Neatness counts

Joey Garcia

Valentine’s Day really brought this home for me: I’m in the best relationship I have ever been in. My boyfriend is spiritually centered, intellectually stimulating and awesome in the sack. My problem is that he is also the most physically unattractive man I have ever dated. He is also a mess when it comes to grooming and attire. (When we go somewhere special, I do make clothing suggestions, and he does comply.) Am I the shallowest woman ever? I know I should appreciate what I have, but all I can see is what I don’t want. Am I being unfair to him? Should I move on?

Not until you call the Fab Five. With a makeover by the lads on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and a subscription to Men’s Health magazine, he might become more of a beauty. If he did, would you find something else to be beastly about? That’s the question to ask yourself. If your man’s physical appearance is truly the only issue, be relieved. It’s completely understandable to me that you want him to be more visually appealing in the ways that he can control. Good grooming is a standard of self-care, just like attention to clean, mended, occasion-appropriate attire. But not everyone received the same level of parenting about this, so it’s important to be gentle with others. It’s also important to remember that some people consider the lack of attention to grooming and clothing to be a sign of their spiritual transcendence over material concerns. Personally, I think that’s too calculated.

I suggest that you chat with your man about your hesitations. Admit that you fear sounding shallow but that your concerns are important to you. If he is open to exploring new vistas of style, make an appointment with a personal shopper at Nordstrom. The free service is an emotionally neutral way to be introduced to styles and colors that could delight you both.

I turned 40 last October and decided that it was time to find a life partner. I joined a dating service and placed ads online and in a local publication. I have not met the man of my dreams, but I have met a couple of nice men. However, I get so angry that I want to sue most of the guys whose ads I responded to or who e-mailed their description to me. Nearly all of them could be charged with false advertising. Rarely do they match their descriptions or photos, much less their attitudes and interests. Usually, they are only interested in a sexual encounter. Is there a way to screen these guys out?

Do you mean a way to force these men to see what you see? Hmm. Self-descriptions are like personal values. People rarely live their lives according to the values that they claim are most important. An even greater number of people have never clearly identified what their personal values are. So, the disparity between the description you read and the man who appears for a date is probably not intentional. It’s simply unconscious. Either they truly believe they are the person they described, or they believe that the description will entice a woman who will succumb to their imagined charms.

I suggest you keep trying. You are screening out the men you don’t want. You can screen out more by cutting short the dates that don’t work and by avoiding those ads clearly designed to intrigue a romance-starved woman. In the meantime, have a trusted friend read your ad to ensure it is as honest as possible.

Meditation of the week
“As soon as you have a thought, laugh at it,” suggested the sage Lao Tzu, centuries ago. Great advice! Can your ego take the challenge?

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