You can’t help who you’re attracted to. Sometimes you click with another person, sometimes you don’t. It’s actually science. A study done by Swiss biologist Claus Wedekind commonly referred to as the ‘sweaty t-shirt study’ showed that women were attracted by the smell of men who was genetically different in such a way that would give their offspring the potentially strongest immune system. It really is not a choice, sometimes our genes match up and sparks fly – it’s easy (we’ve all been there) – and sometimes they don’t and you can make a new friend.
With this knowledge in hand, dating should be simple. You go around meeting people and being social until your biological receptors start going haywire and then you start dating this person that mother nature and the universe have aligned you to be with. But as we all know it’s not that simple. Why? Because our egos get in the way.
The male ego tends to be preoccupied with one thing in particular – her looks. If you have a pretty girl on your arm that automatically raises your status in society. Other men become jealous, other women start to wonder what’s so special about you. This can make the ego feel fantastic. Are you actually attracted to her in the way I described above, that way you’ve felt before when fate crossed your path? ‘Who cares? She’s hot! I need to have her.’ I’m not saying that men aren’t naturally attracted to health and fertility, I’m saying sometimes we want an objectively beautiful woman even if we don’t feel a natural chemistry and we can barely stand her personality.
Women do the same thing, only the catch of their ego tends to be status, closely tied to security. Sure, the female ego appreciate looks as well – especially nowadays – however looks can be extremely relative to some girls if he works on Wall St or is in a successful band. They’ve been raised by their mothers and society to know that yes, ‘love is important’, but to make sure that a guy has a certain ‘look’, status, or other superficial boxes checked off first – plus they’ve got their girlfriends scrutinizing their dating moves.
There is also one thing that both male and female egos share an equal need for that I’d say is much stronger than the physical and status-driven attributes I’ve listed above: validation. It feels good to us when someone else likes us, when someone else is attracted to us – especially when we value the looks and or status of that someone – and both men and women get this validation though sex and relationships. The looks, status, and validation all cause many men and women to stay in relationships even if their ‘significant other’ treats them like crap because they’d rather deal with that misery than to lose their validation or status symbol.
Why does this matter? Easy, if you base your dating life on satisfying this ego you’ll always be unhappy. When you get that validation you feel good for a moment, but then it’s only a matter of time before you feel empty again. And when you don’t get that validation you’re miserable – “why didn’t that person like me, what did I do wrong”? You didn’t have real biological chemistry in the first place and you tried to force it to feed your never-satiated ego – that’s what you did wrong.
Of course there are plenty of men and women who avoid this trap, but for many people, including myself, it’s not that simple. I’ve had to really start considering this question when I meet a girl at the bar or go on a date. Am I actually attracted to her, or am I trying to force it just because it feels good to have a pretty girl liking me? It can be confusing at times, but when we really examine our feelings we always know the difference. Women can always tell the difference as well, and while some will immediately reject guys looking for an ego fix, others will ignore their female intuition because their ego wants that validation just as badly.
The difficult part now is facing the fact that you have a choice. You can either continue to try and satisfy your ego by trying to attract any woman that meets your own standard of “she’s attractive enough to sleep with” – and God knows I’ve been down that empty path – or you can decide that you’ve gotten sick of the roller coaster and want to find women that you have a real connection with. The choice is yours, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.