Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr
Every now and then, though, I get a reply like the following one:
hiya - thanks for you message - I hate to write this - makes me sound shallow, but its important to be honest - I'm into thinner, twinky guys. Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch. Good luck!
Now, let me say up front that I totally get that guys are attracted to certain kinds of guys and might choose not to get involved with a guy because of a lack of attraction. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that (unless a narrow definition of what you consider physically attractive is the only factor in your decision-making process). In fact, I've been known to turn down a few guys who expressed interest because I didn't find them physically appealing as well. (This is especially true if they come looking for sex rather than expressing an interest in friendship or relationship building.)
However, my advice is that if you're going to turn a guy down because you don't find him attractive, do not reply with a message like the one above. To be perfectly blunt, such a message makes you look like a complete douchebag. Allow me to explain my reasoning there by going through the email as a writer and a witch piece by piece, offering my own interpretation.
I hate to write this
This is a phrase that I find completely disingenuous. I don't know about you, but as a rule, I don't do things that I hate doing. To be blunt, if you start a message to me by saying "I hate to say this," finishing that message makes you a liar in my book. Harsh? You bet. But try and argue with my logic.
makes me sound shallow
So you're worried about sounding shallow? But are you worried about being shallow? Let's face it, if you feel like what you're saying or doing might make you appear shallow, maybe it's time to re-evaluate what you're saying or doing and acting less shallow. But no, your actions make it clear you're only worried about how you're being perceived, not whether you actually need to do some uncomfortable soul-searching and attitude changes.
Again, I don't mind if you turn me down because you don't find me attractive. But don't insult me by then worrying that I'll think less of you because of it. Quit thinking about yourself for five seconds.
but its important to be honest
I agree. Too bad I haven't found you to be very honest. Sure, you're being up front about not being into me and that's quite cool of you. But I find the whole "please understand that I'm still a nice guy so I'm going to say all kinds of things to make myself feel better about shooting you down" less than honest. So you might want to work on being more fully honest in the future. (I'd recommend starting by learning to be more honest with yourself.)
- I'm into thinner, twinky guys.
This is probably the most direct and honest part of the entire message. If you said exactly this and left out the other "trying to be nice" bullshit, I'd probably respect you more.
Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch.
These kinds of statements always drive me nuts, because there's an implied phrase missing from the statement that you hope I'll forget about. Let me rewrite the full sentence for you:
Otherwise, you sound like a really quality catch, as long as you're someone else's catch.
Telling me I'm a great guy who would be a great catch while you're turning me down is again disingenuous. What you're really trying to do here is make sure that I still feel good about myself and continue to think that you're really a nice guy, rather than that shallow guy you're worried about sounding like (but not worried about so much that you give me a shot). Let's face it, even when you're throwing me a compliment, it's really all about you in the back of your mind.
But thanks for the compliment. And I know I'm a quality catch. But I'm certainly wondering about you.
Now don't worry, if you're actually dumb enough to send me a message like this, I will just reply with a "thanks" and move on. So you can go on patting yourself on the back for being such a "nice guy." You'll probably even never know that I'm actually shaking my head and smiling over what a douchebag you are. Because quite frankly, after reading your message, you being "shallow" for turning me down is the least of my criticisms of you.
So yeah, we're definitely not a good match. I deserve better than you. Thank you for making that so obvious so quickly. :)