In midlife dating, we repeatedly hear, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” At this point in our lives most of us have wrinkles, sags and perhaps even some scars or skin discolerations. Yet it takes a lot, usually, to look beyond the surface image.
So what do you do when someone has a facial feature that absorbs much of your attention? How do you see the person who lies beneath?
I recently had the opportunity to share a small-group dinner table conversation with a man who deals with this every day.
Ngahi Bidois is a New Zealand Maori motivational speaker. His face is mostly covered with an intricate traditional Maori tattoo called ta moko.
At first, I found myself stealing glances not wanting to stare. But in a small group, I could look closely at the pattern while he conversed with others. However, I noticed how quickly my fascination with his facial tattoo waned and soon I began to focus on his expressive and soft brown eyes and engaging smile. His spirit, heart, humor and intelligence emerged delightfully. In no time, I found I didn’t even notice the inked design.
In “Yummy is as yummy does” I talk about how a man’s attractiveness increases as his kindness, thoughtfulness, humor and caring emerge. He may not be traditionally handsome, but becomes yummier as a special personality is revealed. Yet, most of us don’t have to put this concept to the test as frequently as Ngahi does.
Sometimes I can remember to look beyond the surface, but I admit I also fall prey to deleting online profiles of men who sound good when reading their description, but their pictures aren’t “my type.” It’s a common complaint that daters don’t give others a chance if they don’t look appealing. It’s also a common fear that when you meet someone for that first coffee encounter, they will turn on their heel without even saying hello once they see you.
Ngahi is a great reminder of how we can miss out on a treasure if we make too-quick decisions based on only surface signs. By the end of dinner, I was marveling at how handsome he was. (He’s married, so not a potential date, but the lesson is still a good one.)
To better understand how dating midlife men is different, get your copy of Embracing Midlife Men: Insights Into Curious Behaviors.