Why Eat, Pray, Love Can Be Harmful to Your (Emotional) Health

Why Eat, Pray, Love Can Be Harmful to Your (Emotional) Health
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, felt trapped.

She left her husband, sold a book, and took her book advance to find herself (and transcendent love) in Italy, India and Indonesia.

You know the rest.

Oprah, 3 years on New York Times Best Seller list, and a few years ago, a movie starring Julia Roberts.

So it should be no surprise that Eat, Pray, Love has been on my mind recently. Not just because all of my clients feel inspired by it, but because of its billboard campaign for the movie, which reads:

“You Don’t Need a Man. You Need a Champion.”

You hold out for your hero. We’ll hold out for our Supermodel/Top Chef/Rhodes Scholar. And all of us will end up alone.

That’s what you’re holding out for in a man.

Fair enough.

So, for a moment, I’d like you to imagine a movie designed specifically for men.

Not an action movie, not a horror movie.

A movie about one man’s perfect love.

After years of being trapped in a sexless, emotionless marriage to a woman who didn’t want to have a baby, Alex leaves his wife to go find himself. Distraught, he decides to have an adventure.

He drives to Vegas.

He flies to Ibiza.

He journeys to Thailand.

Until finally, he discovers the woman who gives him everything he needs.

He writes a book: Drink, Play, F@#%.

Howard Stern and Maxim magazine promote the hell out of it, and Alex sells the movie rights. Soon, it’s in a theater near you.

You won’t see it, of course, but you can’t miss the ubiquitous billboards:

“You don’t need a woman. You need a pornstar who cooks.”

I said this to a private client the other day and she couldn’t suppress her cackle.

Because she knew it was true.

You hold out for your hero.

We’ll hold out for our Supermodel/Top Chef/Rhodes Scholar.

And all of us will end up alone because there’s nobody that fits the bill. The end!

Not a very happy ending, is it?

Yes, I’m teasing about the billboard, but although my example may be a bit hyperbolic, it’s not that far from the truth.

Men really DO want the Supermodel/Top Chef/Rhodes Scholar.

Women really DO want a hero and a champion.

And yet, in order to find happiness, we both must relax our fantasies a little bit.

Not because they don’t feel great. They do.

The reason to relax your fantasies is because they’re unrealistic, and they almost invariably lead to disappointment.

Take Bill, for example. Bill’s not a bad guy. He just wants his unrealistic male fantasy.

If Bill really expects you to have the same body at 50 as you did at 20, he’s going to be really disappointed.

If Bill really expects you to allow him an “open relationship,” he’s going to be really disappointed.

If Bill really expects you to feed him, while he doesn’t even have to listen to you talk about your day, he’s going to be really disappointed.

For Bill to be happy, we can all agree, he has to adjust to reality.

The message of this blog post isn’t about settling. It’s not about being with a man you can barely tolerate. It’s about the expectation of what a man is capable of delivering.

If you’re coaching Bill, you tell him that he should be thrilled that he has an active, healthy, sexual woman who knows her way around the kitchen at all.

You don’t encourage him to hold out for Angelina Jolie meets Rachael Ray.

Do you?

Yet you still feel entitled to hold out for your fantasy. The hero. The champion.

Listen, as a dating coach, my job is to help you find happiness in your love life.

Because of this role, I have a unique access to your inner world. You might even say that I often understand you better than your own boyfriend.

Which is why it’s very easy for me to observe that your expectations of men are RARELY met.

Sometimes, you’re 100% correct in your assessment.

If he doesn’t call you regularly…
If he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend…
If he doesn’t ever hint at a future…

Dump his ass NOW.

But these aren’t the only expectations that aren’t being met by men. I usually hear something like this:

“I don’t know, Evan. I just don’t feel INSPIRED by him.”

Come again?

“I want to feel that thing in the pit of my stomach. To get nervous when he calls. To admire him and think about him all the time when we’re not together.”

You realize that every time you’ve had that feeling, it’s never worked out, right?

“Yes, but I can’t help how I feel.”

Fair enough.

Just know that, percentage-wise, the number of men who are cute, smart, kind, tall, funny, generous, ambitious, successful, and family-oriented is miniscule.

Now you want to add in “inspirational?”

You know how many men are left?

That’s okay. Neither do I.

The message of this blog post isn’t about settling. It’s not about being with a man you can barely tolerate.

It’s about the expectation of what a man is capable of delivering.

There are millions upon millions of decent looking, thoughtful, bright, solid men who want to marry you, cherish you, build a family, and create a life together.

If only you would love them and accept them.

Believe me, nobody wants you to achieve your dreams more than I do.

But if you’re holding out for a hero, yet no guy ever fits the bill (and also sticks around!), it may be time to act like Bill, who finally gave up on his Angelina Jolie fantasy and is thrilled to have found YOU.

This is how a man finds love. By accepting all that you are, imperfections included.

You need to do the same with him.

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Karl R

    Helen, (#61)
    It’s the BMI 18.5-24.9 range for both men and women. Call it whatever you like. I’ve seen both labels used for it in different sources, though “Normal BMI” is probably the more accurate one.

    Ruby asked: (#62)
    “Do your statistics take into account that there is a slight gap in body mass between men and women, or that women carry more body fat than men?”

    BMI is a weight/height^2 ratio. It does not address body fat. It is not directly related to appearance.

    If you take these into account, a woman will (typically) look fatter than a man who has the same BMI.

    The difference in body fat:
    As you mentioned, women on average have more body fat than men. Body fat has lower density than muscle and bone. If you have two people of equal height and weight, the person with more body fat will be bigger around.

    The difference in height:
    Let’s take two people who are equally proportioned, but different in height. For our example, we’ll assume two women, one who is 5’0″, the other who is 6’0″. The taller woman is 20% taller, and 20% larger around (but has the same body fat percentage and body fat distribution).

    Even though the two women are proportionately the same (height/girth), the taller woman will weigh 73% more, and have a BMI that’s 20% greater.

    To put some real numbers on it:
    Woman #1: 5’0″, 112.5 lbs, BMI 22.0
    Woman #2: 6’0″, 194.4 lbs, BMI 26.4

    If you took pictures of the two women against a blank wall (no visual references), they would look equally proportioned. If you blew up Woman #1’s photo so the two looked the same height, people would assume they were the same weight.

    Given that men are (on average) taller/heavier than women, that women (on average) have more body fat, and that men (on average) have more muscle mass, the women should (on average) have lower BMIs than the men if they look equally trim.

    That’s the best I can explain it while keeping it reasonably simple.

  2. 62
    Ruby

    Karl R #63

    I’ve just read that new studies have recently found that waist-to-height ratio is more accurate than BMI. One researcher noted that, “While body mass index, which is calculated from your weight and height, has long been considered the most reliable indicator of body fat, it doesn’t consider muscle mass, so could incorrectly indicate obesity,” and another article stated that, “for years, experts have criticized BMI, saying it does not provide a clear measurement of one’s fatness and good health. For example, BMI does not distinguish between muscle and fat so muscular people may be mis-categorized as overweight or obese. Furthermore, people with normal BMIs may still carry a lot of fat around their waists, upping their risk for metabolic conditions.” However, I’m not sure if any of this indicates whether men or women are more fit.

  3. 63
    Karl R

    Ruby said: (#64)
    “I’ve just read that new studies have recently found that waist-to-height ratio is more accurate than BMI.”
    “However, I’m not sure if any of this indicates whether men or women are more fit.”

    I’m aware of the BMI’s shortcomings. I started criticizing it as soon as it was explained to me (decades ago).

    Since Jennifer (#58) mentioned “expecting women to be/look 10 years younger with fabulous bodies”, I assumed she was speaking more about the visual aesthetic of fitness, not the underlying vital statistics. I doubt she’d be interested in my friend who has a great pulse, a great respiratory rate, great blood pressure, and a large pot belly.

    And I strongly suspect that she’s basing her opinion on what she sees when looking around her. I wanted to use a well-documented pool of data that wasn’t anecdotal. In addition, BMI at least accommodates that men and women are supposed to have different builds.

    I’ve repeatedly heard versions of this complaint:
    “Women take better care of themselves than men do.”

    Jennifer’s complaint was just a variation on this theme.

    When it comes to physique, that complaint appears to be inaccurate.

    If the women are talking about hair/nails/makeup … do they really want to date a metrosexual?

    If these women are complaining about clothes, why do they dress in comfortable, shapeless outfits when they’re home alone with their man, but dress up in order to spend an evening out with their girlfriends?

    Jennifer’s statement (#58) appears to be inaccurate, and a source of frustration for her. Perhaps it would benefit her to align her perceptions with reality, and to stop creating dissatisfaction for herself.

  4. 64
    David T

    Karl, there is a more fundamental flaw in your logic than how to interpret “average” or the specifics of muscle/fat/bone percentages. Without data on the entire distribution, the numbers you give do not give a complete story.

    The stats you cited could mean 68% of males have above normal BMI and 72% of women are below normal BMI. In that hyperbole case, clearly it is the women who are more successful in spite of having a lower percentage than men in the “normal” range. Can you provide the rest of the distribution?

  5. 65
    Paragon

    @ Ruby

    ” However, I’m not sure if any of this indicates whether men or women are more fit.”

    I was thinking along the lines of which sex is investing more effort in attracting the other.

    And while I won’t pretend that my conclusions follow closely from any *particular* scientific finding, I have already spoken something to the justification of my assumptions(ie. consider that sexual competition is a term that implies competition between males for access to females, rather than being a sexually nonspecific concept).

    On the other hand, I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why we should conclude that there exists a greater burden on the female sex, in attracting mates.

  6. 66
    Karl R

    David T said:
    “The stats you cited could mean 68% of males have above normal BMI and 72% of women are below normal BMI.”

    That’s not the case. If it were, I wouldn’t have used it as an example. I’m not in the business of distorting facts.

    David T said:
    “Can you provide the rest of the distribution?”

    It’s in a chart. This website is not conveniently set up so I can copy and paste a chart into here. I do not feel like spending one to two hours trying to recreate the data in a readable fashion.

    On the chart, ages are broken down into 10 year ranges (20-29, 30-39, … , 70+). The following statements (summarizing the chart) are true for each age range.

    For BMI…
    less than 18.5 women outnumber men
    less than 25.0 men outnumber women
    18.5 to 24.9 men outnumber women
    greater than 24.9 women outnumber men
    greater than 29.9 women outnumber men
    greater than 34.9 women outnumber men
    greater than 39.9 women outnumber men

    In general, the women’s BMIs were the same or worse than the men 10 years older than them (especially worse in terms of obesity and morbid obesity).

    My source was http://www.halls.md/body-mass-index/av.htm
    However, the data is not conveniently arranged for this sort of comparison. I initially played with it for 2-3 hours to extract this data into a chart. That source cited the CDC as being their source, but I wasn’t able to find a good chart on the CDC’s website either.

    Is that sufficient for you?

  7. 67
    Helen

    Karl R: why does it matter? Didn’t you get the memo in the other thread “What is love”? In it, #54 talks all about “fat girls (who also have those loudmouthed, annoying, grating personalities) who are engaged to decent men who aren’t fat.” If decent men like curves, we deliver curves. ;)

    More seriously, though: Regardless of what CDC posits, I don’t know that it makes medical sense to insist that men and women follow the same BMI ranges to determine health risks associated with weight. Not only that, but what men and women consider “fabulous bodies” may differ from a BMI standpoint. It makes sense for men to be attracted to curvier women. Women need breasts, hips, and tush to create, carry, and nurture babies. Even if not all couples intend to procreate, the evolutionary urge to mate with women who would provide nurturing advantages is still there.

  8. 68
    Paragon

    @ Helen

    “Karl R: why does it matter? Didn’t you get the memo in the other thread “What is love”? In it, #54 talks all about “fat girls (who also have those loudmouthed, annoying, grating personalities) who are engaged to decent men who aren’t fat.” If decent men like curves, we deliver curves.”

    I think this warrants further qualification, given that males are under evolutionary pressure to make qualitative concessions and trade-offs – they are compelled to breed more frequently, even to the point of considering inferior women as an option.

    Thus, such compromises are a particular male adaptation in pursuit of an optimally high mating rate.

  9. 69
    Ruby

    Karl R wrote: “If these women are complaining about clothes, why do they dress in comfortable, shapeless outfits when they’re home alone with their man, but dress up in order to spend an evening out with their girlfriends?”

    You mentioned this previously, and I responded that women don’t do this. They dress up when they are out in public, whether they are with men or women, and a woman will dress up to invite her new boyfriend over for a romantic dinner, etc.

    Paragon #67 wrote: “…I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why we should conclude that there exists a greater burden on the female sex, in attracting mates.”

    The diet and cosmetics industries are big business mainly for women. Women have plastic surgeries much more often than do men, and women in the public eye are still are judged much more harshly on their appearance than are men. Even models have gotten skinnier over the past 25 years. In one study I read about, women were judged more competent, attractive, and likable when they wore makeup.

    Women are much more critical of their own appearance than men are. Up to 8 out of 10 women will be dissatisfied with their reflection, and more than half may see a distorted image. Men tend to be satisfied with their appearance, or indifferent to it. I think the burden on women is there, but many men – and women – simply take it for granted.

  10. 70
    Karl R

    Ruby said: (#71)
    “Women are much more critical of their own appearance than men are. “

    This sounds to me like it’s the cause of everything else you describe.

    If you look in the mirror and are unhappy with what you see, it will cause you to do every other action that you described. If you’re being criticized by other women, even more so.

    Explain to me why we should call this an effort toward “mate attraction” rather than an effort toward bolstering self-esteem.

    Furthermore, every example you give revolves around outward appearance. Since men’s ability to attract mates is heavily based on their ability to earn/provide, shouldn’t you be counting the 45-70 hours I spend at work per week as “self-improvement” geared toward “mate attraction”?

    My efforts have gotten me promotions, bonuses, raises … I’m earning at least triple what I was a decade ago. The effect on my dating opportunities was blatantly obvious … even though I’ve barely altered my lifestyle.

  11. 71
    Paragon

    @ Ruby

    “The diet and cosmetics industries are big business mainly for women. Women have plastic surgeries much more often than do men”

    Go to any gym, or hazardous profession, and you will observe the degree of sexual dimorphim manifest in sexual competition(ie. where males are working far more vigorously – and hazardously – to embellish their status, for the implied purpose of attracting females).

    Males have the burden of earning more(as Karl R noted), being lean(not just *slim* – as negative energy balance need not imply *work* at all), etc.

    Consider the time/energy expenditure that these kinds of displays entail, and you will see that your examples are trivial by comparison.

    “and women in the public eye are still are judged much more harshly on their appearance than are men.”

    By other women.

    “Even models have gotten skinnier over the past 25 years.”

    Has the typical woman gotten skinnier?

    “Men tend to be satisfied with their appearance, or indifferent to it.”

    Or perhaps they feel less empowered by special pleading.

  12. 72
    Ruby

    Women do not use cosmetics, go on extreme diets, get plastic surgery, etc., to appeal to other women. And the cosmetics industry is big business run primarily by men, as are the ad agencies that advertise the products.

    It’s not about just being “slim” (difficult to attain through diet alone, and without exercise), it’s also about attaining an idealized standard of youth and beauty. The typical woman may not have gotten thinner, but the ideal that she is supposed to emulate is thinner, and even more unrealistic, than ever before.

    While there is pressure on men to earn a good living, these days most women have to (and want to) work also, even if they are married, and women are also exposed to numerous workplace hazards. Many also have the added burden of shouldering most of the domestic responsibilities in addition to their full-time jobs.

    Sure, it would benefit women to bolster their own self-esteem (and resist the cultural/corporate messages), but a culture where hyper-skinny, botoxed, liposuctioned, breast-implanted, forever-young women are idealized, doesn’t encourage that.

  13. 73
    Saint Stephen

    Ruby Said:
    The typical woman may not have gotten thinner, but the ideal that she is supposed to emulate is thinner, and even more unrealistic, than ever before.

    So does the typical woman woefully fail in securing a man/relationship since she couldn’t succeed in her frantic efforts to look like the “America’s next top model”?

  14. 74
    Karl R

    Ruby said: (#74)
    “The typical woman may not have gotten thinner, but the ideal that she is supposed to emulate is thinner, and even more unrealistic, than ever before.”

    I’ve never dated an ideal before. I’ve never even gotten an ideal’s phone number. I haven’t met any men who married ideals.

    Why would you compete against an ideal?

    The entire point of Evan’s post was to say that holding out for an ideal is an inffective strategy. I’d add that competing against an ideal is also a waste of energy.

    Ruby said: (#74)
    “While there is pressure on men to earn a good living, these days most women have to (and want to) work also,”

    Read this thread:
    http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/do-you-need-a-man-to-make-more-money-than-you-if-so-why/

    A majority of the women who posted to the thread wanted/expected the men to outearn them. In other words, the high-earning woman is adding to the pressure, because she expects the men to compete with her too.

    Ruby said: (#74)
    “And the cosmetics industry is big business run primarily by men,”

    http://www.avoncompany.com/aboutavon/boardofdirectors/index.html

    Just for a moment, let’s assume that the pictures are fakes. What point were you trying to make with that statement?

    Let me try a different approach.

    Complaining that men aren’t putting in as much effort into dating as women is a rant.

    Complaining that men are in worse physical shape than women is a rant.

    Complaining that women have to compete against an ideal is a rant.

    Complaining that the cosmetics industry is a male conspiracy against women is a rant.

    If you keep trying long enough, you’ll eventually find a rant that is actually true … and it will still be a rant.

    I didn’t get a fiancée by ranting. I find it unlikely that any woman will get a man by ranting either.

    Frustration occurs when reality fails to meet our expectations.

    If you expect your body to look like an unrealistic standard, you will be frustrated.

    If you expect men’s bodies to look like an unrealistic standard, you will be frustrated.

    If you expect men to put a comparable effort into dating as you, and then you overlook most of the efforts the men are making, you will be frustrated.

    If you expect cosmetics companies to do something besides sell cosmetics, you will be frustrated.

    When I started the dating process, I wasn’t expecting to get a woman who met an unrealistic standard. Therefore, I wasn’t frustrated when I couldn’t find a woman who met an unrealistic standard. And I didn’t settle when I ended up with a woman who doesn’t meet an unrealistic standard.

    That’s why Evan and I are so big on facts. We believe that if you understand and accept reality, you’ll have a more successful and less frustrating dating experience.

  15. 75
    Ruby

    Karl R #76

    I was responding to Paragon’s earlier assertion that he had “yet to hear a compelling argument for why we should conclude that there exists a greater burden on the female sex, in attracting mates,” and to your statement that women subscribe to the beauty culture because of pressure from other women.

    Avon’s history is as a company that empowered women to earn money by selling its products door-to-door, and to colleagues and friends. It’s a good company, but I don’t think it’s the norm in the beauty industry.

    You wrote, “…the high-earning woman is adding to the pressure, because she expects the men to compete with her too, ” but
    most women aren’t that high-earning, and most women are concerned about having a partner who can contribute a good income if the woman has to take time off to take care of their children. Women’s careers still do suffer for that.

    Obviously, as St Stephen asked, women are dating, and still getting into relationships, but many women ARE frustrated – not to mention depressed – trying to live up to an unreasonable standard. Okay, rant over.

  16. 76
    Helen

    Karl R, you are not necessarily representative of all men. In fact, you’ve shown yourself throughout this blog to be quite unusual.

    If your anecdotes are worthy of sharing, then so are mine: I have had some idiot male colleagues who have told me I need to lose weight, even though my BMI (speaking of BMIs) has never strayed anywhere near even the higher end of the normal range except when I was pregnant. One even had the nerve to comment on the size of my bottom. None of these comments were solicited; they came out of nowhere and were profoundly unwelcome.

    By contrast, I have never had a female friend, colleague, or acquaintance criticize my looks. They’re the ones who are always saying I’m beautiful and “too skinny.”

    If I were the type of person who felt the need to adjust myself to people’s wishes, I’d feel far more pressure from the MEN than the WOMEN to shrink down to a possibly unhealthy weight.

    Ruby has stated her points quite calmly. I would hardly qualify her statements as rants.

  17. 77
    Paragon

    @ Ruby

    “I was responding to Paragon’s earlier assertion that he had “yet to hear a compelling argument for why we should conclude that there exists a greater burden on the female sex, in attracting mates”

    Yes, and I am still waiting – evidence has been offered in this blog, countless times already, that shows females are more critical of men, than the reverse.

    @ Helen.

    “If I were the type of person who felt the need to adjust myself to people’s wishes, I’d feel far more pressure from the MEN than the WOMEN to shrink down to a possibly unhealthy weight.”

    I submit that you are posing a counterfactual(ie. you, in actuality *don’t* feel pressure) *precisely* because the male expectations are being overestimated.

  18. 78
    Ruby

    Paragon wrote:

    ““I was responding to Paragon’s earlier assertion that he had “yet to hear a compelling argument for why we should conclude that there exists a greater burden on the female sex, in attracting mates”

    Yes, and I am still waiting – evidence has been offered in this blog, countless times already, that shows females are more critical of men, than the reverse.”

    These sound like two different issues:
    1. Whether there a greater burden on females to attract males
    2. Whether females being more critical of males, or vice versa

  19. 79
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#78)
    “By contrast, I have never had a female friend, colleague, or acquaintance criticize my looks.”

    I think you’re observing a difference between how men and women communicate.

    Men criticize you to your face. Women gossip about you behind your back. (This is a general rule; there are occasional exceptions.) In general, if you hear a man use an unflattering description of someone behind their back, he’s simply using it to identify the person.

    Example:
    “I was talking to Brian about snorkeling …”
    “Who is Brian?”
    “One of the new guys. The huge one.”
    “Oh, him.”

    If the person knew Brian by name, there would be no reason for me to mention that he’s huge. And under these circumstances, men choose the most distinctive traits to describe someone, not the most negative.

    Just from second-hand accounts, I know more women have spoken about me behind my back than men have to my face. I can safely assume that I’m hearing no more than 10% of the comments that occur behind my back. (This is also supported by the number of times that women criticize the appearance of other men/women in my presence.)

    Even if I never heard about the gossip about me, I could infer its existence just by observing the gossip about other people.

    But that distinction does raise an interesting point. Which provides more pressure, a direct criticism to your face, or the criticism that occurs behind your back?

    Based on my understanding of psychology, I believe most people find the latter to cause more stress. (If any psychologists wish to support or refute this, be my guest.)

    This is what I’ve observed. While I may be atypical, I find it hard to believe that all of the men and women around me are atypical as well.

    Ruby said: (#77)
    “most women aren’t that high-earning, and most women are concerned about having a partner who can contribute a good income if the woman has to take time off to take care of their children.”

    I was regularly encountering this on Match.com with women who were earning $50K – $100K. And since I was only looking for women who didn’t want kids, I really don’t think that was their motive.

  20. 80
    Ruby

    Karl R wrote:

    “I was regularly encountering this on Match.com with women who were earning $50K – $100K. And since I was only looking for women who didn’t want kids, I really don’t think that was their motive.” and “I wasn’t frustrated when I couldn’t find a woman who met an unrealistic standard.”

    I’m glad you weren’t frustrated by that, otherwise it could be seen as a rant. ;-)

  21. 81
    Helen

    Karl R: oof, that’s perpetuating a gender stereotype. Men are plenty catty behind others’ backs; my husband and I have seen this aplenty in our workplaces and among our friends. Likewise, I have no reason to believe that women who call me skinny to my face are saying I’m fat behind my back when I’m simply not.

    “Which provides more pressure, a direct criticism to your face, or the criticism that occurs behind your back?”

    The direct criticism should, and it could well be positive pressure. Those who love you and care about you will criticize you directly for the purpose of personal growth. Sure, people can also offer meanspirited criticism to your face, but I’m certain you have the wherewithal to judge between constructive and destructive criticism. The criticism that occurs behind your back – whoever did it, if they didn’t do it to your face, they couldn’t have had any helpful intention. So don’t let them pressure you.

  22. 82
    Paragon

    @ Ruby

    “These sound like two different issues:
    1. Whether there a greater burden on females to attract males
    2. Whether females being more critical of males, or vice versa”

    Yes, but I also believe they are related, given that the same evidence also indicates that females are more selective than males, which obviously, places the burden on males(a trivial example would be the well established contact/reply rate disparity between the sexes in OLD studies).

    The onus is on males, which is why they invest more effort, and incur more liability as a result of that effort.

  23. 83
    Ruby

    Paragon #84

    The onus is on males to contact women and to ask them out, but there is a greater burden on women to look attractive to men, in order to get them to make contact. Women are taught not to chase men. Most dating advice tells women not to contact men first, and to be receptive to men, rather than to initiate. As a result, men are more used to rejection, and having to move on to the next woman if the first one isn’t interested.

  24. 84
    Paragon

    @ Ruby

    “The onus is on males to contact women and to ask them out, but there is a greater burden on women to look attractive to men, in order to get them to make contact. ”

    Again, where is your evidence that there is a greater burden on females to be attractive?

    The only evidence I know of, demonstrates that females are *more* critical of male attractiveness, than the other way around.

    If you have found something to dispute this, please share it.

    “Women are taught not to chase men.”

    Then it is not a well taught lesson, as it is indeed trivial to observe that women do indeed initiate with the most choice males.

  25. 85
    Ruby

    Paragon #86

    “Again, where is your evidence that there is a greater burden on females to be attractive?”

    Re-read all my previous posts.

    ‘Then it is not a well taught lesson, as it is indeed trivial to observe that women do indeed initiate with the most choice males.”

    Many women on online dating sites make it a rule to never initiate contact with men, even the so-called “choice” ones. Even the ones that do initiate contact, do so far less frequently than men do, and would prefer to avoid making the first contact.

    But maybe we are talking about different sorts of effort. What I keep seeing, from reading this blog, is that men feel that they have to make more of an effort, and that women are too picky, but that women think that they are the ones who make more effort and that men are the picky ones.

  26. 86
    Paragon

    @ Ruby

    “Many women on online dating sites make it a rule to never initiate contact with men, even the so-called “choice” ones. Even the ones that do initiate contact, do so far less frequently than men do, and would prefer to avoid making the first contact.”

    The reason why most women don’t initiate, is because they don’t feel compelled to – they (justifiably)*expect* that males
    will contact women they are interested in(which is what happens for the most part, except with that subset of mediocre females for whom males *also* have little expectation of reciprocity), which I would argue is a symptom/adaptation to the high rejection rates males tend to receive(since we can observe a similar pattern where the most unattractive women *also* tend to initiate).

    “But maybe we are talking about different sorts of effort.”

    I am talking about a *disparity* in effort.

    “What I keep seeing, from reading this blog, is that men feel that they have to make more of an effort, and that women are too picky, but that women think that they are the ones who make more effort and that men are the picky ones.”

    That is because, women like you are neglecting to consider those *independent* factors which mediate the success of male courtship(ie. beyond the effort of making their interest known).

    Whether these factors should be classified as ‘attraction'(which I did), is not relevant to the observation that they entail *effort*(which you seem to be ignoring – simply assuming that the only burden on males is in ‘initiating’).

  27. 87
    Cecily

    First, I just want to say that a woman looking for a ‘champion’ and a man looking for a ‘supermodel/top chef/rhode scholar’ is not the same thing. A supermodel, top chef and rhode scholar are specific titles to assign someone and they are unrealistic to expect one woman to be. 

    On the contrary, a ‘champion’ does not have to be someone who has won every medal at the olympics. A champion is simply someone who you see as an amazing person, someone who is strong in what they do and wants to win a woman. The word ‘champion’ is a way of emphasizing the feeling you should have when you want and the type of person you should want your partner to be in life. They should be strong, caring and want to win and protect you. That is a champion.

    A better word for a man looking for a woman is ‘goddess’. A man should be looking for someone that they are absolutely in awe of, who they think is beautiful and intelligent and possibly a fantastic cook if that is important to them in a partner. 

    I don’t understand why this was taken so literally. It’s supposed to be a beautiful way of looking at what happened in Liz’s life. She didn’t feel good in the life she had, and instead of staying miserable and feeling as though she failed, she went out searching and discovering new things in life and she found love. Her story is inspirational because it shows that you can never give up and that there is a plan for you and your life is full of lessons and potential happiness. 

    A champion and goddess are out there for every man & woman. They come in all different forms, but they are there. Don’t feel like you need to fill that gap, it will happen naturally and when you least expect it.

  28. 88
    Liv

    The problem with woman wanting a man who is a champion or a Prince Charming is that most of these women are not prizes nor are they princesses… And if they were treated as such they would have a serious problem with it… 

  29. 89
    Sparkling Emerald

    LOL for real !  I had a side splitting laughing moment with this post Evan.  I can totally see how you were a comedy writer in your last life. Thanks for the good laugh.  However, all kidding aside, most important part of this post came at the end when you said
    This is how a man finds love. By accepting all that you are, imperfections included.
    You need to do the same with him.”
     
    BTW, I saw the movie, and thought it was rather pointless and lame.

  30. 90
    Jennifer

    Perhaps you should read the book (or watch the movie) so you understand what the message is. These pieces need to be taken as a whole and rested with to digest the meaning for yourself. 
    The end monologue of the movie is beautiful and inspires personal discovery for many people. No relationship/partner is perfect but above everything else they should be supportive and encourage each other to self discover. 
    “In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

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