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Man wonders if dating attractive women is superficial and vain

Dear Annie: I am a 36-year-old man who has never been in a serious relationship. The fault is all mine. I am shy and standoffish. Until recently, I preferred to stay home and watch TV instead of going out to socialize. I had some sort of epiphany about two months ago and have started going out a little more.

I’ve had mixed results with the bar scene and joined a few online dating sites, but so far, most are filled with a bunch of superficial women searching for a Brad Pitt look-alike. I am reasonably attractive, but not a 10 by any means. I am intelligent and maybe a tinge nerdy, but I think I’m a good catch. So why can’t women see that?

On one site, I have met a few nice women and we are chatting, but I don’t know what they look like, because they have no picture with their profile. I feel a little guilty, letting looks become an issue. I know if the women felt that way about me, I would find it offensive.

Am I being superficial to want someone I’m attracted to? I am lonely and tired of this emotional rollercoaster. What can I do to find the kind of woman I am searching for — a reasonably attractive woman with a good sense of humor and some level of intelligence? — Lost and Lonely

Dear Lost: Keep in mind, you’ve only been doing this for two months. Meeting the right woman takes time. Although attraction is an important part of the mating ritual, when it becomes the most important aspect, then yes, it is superficial.

The women who don’t put a picture on their profile may or may not be your cup of tea, but you will never know if you don’t give them a chance. Every meeting, good or bad, adds to your level of experience. And although Internet dating can be worthwhile, please don’t let that preclude meeting women who share your interests at the bookstore, adult-education class, health club, etc. Where you can see them.

Dear Annie: I am a department manager and have a number of women who work in my office. One of my employees occasionally wears low-cut tops. Of course, she gets many looks from her male co-workers as well as clients, and I don’t know how to tell her that it is not appropriate attire.

What are your thoughts? — Dave

Dear Dave: Does your company have a dress code? If so, simply inform this woman that she is not complying. If there is no dress code, you might speak to your superiors about creating one. In the meantime, take this worker aside privately and let her know that her attire is unprofessional and may affect her performance evaluation, and you would appreciate it if she would dress more appropriately.

Dear Annie: I had to laugh when I read the letter from “Nonviolent in the Midwest,” the woman who didn’t want her son playing with toy weapons.

When my first child was born, I, too, felt that toy guns were inappropriate for him. I also felt that most toys were too gender specific, so when he was 3 years old, I got him a Barbie doll along with trucks and other toys — but no guns.

Well, guess what he did with the Barbie doll? He bent Barbie’s leg at an angle and held her head, and she became a gun.

My son is now 24 and a fine young man. A good friend once told me, “The question isn’t if you’re going to mess up your kids, it’s how much you’re going to mess them up.” Somehow they manage to survive us mixed-up parents. — B.K.

Dear B.K.: We are pretty sure this isn’t what Mattel had in mind for Barbie. A child’s imagination is a wondrous thing.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.