Donal’s post starts to explore this and this is a follow up to my previous post on revisiting the Christian marriage market. To distill the issues down, it usually always comes down to two different things, which are typically categorized as “attractiveness” and “desirability.”
- Become more attractive if you’re not getting asked out and/or not able to maintain relationships (aside from developing better people and communication skills).
- Cultivate the roles and responsibilities of marriage from the Scripture as well as good character and work ethic.
Neither sex is being told to do either nowadays.
First, let’s address number 1 on attractiveness.
Women have it “easier” for what they need to do for physical beauty but their ceiling is fixed to a certain extent. Wear dresses, get long hair, take care of their bodies with good nutrition and exercise, take care of skin, and use some light flattering makeup if necessary. Facial genetics, body type, and so on can’t change that much which is why the ceiling is fixed. However, the fact that men love all different types of women plays into womens’ favor. Review: feminine beauty is highly controllable. I do think his percentages are off though.
Men tend to have a greater ceiling, but much of it is abstruse. PSALM/LAMPS summarize the various ‘traits’ shall we say which are power, status, athleticism, looks, money. However, most of these things take time to accumulate and/or are difficult to cultivate. How does one necessarily become more ‘powerful’ in personality or more manly? It’s difficult to explain and difficult to teach and inspire in men.
This is also why mens’ attractiveness tends to peak in their 30s while female attractiveness tends to peak in their late teens and early to mid 20s.
In general, women know what will make them more attractive. Their only problem is doing it. Christian women are often persuaded that they shouldn’t do it sadly and to their detriment. In general, men do not know what will make them more attractive. This is part of why the market is imbalanced in favor of women, not to mention the fact that most women tend to find most men unattractive (see: OKCupid statistics).
Second, let’s address number 2 on desirability.
The desirable traits for Christians looking for other Christians are a serious Christian growing in the faith, cultivating good works and the fruits of the Spirit, and building good character, and so on.
Generally speaking, both sexes are being set up to fail, each in different ways. I would not necessarily categorize one sex as having a harder time than the other.
Women will tend to have more trouble in terms of roles and responsibilities because society and even the Church is all about ‘feminist’ and ‘careerist’ views. Submission, respect, homemaking, and kindness are in short supply. When everyone is saying to do something, it’s going to be much more difficult to do the right thing straight out of the Scriptures.
On the flipside, men are still trashed and disrespected to a large extent in both the culture and Church. The blame for everything is placed on them, even when it is not their fault and there is rebellion in the home. The husbands and boyfriends are set up to fail because they believe they should be “nice” rather than masculine and authoritative and kind.
Overall, men tend to be more deceived in terms of what the Scriptures state especially from the Church pulpit, while women tend to be more deceived in terms of falling to worldly values. This is generally a wash.
One of the things that doesn’t often get enough attention is reciprocality. The essential nature of this concept is the observation of ‘assortive mating’ where generally 10s match up with 10s, 9s match up with 9s, and so on.
Generally, those who consistently exercise and have good nutrition habits — “muscular” for male and “toned” for female — tend to have better prospects in terms of attracting a mate. Those who put some effort into their clothing choices, style, grooming, and so on tend to make better first impressions and have greater prospects. Certainly, there are some exceptions, but it’s a general trend.
When you both the concerns of #1 on attractiveness and #2 on desirability together, you see the common trends of the unmasculine nice Christian man who other Christian women see as “just friends” and the typical chasing the attractive bad boys and/or missionary dating.
The Christian women who rightly won’t date bad boys or missionary date tend to feel they’re stuck in a funk of no prospects and/or no dates. The Christian nice guys believe they have decent prospects but can’t get an accepted date or maintain a relationship, or they believe they have no decent prospects given particular criteria.
Most ‘traditional families’ tend to instill desirability traits within their children, but fail to address attraction on the level of its overall importance for marriage. In general, this is why I see the common trend of most 8-10s being married because they simply are attractive to the opposite sex and have many ‘chances’ at marriage, even despite low desirability quotients from some of said spouses. On the other hand, the declining marriage rates among the <=4-7s show that drops in attractiveness make the desirability quotients more applicable to selection.
The most applicable notion for both Christian men and women is to try to boost up their attractiveness to the 7+ range if at all possible and approach marriage seriously from an earlier age, especially the young women. Desirability via growth in the faith and aim toward developing a solid set of abilities to fulfill roles and responsibilities in marriage is still paramount, but attraction should not be neglected as another serious component that plays a significant factor in increasing prospects.
At this juncture, I don’t think it is wise to say whether Christian “women” or “men” have it harder. Both have somewhat terrible to mediocre prospects, if they are blow average to slightly above average. Rather, those who are not more than average attractiveness have it more difficult than those who are conventionally or exceptionally attractive.
I suppose that brings us full circle back to the old SNL sexual harassment skit with Tom Brady:
Be handsome, be attractive, and don’t be unattractive.
Creative, I know. But it accurately describes the issue to a T.
The real question is why Christian men and women still refuse to do anything about improving their prospective odds and hope that someone comes to find them.
Okay, a man might not be overweight or skinny… but he would have better odds if he put on a lot more muscle and lost some fat. Yeah, a woman might not be overweight or she is slim… but she would probably have better odds if she looked closer to a fitness model or toned. That’s simply one area. Clothes, style, hair, grooming, and other things can also factor in as well.