Hi, Athol–I recently discovered your Married Man blog and have really been enjoying it. Even though I am single, I am always curious about “life on the other side” and things I can learn to keep my marriage strong when/if that day comes. It’s a nice complement to the PUA/Game blogs that are focused more on pure pick-up for flings rather than LTR. Anything that helps men and women understand more about each other’s(as well as their own) natures is a good thing.I recently read an article at Focus on the Family’s singles website, Boundless, where one of their regular bloggers answered a reader question. (Since you are a former evangelical Christian, I’m assuming you are familiar with FOTF and the general mindset of the evangelical community.) The reader stated that he had been dating an overweight woman who in all other ways was an exceptional person whom he got along with very well and really cared about. They recently broke up, however, when he couldn’t find a way to get over her weight. The blogger who answered the letter, Candice Watters, essentially took the reader to task for his desire for a thinner girlfriend/wife and lamented that she feared too many men were giving up good wives just because they didn’t have ideal bodies. While I do think that some men can be overly picky about looks (usually when they desire a woman whose Sex Value exceeds their own and refuse to settle for less), I’ve seen over and over in men’s blogs that a wife’s looks are a huge component of a man’s love and attraction; essentially, looks have a huge domino effect on the rest of the relationship. I would love to read your take on this young man’s situation and how he could have done things better/differently, and how a man might encourage a woman to improve her looks without insulting her.For reference, here is the article: http://www.boundless.org/2005/answers/a0002268.cfmThanks, and keep up the good work.-AH
Thanks for the kind words much appreciated, this is a great question.
Yes I am a former evangelical Christian so very much understand the perspective there. My move to atheism is kind of off the topic of this blog (if Hambydammit ever wants a quest post I’ll do it there) but I have done full time Christian work and was generally heading towards pastoral ministry before changing course. The fact that what I am doing on this blog is ironically pastoral in feel (albeit secular in tone) is not lost on me.
So here’s the thing… a woman’s physical appearance as what is regarded as beautiful, is extremely important in mate selection. It’s absolutely NOT superficial for men to focus on the physical health and body shape of the woman, in fact of all the factors making up a woman’s sex rank it is the one that is weighted the heaviest.
There is a huge body of evidence that suggests feminine physical beauty is a well agreed upon thing across cultures world wide. It all comes down to quite measurable things like waist to hip ratio, skin tone, health / length of hair, symmetry, good immune system, good teeth and so on. All these things are positive indicators of the ability of the woman to have a good pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby and then manage to stay alive to raise it to adulthood. As I’ve said before, whatever is sexy is whatever is good for making and raising babies.
So when a male looks at a female his brain literally looks her over and sums up her baby making ability and then decides whether or not to inform the rest of his body that a healthy sexy female is in proximity to him. Men have literally no control over sexual attraction, it’s simply a response to stimuli. There’s no rational thought over looking at cleavage like “oh wow, I’m looking at cleavage, I should probably like that and get aroused”. You simply see the cleavage and drool. The rational part of your brain says stuff like “OMG I’m going to get called into Human Resources again if I don’t stop drooling at her tits”.
For a good Christian man… it’s supposedly a one woman lifetime commitment. So taking that at face value as something he saw as important and committed to, his choice of a wife is extremely serious. This is going to be the only woman he puts his sperm into. He absolutely cannot afford second best.
My hunch is that for the entire time of the relationship he very much enjoyed her personality and she brought a great deal of companionship to his life. He probably spent a huge amount of time trying to rationally convince himself that she was “good wife” material. He probably begged God in prayer to grant him proper sexual desire for her in an attempt of a spiritual solution. But his Body Agenda disagreed with his rational thought / spiritual hopes and simply declared her an “unfit female”. (If only not sexy enough for him to settle for.)
In terms of Christian men and women and Sex Rank, there’s a man shortage in the pews. It’s about a 2 guys to 3 gals ratio, and when you take away the minority of Christian gay men and the unfuckables it can seem more like a 1 to 2 ratio. (Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite people are unfuckables, you just wouldn’t want to… well you know.) So any time you get to swim on the better end of a 1 to 2 ratio, your Sex Rank is going to go up and if you’re on the wrong end of it… you’re going to lose a little.
Same thing happens in Alaska for women. If you’re a chick with all your teeth in Alaska you are the babe that everyone wants to meet. Alaskan boyfriends don’t get dumped, they just lose their turn.
So returning to the Christian guy in question… there’s no real Sex Rank issue forcing the issue on him. It’s like he’s a 8-9 and she’s a 5-6. (Outside of the church sphere they both might be a 7) All the pressure for him to be in a relationship with her is probably coming from his religious point of view that “she’s a really great Christian girl, smart, fun, companionable and has a wonderful spiritual connection to God and would be a great ministry partner”. But then again, if you’re a half decent unmarried male minister you pretty much have the pick of the litter of the single girls from your first church. It doesn’t get much sexier than being a religious leader for Alpha Male inducing gina tingle.
So what could have he done differently? My feeling is not a whole lot. As horrible as it sounds on an emotional level, he did the right thing by breaking it off with her. No doubt he’ll run into another good Christian woman that has all the same sort of personality, but comes in a better baby making body and they’ll have a bunch of happy healthy well adjusted little ankle biters together.
My experiences of men suggesting, or encouraging women to lose weight is that you quickly become the brunt of the most outrageous anger and resentment. Not to mention the vicious guilt tripping and shaming behavior. Believe me I’ve tried this sort of thing before and it has always gone very badly. Even with women who have bluntly stated that the primary problem in their marriage stemmed from the husbands lack of sexual interest over a 100 gained pounds by the wife, I’ve been thrown to the lions for suggesting that weight loss might be a practical solution to the issue. I just can’t be bothered dealing with such a self-evident problem with women who insist men should experience involuntary sexual interest completely contrary to their most obvious natures. I can’t imagine how badly a seminary student is going to be hammered with social scorn for suggesting a lack of attraction to a good Christian girlfriend because she is heavy. Oy.
If anything… and not that my wife is fat by any stretch of the imagination, when I work out more, she tends to work out more. That’s about as far as it goes in terms of practical tactics. Like I say, the problem is pretty self-evident. If they can’t be bothered to be self-motivated about dealing with a self-evident problem, I’m not sure this is someone to shackle yourself to for the rest of your life anyway. (That cuts both ways for men and women too btw – own and fix your shit gentlemen.) As I’ve said before, the purpose of marriage is not to save a woman, it’s to have a long, happy and productive life together.
So…. If there is a God… he’s obviously made men attracted to… attractive women. This would be his creation “working as intended”. It’s not a bug it’s a feature. Thank you for contacting tech support, have a blessed day!
As an aside… one of the things I found very disturbing and was a real factor in leading up to the time of my move to atheism was the way a few factors had a horrible effect together for my female friends. Too few males + directive to marry only within the faith + being told God had a special plan for all = a ticking bomb for angst for at least some of my friends. I was active in a youth group of about 40 girls and 25 boys, call me a cynic but I just looked around and did the math. If you’re a woman wanting marriage you can waste your youth and beauty in a church no less than you can in a bar. It has been heartbreaking to me to catch up to some of my old friends on Facebook recently and discover my cynical predictions from my early 20s have come horribly true.