A few days ago I was cruising the online dating blogs, trying to stay current on what’s going on and came across a short blurb that took me back in time and on which I had to comment. It was entitled “Fixing Him…” (ellipsis hers) It was only 138 words, so I have quoted it (exactly) in its entirety below. “Remember the story of Beauty & the Beast,the young maiden was stuck with an old beastly lion that she had to tame.”
“Once she loved him he did indeed morph into her Prince Charming. Could this be the case for lots of us women out there? We are always looking for the Prince, but perhaps we should take note of some of the beasts in our lives are merely men awaiting a transformation by some unassuming female. So get out there and find the best man you can using online dating and then see just how far they will go to recreate themselves in a better light for you.”
Wow! Setting aside the liberties taken with the tale itself, I can envision this recommendation sparking lively come backs from several perspectives. Two that come most quickly to mind:
1. Women’s Rights advocates might retort (justifiably) that it’s not a woman’s job to fix men. While I have been known to take issue with Women’s Rights Advocates on some of their extreme positions, this is one where I can only agree wholeheartedly. It is not a woman’s job to make a man out of men; or a good man of a bad one. You have better things to do with your time.
2. Most men have little desire to “recreate” themselves for anyone. Most have identities they’re happy with. Attempts to change them for your own gratification is certain to annoy them and you’ll eventually hear about it…usually just before they scram with a woman who knows better.
I really don’t mean to flame the well-intentioned author. But fairy tales? Really? It is a popular notion that love is transformational. As one who enjoys a love of his own, I’m happy to report it is. But… (Read carefully, ladies). The transformation was an inside job! My beloved did not try to “fix” me or “transform” me. She worked with me to create a vision compelling to both of us…thereby helping create the conditions under which the transformation could, did and continues…to take place.
This is relevant to online dating because many of us see it as a short cut to Mr. or Ms. Right. It’s true that it provides us with options that are both time savers (very useful in the post Future Shock world) and a reach we can’t achieve any other way. That said, the relationship you deserve is still a function of essential compatibility.
That’s why all the emphasis on the profile and how it represents you; and him. It is not a trivial matter. The presumption will always be, you took the time to represent yourself in your best possible light. You should assume the same of him and judge accordingly.
Do what you like on this one, but I would beware of the “sort-of” promising men out there…”diamonds in the rough,” if you will. There are lots of them, and after some initial frustrations, you may be tempted to settle for someone who comes close; thinking you can “fix” the rest.
I have known women who see an enduring relationship with a man much like they do taking on a “fixer-upper” home. It is almost as though they see the work they put into their “man project” as a kind of relationship sweat equity. It’s usually a bad idea. Here’s why.
1. “Man Projects” are about time invested and reward and none come of them with a warranty. If you’re looking at how you’re going to render a man “better” or “more suitable,” chances are you already know what you need to know. He’s not a good fit for you and your efforts to improve him are likely to go unrewarded.
2. The more you invest in him emotionally without the essential rewards to which you feel entitled, the harder it will be to move on, even in the face of evidence that screams: “Time to go!” Some of you are sure to ignore me on this one, for reasons of your own. It’s your call. But before you do, I encourage you to ask (and answer) the following questions:
a) What is it about this man that leads me to believe he may be worth the emotional investment over the long term?
b) How long am I willing to be patient and keep working at it?
c) How will I recognize it’s time to cut my losses and move on?
You’ll note I have encouraged you to be really pragmatic about this. It is not your imagination. I am actually pleading with you to be pragmatic! Here’s why.
1. The answers to the questions above may help you realize you’re engaging in the wishful thinking of which all of us…men and women, have been guilty at some point.
2. If you ignore me and decide to proceed, you will at least be doing so having thought about the warning signs that will (hopefully) register with you when it’s time to move on. It usually will be.
Remember Kenny Roger’s advice in The Gambler. “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em: Know when to walk away, know when to run…” It’s your heart, ladies. Be kind to it!