No interest for an attractive Christian woman… or something else?

On Dalrock’s Incentives Matter, Jean comments:

We have a 22- year-old daughter who’s basically out of luck when it comes to getting married. There are just not enough suitable men to go around. Most worthwhile men in her age range are already married or engaged, and the rest who aren’t can command absolute perfection in the woman they choose. As parents, we really didn’t see that coming.

Our daughter is a debt-free virgin with no tattoos (haha), an 8/10 in appearance according to objective observers, fit and active, firm in her faith, kind and loyal, and would love to be a wife and SAHM more than anything else. Very not a feminist. She has a great sense of humor, but she’s reserved when she just meets people. She loves to cook and clean and decorate and make ordinary things special for the people she loves. On the downside, I guess for some, she has a degree and a career (that she’s very willing to give up for a family), lives on her own with her own money (too independent for some), she’s never dated anyone (which to some people is a red flag), and sometimes she has some acne (we’ve tried everything). She’s capable of driving a manual transmission and of doing manual labor (on missions trips or helping her dad around here), which I guess some people interpret as unfeminine (although the farm ladies at our church can do all that and more without becoming unfeminine). So she’s not terrible. Just not excellent enough to be chosen.

She’s constantly approached by the über-handsome PUA type who are quickly uninterested when they realize she’s not looking for one of them. But the men she’s attracted to—quiet Christian guys, handsome to her, productive, with good morals—never reciprocate her interest. I don’t know if they’re holding out for someone better or what. I keep hoping that eventually someone will realize he’s not going to get the ultimate dream girl and will settle for my daughter, but quite possibly not.

She’s starting to realize that she’s probably going to be left out of marriage and motherhood. It makes her sad, but she’s not willing to just grab someone to have someone and then make a train wreck of things. Her list of must-haves, as I outlined above, is short and pretty open, but there just isn’t anyone like that who’s interested in her, even though she’s done things “right” as a young woman.

Deti answers:

This makes no sense at all. If your daughter really is what you say she is, she should have no trouble at all finding men who are interested. None whatsoever. There should be at least 5 men interested in her, and who have shown interest. I simply do not believe this. The only way this makes any sense is

–you live in a very small town and are isolated from most other people
–you live in an isolated, closed, cloistered religious group
–your daughter is sending signals of disinterest to men

I suspect this because you say she is reserved when just meeting people. Well, if your daughter really is attracted to “quiet Christian guys” with “good morals”, she’s going to have to step out a little and make that interest VERY VERY clear.

But the men she’s attracted to—quiet Christian guys, handsome to her, productive, with good morals—never reciprocate her interest. I don’t know if they’re holding out for someone better or what.

I don’t believe this either. She isn’t showing interest in them. If she really were showing interest in them, they’d notice and reciprocate. Your daughter could very, very easily get every single one of these men interested in her. Very easily.

Jean, there could be many things going on here. I don’t know. It could be any one or a combination of:

–Your daughter is not anywhere close to as physically attractive as you say she is.
–She isn’t really interested in these Christian men.
–If she is interested in these Christian men, she’s not showing it clearly enough.
–she’s sending signals to these Christian men that they are interpreting as disinterest, whether right or wrong.
–She isn’t as kind and nice as you think she is.
–You, and she, are isolated and cloistered.
–Her standards are too high.
–She isn’t really making herself available to men wanting to date her.

One of the things I’ve noticed more when talking to my wife is the differences in the way men and women rate attractiveness. I’ve somewhat explored this before, but women don’t really understand male attraction.

Women that my wife may rate an “8” I would only rate as a “6” in attractiveness and vice versa. The difference between an 8 and a 6 is pretty huge. The majority of men would be likely fall over themselves trying to date an 8, but many men would simply be interested in dating a 6. Of course, the same can be said for women to men, so you can see how there is also a bottleneck when the average is in the 4-6 range. The people who are more attractive have a big advantage in getting married. But that was always the case. You can see above in the comments where there was a lot of misunderstanding until I explained how curves played into that.

In any case, a woman with obvious acne is generally not an 8 to begin with, so we can see the cracks in the story there. It’s likely that these objective observers are biased.

One thing I would add to Deti’s list is that if she is physically attractive but her style could suck. If she’s wearing more form fitting dresses and skirts that bring out her attractiveness or attractive body, that would make men more inclined to initiate or at the very least tell her she’s beautiful (if she was objectively an 8).

Contrary to many of Dalrock’s commenters, most Christian men actually want to see that their wife is living by herself and can support herself.

Of course, none of these women or parents actually want their daughter to play the Ruth role. Ruth update. That means going out of your way to make it obvious to a man that you’re interested.

Ruth 3:1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. 7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.

8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet! 9 “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

The funny part about this story was that Naomi told Ruth to show up at Boaz’s “house” unannounced, invite herself in, lay down near him until he wakes up, and then confess to him. This would literally be called ‘stalking’ nowadays. There is one thing about human nature then and now: if you’re attractive it’s not stalking but romantic.

Yet Christian woman today don’t even want to try to flirt with men or start up conversations with men they like or show interest in him or his hobbies and things like that. I just don’t get it.

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12 Responses to No interest for an attractive Christian woman… or something else?

  1. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    I don’t get it either. For the story to be true, all the young men would have to be completely discouraged. We can’t be there yet. As for present day women, they do want their beau to fall into their lap out of nowhere and sweep them off their feet. Someone who can do that does not sound like a good prospect for a lifetime relationship.

  2. Derek Ramsey says:

    “Yet Christian woman today don’t even want to try to flirt with men or start up conversations with men they like or show interest in him or his hobbies and things like that. I just don’t get it.”

    Many Christian women expect to be pursued, not do the pursuing. They want men to do all the work. Thus Deti’s comment:

    “…your daughter is sending signals of disinterest to men”

    I’m not sure if Deti means that she is actively sending negative signals or just not signalling anything at all (assuming there is a difference).

    I’m not a particularly attractive person. I’m not ugly or overweight, but I certainly managed to marry a woman who was (relatively) much more attractive than me. I did this by pursuing her. She wasn’t putting out signals of interest to any men in her life, including me. I got a fantastic wife out of the process and we are a great match.

    Some women are just timid when it comes to this sort of thing. They may have all the other boxes checked, but they are too introverted to make the required moves. Women like this should have their marriages arranged rather than hope that a man will decide to pursue her against all signals, considering that this is often considered stalking.

  3. Wayne says:

    I agree that there is probably a sex-specific miscalibration of her SMV. I know from experience that some women are not beautiful at all, but there’s something about them that screams “sexy hot stuff”. Also, there are a lot of women that other women find attractive, but who are totally gross to guys.

    “Women like this should have their marriages arranged…”

    In this instance, I agree that an arranged marriage may prove to be optimal. However, I am really curious to know what her reaction would be upon meeting the arranged (and willing) husband. I tend to think that she would be thoroughly disgusted to find her equivalent MMV counterpart.

  4. An observer says:

    1. She’s a 5 at best.
    2. She recipricates zero interest.
    3. No mere man meets her standards.
    Typical church girl….

  5. KPP says:

    I’ve got a 22 year-old son. I think I may have mentioned him and his search for a wife here before. He had some pretty specific things that disqualified most women right away (they had to be a active committed Christian, attractive, no tattoos or unnatural hair colors, feminine in presentation, long hair, wanted a big family, committed to homeschooling, committed to sexual purity, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.)

    It’s been a long and somewhat discouraging road for him, as you might imagine. But a few months back, he saw an attractive young 19 year-old woman at a homeschool/homeschool alumni dance. He asked her to dance and they ended up chatting for about 15 minutes. He was very interested in getting to know her better, so he got her dad’s phone number from a mutual friend and gave him a call to ask how their family handles such issues (she still lives at home). He later met with her dad and mom and they talked for about 4 hours. After that he was invited over to meet the family. He and the girl talked further and she meets his requirements. She is also very interested in him, so they’re starting to – well, I don’t know what you’d call it. Date? Court? Build a relationship? Whatever. He’s marriage-minded and so is she, so we’ll see where it goes.

    In any case, the point of all this is that it’s OK to have high standards. But if you have high standards, you have to do the work to meet and eliminate the ones who don’t qualify. The daughter mentioned here can’t just wait for the right man to fall out of the sky into her lap. Identify a guy. Find a way to be around him (church? Bible study group? Social group? Same circle of friends?). If nothing else, just talk to him, find out what he likes that you have in common and indicate that you should do that thing together some time. Then organize that event, with friends (preferably including some of his) and invite him along. Then find opportunities to ask for his help. Repay him with homemade cookies. Brag about how awesome he was to help you out in front of others. Transition to spending one-on-one time if you can. Take it from there.

    What will happen? Either he’ll give you signs that he’s not interested and you can end it and move on to the next prospect, or his interest will increase and you can develop the relationship.

    Does this sound manipulative? Damn straight it’s manipulative. But it’s not dishonest manipulation – it’s a way of increasing your profile to overcome a man’s ability to overlook you.

    I’m writing all this out, knowing that the author will never see it. But I’ve got a 16 year-old daughter and organizing my thoughts around this is important.

  6. Lexet Blog says:

    Ruth is not a story about the actions a woman should take to win a man. It’s about levarite marriage and duty, as well as faith.

    The girl described is a man. Independent tough and strong. After men turn 25, the idea of a young woman who leaves home becomes a red flag, especially if you are a serious Christian trying to date or court the biblical way.

    And a tough girl trying to get a quiet guy is obvious beta seeking. She wants to run the house

  7. Lexet Blog says:

    It’s important to distinguish high standards from biblically wise standards. Don’t cave on the latter. The former may be negotiable

  8. Scott says:

    I wish the post I did together with Elspeth

    (The June cleaver one)

    Had not been lost. It had like 600 comments and it was all about this topic.

  9. @ Scott

    I remember that, but don’t remember any of the content from it.

  10. AngloSaxon says:

    I’m looking for some advice. There is an attractive 30 y.o old woman at church who is interested in me. Do you think I should try make something happen with her or find a younger girl.

  11. Lane says:

    Well, how old are you? If you’re 45, I say go for it. If you’re 28, hard pass.

  12. @ AngloSaxon

    There’s no reason you shouldn’t ask her out.

    Asking someone out is getting to know them better. It’s not committing to a relationship, engagement, or marriage.

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