Being seduced by what he is over who he is

I admit it. I’ve been so enticed by what a man is that it’s clouded my judgment about who he is.

When dating the crazy psychiatrist, I adored when he consulted the pharmacist about what over-the-counter remedy would reduce my cold symptoms. I loved telling my friends that I was dating a doctor. Shallow, I know. Very shallow. I felt like his profession meant that I was able to attract smart, accomplished men. I ignored the ever-present fact that he was a self-admitted “impaired physician,” meaning a doctor with problems. And he had those in spades. If he’d been a normal guy — engineer, Realtor, manager, contractor — I wouldn’t have put up with the junk he threw at me.

The Academy-Award winner was similar. His accomplishment overrode telling signs that this man wasn’t for me. But I was enthralled with the prospect of attending private screenings and Oscar night with him. I told myself, “I deserve someone who is at the top of his field,” even though he’d earned the award as part of a stellar team, not an individual effort, and that was over 10 years ago.

Luckily, I’ve not always fed my ego and blinded my assessment by the status of my dates. I wasn’t beguiled by the former professional football player, ex pro basketball player, high-tech exec, CEO, lawyer, or venture capitalist.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t know a man’s accomplishments or profession until I know him better. It is difficult to mask, however, because many list it in their profile or mention it in early communications. I’ve considered asking a man not to tell me for a while and see if I like him for who he is, not what he is. But now they are intertwined.

It would be like getting to know someone through only email and phone, then showing up to meet him with you both wearing blindfolds. How different your impressions would be without the visual! You could smell his cologne, feel his hand and arm, perhaps hug. Would a kiss be more delicious or less if you didn’t know what he looked like?

Do you find yourself entranced by a man’s profession and accomplishments? If not, how do you set aside whatever status you attribute to it and allow the man’s characteristics to show through?

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4 responses to “Being seduced by what he is over who he is”

  1. Cupertino Avatar

    It’s a cliche, but most cliches have some truth behind them: men tend to find aspects of a woman’s personality less important than what she looks like, at least at first, and women tend to find what men look like less important than how accomplished/successful/wealthy they are. Warren Farrell wrote many years ago about asking women how they would feel if the warm, caring, intelligent, considerate, humorous, supportive man they met turned out to be a janitor. Many women said they wouldn’t date him.

    I think both men and women get caught up in this trap when they select whom to respond to — those who don’t meet the initial test for looks/success never get a chance to display their other qualities. “I deserve someone who is at the top of his field” may be as limiting (and delusional?) as “I deserve someone who is a supermodel.”

    Then, too, sometimes the qualities that get a man to the top of his field are not the qualities that produce a partner who is a sensitive listener — something you do find important.

  2. Jan Allen Avatar
    Jan Allen

    Dear Goddess,
    I have entertained myself this weekend reading the posts on your blog.

    I am a 48 year old woman from the US who moved to Switzerland last year and am trying to date across not only cultural differences (which given the fact that I am a software engineer has always been the case with most men I meet ;-)), but now am traversing linguistic differences as well (they have four “official” languages here — none of which are English.)

    On the topic of profession. Yes, I guess it is rather important to me because of the fact is that I want someone who can understand what it is that I do and that takes a certain amount of knowledge and expertise. I also need someone to have had the experience and exposure to people of other cultures and countries that I have had. Since I was from Indiana I always had guys with only a highschool education that thought I was “prime meat” for supporting their families and their cable TV/Budwieser expenses responding to my online dating ads back there. Ick.

    I imagine you need someone who complements your life experiences as well and when one is successful and traveled it by default relates to an equal measure of expertise and success in ones partner.
    Best Regards,

  3. Liz Avatar

    I agree with Jan that occupation/profession matters because of compatibility — not because I would be impressed that somebody was of a certain profession. Also, sometimes occupation matters because it tells something about the person’s values. I tend to be drawn to artists because I admire someone who devotes his life to artistic pursuits. I’m not always more impressed with an artist who is more successful in terms of commercial success than with one who is not — although success within one’s field CAN be a turn on.

  4. Mitsy Avatar

    I dated a guy for many years who WAS a janitor! He had a degree from the university we both attended, but jobs in the area were not plentiful and this job (union affiliated) actually paid more than some of the others he might have gotten locally.

    I have to admit that it did bother me that he was a janitor, but mainly because he did not aspire to do more with his educational background. Our relationship ended due to his immaturity and inability to be on his own. At 38 years of age, he STILL lived with his parents. That actually bothered me more than the fact that he was a janitor. He was a boy in a man’s body, and the contentment in staying in a menial job instead of trying to better himself only made me have less and less respect for him.

    So, it was the combination of a lot of factors that caused me to walk away from this immature guy. However, I admitted that his job did not help in my opinion of him. I knew he was capable of so much more but was unwilling to risk doing anything to change that.