach.

Ok, fine. Maybe the average male in NYC is closer to a “Pete at the Party.” Pete’s not looking to meet a girl half his age – he just wants a minimum of 5 to 8 years younger. Pete doesn’t look pregnant, but he’s definitely not in the great shape he was in college. He still has hair, damn it – though it’s not like it was and, ok, it’s receding quite a bit. Ok, and maybe graying. Oh, and the height issue – we’ll let’s just say height’s not his best selling asset. Men, even if you consider yourself “not bad looking” because you aren’t carrying around the beer belly your buddy Bob has, and you still have a good amount of hair, chances are high that you are the same level in looks as the girl you’re rejecting for being not attractive enough.

But fortunately for the men, most women care far less about a guy’s looks than they do about his ability to provide for the family they hope to have someday. By the way, did I mention that Pete has a decent job at such and such law firm/bank/[fill in the blank] which allows him a “fine” life in the city, but he ain’t making Crain’s 40 under 40 in this lifetime. To create a parallel to last week’s blog, like men, the women of New York also expect the best. You value looks and weight? Well, the women are just as discerning when it comes to the qualities that make them evaluate whether they consider YOU a suitor worthy of their time. We all know very well, this city is full of real estate moguls, private equity investors, and investment bankers with substantial salaries. Gentlemen, even if the numbers on the singles map are in your favor, know that you have some stiff competition. Now, it goes without saying, women value many other qualities in their potential partner besides the ability to provide (among other things, most women are looking for a man with a great sense of humor, who puts on a nice appearance, who is sensitive and thoughtful, etc.) but a man’s success in his career is certainly high up on the list for many worthwhile NYC femmes.

And once again, before the reader concludes that based upon the candid comments above, this is all about which guy has the most money, let’s be fair to “head-turner.” She doesn’t have to necessarily be driven solely by the prospect of meeting someone with loads of money/prestige/power, though these guys are hitting on her daily. She can hold out for Mr. Uber Successful who is also extremely attractive, smart, funny and nice because that’s who’s also hitting on her and she can get him. And, Lord knows, she’s trying.

That being said, Pete at the Party, who doesn’t necessarily make it to the top of the list in any aesthetic or financial category, is nevertheless fixated on asking out the hottest girl in sight -- the drop dead gorgeous girl every guy at the party is trying to ask out. The “head-turner.”** And because of this, he’s not “wasting” his limited time getting to know the many other wonderful ladies just an arm’s length away. No, he’s set his sights on the stunner by the Sangria.

Some may wonder, why doesn’t Pete hit on the girl he actually has a chance with?*** Because, any man will tell you, they all secretly want to end up with someone they consider slightly “out of their league.” The problem is that these men don’t realize that they’re not in the All Star line up but rather warming the bench in Double A. Triple A would be a step up.

Message to Pete: You’re not getting THAT girl. She’s not interested. Neither is her also hot, but maybe not quite as hot, friend. You're wasting your time and theirs. If you hit on the girl in your own league you’d be much happier and closer to getting want you really want in life.

If Pete spent the next few parties leaving the girls who want nothing to do with him alone, had realistic expectations about who he is going to end up with in life (this is NOT code for settling), and went straight to approaching the woman who is objectively attractive, sweet, smart and fun (but perhaps not the “head-turner”) he’d be in relationship bliss already (men, this is also great game theory. Think John Nash at the bar in a Beautiful Mind And isn’t that what Pete’s after anyway?

Pete doesn’t think he’s losing valuable time by not pursuing the girl who would likely to be his most compatible match? I have a bit of interesting information Pete can put in his pipe. Women are not the only ones who have to worry about age affecting their ability to have children (or to have children without genetic problems). I attach for my audience’s reading pleasure and edification.

If Pete were to start hitting on and pursuing the women who could be a real future partner for him, who will stick with him for better or worse, who will be a loving mother to his children, a best friend and someone who will still challenge him intellectually long after either of them can turn any heads – well, then, I’d say he’s getting the MVP.

Oh my, this is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s much more to come on this subject …

*As one friend said, I would love to buy that circus mirror these men have in their houses – you know, the one where you look insanely tall and slim and are far hotter than the model who just graced the cover of Shape Magazine.

** The head-turner, by the way, is not to be dismissed as attractive and nothing else. She is often the woman who is fantastic in a million other ways besides her great looks.

*** To be expected, one male friend has countered, why wouldn’t Pete hit on the girl way out of his league? What does he have to lose? Further expounding the virtues of this theory, my friend concludes if Pete hits on enough of these Major League beauties, at some point he’s bound to get lucky. Legend has it, it’s happened to Pete before. Sure, maybe Pete got the “drop dead gorgeous” girl one night when she drank too much wearing her D&G champagne goggles. Maybe he was the beneficiary of a few dates when “drop dead gorgeous” was frustrated by the guy she really wanted to be dating but who was giving her the run around and so turned to her sycophant to boost her ego. Or maybe Pete “got” her earlier in life before he became what we can now call “Pete at the Party.”


  1. Amen to that! I need more- write more!

  2. Oh, this is all accurate. Harsh, but accurate.

  3. Marni again speaks the truth.

    I've dated some "hotties," but right now my goal is to find a spouse. A "head-turner" isn't what I want - and perhaps not even what I need.

    I hate to generalize, but I've noticed that sometimes "hotties" don't have a lot of substance. And some of the hotties I "got" did lack in character what they had plenty of lookswise. Sure it varies, but it's something I've seen.

    This paragraph sums it all, and it's my MO right now: "If Pete were to start hitting on and pursuing the women who could be a real future partner for him, who will stick with him for better or worse, who will be a loving mother to his children, a best friend and someone who will still challenge him intellectually long after either of them can turn any heads – well, then, I’d say he’s getting the MVP."

    - Ex-Syosset Lifter

  4. Attraction for both men and women is based on perceived social status.

    Everyone wants someone above them in status (out of their league as you say). Women can have this. Men cannot, so instead look for someone at their own level.

    Being thin, having the right designer label, summering in the Hamptons, owning your own business, being a published author, and having those head-turning looks are all ways to "sign" or signal status.

    Me ordering beer last night at that Soho House party was signing that I am lower in social status. You can be conscious of social status w/o being a slave to it.

    -- Scott

  5. Marni I really liked this one..