I’ll have what she’s having
Boys are a lot like that entree you regret not ordering. It becomes all the more desirable when served to some lucky girl at a neighboring table. Especially if she’s channeling Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally (see below).
Fact: every girl has an algorithm of sorts for assessing the eligibility of a potential male mate. Some combination of attractiveness, intelligence and sense of humor, or quirkier proclivities for facial hair and motorcycles. But these equations are easy derailed by the introduction of “the ex-factor.”
The ex-factor can turn the boy next door into a Brad Pitt. It can make us second guess our intuition and overlook disqualifying traits. Because when we meet a past (or – let’s be honest – present) girlfriend who doesn’t quite fit the picture we’ve painted, we just have to know why. And there’s nothing sexier than an enigma.
Of course, sometimes it’s less about the power of surprise and more about the power of suggestion. Sometimes just seeing someone in a dating context is all that’s needed to spark interest.
Extreme example: a few months ago, one of my favorite people made his reality TV debut…on Millionaire Matchmaker. I kid you not. Usually any guy who goes on that show comes off as a total douchebag, but this dude proved the exception. Sure, there were some awkward moments (largely thanks to biased video editing), but overall his appearance was a success. Especially if you measure success by the deluge of Facebook declarations of love, swooning tweets, and the few ambitious (shameless?) ladies who even tracked him down in person.
There were probably a few gold diggers in the mix, as well as star struck ladies blinded by his 30-minutes of fame. But many of his female cyber stalkers seemed like cool, normal girls. Girls who don’t regularly send Facebook messages to strangers they see on TV. So apart from the fact that he is a genuinely awesome guy with some killer dance moves, why the frenzy?
I think it comes down to context. These girls saw how much fun this guy was on a date (even when surrounded by cameramen), and automatically thought, “Hmm…that could be me.” And the eventual Facebook, Twitter and physical stalkers must have then decided, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Now that’s not to say they wouldn’t have reached the same conclusion if they had met this guy in a coffee shop. But sometimes it’s easier to make a selection when another diner has already done the menu legwork. Now if only there were a Yelp for boys :P