A few summers ago, my friend and I were having lunch on the patio of a German-themed cafe. Next to us were an interesting pair, or at least to me they were, I’m sort of ashamed to admit. I’d say they were early to midtwenties. The guy looked like he stepped off a college sports team. He had that wholesome all-American athlete look: brown hair, attractive face, college sweatshirt. But the girl looked—forgive me for saying this—plain. Her clothes were dowdy—shapeless and brown. Her hair was short and efficient. She had a good smattering of acne on her face. But he, he was clearly smitten.
Trying to figure out what the beautiful tree was that graced the outside of the patio, I ventured to ask this couple next to me. Immediately, the girl sprang to attention, looking at the tree and trying to determine it. Her partner looked at her with a sense of—dare I say—awe. He then told us how she knew everything there was to know about plants. How she was naming all the trees and plants on the way there. And you could see it on her face—she loved nature. This was her passion. Plants, botany, whatever you’d call it.
Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think botany is the most popular hobby of choice for most dudes. I mean, there are a few guys who’d rather identity trees than watch football, but I don’t think that’s what was going on here.
I think he admired her passion.
And it’s true, her eyes and entire face lit up when she talked about plants. She positively shone. Her face had a glow, and her curls had a little more spring to them. She no longer looked dowdy or plain. She radiated life and joy.
Ladies, sometimes we spend so much time worrying about looking good for guys and our dates that we forget the other stuff. Guys aren’t looking for just a pretty face. In a conversation with a guy friend a few years ago, he surprised me by saying he was probably going to break up with the girl he’d been seeing for a few weeks. He had described their kissing sessions as amazing. They had crazy chemistry. But she didn’t understand him in the ways that mattered. And he knew it wouldn’t last.
In other words, the physical wasn’t enough. It had an expiration date.
He wanted more.
Now my buddy’s in a relationship with a beautiful girl with goals, ambition, and an adventurous spirit. We don’t talk much anymore (we’re both in committed relationships and live in different cities), but I am SO incredibly happy he found the whole package.
At the time my friend admitted he was going to break up with the chemistry girl, I was almost knocked off my rocker (I’m embarrassed to admit). A guy was going to break up with a girl he had great physical chemistry with? Because of long-term reasons? He wanted more than the physical?
Sad, I know. That I was almost flabbergasted by this.
So often as women we feel we have to “perform” for our guys to like us. If we don’t put out, they’ll leave. If we don’t send those late-night sexy texts, they’ll leave. Go to another woman who will put out. Who’s more adventurous and fun.
But ladies, guys want the real deal too. Sure, spend some time putting on some makeup or doing your hair, and some chemistry and attraction toward your partner is important (let’s be real), but don’t forget your inner spirit.
Guys who are looking for more than a hookup will be looking for more than a perfect physical physique. Guys who respect you as more than a piece of meat will value your body and not pressure you into things you are uncomfortable with. And they will value your desires to save sex for marriage. The guy looking for the whole package, the guy in a “for-keeps” mindset will wait. The man with Jesus in his heart will want to wait.
And this is the same for you, guys. I know some of you feel pressured by your friends to talk about your conquests or pretend to have done more with a pretty girl. Or you might feel the girl you really like would be considered uncool to your friends. To this I say, stand tall. Be brave. Be a man. If the guys start talking inappropriately or in disrespect to a woman, don’t participate. Even better, call them out on it. And ask out the girl who might not fit the mold but whose passion or light has caught your eye. Dare to be different and a gentleman.
I’m gonna admit that the girl in the German café inspired me. I began to think about what made me unique and different. What passions did I bring to the table? What interests should I be nourishing? My writing? My singing? My desire to visit all the bookstores or coffee shops in town?
So nourish your spirit, ladies and gents.
Beauty is more than just a perfectly symmetrical face or perfectly clear skin. It’s more than muscles and a six-pack.
And it’s true that love often finds us when we’re not looking but living a rich, full life.
- Have you ever found yourself attracted to someone who didn’t fit the mold of cultural beauty? What was it that attracted you or that attracts you to this person?
- What makes you unique and different? What hobbies, interests, or activities—things that bring you joy—can you be nourishing?
- But, we are ALL beautiful inside and out. We are God’s creation. What is one of your most attractive features? And why don’t you play it up a little? If it’s eyes, learn how to use shadow to enhance them. If it’s your smile, try a bright lipstick. Have fun! Just remember that we are more than a pretty face or a perfect physique.
- Is there someone in your life pressuring you to put out? Be brave and have a conversation with this person. If they can’t respect you, ask the Holy Spirit for courage to walk away. And make a plan with your friends to get ice cream or watch movies or do something fun to remember there is more to life than a person who just wants your flesh. You’re worth respect. Honor. To be valued for your entire being.
Have a wonderful week! Here are some quotes from the oh-so-elegant Audrey Hepburn about beauty. May they inspire! 🙂 (And P.S. girls in the plant pictures, if you ever read this, you are not plain but gorgeous! Just chose you both because you’re wearing brown and with plants! Mwah!)
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.”
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
And let’s not be overspiritual!
“There is a shade of red for every woman.”
“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.”