She was beautiful.

This was my thought as my male friend and I were talking. I was married already but I was giving counsel to a friend who was considering whether to pursue this single lady or not.

Yet despite her great looks, and even better internal qualities, this friend of mine would decide that she could be passed up in favor of someone more “attractive”. I was a bit dumbfounded.

This “passing up” activity is a common occurence I see men do in hopes to land a supermodel of sorts.

Flipping through pictures on dating apps, however, yielded no one who met those qualifications. They can keep looking, but the activity overlooks something critically important:

…they don’t exist.

Consider this a public service announcement for my fellow men from one who is learning to unlearn many things.

The supermodel is a caricature given to us through years of media conditioning. Commercials, magazines, music videos, movies, and ads leverage the “supermodel” to sell their product. Yet the by-product of the sell is a formation in the minds of men of what beauty is and isn’t.

The blonde bombshell that catches our eye at the magazine aisle of the grocery store is unfortunately the product of a choosing one image at one angle amidst thousands of “imperfect”shots. This chosen one is preprocessed and manipulated until it conforms to an arbritrary standard of beauty.

The ludicrousness of it all escapes us as our baser instincts overtake us and we make the unconscious acquiescence that “this is true beauty.” God help us to remember the things at stake before we make the mental plunge:

First, women growing up looking like that will always feel insecure knowing their physical appearance will never match up to that standard. What a lie! As I’m preparing to be a dad, I’m bracing myself of what it will look like to ensure my daughters know they are full loved and valued no matter how they look. It is our responsibility to not reinforce a world that perpetuates those lies.

Second, we men exacerbate the problem when we expect that falsity of the women we intend to date. We need to drill it in our head the elephant-in-the-room truth that media conceptions of beauty are a fake manufactured sham. They hijack our God-given abilities to discern the difference between beauty and mirages.

Third, we miss the opportunity to appreciate true beauty. As a married man, I am jealous for fellow men to find your wife beautiful because of who she is and the character she possesses, not what she looks like. There is something so attractive about a woman who gives generously, loves humbly, loves God, and serves others. These are the things that God designed our heart to be moved by.

Can’t find someone beautiful enough to date?

The problem is not solved on the next screen of the dating app in your hand. It is solved by re-assessing the stronghold of falsehood that persists in our brain about beauty and choosing to see beauty in a different light.