Men who are 'undateable'
Would you date a fellow who owned a cat? How about a man who used the word "brewski" for beer, or painted his face for a sporting event? It turns out such things make an "undesirable," according to the authors of the hot new book, "Undateable: 31...
Would you date a fellow who owned a cat? How about a man who used the word "brewski" for beer, or painted his face for a sporting event?
It turns out such things make an "undesirable," according to the authors of the hot new book, "Undateable: 311 Things Guys do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex" (Villard Books, 2010). Recently featured on "Oprah Winfrey," and the basis for a show, "Undateable," that just aired on VH1, authors Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle provide a handy little guide for men on what not to wear, say, do or be if they want to get a gal. The writers surveyed hundreds of women to come up with their list.
Perhaps because I'm divorced, I have heard such lists over and over. In fact, when a woman starts a sentence with "I want a man who ...," you know you're likely going to be sitting there for a long time. Men may claim to have "undateable" lists, too. But, generally, if she's kind to him, supportive and wants to have sex a lot (which should be saved for marriage -- different column), he's happy. OK, he wants her to be cute, too.
A woman's list is typically so much longer.
I think -- I hope -- "Undateable" is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But as they say, many a truth is spoken in jest. So, as someone who has dated several very different, very lovely men over the past few years, my own suggestion is generally ... just lighten up, ladies.
You'll be so much happier if you focus on the heart.
In my own case, he has to share my core values, which means being a committed Christian, and that alone covers many bases. Yes, after the basics, we all hope for certain other qualities. Humor is big with me. However, I really believe most women would be happier if they made more of an effort to rule him in instead of being so quick to rule him out.
I think it's wise to start with: "Would I want my daughters dating someone like him?" In other words, who cares if he wears Crocs with socks or puts hand sanitizer on before eating (more "undateable" qualities from the authors)? Is he attentive and kind, and does he want to make a woman feel special?
Even here, be careful. I believe that "love is in the doing," as Scripture teaches, but those efforts will look different in different men. So forget our culture's obsession with what I call "romantic pornography" -- i.e., all good men do not act like Patrick Dempsey's character in "Enchanted." Try to find and encourage the good that is there -- however awkwardly it might occasionally be expressed -- and not bemoan what isn't. Double that effort after marriage.
By the way, how about asking yourself how much you focus on him, and making him feel special? The answer should be "a lot."
Ladies, you may still decide that the man with the wonderful heart isn't a good match for you because of life goals, timing, views on children, just plain chemistry or something else. But if you put aside dopey, preconceived lists, you will be more able to focus on what really matters.
I've learned a lot over the years. And I hope I've grown up a bit, too. So I'm happy to share that a former beau -- I'm too old now to have "boyfriends" -- would frequently tell me that he was happy that he could so easily make me, well, happy.
Which I suppose begs the question of why I, a committed short-lister, am still single. Well, all I can say is that someday, if I have the answers -- or, better yet, if the question changes -- that's one column I'd be very happy to write.
-- Hart is the author of "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting our Kids -- And What to do About It." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .