“Do you think I look beautiful, Daddy?” my seven-year-old daughter asked. She stood with her hand on her hip, wearing a turquoise dress-up gown and a red sequined hat.
“You look amazing.”
“Take a picture of me,” she said, tilting her head and smiling.
After I took the picture, we looked at it and admired how attractive she was. It’s the kind of photo I’ll add to the slideshow at her wedding reception — assuming there’ll be one.
My daughter could end up being one of many attractive single women out there who wants to be married but can’t seem to find a man who sees how beautiful she is. If that happens, I hope she will come and ask me the question I’ve heard from so many other single women: “What have I got to do to be attractive to the men around me?”
If she does, I’ll start by reminding her that she has no power over what men think of her — nor is she defined by their opinions. At the same time, I’m not going to blame her for wanting to be noticed. So we’ll talk about what it takes, and I’ll give her the best ideas I’ve got. I’ll start with a beauty tip.
Remember where your real beauty lies.
Your looks really do matter — with a caveat. It’s a well-quoted 2,000-year-old piece of advice: The ultimate source of your beauty shouldn’t be how you look on the outside; rather, “let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Don’t give into cynicism when you read that. It’s not just a memory verse.
Who you are on the inside really does matter most, and as a believer in Christ, you are already stunning. You have an “imperishable beauty,” or as the NIV puts it, an “unfading beauty,” that will never need moisturizer or makeup or plastic surgery. And this beauty comes from having God, the source of all beauty, inhabiting your body and mind.
Godly guys — the kind you want to attract — are going to see that kind of beauty and care about that more than anything else about you, so take care of that side of yourself above all else, and you’ll more likely attract the kind of man you want.
But this also comes with a caveat: Nice Christian men still care about looks. As much as it may be frustrating to think that the superficial matters to them, it’s a reality, so I suggest figuring out how to deal with that while also maintaining your self-respect.
Own your look.
I had an acquaintance at church a few years ago who didn’t put much effort into the way she looked. She wore old blue jeans and T-shirts all the time, and her hair was unkempt. Then one day — I don’t know what happened — she showed up at church and looked so different I hardly recognized her. She had changed her wardrobe, gotten her hair styled and generally looked more confident. It may have been a superficial change, but it stood out.
Like my acquaintance, you’ve been “wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14), so I’d suggest doing whatever you think will make that attractiveness more obvious. I don’t think you should adopt a look that’s not you. Just do whatever it is that makes you feel attractive. It will increase your confidence and make it easier for the men around you to see you for the masterpiece you are.
Proximity is key.
I know a friend who’s single and has a great job in a medium-sized town in Texas. She’s having trouble finding a man because most of the men her age are already married. Now she’s considering a pretty drastic step: moving to a city with a higher ratio of single men to single women — like San Jose, California, where there are 95 single men for every 100 single women. I say good for her.
She’s not necessarily going to find a husband, and not all of those single men in San Jose will be good prospects for her, but at least her attractiveness will stand out on a more level playing field. At the same time, not everyone can afford to move to San Jose, but there are other ways to “increase your ratio,” if you will. Spend fewer hours at work. Consider attending a co-ed Bible study at a different church. Try online dating.
Increasing the number of men around you raises the chances of meeting the right one, but that may not be enough. You might first need to hear some painful feedback if you want to avoid scaring the good guys off.
There are some things about you that are turning men off and you’ll never know it unless you get someone to tell you. Don’t be too insecure to ask a trusted friend or mentor.
I’ve known women who talked about their ex-boyfriends too much, put their bodies down, were incessantly sarcastic, drank too much, dominated conversations and were too physically clingy early in the relationship. If they had gotten some honest feedback and then made some changes, they might have looked exponentially more attractive to men. Don’t miss that opportunity.
Do an informal interview with a friend or mentor who will lovingly tell you some of the good things you bring to the table and some of the areas where you need to change. It may be hard to hear, but men are noticing that stuff anyway.
Think of it like having spinach in your teeth at a party. You need folks who will hold up a mirror and then you need to be grateful for their courage in pointing it out. Getting that gunk out of your teeth could be game changer, but in the process of doing that, remember the one thing that you don’t need to change: the real you.
Keep being the real you.
When I met my wife, Raquel, we clicked. I noticed her flaws, for sure, but they weren’t as significant to me as they had been with other women. It didn’t hurt that she was putting her best foot forward (and so was I), but even beyond that, I just liked her for the things that made her who she was: Her faith, intelligence, personality, talents and sense of humor.
In the same way, you want a man to love the real you, so while you’re going about being attractive, remember to keep being the person you really are. Pursue your interests and find others who share them. Act in ways that reflect your deepest values. Get your education and find a job you like. And for goodness’ sake, do all of this because it’s who you are — not because you’re trying to find a husband.
The qualities that define you are exactly what some good man out there may be looking for. If he finds you, you want him to find the real you and be interested in that person. But regardless of whether that man ever comes along, don’t forget that your Creator loves you — the real you who has been “wonderfully made.” Don’t trivialize that. There’s nothing more important.
God’s love provides the validation you’re really looking for. His adoration is where you find lasting confidence in who you’re made to be. Always stay in close proximity to that truth and it will bring out your “imperishable beauty … which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Copyright 2018 Joshua Rogers. All rights reserved.