Clothes make the man

Nearly eighteen months ago a man sent me an email on a dating site where I wasn’t a member. Although he was in the right geographic, age and height range, his pictures showed an unsmiling, sunglasses-wearing, goatee-sporting man in a sports-team T-shirt holding up a newspaper with an unreadable headline. Huh? This is the best picture the man thought represented him to his future match?

Since I wasn’t a member of the site, I couldn’t read his email, but was allowed to send a site-generated “No thank you” response.

A year later he showed up on another site where I could see he’d looked at my profile several times. After several months of seeing his picture appear in my “who’s seen you list” I became curious. He’d posted a few more pictures on this site and he looked less off-putting than he did in the one pic on the previous site.

I finally joined the original site for a month to read messages from a few men who looked interesting. I read his old message and found it was articulate, romantic, sweet, charming. His writing style was far above nearly all others. It was specific to me and items in my profile, not pro-forma.

He’d included his Yahoo address, so I wrote a brief email saying “hi” — even after all these months. He enthusiastically replied, saying he had given up hope of ever meeting me and was excited I had reached out. We began a week-long phone and IM flirt that culminated in lunch.

Cashmere manHe appeared at the restaurant in a cashmere polo shirt, nice jeans and good shoes. He was tall, neat, clean — and handsome! He had a muscled build, clearly chiseled from regular gym visits. He appeared younger than his 56 years. He looked like the men I covet — why didn’t he show this side in his pictures? I would have leapt on his email!

I was awaiting him in a reception chair outside the restaurant and waived as he approached. I rose to greet him, to which he said “Wait, wait, don’t move. I want to savor this moment.” Very sweet. After we hugged hello, he presented me with a gift bag of tulips, a stuffed bear, and a greeting card stating “Thinking of you,” along with a handwritten message. Wow!

He was charming, funny, intelligent, engaging and gentlemanly during lunch and afterward when we sat in his car listening to music while we continued our discussion. Even after being together 3 hours, we didn’t want to part, but I knew it best to not let a first encounter go on too long. He asked if he could see me again. Is the Pope Catholic? Of course! He was so much of what I’d been looking for, my heart was beginning to melt. We set a dinner date for the next night.

This was a good lesson for me. I have written before about how important good profile pictures are, as well as how photos are just a rough facsimile of the real thing. I have frequently dismissed approaches from men who have unappealing photos thinking if they aren’t smart enough to know the value of a photo on a first impression then they aren’t for me. However this man was so much better in person than his photo. His smile was so engaging, why wouldn’t he post a smiling pic? Or in nice clothes, rather than his around-the-house look? Who knows?

But I know I’m glad I gave this one a second chance. In fact, I now kick myself for missing out knowing him for 18 months. I console myself by knowing I’ve learned a lot about myself and men in the last 18 months and may not have been ready to receive him in my life at that time. If he continues to be the gem he appears to be, I am ready to receive him with open arms — for more of those yummy hugs he gave at lunch.

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7 responses to “Clothes make the man”

  1. Allison Avatar

    Wow, I’m jealous! How many times has the picture been great, profile intriguing, and the initial emails or phone calls promising…excitement excitement! Only to meet and it just doesn’t ‘click’, onnhh, disappointment disappointment 🙁

    Best of luck with the new guy!

    Question: Do men you date know you have a blog on this topic? If so, how do you handle the awkwardness of sharing posts like this that the guy may know is about him? I blog myself and often want to include thoughts about my current relationships. But, if the guy knows about the blog, weeellll, it can be inhibiting ya know. I’d love to hear how you deal with this.

  2. Nicole Avatar

    Clothes make the plus sized man too. We BBW BHM are very proud of our size.

  3. Dating Goddess Avatar
    Dating Goddess

    Allison: No, only two knew about the blog — one took me out to lunch after following the blog for a while and flirting with me via calls and emails, but we decided to be pals. The other was a radio reporter who interviewed me about dating after 40 for his show and flirted afterwards, so he read it every day for the 3 months we went out. I had to be very careful what I wrote even after we broke up.

    I don’t tell them because they may think they are just blodder (blog fodder) and I want to be able to write whatever I want. And since this is anonymous and I never tell specific identifying details no one other than the man would ever recognize him, if he ever stumbled upon the blog.

  4. Allison Avatar

    DG: Ah, yes, I see. I think anonymity has to be the best policy in future.

    I had and am still in a situation where I’m dating a guy with some personal circumstances that I’m not sure are going to work for me. We’ve talked about them but are continuing to see each other.

    I find myself unable to ponder the whole thing on my blog (even though the blog is about being a woman in mid life…relationships being a big part of that) because, yep, he has subscribed to the blog.

    I am definitely feeling inhibited from expressing my feelings 🙁

    Thanks for the insights.

  5. dadshouse Avatar

    How funny – I’m just like this guy! When I have internet dated in the past (I don’t think it works, btw, and I’ve written about online dating in my blog*), I don’t take fancy pictures of myself just for the personals site. I throw up whatever recent pics I have (and as a single dad, the pics I have are often taken by my kids on casual outings). I think I want a woman to like me for who I am, rather than how I look.

    Usually when I meet a woman in person, they remark that I’m far more handsome in person. Maybe I should stop resisting the need for a good pic, learn from your post, and post a decent photo!

    (*If you want my take on dating advice sites and internet dating, take a peek here:

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    DadsHouse: if you haven’t been having the success you want from online dating do change your pic. If my current beau had posted a pic of him in the outfit he showed up for lunch in, I would have responded immediately! And he posted one in a suit and tie, I would have crawled over broken glass to meet him! And a tux — who knows what I’d have done?

    It’s all perception and we can control how people perceive us by projecting what we think would be attractive to the type of person we want to attract. I think having pics in various attire shows people our breadth of lifestyle.


  7. […] with some men who were much more appealing in person than their pictures, as I explained in “Clothes make the man.”  But that has been the exception rather than the […]