Friday, July 11, 2014
Are men really more attractive as they age?
Hmm, let's first consider how attractive these older bon vivants are. We're not talking about movie stars, models, actors, or triathletes. We're talking about normal, beer-and-whiskey-drinking, couch lounging, self-gratifying 50-ish and 60-ish guys (the ones who are hitting up ladies in their 30s and 40s on dating sites).
Let's consider some of the typical men I see looking for much younger women on my online dating site. They often look a little like the guy to the left.
If it's not their looks that make them more attractive as they age, then it must be their professional and financial success. Well, not if I go by the last bunch of cream-of-the-crop dating site men I've recently agreed to meet.
(Full disclosure: I have a couple of great guys in my life, but I believe in continuing to look until I find the one who really is, in my heart and his, the rest-of-my-life partner. For me, it's not enough to agree to be exclusive with someone who's not too bad. Ladies, you know that I believe, utterly, that it's our path to expect more from life, not continue to settle for less. But, back to the subject . . . .)
Guys seem to feel no pressure to look attractive (even on the first few dates). Everyone, no matter how much he's let himself go can clean up for a date. But many of these guys confuse "being me" and "accepting me for who I am" for not trying. They feel no imperative to put a best foot forward, but then feel disappointed when a woman doesn't feel like an end-of-date hug or second date (let alone the sex within 3-5 dates that most men are upfront about on OKCupid).
Ladies, if you've been dating post-divorce, you've had some of these dates already. I'm so tempted to give you little profiles of the guys I've met on recent coffee dates (but I won't): Every one of them a smart, very-well-educated guy who had consciously lit a match and blown up his life, career, and often his marriage in some creatively obtuse way. And were pretty proud of it.
Bear with me, I do have a point here.
There's a difference between the ways that men and women are socialized and it really shows up with this "older men still attractive"/"older women the kiss of death" dichotomy. And hang in there with me, because there's a new insight at the end of this.
We're #2. We try harder.
Conventional wisdom and popular culture tell women, in every moment of the day, that we should be trying harder, we're not quite good enough yet, our prospects are entirely tied into our looks (not to mention that our middle-aged dates are also concerned with how much money we have). We're conditioned, from every direction at once, that we should be reducing our expectations and be happy that there's any man our age at all interested in us.
But society hasn't done these clueless old geezers any favors, either. These poor old gents (actually, I wish they behaved like gents) have been told their whole lives that they are it. They're used to being served by women, coddled by women, having their egos boosted by women. The expectations of how we should be serving them (emotionally, practically, sexually) are unspoken and endless.
Show me what you got
This is fueled by all of the images they've spent a lifetime assimilating: From sit-com moms to the porn that, if my men friends' admissions are any indication, is a bigger part of most men's lives than we ladies would like to know. Check out the hard-core porn available for free viewing online. Or check out a lovely magazine like Hustler, to see what kinds of images men are enjoying.
If this is the reality, in their minds, about what they hope to receive from their relationships with us, and many of them are still so upset at how their ex-wives or former girlfriends fell short, it's no wonder that they're waiting for us to prove ourselves to them before they turn on the charm.
Or, they just don't see why they should have to bother at this age.
Okay, here's the insight: It doesn't have to be this way unless we let it.
If society tells us an untruth long enough, we start to believe it. And, we've been hearing this untruth about older men holding their dating-marketplace value (or, even increasing in value) for a very long time.
You've probably already read some research like this, The Case for An Older Woman. This particular link is all about how guys in their 30s and 40s should open their minds to consider dating someone their own age (or even a little older). The arguments: An older woman will be more adventurous in bed; if she's still single, she takes better care of herself and is more attractive than her married counterparts; and other arguments tinged with "and she'll be so grateful."
A woman who believes this stuff may settle for a sub-par guy (or a series of them), and convince herself that this is the best she can do. It seems a form of Stockholm syndrome -- in which hostages express empathy, sympathy, and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them.
If we wake up and smell the coffee, on balance, we can say with certainty that men do not become more attractive with age any more than women usually do. It's just that we've been told this lie for so long that we've started to believe it.
The ridiculous level of bravado that so many older men exude has everything to do with how men have lived their lives, contrasted against how women have lived.
Self-Love = Power
Because many men have spent a lifetime on gratifying themselves, and therefore increasing their personal power, it's easy for them to grossly overvalue themselves. No matter how paunchy, flabby, and unattractive a guy is, you may notice that he still has no trouble finding dates. His self-belief is all that matters. (And, of course, that's bolstered by our society's messages -- and it's a chicken/egg debate as to which came first.)
As women, we've been taught to give our personal power away (defined as being loving, caring, and self-sacrificing) rather than to serve our own best interests, gratify ourselves, and thereby increase our personal attractiveness and magnetism.
So, let's tell ourselves a better story and believe that instead. Because, if anyone is becoming more attractive with age, it's women who know what they want, surround themselves with loyal and loving friends, create their personal style and surroundings in a way that please them, and make a primary decision-making question, "Will this make me happy?"
The most attractive woman? It's you, when you decide to be the heroine of your own life story, not just a bit player in your own life.
"Will this make me happy?"
Start acting from your own truth that you are god's gift to men. Because, if you're a loving, giving, caring woman, you are god's gift to men. You've been giving for a lifetime already. You can now be god's gift to men in terms of teaching them how to treat an incredible, irresistible mature woman who is radiating self-love and charisma.
Those who are unworthy of you or unable to appreciate you will fall away immediately, as they should. And you'll still run into a few mistakes on coffee dates who got past your dating site messaging radar.
But, all it takes to start a revolution in perception is for all of us to make choices from our highest and most beautiful selves, build ourselves up through our every thought, and every book, article, film, and video we choose to consume and start on a total diet of self-love and appreciation.
Want to know exactly how to do that? I would love to take you through my signature 5-hour virtual VIP Day, "Prepare to Be Loved." The program prepares you to be loved by another, yes, but more importantly it prepares you to love yourself, which is the key to absolutely everything: excitement, financial freedom, happy relationships, love . . . exactly everything that's important to a happy life.