A 20-something fellow came to me seeking advice. None of the women that interested him would give him the time of day. He was beginning to feel like he was destined to be alone. I had to turn off the pity party. Yes, things can be difficult for an average- to bad-looking guy in his 20s. But things will not always be that way.
The saving grace is that women are wonderful. They are not the shallow creatures that we men are. They can actually be attracted to a guy who’s not all that. And it is for this simple reason that the future is bright for all us guys who truly are “not all that.” (There are exceptions to this, of course. There are many women who are EXTREMELY shallow. Those are the ones you simply move past.)
It gets even better. As women move through their 20s and into their 30s and beyond, they better appreciate the finer qualities in men. So, for all you shallow guys out there (which is most of us, I’m sorry to admit), know this: if you follow my advice, in 5-10 years those quality women that are turning you down now will somehow actually become real options for you.
(I use the word “quality” because there are many beautiful women who are not what you would want to spend time with after the first month or two. Similarly, there are many quality women who do not meet the typical standards of beauty who could make you the happiest person in the world.)
There’s another reason for the future looking good for men: eventually the beautiful women will realize that most of the studly good-looking guys;
- are only looking to hook up and are likely to cheat on them at some point in their relationship, and are almost guaranteed to divorce if they marry in their 20s,
- are complete a-holes, or
- are actually quite insecure and/or selfish to the point of it being sickening, which tends to play out as THEY get older making them even less appealing as time passes.
At my 25th high school reunion, a cliché played out: One of the Mr. Popular studmuffins groped by a group of us, drunk and disheveled, flirting to the point of it being uncomfortable, and I heard a girl say, “I am SO glad I didn’t marry him.”
And so, the future is good for men, provided you adhere to the 10 keys to aging well.
1. Take care of yourself
Sorry, but you can’t be a lazy, fat slob. You have to at least make an effort. Women, in general, are not shallow, but they have their limits. And when I suggest that you take care of yourself, I mean the whole package:
- While you don’t have to be super-fit (you can even be overweight and many women don’t mind), you should be at least a LITTLE healthy. There’s a “glow,” a certain healthy look that people can see when a person takes care of themselves. And again, it’s not about being overweight or not. It’s about caring to make the effort to live a healthy lifestyle that’s appealing.
- Take the time to learn what’s healthy and what’s not. A diet of pizza and beer may be fun in college, but in your 40s it just says too many bad things about you in general.
- Don’t dress like a slob. If you have yesterday’s lunch on your shirt, it’s time to throw it in the wash. (By the way, know how to do laundry, too.) You don’t have to be a fashion plate, but you should at least be able to dress yourself in a respectable manner.
- Be clean. Body odor and bad breath have simple solutions. (It’s weird that these need to be said, but unfortunately, these need to be said.)
2. Have Interests
That’s it. All you have to do is be interested in things. It’ll help if you develop one of these interests into a talent or skill, but it’s not necessary. If all you do with your life is work, eat, sleep, and watch TV, then that would be NOT having interests.
Hike, take pictures, build websites, do woodworking, paint or draw (good or bad, doesn’t matter), read, listen to music, play a sport (even if it’s by yourself in your yard), write, grow vegetables, farm… do pretty much anything. Just be sincerely interested in something.
The grey area is your job. It’s better to be interested in your job than hating it, but it’s also good to develop outside interests.
There is one and only one exception to the have interests rule, and that is if you happen to be an involved, caring, loving father. (Know this, however: women can see through you if you are merely putting on a show to make yourself LOOK like a good dad when you really care more about looking like a good dad than you do for your children. And don’t live vicariously through your children. You can be a proud parent. Just let the child enjoy the child’s successes, while you make your own.)
Just care. Sincerely care about things. Care about things even when no one is looking. Pick up the piece of trash on the street and toss it in the garbage. Care about nature. About animals. About people.
Similarly, don’t be selfish. This is a hard one because people who are selfish don’t realize that they are, and will deny it to their death.
Caring about things is appealing. No woman will ever see you holding a door or helping someone and say, “He is such an ass.”
4. Be good to people – Be a good person
This is actually redundant with Caring, but it bears repeating. If you want to age well, the first thing you should do – and hopefully this isn’t really an effort – is simply be good to others. Just be a good person.
5. Be Pleasant
There are few things more UNappealing than to be around someone who constantly complains about everything, who finds fault with everything, who insults, demeans, hurts, jokes at their expense, is better, hates the world, talks negatively about others, and so on and so on and so on.
This seems like another one of those obvious things people should know to do, but there are people everywhere who are constantly unpleasant. Don’t be one of these people. These people suck.
(Ha! How was that for an example of what NOT to do?)
6. Have a Sense of Humor
Understand something very important: This does NOT mean you have to be a comedian. Or vulgar, or laughing at everything, or having a funny remark for every little thing that happens.
If something is amusing, laugh or giggle. Enjoy life. Smile. Be silly. Be a dork. Be happy. Be quietly amused.
It’s hard to explain how to have a sense of humor, so I just have to tell you to have one and you’ll have to figure it out.
7. Be open to new things
Be open to new things. ANY new things – food, music, philosophy, sex, entertainment, travel locations, people types… anything. (Except drugs or anything that can hurt you or someone or something else. Drugs may be funny as a college joke, but if you do drugs when you’re older, you’re just an idiot.)
8. Be Yourself
Don’t play the games. Be straightforward. Be natural, be relaxed, be yourself, even if you think the person is completely out of your league, you may be pleasantly surprised. If you meet someone while you’re being yourself and nothing develops, then that just saved you from a monstrously horrid relationship mess of being with someone that you should never have been with in the first place.
The flip side to this is NEVER try to be something that you’re not. If this works and your dream girl agrees to go out with you, then you will essentially waste a lot of time and money on what will eventually be a miserable, failed relationship. Save yourself the expensive headache and just be yourself.
Also know that it’s actually more humbling and more attractive when you DON’T have to be the center of attention all the time. It’s nice if you can take it and maintain composure when it’s there for you, but it’s often more appealing to have that confidence to let other people shine.
9. Make eye contact
When you speak with a girl, make eye contact and actually listen to what she’s saying. Women know that you’re going to check them out, but when you’re having a conversation with her, look her in the eye, acknowledge, respond, maintain a dialogue. Women know when you’re checking out the cleavage, and even if they’re wearing clothes that quite nearly demand this, they STILL want you to look them in the eye. (Yes, women will always remain confusing. That is one thing age will not help. Sorry.)
10. Ask Questions
This is actually a variation of the earlier points, be interested and care. If you want someone to like you and think YOU are interesting, then what you want to do is ask them questions. If you are truly interested and you truly care, then you should be interested in hearing someone’s story. You should want to hear their thoughts and opinions on things. If you’re asked a question, you should feel free to share, but eventually you want to let the other person shine.
Do this simple thing, ask sincere questions, and you’ll find that people absolutely love to talk with you. This article (letusponder.com/shortstories/questions.html) provides tons of questions and conversation starters. With this, you will never have an “awkward silence” moment.
Did you notice that with the exception of only PART of #1, everything is under YOUR control? Your efforts can literally make you more appealing to women. It may not happen overnight. It takes a while to demonstrate sincere interests and competence in something. But in 3-5 years, be assured that life will be good.
So, that’s it. If you do these 10 simple things, you will unquestionably get better with age.