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Living in the Land of Make Believe: Why Women Create the Perfect Dating World Persona

Updated on May 13, 2012
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When it comes to the real world, honesty is supposedly always the best policy in life and in work. In the dating world, the truth can send a potential male suitor heading for the hills if all the baggage is revealed too soon. Dating in the present day is like unveiling a new mystery novel by the latest author of the moment. The first few chapters lay the groundwork and the middle reels them in to get to the most important information they can gather like a modern day Sam Spade or Sherlock Holmes.

Okay, this might sound like a huge manipulation that bordered on a Soap Opera plot, but people do enjoy a good fantasy to balance the mundane reality that most people deal with forty hours a week. Society has taught women that sometimes being themselves all the time is too much for many to handle. It's been recommended to mix portions of fantasy and reality to keep a guy interested so that he can solve the mystery behind who he's dating, but to not play too many games either.

That being said a different type of feminine mystique has to be created to keep both partners amused, because it's no fun playing pretend by yourself. Here are three personas that women have turned to make their dating life take a different turn for the better. Just beware of how far you go in creating this new image, because you could easily lose yourself in the fantasy.

  • The Vixen- This idea is better known as the "femme fatale" in mystery novel and noir films that followed a complicated murder mystery from start to finish. These women are literally dressed to kill whoever got in their path to success. Sometimes a vixen can pretend to be in trouble to reel in their prey. A prime example would Ava Gardner in The Killers where she played a woman seemingly trapped in a dead end life, but she was more of a willing participant than she led her lover (Burt Lancaster) to believe. Gardner's character led Lancaster into a life of crime and betrayal that ultimately caused his demise and her getting exposed as the perfect con woman. Another type of vixen is the version where they were the true masterminds of everything wicked coming their way. Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity) and Kathleen Turner (Body Heat) played women who willingly lied, seduced and even killed their way to getting everything they wanted. In terms of non-cinematic planning, you just need a little red lipstick, a dress that just a little too tight and leave the lethal planning at home. No wonder Fred MacMurray and William Hurt were smitten with their on-screen leading ladies. A more toned down version would Sigourney Weaver's feisty 70s wife in The Ice Storm. She had a whip and wasn't afraid to use it.
  • The Good Girl- The fantasy of being someone angelic that a suitor can worship from afar or up close still appeals to many. Look at Julie Andrews' early film work like Mary Poppins or the 1965 classic The Sound of Music where she portrayed troublemakers with the right amount of sweetness that most men could forgive her mistakes. Despite her character's naive appearance in Music, she won the heart of the repressed widower and his many children by simply bringing the gift of song in the house. Another version of the good girl ideal was Audrey Hepburn who always portrayed a mixture of sweetness, even when the characters she portrayed weren't always saints. As Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, she romantically reached for the stars as a woman uncomfortable being who she once was to find love with someone who loved her all the same. In terms of this fantasy, women just have to be truthful in their demeanor and simply know when the truth should be revealed. Admitting to one's mistakes can go a long way in paving the way for any relationship. A little bit of honesty in this case definitely works for the better.
  • The Damsel in Distress- Let's face it, ladies. We all like the idea of being rescued by some big strong handsome man willing to jump in the line of fire to save you. The idea is simply a heartwarming story that often leads to some of the more interesting on-screen movie relationships. This fantasy often leads to some major cliches that never seem to get better with age. Kim Basinger has attempted to mix this ideal with being a modern day vixen with mixed results. In Batman, she played the intrepid photographer who romanced Bruce Wayne and was the object of The Joker's obsession. Most of the film involved her being chased by bad guys, which got old rather quickly. Another distressed lady was Michelle Pfeiffer who started Batman Returns as a victim who literally died as one and woke up someone much more lethal because of it. In this fantasy, there's a fine line between being the victim and a survivor. It's best to find the right balance before pursuing this one any further.

In the end, a woman's identity is ultimately her own. No amount of primping and fake names can take away who you are. Instead of being Faith the good girl, try being Cindy the real girl with a little Faith mixed in to keep people guessing. Most women turn to pretending because they believe the direct approach is the wrong approach. Maybe, it's all the Hollywood Romantic Comedies that get forced down our throats, but women sometimes like the idea of being pursued for a change. They want to be worshipped for the valuable people they truly are and not just as sex objects. If only that idea was figured into the fantasy, it could really last forever and not until the novelty wears off.


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    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree with what you've said but I think it definitely appears in everyday situations like work and social activities. But it's a lot more interesting when people just say and act the way they really are after the 'honeymoon period' in any situation. I have a hard time with guys too who pretend to be something and then end up being something else. Being upfront saves us all alot of trouble in the end.

    • DNCalkins profile image

      DNCalkins 5 years ago from The Cold-Blasted North

      I think men do this too, but many get completely lost in the fantasy until they believe it as well.

      ALSO: I can attest that I have never met a woman who fit any single (or half dozen) category, but your examination of the 'roleplay' of dating is still a lot of fun! :)