Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover…Unless It’s “Mein Kampf”

Mein Kampf

We’re always told, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and I’m here to tell you to judge it.  Yes, when you are literally talking about a book maybe that advice applies but when referring to people the proverb doesn’t quite hold water.  The famous phrase isn’t “Love at first good conversation” for a reason.  As shallow as it sounds, attraction is the initial driving force in a relationship.  I’m not saying someone’s personality can’t help or be a deal breaker, but looks are definitely important, especially in the beginning.

A picture says a thousand words and they’re not all necessarily benevolent.  There is a creep factor that seems to seep through pictures if you are in fact a creep.  It’s this little thing we like to call intuition.  If someone looks off, they most likely are off.  However, I grew up being told to give people chances regardless of looks because attraction is something that can develop.  Yes, maybe if you were friends first or met in person, but online it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I have already given a few examples of my tumultuous relationship with dating, but here’s another one that supports my argument:

For this round of online dating I have really been trying to find someone with similar interests and what can be perceived as a good personality (from the little information you have on a website) and a good match for me.  This guy contacted me and my first reaction to his pictures was a weird feeling in my gut.  I decided that I needed to be open minded and look at the whole profile and to my surprise I was actually laughing out loud.  *Side note: If you can make me laugh, it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll give you a shot.*  I replied and we had some good banter back and forth.  Some questionable areas of conversation arose about family and upbringing.  The only person he has a relationship with is his Dad and he moved around his whole life (a ton in recent years) so he did not have a huge family or social circle.  That should have been my second red flag after my gut reaction.

Despite the fact that my creep alarm was on high alert, I agreed to meet him.  My rationalization was that I am looking for a relationship so being open to different people and situations is part of the deal.  Much to my dismay, the date didn’t go well from the very beginning.

I was pulling up to the restaurant in my car trying to find parking when I saw this really short guy flipping his hair, like Justin Beiber, in a full Adidas sweatsuit and what looked like K Swiss sneakers.  I, of course, knew this was my date and again my stomach sank a little.  I found parking and walked up to him as he kept doing the hair flip.  As he turned toward me, it was like I was staring at the poster child for the Aryan race with what appeared to be a boil on his face the size of a walnut.  Awesome.  Off to another great start!

So we sit down to dinner in an overly crowded but, thankfully, dimly lit area of the restaurant.  For a few minutes we did have a good conversation and some laughs (if a third party came along they would think we were having a great date).  We started talking about holidays with the family and how he had missed that growing up.  I actually felt bad and thought maybe he was a good person with a bad sense of style and skin problems.  Wrong, I began to talk about one of my family’s Passover seders when he asked what a seder was.  I explained that I’m Jewish and on Passover we have a seder and gave him a quick history behind it.  He then replied, “Oh you’re Jewish?”.  After that things went downhill.  I kept staring at the boil as he spoke of his family roots.  Immediately after I declared my Jew status, he informed me that his grandparents were most likely Nazis in Germany, and said this while smiling.  The creep vibe started to spread through out my body as the conversation spiraled to a crashing stop.  I thought, am I really desperate enough to be taking dates with Hitler Youth?

Love may be blind but unfortunately so is desperation. All the signs were there to begin with.  Had I just trusted my intuition, I could have avoided this confusing/alarming date with the boiled faced anti-semite.  He had the appearance of a German Men’s Junior soccer player and the essence of a rapist.  Combine that with the Nazi ancestry and I was pretty much in hell.  I now have a rule that if I have a gag reflex to your picture, for any reason, I’m moving onto the next contestant.

Dating should be mostly fun and giving everyone under the sun a chance does not do you any good.  It’s admirable to not be shallow or materialistic but I rather not have to deal with a neo Nazi with a penchant for nomadic living.  I’m starting to theorize that his moving around was not a coincidence!  Let’s just say the FBI’s most wanted list now has more meaning in my life.

Basically, if the picture is not up to par then the person probably isn’t either.  It’s good to take pride in how you look and present yourself, even in a profile.  It says a lot about you and is a good way to separate the possible mates from the improbable.  Plus if you’re attracted from just a picture and profile…that’s not a bad sign.  Use caution when: A person has only one picture that is a self pic, far away shots, mug shots (or anything resembling), or has a picture that causes a physical reaction.  Those are warning signs to stay away.  Ignoring them does not make you a better person and will most likely involve an awkward or uncomfortable situation that leaves you right where you started.  Maybe a little bit more disturbed but still single and looking.

So the decision is up to you.  Judge a book by it’s cover or don’t.  But ask yourself this, do you really want to be the face on the milk carton?

Until the next charmer,

Bev

He’s Just Not That Into Himself…A Guide to Men’s Overcompensation

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There is a misconception that women are the insecure gender. Yes, girls criticize themselves and are socialized to believe if we’re not supermodels then we’re not attractive or perfect just the way we are. But what about men? No one ever discusses the insecurities that plague men because if a guy shows weakness he’s looked down upon or called a pussy. By no means do I want a guy who is crying all the time but being in touch with your feelings is not a bad thing! How can you be secure if you are not honest with how you feel about yourself?  The answer is NOT all men are secure.

I didn’t conduct an experiment with a control group but my exposure to men has lead me to this conclusion.  Since I began online dating again, I’ve noticed that most of the guys I am talking to have something in common, low self esteem.  However, it would not appear that way to the naked eye.  Many come off as cocky and overcompensate whether it’s how much money they have or how far along in their career they believe they are.  But it’s those little comments and gestures that blow their poker face.

Let me give you a clear example:

I was talking to this guy, we’ll call him Peter Griffin (explanation to follow), and he immediately asked me if I liked his pictures.  Peter had actually contacted me on another site a few years back and used the same pictures so I knew these were not recent.  There was the first hint of deception.  The old picture.  This will probably come up in every post but, come on, if you don’t look like your picture then don’t post it!  Then he asked me if I look like my pictures.  He pressed this topic for a while as I reassured him I wasn’t a 56 year old man pleasuring himself at the public library computer.  He kept talking about how we were both really good looking people (and pointed out how people tell him he’s handsome all the time).  He then pat himself on the back for his sexual prowess.  Peter noted quite a few times how long he could go for yet he hadn’t asked for my name yet.  I agreed to go out with him because he lives close and has a Labradoodle (as do I).  I thought, if nothing else, I would have another friend at the dog park.

The date.  Peter Griffin took me to a cafe that was cute but more so for meeting an old friend for coffee.  This was Saturday night and the nicest meal they had on the menu was a burger and fries.  But he was classy, he brought champagne, Korbel, and had it chilling for my arrival.  As I expected, he did not look like his pictures.  Coincidently his first question was, “So, do I look like my pics?”.  What am I supposed to say?  No, you have less hair, are 50 pounds heavier, and might be batting for the other team.  Then he went on to tell me about his new exercise regimen and low carb diet (he offered me some dieting tips…yup), what he had for lunch, what he has for lunch on a regular work day, and how he already feels lighter and more energetic.  Peter didn’t forget to mention the amazing apartment he has and how much money it costs, the new cars he gets every year (from a Hassidic family in Brooklyn?), and how he’s a “musician”.  FYI, owning a guitar and singing along with the radio does not make you a musician.

I hate goodbyes but this one I was looking forward to.  As we’re walking out he offers to drive me to my apartment since he thoughtfully picked a place that was closer to his apartment.  Unfortunately I don’t live in a city that you can just hail a cab so I decided to take him up on his offer…among other things.  He said he had to go into his apartment to get his keys.  He showed off his mediocre apartment, okay the view was amazing but this was nothing compared to what he made it seem.  He kept trying to show me his room and his king sized bed.  As deeply impressed as I was by his ability to furnish an apartment, I wasn’t that interested and wanted to get home.  I asked to use the bathroom and when I came out he called to me from his bedroom.  I walked in to find him laying on his bed naked (Castanza portrait-esq).  I was speechless, not because of his ballsy assumption that I’d want to have sex with him but that he looked so much like Peter Griffin from that episode of Family Guy where Peter’s bones disintegrate and he’s just a huge blob of fat.  I swear, the resemblance was uncanny!  He started to stretch and flex his leg to show off his assets.  He actually said, “Come feel.  I’m all muscle” and I couldn’t help but think “Under which layer of skin and fat?”.  I have nothing against overweight people but the way this guy spoke of himself you would think you were on a date with David Beckham, not the complete opposite.  As much as I enjoy awkward moments, this one needed to end.

But the journey continued.  I asked if he minded taking me home because I wasn’t feeling well, AKA was nauseous from the mental image of his naked body ingrained in my memory.  So he gets his clothes and brings them to the bathroom to dress (because being naked was ok but seeing him dress was off limits).  Then he was telling me how handy he is around the apartment and how he installed everything himself.  I inquired about the ceiling fan that was hanging from a wire and was one door slam away from crashing to the ground.  He conveniently didn’t work on that one. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, we get to the car and he puts on Nickelback and starts belting out “Never made it as a wise man, couldn’t cut it as a poor man stealing”.  I was embarrassed for him.  It was mostly his pride in liking bands like Nickelback and knowing every lyric to the songs as well as the key changes.  It didn’t stop there- he informed me that he just learned how to play this gem on the guitar!  Because hearing you play it will make it sound better, right?

Peter Griffin was just a walking contradiction. This guy had cajones!  Not only did he strip naked and try to seduce me but I was able to call him out on every lie and exaggeration that came out of his mouth.  To me he screamed insecure!  In an attempt to overcompensate for his shortcomings he came off as self conscious of his appearance, his finances, his masculinity, sexual capacity, and his musical ability (or lack there of).  Note that this behavior is typical for people with low self esteem.  Masking it with a facade only goes so far.  Your true nature will always show as it did in the Family Guy episode with the real Peter Griffin and now with the fake Peter Griffin, case in point.

To the nervous daters out there, you are not alone.  No one is completely secure but the more you confront these insecurities the better chance you have of overcoming them.  Don’t let these over confident personalities fool you.  Just because issues may not be visible right away doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  Like a braless girl in a see through shirt, you might be covered in fabric but we can still see your nipples.

Do: Live a naked life.  Be honest with yourself and your feelings.

Don’t: Actually get naked…especially as a surprise after the first date.  That’s one jack we don’t need popping out of the box.

A toast to living naked because eventually you will have to strip and bare all.

Stay Tuned!

-Bev