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Ask Trixie: What can give me an edge in dating?

Another one of those older virgins approaching the age of 30 here. I guess my story is a fairly standard one of being a socially awkward male plagued by the lack of self-confidence, let alone the lack of success with the ladies. But I'd like to hope that I have a slightly more unique angle to the question I'm hoping an answer for.

For me, it's quite obvious that my lack of success is down to my own short-comings. I refuse to complain about "friendzones". Having friends is a good thing after all. But I do fear the lack of success - that is, no woman will want to have me as her partner. Neither do I really buy this "Nice guys finish last" argument fully. Clearly, the guys that are committed or married etc. are genuinely benign individuals, who appear to have none of the problems that I've got. So, I don't think selling out on the more benign parts of my psychology is the exclusive salvation from involuntary celibacy.

My problem is simple, and rather clear actually. In order to attract a female partner, you have to give a woman a reason to choose you! In its crudest form, the basic exchange is that a perfect ten gets to have a high-earner male, because high social status on the male side and good looks on the female side do guarantee vital contributions to the gene pool and thus sustained survival of the human race. Survival of the fittest.

However, what do I do if I'm not sufficiently well-off? I do hope to make decent money in the future, as I'm learning a trade that hopefully allows me to do so, but what do I do before I've got my feet firmly on the financial ground? I've been told that if a guy is poor and he has got other disadvantages, then a woman could choose him still if HE has something to offer that no other guy has.

So quite clearly, I need to figure out what is it that could possibly give me an edge. That I might need to invent reasons to choose me. It's a bit like in employment: in a job interview, you're always asked: "Why should I hire you?". I know, dating is not wholly analogous to job market, but still, if I was asked: "Why should a woman choose you as her mate", I'd remain stunningly silent. How do I correct this problem? – Tim I.D.

Hi Tim - Thanks for writing.

I'm glad you've already dismissed the 'friendzone' and 'nice guys finish last' hypotheses by seeing them for what they are: Social constructs that don't actually reflect real life.

I think you should add to the list the 'high social status on the male side and good looks on the female side' argument, which has been roundly dismissed by people who aren't sexist evolutionary psychologists. The assumption that hot women and rich men get the best partners and relationships also has little bearing on reality. In fact, it's often quite the opposite because (for women) if all anyone likes you for is your hot body, what happens when you get older and new model comes along?

So why should someone date you? I don't know you, but I'd imagine it would be because someone finds you attractive–something TOTALLY in the eye of the beholder, by the way–which could include having an appearance they like, being fun to be around, having some confidence, good hygiene, a sense of humor, not being a jerk, being easygoing and non-judgmental.

I'd also recommend having a very broad idea of what might be attractive to you. I'm not saying you're this person, but a lot of the guys we hear from who aren't meeting women in fact just aren't meeting supermodels. Or they're only looking for women 10-15 years younger on dating sites. So everyone needs to get over that.

Dating can really suck, no denying it. But like my friend Rosie's mother used to say "There's a shoe for every foot" which is true, but you do need to try on a lot of shoes to find the right one. Let us know how things go.

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here.