Friday, April 9, 2010


The concept of "out of your league" in dating is one of those areas where my ideals sometimes get muddled up with my real-life experience. On the one hand, it's absolutely not true that if you're physically different or just not conventionally beautiful you need to stick with your own ugly kind. All kinds of different people can and do come together. On the other hand, people who are very different-looking but insist on a swimsuit-model partner are being, if not hypocritical, at least unrealistic.

It's a sticky situation to talk about, since of course people are attracted to traits they don't have themselves. Lots of pretty people have ugly (er, frequently-socially-considered-ugly) partners, and then again lots of pretty and ugly people aren't attracted to ugly people and I'm not about to tell them that it's their civic duty to get attracted. But at the same time, our partner preferences aren't determined entirely by random dice-roll. When an ugly person is unhappily single because they will only consider gorgeous people as partners--well, they shouldn't date someone they don't schwing for, and it's certainly not impossible... but. But. You know? But. Sticky.

God, I wish I was an asshole blogger. I wouldn't be tying myself in knows with this shit about "it's not my place to tell anyone what to do" and "everyone's preferences are different" and "we shouldn't assume younger and thinner is prettier" and all these other things--that I do actually believe--that make it so damn hard to be blunt.

If I were an asshole blogger I could just come out and tell people that you've got no goddamn business saying "I'm fat and 50 and I'm only attracted to thin 20-year-olds," and no, that's not insensitivity to fat 50-year-olds, that's just the slightest connection to Planet Fucking Earth. And you're insensitive to fat 50-year-olds if you won't date one, jerk! And then I'd stick my tongue out. And fart.

Man, the other day I read a blog post saying you shouldn't use "stupid" as an insult because that's insensitive to mentally disabled people and to people who've had fewer educational opportunities. And the horrifying part was that I found myself going along with it for a bit, nodding in agreement because of course I don't want to hurt innocent people with my words--and then I realized how... how stupid it is to be so goddamn sensitive you can't say anything more opinionated than "I like bunnies." Now, I won't use "retarded" as an insult. I'm not committing myself to insensitivity as a lifestyle. But I can't walk on eggshells around everything that isn't bunnies.


  1. My philosophy is this: people can be attracted to all kinds of "types" (I knew a girl in high school who liked bald guys with ratty little ponytails!!!), but most people will tend to default toward conventionally attractive people.

    If you're fat and 50, it's totally okay to want someone who's thin and 20...but chances are, they want someone thin and 20, too. So go ahead and hit on the hot young things (because you never of them might dig you!), but just don't feel you're entitled to get one.

  2. Personally, things improved a lot for me when I stopped being so narrow about my appearance preferences, but that had less to do with "leagues" and success rates, and more to do with finding the criteria that were really important to me.

    (Of course, that doesn't mean that the people that otherwise meet those criteria don't themselves want someone younger, thinner and more conventionally attractive.)

  3. The other thing I never understood is that, while in my own experience visual appearance doesn't actually have all that much correlation with "good in bed," it still seems that it's everyone's primary criterion in partner selection by far.

  4. For me, I have such a hard time getting past peoples' personalities that half the time I barely notice what they look like. I mean, physical attraction certainly HELPS, but an unattractive personality can change a beautiful person's look to me. For example, I visually prefer Asians, but the man I'm currently seeing is tall, pale, skinny, balding, and 33 years old with crooked teeth - frankly, he looks a bit like a cartoon character, but I find him incredibly attractive nonetheless for his personality alone.

    So for me, when I look at a couple with a very beautiful woman and a barely-average man (or vice versa), and I hear things like "How did a guy like that get a girl like her?" My thoughts are usually, "Gee, maybe he's, you know, NICE to her." I myself really can't even have casual sex with someone whose character sucks. So perhaps I'm just that far off center, where yes, physical attractiveness is relevant, but it's the whipped cream on the pie. Not entirely necessary. And I've had lady friends tell me "You can do better than him!" over a boyfriend they thought were not attractive. Well, it had nothing to do with that - he treated me well, and I personally found him sexy and engaging. I'm not entirely sure that had anything to do with his physical appearance.

    And perhaps I'm just a nutcase, because this thought process doesn't seem to develop until one's brain fuses.

    Sorry for that long answer.

  5. Zombiecheeze - Okay, yeah, excellent point. It's easy to get so caught up on what you'd theoretically want in a theoretical partner that you forget the reasons that you actually like people.

  6. ...but ugly people who have good personalities generally don't fixate on their partners' appearance, or at least they have the good sense not to do all their fixating out loud.

  7. I blame the Internet. We're trained to want things we can never have, but all those sexy coeds flaunting their jubblies make it seem inevitable that someday a sexy coed will want to flaunt her jubblies in person. It's akin to creating demand for Ferraris among Ecuadorian subsistence farmers.

    I don't know how I feel about leagues. Certainly some women have made it obvious that I'm not up to their standards, and I've certainly felt that some women aren't up to my standards, but to what extent those standards are static, shared, or articulable, I can't say. But rejection sucks, and the odds of success (however that's defined) are low no matter what the circumstances, so it's rare that I'll pursue or even show interest in someone I perceive as my superior.

    So there's clearly something there, but I'm not comfortable using the term "leagues."

  8. This blog post is offensive to bunnies. There. I said it.

  9. To me, personality is actually a part of how I think of "league"; it shapes such a large part of attraction that being confident, or funny, or whatever is a significant variable in which people you can "try for". If you're boring, high-strung, or otherwise not much fun to be with- it dings against you even if you look great.

    Then again, I also pretty much exclusively define "league" in terms of myself- an awful lot of physically attractive people would never have a chance with me purely because I find boredom such a turnoff.

  10. The concept of "leagues" is largely meaningless to the reality that I currently live in. If my admittedly limited experience is any guide (and I really doubt that it is) men mostly only have sex with other men, and they're not very picky about who they do it with, while women mostly don't have sex at all.

    [Deleted remainder of comment due to likely sounding racist, which was not at all intended]

  11. Not Me - Please allow me to assure you that women mostly do have sex.

  12. I think as long as rejection is given and taken gently, and people aren't judged by the quality of their partners, go ahead and have whatever standards you're willing to bear the consequences of.

  13. Attraction is so subjective that it seems silly to put people into "leagues". "Leagues" imply that only certain people are entitled to fuck or date certain other people.

    The way I see it there are just dudes I want and dudes I don't want. Anyone can hit on me and I won't be offended, as long as he goes away immediately if I make my disinterest clear.

  14. Whenever people are thinking in terms of "leagues," they are ceasing (at least for the moment) to think of other people as individuals, in which case, fuck 'em... I mean, don't fuck 'em. I am me, not a demographic.


  15. I've come across the controversy over the word "stupid", too. And I'm with you on that one. I feel like "stupid" is more of a general insult these days, rather than carrying the specific connotation of "mentally deficient/lacking". And really, if you can't say something is stupid because it's ableist, and every other insult you can think of is taboo because it's some other kind of -ist, then eventually you won't be able to say anything negative at all.

    Which would be nice, but something tells me most humans would protest to such a large facet of thought being effectively erased.