It happens to everyone and is a part of human nature. Intimate relationships. Despite the grumblings of a few temporarily embittered people (which has happened to myself at one point), humans do more than seek these relationships: we need them. With few exceptions, we constantly search for someone to tell our deepest fears to, to hold us, to make fun of people at Walmart with.
The process of getting to that point is my concern here. We twist, turn, and squirm all in the pursuit of a partner. Anybody who has gone through this process damns it to hell and wishes for things to be "simpler" and more "honest". But would that be as effective?
"Just be yourself!" Yeah, right. That is one of the biggest lines of horseshit there is when it comes to dating. For us to succeed (success as in being classified as a couple) we have to put on "masks". While hiding our true self these masks function to project ourselves in a more pleasing manner for that special someone. This can be in a physical form; wearing a button shirt, khakis, and some nice Kenneth Cole Reaction cologne. This can be in a mental form; even though you are terrified of horror movies (like: anything classified as a horror movie) you watch several with the other person because they cannot get enough of them. Without these masks it is harder to get the attention of the person of interest as anything more than a friend. Why would they take special interest in you? Your appearance may be nothing special to them and, more importantly, you may not seem to have much in common at first. This leads to people trying to clean up their language, keep up their appearances, and try new things. All with the goal of appearing more dating-friendly. If you really want to attract someone, do not be your true self immediately. Tailor the best possible mask for that special someone.
Nevertheless, one cannot make a mask too foreign to themselves or else it will come off as noticeably fake and lead to failure. As a physical example imagine a man who normally dresses "Goth" and the woman he is interested in likes well dressed men. The man will not and should not suddenly start wearing button shirts, belts, and the like. Say he did though, then he would obviously be uncomfortable which would greatly hurt his chances with the woman. As a mental example, imagine the man is a staunch liberal but the woman he likes is a staunch conservative. Once again, he will not and should not try being and thinking like a conservative. So when one crafts a mask, try to make it resemble yourself but with a few modifications.
Wearing a mask is not immoral, dishonest, or evil. Nor is it moral, honest, or good. It is a tool to be used in the pursuit of a relationship. The tool is then evaluated based on how it was used and how effective it was. Do not go about complaining how fake people are and how difficult it is to date someone. Every single person wears a mask, whether it is intricate or simple, when trying to date someone. You yourself have done this, whether consciously or not. All I ask of you is to understand this is the way things are because, in general, it works and that no ill-will is meant by donning the mask. Once one actually has that relationship or is near it however, they should slowly strip away the mask, but that is an issue better left to another posting.