Many years ago, I had a lady in a church who practically threw herself at me, even though I had made it clear that I was not interested. She had never been married, and it was hard not to feel bad for her: she had played the piano at everyone else’s wedding in that church. I’m sure she was sick and tired of being the pianist and not the bride.
But there was no way I could marry her. Not for all the coffee at Starbucks.
She was 17 years my senior (one year younger than my biological mother) and looked much older than that. I say that not to be mean, but I was not even remotely attracted to her. No amount of sympathy on my part could change that fact.
So when Christian leaders get preachy with me and insist that “beauty is only skin deep”…and “you need to quit being so vain”, I find myself resisting the urge–sometimes unsuccessfully–to tell such folks to do what Dick Cheney told Pat Leahy (D-VT) to do on the Senate floor.
Let’s be brutally honest:
- Looks matter
- That is true for both sexes (At 5 foot 3, I have been shot down more times than I can count by women who want their men taller.)
- That has been true since man and woman have had eyes
- That will always be true
- There is no escaping that fact.
On the other hand, the issue is not whether looks matter, but rather how realistic men and women are with respect to their expectations of their mates. To that extent, I think Michael Lawrence of Boundless is generally on the money.
Personally, I consider myself a middle-of-the-roader with respect to looks and appearances.
While I am a gym rat with respect to fitness–I am that out of medical necessity, as keeping my weight down is essential to avoiding back surgery–I do not expect her to have the same devotion to fitness that I have.
In other words, while I have high standards for myself, I don’t expect her to have her bar that high. For me, the key word on that front is reasonable. (I may be short, ladies, but I am very fit. Trouble is, most of you will look right over me. LOL)
Lawrence is also on the money with respect to one’s expectations in terms of character. Looks will only get her foot in the door with me. Without character, she will get dumped, and fast. Here are some ways she can really impress me:
- A demonstrated desire for the things of God
- Active participation in the ministries of the Church
- Regular Bible study
- Demonstrated maturity and stabilty
- Ability to put up with my talkative, geeky streak.
It’s that last one that gets me in trouble.
Ultimately, it’s long past time that both sexes grew the heck up and looked at each other through the eyes of Scripture. If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we’ll be in better position to look at each other with grace while extending legitimate accountability.
While men are more visual–let’s be honest, ladies: we are more wired that way–we guys need to grow up and do a better job focusing on character. Being visual does not require that one be shallow. After all, the Scriptures do tell us that “beauty is fleeting.” That is the part of Proverbs 31 that men and women often overlook.
On the other hand, the ladies need to grow up a little and quit using the fact that we men are visual–which has been true since the beginning of time–as an excuse for engaging in self-destructive behavior and then blaming men for it.
If you don’t take reaonable care of yourself, it is your own fault if I pass you up.