AMANDA: Drama Queen, I am a single woman in San Diego who joined online dating last year. I think I am in decent shape, but I'm not a skinny girl. I work out and eat fairly healthy, but I'm not fanatical about it. I feel like the guys online are consumed with a woman's body and are looking for "perfection." I am constantly being asked for more photos and full length body shots. When did men become so shallow and why is it making me feel so bad about myself and my body? Any advice, because I am "Insecure In San Diego"?
BROOKE: Amanda, welcome to the "Single Girls Insecure Club!" I chose your question out of all the submissions this week, because I am the president of this club. Seriously though, I chose your question, because it struck a chord, as I have been through this too many times and can sooo relate! I also know that many of my female readers (And single male readers!) can relate too! In fact, this just happened to me a few times recently with online dating, so I am freshly prepared to vent with you!
As a Life Coach, I will get to my objective professional advice later, but, first I want to share my personal experiences with you, as a fellow single chick. Like you, Amanda, I fancy myself a fairly "attractive" woman. I am an actress, as well, and have received fan mail with ridiculously flattering compliments, so I must not be too scary (Jokes the Scream Queen)! That said, I am very aware of my strengths and weaknesses! I am a very conscientious person who works out and commits to healthy eating about five days a week. I do, however, feel that there is a healthy "balance" to life and I refuse to starve myself or base everything on the physical, like my actress friends and I did when we were young! By nature, I am short, curvy and voluptuous! I will never be a tall, skinny Hollywood actress, nor Supermodel, and I am really okay with it! I have no shortage of men telling me how much they like my plump booty (please bear with me and my self -praise for the sake of this column)! My point here is that, like you, I should NOT have to make excuses nor apologies for myself or my body, yet, I find myself doing so all the time with the men in Los Angeles! Now, I want to be fair to the men for a moment and acknowledge that my issues and insecurities are mine to OWN! However, I have experienced your complaint with men and online dating more than I care to and I feel it needs to be addressed. I mean, I am still a little old school and I believe in respect and the rule that a true gentleman never asks a lady her age or weight. I think I am very fair and reasonable with the photos I post on the online dating sites, I make certain I always have a few full body shots posted and I list my body type as "average." That should be enough to give a guy a pretty clear idea of whom he is going to meet, right? So, I wonder why so many men find it necessary to ask for more photos or photos of me in bikinis or lingerie!? I, too, find this so disrespectful and I start to feel like there is something wrong with me! This brings up all my body image issues and I feel myself going right to the space of not feeling good enough! Then, I have to check and coach myself and ask, "Wait, I don't feel good enough for WHOM?" Really? I allow myself to not feel good enough for the disrespectful guy I don't want to date in the first place (ya feel me, Amanda?).
This situation is hilarious and just happened to me a few weeks ago. I received an email from a guy online. He looked handsome in his photos and posted that he was 45, although I kept thinking he looked at least ten years older than that. I gave him my number after a few emails and he texted me, asking for more full body shots. I told him he had already seen a few and wanted to know why he needed more. He texted me that, "He is a very handsome, successful man and ONLY dates beautiful, in-shape younger women." Of course, at this point I was ready to "throw up in my mouth," but I entertained him! He then proceeded to tell me that he ONLY dates women who wear clothing between the sizes of 0-6. He guessed that on a "good" day, I wear a 2 and on a "bad" day I wear a 4 (this is when my mouth opened and I grabbed the barf bag!). Funny thing is, he actually nailed my true sizes, but I thought to myself, "How could I ever date this shallow idiot?" and then I thought, "Either he worked in women's retail or he's Buffalo Bill from Silence Of The Lambs' little brother!!!" Either one, I was done! But, I just had to ask his REAL age, before I excused myself from the call and sure enough, he admitted he was 56! I only add this, because at 56, you would think he would know better and be more evolved, and now we know he is not only shallow, but a liar! Then, I had another guy pursue me online for quite some time and when I finally agreed to talk to him, he asked if I would email him photos of my butt and thighs first, as he could not date women with cellulite and required photos of this before meeting any of his dates in person. This one went beyond my shallow meter and raised my fetish or freak red flag!
Okay, now that I am done with my "frustrated single woman venting" bit, I will go life coach on our butts! There is so much great stuff in your question to dissect that I will only scratch the surface on each issue. First, I want to point out the issue of the INTERNET! I always feel it is a blessing and a curse! The Internet has given people the opportunity, forum and COURAGE to hide behind a screen and say things or behave in a way they NEVER would in person! Sometimes it can be a scary place and I believe this carries over to online dating! In some ways, I feel that online dating dismisses the "courting process," which I happen to be a big fan of! I feel as though men are no longer required to act like gentleman and, in their defense, women often forget to act like ladies! I think that online dating sites are so fully loaded with "options" that both men and women feel they have the right to be disrespectful and make demands. People have the attitude like, "There's another bus coming around the corner," and in many ways, this is true! It becomes a quantity over quality thing and when so many women are posting profiles in bikinis and lingerie, men think they have the right to ask the rest of us for photos like that, as well. I understand some of my female readers will take offense to this, but, in keeping it real, I do feel that in some ways, women are to blame for men's poor and disrespectful behavior! The more we give them what they want, the more they think it is acceptable and appropriate to ask or expect. Let's remember, ladies, that men are visual creatures! They want to see as much as they can before buying the goods! So, when a guy has just looked at twenty photos of women in their bra and panties or the last six women he exchanged numbers with texted him half-naked photos, he thinks he has the right to ask us for them, as well! Make a little more sense now?
More importantly, Amanda, it is the way we handle this and take responsibility for it that matters! We make CHOICES and can choose not to give away our POWER or allow men to make us feel a certain way about ourselves and our bodies! I always find it spiritually and metaphysically fascinating that when I am feeling insecure about my body or weight, I tend to attract men who are more shallow and obsessed with women having skinny or "perfect" bodies. Yet, when I am feeling positive and confident about my body, I tend to receive emails online from men who tell me they "love a woman with curves." I think it is about really owning and being cool with who we are. This includes the ability to look within and see our inner beauty and strengths, as well. I always speak and coach about women cultivating their inner strengths and talents, as well as their work and hobbies! We have to be in our power place enough to be able to say, "I don't care if I'm not the hottest, skinniest, youngest chick he is emailing online, because I KNOW that I... am smart; can hold a great conversation; can pick an exquisite bottle of wine; know every player on the Lakers; am a great lover; and can make a delicious lasagna!" One thing I do know for sure from reading a million dating books and dating plenty myself over the years is that men love CONFIDENT women! Once you impress a man with all your special qualities, I think the physical might take a back seat. Men also love women with SELF-RESPECT! I think this is the core of our Q&A today! If we respect ourselves, choose men online who respect us, say NO to requests that feel disrespectful (no texting or emailing naked photos), remember our worth, and hold out for the respectful men we deserve, the emails from the shallow fools will just be fodder for us to laugh at!
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