07/23/2007 10:23 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

At this moment I have no desire to say anything rude about our President, his administration, policies or his horrid war.

As a 75th birthday present to myself, (July 22nd) I thought that it was well past the time for me for me to once again become critical of my own behavior, at least in one important area.

I can't remember a time when I did not think of myself, (as well as most other men I knew), as shallow. Now, having been single for twenty years, I have had a long time to practice shallowness. I was of course very shallow when I was dating before I met my wife, but I did not have an understanding about my shallowness the way I do now.

What exactly do I mean by shallow? I will try to explain, and perhaps this will help me understand myself better then I already do. When I meet an "available" woman" I first look at her face, and then at her body, (as surreptitiously as possible.) She could be speaking of the deepest things and I would not hear a thing until I have finished looking all of the required parts......

I am not happy with myself when I do this yet I am aware as to how deep my shallowness runs. It has never been a thoughtful process, but rather something I think I was born with, like plain brown eyes.

When I was 13, give or take a few months, my childhood girlfriend and I were an item. I thought then as I do today that she was beautiful, inside and out. We were more then "boy/girl" in that we were good friends. As I recall we were never angry or abusive to one another, but of course it was a VERY long time ago and I can't be sure. I expect that even then I was shallow in that I was attracted to her because of her beauty, and not all of the other things that I later learned about her.

Our relationship ended when she went off to college, and although she was very beautiful, my relationship with her was one of the few in my life not based on my shallowness alone, yet I wonder if I would have had the same feelings about her were she not as pretty as she was. I am not proud of myself about this, yet I am not ashamed of it either.

When I was twenty years old and in the Air Force defending my country from some sort of threat from the North Koreans, I came across the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen. She had long blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, and a "drop dead" figure. I would see her in a variety of places (bars) that I visited when I was off duty, and every time I would see her, looking at her would take my breath away. I finally was introduced to her and when I summoned the courage to ask her out and when she said yes, I about died.

We dated for six weeks or so, and I was happy just being with her and looking at her was enough for a short while, but it was not enough for me after a while. She was sweet, but nothing more. Were it not for my shallowness, one date with her would have been more then necessary. One day I thought: I can't do this anymore. Seeing her more then one time had been a demonstration of my early-on shallowness. I was young, so what the hell. The bad news for me is that this character flaw never did go away.

In the intervening fifty- five odd years nothing much has changed. Have I been interested in the brightest, best-educated, most charming women around? Of course I haven't. I would never hold intellect against a woman, but if she was not attractive, I was not interested.

What many women learn about most men is that they are like me, inordinately shallow. I am of course able to "play deep" but it is a rule, a charade.
I have had two "long term" relationships in my adult life, one with my one and only wife who was quite attractive in addition to many other positive attributes, and Carol, the woman with whom I "lived with in "sin" for more then 4 years. Carol was very beautiful as well, but she was so much more then that to me. Having said that, had Carol not been as attractive as she was, our relationship never would have happened.

Over a year ago I joined an Internet dating service, and have gone out with many women. The first woman that I went out with asked me what was there about her "profile" that I found Interesting. She was not thrilled when I told her that I hardly went past her picture and contacted her because she was so pretty.

That is what I mean by shallow. The bad news is that I am still not the least bit uncomfortable in saying, "I am very shallow. I am not ashamed of my behavior, yet I am not proud of it either."

I wish I were less interested in the outside of a woman, and more interested in her mind and character. I am certain that I have overlooked many great women because of "my condition." I have been dismissive of so many women because they were not particularly attractive. I understand that I need to change my attitude about women, if only I knew how to do that.

I am happy to say that I do not think of myself as shallow in any other area, but then again, perhaps I am also very good at self deception.

Norman Horowitz
Once Callow and Now Shallow