Some men tell you they think you are attractive on the first or other early dates. Some will never tell you. Which leaves many women wondering why this is? Here’s an in-depth look at why men don’t tell you you’re pretty.
For two months, I dated a man who never said he thought I was attractive. In frustration at his aloofness, one day, I said to him, “I don’t even know if you find me attractive.” He said, “I’m pursuing you, aren’t I?” Since I didn’t consider this wealthy man’s once-a-week phone calls and occasional casual, home-cooked meals much of a pursuit, I retorted, “Are you?”
In other words, he didn’t feel he needed to tell me he was attracted to me or thought I was pretty or sexy. His actions — minimal as they were — should speak for themselves. So I guessed he found me minimally attractive. Or he never learned to express himself to a woman in a way that would make her feel good. One thing was for sure – his love language did not include words of affirmation!
Upon sitting down for dinner with another man for a first encounter, he looked at me, paused, and said, “You’re beautiful.” I smiled and said, “Thank you.” That was the last time I heard it for several months. When he uttered it again, I said, “Thank you. That feels good to hear.” He said, “I don’t tell beautiful women they are beautiful.” When I asked, “Why not?” he said, “Beautiful women know they are beautiful, and they hear it all the time. It doesn’t mean anything to them because so many people tell them.”
“Average-looking women know they aren’t beautiful, so if you tell them they are, they know you are lying. And women think that someone wants something from them if you compliment their looks. I find it best not to tell women they are beautiful, pretty, or sexy.”
Can you imagine? Yes, I know you can, but I’m guessing you’re as incredulous as I am about these attitudes. I don’t know where people get these crazy notions that being kind or generous with our compliments and words can somehow backfire on us. Perhaps they think it’ll go straight to our pretty little heads, or we’ll move on because we suddenly think we’re too good for them. I’m sure there is a myriad of reasons, and while they may be valid to the person thinking them, they make no sense to me.
So what about those of us who aren’t classically beautiful? The idea of what constitutes beauty has evolved over the generations. When we look at Renaissance art, women are robust and curvaceous and seem comfortable with themselves. Modern times have given us Barbie dolls and fashion models and an expectation of what is ‘beautiful,’ if not realistic or attainable for most of us.
Using the last guy’s logic, since he finds you beautiful, you must hear this all the time. You have grown weary of hearing it. But if you have the kind of attractiveness that some find pretty and others find average, I bet you don’t feel you hear “You’re very pretty” too many times.
I think some men hold back telling a woman she is beautiful (or pretty or sexy) because they don’t want to come across as fawning, smarmy, unctuous, or gushy. They don’t want a woman to think he has fallen for her based only on her looks and can therefore be led around by his nose. When some women know a man is ga-ga for her, they use it to manipulate him. It’s happened for eons.
And, of course, men can use these compliments as a “line” to get closer to you. I met a man whose opening remark was, “You’re gorgeous!” I was enamored with him from the get-go, and while his salutation had certainly caught my attention, it was only part of the enticing package.
But alas, his thinking (or at least saying) I was gorgeous was not enough to keep him around after three dates. He went poof. While catchy, the opening line didn’t end up being more promising than a simple hello would have been. Still, any time I feel myself getting down, I just remind myself that I’m gorgeous. Maybe the three dates weren’t such a waste of time after all.
Intellectually we know that it only matters that we think we are attractive, and what others think isn’t our concern. But deep down, we also like to know that the person we are dating finds us attractive and is able to express that genuinely. Yes, it can be overdone so that you think the man only wants to be with you because of your looks.
But if he tells you sincerely and regularly, somehow it makes him more attractive too! And, of course, the more beautiful a person is on the inside, as shown through his thoughtfulness, kindness, caring, respect, and attention toward you and others, his outer looks become more appealing.
This is an excerpt from Dating Goddess’s book, Embracing Midlife Men: Insights into Curious Behaviors, one of the 15-book Adventures in Delicious Dating After 40 series.