Have you ever listened to the BJ Shea morning show on Seattle's KISW?
Me either. I hate talk radio and morning programs.
Except we were stuck on 405 trying to get out of Bothell and back to the dry side of the state after seeing Bonnie Raitt at Chateau Ste. Michelle the night before, and my random station surfing landed me on this particular show right as the hosts were discussing a most interesting topic.
According to a recent study, women are now more interested in men for their looks than for their money. Men? They're more interested in a woman's intelligence than her looks.
From the reactions of the shock jocks on the show, you'd think this was the worst news EVER to hit the airwaves. At one point one of the guys was going on about how male movie stars are too good looking and it sets women up to have unrealistic expectations of men and how they look. Dude, did you really just say that????
Imagine. Men bemoaning a double standard created by movies and the media that sets an impossibly high standard of physical perfection for one gender.
One of the hosts, I'll assume it was BJ, went on to say how the over-50 women he and his wife knew that weren't married were simply unhappy and that women had better learn to be less picky or they might end up (horrors) alone and unmarried. Spinsters. GASP!
I think he might have been taking the study results a little too seriously and reaching a fairly unlikely conclusion, but then again, it was talk radio, and I know ratings depend on the hosts' ability to get their audience lathered up about something, anything at all. Even so, as deliciously entertaining as it was to hear men object to being treated like arm candy, I think BJ has a couple of good points.
I disagree that one needs a husband (or wife) in order to be happy. Being partnered is great for many people, but there truly are men and women who are quite content to live unattached. Relationships are hard. Relationships can help us accomplish our goals, but there are times they can hinder us as well. When you hook your wagon to someone else's star, you take on each others' concerns, desires, frustrations, needs and wants. Personally, I'm happy that SG is as hands-off as he is when it comes to giving me space. As much as I love him, as much as he loves me, we both have things we enjoy doing alone or with our individual friends. I know myself well enough to know that mostly I am one of those people who wants to be in a relationship. Even so, I'm grateful for the times I've been on my own, for learning not just to be okay with that, but to actually like it. Finding your bliss is a more pure evolution when it isn't being influenced by a partner.
When it comes to looks, though, my gut reaction is that BJ Shea is correct. Yes, we are attracted to the people we're attracted to, but there is more to a person than their physical appearance. If someone is just looking for the chemistry of a fling, I suppose limiting your criteria to simple appearance is fine, but when it comes to seeking relationship material, looks don't count for nearly as much. Research indicates that the more time we spend with someone, the more likely we are to enter a relationship with them. Chemistry grows when we find someone who matches our emotional needs, not just our physical desires.
BJ also contends that most men aren't really that shallow. I agree, but I'll take that to another level and say that most people aren't really that shallow. I think we all have certain types that we are attracted to, and certainly everyone can appreciate visual appearances, but I think the majority of people are looking for long-term commitment really do pay attention to a lot more than looks.
Even so, people have the right to be where they are, even if that happens to be a place of depthless interaction and missed opportunity to appreciate others' finer qualities. Its true that I can still work up a head of steam if I dwell too long in the false standards of beauty our film and print media create for our daughters (and apparently, now, our sons), but its also true that I'm less bothered by this phenomenon than I used to be. I give less credence to arbitrary rules of beauty set by people whose opinions matter little to the reality of my life.
Is it more important for one to look good or to be good?
Is it more important for one to be beautiful or to be interesting?
Is it more important for one to be flawless or to be self-reliant?
Its not that you couldn't be both, but if I had to pick one characteristic over another, I'll choose character over looks every single time. And the amazing thing about that, is that the more you know and appreciate a person, the more you are able to see the beauty of them.