Carolyn Hax is away. The following first appeared in 2003.
Hi Carolyn: This weekend, I am set to meet my first blind date — someone I met on one of those online dating sites. The man in question has been lovely to email and chat with on the phone — we get along quite well. I’m worried that, when I meet him in person, something about him physically will totally turn me off. I’m afraid I’m going to find out that I’m shallow or superficial. I know people don’t always “click,” but I guess I’m more afraid to find out that I’ve got this character flaw that I’ve never realized.
I’m as fond of self-flagellation as the next person, especially when that self isn’t me, but I think you’ve made a great case for a cease-flog. Wow.
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Judging him in person isn’t shallow, it’s smart; mating is emotional, intellectual and physical. Somehow our intellect has become the only politically correct arbiter of a good mate, but that denies the value of sensory judgment. We bypass the nose at our peril.
Every part of you that’s going to be engaged in your relationship should have equal say in, and veto power over, a potential partner. That includes eyes, wits, gut. When the eyes say no, say no.
You can always give your eyes extra time, in the interest of depth. Never, ever overrule the gut, but bodies have been known to grow more attractive when you come to love what’s inside.
You can put a noble face on judging a jawline by telling yourself that people deserve to be loved as a whole. They do. And you deserve not to shudder through hugs.
Besides, given the way reality tends to get the last word, especially in relationships, you might as well be realistic. Even if you’re a living birdbath and want only buff, bronze and blond, you’re better off admitting that and cruising lifeguards accordingly than forcing yourself to be deep. Resolve is like beauty – it fades.
Dear Carolyn: I’m getting married later this year to a great woman, and we’re paying for the wedding ourselves. Everything has been going fine with the planning, but lately she’s started to get depressed because we have friends whose parents are paying for very extravagant ceremonies. I’ve never seen her jealous before, and don’t know quite how to handle it. A simple “Why should we care what other people are doing?” gets me nothing more than a hard stare and a “You just don’t get it.” Can you help a brutha out?
For every “You just don’t get it,” there’s a “You’re right, so please help me get it” that’s dying to come out.
When they’re feeling wronged, most people jump at a chance to explain. The trick is to resist your first impulse (“Who are you and what did you do with the grown-up I proposed to?”) and show instead that you assume the best about her (“I suspect there’s more to this than wanting 17 bridesmaids and filet mignon au gratis”).
If it’s truly unlike her to be jealous, then there probably is more to her funk. Regardless of her reasoning, though, she’s your fiancee; what matters is that you ask.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.