I thought it would amuse my female readership if I reported that I had overheard a man saying of another man "He'll never get a girlfriend if..." Or was it "How will he ever get a girlfriend if..."? At any rate, I thought it would cheer you to know that guys say that about other guys, and it can be just as dumb as when girls say "How will she ever get a boyfriend if...?" about other girls because actually, as someone listening pointed out, the guy in question has no trouble getting girlfriends. So there.
But this leads me to wonder what qualities keep other men from getting girlfriends. I mean, serial killers in jail get marriage proposals. So this morning I will throw out some suggestions as I puzzle through the possibilities.
1. They never meet any girls. Many men are in male-dominated careers, and by dominated I mean there are only two women in the office/on site, if that. Or they are in high-pressure academic programs where the only way to survive is to keep their heads down and study. Although I have many reservations, in the case of men who are in male-dominated careers, I suggest internet dating. But I mean dating, not emailing.
2. They never talk to girls. Some men actually lose the ability to speak when introduced to new girls. It is amusing to witness, but not so amusing for the poor men. This is why it is a kindness to march up to guys known as "quiet" or "shy" and ask them easy-to-answer questions and, if they give short, strangled answers, chat gaily and non-stop for three minutes before buzzing away. Repeat the next time you see them. This will help them get used to you, and hopefully by extension to talking to women in general.
Three. They are dead boring. Some men--not the quiet ones--are dead boring, I have to admit. They talk about the same things all the time, and/or they talk in a monotone. They talk about things that interest them, and never wonder for the slightest second if these are of any interest to the women they are speaking to. I was once interrupted while talking about my novel to a recent reader of my novel to be told that Mass was available at some place where I am never going to go. This was of great interest to the man in question, but not to me. Incidentally, people, never EVER interrupt an author talking about her book with a reader. It is cruel.
I am not sure what can be done for men who are dead boring. The most obvious solution is to tell them that they are dead boring and they must ask people about their interests, not just launch into a discussion of their own. Also one could suggest they stop talking in a monotone. However, this seems very blunt, even for a North American. The idea of doing any such thing would make the average Brit faint. Maybe some kindly self-sacrificing man could do it, especially when drunk.
4. They never ask girls out. Before he went into the seminary, I had a fond idea that eventually some nice girl named Prunella or Penelope or something like that would propose to Seminarian Pretend Son in a rowboat in a big pond or river (or whatever) in her family's country place, and that would be that. Some men are so humble that they assume wrongly that they are just no woman's cup of tea and so are absolutely staggered to discover that they are. I imagine England is full of such excellent yet unassuming chaps; indeed, it always has been. Thus, in England, especially among the expensively educated, it is the lot of woman to prod man into marriage. I say England, not Scotland, because the Scots are markedly different. I think. Naturally there exceptions to my egregious stereotyping.
5. They ask too many girls out. I once had a neighbour who was indignant because although he gave his phone number to two waitresses at his favourite bar, neither of them called him. I pointed out that they would have certainly known he had given his number to BOTH of them. "So what?" he asked. Dear, dear, dear. Bless his little heart.
Closer to home, I know a nice young man, excellent company, who wears his heart on his sleeve and discusses his latest crush with all the women he knows. He has a new one every month, and it is very hard to keep track. Unfortunately, he tends to get crushes on girls he has told about the other girls, and naturally they do not take his ardour very seriously.
In such a case, I would counsel prudence and caution. Although in close-knit communities everyone will eventually know that one of their men has asked out one of their women, the fact that he tried to be discreet about it will stand him in good stead.
6. They pick badly. Newsflash. Beautiful young women prefer beautiful young men their own age. Some beautiful young women who have only their looks going for them may angle for less beautiful, less young men if these men are rich (and I mean rich), but men who read Catholic blogs are unlikely to meet them. So never mind them. Look for girls who look like you.
If you look at married couples, you might notice that, by and large, they have a lot in common. I am not beautiful but striking. B.A. is not beautiful but striking. He is short. I am shorter. He still hasn't finished his PhD. I still haven't finished my PhD. He loves women. I think men are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life. We are almost the same age. We share many virtues and we share many faults, which is very handy when it comes to forgiveness, the lifeblood of marriage. We are both mildly eccentric. The verdict of my dear friend Lily when she met B.A. was "I was so relieved. I thought he'd be too normal."
If you are a brainy potato dumpling of a man, it is a good idea to court brainy potato dumplings of women. It is a bad idea to think, "Although I am a balding, overweight 5'6" thirty-two year old accountant with a marked physical resemblance to Winston Churchill, I shall court only 20 year old model-types." That's just not how life works. Go to the mall and look at the couples. The major discrepancies have to do with height. Short women don't mind marrying tall men, and tall men don't mind marrying short women. Tall women prefer tall men, and short men seem to prefer shorter women, which I think a bit sad, but that's life.
On the other hand, it is short sighted to think that women are "out of your league" just because of some ridiculous social construct like "where she went to university." If she's around your age, shorter than you, has similar interests, and has the female version of your figure (i.e. slim to your thin, athletic to your muscle, curvy to your fat), it doesn't really matter a damn if she went to Harvard or Oxford whereas you went to state or a red brick. If a woman turns you down because of where you went to college, that really is her loss because Harvard and Oxford men don't give a pinch of snuff for where women went to uni, so long as they think we're cute and fun, whatever than means for them.
I just remembered. Sometimes younger men fall madly in love with older women, e.g. their professors. In such situations, the younger man is going to have to think very hard and put forward his case in an honest and blunt conversation, and be extra-prepared to be shot down. This is particularly true if the young man does not have personal capital equal to the woman's higher social status, e.g. good looks, ambition, undoubted charm.
7. They are smelly. It's sad that they need to be told, but some do--especially some undergrads away from home for the first time ever. If a man does not wash daily, does not wear clean clothes, does not brush his teeth, does not wash his hair, does not wear deodorant, does not put odour-eaters in his shoes, he is going to smell. And women do not like that. We really do not.
Feel free to add your own thoughts in the combox!