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My friend needs to lower his standards

The question

How do I tell my friend that he needs to lower his standards? He is smart, funny, thoughtful and great with kids. He has a nice house and a good job and will make a great husband. However, despite being a fit 37, our friend is more character actor than leading man in the looks department. My wife and I have fixed him up with women who we thought would be a good match, and he has cheerfully gone along with every one. But the end result is always a variation of, "I didn't feel any spark." What he means is they weren't physically attractive enough – I've seen the women that turn his head. When he does gather up the nerve to (politely) approach one of these knockouts, he inevitably gets shot down. How do I persuade him to quit daydreaming about 9s and 10s and focus on finding a nice 6 or 7?

The answer

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Uh, sorry, but I don't agree with any of your premises.

First off, a fit, funny, smart, 37-year-old man with a good job and his own house who's good with kids and would obviously make a good husband and gives everyone a chance?

Not only could this person have any woman he wanted, but I think he should actually fear for his safety in the dating jungle.

One of these days he'll be walking down the street and a woman will jump out of a panel van, clonk him over the head with her hardcover copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and he'll wake up in a honeymoon suite in Vegas with a ring on his finger, vague memories of an Elvis with a Bible, a rhesus monkey in the closet and his new bride in the shower.

I kid, of course. But seriously, I know so many single women who would kill for a shot at a guy like your friend (the way you've described him, anyway) that it hurts, a little, to think on it. If I tried to tell them about your friend they would dismiss him as a myth, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.

The second premise I don't agree with is, unfortunately, a widespread one: that a relationship can be successfully conducted without sexual chemistry, that all you really need is to be "companions," to have "communication," and blah blah balderdash. A relationship without sexual chemistry is like a car without an engine: You can push it up a hill and it'll roll down the other side, but it's not really the best way to get from A to B.

Third erroneous premise: Women care about, and pair off with, a mate based on looks. I don't see that. Women (incredibly) seem to care more about character, talent, personality and whatnot.

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You say your friend is "shot down" by the "knockouts" he "politely approaches." I have an alternate explanation for that, too: It may have to do with his approach.

See, there's a reason why they call them knockouts: They have to nut-punch the obnoxious advances of numbskulls and cheeseballs on a daily basis. It becomes a reflex. Beautiful women are like King Kongs on top of the Empire State Building, swatting away all the planes . They don't have time to think: "Could this be the one that saves me?"

Your friend just needs to sack up and go a little stronger to the hoop.

I have personal experience in this arena. All are unanimously agreed that I "punched above my weight," i.e. tagged and bagged a babe way out of my league: the semi-divine Pam.

Normally I don't like to share too many secrets of the bachelor campaign I ran on Pam. I'm afraid that if they fell into the wrong hands they could be turned into weapons of mass seduction, and the aforementioned cheeseballs could unleash romantic Douchepocalypse.

I'll say two things, though.

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First, from the moment I laid eyes on her, she never had any doubt that I was interested. There was nothing wishy-washy or half-hearted about my approach.

I think that pushes some cavewoman button. A woman knows down deep that a man going strong (but respectfully, naturally and willing to accept rejection, obviously) to the hoop is more likely to stick with her through thick and thin, in sickness and health, etc.

Second, I had half the city working for me undercover.

Poor sweet, naive Pam. She thinks it was kismet that brought us together: For a while it must've seemed like everywhere she went people were talking about me (what a great guy, how talented, etc).

Meanwhile, it was all (cue ominous organ music and villainous laughter) orchestrated by me, the Puppetmaster. Using my apartment as HQ, I dispatched operatives, gave field promotions and stripped underperforming lieutenants of their rank.

And that's what you and your wife should be vis-à-vis your pal: his operatives, a wing man and woman, a pair of Burgess Merediths to his Rocky – working hard in his corner to help him realize his romantic dreams and to find his soul mate.

Not (to use a dreadful mixed metaphor that almost works) wet blankets wringing your hands over his prospects and raining on his love parade.

David Eddie is the author of Damage Control, the book.

I've made a huge mistake

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