If You Want Love, You’re Gonna Have To Aim Lower



Here’s a little food for thought for a rainy Saturday afternoon:

In the comments of a recent post, DMN said this:

If you manage to meet a guy “offline” it’s very likely to be a guy who also has an online profile on the apps or sites. It’s the same guys. The OPs question is really just another variety of the “the guys who show interest in me online are not the ones I’m interested in.” Put more bluntly, she is not attractive to the guys she wants to attract. Unless her profile is a horribly poor misrepresentation of her real-life person, she’s likely to find the same poor results offline (albeit without offensive messages). This is true regardless of whether the sister of a random internet commenter once met a guy offline.

She’s asking the wrong question. It’s not how can I meet people offline but rather why am I not attracting people online that I’m happy with? The answer to the latter question, if dealt with honestly, would be much more productive both online and off.

Everyone has to contend with unwanted attention from creeps. For many of us, we have enough positive experience to outweigh dealing with an occasional weirdo. If the OP is ONLY getting attention from creeps, it means there’s something unattractive about her or her profile. No offline meet-up is going to fix it.


Now, I don’t happen to believe anybody when they say they only receive messages from creeps. They’re being hyperbolic with statements like that. I think a more accurate statement is they’re not hearing from anyone that interests them or that they find attractive.

I received a letter from someone this morning looking for help with her profile. She explained that she was 59 years old and the men she was meeting ranged from 38-64. The young ones never stuck around (derp). About the older ones, she said, “Either I simply could not imagine them on top of me, they are sick/frail/ready for the nursing home, or they turned out to be married or poly.”

Okay, look. As DMN said, unless your profile presents you in a really horrible light or you are totally unfortunate looking in photos, those men and women you hear from are pretty much your league and you should get used to it. Let me explain something: there isn’t a dating coach or image consultant or stylist that’s going to transform someone so well that they begin to pull more attractive people. That’s a myth, one that these frauds perpetuate over and over. All those testimonials from clients braying about how awesome the coach is because he/she helped the client find the love of their life? Here’s the coaches secret:

He/She convinced their clients to settle. Of course, nobody will ever admit that. Some have even been brainwashed into believing they didn’t settle, they just changed what they were looking for in a mate.

More than likely your profile isn’t the problem. The problem is your expectations. I mean, honestly, how different do a 59 year old and a 64 year look and act? It’s a matter of 5 years. Let’s stop with excuses. And let’s also stop with “I only hear from creeps.” You don’t only hear from creeps. You’re just not hearing from the people you prefer to date. And that, my loves, is the problem.

The secret to this common complaint is simple: aim lower. That’s it. Nobody is saying to go for the person with three eyes or the hump in their back. If you want a relationship of some kind then go for people that are attainable. Sure, a 38 year old dude might date a 58 year old just to see what the sex is like, but they’re dating them seriously. Any adult woman should know this. 38 year old = not attainable. Don’t be confused because you can get two or three dates out of them. That means nothing. Men are as picky as their options at that moment.

That’s the other problem. Men and women both start to believe they are as attractive as all these scammers and gold diggers and players and bucket listers say they are. All of those compliments warps their self-perception. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you get a message from someone and think, “Wow, really?” then they’re probably not sincere.

Like DMN said: if you’re not hearing from the people you want to hear from, then more than likely you are not attractive to them. That does not mean you’re unattractive. It just means you’re shooting out of your league. Which is a thing, for fuck’s sake. Please stop trying to deny that it isn’t by citing some random one off experience you had or heard of.

Aim lower and the majority of your stress and angst around online dating will fade away.

ETA: There is one other option. You can continue to shoot for the people who never seem to respond or message you, but you need to accept that you’ll probably be waiting a very long time. That isn’t meant to be sarcastic. You very well might be able to pull the people you think you can, but if you want them, guaranteed others do, too. In those instances, it’s about timing. So fire up that Kindle and download a few books, because it’s gonna be awhile.




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19 Responses to “If You Want Love, You’re Gonna Have To Aim Lower”

  1. BTownGirl Says:

    I always say find the concession that you care least about. For me, it’s age. I’m 34 and have zilch desire to compete with 26 year-olds, so it works out! For someone else it might be money, looks, hobbies in common, what have you. Just figure out what you’re going to have to get the fuck over, ya know? ;)

  2. Dave Says:

    Good article. Everyone is flawed in some way or another so hoping for that perfect fantasy mate is an exercise in futility. Pick your poison and live in the present.

  3. coffeestop Says:

    I am in my 50’s, I am pretty fit, average looking, and I try not to dress frumpy. I attract everybody from people who look like they are on their death bed to men who are clearly out of my league. I figure my league is average like me. Many men my age are not very good at self assessment, I look in the mirror and I see a middle aged chick. I find many men my age look in the mirror and see somebody 20 years younger. I am sure plenty of women do that as well.

    I disliked online dating because I realized I did not have the proper patience to endure people not looking like their profile pictures which happened to me very frequently, all my pictures are no older than two years, or people acting one way texting and another in person. That made me decide I was the problem because the stuff I am complaining about happens to everybody all the time and I just was not built for it. You need a certain energy and fortitude that I was not willing to committ to. I guess I would rather put my energy into enhancing my social circle and meeting somebody that way, if I don’t I am still out doing enjoyable things and not watching hours of Netflix so it seems like a win.

    Part of the issue with “settling” is people often mean different things. I am not going to “settle” on the core things that are important to me like how I am treated and if we have common ground and neither should anybody else. But, the reality is you may well have to settle on other things. I have a friend my age who insists on only dating men who are of a similar education to her and I have told her straight up that is a huge mistake, if a man can carry a conversation with her and seems intelligent whether he has a degree or a professional career should not matter.

    • Brad Says:

      But as the comment Marcy referenced says, they’re largely the same people. The guys you’re planning to meet “organically” probably have online dating profiles. So it’s starting to be an exercise in futility.

      At least online dating lets you filter by your ‘must-haves’ instead of sitting through a dinner only to realize there is a deal-breaker.

      But I agree that in the future the new “unicorns” will be people who have never tried online dating and aren’t jaded by the process.

      • coffeestop Says:

        I don’t have a problem with the idea that men I meet organically might have dating profiles, I am not interested in policing what other people do I just am not feeling it online. I am good at reading people in real life which might be why online dating frustruates me. I can usually tell if a man is attracted to me not saying I am all that and a piece of cake or anything but people are not super mysterious if you have decent listening and observation skills.

        • Laure Says:

          “People are not super mysterious if you have decent listening and observation skills.”

          Please tell me how you do this, ’cause I really don’t have a clue.

    • Brad Says:

      I know women who consider education a deal-breaker, but this never made any sense to me. They themselves are pretentious so I guess it makes sense.

      I think income is a much more useful deal-breaker, since it leads to many more issues with compatibility than a sheet of paper.

      • coffeestop Says:

        I think in my friend’s case she values education and works in the field, I see it as a tool. I have two graduate degrees in two different areas, I cannot even remember the last time I mentioned that to a dating partner because they probably don’t care and I got them for me not other people.

      • Nia Says:

        If you’re really asking, education is, for most, a lot more than just a sheet of paper. Most 4 year schools require 2 years of core classes and 2 in your major, meaning that most people get “the basics” of literature, history, science, math, and the soft sciences, like psychology and sociology.
        Education is about two things: learning about the world before you and around you, and helping you discover your calling or passion, and refining those abilities so you’re marketable and employable in the working world.
        A good education will broaden your horizons, so that you have greater compassion and understanding for others, greater understanding of world events, both current and historical. It also allows you to:
        Learn how to work with others you may disagree with
        Learn how to think critically and to place events or opinions in context
        Discover works of art and literature from different points of view
        Learn how to form an argument and support it with both facts and scholarship
        Learn how to manage time, how to study and research, and how to plan and execute major projects
        Learn “excellent written and spoken communication”, which is something almost all white collar salaried office jobs require

        There are some jobs that pay well without a traditional college education (or secondary school, which I consider a lengthy military career to be on par with), but no amount of money can make someone a good conversationalist or give them a broad, contextual, sophisticated historical view, or teach them that their opinion is not “God’s word”, or that politics don’t happen in a vacuum.

        That’s why women care about education.

  4. BRM Says:

    There’s a lot of truth in the words of this post. I’m not surprised when I get the occasional date with a women out-of-my-league which goes no where. I’m trying to get past my lotto mentality in dating.

    At the same time I think it’s the totality of things which make up a league: i.e. average looking but rich – you just went from a 5.5 to an 8 in many people’s mind (this explains while you’ll see hot women with somewhat unattractive looking men), or you were a hot looking men/women in your 20’s/30’s, but you let yourself go and fell down a few leagues. You could also be average looking, with a solid job/finances, and a heart of gold – without the finances and good heart you’re a 5, but the good stuff takes you to a solid 6.5-7. This happened to a friend of mine recently and he’s very happy at the moment.

    The concept of a leagues is a good concept and it’s helped me stop chasing the unattainable, but there’s also a bit of subjectivity and luck involved, plus I believe karma too. There’s stunning women with excellent finances, that find themselves alone, and some averaging looking guys who have done well for themselves. I believe that personality can be the factor that takes you up or down an entire point: i.e. there’s some super-hot women I would never date because of their entitled personalities, and some average looking gals who’ve been wonderful in every way and in bed more then the hot girls.

    I think it depends what you’re looking for.

    Life is hard, and romance is harder. I think it’s all about being happy inside, and not being blinded by red flags hidden by initially awesome sex (we’re all susceptible to this).

    But in the end Moxie is right not just about dating, but life. It’s good to a dream, at the same time there’s a range of possibilities which statistically become less and less likely as we age. I think a great way to not be alone is to have a lot of connections in life which are loving and giving. Romance is a crap shoot.

  5. Nia Says:

    At every age, you will get people who are, for whatever reason, either creepers, or very far outside the range of people you find attractive. No one is suggesting you go for those people. But I think what they are suggesting is that you look at the heart and overall compatibility, rather than “hawtie hawt hawt”.
    I’ve been out a handful of times with a man that at first, I had 10% or less interest in physically. He’s not unattractive objectively, he just didn’t spark that sizzle. As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve developed much more of an attraction–and whether or not we continue down the dating path or become friends instead, that’s the ‘slow burn’ I’m going to be looking for in the future.
    There needs to be *A* spark—intellectual, physical, romantic, or friends, but red-hot attraction can grow from there. Don’t try to picture them on top of you before you’ve even met (!!), picture having coffee, holding hands, or going for a walk in the park. Perhaps it will grow over time to the point where you like him so much that suddenly you CAN see being intimate with him.
    Take it from me that rip your pants off hots for someone can only go downhill from that initial high.

    • Dave Says:

      I agree with you on this. With my last relationship things started with an intellectual connection before anything physical and I remember thinking I wasn’t too sure about her at first. As things progressed, turned out both of us were in the same boat initially…there was some attraction and chemistry at first…but it definitely wasn’t of the rip your pants off variety. But the physical part became very intense once we were both comfortable.

      One of the things I remember her telling me several months later was that she never would’ve thought she’d fall for someone like me. In her mind she had some ideas of what qualities she looked for a man, and although she didn’t see a lot initially, once she looked past the surface, she realized that I had a lot to offer her. And it was exactly the same for me.

      I remember almost canceling the 2nd date because I “wasn’t really feeling it”…but then with some patience and good conversation, I saw that there was much there than meets the eye. :)

  6. Ben Iyyar Says:

    ATWYS wisely remarks,”but rather why am I not attracting people online that I’m happy with?” This seems so obvious but some people need to hear it put plainly.
    I myself can attest to this from my own experience. After I was diagnosed with a very ,very bad cancer my doctor, (she is also a good friend of my wife and I) and I had a long talk about my future. She told me that now that I was facing an uncertain future at best, it might be a good thing to try to make up for the past mistakes, misjudgements, unkind words, and other unkind things I had said or done to my wife and kids. Well it really hit me hard, and I set out to be the loving husband and supportive father I probably should have done better earlier. It has been the best thing I have ever done, I guess my family believes that my illness and harsh treatments have changed me for the better, because my wife and children often tell me how much of a great guy I am.
    It was very hard for me to judge myself and find real faults in the way I spoke to people or listened to them speak, or how to appreciate others and thank them, or how to give praise, and especially I admitted that I had to not to make everything under the sun about ME! I began the hard process of learning to pay attention, real attention, to others and what they were trying to do or tell me.
    Every single one of us has habits, expressions, and ways of behaving which can be off putting to others, but which we use to get us through life. If some of our ways of expressing ourselves or behaving are no longer effective or wanted then it is our responsibility to identify them and change them.

  7. michelle Says:

    Settling is a negative term and the results will be negative as well I tried not caring about education or money or looks and they dropped me because when other women ca take a random dayoff or show up late I can’t so I am not what they are looking for Men still want a female to be available whenever and that’s the problem the problem is the male’s expectations not the females part of the definition of female is being adaptable and giving and understanding.So I say I’m going to be me and if the guy doesn’t last 3 dates that OK we weren’t compatible not that I settled and he didn’t know what he had but I will still have my job and my workout class and my peace of mind Don’t settle be yourself

  8. Brad Says:

    My new rule of thumb is to only date 10’s and 1’s. This way I get plenty of booty but I don’t have to let go of my dreams.

    • Nia Says:

      Seriously? What an ugly thing to say. It’s fine to have standards, but no quality woman will willingly/knowingly be with a man who considers women on a numerical scale (even if she’s a 10, shocker—a quality women is more than her looks, gasp!), and for sure not someone who considers her a “1”. Women who you are callously considering a “1” are a “10” in someone else’s eyes: faithful, peaceful, sweet, honest, good cooks, good housekeepers, great in the sack…whatever you want in a woman, likely there’s someone you’re turning your nose up that is everything you think “10’s” aren’t.
      Grow. Up.

    • Dave Says:


      I think you’d have better luck with George Carlin’s advice:

      “I’ve never fucked a ten. But one night, I fucked five twos!”

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