In your answer to "Dismayed," the 32-year-old woman with a Ph.D. who was unimpressed by the men she was meeting, I was struck by how cold and calculating it all sounds: Women evolved to marry money and power; men look for eye candy to parade around on their arms. As a man who doesn't bring money or power to the table, what do I have to give up? Why can't you just fall in love like you got hit by a ton of bricks and have that be enough? — Male Romantic
Day to day in a relationship, it's inner beauty that counts. Unfortunately, it takes outer beauty to draw a man close enough to find out how wonderful a woman is on the inside ... which is why cosmetics companies make bajillions with stuff like L'Oreal Visible Radiance and not L'Oreal Sandwich-Making Kit to Feed the Homeless.
People wax on about "love at first sight" (or getting "hit by a ton of bricks") because the reality — "My genes made me drool on your shoe" — doesn't sound very romantic or nice. As evolutionary psychologist Dr. Michael Mills explained on my radio show, our genes don't care if we're happy. They're selfish little buggers, manipulating us to do whatever it takes so they can hop on to the next generation. If one big purple eyeball on a woman were an indicator of her health and fertility, Playboy would be called Cornea, and men in bars would be chatting up women's foreheads instead of their cleavage. Instead, men evolved to go for women with the features that actually do indicate fertility, like youth and an hourglass figure.
Women, on the other hand, evolved to be hot for men who can protect and provide, as women who went for wimpy deadbeats would've been more likely to have children who starved to death or got eaten by lions. (Genetic fail!)
If the reality seems depressing, check out the results of thumbing one's nose at it: a broke, girlfriendless guy sleeping on a buddy's couch, gnawing on pizza crusts, complaining about how superficial women are and what a tub Megan Fox has become. Being honest about what women want and realistic about how you stack up is how you improve your chances of having love in your life. You can optimize what you have to offer or scale back your demands for supermodeliciousness.
So, maybe you can't get Miss Universe, but make your peace with that and you could end up living happily ever after with Miss Hottie of the Cul-de-Sac. Winning her isn't a simple matter of flashing a bunch of cash. The protector-provider stuff just gets you in the door so you can show her the stuff money can't buy. That's when you convince her that the two of you can have a beautiful future together — one filled with liberal applications of CoverGirl Heal the Wounded Squirrel.
Romeo must dial
I'm online dating, and I'm uncomfortable giving my number out, probably because I'm reluctant to give a stranger several ways to access me. Also, I consider myself a good judge of character, and phone calls don't reveal as much as seeing a man's mannerisms, body language, etc. I like to get to know a man through e-mails and then meet and, if the chemistry is there, open myself up to calls. This arrangement seemed fine until today, when it was greatly stressed that a phone conversation would help the process along. — Woman On Hold
A person's nonverbal expressions can tell you many things — whether they're tense, angry, socially awkward — but probably not everything you need to know: "Uh-oh ... that's the posture of a man with human remains in his freezer."
Understandably, you're grasping for control and privacy, probably because you give up much of both online. But, consider the ridiculousness: You're standing firm on telephonic privacy after posting your picture and hopes and dreams like you're a pair of shoes for sale on eBay. You actually don't need to "give a stranger several ways to access (you)"; just explain that you aren't comfortable giving out your number, and ask for his. Use caller ID blocking to keep your number from being displayed (dial star 67 before dialing his number), or call from Skype.
It's good to be cautious, but in all probability this man's asking for your number to see whether meeting you seems worth an hour of his time, not because it's the first step in coming to your home and torturing you for days. There ultimately may be torture involved, but probably not the kind they write screaming headlines about: "Woman Has Coffee With Man From Dating Site; Dies a Little on the Inside During Their 37 Minutes Together."
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle To Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society.