Are you trying to date men who think they are hotter than they are?

He’s got a comb over, beer belly, and has donned a wrinkled shirt. Yet he thinks he’s James Bond. George Clooney. God’s gift to women.


Because he gets a lot of attention from ladies. Especially over-40 single women.


Because there are more midlife single women than men over 40. Women in that age group have learned to go after what they want. And they want a man. Even the men described above.


These women have held out for the man of their dreams and been disappointed that the one(s) they thought was close, turned out to be a cheater, a ne’er-do-well, or emotionally unavailable. So they’ve lowered their expectations. Now they just want a man who will treat them nicely.

Average-looking single men have recounted how women throw themselves at them. The women make overt sexual advances on the first date. The men are inundated with women inviting them over for dinner and a little something-something for dessert. The man feels he’s got mojo oozing out his pores.

Author Bernard Salt calls this “hotness delusion syndrome.” While women can suffer from it as well, it seems particularly pronounced in middle-aged men who’ve stuck their toe — or more — in the dating pool. They feel they are not only in the candy shop, but immersed in a vat of delicious morsels — they can’t wait to try the next one. There’s an unending supply to quench their desires.

So what to do when you encounter one of these delusional ones? Generally, I’d say run in the other direction. It’s unlikely he’s going to be ready for the reality of the work and compromise a real relationship takes. If the relationship takes any tweaking (as relationships do), he’s gone as he can always get someone new in a flash.

However, if you feel you want to stick it out, you’ll have to feed that delusion and reinforce his perceived hotness. If you tell him the truth — that his ear hairs need trimmed, or he needs to lose 30 pounds, or he should buy iron-free shirts — he’ll be dejected and you’ll be rejected.

So if he’s self-aware enough to know that his hotness is unusual and unexpected, he’s a keeper. As long as he doesn’t begin to believe that he should only be dating Jennifer Aniston.

Want to understand more about midlife men? Download your copy of Embracing Midlife Men: Insights Into Curious Behaviors


18 responses to “Are you trying to date men who think they are hotter than they are?”

  1. Mark Avatar

    How, exactly, would you have these 30 pound overweight men behave? Apologetic? Women say they like men who are confident. Why shouldn’t the guy with the big beer gut act like he’s the world’s latest lover? Maybe he is. You’re confusing me.

  2. Wayne Avatar

    Mark I suppose the problem is that it sounds like these men have crossed over from confident into arrogant.
    But maybe they have a right to be if they are walking down the street and women are throwing it at them?

    I mean Jennifer Aniston is getting on a bit now maybe she should lower her standards a bit?

  3. Another Mark Avatar
    Another Mark

    And if you’re at all fit, dress with some sense of style (or allow someone with style to help you out), have a reasonable career established, and are relatively normal … never mind being all that physically attractive … OMG, the attention goes up exponentially.

    Coming out of a relationship of 21-years where I began to feel I was totally unattractive for reasons unknown and unexplained, it was (and still is I guess) like a candy store. I realized that having been a bit of a fitness freak for all these years finally paid off in something other than low blood pressure and lowered cholesterol!

    The numbers are the numbers … but making them even worse for women is that, IMHO, there are many more attractive, smart, solid, articulate, loving, caring, affectionate, available women than there are men. Even if the numbers were 50% – 50%, it seems to me that most men have no idea how they come across … they are totally void of self awareness.

  4. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Good conversation, guys!

    Yes, I think Wayne is right — confidence has turned to arrogance.

    I remember dating a guy for a while who was easily 30-40 lbs overweight with a large belly. One night while cuddling we were talking about our body image and what we’d like to change. I, of course, had a long list. He said he’d change nothing!

    I think it’s related to how men generally overrate their capabilities and women underrate theirs (according to several studies I’ve read). It might also be related to a study I recently saw that said Americans rate us as being the best in the world in math, when we are really 23rth — last among developed countries. We have a huge capacity for delusion!

  5. J Avatar

    Sadly, I have to agree. While I am not currently dating (spending some time licking my wounds right now), the last time I was dating, I found myself unable to meet men in my age-group who appeared to take care of themselves. I actually found myself turning down one man’s request because he reminded me too much of my dad!

    No, I’m not a goddess, but I do take care of myself by exercising and eating well, and I wear clothing from this decade. I also try to stay current with news and other information. Because of this, I would like to think that it’s not too much to ask that a man do the same.

    Apparently, though, because so many women would rather be with someone (anyone) than be alone, we are ruining things FOR OURSELVES.

    I’m not saying a man has to be George Clooney (and frankly, his lack of willingness to commit is offputting), but I believe if we, as women, have higher expectations of the men that we date, then men will rise to the occasion.

  6. J Avatar

    Sorry – I should note that it’s the “taking care of themselves” part that is important in this. When I do start dating again, I am looking for a long-term partner, and that means someone who can be active with me, who can carry on a conversation about current events, and who isn’t going to drop-dead of a bacon-double-cheeseburger induced heart-attack before he’s 55. And, well, in many cases, external appearance can be a pretty good indicator of how well someone takes care of themselves physically. And the older you get, the more important that cardiovascular health is to the functioning of your brain, as well.

    I just wanted to make sure that no one thought I was all about the looks, and the looks only!

  7. Brenda Avatar

    J – I am totally with you on your comments. I exercise 3-4 times per week and am in way better shape than 90% of the men I date.

    One man, who is 46, wanted women ages 28-32 in his profile. I asked why? He said “a man can dream, can’t he?” He 40 lbs overweight, three children, alimony etc. and so I asked if he had any dates with these young women. No, of course not!

    I have had to stop seeing men who were in their late 40s (me, 54 with two teenaged sons) who were couch potatoes!

    I have also learned that most of the men who were in bad marriages now just want to get out and “play” at dating – maybe we should wait to be with these men after reality hits! 🙂

  8. lafemmeroar Avatar

    “Hotness delusion syndrome” has turned into an epidemic and the virus has spread to online dating sites. Men who call themselves “9inchtoolinyourshed” and “2gdlkng2balone” populate these sites. I’m 40 something, but if I don’t find “the one” then I’ll just be “my one and only” because being with someone who has delusions of grandeur usually means he’ll be hot trotting someone else in no time.

  9. Darren Miller Avatar
    Darren Miller

    Hey everyone, great points you have made. According to studies I have read, one of the many reasons middle-aged women go for the type of men with beer guts and the confidence of James Bond and George Clooney, is that they hit a scary point of mild depression in their life, and just want some love and attention.

    They feel as though they are getting long in the tooth and can’t afford to be picky when it comes to men anymore. I looked at many couples and celebrities to see if this were true, then I thought about Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.

    He is not the most attractive or fittest man, yet managed to attract a gorgeous woman like Jen. I personally believe that more and more middle aged women, in general, are seeking for men to take leadership or control and confidence.

  10. Jennifer Avatar

    I think really you have to look at the quality of the woman that is checking the guy out plus I am sure his income can help out his looks.

  11. Wayne Avatar

    I agree with lafemmeroar that “Hotness delusion syndrome” has turned into an epidemic and the virus has spread to online dating sites.

    However I would state that it’s not only men, a lot of women also have it. I understand that most women get a lot of attention from men as soon as they start getting a couple lumps on their chest. But this is exaggerated by the internet. With hundreds of messages from men everyday their ego is massivly inflated and sometimes they don’t realise the fact that some men regard internet dating as a game of numbers.

    Women in their 20’s and 30’s who are quite frankly average have this massive list of requirements in a man and then all of a sudden they hit that point where they realise there aren’t many decent men left and they have been too picky.

    Does that make me sound jaded? I hope not, I don’t think anyone wants to be with anyone else who likes themselves too much regardless of their hotness level. Arrogance is a rubbish trait regardless of sex, size, age and hotness!

  12. Karen Avatar

    I’m not sure about this being a real problem…

    Sure, I’ve met/dated men who brag on their looks etc all the time (o, they all do this!), but it’s also clear that they do this primarily from insecurity and because they are looking for a little ego boost–and most are also aware of that too.

    For example, they’ll whisper in your ear that they’re huge, they can “go on all night”, that they’re the best etc etc but they’re also a little sheepish and it’s half in jest–they know they aren’t 20 any more, but they can dream can’t they? Just like I enjoy being told by my guy that I’m the hottest woman in the room even though I’m 50 years old, that I’m better looking than those 20-somethings at the bar, etc.

    Men have egos too—and that’s fine with me. I’m happy to play along–the benefits go 2 ways!

  13. Mark Avatar

    “For example, they’ll whisper in your ear that they’re huge, they can “go on all night”

    Heh. Well, older guys don’t finish as fast, that’s for sure. I think for some of us it’s a matter of stamina as to how long we can go — we can wear out before we finish. What I don’t think most men realize is that women don’t want a guy to go all night. Sure, they don’t want a two minute wonder, but they may not want some guy huffing and puffing for 45 minutes, either.

    Sorry if this is too explicit, but we men do get more staying power as we age. Doesn’t mean we know how to use it or that the female really wants the full extent of it. And the increased staying power is balanced by the decreased starting power. It’s not easy being a man at times! 🙂

  14. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Amen, Mark! Well said. Could you spread that word to other dating men?


  15. bookyone Avatar

    Wow, it’s knowledge like this that’s put me off dating for good. I have a wonderful family, good friends and a best (platonic) male friend who’s 110% honest with me, what more could I ask for? It would be nice to find a normal guy in my age range, (40s, average looking, average intelligence with a good sense of humor), who doesn’t cheat and isn’t full of himself who might be willing to settle down in the near future, but at my age (43) I’m not looking anymore.

    Best to all,

  16. Shawn Avatar

    I think there is a difference between confidence and arrogance, you should never cross certain lines no matter what.

  17. Andy Avatar

    I would love to know where these women are. I am 42, thin, well dressed, with a good job, property in Europe, yet not one woman has supposedly thrown herself at me. In fact, I have had a fat woman describe me as “not tanned enough.” I had to contain myself from putting her in her place. I have even looked for women in their early 50s. Women online are way too picky, which is why they are on the same sites years later.

  18. Trevor Avatar

    Women are no better thanks to the lousy ratio of men to women online. I’m not saying I’m Clooney, but I have a full head of hair, I’m 6’2″ 200 pounds and well muscled and I’m definitely above average looking. On top of that people peg my age around 37 although I’m 45. What does this net me online, really homely women are the only ones who are interested. Even a moderately cute woman who is fit will not give me the time of day thanks to the flood of messages she gets; I have a theory that the very hottest guys are sleeping with all the worthwhile women online. So it seems women also value themselves way above what they actually are in the dating marketplace. As one blogger wrote, if I could buy these women for what they are actually worth and sell them for what they think they are worth I’d be a billionaire.

    I’ve decided to quit online dating thanks to this realization that the only way I could get a girlfriend online is to lower my standards so much, I’d hate myself. I’m somewhat shy, but I’ve decided that I can no longer not capitalize on the smiles I get in public places from very pretty women. I’m just going to swallow my pride and start approaching. One good thing about getting older, and years of trying online dating is I’ve developed a very thick skin. So who cares if I get shot down lots of times if it nets me the occasional date with a pretty woman. We live in a ersatz world of (anti)social media and online dating that has completely distorted interpersonal relationships and ruined genuine human connection.