The perils of modern dating: #1 ugly people
For those of you – ok, us – who aren’t likely to be asked to pose for the cover of Sports Illustrated or GQ any time soon, here’s a piece of news that might be of interest.
A dating agency for unattractive people has been established in Britain which claims to be a website for the “aesthetically challenged”, has already had some success at matching those who have been hit one too many times with the ugly stick.
Tom Clifford, who says he has a face “that makes children cry” has found true love with a 31 year old shop assistant who still lives with her parents and they’re planning a wedding in the near future.
As the homely Janine says: “I appreciate that Tom isn’t Brad Pitt, but then I’m no Angelina Jolie either”.
Luckily I’m off the market so I have no need for a dating agency.
But I’ll still be logging on for sociological purposes. Because I reckon that unlike mainstream online dating services which have a disproportionate number of males to females signed up, this one will tilt the other way.
That’s because, let’s face it, women seem a little less shallow than men when it comes to looks.
Christopher Hitchens summed up this rather annoying state of affairs in his recent memoir, Hitch-22, when he admitted that after experiences with both sexes in his youth, he settled into exclusive heterosexuality when he had lost his looks to the point where only women would sleep with him.
If you’re a feminist - don’t freak out. I’m not saying the difference between men and women on this score is hardwired – for all I know it could be inculcated by parents and society at large.
The simple fact is, it certainly appears that even if a man has a head like a dropped pie he can delude himself into thinking he can charm the pants off any woman he chooses.
You don’t see many women walking around with their guts hanging out and a comb-over sauntering up to strange men and propositioning them, do you?
I have always been surprised by how much more insecure my female friends and I have been about our looks while being totally forgiving of our partners’ physical flaws. Of course, historically, this has been rooted in the different types of power afforded men and women.
Traditionally, men brought economic security, property ownership and social status through their occupation to the relationship table. Women, being denied access to the public sphere, were generally reducible to their physical attributes. But while the state of play has changed, it seems the players haven’t cottoned on.
Yes, there’s the cougar phenomenon. But this remains still largely in the realm of fantasy – it’s the stuff of TV shows and botoxed celebrities.
In the harsh light of day, people get a lot more squeamish when they see an older woman with her boobs falling out of some tight leopard print number grabbing the bum of what looks to be her son than the other way around.
Sure, when men do it, women will make bitchy comments while their husbands hide their envy, but that’s because they are struck by the inequality of it.
Personally, I know many single women who look great on paper. They are the whole package: attractive for their age, with their own homes, a great job, and no desire to have anyone look after them.
And the thing they whinge about the most is that when they sign up for online dating, bloated, middle-aged men post photos of themselves leaning against an expensive car and state their preference for much younger, petite, fit, attractive mates.
Some of you will want to give a Darwinian explanation for this.
Men are just made to seek out such women as they make the best reproductive partners. But a lot of the guys I’m talking about are not interested in children or have already had them and don’t want any more.
I’ve always thought that, for whatever reason, women seem to fix their self-image at the time they felt most awkward, and men at a time when they felt their best.
So for women that means when they were being teased about their thighs in high school and for men when they were holding aloft an under-16’s footy trophy.
Hence, my partner’s ability to laugh off any excess weight he may be carrying and still feel confident enough to flirt with young sales assistants and my need to put avert people’s gazes if I’m having a slightly bad hair day.
So I’m going to follow that dating website for wallflowers and see if my hunch is correct. I reckon there are very few men like Tom Clifford brave enough to accept gender equality in the looks department.
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