Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: siamesecat2965 on October 22, 2012, 08:23:49 AM

Title: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: siamesecat2965 on October 22, 2012, 08:23:49 AM
Second letter, http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/
a man in his mid-40's, divorced, claims to be in decent shape, looking for someone to "accompany" him through life. But also complains that many women in his age range don't "take care of themselves" anymore, and why don't women "understand this" He comes off as being quite shallow and only interested in appearances, rather than personallity, etc.

Love Abby's response when he asks where she'd suggest finding a "suitable" partner...she tells him the nearest gym, and if that fails, the Playboy Mansion, saying Hef throws a lot of parties, and he might meet someone that would live up to his standards there, providing HIS assets would merit interest in him.  A subtle snarky response to his veiled lament that all women in his age range don't care enough to "look good"
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 08:55:01 AM
Lol! I imagine him reading the reply and going, "Hey, I said I was 'above-average' income, I'm not a millionaire! Oh, these shallow 'very attractive' women! They're only interested in one thing! Why won't they see me for my soul, not my bank account!"

But actually, I kind of blame this on Hef and the Playboy mentality. Many men have absorbed from such media that no matter what their attractions, they should be positively pursued by supermodels. After all, Hef's a withered old man, and look at the arm-candy he gets. Clearly, this is what all men are entitled to.

It's a math literacy problem. They can't quite figure out why if their standard is the top 1% of the population (that is, supermodels), 99% of the women they meet don't measure up.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 09:40:20 AM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Judah on October 22, 2012, 09:46:21 AM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.

Me either.  For me, there needs to be a physical attraction before anything else so, I get where he's coming from.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Petticoats on October 22, 2012, 09:56:20 AM
I found him insufferable in his contemptuous assumptions that women deliberately let ourselves go (how dare we have other priorities or stubborn metabolisms or genetic predisposition to gain weight) and are stupid, in that we just don't understand how important it is to look attractive! Hogwash. Men like this are reinforcing that knowledge every day of our lives--if we don't fit the current ideal of beauty, especially if we're middle-aged, we're invisible--or despised.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 09:57:54 AM
if we don't fit the current ideal of beauty, especially if we're middle-aged, we're invisible--or despised.

I don't think this is what his point was at all - just that he does not want to date someone to whom he is not personally attracted.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 22, 2012, 10:27:57 AM
I found him insufferable in his contemptuous assumptions that women deliberately let ourselves go (how dare we have other priorities or stubborn metabolisms or genetic predisposition to gain weight) and are stupid, in that we just don't understand how important it is to look attractive! Hogwash. Men like this are reinforcing that knowledge every day of our lives--if we don't fit the current ideal of beauty, especially if we're middle-aged, we're invisible--or despised.

Not only that, but our value as "companions" is in our looks, and that we are perceived as attractive by the other men. He wants a trophy, not a companion.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 10:36:50 AM
I find great value in the physical appearance of my SO.  It is one of many qualities I enjoy about him and am attracted to.  I don't think it is fair to say that people who value physical appearance in a mate are shallow and only want a trophy.  Some might, but certainly not all.  I would not even consider pursuing a romantic relationship with someone to whom I am not physically attracted.  That is the threshold.  Obviously other factors are more important, especially over time, but physical attraction is what makes an SO different from a friend.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 22, 2012, 10:37:44 AM
This guy sounds like he's just looking for arm candy. I could perhaps see the "yes we want someone we're physically attracted to" argument if he had spoken of other attributes like kindness, intelligence, and a sense of humor.

And ugh, don't get me started on the "women letting themselves go".  Where I grew up, it seems like women spend any spare time at the gym and watching their weight to make sure they're not accused of "letting themselves go." My mother always talked about how one of their college buddies got snagged by a woman who was beautiful until he married her, then she "let herself go."  ::)
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 22, 2012, 10:45:40 AM
Funny how "letting herself go" uniformly refers to physical appearance, not job or hobbies or talents. No one says "Cindy was a fantastic guitarist when we met, but now she's really let herself go."

And there is a difference between "someone I am physically attracted to" and the obvious arm candy this guy is after. The fact that he mentioned how others would see her is key. Then he ties it to his "value" as a "good catch." Getting a hot chick equals validation to this guy and guys like him.

Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 22, 2012, 11:09:38 AM
I want to follow this thread but I can't think of one nice thing to say...


How would you word this ad? 

Stereotypical man seeking above average looking woman to accompany him through life...with the understanding that if she lets herself go she will be dumped (wonder if this applies to him also?)

Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Sharnita on October 22, 2012, 11:15:42 AM
Funny how "letting herself go" uniformly refers to physical appearance, not job or hobbies or talents. No one says "Cindy was a fantastic guitarist when we met, but now she's really let herself go."

And there is a difference between "someone I am physically attracted to" and the obvious arm candy this guy is after. The fact that he mentioned how others would see her is key. Then he ties it to his "value" as a "good catch." Getting a hot chick equals validation to this guy and guys like him.

Several good points!  I know women in the age group he mentions who eat right and even run marathons but they are still obviously in that age group.  Something tells me they still wouldn't meet with his approval.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 11:19:30 AM
if we don't fit the current ideal of beauty, especially if we're middle-aged, we're invisible--or despised.

I don't think this is what his point was at all - just that he does not want to date someone to whom he is not personally attracted.

No, his point was that women better get on the ball, and improve themselves to his standard, so that he has a larger dating pool.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 22, 2012, 11:20:02 AM
Actually, he said "don't take care of themselves", not "let themselves go"... and I'll admit, after a road trip I took yesterday, which included seeing a young woman smoking (oh, sorry, a young PREGNANT woman), I've seen waaaaay too many pajama pants to disagree fully.  Still, he's a maroon for the way he said it and his motivations for doing so.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Judah on October 22, 2012, 11:39:02 AM
I honestly don't understand the strong negative feelings this topic seems to stir in some posters whenever the subject comes up.  Everyone is attracted to different things and some of us find physical attractiveness important.  Substitute any other requirement for physical attractiveness and it's suddenly okay. 

"I'm looking for a car buff to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on motor vehicle knowledge and trivia. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"

Should people date people they are not attracted to?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 22, 2012, 11:45:47 AM
Yeah, but he basically phrased it as "I deserve a supermodel, but all I see are wildebeests.  Where can a man of my importance go to find a woman that can drink a thick milkshake from three rooms away?"
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 11:46:43 AM
And there is a difference between "someone I am physically attracted to" and the obvious arm candy this guy is after.

Unfortunately, I think many people nowadays are unaware of this distinction. They spend so much time chasing the "hot" people (top 1%), that they don't realize that one might become physically attracted to someone for something other than perfect build/features, if you only slowed down enough to get to know them.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Nibsey on October 22, 2012, 11:47:52 AM
I honestly don't understand the strong negative feelings this topic seems to stir in some posters whenever the subject comes up.  Everyone is attracted to different things and some of us find physical attractiveness important.  Substitute any other requirement for physical attractiveness and it's suddenly okay. 

"I'm looking for a car buff to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on motor vehicle knowledge and trivia. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"

Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I don't think that's what's annoying people, it's his attitude. So for example, I'm attractive to red heads and luckily live in an area full of them and am dating a red headed hunk.  :) No one (I think) would say there was anything wrong with me stating I'd only date red heads because I only find them attractive. (Not the case, I'm all equal opportunities  8) lol ) However, if I lived in a area, where say there wasn't many red headed, people certainly would have an issue if I stated all men should dye their hair to suit my perception of attractiveness.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Allyson on October 22, 2012, 11:48:33 AM
I don't think there's any problem at all with wanting someone you are attracted to. But this particular attitude and some of the phrases he uses put up all kinds of warning bells. If he'd said "Turns out, none of the women I'm meeting through traditional means are attracting me...what are some other suggestions for venues I might try?" or something, I would not have had that reaction.

First, not everyone's attracted to the same thing. Maybe to him 'attractive' means athletic blonde, and to someone else curvy brunette, and so on. It's not like there's a universal standard for what a woman of a particular age 'should' look like. Furthermore the 'let themselves go' and 'why don't women understand that' sound sexist. And is that it sounds as though he is derisive of women who don't mean his *standards*, or women he isn't personally attracted to...as though it's somehow a character flaw on their part.

I'd feel the same way if it were a woman writing in saying 'why don't men understand that women want an income at a certain level and men who have alimony payments are just not attractive' or something. It's the tone of scorn that puts some people off. Wanting someone you are attracted to isn't the problem.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Tabby Uprising on October 22, 2012, 11:48:54 AM
I have no problem with people valuing certain physical traits in another person.  The only aspect of this particular LW that nags at me is the idea that if someone doesn't meet his physical preferences it means they "don't take care of themselves".  I'm a bit sick of that phrase to begin with.  I mean, how can you tell merely by looking at someone if they "take care of themselves"? Besides, that can also mean a lot of different things to different people.

I'm also skeptical that every single woman of a certain age group in his area has this problem.  Why write Dear Abby?  You want more fit women? Join a gym! A local running group/bike group.  Heck, start your own running club for x age group in your city.  Meet lots of people!
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: EMuir on October 22, 2012, 11:52:54 AM
I am lucky in that I'm actually attracted to a person for who they are, not their looks.  So no matter what happens to my spouse's body, I'll always be attracted to *her*.  It certainly explains the divorce rate if people are so fixated on a certain physical trait in order to be attracted to someone.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Venus193 on October 22, 2012, 11:56:49 AM
This article may provide an insight or two:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200106/why-i-hate-beauty

I also resent the idea that women -- no matter what we look like -- are expected to accept trolls and slobs as life partners.  That is all most people think I deserve.  I'd rather be an old maid with too many cats than a miserable wife.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Judah on October 22, 2012, 11:58:41 AM
I honestly don't understand the strong negative feelings this topic seems to stir in some posters whenever the subject comes up.  Everyone is attracted to different things and some of us find physical attractiveness important.  Substitute any other requirement for physical attractiveness and it's suddenly okay. 

"I'm looking for a car buff to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on motor vehicle knowledge and trivia. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"

Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I don't think that's what's annoying people, it's his attitude. So for example, I'm attractive to red heads and luckily live in an area full of them and am dating a red headed hunk.  :) No one (I think) would say there was anything wrong with me stating I'd only date red heads because I only find them attractive. (Not the case, I'm all equal opportunities  8) lol ) However, if I lived in a area, where say there wasn't many red headed, people certainly would have an issue if I stated all men should dye their hair to suit my perception of attractiveness.

Nowhere in the post does the LW say that women should change to meet his criteria. Rather he notes that he's not meeting women that meet his criteria and asks where he might meet women who do.  I think posters are reading meaning into words that aren't there. 

The only part of the letter I have any issue at all is, "Why don't women understand this?" and to this I would reply, "Why don't you get that it's not a priority for a lot of people. Keep looking for someone for whom it is a priority."
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 11:59:14 AM
EMuir, that came across in a way you probably did not intend. As someone for whom physical attraction is important, I can assure you I value who my SO is. Appearance is just one of many factors.

Sub in "I want someone intelligent" (which is also very important to me) for "someone I find physically attractive." If I say intelligence matters to me, it does not follow that I don't care whether my SO is kind, or has a job, or whatever else.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 12:03:17 PM
I honestly don't understand the strong negative feelings this topic seems to stir in some posters whenever the subject comes up.  Everyone is attracted to different things and some of us find physical attractiveness important.  Substitute any other requirement for physical attractiveness and it's suddenly okay. 

"I'm looking for a car buff to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on motor vehicle knowledge and trivia. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"

Should people date people they are not attracted to?

Physical attractiveness is not a set thing. People right now are chasing "attractive" as defined in an incredibly narrow way, and refusing to even consider someone attractive if they aren't supermodel thin and young. (That's one reason why us older people often bewail the current crop of movie actors as "all looking alike". Spencer Tracey or Humphrey Bogart would be lucky to get a walkon part today.)

Let's face it, there is a math problem here, if 99% of people want to only date the top 1% most physically perfect bodies out there. The 1% will just not have the time, even if they have the inclination. And even if someone "hooks up" (oh, horrible phrase) with a one-percenter, that person will, eventually, age. No, no amount of "taking care of yourself" is going to prevent that.

Sit down sometime and watch "Marty". I think a lot of people today will be like Marty's friends, spending their days wondering why they can't find someone to share their lives with, because they immediately reject anyone for not being perfect on the outside. They're like people wondering why they're condemned to a life in their parents' basement, when they will only consider moving out to a 5-bedroom mansion, and complain "Well, you wouldn't want me to waste my time moving in to a place I wasn't really attracted to, right? Why should I waste my time looking at 1-bedroom apartments? They don't look anything like those homes that the stars live in! But, sob, I just can't find the house I really, really want, so I'll just live on the Murphy bed for now. This is all the fault of the architects who won't build me my dream mansion for an office worker's salary."
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Allyson on October 22, 2012, 12:08:54 PM
I'd hope that most people will date people *they* find physically attractive. But when they are convinced they will *only* be attracted to, as Twik says, the very narrow range of supermodel-types, it is a problem. I know many people who ended up with people who looked far different than they previously said was their physical ideal. These people aren't 'settling', rather they found they can be attracted to more people they believed.

And when someone's 'I am only attracted to' happens to exactly match the conventional standards of the time, it starts to look like what they really want is someone who will impress other people.

It's the same with 'intelligent' or 'good conversationalist' to my mind. There are many ways to be those things. And I'd be giving the side eye to someone who only defined 'intelligent' as 'has a Masters degree or better'...it's a societally-decided standard. If most of the people you find intellectually stimulating have that degree that's one thing. But needing someone else's standards to tell you what you find attractive or intelligent is suspect. And that's the impression I get from letters like this guy's.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 12:12:05 PM
Ah, yes, I remember when I thought my ideal type was tall, thin, and dark. Definitely dark. Blonds were not my thing.

Then, I started dating a short, stocky, blond. On the third date it hit me, "This guy is HOT! As in, scrabble right now, hot."

Unfortunately, the sedate gathering we were attending was not really conducive to that. However, if I'd blown him off because he wasn't "the type I'm attracted to," I would never have realized it.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Nibsey on October 22, 2012, 12:12:51 PM
I honestly don't understand the strong negative feelings this topic seems to stir in some posters whenever the subject comes up.  Everyone is attracted to different things and some of us find physical attractiveness important.  Substitute any other requirement for physical attractiveness and it's suddenly okay. 

"I'm looking for a car buff to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on motor vehicle knowledge and trivia. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"

Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I don't think that's what's annoying people, it's his attitude. So for example, I'm attractive to red heads and luckily live in an area full of them and am dating a red headed hunk.  :) No one (I think) would say there was anything wrong with me stating I'd only date red heads because I only find them attractive. (Not the case, I'm all equal opportunities  8) lol ) However, if I lived in a area, where say there wasn't many red headed, people certainly would have an issue if I stated all men should dye their hair to suit my perception of attractiveness.

Nowhere in the post does the LW say that women should change to meet his criteria. Rather he notes that he's not meeting women that meet his criteria and asks where he might meet women who do.  I think posters are reading meaning into words that aren't there. 

The only part of the letter I have any issue at all is, "Why don't women understand this?" and to this I would reply, "Why don't you get that it's not a priority for a lot of people. Keep looking for someone for whom it is a priority."

Here's where I had issues with what he said,
"no longer take care of themselves".- I highly doubt every single woman he has ever met in their 40's no longer take care of themselves. So i can only read it that they don't take care of themselves by his standards.
 "a very attractive woman to accompany me through life"- he didn't need to emphasis this with the very
"Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?" - Ergo women should change to meet his criteria.

Granted my reading is based on my interpretation of the various phrases he uses but that's always going to be the case.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 12:20:25 PM
People right now are chasing "attractive" as defined in an incredibly narrow way, and refusing to even consider someone attractive if they aren't supermodel thin and young.

What people do you refer to?  I am sure some people do this, but I see the vast majority of people happily dating or coupled.  I am not supermodel thin, and I am not young, but I am considered to be attractive.  My sister is supermodel thin and tall, but she is not young and she is considered to be attractive.  I have friends of various ages and sizes and shapes and every single one is considered attractive, if not by everyone, at least by her SO. I don't personally know anyone who would fit into your statement, and I would venture a guess that physical attractiveness is very important to most of my friends.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: WillyNilly on October 22, 2012, 12:28:13 PM
Maybe its just my social circles, but not too many young, hot, gym-going, appearance-prioritizing women I know would ever in a million years consider dating a guy with 2 teenage kids. Maybe his problem isn't that the women aren't out there, its that don't want to meet *him*.

Heck I'm not even hot, just average pretty, not thin but fit, and in my late 30's and I had my choice of suitors up until I took myself out of the game at 35ish. I just got married to a 40 year old. Definitely my age group. I absolutely had no interests in a guy with ex-wife & kid baggage! And none of my single girlfriends are keen on it either.

So he's probably meeting other single parents. And while I doubt all or even most single moms have let themselves go, they probably don't have a huge amount of time or funds for keeping up appearances. They probably do the basics, and supplement by being awesome people.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 12:36:40 PM
Maybe its just my social circles, but not too many young, hot, gym-going, appearance-prioritizing women I know would ever in a million years consider dating a guy with 2 teenage kids. Maybe his problem isn't that the women aren't out there, its that don't want to met *him*.

Heck I'm not even hot, just average pretty, not thin but fit, and in my late 30's and I had my choice of suitors up until I took myself out of the game at 35ish. I just got married to a 40 year old. Definitely my age group. I absolutely had no interests in a guy with ex-wife & kid baggage! And none of my single girlfriends are keen on it either.


WillyNilly, I love this because this very closely describes me and my SO.  I have a relatively tragic past (divorced and a widow) and a four year old (I am 39).  I had never dated anyone with kids and absolutely did not want to...until I connected with my SO who is the father of three (20, 18 and 15 - he is 47 and got divorced 8 years ago).  One of the things we find attractive about the other is a sense of adventure and always wanting to be our best selves, which yes, includes physical appearance. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 12:37:44 PM
People right now are chasing "attractive" as defined in an incredibly narrow way, and refusing to even consider someone attractive if they aren't supermodel thin and young.

What people do you refer to?  I am sure some people do this, but I see the vast majority of people happily dating or coupled.  I am not supermodel thin, and I am not young, but I am considered to be attractive.  My sister is supermodel thin and tall, but she is not young and she is considered to be attractive.  I have friends of various ages and sizes and shapes and every single one is considered attractive, if not by everyone, at least by her SO. I don't personally know anyone who would fit into your statement, and I would venture a guess that physical attractiveness is very important to most of my friends.

Of course I don't mean everyone. But the Dear Abby poster clearly has a very limited view of what is attractive, and wishes that women "be aware of it".  And he's not the only complaining that there are so few 10s around.

There is a difference between, "My partner must, first of all, be 'very' attractive," and "my partner must be attractive to me." Of course we don't expect people to spend their lives with someone who repels them sexually. What the current problem is, is that many people are unnecessarily defining "attractive to me," as "must look like the folks in PEOPLE Magazine".  Which is why the Dear Abby poster finds himself unable to find women to meet his standard. He is using a very objective standard ("so thin, so wrinkle-free, so muscular"), not a subjective one.

Venus193 linked to a very interesting article, that studies show that the more people are exposed to "beautiful people" images (which are, in most cases, highly doctored anyway), the less attractive they find the people around them in real life. This is, I think, causing a lot of heartache and frustration for people such as the Dear Abby poster. He's not really asking, "Where can I find a woman who keeps herself in good shape," (answer, as Abby says, is try your local gym or location where active people hang out,) it's "where can I find a Megan Fox lookalike? Because I am entitled to nothing less."
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: WillyNilly on October 22, 2012, 12:48:10 PM
^ Hey Twik I agree with you for the most part, but I gotta say do you read People magazine? They are actually huge on featuring "regular" people, and celebrates people's personalities as beautiful.  I think you meant Vogue or InStyle or something, that focus' on the physically beautiful people.  :D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 22, 2012, 12:51:37 PM
I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess that this guy doesn't exactly look like George Clooney.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Aeris on October 22, 2012, 12:54:16 PM
I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess that this guy doesn't exactly look like George Clooney.

Or make what George Clooney makes.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 22, 2012, 01:03:06 PM
I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess that this guy doesn't exactly look like George Clooney.

Or make what George Clooney makes.

And would probably call us shallow and vapid golddiggers for even mentioning such a thing.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Just Lori on October 22, 2012, 01:10:03 PM
I'm sorry, but did Twik just mention Scrabble?  That's so, so, unTwiklike!

Anyhow, I find that most people's standards for physical attraction broaden as they mature.  I was all about the broad shoulders and six-pack abs when I was in my 20s, but 20 years later I find myself attracted more to the personalities who make me laugh and accept me, faults and all.  Most of the other 40something women I know feel the same way.  Don't get me wrong. I appreciate a pretty man (Google Matt Bomer), but I'm attracted to the whole package.

That's why I'm afraid the letter writer may be setting himself up for disappointment. Again, I'm basing this on the middle-aged women I know, but I've found that women need a partner who can offer more than just a pretty exterior.  I don't know enough about the letter writer to form an opinion, but unless he has more than just a nice income and a six-pack abdomen, he's not going to make a woman happy. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 01:23:52 PM
I'm sorry, but did Twik just mention Scrabble?  That's so, so, unTwiklike!

What can I say? He had "it".  ;D

^ Hey Twik I agree with you for the most part, but I gotta say do you read People magazine? They are actually huge on featuring "regular" people, and celebrates people's personalities as beautiful.  I think you meant Vogue or InStyle or something, that focus' on the physically beautiful people.  :D

True. I haven't read much PEOPLE recently (it's what I call a hairdresser mag, and my current hairdresser stocks National Geographics instead), but I do recall that they had expanded their view of what were "interesting people" to more than celebrities. Which, in a way, is related to our topic, I think.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Onyx_TKD on October 22, 2012, 01:40:15 PM
I honestly don't understand the strong negative feelings this topic seems to stir in some posters whenever the subject comes up.  Everyone is attracted to different things and some of us find physical attractiveness important.  Substitute any other requirement for physical attractiveness and it's suddenly okay. 

"I'm looking for a car buff to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on motor vehicle knowledge and trivia. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"

Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I don't think that's what's annoying people, it's his attitude. So for example, I'm attractive to red heads and luckily live in an area full of them and am dating a red headed hunk.  :) No one (I think) would say there was anything wrong with me stating I'd only date red heads because I only find them attractive. (Not the case, I'm all equal opportunities  8) lol ) However, if I lived in a area, where say there wasn't many red headed, people certainly would have an issue if I stated all men should dye their hair to suit my perception of attractiveness.

Nowhere in the post does the LW say that women should change to meet his criteria. Rather he notes that he's not meeting women that meet his criteria and asks where he might meet women who do.  I think posters are reading meaning into words that aren't there. 

The only part of the letter I have any issue at all is, "Why don't women understand this?" and to this I would reply, "Why don't you get that it's not a priority for a lot of people. Keep looking for someone for whom it is a priority."

Here's where I had issues with what he said,
"no longer take care of themselves".- I highly doubt every single woman he has ever met in their 40's no longer take care of themselves. So i can only read it that they don't take care of themselves by his standards.
 "a very attractive woman to accompany me through life"- he didn't need to emphasis this with the very
"Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?" - Ergo women should change to meet his criteria.

Granted my reading is based on my interpretation of the various phrases he uses but that's always going to be the case.

Exactly. The bolded quote especially sums it up for me. He appears to believe that every woman's priority is to attract a single man, and that not meeting his standards of attractive means they're doing it wrong. Many of these women may not be looking for a romantic partner at all, and if they are, there is an infinite variety of tastes out there. What he considers "letting themselves go" may be attractive to other single guys. The onus is not on his female acquaintances to provide him with a dating pool to his tastes.

If he actually wants to meet attractive women, then IMO the first thing he should do is get it through his head that no one owes it to him to meet his beauty standards, no matter how much of a "catch" he believes himself to be. Only dating people you find physically attractive is perfectly reasonable, but you just have to make your peace with the fact that you may be alone for a good while until you find someone attractive who's also attracted to you. Whining about not having enough attractive people to choose from isn't very appealing.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 22, 2012, 01:45:30 PM
If he actually wants to meet attractive women, then IMO the first thing he should do is get it through his head that no one owes it to him to meet his beauty standards, no matter how much of a "catch" he believes himself to be. Only dating people you find physically attractive is perfectly reasonable, but you just have to make your peace with the fact that you may be alone for a good while until you find someone attractive who's also attracted to you. Whining about not having enough attractive people to choose from isn't very appealing.

Yeah, that's exactly it. Everyone has the right to "filter" their dating search by whatever criteria they find important, whether they are set on having a partner who looks just so, or a partner who is X religion, or a partner who likes to watch bad B-movies. But the catch is that every non-negotiable dealbreaker limits the size of your dating pool. You can't have it both ways--you can either have stringent criteria or you can expect everyone who's breathing to live up to your standards.  ;D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 01:50:57 PM
Yes. I think this guy's letter boils down to, "Dear Abby, I can't find enough attractive women to date. Spread the word to the women of the world to improve themselves for me, will you? Because they're really letting me down."

Dude, you're stuck with the world you've got. Learn to make peace with it.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 01:57:37 PM
I also resent the idea that women -- no matter what we look like -- are expected to accept trolls and slobs as life partners.  That is all most people think I deserve.  I'd rather be an old maid with too many cats than a miserable wife.

I have never heard this idea, at least not from any source I respect.  I am not sure who you are including in "most people" but I wouldn't value the opinion of someone who said I needed to accept a troll or slob as a life partner.  You shouldn't either!  As an aside, though, how is your description of "trolls and slobs" all that different from the letter writers words about women? Did the trolls and slobs let themselves go?  Just something to think about.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: petal on October 22, 2012, 01:59:24 PM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.

the last person i was attracted to was of fairly stocky build with a beer gut.  i thought he was gorgeous.  still do

and recently i felt an attraction to someone who was bald and of solid build
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Kaypeep on October 22, 2012, 02:06:02 PM
There are way too many movies and tv shows with a-typical/goofy men who have youthful, hot wives and girlfriends(According to Jim, King of Queens, Alan on Three and Half Men, anything done with Adam Sandler.)  But where are the movies with hot men and a-typical/goofy/average wives???  I honestly think these movies and TV shows are deluding men from reality.  Not that people should aim low, but they think that if Jim Belushi or Kevin James can get the pretty girl, why can't they?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Garden Goblin on October 22, 2012, 02:15:57 PM
Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I'm attracted to men who can bake.  What the heck is it with men these days?  It's like, most are content just to buy their bread from a store in a pre-sliced, mass-produced loaf.  And even the ones who appreciate good bread don't routinely get up at 4 in the morning to ensure there are fresh English muffins for me?  Don't they understand it is their responsibility to make sure they are, each and every one, attractive to me so that I can pick and choose between them at my leisure without putting forth any effort?  I mean, it's like you expect me to have to get up, get dressed, and take some courses at the local cooking school in order to meet men that match my personal standards. 

Why should I go to that much effort?  Society should change to suit me.  Bunch of lazy, good-for nothings just letting themselves eat inferior bread products.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: siamesecat2965 on October 22, 2012, 02:17:57 PM
Yes. I think this guy's letter boils down to, "Dear Abby, I can't find enough attractive women to date. Spread the word to the women of the world to improve themselves for me, will you? Because they're really letting me down."

Dude, you're stuck with the world you've got. Learn to make peace with it.

Yes, that's why I posted it! To me, he came off as someone who was whining about how most women in his age group let themselves go, and he couldnt' find someone who was supermodel gorgeous enough to suit his taste.

I know for me, there has to be some sort of attraction, but its not always going to be looks.  It may be intelligence, sense of humor, sharing the same likes and dislikes etc.  For example, I'm a HUGE sports fan, football, baseball and hockey. What's funny is I think back to almost all the guys I've dated and none of them have really been  into sports.  I'm more of a fan now than I was, so at this point in my life, d@ting someone who doens't like sports might not work for me.

I have no illusions that someone I end up with will be drop dead gorgeous.  He might be to me, but not the rest of the world.  Or maybe he is, and that's fine, but I won't base what I'm looking for on that...there's a whole lot more to people than just their looks.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Garden Goblin on October 22, 2012, 02:21:41 PM
I am not sure who you are including in "most people" but I wouldn't value the opinion of someone who said I needed to accept a troll or slob as a life partner.  You shouldn't either!  As an aside, though, how is your description of "trolls and slobs" all that different from the letter writers words about women? Did the trolls and slobs let themselves go?  Just something to think about.

If I had a nickel for every time somebody said 'why don't you give XY a chance?  If you don't lower your standards, you are going to end up some crazy old lady with 50 cats.  You should be willing to settle for Mr. GoodEnough instead of waiting around for some Mr. Perfect who satisfies your (very reasonable) criteria.', I'd never have to work again.

I'm married to Mr. Perfect.  We have two cats.  Mr. GoodEnough still hasn't figured out that the reason nobody likes him is he is a jerk.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 02:23:23 PM


If I had a nickel for every time somebody said 'why don't you give XY a chance?  If you don't lower your standards, you are going to end up some crazy old lady with 50 cats.  You should be willing to settle for Mr. GoodEnough instead of waiting around for some Mr. Perfect who satisfies your (very reasonable) criteria.', I'd never have to work again.


I'm confused. Isn't this what people are saying to the letter writer? 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Hawkwatcher on October 22, 2012, 02:23:49 PM
I also resent the idea that women -- no matter what we look like -- are expected to accept trolls and slobs as life partners.  That is all most people think I deserve.  I'd rather be an old maid with too many cats than a miserable wife.

I have never heard this idea, at least not from any source I respect.  I am not sure who you are including in "most people" but I wouldn't value the opinion of someone who said I needed to accept a troll or slob as a life partner.  You shouldn't either!  As an aside, though, how is your description of "trolls and slobs" all that different from the letter writers words about women? Did the trolls and slobs let themselves go?  Just something to think about.

I knew a guy in college who was always criticizing women for being shallow and refusing to date "nice" men.  He would then turn around and rant about "fat chicks" who obviously lazy and immoral.  He argued that if they were not lazy and immoral, they would not be fat.  I would ask him about "fat men" and he argued that he only cared about fat women because he was attracted to women. Unfortunately, I have encountered similar ideas in other places.

I have no problem with people wanting to date attractive people.  I actually no problem with people who only want to date supermodels.  But I agree with Yvaine, you have to live with the consequences every time you limit your dating pool.   
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 22, 2012, 02:28:08 PM
There are way too many movies and tv shows with a-typical/goofy men who have youthful, hot wives and girlfriends(According to Jim, King of Queens, Alan on Three and Half Men, anything done with Adam Sandler.)  But where are the movies with hot men and a-typical/goofy/average wives???  I honestly think these movies and TV shows are deluding men from reality.  Not that people should aim low, but they think that if Jim Belushi or Kevin James can get the pretty girl, why can't they?

Most 3.5s in town thinks they deserves a 9. And if he deigns to settle for an 8, she better be grateful.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 22, 2012, 02:28:24 PM


If I had a nickel for every time somebody said 'why don't you give XY a chance?  If you don't lower your standards, you are going to end up some crazy old lady with 50 cats.  You should be willing to settle for Mr. GoodEnough instead of waiting around for some Mr. Perfect who satisfies your (very reasonable) criteria.', I'd never have to work again.


I'm confused. Isn't this what people are saying to the letter writer?

No. That's not what the majority are saying.

You seem fixated on the fact that it isn't wrong to want a partner with [x quality] and to actively seek them out. That's not why the LW is out of line. The LW is out of line for whining "I want [x quality], why doesn't everyone do what I want so they're all dateable (according to my standards)?"

There's a pretty big difference between saying "I prefer blondes that like to juggle" and whining "Why won't everyone dye their hair blonde and take 'Juggling for Dummies'??! There are no good women left. Whaaaaaah!"
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Cat-Fu on October 22, 2012, 02:35:06 PM


If I had a nickel for every time somebody said 'why don't you give XY a chance?  If you don't lower your standards, you are going to end up some crazy old lady with 50 cats.  You should be willing to settle for Mr. GoodEnough instead of waiting around for some Mr. Perfect who satisfies your (very reasonable) criteria.', I'd never have to work again.


I'm confused. Isn't this what people are saying to the letter writer?

No. That's not what the majority are saying.

You seem fixated on the fact that it isn't wrong to want a partner with [x quality] and to actively seek them out. That's not why the LW is out of line. The LW is out of line for whining "I want [x quality], why doesn't everyone do what I want so they're all dateable (according to my standards)?"

There's a pretty big difference between saying "I prefer blondes that like to juggle" and whining "Why won't everyone dye their hair blonde and take 'Juggling for Dummies'??! There are no good women left. Whaaaaaah!"

Not to mention, expecting a supermodel isn't *reasonable* criteria.

I see nothing wrong with wanting to date someone who is physically attractive. My DH is gorgeous and that's why I pursued him in the first place. I stuck with him because on top of that he is brilliant, charming, hilarious, and completely weird.

But it's not reasonable to expect your dating pool to change itself to meet your standards. If you don't like what's there, you look elsewhere instead of mansplaining to women how they need to work to fit your beauty ideal.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 22, 2012, 02:36:43 PM


If I had a nickel for every time somebody said 'why don't you give XY a chance?  If you don't lower your standards, you are going to end up some crazy old lady with 50 cats.  You should be willing to settle for Mr. GoodEnough instead of waiting around for some Mr. Perfect who satisfies your (very reasonable) criteria.', I'd never have to work again.


I'm confused. Isn't this what people are saying to the letter writer?

I think the trouble is that some people--and we don't know if the LW is one of them because we have no idea whether he's as conventionally gorgeous as the women he prefers--don't want to lower their standards (which is reasonable) but think that everyone else has the duty to lower their standards to include them. I've met guys, for example, who were not themselves fit (which in and of itself is nobody's business) but expected women to have a particular shape that requires many hours in the gym. If you're demanding a certain degree of effort from your partners, it seems reasonable that you be willing to put in the same amount of effort yourself (whether in the same area of life or in some other area that your partner cares about).
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: greencat on October 22, 2012, 02:44:57 PM
It's a good thing I don't have an advice column.  I'd have lit that man's tail on fire - so many double standards at play in his attitude I don't even know where to start.  The double standard many men of all ages have about their physical appearance versus the physical appearance of women they're willing to date infuriates me.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Sharnita on October 22, 2012, 02:45:53 PM
Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I'm attracted to men who can bake.  What the heck is it with men these days?  It's like, most are content just to buy their bread from a store in a pre-sliced, mass-produced loaf.  And even the ones who appreciate good bread don't routinely get up at 4 in the morning to ensure there are fresh English muffins for me?  Don't they understand it is their responsibility to make sure they are, each and every one, attractive to me so that I can pick and choose between them at my leisure without putting forth any effort?  I mean, it's like you expect me to have to get up, get dressed, and take some courses at the local cooking school in order to meet men that match my personal standards. 

Why should I go to that much effort?  Society should change to suit me.  Bunch of lazy, good-for nothings just letting themselves eat inferior bread products.

If you do find one, I will fight you for him.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 02:48:58 PM

You seem fixated on the fact that it isn't wrong to want a partner with [x quality] and to actively seek them out. That's not why the LW is out of line. The LW is out of line for whining "I want [x quality], why doesn't everyone do what I want so they're all dateable (according to my standards)?"


We are talking about different things.  Some people are saying that the LW should give everyone a chance.  Some people are upset that people advise them to give everyone a chance. I am pointing out that there seems to be a double standard there.

I did not see that the LW expected people to change to suit him.  Not at all.  He simply is looking for people who suit him.  As I said before, his letter did not endear him to me, but I don't think he was personally attacking all of the women in his area or expecting them to change.

CatFu, not even the LW expects a supermodel.  I think there's quite a bit being read into his letter.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 02:50:41 PM
It's a good thing I don't have an advice column.  I'd have lit that man's tail on fire - so many double standards at play in his attitude I don't even know where to start.  The double standard many men of all ages have about their physical appearance versus the physical appearance of women they're willing to date infuriates me.

The LW described himself as attractive, as I recall.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 22, 2012, 02:55:53 PM
TD, Here is the objectionable part of the man's letter: "I'm looking for a very attractive woman to accompany me through life. Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation?"


That, to me, very clearly says that he is lamenting that so many women just don't "understand" that they aren't up to snuff.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 02:56:30 PM
Well, he may not be expecting women to change, but he clearly wants them to:

Quote
Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?

And I'm sure he doesn't expect a supermodel. Just someone who looks like one.

A nice, non-offensive letter would be, "I'm looking for women who are fit and active. Where's the best place to meet them?" No whining about why women won't all be gorgeous just for him, but an actual question that Abby might be able to answer.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: audrey1962 on October 22, 2012, 02:58:26 PM
If you don't like what's there, you look elsewhere instead of mansplaining to women how they need to work to fit your beauty ideal.

I completely agree. That's why I liked Abby's answer: she was telling him where he should look.   ;D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Betelnut on October 22, 2012, 02:58:39 PM
I don't get why the guy wrote into Dear Abby.  I mean, he's having trouble finding a partner.  So what? It just doesn't seem like a problem worth writing home about much less to an advice columnist.  Therefore, I think the main thrust of the letter is to criticize women, not to find a solution to his "problem."
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 22, 2012, 02:59:18 PM
Well, he may not be expecting women to change, but he clearly wants them to:

Quote
Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?

And I'm sure he doesn't expect a supermodel. Just someone who looks like one.

A nice, non-offensive letter would be, "I'm looking for women who are fit and active. Where's the best place to meet them?" No whining about why women won't all be gorgeous just for him, but an actual question that Abby might be able to answer.

Exactly. If he'd asked "I'm looking for women who are fit and active. Where's the best place to meet them?" without all the judgy-pants nonsense, he would have received a reasonable answer, which is that he needs to seek out like-minded groups of individuals, by joining classes, investigating local meetups for people interested in [x activity], etc.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Jones on October 22, 2012, 03:01:35 PM
Should people date people they are not attracted to?

I'm attracted to men who can bake.  What the heck is it with men these days?  It's like, most are content just to buy their bread from a store in a pre-sliced, mass-produced loaf.  And even the ones who appreciate good bread don't routinely get up at 4 in the morning to ensure there are fresh English muffins for me?  Don't they understand it is their responsibility to make sure they are, each and every one, attractive to me so that I can pick and choose between them at my leisure without putting forth any effort?  I mean, it's like you expect me to have to get up, get dressed, and take some courses at the local cooking school in order to meet men that match my personal standards. 

Why should I go to that much effort?  Society should change to suit me.  Bunch of lazy, good-for nothings just letting themselves eat inferior bread products.

If you do find one, I will fight you for him.

Stay away from my husband's buns!

 :P  ;D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 03:01:59 PM
To be clear, I am not saying the letter is not objectionable - I said from the beginning I didn't like it (actually, I said it did not endear him to me).  I am saying that some posters are sharing similar views expressed by the LW, for example, pointing out that they should not have to lower standards or settle.  I find this interesting. In villianizing the LW (and again, I didn't like the letter, I just don't think he's pure evil as some posters do) some posters are lamenting about society in general and then essentially expressing the same things he did.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Garden Goblin on October 22, 2012, 03:08:59 PM


If I had a nickel for every time somebody said 'why don't you give XY a chance?  If you don't lower your standards, you are going to end up some crazy old lady with 50 cats.  You should be willing to settle for Mr. GoodEnough instead of waiting around for some Mr. Perfect who satisfies your (very reasonable) criteria.', I'd never have to work again.


I'm confused. Isn't this what people are saying to the letter writer?

No.  That isn't what anyone is saying.

He isn't obligated to date anyone.  Nobody is pressuring him to date someone he is unattracted to.

We are saying that nobody, least of all 'women in his age group', is in any way obligated to alter themselves to fit his view of what constitutes 'attractive'.

A few people are stating that limiting yourself to a very narrow and unreasonably high standard of 'physically attractive' will negatively impact your odds of finding someone who is attractive in all the ways that matter more in the long run.

If you do find one, I will fight you for him.

Too late, the ring is on his finger and he is mine mine mine all mine.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Sharnita on October 22, 2012, 03:13:41 PM
then send him out, that he might teach his brethren.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 03:27:27 PM
Nowhere in the post does the LW say that women should change to meet his criteria. Rather he notes that he's not meeting women that meet his criteria and asks where he might meet women who do.  I think posters are reading meaning into words that aren't there.  

The only part of the letter I have any issue at all is, "Why don't women understand this?" and to this I would reply, "Why don't you get that it's not a priority for a lot of people. Keep looking for someone for whom it is a priority."

POD. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 03:42:41 PM
Personally, I don't think a rational person writes to Dear Abby seriously asking her to tell him where he can find "very" attractive women - what does he expect, directions to "Babes R Us"?

Annoyed people may write to Dear Abby as an indirect way of chastising women for not being what they want.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: C0mputerGeek on October 22, 2012, 03:50:01 PM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.

I'll agree with you. My aunt is fifty and quite fit. She works out with a personal trainer and has quite the physique. One of the qualities she looks for is someone who is in as good a shape as she is. Honestly, if she can require it of the men she dates, then the letter writer get to as well. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.

I also don't find the letter to Dear Abby all that objectionable, but that's because I am used to my aunt. Everyone has standards of what they're attracted to. For some people it's more mental (e.g. personality traits) than physical.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 04:02:41 PM
I also don't find the letter to Dear Abby all that objectionable, but that's because I am used to my aunt. Everyone has standards of what they're attracted to. For some people it's more mental (e.g. personality traits) than physical.

This.

For me, it is very difficult to separate the mental/personality traits from the physical because I think one informs the other.  I am very attracted to people who like to be active and adventurous and who are up for anything, who will jump out a plane with me and run an obstacle course with me and play in a giant maze with my daughter - the ones who say "let's do it!" instead of "it requires effort, I'd rather watch TV" - that's the mental (not a comprehensive list by any means).  The physical aspect is that people with that mentality tend to be pretty fit.  Am I attracted to the physical?  Yep.  But I am also attracted to the mental aspects that drive a person to strive to be his physical best.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 04:18:58 PM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.

I'll agree with you. My aunt is fifty and quite fit. She works out with a personal trainer and has quite the physique. One of the qualities she looks for is someone who is in as good a shape as she is. Honestly, if she can require it of the men she dates, then the letter writer get to as well. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.

As long as she doesn't chastise other people for not being what she wants.

Let's say the writer had chosen some other trait, such as intelligence, and written, "Frankly, most of the women of my generation are poorly read and boring to talk to. Why don't women get that they need to make an effort to sound intelligent, or men just won't be interested?"

Would not most women find that offensive?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 04:24:57 PM
Let's say the writer had chosen some other trait, such as intelligence, and written, "Frankly, most of the women of my generation are poorly read and boring to talk to. Why don't women get that they need to make an effort to sound intelligent, or men just won't be interested?"

Would not most women find that offensive?

I wouldn't think it affected me or my friends in the slightest.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 22, 2012, 04:28:07 PM
Let's say the writer had chosen some other trait, such as intelligence, and written, "Frankly, most of the women of my generation are poorly read and boring to talk to. Why don't women get that they need to make an effort to sound intelligent, or men just won't be interested?"

Would not most women find that offensive?

I wouldn't think it affected me or my friends in the slightest.

It's not that it "affects" anyone; it's the attitude (that others are wrong for not being up to snuff) that is offensive.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Venus193 on October 22, 2012, 04:32:41 PM
Quote
I've met guys, for example, who were not themselves fit (which in and of itself is nobody's business) but expected women to have a particular shape that requires many hours in the gym. If you're demanding a certain degree of effort from your partners, it seems reasonable that you be willing to put in the same amount of effort yourself (whether in the same area of life or in some other area that your partner cares about).

Truer words were never written about this.

The thing is, if Dear Abby's letter-writer had half the brains he should he would have known that going to a health club would put him in the company of "fit" women.  However....

...perhaps he is not so fit as he claims and fears being compared to the men he would see in said health club.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 22, 2012, 04:47:21 PM
Let's say the writer had chosen some other trait, such as intelligence, and written, "Frankly, most of the women of my generation are poorly read and boring to talk to. Why don't women get that they need to make an effort to sound intelligent, or men just won't be interested?"

Would not most women find that offensive?

I wouldn't think it affected me or my friends in the slightest.

It's not that it "affects" anyone; it's the attitude (that others are wrong for not being up to snuff) that is offensive.

Considering the problems with gender roles and attitudes re: women in general, I think it indicates a score of problems. Again, this isn't some guy saying "I want someone fun and fit because I like to be active." Or someone saying "I'm generally more attracted to redheads." This is a man expressing an attitude that women, in general, exist to fulfill his very specific physical requirements, and the ones who don't are to be chastised for it, because that is "what men want." Or, in layman's terms, it's sexist as hell.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Venus193 on October 22, 2012, 04:52:46 PM
I also resent the idea that women -- no matter what we look like -- are expected to accept trolls and slobs as life partners.  That is all most people think I deserve.  I'd rather be an old maid with too many cats than a miserable wife.

I have never heard this idea, at least not from any source I respect.  I am not sure who you are including in "most people" but I wouldn't value the opinion of someone who said I needed to accept a troll or slob as a life partner.  You shouldn't either!  As an aside, though, how is your description of "trolls and slobs" all that different from the letter writers words about women? Did the trolls and slobs let themselves go?  Just something to think about.

Most people I know (I should have been clearer about this).

My late mother never dated really attractive men because she wanted to be the beauty.  Most of the women of my generation were taught -- but not necessarily convinced -- that we were not to regard a man's looks as anything of importance.  One friend prides herself on being willing to date men who are physically repulsive.

Let's not also forget that most men think they are more attractive than they really are.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Corvid on October 22, 2012, 04:56:40 PM
It's a good thing I don't have an advice column.  I'd have lit that man's tail on fire - so many double standards at play in his attitude I don't even know where to start.  The double standard many men of all ages have about their physical appearance versus the physical appearance of women they're willing to date infuriates me.

The LW described himself as attractive, as I recall.

Yeah, they all do.   ;D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 22, 2012, 05:00:09 PM
I also resent the idea that women -- no matter what we look like -- are expected to accept trolls and slobs as life partners.  That is all most people think I deserve.  I'd rather be an old maid with too many cats than a miserable wife.

I have never heard this idea, at least not from any source I respect.  I am not sure who you are including in "most people" but I wouldn't value the opinion of someone who said I needed to accept a troll or slob as a life partner.  You shouldn't either!  As an aside, though, how is your description of "trolls and slobs" all that different from the letter writers words about women? Did the trolls and slobs let themselves go?  Just something to think about.

Most people I know (I should have been clearer about this).

My late mother never dated really attractive men because she wanted to be the beauty.  Most of the women of my generation were taught -- but not necessarily convinced -- that we were not to regard a man's looks as anything of importance.  One friend prides herself on being willing to date men who are physically repulsive.

Let's not also forget that most men think they are more attractive than they really are.

You know, Venus, that attitude; that we're poor put-upon women who have only men and their unrealistic expectations to blame for our lot in life; is just as much a part of the problem. It seems like an unrelated rant that doesn't have much to do with the man's letter, assuming we take his statement that he is attractive and well-maintained at face value.

Someone is not a bad person, male or female, for preferring specific body types or lifestyles. Someone can be a jerk by spouting off that "all the [wo]men around here aren't meeting my expectations and they really need to get on the ball".
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 22, 2012, 05:04:37 PM
Someone is not a bad person, male or female, for preferring specific body types or lifestyles. Someone can be a jerk by spouting off that "all the [wo]men around here aren't meeting my expectations and they really need to get on the ball".

Well, yes, that's the issue. We all want attractive mates, for whatever definition we have of attractive. However, this man (1) considers that attractiveness is so clearly and objectively defined that Dear Abby (or anyone else) knows exactly what he wants, and (2) believes that women need, as you say, to "get on the ball" to attract such a fine specimen as himself.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 22, 2012, 05:05:47 PM
Someone is not a bad person, male or female, for preferring specific body types or lifestyles. Someone can be a jerk by spouting off that "all the [wo]men around here aren't meeting my expectations and they really need to get on the ball".

Well, yes, that's the issue. We all want attractive mates, for whatever definition we have of attractive. However, this man (1) considers that attractiveness is so clearly and objectively defined that Dear Abby (or anyone else) knows exactly what he wants, and (2) believes that women need, as you say, to "get on the ball" to attract such a fine specimen as himself.

I think you and I are absolutely on the same page here, Twik :D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Venus193 on October 22, 2012, 05:12:11 PM
Quote
Someone can be a jerk by spouting off that "all the [wo]men around here aren't meeting my expectations and they really need to get on the ball".

Back during the Roman Empire days (before the internet) I used to get a big laugh out of the personals in New York Magazine where men in their 40s and older advertised for 18-24 year-old beauty queens, insisting they had to have actual titles before they were willing to date them.  I was angry with their arrogance but amused at the eventual consequences these guys would eventually have to face.

And I discovered an amazing exception to this recently.  One of my neighbors who is somewhat fit but otherwise very plain has an SO who looks like Christian de la Fuente.  Dear Abby's LW should put that in his pipe and smoke it.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: hyzenthlay on October 22, 2012, 05:27:43 PM
"Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance."

Then he is hanging around with a fairly shallow set of guys.  Because while almost every guy I know loves to oogle an attractive woman, very few of really expect expect all woman to look like that, or expect their partners to be anything like a perfect 10.

At 40 I'm recently divorced and in the best shape of my life. I am also well educated and making an above average income. And I am NOT looking to tie myself down again an time soon. What could this bozo possibly offer ME  ;)

Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 05:34:09 PM
"Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance."

Then he is hanging around with a fairly shallow set of guys. 

Why do you find them to be shallow?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Sharnita on October 22, 2012, 05:36:17 PM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.

I'll agree with you. My aunt is fifty and quite fit. She works out with a personal trainer and has quite the physique. One of the qualities she looks for is someone who is in as good a shape as she is. Honestly, if she can require it of the men she dates, then the letter writer get to as well. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.

I also don't find the letter to Dear Abby all that objectionable, but that's because I am used to my aunt. Everyone has standards of what they're attracted to. For some people it's more mental (e.g. personality traits) than physical.

But your aunt isn't making seeping generalizations about all men her age, their level of fitness, attractiveness and what they do or don't understand. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: hyzenthlay on October 22, 2012, 05:46:04 PM
"Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance."

Then he is hanging around with a fairly shallow set of guys. 

Why do you find them to be shallow?

I've known 2 types of guys that place a premium on appearance. The first type really is just looking for arm candy and dating, and that's pretty shallow. It's not bad (so long as everyone is honest) but I'd still call it shallow.

The other type is usually the 'nice guy' who constantly bemoans how shallow attractive women are, despite never being interested in any women not very attractive, and rarely all that physically attractive themselves. I guess maybe they aren't shallow so much as delusional.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 05:49:45 PM
"Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance."

Then he is hanging around with a fairly shallow set of guys. 

Why do you find them to be shallow?

I've known 2 types of guys that place a premium on appearance. The first type really is just looking for arm candy and dating, and that's pretty shallow. It's not bad (so long as everyone is honest) but I'd still call it shallow.

The other type is usually the 'nice guy' who constantly bemoans how shallow attractive women are, despite never being interested in any women not very attractive, and rarely all that physically attractive themselves. I guess maybe they aren't shallow so much as delusional.

That's not been my experience.  I don't think my friends, whom I consider to be attractive, would select shallow men, and neither would I.  We also tend to select attractive men, at least in my opinion.  I am absolutely certain these men whom we have selected as our SOs place a premium on appearance.  For what it's worth, I am 39 and have close friends ranging from 26 to 56.  I also am not at all shallow and I place a premium on appearance - my own and my SOs.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: hyzenthlay on October 22, 2012, 06:02:22 PM
For what it's worth, I am 39 and have close friends ranging from 26 to 56.  I also am not at all shallow and I place a premium on appearance - my own and my SOs.

Maybe we are operating with differing definitions of 'premium.'

Premium "An unusual or high value"

I think the letter writer sounds like 'premium' means 'single most important factor' as opposed to  'significant influence ranked with personality, stability, whatever.'  But I admit I'm reading in to a Dear Abby letter, always a treacherous passtime  >:D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Take2 on October 22, 2012, 06:59:12 PM
This guy is not looking for one or even a few gorgeous women in his age bracket to date in search of someone to share his life with. That would be reasonable.

He is looking for "most" single women in his age range to realize that he and his single male peers want them to look as hot as possible and respond by making that their priority so that he has a huge pool to select from. Implied is the idea that ultimately he will do the picking and she will just be lucky to be picked, since he has an above average income and the ability to travel.

It is entirely possible that even if all these women he sees who don't "measure up" adjusted accordingly and made appearing hot to him their goal in life...the vast majority would not choose to marry him even if he chose to marry them. It simply isn't a one-sided proposition.

I was a single woman in his preferred age range, looking to date. I did not meet his criteria. I was not at all offended that some men prefer women more fit than me and didn't want to date me. The point of dating is for both people to find what they are looking for, and one of my criteria is someone who thinks I am beautiful. I was offended by any man who thought the entire point of the dating pool was for everyone to make sure he got what he was looking for. Arrogance is just unattractive.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: WillyNilly on October 22, 2012, 07:05:21 PM
That's not been my experience.  I don't think my friends, whom I consider to be attractive, would select shallow men, and neither would I.  We also tend to select attractive men, at least in my opinion.  I am absolutely certain these men whom we have selected as our SOs place a premium on appearance.  For what it's worth, I am 39 and have close friends ranging from 26 to 56.  I also am not at all shallow and I place a premium on appearance - my own and my SOs.

Make up your mind.  Last page you placed a premium on people who like to be active and adventurous and who are up for anything. Now you are placing a premium on physical attractiveness.  Everything can't be the most important thing.  If looks are the most important, then active and adventurous are things you are willing to let slide... But really I'm going to bet its the opposite.  That active and up for anything is actually your real premium with attractive being a close second, but second none the less.  That if there was a choice between absolutely perfect looking couch potato and hot but not perfect adventure guy with a heart of gold, you're going to go for guy #2, right?  First you pick personality and then within that range, pick the good looking one, right? 

The LW is coming across as opposite - that looks are the first and foremost, not personality and interests and attitude. 


For me, it is very difficult to separate the mental/personality traits from the physical because I think one informs the other.  I am very attracted to people who like to be active and adventurous and who are up for anything, who will jump out a plane with me and run an obstacle course with me and play in a giant maze with my daughter - the ones who say "let's do it!" instead of "it requires effort, I'd rather watch TV" - that's the mental (not a comprehensive list by any means).  The physical aspect is that people with that mentality tend to be pretty fit.  Am I attracted to the physical?  Yep.  But I am also attracted to the mental aspects that drive a person to strive to be his physical best.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: buvezdevin on October 22, 2012, 07:15:51 PM
It stirikes me as noteworthy (to myself only) that there is a thread in which I agree with pretty much all views expressed, though the views represent different perspectives.

Taking a slightly different tack than I have seen expressed, it was not clear to me that the letter writer was referring to physical qualities in saying, with a honking wide paint brush, that women his age do not "take care of themselves".

The distinction I wonder about is whether he is referring to overall physical fitness, or grooming and styling choices.  The reason I wonder is that I have also noticed women (and men) of most ages being more relaxed in preparations before being in public, though, in my case, for the most part I am glad.

While I would not go to the extreme of wearing pajama pants in public, I wear little make up unless I am going to be in certain settings (not the grocery or running errands), my wardrobe generally has a high proportion of informal, casual type items, even business meetings seldom involve formal suits, I still wear leggings and tights but can't remember the last time I wore "hose", i do often pull my hair into a pony tail or pin it up rather than "styling" it before i leave the house, and I love high heels, but wear them much less frequently than years before.

I just turned 51, the letter writer sounds about 5 or so years younger than me.  I remember in the not too distant past when I would not have worn a skirt or dress without hose, absolutely put on makeup for any effort outside the house and likewise spent more time on hair styling, and would not have thought anything less formal than a suit appropriate for business.  I refer to those times as the 80's and 90's.

While I am inclined to agree with others in this thread on their read of the letter, and also agree that we are all free to decide what attracts us to romantic partners, I did wonder if this guy's expectations of "taking care of themself" for women are... Outdated, for any of a number of possible reasons.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Emmy on October 22, 2012, 08:04:34 PM
Eh, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a partner to whom you are attracted.  His letter didn't endear him to me, but the idea that he wants someone fit and vibrant is not offensive in and of itself, nor do I find it shallow.

I'll agree with you. My aunt is fifty and quite fit. She works out with a personal trainer and has quite the physique. One of the qualities she looks for is someone who is in as good a shape as she is. Honestly, if she can require it of the men she dates, then the letter writer get to as well. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.

As long as she doesn't chastise other people for not being what she wants.

Let's say the writer had chosen some other trait, such as intelligence, and written, "Frankly, most of the women of my generation are poorly read and boring to talk to. Why don't women get that they need to make an effort to sound intelligent, or men just won't be interested?"

Would not most women find that offensive?

I agree, it is the tone of the letter that is off putting.  While most women his age (or any age) don't look like airbrushed supermodels, I find it hard to believe every single woman he has met has 'let her self go'.  When he mentions he wants a 'very attractive' partner and says nobody his age has measured up, I think the problem is his high standards and not women letting themselves go.  The LW is entitled to have whatever standards he wishes, but to complain that nobody measures up and chastising them for it is off putting.  I really think he wrote the letter to scold middle age women for letting themselves go because anybody would know where to find fit people.

I also think the term 'attractive' can have a wide range of meanings depending on the person.  To some 'attractive' is very narrow and means only people who are stunning.  However I (and probably most others) define it as somebody who is appealing physically and it can be a broad range of different looks, even somebody who is average looking can be attractive.  Personality, confidence, and other personality features actually make a person more or less physically attractive.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Editeer on October 22, 2012, 08:28:14 PM
Yes. I think this guy's letter boils down to, "Dear Abby, I can't find enough attractive women to date. Spread the word to the women of the world to improve themselves for me, will you? Because they're really letting me down."


This, exactly. It's his attitude of entitlement, and his dudgeon that the world isn't meeting his expectations.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 22, 2012, 08:47:03 PM
For what it's worth, I am 39 and have close friends ranging from 26 to 56.  I also am not at all shallow and I place a premium on appearance - my own and my SOs.

Maybe we are operating with differing definitions of 'premium.'

Premium "An unusual or high value"

I think the letter writer sounds like 'premium' means 'single most important factor' as opposed to  'significant influence ranked with personality, stability, whatever.'  But I admit I'm reading in to a Dear Abby letter, always a treacherous passtime  >:D

Ah - this.  Yes, I meant "premium" as "significant influence ranked with many other qualities" not "the most important factor." I don't know and would not respect someone for whom appearance is the only important quality.  I don't personally know anyone like that though.

And WillyNilly, yes, absolutely I would choose the adventurer. But he would also be attractive to me if he were going to be my SO.  Attraction is one of many, many qualities I look for.  I think the definition of "premium" caused some disconnect.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: WillyNilly on October 22, 2012, 09:14:49 PM
 :)
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: thedudeabides on October 22, 2012, 09:58:12 PM
I really wish guys like this would stop making the rest of us look like Neanderthals.  Attraction is really important, but I don't think he could have found a worse way to express it if he'd actively tried. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Emmy on October 22, 2012, 10:35:37 PM
This article may provide an insight or two:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200106/why-i-hate-beauty

I also resent the idea that women -- no matter what we look like -- are expected to accept trolls and slobs as life partners.  That is all most people think I deserve.  I'd rather be an old maid with too many cats than a miserable wife.

That article is very interesting and depressing.  It seems many of us (including myself) have known a whiney guy in high school or college that complained of 'no attractive women' to date on a campus full of girls.  It's hard to think of having to compete with actresses who are not only near perfect naturally, but have the benefit of plastic surgery, good lighting, and airbrushing.  I think Hollywood may have this effect on some men, but I don't think the vast majority of the population expects to get a supermodel look a like.  As a woman, I can look at TV images of Brad Pitt and other Hollywood standards, yet still think guys I run into everyday are attractive (and in many cases more attractive).  Besides a few whiney guys in college, most men I know find several women who aren't models attractive.

I think the Hollywood idea of reality can carry over into other areas.  For example, do some women expect guys to be like those in romantic comedies (I know from DH that it is unlikely a real guy would behave that way) or to be taken on fancy expensive dates with the guy always footing the bill because that's what TV and movies often show a guy doing when he is interested in a woman?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: mbbored on October 23, 2012, 01:19:53 AM
Put me in the camp of considering physical attractiveness to be important, along with an active lifestyle. However, what I find attractive only matters to me: I can not demand that of every man. This letter writer has every right to want to find an attractive mate, however he can't lecture every woman that they need to be more attractive to his tastes!
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Miss Unleaded on October 23, 2012, 04:47:42 AM
I think it was the last part: 'Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?' that really highlights that he is an obnoxious jerk.  It's one thing to want a partner who is attractive; nothing wrong with that.  But he apparently can't find this elusive attractive woman and writes to Abby to scold all women for failing to live up to his standards. I suspect the problem is with his standards being extremely unrealistic and his attitude totally obnoxious.  I think Abby nailed it in her response.

If a woman had written:

Quote
I'm looking for a very rich man to accompany me through life. Most single women I know also put a premium on a man's bank balance. Why don't men understand this? Where would you suggest finding a suitable partner for someone in my situation? -- MR.

Would anyone defend it?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 23, 2012, 04:53:32 AM
I think it's interesting how he said he wanted "a very attractive woman", rather than "a fit and healthy woman". To me, that suggests that he is looking for the type of narrowly defined beauty that society today deems is the 'in' look.

For example, if he met a lady who exercised regularly and was very healthy, but had a plain face, glasses and frizzy hair, would he want to date her? Judging from the tone of his letter, I doubt it.

At any rate, I don't know what he was hoping to achieve with his letter. Did he really think Abby would agree with him, and exhort all her female readers to pay heed?

Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2012, 06:08:26 AM
I think it's interesting how he said he wanted "a very attractive woman", rather than "a fit and healthy woman". To me, that suggests that he is looking for the type of narrowly defined beauty that society today deems is the 'in' look.

For example, if he met a lady who exercised regularly and was very healthy, but had a plain face, glasses and frizzy hair, would he want to date her? Judging from the tone of his letter, I doubt it.

At any rate, I don't know what he was hoping to achieve with his letter. Did he really think Abby would agree with him, and exhort all her female readers to pay heed?

I think that's what the guy's bemoaning. If that lady who exercised regularly "understood men," she'd get her hair chemically straightened, get lasik, never leave her house without makeup, and maybe some rhinoplasty. Geez, why don't women understand this?  ???
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Venus193 on October 23, 2012, 06:25:07 AM

That article is very interesting and depressing.  It seems many of us (including myself) have known a whiney guy in high school or college that complained of 'no attractive women' to date on a campus full of girls.  It's hard to think of having to compete with actresses who are not only near perfect naturally, but have the benefit of plastic surgery, good lighting, and airbrushing.  I think Hollywood may have this effect on some men, but I don't think the vast majority of the population expects to get a supermodel look a like.  As a woman, I can look at TV images of Brad Pitt and other Hollywood standards, yet still think guys I run into everyday are attractive (and in many cases more attractive).  Besides a few whiney guys in college, most men I know find several women who aren't models attractive.

I think the Hollywood idea of reality can carry over into other areas.  For example, do some women expect guys to be like those in romantic comedies (I know from DH that it is unlikely a real guy would behave that way) or to be taken on fancy expensive dates with the guy always footing the bill because that's what TV and movies often show a guy doing when he is interested in a woman?

When I first started in the ad business I got a dozen great magazines on comp.  My college buddy was still single and lived in my building, so he got the men's magazines I received.  One Playboy issue had a photo spread of Jake LaMotta's ex, Vikki who was definitely over 40 and had obviously had a fairly common surgical augmentation.  He refused to believe this.

Re your question regarding romantic comedies, most of us would probably like to find a man like Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor or Hugh Jackman in Kate and Leopold, but know this is impossible.  Most men don't make this kind of effort for women and thanks to men like Dear Abby's LW, many women don't feel worthy of it.

Men paying the restaurant bill still happens because that is one of the few acceptable ways to express masculinity these days.  Let's face it, nobody wants to go to war, we don't have to hunt mammoths anymore for survival, and not everybody can play sports well.  That leaves money and being a "player."
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Jones on October 23, 2012, 07:01:51 AM
As I've gotten to pushing 30, I've noticed some of my joints hurt, and are not as responsive when I exercise as they were at 20. Makes me wonder what another decade's going to do to my poor left ankle and right wrist.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Dr. F. on October 23, 2012, 08:32:06 AM
Dear Obnoxious Letter Writer,

I do not exist to be good enough for you.

Sincerely,

A reasonably fit, reasonably attractive single woman in your age range
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Corvid on October 23, 2012, 08:36:41 AM
I think it was the last part: 'Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?' that really highlights that he is an obnoxious jerk.  It's one thing to want a partner who is attractive; nothing wrong with that.  But he apparently can't find this elusive attractive woman and writes to Abby to scold all women for failing to live up to his standards.

Yeah, really.  So he has particular standards of attractiveness.  That's his business.  Writing to a nationally published advice column whining about how women are falling down on the job by not living up to his standards of attractiveness?  That puts him into jerk territory.  Here's a news flash for him - it's possible that many women DO understand "this" but appealing to him and his single buddies isn't a priority for them.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: poundcake on October 23, 2012, 08:59:47 AM
Dear Obnoxious Letter Writer,

I do not exist to be good enough for you.

Sincerely,

A reasonably fit, reasonably attractive single woman in your age range

Where is the "jumping up and down, clapping and cheering" smilie?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 23, 2012, 09:00:25 AM
'Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?

I do understand this.  And I think most single women do grasp that most men are attracted to "pretty girls".   Unfortunately, men like you are bypassing 90% of the available pool. 

Now you understand this: I am over 50, I work out at least three times a week, eat healthy and have few unhealthy habits.  I am not now, nor have I ever been "traffic stopping gorgeous", however, I have a great sense of humor, I can cook pretty darn well, I am well read and up on current events of the world and I am financially stable.  I am not interested in your money and you do not have to have a fantastic body to attract my attention. I am not a stalker and I am not insanely jealous of anyone I am seeing, I am sane and average looking.

I am not trolling for a purely physically attractive man (although they don't hurt my eyes).  I prefer my men a little fluffy and I have never met a bald man I didn't adore.  I want a partner that is just that - a partner.  Someone that has a brain, works out with me ocassionally or regularly, participates in cooking and running a household and has similar values and enjoys some of the things I do.  This is what most single women put a premium on, why don't men understand this?    

Unfortunately, YOU have come off as a shallow conceited pig.  You wonder where all the pretty women are?  Hiding from the likes of you!   
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: siamesecat2965 on October 23, 2012, 09:22:23 AM
I'm also eagerly awaiting to see if she posts any responses to this letter, as she sometimes will.  I'm betting he will get an earful!
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 10:30:10 AM
If he wishes to only find an attractive woman, the advice to go to the gym was spot on.  But it's a shame for a person to only look on the outside before finding out what they are like on the inside.  And it is shallow to make that your first criteria in seeking a love interest. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Sharnita on October 23, 2012, 10:35:12 AM
Even the gym might not satisfy him though.  Depending on his vision of what a woman should do or be a woman who goes to the gym regularly does not automatically do her hair and make-up to his standards.  She might not have the chest size he prefers.  She might not wear heels or clothes that impress him.  Maybe her car is a bit disappointing.  There might be a few flaws in the package even though she is technically healthy.  Since he seems convinced that all women in his age group don't understand I kind of doubt the gym would provide a woman who was "enough" for him.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 10:41:29 AM
But it's a shame for a person to only look on the outside before finding out what they are like on the inside.  And it is shallow to make that your first criteria in seeking a love interest.

I could not disagree more, for reasons already expressed in this thread. I think valid arguments lose oomph when statements like this are made.  Looks are not everything in a romantic relationship - far from it.  But to say that a person is shallow for valuing appearance does not compute for me. Why would anyone want to be romantically with someone they are not physcially attracted to?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 10:49:22 AM
But it's a shame for a person to only look on the outside before finding out what they are like on the inside.  And it is shallow to make that your first criteria in seeking a love interest.

I could not disagree more, for reasons already expressed in this thread. I think valid arguments lose oomph when statements like this are made.  Looks are not everything in a romantic relationship - far from it.  But to say that a person is shallow for valuing appearance does not compute for me. Why would anyone want to be romantically with someone they are not physcially attracted to?

Nobody is saying it can't be a criterion. Nobody at all. It's just that if it's your (general you) primary consideration, you're just setting yourself up for dissatisfaction. Even if your partner keeps going to the gym their whole life, the simple fact of human bodies is that they change. Your partner will age. Your partner may become seriously ill. At the very least you'll see them with the flu!  ;D There has to be some "glue" other than beauty to hold a relationship together or it won't work in the long term. These are the people you see going through new partners like socks. And serial monogamy is fine if that's what you want, but for those looking for a stable long-term relationship, there has to be physical attraction and other ways the person appeals to you.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: WillyNilly on October 23, 2012, 10:51:59 AM
But it's a shame for a person to only look on the outside before finding out what they are like on the inside.  And it is shallow to make that your first criteria in seeking a love interest.

I could not disagree more, for reasons already expressed in this thread. I think valid arguments lose oomph when statements like this are made.  Looks are not everything in a romantic relationship - far from it.  But to say that a person is shallow for valuing appearance does not compute for me. Why would anyone want to be romantically with someone they are not physcially attracted to?

Again no one is saying that.  No even close.  They are saying it shouldn't be the first thing., the premium thing, the ultimate thing.  Of course looks play a part in romance.  But if they are the most important, the first and primary thing, then it is a shallow thing by the very definition of shallow - the interest goes no deeper then looks. The person could be dumb as rock, a mean nasty puppy kicker, have totally opposing values and goals but they are hot so you have a romance with them?  That is shallow.  That's what shallow means - not deep.  All anyone is saying is that romantic interest should be deeper then just looks.

To want a full package to include good looks?  That's fine.  No one is disputing that.  But that not shallow because a full package by default includes more then just outward appearances.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2012, 11:00:56 AM
But it's a shame for a person to only look on the outside before finding out what they are like on the inside.  And it is shallow to make that your first criteria in seeking a love interest.

I could not disagree more, for reasons already expressed in this thread. I think valid arguments lose oomph when statements like this are made.  Looks are not everything in a romantic relationship - far from it.  But to say that a person is shallow for valuing appearance does not compute for me. Why would anyone want to be romantically with someone they are not physcially attracted to?

TD, are you not reading the "first criteria" part that everyone is talking about?

And first impressions, when talking about attraction, are not always a good thing to go by. I have met people that I thought perfectly plain, at first. Then, the more that I got to know them, the more I knew about their personality and interests, the more attractive they became to me.

Looks fade. Accidents happen. People get sick. They gain weight or lose weight. IMO, making looks your Number 1 priority is shallow because we are all going to get old eventually. None of us look like we did at 21 anymore.

Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:04:33 AM
But you are essentially calling me, and people like me, shallow for valuing appearance.  Perhaps it is a matter of semantics?

For me, it is no where near the only thing or the most important thing and I have never said it was.  It is, however, the FIRST thing.  It is a threshold.  I don't find you attractive? I am not going to romantically pursue you.  And I do not think that is shallow.  Why would I waste time pursuing a romantic relationship with someone I am not attracted to?  I do not think it is at all shallow to only date people I am attracted to.

Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 11:06:30 AM
But it's a shame for a person to only look on the outside before finding out what they are like on the inside.  And it is shallow to make that your first criteria in seeking a love interest.

I could not disagree more, for reasons already expressed in this thread. I think valid arguments lose oomph when statements like this are made.  Looks are not everything in a romantic relationship - far from it.  But to say that a person is shallow for valuing appearance does not compute for me. Why would anyone want to be romantically with someone they are not physcially attracted to?
I stand by it. How many people are being overlooked that might already be on a plan to lose the weight/exercise etc.  Or is willing to diet/exercise with their new love interest and make it a shared activity. We are all entitled to our opinions.  I can honestly say that looks are not what attracts me and actually turns me off.  I have turned down "pretty" boys when friends tell me I am nuts.  But after speaking with them and realizing they are all about looks and takes pleasure in looking good, it's just something that doesn't interest me.  I am fit, have some of the wow factor but it isn't ME.  Now with that said, I never said you were shallow, you already stated that it's one of the many things you look for and not the only criteria.  And that's fine, I am glad you are looking at the total package.   
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:07:11 AM
To want a full package to include good looks?  That's fine.  No one is disputing that.  But that not shallow because a full package by default includes more then just outward appearances.

And my point is that it does not follow that someone who is only interested in dating people they are attracted to is ONLY interested in the other person for his or her looks. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 11:07:45 AM
But you are essentially calling me, and people like me, shallow for valuing appearance.  Perhaps it is a matter of semantics?

For me, it is no where near the only thing or the most important thing and I have never said it was.  It is, however, the FIRST thing.  It is a threshold.  I don't find you attractive? I am not going to romantically pursue you.  And I do not think that is shallow.  Why would I waste time pursuing a romantic relationship with someone I am not attracted to?  I do not think it is at all shallow to only date people I am attracted to.

Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

For you personally that is.  It isn't for everyone.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2012, 11:08:14 AM
Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

So if your attraction to your SO were to dissappear, your relationship would be over?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: afbluebelle on October 23, 2012, 11:08:30 AM
I do have to admit, I've never had someone's charming personality catch my eye across a crowded room. I've met good looking guys who ended up not being a romantic prospect, and I've met not so good looking guys who ended up being way better of an option. In the end though, I was always attracted by something physical from the beginning.

This guy does sound a bit..... extreme on the demandingness. But hey, at least he didn't specify that the ladies had to be 23-28 and Harvard educated as well!
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 11:10:10 AM
But you are essentially calling me, and people like me, shallow for valuing appearance.  Perhaps it is a matter of semantics?

For me, it is no where near the only thing or the most important thing and I have never said it was.  It is, however, the FIRST thing.  It is a threshold.  I don't find you attractive? I am not going to romantically pursue you.  And I do not think that is shallow.  Why would I waste time pursuing a romantic relationship with someone I am not attracted to?  I do not think it is at all shallow to only date people I am attracted to.

Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

OK, I think where we're misunderstanding you is that you mean "first as in chronologically" but it sometimes sounds like "first as in most important." It's certainly not an invalid place to start when casting around for a partner.

I've actually had the experience where I got to know someone as a friend, thinking them looks-neutral, and then becoming attracted to them as I got to know them better. So, yes, the attraction was there before I pursued the person romantically, even if it wasn't there upon first meeting the person platonically. Probably not everyone works that way. But of course there's no point in dating someone you're not attracted to at all. On the other hand it's useful to understand that they will not always be attractive in the moment--i.e. my boyfriend is hot, but he doesn't look like Fabio when he has the stomach flu, and that's OK!  ;D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 11:11:06 AM
I do have to admit, I've never had someone's charming personality catch my eye across a crowded room. I've met good looking guys who ended up not being a romantic prospect, and I've met not so good looking guys who ended up being way better of an option. In the end though, I was always attracted by something physical from the beginning.

This guy does sound a bit..... extreme on the demandingness. But hey, at least he didn't specify that the ladies had to be 23-28 and Harvard educated as well!

I had to smile, what caught my eye with my current husband was his laugh.  I heard it and followed it to him.  His charming personality did catch me.  He smiled, danced and was very charming.  Was he the cutest guy in the room, nope.  But he got me on his smile and laugh.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:11:58 AM
Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

So if your attraction to your SO were to dissappear, your relationship would be over?

I have never experienced this.  Then again, I have always dated people for whom being their best self (in all senses of the word) is important. On purpose I have done that, because I am like that myself.

But again, I would not have a relationship start at all if there were no attraction physically.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:13:20 AM
OK, I think where we're misunderstanding you is that you mean "first as in chronologically" but it sometimes sounds like "first as in most important." It's certainly not an invalid place to start when casting around for a partner.


Yes, this.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: afbluebelle on October 23, 2012, 11:14:46 AM
I do have to admit, I've never had someone's charming personality catch my eye across a crowded room. I've met good looking guys who ended up not being a romantic prospect, and I've met not so good looking guys who ended up being way better of an option. In the end though, I was always attracted by something physical from the beginning.

This guy does sound a bit..... extreme on the demandingness. But hey, at least he didn't specify that the ladies had to be 23-28 and Harvard educated as well!

I had to smile, what caught my eye with my current husband was his laugh.  I heard it and followed it to him.  His charming personality did catch me.  He smiled, danced and was very charming.  Was he the cutest guy in the room, nope.  But he got me on his smile and laugh.

I'm partially deaf so I can't hear laughter from across a room.  :P   Might have been able to see the nice smile, but I wouldn't have heard a darn thing!
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 11:15:15 AM
I do have to admit, I've never had someone's charming personality catch my eye across a crowded room. I've met good looking guys who ended up not being a romantic prospect, and I've met not so good looking guys who ended up being way better of an option. In the end though, I was always attracted by something physical from the beginning.

This guy does sound a bit..... extreme on the demandingness. But hey, at least he didn't specify that the ladies had to be 23-28 and Harvard educated as well!

I had to smile, what caught my eye with my current husband was his laugh.  I heard it and followed it to him.  His charming personality did catch me.  He smiled, danced and was very charming.  Was he the cutest guy in the room, nope.  But he got me on his smile and laugh.

I've told this story before on here, but when I first met my BF (some four years before we ever dated) nothing clicked. He was ill and stressed at the time and not at his best, and I was partnered and not looking anyway. Years later, after colliding at numerous events over time, I was talking to him one night at a shindig and he lit up with something he was going on about, and suddenly he was gorgeous. And he still is. I can stand back with my "commercial culture" glasses on and see that neither he nor I is classically beautiful, but it works.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 11:20:01 AM
I have never experienced this.  Then again, I have always dated people for whom being their best self (in all senses of the word) is important. On purpose I have done that, because I am like that myself.

You've talked a lot over the years on ehell about one's "best self" as in fitness. Leaving aside that particular part of physical appearance (because I know we have some profound disagreement on the topic), do you also feel people are not their "best self" if they grow old (as in gray hair and lines) or if they are scarred in an accident or something of the sort? All of these things can affect whether someone is conventionally attractive without being a knock on their desire to be their best self, IMO. And if I had made a commitment to someone, they would not be grounds to break it.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Jones on October 23, 2012, 11:21:00 AM
I recall my High School Home Ec teacher. She was missing half of two fingers on her left hand from a childhood ranch accident. A very interesting story, she started every quarter by telling it to the new kids and warning them about using tools correctly. She told lots of stories; there are long minutes when food is in the oven and we'd all swap tales.

Once she told the story about a man she dated in college. Things were getting serious, and a mutual friend asked him where he planned to put the ring; on her stubby left ring finger, or her perfect right ring finger. The beau had not noticed up to this point that her two fingers on her left hand had been partially amputated and asked about it. Then he started making excuses until they drifted apart. She was mad because he didn't break it off officially, and she thought it a stupid reason to break up, as he had never even noticed the handicap on his own. Plus, it wasn't a deformity that could be passed on to offspring, which she would have understood too (being raised a rancher girl). A few years later, she heard through the grapevine that he'd lost a thumb in a roping incident. She didn't contact him in any way but joked that she thought about asking, if they ever meet again, if the lost thumb ended up being a dealbreaker for his wife.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 11:22:48 AM
I do have to admit, I've never had someone's charming personality catch my eye across a crowded room. I've met good looking guys who ended up not being a romantic prospect, and I've met not so good looking guys who ended up being way better of an option. In the end though, I was always attracted by something physical from the beginning.

This guy does sound a bit..... extreme on the demandingness. But hey, at least he didn't specify that the ladies had to be 23-28 and Harvard educated as well!

I had to smile, what caught my eye with my current husband was his laugh.  I heard it and followed it to him.  His charming personality did catch me.  He smiled, danced and was very charming.  Was he the cutest guy in the room, nope.  But he got me on his smile and laugh.

I'm partially deaf so I can't hear laughter from across a room.  :P   Might have been able to see the nice smile, but I wouldn't have heard a darn thing!
I wear two aids and I heard it!  But it was in a quiet setting and not at a noisy party.  That helped. :D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2012, 11:24:01 AM
Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

So if your attraction to your SO were to disappear, your relationship would be over?

I have never experienced this.  Then again, I have always dated people for whom being their best self (in all senses of the word) is important. On purpose I have done that, because I am like that myself.

But again, I would not have a relationship start at all if there were no attraction physically.

Our "best selves" can be in disfiguring accidents, or be stricken with cancer, or any other number of things. I firmly believe my relationship with my SO would continue to be strong despite it.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: afbluebelle on October 23, 2012, 11:25:14 AM
I do have to admit, I've never had someone's charming personality catch my eye across a crowded room. I've met good looking guys who ended up not being a romantic prospect, and I've met not so good looking guys who ended up being way better of an option. In the end though, I was always attracted by something physical from the beginning.

This guy does sound a bit..... extreme on the demandingness. But hey, at least he didn't specify that the ladies had to be 23-28 and Harvard educated as well!

I had to smile, what caught my eye with my current husband was his laugh.  I heard it and followed it to him.  His charming personality did catch me.  He smiled, danced and was very charming.  Was he the cutest guy in the room, nope.  But he got me on his smile and laugh.

I'm partially deaf so I can't hear laughter from across a room.  :P   Might have been able to see the nice smile, but I wouldn't have heard a darn thing!
I wear two aids and I heard it!  But it was in a quiet setting and not at a noisy party.  That helped. :D

They have those?  ;D
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 11:26:12 AM
Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

So if your attraction to your SO were to disappear, your relationship would be over?

I have never experienced this.  Then again, I have always dated people for whom being their best self (in all senses of the word) is important. On purpose I have done that, because I am like that myself.

But again, I would not have a relationship start at all if there were no attraction physically.

Our "best selves" can be in disfiguring accidents, or be stricken with cancer, or any other number of things. I firmly believe my relationship with my SO would continue to be strong despite it.

And one's best self is not just their body, either. I value a person who is curious, keeps their mind active and open, and strives to keep making the relationship better.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 11:33:48 AM
Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

So if your attraction to your SO were to dissappear, your relationship would be over?

I have never experienced this.  Then again, I have always dated people for whom being their best self (in all senses of the word) is important. On purpose I have done that, because I am like that myself.

Not everyone includes fitness/attractiveness in their definition of their "best self." You're not wrong for valuing those things, but I'm not wrong either if I don't value them. My "best self" might be 25 pounds overweight according to the medical establishment, but that's the "best" weight for me when I balance my physical and mental health. My "best self" might be someone who doesn't worry about makeup or grooming or fashion because I am happier that way. My "best self" might prefer reading to jogging. It would be really arrogant of me to think that my definition of "best (in all senses of the word)" is objective or universal.

Of course you should look for romantic partners whose values match your own. And I don't think it's shallow to only date people you find physically attractive. It's shallow in general to judge people based on their looks, but dating is all about personal preference.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Sharnita on October 23, 2012, 11:35:00 AM
Of course it is not the "most important" thing in a relationship.  It is, however, something that must be there for me for there to be any relationship at all.

So if your attraction to your SO were to disappear, your relationship would be over?

I have never experienced this.  Then again, I have always dated people for whom being their best self (in all senses of the word) is important. On purpose I have done that, because I am like that myself.

But again, I would not have a relationship start at all if there were no attraction physically.

Our "best selves" can be in disfiguring accidents, or be stricken with cancer, or any other number of things. I firmly believe my relationship with my SO would continue to be strong despite it.
I know somebody who was a volunteer fire fighter, played basket ball, etc.  He became paralyzed overnight due to an illness and for over half a year couldn't so much as move a toe.  He is still working on recovering. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:40:41 AM
You've talked a lot over the years on ehell about one's "best self" as in fitness. Leaving aside that particular part of physical appearance (because I know we have some profound disagreement on the topic), do you also feel people are not their "best self" if they grow old (as in gray hair and lines) or if they are scarred in an accident or something of the sort? All of these things can affect whether someone is conventionally attractive without being a knock on their desire to be their best self, IMO. And if I had made a commitment to someone, they would not be grounds to break it.

I can't tell if you are being serious or deliberately not "getting" what I am saying.  Of course not.  Age, illness, accident...these things have nothing to do with being one's best self. What people do with the hand they have been given does.  By best self, I am saying I hope for each person to be his or her best self, which would mean he or she is truly happy with being himself or herself.  Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, as a spouse, child, parent, employee, etc.  I can't decide for anyone else whether they are their best self - I can surmise a person is NOT his or her best self when they complain about some aspect of themselves.

In terms of fitness, my point is that there are different body types out there.  I am my "best self" in terms of fitness meaning I am happy with how my body looks and what it can do.  Giselle's best self is different from mine, as is Oprahs.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 11:42:18 AM
You've talked a lot over the years on ehell about one's "best self" as in fitness. Leaving aside that particular part of physical appearance (because I know we have some profound disagreement on the topic), do you also feel people are not their "best self" if they grow old (as in gray hair and lines) or if they are scarred in an accident or something of the sort? All of these things can affect whether someone is conventionally attractive without being a knock on their desire to be their best self, IMO. And if I had made a commitment to someone, they would not be grounds to break it.

I can't tell if you are being serious or deliberately not "getting" what I am saying.  Of course not.  Age, illness, accident...these things have nothing to do with being one's best self. What people do with the hand they have been given does.  By best self, I am saying I hope for each person to be his or her best self, which would mean he or she is truly happy with being himself or herself.  Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, as a spouse, child, parent, employee, etc.  I can't decide for anyone else whether they are their best self - I can surmise a person is NOT his or her best self when they complain about some aspect of themselves.

In terms of fitness, my point is that there are different body types out there.  I am my "best self" in terms of fitness meaning I am happy with how my body looks and what it can do.  Giselle's best self is different from mine, as is Oprahs.

No, I was being serious. Thank you for the clarification.

(ETA: and for the record, I don't think the topic of "complaining about an aspect of oneself" even came up in the thread. The guy isn't complaining that women complain to him about their looks!)
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:42:57 AM
Our "best selves" can be in disfiguring accidents, or be stricken with cancer, or any other number of things. I firmly believe my relationship with my SO would continue to be strong despite it.

I absolutely agree with this and nothing I have said counters this.  When I say "best self" I mean doing the best we can with what we have been given.  It is more about attitude than physical appearance.  I would not likely be attracted to someone who "let himself go" but it would be more about the reasons for letting himself go than it would be about physical appearance.  I have never experienced an SO with some sort of disfigurement, but no, that is not the same thing as losing interest in being one's best self.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:43:32 AM
And one's best self is not just their body, either. I value a person who is curious, keeps their mind active and open, and strives to keep making the relationship better.

100% agreed.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:45:11 AM
It would be really arrogant of me to think that my definition of "best (in all senses of the word)" is objective or universal.

Agreed. By definition "best self" is subjective and personal.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:46:33 AM
(ETA: and for the record, I don't think the topic of "complaining about an aspect of oneself" even came up in the thread. The guy isn't complaining that women complain to him about their looks!)

I mentioned it because you referenced when I have used the term in other threads over the years.  :)
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2012, 11:48:12 AM
Our "best selves" can be in disfiguring accidents, or be stricken with cancer, or any other number of things. I firmly believe my relationship with my SO would continue to be strong despite it.

I absolutely agree with this and nothing I have said counters this.  When I say "best self" I mean doing the best we can with what we have been given.  It is more about attitude than physical appearance.  I would not likely be attracted to someone who "let himself go" but it would be more about the reasons for letting himself go than it would be about physical appearance.  I have never experienced an SO with some sort of disfigurement, but no, that is not the same thing as losing interest in being one's best self.

But this whole thing was brought up in terms of attraction. You have stated that you could not be in a relationship with someone you are not attracted to. Someone can be their "best self" and still not be attractive to you, correct?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 11:50:42 AM
Our "best selves" can be in disfiguring accidents, or be stricken with cancer, or any other number of things. I firmly believe my relationship with my SO would continue to be strong despite it.

I absolutely agree with this and nothing I have said counters this.  When I say "best self" I mean doing the best we can with what we have been given.  It is more about attitude than physical appearance.  I would not likely be attracted to someone who "let himself go" but it would be more about the reasons for letting himself go than it would be about physical appearance.  I have never experienced an SO with some sort of disfigurement, but no, that is not the same thing as losing interest in being one's best self.

But this whole thing was brought up in terms of attraction. You have stated that you could not be in a relationship with someone you are not attracted to. Someone can be their "best self" and still not be attractive to you, correct?

I think the point is probably that he has to see his "best self" in the same way that TD would see his "best self" for them to be compatible. Which is perfectly OK, of course.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 11:55:41 AM
But this whole thing was brought up in terms of attraction. You have stated that you could not be in a relationship with someone you are not attracted to. Someone can be their "best self" and still not be attractive to you, correct?

Millions of people worldwide are their best selves and I am not attracted to them.

What I said was that I would not be in, as in enter into a relationship with someone I am not attracted to.  Attraction is a threshold issue.  There would never be a relationship with me if there were no attraction.

Over time, people change. Absolutely.  As I said, I have never lost attraction for anyone I have dated.  Never.  I don't know whether that is because I am attracted to people for whom being attractive (not just physically) is very important. I would venture a guess that if my SO lost his arm or scarred his face in a fire I would not lose attraction for him.  If he suddenly stopped his regular active routine and became a couch potato and gained 80 pounds I likely would, but I would have addressed this with him LONG before it took that much of a physical toll - I would address the reasons why he became someone who is not his best self and I would try to help him get back to being a person he liked again.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2012, 12:00:28 PM
Could you please stop using the term "best self"? As others have said, that's a very subjective call, and you are (unintentionally, I'm sure), insulting a lot of people who may not fit your criteria and still believe they are their "best selves".
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2012, 12:02:42 PM
Could you please stop using the term "best self"? As others have said, that's a very subjective call, and you are (unintentionally, I'm sure), insulting a lot of people who may not fit your criteria and still believe they are their "best selves".

Right. I am sure there are couch potatos who feel they are their "best selves" out there (and like themselves plenty).
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 12:08:08 PM
Yes, you keep saying "best self" is subjective, but then why automatically assume that if your hypothetical SO became a fat couch potato he would no longer be his "best self" or even someone he liked? You would likely not be compatible anymore, and that's fine, but that's different from saying he'd be "worse."
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 12:27:08 PM
Could you please stop using the term "best self"? As others have said, that's a very subjective call, and you are (unintentionally, I'm sure), insulting a lot of people who may not fit your criteria and still believe they are their "best selves".

Well, I apologize if this is the case.  I thought I was pretty clear that this is subjective and of course no one but me would fit my criteria for me, or my SO for his.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 12:29:51 PM
Yes, you keep saying "best self" is subjective, but then why automatically assume that if your hypothetical SO became a fat couch potato he would no longer be his "best self" or even someone he liked? You would likely not be compatible anymore, and that's fine, but that's different from saying he'd be "worse."

Yeah, I think we are talking past each other.  I would not be attracted romantically to someone whose best self is a couch potato.  That would be a 180 degree change from the start of the relationship.  No judgment on couch potatoes - they probably would not be attracted to me either.   
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 12:30:41 PM

I have to defend TD a bit here. I found this man obnoxious for sure, but I think that the term 'best self' is fair enough. And as  someone who is progressing with weight loss, if I'm honest, I don't feel at my most attractive or healthy. Am I ugly or unworthy? No, not a bit and I would laugh at anyone who told me I was. But could I do better, feel better and look better? Yes, I could, and I'm working at it. Nobody is perfect, and most people are works in progress. But there is nothing wrong with finding an upbeat, 'can do' attitude attractive. And I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television, whatever their size (I know plenty of skinny unfit couch potatoes.)
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: C0mputerGeek on October 23, 2012, 12:50:30 PM
I'll agree with you. My aunt is fifty and quite fit. She works out with a personal trainer and has quite the physique. One of the qualities she looks for is someone who is in as good a shape as she is. Honestly, if she can require it of the men she dates, then the letter writer get to as well. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.

As long as she doesn't chastise other people for not being what she wants.
She does not, but I don't have any proof that the letter writer does as well. Writing a letter to Dear Abby asking for advice is not the same as criticizing people to their face.

I'll agree with you. My aunt is fifty and quite fit. She works out with a personal trainer and has quite the physique. One of the qualities she looks for is someone who is in as good a shape as she is. Honestly, if she can require it of the men she dates, then the letter writer get to as well. What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.

I also don't find the letter to Dear Abby all that objectionable, but that's because I am used to my aunt. Everyone has standards of what they're attracted to. For some people it's more mental (e.g. personality traits) than physical.

But your aunt isn't making seeping generalizations about all men her age, their level of fitness, attractiveness and what they do or don't understand.
Actually, she does make generalizations about the fitness levels of men her age. She says it's very hard to find men in their fifties who are as fit as her. She just does not writer letters to Dear Abby.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: ScubaGirl on October 23, 2012, 01:12:05 PM
The letter reminded me of the recent incident of the man who sent an email to a woman news person to say because she was obese she wasn't a fit role model, especially to young girls.  He had no idea of who she was, what she has over come, what she has accomplished, etc.  She was an unfit role model because he thought she was obese.

As someone said upstream, no, we women do understand.  However, if men like that are the prize, the effort really isn't worth it.

But, with that said, in my small experience of the world the LW's feelings are in the minority - at least in my circle of friends/coworkers/acquaintances well into their 40s.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 01:29:18 PM

I have to defend TD a bit here. I found this man obnoxious for sure, but I think that the term 'best self' is fair enough. And as  someone who is progressing with weight loss, if I'm honest, I don't feel at my most attractive or healthy. Am I ugly or unworthy? No, not a bit and I would laugh at anyone who told me I was. But could I do better, feel better and look better? Yes, I could, and I'm working at it. Nobody is perfect, and most people are works in progress. But there is nothing wrong with finding an upbeat, 'can do' attitude attractive. And I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television, whatever their size (I know plenty of skinny unfit couch potatoes.)

What's your point? I think we all agree there's nothing wrong with having personal preferences. If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 01:42:16 PM

I have to defend TD a bit here. I found this man obnoxious for sure, but I think that the term 'best self' is fair enough. And as  someone who is progressing with weight loss, if I'm honest, I don't feel at my most attractive or healthy. Am I ugly or unworthy? No, not a bit and I would laugh at anyone who told me I was. But could I do better, feel better and look better? Yes, I could, and I'm working at it. Nobody is perfect, and most people are works in progress. But there is nothing wrong with finding an upbeat, 'can do' attitude attractive. And I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television, whatever their size (I know plenty of skinny unfit couch potatoes.)

What's your point? I think we all agree there's nothing wrong with having personal preferences. If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

You and I will have to disagree. I think that fitness and positivity are certainly linked, in my experience they almost always are. I am talking about myself as well. I think you read offence into my post when none was intended.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 01:48:39 PM
I just wanted to again remind people that we are talking about what we look for in SOs.  That is a far different thing than randomly judging other people or holding them to any particular standard.  I haven't seen anything any of us who value appearance or fitness has said that was a judgment on anyone else - instead it is a statement of what we are looking for.  No offense intended at all. Clearly some posters have different value systems - that does not make mine wrong.  It does not affect me, because no offense, I wouldn't date most of you for lots of reasons, including you are women! 

I think that's why I didn't take offense to the letter.  It did not endear me to the LW, but I didn't feel it affected me in any way.  I just did not see it as anything to take personally.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 01:49:03 PM

I have to defend TD a bit here. I found this man obnoxious for sure, but I think that the term 'best self' is fair enough. And as  someone who is progressing with weight loss, if I'm honest, I don't feel at my most attractive or healthy. Am I ugly or unworthy? No, not a bit and I would laugh at anyone who told me I was. But could I do better, feel better and look better? Yes, I could, and I'm working at it. Nobody is perfect, and most people are works in progress. But there is nothing wrong with finding an upbeat, 'can do' attitude attractive. And I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television, whatever their size (I know plenty of skinny unfit couch potatoes.)

What's your point? I think we all agree there's nothing wrong with having personal preferences. If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

You and I will have to disagree. I think that fitness and positivity are certainly linked, in my experience they almost always are. I am talking about myself as well. I think you read offence into my post when none was intended.

I would say that people who are fit are often positive (it would definitely help in sticking with it) but that the equation doesn't work in reverse--lots of people are just as can-do about different types of achievements.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 01:49:27 PM

I have to defend TD a bit here. I found this man obnoxious for sure, but I think that the term 'best self' is fair enough. And as  someone who is progressing with weight loss, if I'm honest, I don't feel at my most attractive or healthy. Am I ugly or unworthy? No, not a bit and I would laugh at anyone who told me I was. But could I do better, feel better and look better? Yes, I could, and I'm working at it. Nobody is perfect, and most people are works in progress. But there is nothing wrong with finding an upbeat, 'can do' attitude attractive. And I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television, whatever their size (I know plenty of skinny unfit couch potatoes.)

What's your point? I think we all agree there's nothing wrong with having personal preferences. If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

Exactly. Well stated, Bexx27.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 01:51:27 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation." 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 23, 2012, 01:56:04 PM
For the record, considering everything on his plate, I think Stephen Hawking is one of the most positive people alive.  I wouldn't put money on seeing him on a stairmaster though.

On the other hand, Richard Simmons just may be the second most positive man alive, so YMMV.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 02:00:11 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 23, 2012, 02:12:09 PM
I personally took offense at the ...why don't women understand this... remark.

Oh, we understand it buddy and you are the one we hope walks past us without so much as a nod. 

You are setting yourself and us up for failure - no one looks that great at 5:00 am before coffee and a shower.  Partnering up with you would make me feel like I could NEVER let myself go for even a day.  Because you partnered up with me for my looks and if I am ever sick and down you won't be there for me, I won't look fabulous.  Heaven forbid I should be in a disfiguring accident or have a disabling disease.  I'm not that shallow and I don't want to be partnered with someone that is. 

Friday night I was out with a group of women for dinner and then we stopped in a bar for a couple of drinks.  There was a band and dancing, I love live music, not dancing so much.  One of my friends said, "there's one of your exes."  I didn't see anyone I knew and even after she pointed him out I still didn't recognize him, she finally said his name. 

Wow, this guy had put on well over 60 pounds and was completely gray headed.  I did not think any less of him but wow was shocked.  He stopped by our table and we all visited for a bit then our group left.  He was less attractive than in high school (38 years ago) but still the same pleasant fellow I remembered.  This is an intelligent, kind, generous man and I wonder how many women have passed him by because of his appearance. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 02:17:34 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

Ok. I am fat. I have no plans to lose weight. I eat healthfully, participate in many physical activities, and generally enjoy the heck out of life. I am satisfied with myself and my life. I feel happy and fulfilled.

TD, Fluer, am I my best self?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 02:18:55 PM
TD, Fluer, am I my best self?

Only you would be able to answer that. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 02:20:50 PM
TD, Fluer, am I my best self?

Only you would be able to answer that.

Exactly. So how can you make a judgement about whether or not a potential SO is his best self? You can look at him and say "Hmm, he looks good to me, and he seems to enjoy the same lifestyle I do; perhaps I'll get to know him better.", but you can't judge what his best self is.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 02:24:15 PM
Exactly. So how can you make judgement about whether or not a potential SO is his best self? You can look at him and say "Hmm, he looks good to me, and he seems to enjoy the same lifestyle I do; perhaps I'll get to know him better.", but you can't judge what his best self is.

I think this is a giant disconnect.  I am not judging what my SOs best self is.  I want to be with someone who constantly strives to be his best self.  This is not a negative judgment of anyone, and certainly not you, so I am having a difficult time understanding why the phrase "best self" is offensive to some people. The judgment I make, if any, is whether or not I am attracted to someone. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 02:25:09 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 02:25:21 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

Ok. I am fat. I have no plans to lose weight. I eat healthfully, participate in many physical activities, and generally enjoy the heck out of life. I am satisfied with myself and my life. I feel happy and fulfilled.

TD, Fluer, am I my best self?

I can't say if you are or not, as I am not you. I would say that you are, as you are leading a fulfilling life. For me, at my current weight, I am not. I was fitter/slimmer before, and make no apology for trying to go back to my previous state. This is with the full support of my boyfriend, who has never made me feel lesser or unattractive. But I figured out on my own that I was not as healthy as I could be, so I took steps to change it. And it is possible that my boyfriend would not have been as attracted to me in my current state as he was when we first met. This is as much because of feelings as looks. I certainly don't like this man's attitude, don't get me wrong. I'm not defending him at all and we have no idea what he brings to the table: very likely not as much as he thinks. But nobody is wrong to like what they like. Let me put it another way. One person's 'best self' (or whatever you want to call it) might or might not be attractive to any other particular person, which is just fine. What is wrong is when people get either agressive or defensive.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 02:29:52 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Yvaine on October 23, 2012, 02:33:52 PM
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

I do think it's the term "best self" that comes off wrong. It's not an idiom that's really familiar to me, and it sounds a bit like advertising copy--is it a current pop-psych thing? It comes off, through the toobz, kind of like the posters using that term have a set idea in their head of what everyone's "best self" is, whether it's a romantic partner or not, and so it can sound kind of judgmental of posters with different priorities.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 02:36:32 PM
TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.
I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.

I still do not follow where you are seeing that I am applying anything to others.  "Best self" as I use it and have seen it used is, as I continually state, not objective and is exactly "making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value."

In other threads I have said that I want each person to be his or her best self becuase I want people to be happy. In other threads, my comments are in response to someone who is unhappy with something or another.  I always say, if you can change it, do. If you don't want to, don't, but then don't complain about it. It doesn't matter to me either way, aside from I would like people to be happy however they get there.  If someone complains that she has brown hair and wants blonde, I would say, "then dye your hair blonde."  If she says, "I don't want to," I would say, "then be happy with brown hair." It's not a judgment on whether the person should have brown or blonde hair. It's about whether they are happy how they are, and if not, what they will do about it.

Regarding the bolded, no, I am basing this on actual SOs I have had. We have discussed these things.  It is important to me to be with someone who takes care of himself and is fit and active, both physically and mentally. It is also important for me to be with someone with whom I am comptable and I am not a couch potato.  It really does not matter to me whether anyone else is - I just would not choose them to be my SO.  I don't see how this is offensive, unless for some ridiculous reason you want to be my SO!  :o 8)

To clarify, for the hypothetical couch potato morph to happen, my SO would have to have changed fundamental parts of himself.  That just seems highly unlikely.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 02:39:26 PM
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

I do think it's the term "best self" that comes off wrong. It's not an idiom that's really familiar to me, and it sounds a bit like advertising copy--is it a current pop-psych thing? It comes off, through the toobz, kind of like the posters using that term have a set idea in their head of what everyone's "best self" is, whether it's a romantic partner or not, and so it can sound kind of judgmental of posters with different priorities.

Ah, gotcha. I certainly have no particular attachment to that phrase. And I certainly meant no judgement on anyone! I apologise if I have caused offense. I certainly don't go around thinking 'oh he sucks, and she sucks, they watch too much TV'. It isn't as calculated or as considered as that. I would just say that in a relationship situation, that particular characteristic wouldn't appeal to me, just as I'm sure some of my traits wouldn't appeal to others. As long as there is no rudeness, I just say 'no harm, no foul'.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 02:41:45 PM
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 02:43:54 PM
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

I do confess that I'm confused by your answer, though. In the past you have explicitly stated that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese." It's absolutely your right to think that, but it's completely at odds with your current assertion that "best self" can only be applied to oneself and is purely subjective.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 02:48:29 PM
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

I do confess that I'm confused by your answer, though. In the past you have explicitly stated that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese." It's absolutely your right to think that, but it's completely at odds with your current assertion that "best self" can only be applied to oneself and is purely subjective.

Perhaps poorly stated, whenever that quote was made.  Not sure the context.  I can affirmatively state right now though that I would not be my best self if I were obese.  I don't care whether anyone else is obese unless they are unhappy being obese. I would imagine I said that in a thread where people were lamenting the fact they were obese or were unhappy with that fact.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 02:50:13 PM
Yeah, I think the term has been hugely misunderstood, especially because some posters are still saying it is offensive because it is objective and judgmental.  As I use it and have seen it used it is neither of those things. The only person doing the judging is oneself, and that is obviously subjective.

I do confess that I'm confused by your answer, though. In the past you have explicitly stated that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese." It's absolutely your right to think that, but it's completely at odds with your current assertion that "best self" can only be applied to oneself and is purely subjective.

Perhaps poorly stated, whenever that quote was made.  Not sure the context.  I can affirmatively state right now though that I would not be my best self if I were obese.  I don't care whether anyone else is obese unless they are unhappy being obese. I would imagine I said that in a thread where people were lamenting the fact they were obese or were unhappy with that fact.

Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts. You said the comparison was valid, and that, just as a heroin addict wasn't being their "best self", an obese person was also not their "best self". Like I said, you're entitled to your opinion, it just doesn't jive with what you're saying now.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 02:51:17 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm offended. I'm not offended and I'm enjoying the discussion.  :) In any case, I've said many times I have no problem with what you or the LW or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner. That's a matter of taste.

Here are 2 sentences for comparison:

1. "I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner."
2. "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television."

These two statements do not have the same meaning. Neither do these two:

1. "I'm looking for a very attractive woman to accompany me through life."
2. "Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?"

I've been trying to explain what the difference is for me, but I guess it's not coming across clearly.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 02:55:53 PM
Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts.

Hah!  Funny, becuase I was going to make that comparison in my response.  I do personally see similarities, as have been fully explored in other threads, expecially when people say, "I feel bad so I eat more."  I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.  I don't think obese people or heroin addicts are disgusting people.  I do see problems in behavior and I doubt either are their best selves, but unless they are related to me or my SO I don't really care. For the record, my beautiful and talented sister died 6.5 years ago due to her heroin use. By the time she died she was NOT her best self.  She told me this.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 02:58:15 PM
Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts.

Hah!  Funny, becuase I was going to make that comparison in my response.  I do personally see similarities, as have been fully explored in other threads, expecially when people say, "I feel bad so I eat more."  I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.  I don't think obese people or heroin addicts are disgusting people.  I do see problems in behavior and I doubt either are their best selves, but unless they are related to me or my SO I don't really care. For the record, my beautiful and talented sister died 6.5 years ago due to her heroin use. By the time she died she was NOT her best self.  She told me this.

So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 02:59:21 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm offended. I'm not offended and I'm enjoying the discussion.  :) In any case, I've said many times I have no problem with what you or the LW or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner. That's a matter of taste.

Here are 2 sentences for comparison:

1. "I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner."
2. "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television."

These two statements do not have the same meaning. Neither do these two:

1. "I'm looking for a very attractive woman to accompany me through life."
2. "Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?"

I've been trying to explain what the difference is for me, but I guess it's not coming across clearly.

I'm glad I didn't cause any offense :) I wouldn't like to think people thought I was being rude or nasty. To compare the two sets of statements, I actually did mean the same by both my statements-by 'too impressed' I meant 'in a romantic partner' not  in general. That may be enhanced by the appaling quality of television in the UK ;)
I'm totally with you on the second set of statements, though, and I agree that this man comes off as both arrogant and entitled.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: TurtleDove on October 23, 2012, 03:01:00 PM
So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?

I am not judging people I am not even thinking about. 
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 03:01:11 PM
Actually, it was in a thread where people were upset at a scathing article that called the obese disgusting and compared them to heroin addicts.

Hah!  Funny, becuase I was going to make that comparison in my response.  I do personally see similarities, as have been fully explored in other threads, expecially when people say, "I feel bad so I eat more."  I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.  I don't think obese people or heroin addicts are disgusting people.  I do see problems in behavior and I doubt either are their best selves, but unless they are related to me or my SO I don't really care. For the record, my beautiful and talented sister died 6.5 years ago due to her heroin use. By the time she died she was NOT her best self.  She told me this.

I'm sorry about your sister :'(
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 23, 2012, 03:02:05 PM
As someone who is very overweight, and who doesn't snack much, doesn't load their plate, and prefers fruit to... say, chocolate... I find the comparison to drugs invalid.  It may be valid for some people, but some people exercise compulsively to the point where they actually burn themselves out.  EVERYTHING is bad in excess, even oxygen and water!

That said, I am very sorry about your sister.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 03:05:00 PM
So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?

I am not judging people I am not even thinking about.

OK, then your answer to me, when I asked you if I was my best self, really doesn't make sense, and neither does your statement that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese."

You're saying that you make these judgement about others, but it happens very rarely because you don't associate with fat people and therefore do not have to consider them.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 03:05:29 PM
If you conceive of your "best self" as physically fit and slim, that's great. But you don't get to tell me I am not my "best self" if I'm a fat couch potato.

What bothers me about the phrase "best self" is the sense of judging someone's overall quality. I don't believe I have a best self. I can be more or less happy, more or less healthy, more or less connected to others, etc., but I don't believe changes in my subjective well-being make me "better" or "worse." I certainly don't believe changes in superficial factors such as looks, weight, or income make someone better or worse. I'm not comfortable with judging and rating myself or others that way.

I didn't see that Fluer or anyone else said anything about you or your best self.  That is something for you to decide.

I think you are misunderstanding how I use the phrase (and see it used elsewhere).  It is not a judgment someone makes about another person.  It is a judgment someone makes about oneself.  Actually, not so much a judgment but an investment or attitude of "I will be the best I can be" or "I will make the best of this situation."

Exactly. And I mean no judgement on anyone, as I've said, I am overweight myself. I'm not going around 'hating on' people for not meeting my standards. I think that 'standards' are probably the wrong word, anyway. 'Criteria' would be better. Again, I'm not going around at men saying 'not you, not you, not you, oh, you are six four with a six pack, you'll do'. (Moot anyway, as I'm in a relationship) I just find that in my experiencecertain characteristics are linked with certain others which I find attractive. Others may have different ideas, and that is fine as well! I'm a little bemused as to why that seems to be causing so much offense and consternation.

As I said in the part of my post you deleted when you quoted it,


It's totally reasonable to want a mate whose lifestyle fits with yours. But there is a difference between judging someone's suitability to be your romantic partner and simply judging someone. Your choice of words -- "too much time slumped over the television" -- implies that you are doing the latter. How much is too much? Why is slumping assumed? What does "an upbeat, can-do attitude" have to do with fitness/activity level?


Fleur, do you really not see how the phrase "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television" can be taken to mean that you would think poorly of someone who watches a lot of TV? If not, you are correct that we will just have to disagree.

TD, if "best self" is a concept you apply only to yourself, why the statement that your hypothetical weight-gaining SO would no longer be his "best self" and wouldn't like himself? How do you know unless you ask him? Since you can't ask him because he's hypothetical, it seems you're making an assumption based on stereotypes of overweight people/couch potatoes.

I admit I've never seen the term "best self" used by anyone else and I personally find it distasteful because it implies some objective standard of quality and seems to mean something very different from making the best of a situation or striving to be the best you can in some particular domain that you value. But you obviously have the right to judge yourself however you like. Applying it to others, which you have done in this thread and others, is what I find problematic and potentially offensive whether you mean it that way or not.
I didn't delete any of your post. But I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner, yes. I am really bemused as to why what I, TD, or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner is causing such offense. Is it the term 'best self?' I freely admit that I am not at my best at the moment, so if I'm judgeing anyone, it is myself. I actually don't go around thinking about these issues all that much, this is more academic.

Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm offended. I'm not offended and I'm enjoying the discussion.  :) In any case, I've said many times I have no problem with what you or the LW or anyone else finds desirable or necessary in a romantic partner. That's a matter of taste.

Here are 2 sentences for comparison:

1. "I will admit that watching a lot of TV would be a turnoff for me in a romantic partner."
2. "I would also not be impressed by someone who spent too much time slumped over the television."

These two statements do not have the same meaning. Neither do these two:

1. "I'm looking for a very attractive woman to accompany me through life."
2. "Most single men I know also put a premium on a woman's appearance. Why don't women understand this?"

I've been trying to explain what the difference is for me, but I guess it's not coming across clearly.

I'm glad I didn't cause any offense :) I wouldn't like to think people thought I was being rude or nasty. To compare the two sets of statements, I actually did mean the same by both my statements-by 'too impressed' I meant 'in a romantic partner' not  in general. That may be enhanced by the appaling quality of television in the UK ;)
I'm totally with you on the second set of statements, though, and I agree that this man comes off as both arrogant and entitled.

Ah, sorry, I misunderstood that you were still talking about romantic partners.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Fleur on October 23, 2012, 03:07:30 PM
So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?

I am not judging people I am not even thinking about.

OK, then your answer to me, when I asked you if I was my best self, really doesn't make sense, and neither does your statement that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese."

You're saying that you make these judgement about others, but it happens very rarely because you don't associate with fat people and therefore do not have to consider them.

I'm not following your logic here. TD said, in reponse to your question, that she couldn't tell if you were your best self or not: ergo, she isn't you so she isn't judging. I don't know where you're getting the last part of your post from at all, in fact I am completely lost.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Moray on October 23, 2012, 03:09:51 PM
So you say the obese aren't their best selves, but that you don't care, because they aren't you or your SO, right? That's still not the same thing as saying "the concept of best self can only be applied to oneself". That's very clearly saying "I am judging all these obese people as 'worse' than their 'best selves', but I don't care."

So which is it? Judging others or not judging others?

I am not judging people I am not even thinking about.

OK, then your answer to me, when I asked you if I was my best self, really doesn't make sense, and neither does your statement that "Obese people are worthwhile people.  They are not their best selves when they are obese."

You're saying that you make these judgement about others, but it happens very rarely because you don't associate with fat people and therefore do not have to consider them.

I'm not following your logic here. TD said, in reponse to your question, that she couldn't tell if you were your best self or not: ergo, she isn't you so she isn't judging. I don't know where you're getting the last part of your post from at all, in fact I am completely lost.

Fluer, I'm asking her to clarify her previously stated position on the issue (others who are obese are not their best selves), which is at odds with her current assertion that "best self" is purely individual.
Title: Re: thank you, Dear Abby!
Post by: Ticia on October 23, 2012, 03:11:58 PM
I think productive discussion has long since been left at the wayside. Thread closed while I wade through this mess.