What Beauty Tips Do You Think I Should Use to Attract Men?

Evan, I know you get a lot of really heavy questions, but I have a simple, light-hearted question for you. Should I grow my hair out? I’m 51 and have some gray, but not a lot. I recently added highlights to help blend in the gray. My hair is currently a shoulder-length bob. I have a great stylist and the cut is very flattering, but I wonder if longer hair would be more appealing to men. –Liz

Liz,

Since there are so many people (and women’s magazines) who think that dating coaching is all about the physical, I tend to shy away from topics like this. Isn’t there enough societal reinforcement to remind you what men find attractive?

And aren’t there enough exceptions to these rules to prove that you can still find your partner even if you don’t listen to Cosmo?

Hell, walk around the mall: how many people actually look like a thinner version of Kim Kardashian? Not many, that’s for sure.

In fact, it seems that millions of people are getting married to people who don’t look like models. Men with a gut. Women with an ass. Men who are balding. Women who are graying.

It seems that millions of people are getting married to people who don’t look like models.

Are all these people crazy? Are they settling? Do they have no standards whatsoever? No, no, and no.

In fact, most people arrive organically to the conclusions that I draw as a dating coach – that holding out for a commitment-oriented George Clooney is tantamount to choosing to be single forever. And that if you want to pair up and build a life, you might have to deal with a guy who is shorter than 5’11”, or has a belly. Why? Because that’s the majority of men.

I believe that most of us understand that people do get “thicker” as we get older (at least I do!). People do get wrinkled. People do start to sag and shrink and lose height and musculature. It takes a lot of work to avoid this fate and many people are just trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

So it’s not that there’s nothing to be gained from trying how to maximize your overall value in the eyes of men… it’s just that it’s a piece of the puzzle, that’s all.

In my experience, men dream of something that isn’t even real – or is at least exceptionally rare – they want thin and curvy. Some combination of Salma Hayek and Alessia Ambrosio. Big boobs, tiny waist. No fat. Young. Long hair.

This would explain the models you see inside and outside men’s magazines: Maxim, Playboy, Esquire…and would also explain the actresses you see in women’s magazines, where they have their bodies dissected by “experts” in various states of undress.

It’s not that there’s nothing to be gained from trying how to maximize your overall value in the eyes of men… it’s just that it’s a piece of the puzzle, that’s all.

It’s hard to say who’s to blame for cultivating this unrealistic taste – men, women, advertisers, editors – all I know is that we’re being sold an unhealthy fantasy that’s going to smack us really hard when reality sets in. Because people aren’t airbrushed in real life. They don’t have professional hair and makeup. They don’t stay 25-39 forever.

And from talking to my clients, I’ve learned it’s quite dispiriting when you go through the effort to run a triathlon, grow your hair out, hire a personal trainer, get a professional eye job and dye job… and you discover that the men on Match are perfectly content as a paunchy, salt-and-pepper haired 50-year-old businessman. He doesn’t worry about getting his nails done or his scrotum waxed. Why? Because there are plenty of women who will appreciate a smart, considerate, relationship-oriented man, even if he doesn’t look like he did at 35.

Long story short, Liz: yes, long hair, thin waist, big boobs and a stylish and sexy wardrobe will certainly help garner more attention. But you want a man who will be attracted to that and then see past it.

Don’t fall into the beauty trap like so many others who are afraid of what men will think. Instead work on becoming the kind of woman that men will marry because of your character, patience and humor.

Your looks may get you in the door.

Your personality will be what keeps them there.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    david

    Just don’t do the super short, Peter Pan cut.

  2. 2
    justme

    I could be wrong, but I think that was her point: looks get you in the door.  If you don’t get in the door; personality, character, sense of humor, being laid back – these things don’t matter very much. 

  3. 3
    Precious

    Evan,
    I read your blog religiously.  This entry was well-written and spot on.  As an African-American woman who is in her thirties, I often feel as if we are never apart of the equation or the discussion.
    What I have learned is that life is too short and time is too sweet.  I am working on being the best me that I can.  
    I will never have long, straight hair.  I have meat on my bones and proud of it.  Like most African American women, I will never look like most of the women in womens’ and mens’ magazines.  At the end of the day, I am happy with me.
    Thanks for telling this woman to work on herself and the rest will follow.
    Love,
    P.
     

  4. 4
    Lance2012

    If Liz looks like the woman in the photo, then I would tell her to stay out of the Sun, grow her hair to shoulder length and dye the gray out. If she is like the typical 51 YO, I would tell her to loose weight.

  5. 5
    thatgirl

    #4
    the woman in the photo look older than 51, more like 60.
    And , out of curiosity, why does a 51 yo woman feel the urge to ask permission to gorw her hair past her shoulder?  I know plenty of 45+ and beyond women with long hair ( well maintained, of course) and they look much younger than the ones who chop off their hair because they heard somewhere that women past a certain age should chop off their hair.  Ridiculous.

  6. 6
    Cate

    Although I had striking silver hair up until last August, which I and my friends loved, I got NO attention from men… I was invisible, especially with my blonde girlfriends. So I switched, and blondes DO have more fun. I absolutely resisted this for so long, since I wanted someone to be attracted to the “real me”, but ultimately you do have to be able to reel ‘em in before you can keep ‘em. My two cents.

  7. 7
    Christina

    Wear your hair in a way that makes you feel happy and confident. I’ve worn my hair in a pixie cut since 1995, and it seemed to have no impact whatsoever on my dating and eventually getting married, twice. It was only recently, in reading dating blogs, that I learned that many men find short hair on a woman hideous, and would never, ever date one with a short cut. That was real news to me, since  I still met plenty of quality men, many from online dating, who seemed to find me attractive.  Go with what makes you feel best, and your confidence will be the thing that draws the right man in.

  8. 8
    Ana

    @Cate Really? So what is that suppost to mean, that, for example, brunettes will never get a guy? It’s because of comments like these that so many girls have self-esteem issues… With all due respect for Evan and his great blog and all of the other readers, that was some ingorant comment. If you are old enough to have completely grey hair, you should be old enough to have some brains and say something smart! I’m sorry if I offended anybody but I’m really getting sick of this ”blondes are better” thing…

  9. 9
    Kim

    Christina, I like your response, and David, your response is simply a personal preference.  I am 51, just like the OP, I wore my hair chin length and shoulder length for years, and fought with it every day.  It was difficult to keep looking good, camping and going to the beach were out, and I spent way too much time with it in the morning. I had plenty of dates, but no more, or no less than I do now.  I do color the gray out, and that is a personal vanity thing. Recently, because I had seen so many cute short cuts, I asked my stylist to give me a pixie, and not only do I love it, but everyone I know is constantly complimenting me on how nice it looks … men as well as women are appreciative.  I feel happy and confident, I look good all the time, and I think that goes a long way towards being attractive to the opposite sex.  Furthermore, if a guy thinks short hair is hideous, then he is simply unwilling to get past appearances, and probably isn’t worth your time anyway.  C’est la vie, and move on.

  10. 10
    Gem

    I think being in shape, not overweight, and toned is more important than a couple of inches of hair. But if her body is looking good, then yeah, I think most men prefer hair past shoulders. It doesn’t have to be down her back, even a couple of inches past shoulders makes a difference to men. And tint away gray.
     

  11. 11
    Gem

    Geeza Ana, I’m brunette and didn’t find anything offensive about Cate’s comment. When she said “Blonds DO have more fun,” she meant in comparison to being gray. Not in comparison to brunettes.

  12. 12
    Blondie

    Some men love redheads, some love blondes, some love brunettes, some guys love real women with curves, some love kind of skinny girls, some love tall girls with legs that go on forever, some love short cute girls, some guys love blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, freckles, short hair, long hair, I won’t go on … but no matter what you look like, if some guy doesn’t look at you and go “wow, she floats my boat and I want to get to know that woman better” then you’re out of luck. That’s how men are like it or not, they like what they like! 
    Not too many guys like cuddling up to a slab of gristle at night if you work out like an iron man so it’s really a matter of taste and you never know what is going to turn a man on and one man’s or woman’s opinion on what you should look like or say or do is just that … their opinion.
    Do what makes you feel comfortable and attractive with your body, hair, makeup and clothes and let the rest go as there is too much contradictory information out there and it will do your head in trying to keep up with everything especially if you are over 50. Do what is best for YOUR own health and well being and the rest will follow.
    I’m 64 and the dating pool at my age can be pretty awful but I took Evan’s advice and didn’t give up, kept hanging in there, got more selective and only went out with guys that were more interested in having a relationship and let the rest of them go by.  
    I stopped being too critical as I have had to realise I’m not 25 and gorgeous anymore, the same as the men my age and I’m getting on a lot better and having much better dates.
    Currently the man I am seeing is asking for another date before the current date is over. 
    Thanks Evan, your advice is working. It didn’t happen overnight but it did happen. 
     

  13. 13
    Henriette

    To ThatGirl#5… many women find their hair thinning after they turn 40 so cut their hair NOT because they’ve “heard somewhere that women past a certain age should chop off their hair” but rather because scant hair grown long can look wispy in ways that shorter hair does not.
    I agree – focus should be on the spirit and personality rather than looks.  However, looks still count for something so I’d say I’ve say that most guys like women with hair that’s not super-short, relatively light makeup, a bra that fits properly – helping create a bit of an hour-glass shape, bright smile (ask 3 friends who you trust to be honest if you could use a bit of whitening) and clothes that aren’t dirty or rumpled.  I think that any of us could achieve this.

  14. 14
    helene

    Liz – if you have a shoulder length bob then most men would class that as “long hair”, and for most women in their 50’s that’s about as long as you can go. There are exceptions  – if your hair is particularly thick and glossy then you could grow it longer but otherwise what’s the point? One of the problems women over 45 have is that their face begind to lose definition – and long wispy hair has no definition either. This can be fine on a 20 year old with great features  but hair without definition and a face losing definition is just… too much lack of definition! A bob has a SHAPE, and can be cut to a length that hits your ears, or chin or shoulders depending on what suits your face shape. You want something that’s more Michelle Pfeiffer than ageing hippy – just my two cents.

  15. 15
    Ruby

    Agree with #5, woman in the photo looks closer to 60.

    A close friend of mine is in her mid-fifties, slender, very pretty, not at all matronly, but looks like a woman in her fifties. She has gray hair, in a pixie cut, and gets plenty of attention from men, some as young as 30, at least in real life. She’s very youthful, charming, and fun.

    A woman over 50 can look great with long hair. It all depends on her and how it’s styled. Generally some layers do look better than long and straight, though. Otherwise, it can weigh down her face.

    Not all older men are looking for young women, but they are looking for one who seems youthful.

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  16. 16
    Evan Marc Katz

    Um, everybody? That’s stock photography. It’s not the actual woman.

    I didn’t think it was necessary to state that until multiple people mentioned “the woman in the photo”.

  17. 17
    Ruby

    EMK #16

    I think it was brought up because the OP is 51, and the stock photo looks like an older woman, so it doesn’t really represent her. I wasn’t going to mention it until Lance2012 #4 wrote, “…if Liz looks like the woman in the photo…” 

  18. 18
    Julia

    @16 Thank you for saying that Evan! I was thinking the same thing. “Why is everyone talking about that photo?”
    In any case, I’m in my early twenties and have chopped my hair off numerous times. I found that confidence in your sex appeal is what draws in the men and personal character keeps them. I think she was looking for approval and “tips” rather than a confidence boost. Cosmo is full of that! She should do what makes her  happy with her own personal appearance and that will shine through. :)

  19. 19
    Pats

    My personality calls for a LOT of self-expression, and my hair is part of that, along with my clothes and make-up.  For me, the important thing is that these characteristics operate like my facial expressions do: to show how I feel.  During one episode of my life not long ago, my clothing choice was very limited because I was “transitioning” from one place to another and couch-surfing in the meantime.  I felt so limited I actually started feeling depressed when I thought of dressing because there was no meaningful choice left.
    I grew my hair out for the same reason. Having exactly one hair arrangement felt so limited ~ I had so much more to express! Now I’ve discovered other cool things about my hair, and it gets a lot of attention from both men and women, but I do it only for me, to express myself, because that’s a big priority in my life.
    I think for everyone it is important to know yourself and let that integrity radiate to your outer expressions.

  20. 20
    Tina

    Nobody can become beautiful using some beautiful tips, in my opinion. You are beautiful or not as for the outside beauty.
    This is just an advertisement that the cosmetic and fashion companies do to make a lot of money for themselves. We, their clients buy just a hope that we could look better.
    Of course, there is also inner beauty but there are not many women that want to achieve it.

  21. 21
    Lance2012

    I referenced the woman in the photo primarily because she looked exceptionally fit and trim for a 50+ woman. I know nothing about Liz, but if she is a typical 51 YO woman she is overweight and rather than focusing on getting in shape, something difficult to change, she is focusing on hair color and length, something easy to change, speculation of course. My reference to sun damage was intended as a joke, as mystery model woman is sitting on the beach in a swim suit, :) (and fwiw, if you save, then zoom in on the photo you can see that her forehead and under eye wrinkles have been photoshopped out).

  22. 22
    Zann

    For the record — I knew the woman in the photograph wasn’t the woman who wrote to Evan; nonetheless, I happen to think she’s very striking and looks great, no matter how old she is.

    But back to you, Liz — I’m in my 50s, and at the request of a man I was dating, I had been growing my hair longer over the past year, even though it was driving me nuts and even though I think it made me look a bit haggard and drawn. Well, he’s gone now, so you can see how well that longer hair thing worked out for us. Which is why I think hair length, hair color, waist size, breast size, or a beautifully veneered set of pearly whites don’t mean diddly in the long run. That said, I do think men instinctively go on some kinda visual “alert” when it comes to certain physical features on women, including long hair, and will turn their gaze, or necks, whenever such a vision comes within their purview. And then tthat’s that and their lives continue on. I don’t think it has anything to do with a man’s desire to actually meet or know that woman. 

    By the way, I’ve had my hair very short in the past, and I know there are  plenty of men out there who find that very sexy. 

  23. 23
    ValleyForgeLady

    I think at any age. the men and women who are considered attractive are Bright, High Energy, a little Naughty, Snappy, and of course Funny.  Role model here is Betty White.   She is over 90 and the word Hot is often used to describe her.

    I think having a positive out look on life draws other people in…at any age.  Miss out on that  and you are just another good looking poor soul.  You know people like that….always throwing a Pity Party…and who wants to there?

    Put a smile on and get the Party Started!!!!  I am almost 63 and have friends older than me who are dating up a storm!     

  24. 24
    SJZ

    I am 53 and would like to disagree with Lance’s description of what 50+ looks like. How old are you Lance? Lance’s stereotype of what a 50+ woman looks like is what keeps those of us who stay in shape down. All my friends 45+ and older are slim, attractive, and people who care about what we look like. When is the world going to learn to respect older women no matter what they look like? There is alot of wisdom in us. I wish it would be a time of respect for all us no matter what anyone looks like. (Heavy sigh). Thank you Madison Ave.

  25. 25
    JB

    Ok….being that I’m 51 and have been dating women in this age range for quite awhile I feel I’m at the very least qualified to throw in my 2 cents. What’s it worth? About 2 cents….lol but it’s 100% honest.

    There are a lot of variables to the answer of Liz’s question. First off anyone can do what ever they want if they’re happy and it’s “working” for them in their personal life god bless them. Having said that being that I’m her age and know a lot of people in our age range. The short honest answer from a man our age’s perspective is yes dye your hair, get rid of the gray, keep it as long and as thick as possible. Does that mean I’m saying every woman with shorter hair is unattractive”? Of course not, like I said there will always be exceptions etc… I’m talking for the most part…. Men “our age” and older do not find women with gray/graying/salt & pepper hair or that have an “Aunt B” (from Mayberry…lol) type hair do attractive. So no matter what else is going on with your body ie: facial wrinkles, neck wrinkles, weight gain, etc…. men will usually start with a woman’s face/hair and short (what we call) “butchy” or “dykey spiky” graying hair will definitely repel MOST men. Men want feminine not masculine and anything you can do be more feminine will help online and off whether you’re 35 or 55.

    On a side note, ironically I had a first “meet & greet” with 51 yr.old woman from Match last Tuesday that I had just seen an obviously 5 yr.old “headshot” of. She walked in without a stitch of makeup on in frumpy clothes and shoulder length “mostly salt but a little pepper” unkempt hair. One glass of ice tea later I said good night. This is what I mean. In our age you have to put a lot more effort in than a 33 yr.old to compete because most people in our range are attracted to younger. Yes, even the women. It is what it is.

  26. 26
    Lance2012

    @SJZ, a study on BMI by age… http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v24/n7/pdf/0801232a.pdf  The study shows that women in their 50s have, by far, the highest average BMI, 28.6, of any age or sex, with fully 35.6% of women in their 50s classified as obese, the highest percentage by far of any age or sex. According to this study, women in their 50s stand out as exceptionally overweight compared to everyone else. Again that is not a comment about Liz, whom I know nothing about. I am not stereotyping, I am just stating facts.

  27. 27
    Liz

    Hi!  I’m the Liz who sent in the question.  I’ve already lost the weight, and I don’t cover the gray because I have so little.  Maybe 1-2%?  

    My divorce has been final for nearly a year and I’ve gotten back to my normal upbeat personality.  I asked about the hair length because I keep hearing that men prefer longer hair and I wanted Evan’s perspective.  That’s all.  I’m not focusing on my hair to avoid the details that take more work.  

  28. 28
    misha

    Liz, you are lucky to have so few grays. I’d leave your hair the color it is and select a style that you like and are comfortable with maintaining. My hair started going gray in my 20’s  and i’ve been coloring it ever since and plan to keep coloring it. My hair is also long and thick but was much thicker when i was younger. Started thinning in my mid 30’s i’m 45 now. I’ve seen very striking women with gray hair but gray = old = harder to capture attention if you have a certain amount of it.  Or you’re going to get the 60+ chasing you. A few silver threads to me are no big deal. You could always do a glaze which is not permanent and see how you like it. Talk to your hair dresser. I fiddle w/ my hair constantly color, cut. but I keep it long cause that’s what i like. I like long hair on men too if it’s nice. It gets my personal attention.  :D

  29. 29
    thatgirl

    Liz,
    Even a few gray hairs can give your face a dull or lackluster appearance.  A fresh dye job  or glaze – even if it is just your natural haircolor – can make you look more vibrant. 

  30. 30
    Daisy

    Haha Evan, it’s Alessandra Ambrosio, not Alessia :p

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