My issue is that only women I’m very firmly put off by will talk with me at all. I need to find a way to change my perspective, because if I keep rejecting the only people who have any interest in me because I’m not attracted to obese figures, then I’ll have to spend the rest of my life alone. I know I’m being judgmental, especially because I’m not a catch, but while I’m trying to be reasonable and develop a more mature attitude, I can’t force myself into attraction. What can I do to learn to be attracted to a different type of person? — Type Cast
You’re right — you can’t force yourself to be attracted to a physical type that you simply aren’t attracted to (though, for the record, plenty of men do find plus-size women sexy and attractive). And I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that the women you’re attracted to ARE into you and you simply don’t realize it, or that you are probably a better catch than you think you are and you just need to cultivate better self-confidence. I’ll believe you that women brush you off when you start speaking to them. That tells me that, rather than being unattractive, you probably just don’t know how to talk to women.
Instead of learning to be attracted to what you aren’t attracted to (which isn’t going to happen), you would be better off developing better social skills. What are you saying to these women who brush you off immediately? HOW are you saying it? What’s your body language? And what do the women look like? I understand if there’s a physical type you aren’t attracted to, but if you are only pursuing women who look like models, you’re probably not going to get anywhere. So, focus on women who might be overlooked by other men, and focus on talking to them like humans and not like objects. Avoid commenting on their physical attributes (i.e. “You’re beautiful,” “You have a nice smile,” “I love your eyes”). Compliments about physical traits can be great, and there’s an appropriate time for them, but your initial introduction isn’t it (it can be perceived as creepy, overly aggressive, and leering).
If I were you, I’d look into taking an improv class. You say you aren’t funny, but an improv class might help you tap into some sense of humor you didn’t realize you had. More than that, though, it can teach you the very important skills of listening and speaking to people — of thinking (and practicing in a safe space) what to say to someone in response to what they’re saying to you and what to say to them to elicit a reply and promote a dialogue. I suspect these are skills you aren’t good at, and, luckily, they are skills that can be taught, practiced, and honed. And these skills will help you talk to women. Will they make all women fall for you? No, but they will improve the odds of women giving you more than 20 seconds to make an impression before they brush you off. And, who knows — you might just meet some single women in class who find short, bald, overweight, not-very-funny men irresistible…or, at the very least, likable enough to meet for coffee.
Twenty-five years younger? Damn, I’d marry the plastic surgeon instead! Or, you could simply take advantage of your new look and play the field a bit. Your FWB has had many, many years to love you and commit to you. That he’s only coming around now, three years after reconnecting with you, and suddenly asking to marry you out of the blue, suggests that the love isn’t all that deep. He’s probably attracted to your new confidence. I bet a lot of men would be — maybe even one who didn’t cheat on you once before and then keep you at arm’s length for years.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.