There’s a certain kind of guy that’s preoccupied with how his partner looks: all of them. But certainly, there’s a spectrum. We’re all shallow to different depths. There’s also a type of girl that’s compatible with every possible measure of shallowness.
PGS: Pretty Girl Syndrome. A sad affliction of our times. Actually, it’s almost certainly an affliction common to every time period. Pretty girls have everything they need. They’re pretty, they’re a girl, they’re set. With such an advantage in life, they can be successful without improving themselves in any other way. They don’t need to be smart, fun, interesting, kind or talented. That’s not to say a pretty girl can’t be these things, but one who has PGS isn’t. They depend solely on the prettiness to carry them through life. And frequently this works.
It’s worth noting that there are worse things than PGS. Such as PS: Princess Syndrome. This is a step more extreme. A girl realizes that she’s pretty, so develops PGS, thus doesn’t work on having any other positive attributes. She then realizes that men are shallow, so not only does her prettiness compensate for not having any other positive characteristics, she can also be extremely high maintenance. Her prettiness gives her power to make unreasonable demands. And frequently this works (though generally a higher aesthetic plateau is required.)
I write these potentially offensive things, which I generally consider to be true, to discuss a related topic: trophy wives.
When I see an annoying guy with a boring pretty girl, I think trophy wife. We men are shallow creatures, but it takes a certain kind of guy to say “What I need is a beautiful woman. She doesn’t need anything else, just looks. Then I’ll be happy.” Similarly, it takes a certain kind of girl to say “I’m happy relying solely upon my looks, and being with a guy who measures my value accordingly.” I don’t think this conversation ever takes place, but maybe trophy wives and hunters have very frank conversations. The amazing thing is that this works out reasonably well. Sure, sometimes the shallowness of the partners mix, resulting in a fiery explosion of pettiness, but sometimes they live happily ever after. I think as long as the shallowness levels are about equal, they have a reasonably good chance of surviving.
But consider this: there are ugly trophy wives and blind trophy hunters.
The popular conception of a trophy wife is a beauty queen. But really, it’s someone who has put all their eggs in one basket. She’s beautiful, so hasn’t needed to be smart, fun, interesting, kind, talented etc. Her one attribute outweighs all others. But isn’t a woman who uses a different attribute as her one focus instead of beauty afflicted with something very nearly PGS? Isn’t a guy who’s seeking just one thing, single-mindedly in his partner just as shallow?
I calculated last night and 77% of my college roommates are now married. The stats of my mission companions are equally depressing, and I’m not going to bother calculating the percentages among my friend population as a whole. Point being, I’ve watched a lot of people hook up. Some have been shallow in the traditional sense and have gone after the beauty queens. Another popular option among Mormons is being domestically shallow. I’ve had more than one friend tell me their favorite thing about their spouse is that she’ll be a good homemaker and mother. You can’t fault a guy for wanting a girl that will be a good mother. But it baffles me that the thing they were looking for was cooking/cleaning/child care. Personally, those things are perks, but pretty low on my list. But here are my friends and associates, who have picked the one thing they’re looking for, and are willing to ignore so many other aspects of their partner. There are many different types of trophy wives and trophy hunters.
I too, am a trophy hunter. I’m shallow, I admit it. Socrates said that the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing. I hope that acknowledging my shallowness may make me less shallow than my oblivious brothers. Certainly when I’m dating I think about what people will say when they see the wedding announcement. Will they be impressed? Shallow, I know. Despicable perhaps. But a thought you’ve most likely had. Unless I’m the only bad one; however, experience leads me to believe otherwise.
I have passing thoughts about the wedding announcement, but it’s not what worries me. What worries me is that first dinner we share. Will she get their jokes? Will she be able to run with mine? Will she know that current event? Will she mispronounce that author? I’m hunting for an intellectual trophy wife.
And it’s shallow. I realize this. I’ve gone out with pretty, fun, kind and talented girls, and when I my roommate asked me how the date went, I respond “She doesn’t know what the Louvre is.” I think it’s perfectly fair to have that as a strike against her, but I probably shouldn’t be eliminating girls outright for such gaps. But I’m getting better. I used to eliminate girls if they liked country music; now it’s just a strike. Maybe 2 strikes.
So there are more trophies and trophy hunters out there than we might think. We give ourselves tunnel vision and focus on just one aspect of ourselves, and expect others to do so as well. Multifacetism. That’s where it’s at.