Nice of you to step in Will, but did you have to say that too?
Al, you kinda brought that on yourself.
Before you ask any of the above questions, you need to ask one more: Do you want to date a woman who believes all those things are important?
If the answer is yes, then that's great, all Jim's questions are great.
But make sure the answer to that first question is really yes before you start changing who you are.
Also, watch Grease (the musical) and ask yourself: was that really a happy ending for Sandy and Danny? If you're answering "yes", then go ahead and do all the stuff Jim asks.
Do you have a significant other? I'm not asking that to be a jerk, I'm serious.
No one is saying "drastically alter who you are." And despite what TV and the movies tell you, no woman is going to put up with someone who doesn't put at least a modicum of effort into themselves. At least, no woman worth being with.
I dress up to go out. I don't always shave, granted, I often let a bit of a beard form, but always keep my nails clean and tidy. (I recently managed to stop biting my nails somehow, and since then take a tiny bit of pride in them being all smooth and stuff. Even have one of those wee nail buffer sanding block things) I'll maybe not try on 10 different outfits before going out, but I'll certainly mentally sort through what I have that looks good, and make sure it's all clean and ironed (if needs be) and ready, with a few back-ups, the day before any relatively public situation where there might be "GASP!" girls. When buying clothes, yes, I definitely take a lot into the changing rooms to try on, because I prefer to look and feel good in my clothes than just buy the nearest thing that vaguely fits the description of the item I'm looking for.
However, I do agree with David's point. I realise it'd be easier to at least hook up with girls if I were to ine, and put on a costume and a persona that aren't mine and to lie to them and say and do what I believe the majority want to hear. I don't often feel like that's what I want though. I often make mention of pretty girls I see. There's no doubt that many of them are conventionally attractive, and clearly do follow mainstream fashion trends and the like, but just as many have their own styles, or perhaps attract me not because of their hair, or their clothes, or their butts or their boobs, but because of a smile, or something funny I hear them say, and really, if I'm going to spend time with someone, I'd much rather they be interesting to me as a person, than simply hot. I choose my guy friends the same way. I don't hang out with those guys who only watch and talk about football or spend all their day at the gym or out boozing. I enjoy jokes with my friends, often at each other's expense, yes, but I can't stand people who are only constantly about putting everyone else down in "banter".
Confidence is important, definitely. I see it in all people and I am more attracted, either for friendship or romance, to those with confidence than those without. I don't feel I'd be very confident if I was acting false.
edit: as an aside, this thread has had me down all day.
Cragg, no one is suggesting you don't be yourself. Lying or just saying things you think a woman wants to hear. Neither one will serve you in the long run and probably not the short run.
Be yourself, just be your best self.
And please don't take this as us ganging up on you or putting down your appearance, etc. We're trying to help.
Get confident, stupid!!