real life

Punching above your dating weight.

Ryan Gosling. Could you be the one holding his arm?






Girl walks into a bar and sees drop-dead gorgeous boy who looks about 10 years younger than her. Girl immediately assumes he is ‘out of her league’, but she can’t help trying her luck anyway, despite the odds.

After a brief interaction, girl goes into the bathroom and scrawls cute note + her phone number on a piece of paper, comes out, hands it to boy and scurries away with her friend before the inevitable beetroot face ensues. Friend gives girl a pat on the back for being so bold, but girl thinks that’s as far as it’ll go. What are the odds of hearing from boy? Not good.

Cut to the following day. Girl receives text message from boy: ‘That was very brave of you to give me your number. Sure, I’ll have a drink with you.’ Girl is chuffed. But what are the odds of boy being attracted to her? Low, at best.

Girl meets boy for a drink with no expectations. The date goes better than predicted. Also, she finds out he’s 3 years younger than her – not 10. They talk, drink and eat. They jump in the car and go for a drive and then talk, drink and eat some more at the next bar. Then they decide to do something else with their mouths… They kiss. And it’s a GOOD kiss. Wow! What are odds of having a good kiss on a first date with a drop-dead gorgeous slightly-younger man who you think is way out of your league? Clearly, a lot better than anticipated.

They lock in a second date, and that goes well, too… Then a third date… Then a fourth date… Maybe he isn’t out of her league after all. And she is starting to like the odds…

Ladies and gentleman, that girl was me. (I know, right – you never would have guessed.) And the above describes a recent couple of months in my love life.

At 24, I felt confident I could attract almost any good-looking man I wanted – and I was right 9/10 times. (Ah, youthful optimism… and skin tone.) At 34, I feel confident I can attract almost no good-looking man I want – and I’m right 9/10 times, which is a shame, because at 34 I don’t look THAT different and I have SO much more to bring to a relationship than I did at 24. The above courtship with Mr Drop-Dead Gorgeous has now morphed into a friendship (and I mean a real friendship – not a ‘let’s be friends’ friendship and then the only time you ever see each other is on Facebook). We see each other about once a fortnight now. After spending a little time together, the feeling was mutual that we weren’t right for each other long-term, so there was no point in being an exclusive couple. But it had nothing to do with looks. It wasn’t a case of him being ‘out of my league’. Our personalities were simply not well-matched for the ‘happily ever after’ stuff.

Bloody break-ups: While you’re mourning the loss of what could have been (even though it couldn’t) while unconsciously devouring pints of ice cream and lamenting, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’, you never walk away empty-handed. The bittersweet consolation prize is that you are now the proud owner of some priceless life lessons.

My mini-relationship with Mr DDG taught me to have a little more faith in the possibility that someone I find extremely physically attractive just might fancy me back. He also taught me, inadvertently, that physical attractiveness is the least of it when you’re trying to find someone to share your life with. (As gorgeous as he is, I definitely felt as though there was something missing.) Common values, interests, direction in life and that intangible chemistry is what makes you go from ‘in like’ to ‘in love’ and sign up for a future with someone.

Having said all that, I’m currently on a health kick to get my slightly older exterior matching my still-young-and-playful interior (it’s not as effortless at 34 as it was at 24) – I know, the irony is not lost on me. But I figure if I can nab myself a Mr DDG, I’m hopeful about the odds of nabbing a Mr DDGARFM (Drop-Dead Gorgeous AND Right For Me). And from now on, I’m only going to assume that 7/10 good-looking men are out of my league… Hey, I’m a realist.

Elly Klein is the author of the relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates. You can buy her book here, visit her website here, follow her on Twitter here and find her on Facebook here.

Have you ever dated someone that you thought was out of your league? How did it go?