Playing out of my league

A friend of mine on Twitter recently asked: Why do men always try to punch above their weight in the dating game?

I told her it it’s because men aren’t generally aware of their own weight, only of yours. And there’s some truth in that. But I’m not sure that’s all there is to it.

A woman spots a man: he’s 6’2″ of sinewy athleticism, with smouldering eyes and a killer smile. He has a rugged, outdoor virility and a thousand-yard stare. His trousers, though modest and loose, hint at something akin to a sea monster living down there. He’s driving an Aston Martin, for the love of God, an Aston Martin!

And then he opens his mouth… and the horror, the horror. A nasal, nasty Wolverhampton accent, talking about himself all the time, and his lips have the permanent wetness that causes stalagmites of saliva to form when he speaks. You pray he never has to utter a plosive, or you’ll be drenched. If you could persuade him to shut up and be a sex-toy for a few hours, fine. But as a relationship – never gonna happen. You have your pride!

Well here’s the news, sister: men have no such pride. Most men will overlook a multitude of sins if the body looks like it could sin really well. Stupid, charmless, brassy, temperamental and hot… all men hear is: “hot”.

But a woman will like a man for a range of reasons, and hotness – while certainly in demand – isn’t the key one. In fact, I don’t think there is a single key factor. Women are just more varied than men, in lots of ways.

If you look at a group of healthy men, they’ll all be within a couple of percent of each other in terms of ratio of shoulders, waist and hip. They’re like mass-produced wooden toys, with analogue functions: they’re built to do one thing, and they break if you try to make them do something else.

But women have a comparatively huge range of shapes and curves. There’s subtlety and sophistication and variety. You have a full set of physical options, whereas men are lumpen troglodytes, scratching their balls, pointing their knuckly digits at passing erogenous zones, and grunting.

And I think it’s the same with what women find attractive – you have the full set of sophisticated sensors, not just vagina-detecting device tucked down one trouser-leg; and as a result, you can be equally attracted to looks, humour, intelligence, money, creativity, athleticism, kindness, power, vulnerability, strength… the list is probably endless!

So men don’t immediately accept that women are out of their league, even if they self-evidently are. We give it a go anyway, because who knows: you may overlook my manifest physical failings, and fall for my ability with a butternut, or the surprising number of things I know about Rhinos. Women are weird that way, and even if men don’t understand them, we’re prepared to give it a go. Because most women don’t care what league you’re in, as long as the way you play the game makes them smile.