Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Looks Are Pass/Fail

Looks Are Pass/Fail single and happy dating update  872080 11513796 1 200x300As I mentioned, one of my recent dates was with a younger (8 years younger, to be exact).  I will admit to being uncomfortable with this, but I’m trying to be open-minded and get over it because I had fun on our date (and we’re going out again tonight).

At some point on our date he said, pretty much out of nowhere, “are you really 40?”  As if that’s something I’d make up.  I said yes and told him I’d just turned 40 a few weeks ago.

So then he said, very sweetly, that I looked good.

Now, I’ve finally gotten to the place where I can take a without getting all weird.  Finally.  So when people say I look good for my age, I say thank you (graciously, I hope) and .  And so I did.  I thanked him and was getting ready to change the topic.

Then he repeated, ”You look good” and added “not just for 40. You’re prettier than your online pictures.”

Again, I thanked him. And then, for some dumbass reason I mentioned that I’d rather use average pictures of me, unglam. Instead of pictures that make me look better than I do on a normal day.  That way no one is ever disappointed when I show up. And he said (as all guys do) that he was sick of meeting women who show up looking nothing like their pics because the ones they used are so posed and made-up. I started to worry that we’d be trapped in a long discussion of online dating (which I consider a bad topic for first dates).

Anyway, then he said something really smart. “Looks are pass/fail”. He’s either attracted to someone or he isn’t. And if he isn’t, he isn’t.  He hopes that when he’s attracted to someone’s pictures it means he’d be attracted to them in person, but that’s not always the case (what with the make-up, posing, air-brushing, etc).

I’d have to agree with him on that, although I’d phrase it differently. Attraction, for me, is a pass/fail. I’m either attracted to a guy or not. And looks are a huge part of that attraction equation, but I also factor in the less obvious stuff – how a guy carries himself, how he treats the people around him…

And if he passes, he passes. If he fails, he fails. There’s not much I can do about it, either way. Which is why I think it’s freakin hysterical when people insinuate I should overlook my preferences because I “can’t afford to be picky anymore.” It’s pass/fail. And I’m not going to force myself to be with a guy who fails.  I’d rather, um, not.


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14 to “Looks Are Pass/Fail”


  1. Katie says:

    I totally understand! From his perspective you want the person to look like the photo they provide, and obviously if its not what you expect – its a fail!
    And I also agree the attraction part is a huge part. I mean I have noticed many times I will go out with attractive, well off men, but they just don’t keep me interested/engaged.

    Have a great day Simone.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yes. Attraction is about whether I want to spend time with a person + whether I find hi physically attractive. And sometimes the former trumps the latter.

  2. anonymous says:

    Tough love- all I meant is you could be a bit more open so you don’t miss out on something that could be great. I just wish someone had told it to me is all. I fucking love your blog. but you kind of proved my point when you said you went out with someone younger than you normally go for and was surprised by his intelligent comments and how you had a pretty good time. See? ☺

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks for reading, but um, try reading.

      No where did I write that I was surprised by his intelligent comment or that I was surprised I had a good time. I wrote that I went out with him because he seemed awesome, so awesome that it made me want to give him a shot, even though I feel awkward around (and am rarely attracted to ) younger men. And that we had fun.

      I frequently date guys who are older, younger, taller, chubbier than I’m normally comfortable with because they seem awesome. And it usually doesn’t work out because attraction is pass/fail and I can’t make myself be attracted to someone (I’m not sure anyone can). I do it anyway, though. Even though I think it might be a waste of time. If you didn’t have an open mind at some point and now you regret that….please don’t project. It really annoys the shit out of me when people do that.

  3. Jolene says:

    That is a great way of putting it – attraction IS pass/fail. Totally agree…one thing that is black and white, not really a gray area there…

  4. Leah says:

    Mmm I agree. I’ve always thought that attraction was binary :)

  5. NoMoreDuds says:

    “And it usually doesn’t work out because attraction is pass/fail and I can’t make myself be attracted to someone (I’m not sure anyone can). I do it anyway, though.”

    Unless you’ve found your lifelong soulmate, by definition, it hasn’t “usually worked out” even when you’ve dated someone you’re extremely attracted to. Obviously, it depends very much on how you define “work out” but I don’t think you can say “because” since you can pretty much point to any number of reasons as the cause of things not “working out.” So, I agree it’s a mistake to put too much focus on attraction, especially for people looking for a real, lasting relationship.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I believe there are lots of ways for a relationship to work out. Not every dater is seeking a lifelong soulmate every time they go out on a date.

      As to not putting too much focus on attraction? I really don’t understand that statement. All I know is that I’ll never attempt pursuing a romantic relationship with a man I’m not attracted to (again, been there-done that), and if that means (in some people’s view) that I’m not a person looking for a real, lasting relationship, I’m 100% cool with that.

      • NoMoreDuds says:

        Oh, I guess maybe I misread what you said. You said you “do it anyway” meaning, I thought, you DO date men you are not necessarily attracted to and I assumed that meant you were trying to give them a chance to grow on you. That was the point I was agreeing with.

        • Simone Grant says:

          Perhaps we are splitting hairs here, but I don’t think so. I will go on a first date (or even second) with a man who – as a whole – seems interesting to me, even if there is something about him that I don’t find appealing (height, weight, age, etc). Those are superficial things that don’t mean much in the long-run. However, if I’m not ATTRACTED to a guy (meaning, I have no desire to kiss him) then I won’t continue to date him. Dating w/o attraction, for me, is like eating when you’re not hungry. Kinda besides the point.

  6. NoMoreDuds says:

    Imposter. I don’t know who you are but your avatar is way too happy to be the real NoMoreDuds. Seriously, weirdo….