Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Why Am I So Interested in Great-Looking Men?”

I know that good-lookers have extra dating hurdles and even though I am a good-looking woman, I know the ropes. The problem is I want a good-looking man and, at 60, he’s hard to find. Before I married, I had my pick of good lookers and those were the days when guys had to make the first move. I’m learning how to do that myself, but I’ve realized I need to unpack why I want a great-looking guy next to me in bed. I know the anthropological “answer” is that good looks are symmetrical and indicate healthy genes. In natural selection, the best-looking males are coveted. Why should that matter now that I am older though? Is it instinct or habit?

Most of my boyfriends and my husband were knock-outs. Maybe I do not want a committed relationship? I’ve thought of that as well. My life is full of love. I just want to date. Is it low self-esteem? I’ve been working on that in Codependents Anonymous for years and I think I’ve raised my self-esteem considerably. I am an alpha woman, ENFJ (Myers Briggs) and an 8 (Enneagram). Is it that alpha men are often good-looking as well as powerful? I still attract insecure men who want a strong woman, but I cut them loose pretty quickly. I know you may go after me for being conceited, but I see that as simplistic. Good lookers want dating relationships with peers, I believe. But why? Thanks for your thoughts on this. — A Good-Looking 60-Year-Old

You’re over-thinking this. You’re attracted to “good lookers” because they’re aesthetically pleasing to you and most people enjoy what is aesthetically pleasing to them, whether it’s people or clothes or furniture or home decor. The “anthropological answer” about strong genes is a moot point not because you’re 60 and past procreating years, but because we don’t cease being attracted to what we find aesthetically-pleasing if/when we don’t want children! And, look, there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to good lookers, or even in pursuing them exclusively (why would you pursue someone you aren’t attracted to, right?). The problem is when you prioritize good looks above everything else or when it’s the only thing you prioritize when looking for someone to date. People aren’t furniture, after all (or clothes or home decor, for that matter), but even the quality of those things is measured by much more than just their appearance. What materials are they made from? Are they environmentally-friendly? Are they made to last? Do they fit your (life)style? Are they practical? They all bring other qualities to the table — no pun intended — besides just what they look like, as should people you choose to date, and as should you!

I don’t think you’re conceited, but there’s a chance you’re shallow and boring, which isn’t going to attract quality men your way. You don’t mention any other trait about yourself that might appeal to anyone other than that you’re good-looking. And, let’s face it: at 60, the pool of men who are going to be attracted to you for your looks alone is much smaller than the pool of men who might have been attracted to just your looks when you were 30. You have to cultivate other traits to attract people and keep them interested (and this goes for people of all ages really, but is especially true as you age and your looks fade, as they do for pretty much everyone, no matter what their baseline of attractiveness might have been in their youth). Quality men want more than a pretty face.

You do want quality men, don’t you? Quality men are, themselves, more than just pretty faces. They respect women, they give back to their communities, they’re good communicators, and they can admit when they are wrong. They have qualities besides their looks that make them attractive: good jobs; good humor; compassion and kindness; good taste. Maybe they cook well, maybe they kiss well, maybe, like my husband, they have an abundance of patience and are especially skilled at putting things in perspective (good qualities when you happen to have a wife who tends toward the melodrama on occasion). What qualities might appeal to you and be a good match for your personality and lifestyle? What can you offer in return?

It sounds like you have a lot of relationship experience and have had a certain “type”: alpha men who are great-looking but insecure and with whom you form co-dependent relationships. You say you are still attracting that type, but you “cut them loose quickly.” You don’t say what type you are pursuing though. Have you tried dating against your type? What if you sought out and pursued men who are not alphas? Who aren’t insecure? Who are independent and not looking for a woman to depend on or to complete them, but who provide company to simply enjoy and maybe even learn from?

The question you should be asking isn’t why you are attracted to great-looking men, but: What else are you attracted to? And what else, besides your looks, is attractive about you? Cultivate those qualities, try dating against type, and prioritize other qualities besides physical attractiveness in the men you pursue. Consider this your new alpha woman goal, and I think you’ll be far more pleased with the results than you have been in past dating pursuits.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

20 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Hannanas July 16, 2019, 9:09 am

    I know it’s beside the point, but am I the only one who seriously detests the bullshit ‘ALPHA’ phrasing?
    WWS anyway!

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      anonymousse July 16, 2019, 1:21 pm

      I also detest that crap.

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      atlimbo July 22, 2019, 4:05 pm

      You are not at all alone in that. Ew.

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    LisforLeslie July 16, 2019, 9:16 am

    I think Wendy has all the right ideas – but I think there is something more to your screed: attractive nets attractive.

    Are you driven by the idea that good looking men only date good looking women and so therefore if you are dating a handsome man, you are therefore attractive? Is your self worth/self esteem tied to how others see you and whether they see you as desirable and attractive? And as long as the man is good looking then he’s desirable, whether or not he’s a good man or not?

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      atlimbo July 22, 2019, 4:09 pm

      “Is your self-worth/self-esteem tied to how others see you and whether they see you as desirable and attractive?”

      THIS. I think this is a huge point! The entire letter screams low self-esteem, NOT ‘being conceited’. In my experience, when someone is reaching for straight-up ~aesthetics when it comes to relationships (romantic or otherwise), that person is a deeply insecure human.

      OP, you talk about attracting ‘insecure men who want a strong woman’ but you don’t seem all that strong. You seem to be protesting too much on that one (or rather, insisting too much). I’d say look into your own issues of self-worth and relationships and go from there.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse July 16, 2019, 11:13 am

    I think it’s funny you’re trying to elevate your attraction to men as something more than it is. You like to date handsome guys. Good for you. It’s a personal taste, not really worthy of the philosophical analysis. Attractive people also can be attracted to people for something other than their looks. Your tastes are not everyone’s preference, or even every attractive person’s.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse July 16, 2019, 11:14 am

      ^to instead of as

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  • avatar

    kali July 16, 2019, 11:20 am

    You know, my ex’s husband was very good looking. Shallow as a saucer and insecure as all get-out, but he sure was nice to look at.

    I really hope the LW finds hidden depths within herself and also in potential mates. After all, you have to be able to talk to each other too.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 16, 2019, 11:37 am

    Because you’re fucking shallow. As are most beautiful people. NEWSFLASH, at sixty your looks are LONG gone anyway. Hell, mine were toast a decade ago. Once you hit 35… eh, it’s just over.

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      ron July 16, 2019, 11:45 am

      That’s a tad dramatic. Lot’s of really attractive people 50-55. Beyond that, yes the downward trend becomes rather obvious.

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      • avatar

        Donna July 16, 2019, 1:05 pm

        I think it’s important to make the distinction that the timespan of a person’s attractiveness differs according to the individual. That being said, you are going to want to have more adjectives to come mind when you think about yourself other than ‘attractive’ and ‘alpha’ when that time comes, or you are going to be left with virtually nothing to your life other than ‘She must have been a knockout when she was younger’.

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      Hannanas July 16, 2019, 3:09 pm

      It’s my 35th birthday in November and I feel personally attacked by this comment.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster July 17, 2019, 9:05 am

        Right?! I’ll be 35 next year and how dare you, sir lol.

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        atlim July 22, 2019, 4:19 pm

        My 35th birthday is literally tomorrow 😑

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    • avatar

      Hazel July 16, 2019, 7:36 pm

      about the looks gone at 60 thing- ordinarily would agree but recently was in a music event and this much older woman (I reckon at least 65 ) was by far the most beautiful person out of about 150 people, I thought it was just me, but when I referred to “the choir with the really beautiful woman in it” my partner knew instantly who I meant. So there are exceptions. But by that age, you’d hope to have something else going on for you for sure.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor July 16, 2019, 11:47 am

    Having a nanotech shop put together a violin for me so I can support this lady.

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    • avatar

      Ruby Tuesday July 16, 2019, 5:27 pm

      Play on, Fyodor.

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  • avatar

    Logan July 16, 2019, 1:43 pm

    You seem to be shallow and old which makes for a bad combo.

    You will soon be super old and single, an even worse combo.

    Since you seem to be dying to find a mate, its better to get rid of that alpha crap and good looking crap.

    If he can make to smile, laugh and treats you like a your an amazing person, showers you with kisses and makes great love to you? would you want that over some good looking guy that might hope onto the next younger sexier lady that comes along? seems like something you probably have been doing.

    if yo

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  • avatar

    Anonymous July 17, 2019, 7:07 am

    Wow, you sound super shallow LW. What about looking for a man who is interesting, smart, makes you laugh, supports you through thick and thin, loves to explore with you and do fun things, is great with your and his own family, is a good person and is caring, is kind to others, and does good things with his life. He can be good looking too.

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