What’s Attractive IN Men is What’s Attractive TO Men

I know it’s happened to you before.

You had a relationship that was next-to-perfect.

Your amazing boyfriend possessed almost everything on your wishlist.

He was attractive, he was smart, he was successful.
He was thoughtful, he was fun, he was great in bed.
He was interesting, he was sensitive, he was kind.

Then why did the relationship fall apart? Why couldn’t you make it work with him?

My client, Jennifer, is a smart, successful and sexy woman in her mid-50’s. She’s coming off of a roller-coaster dating experience that has left her confused and heartbroken. I’m sure you can relate.

After joining my Inner Circle, Jennifer, was excited to have attracted a different kind of guy. She was done with the slick, wealthy, charmers who’d loved her and left her before. Her new boyfriend had all the signs of being a keeper.

He took down his profile and offered to be exclusive.
He called her consistently to make plans.
He emailed and texted multiple times a day.
He introduced her to his friends and met her family.

If you let your disappointments shade your view of relationships, you may be inadvertently sabotaging yourself.

These are the hallmarks of an interested man. Except you already know that I wouldn’t be telling you this story if it had a happy ending.

Out of nowhere, this guy went POOF, into the night. He did a complete 180 about his willingness to be part of a couple, and didn’t bother to justify it with an explanation.

What is there to learn from this scenario?

First of all, Jennifer can take heart in that she is not at all responsible for this man’s sudden departure. As a woman who read Why He Disappeared, did the Inner Circle, AND took my Romance Course, she handled herself PERFECTLY.

Your takeaway from this blog post is to not let this man’s sudden departure change ANYTHING about how you date.

Because what’s attractive in men is also what’s attractive TO men. And if you let your disappointments shade your view of relationships, you may be inadvertently sabotaging yourself.

Let’s start by looking at what’s attractive IN men:

Independent – He’s got a life outside of you. He’s passionate about his work, he’s successful at it, and he’s cultivated interests and friendships that predate you. He makes you a priority, but doesn’t drop his entire existence because you came into the picture. You respect his need for balance and the attention he gives to family and friends. Most importantly you love that, despite his interests, the right guy ALWAYS makes time for you.

Emotionally Intelligent – He’s been in relationships before. He’s loved. He’s lost. He has a serious ex-girlfriend or wife in his past about whom he speaks highly. He has a few exes who fare less well. But he knows that these women have nothing to do with you. You are a unique individual with her own complex set of experiences and needs. And no matter whether his last relationship dumped him, cheated on him, or took half his money, he doesn’t hold any of it against YOU.

Confident – He knows how to treat a woman. He’s generous with the tab. He’s charismatic when he tells a story. He doesn’t spend any time agonizing as to whether he’s “doing okay” on the date, or wondering “where this is going” or “if you’re seeing anybody else”. He doesn’t need to pressure you into a relationship. He knows that he’s good enough and trusts that you’re going to respond to him.

We can go on, of course, but this is a great place to start: independent, emotionally intelligent, confident.

So if what is attractive IN men is also what’s attractive TO men, how can you be at your most attractive to the men you desire?

Apply the same lessons that men should apply and you’re on the right track.

If you’re an independent woman, don’t drop everything for a charismatic stranger. Don’t cancel plans with your other friends. Don’t instantly stop dating other guys on Match.com. Don’t leave Friday night open in hopes that he may contact you. By continuing to live your life, you become more attractive, and a little less accessible, which means a man has to work a bit harder to win you over. This is a good thing.

(By the way, there is a fine line between “continuing to live your life” and “being so busy that a guy can’t book a date with you until July”. My point is that you shouldn’t emotionally “drop everything” until it’s very clear that a man has earned boyfriend status. It’s easy to do this the second you get excited about a guy. Don’t.)

There is a fine line between “continuing to live your life” and “being so busy that a guy can’t book a date with you until July”.

If you’re committed to being emotionally intelligent about relationships, you know that the next guy has nothing to do with the last guy. You don’t go into a date looking for signs that there’s something wrong with him. You don’t try to figure out your future after 3 dates. You know that dating is a process that has to be honored organically, and that you’re going to fare much better when you learn to make each night the most fun it can be. Because that’s what men respond to on a date: fun.

And if you’re truly confident in yourself, you will be amazed at how men respond to you. By embracing your feminine energy, you know that YOU are the gatekeeper to great dates and that YOU can bring out the best in every single man. Which means you’ll never have to wonder where you stand; in fact, your inner confidence will radiate that it’s up to YOU to decide if HE gets to see you again. What an amazing paradigm shift, especially if you’re a woman who sometimes gets nervous around the most impressive men.

It’s easy to find fault with men who pull a 6-week Houdini act, like Jennifer’s “boyfriend”, but the truth is, Jennifer just saved herself a TON of time. Imagine if he’d pulled this stuff after 6 months, or 2 years. THIS is his way of handling conflicts: disappearing.

Well, good riddance, buddy! Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!

Your strongest move after such an incident is to be like the attractive man: independent, emotionally, intelligent, and confident.

Keep living your life.
Get RIGHT back on your dating site.
Don’t get too excited at each promising prospect.
Don’t worry about whether each guy has a future. That’s up to YOU.
And have FUN, because if you have fun, HE’LL have fun.
And if HE has fun, he’s always going to come back for more.

(Unless he’s a disappearing jerk, in which case you don’t want him anyway. :-))

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Ruby

    EMK #34

    I agree, women and men embody both masculine and feminine traits. i get tired of hearing that a women can’t be successful in both career and personal life when i know it simply isn’t the case. I just think the message could be clearer and less laden with gender references: be independent, emotionally intelligent, and confident, but also be receptive to meeting men and available for a relationship. Same goes for men who are looking for relationships.

  2. 32
    Jadafisk

    Marriages between entertainment types and regular people often fail as well, because marriage isn’t considered as permanent a state in that subset to begin with and there’s an incredible amount of opportunities re: infidelity when even one party has that much fame, money and attractiveness at the same time. There’s probably a causative effect between the opportunities and the mentality. If the other person has a significantly lower amount of those attributes, that just makes them more likely to accept rampant infidelity to continue reaping the benefits of the union by proxy. Even if they’re being thoroughly humiliated, they may stick it out for a place in this person’s life because the leverage is that asymmetrical. That’s the impact that female breadwinning has on divorce rates, if any – women are less financially dependent/status dependent on men, and therefore less likely to accept infidelity, domestic abuse, and/or a partner’s substance abuse as a fact of life for the rest of their lives.
     
    Additionally, I’ve seen assertive dominant career women and men take advantage of more submissive female underlings by tossing their workload onto them… that means that those women also have to deal with longer hours and higher stress levels along with lower job security, unhappiness, and lower pay. How does getting trampled for 40-60 hours a week make them more primed for happy relationships? Because it’s proven that they will put up with undesirable circumstances and more likely that they’ll drop their job to nurture real babies that provide some kind of emotional ROI at home instead of adult babies that do no such thing at work as soon as possible?
     
    Masculine men don’t complain about not being able to get married because it’s seen as an unmasculine desire to admit having – unlike in other cultures, fatherhood has been demasculinized somehow – and complaining about romance in general is not an acceptable masculine activity. Even men who complain about not getting enough/any sex “lose points.”

  3. 33
    Andrew

    The masculine attracts the feminine.
    The feminine attracts the masculine.
    Is that so difficult?

  4. 34
    Tontae

    I find it hysterical that the women here are giving advice about men. Apparently the men that they wish to find evidence of existence, rather than the men that are actually out there; that Evan speaks of continually and consistently. My whole perspective on relationships, dating, men and women have shifted dramatically and instead of floundering around on Fantasy Island, I feel confident to actually be part of reality. Thanks Evan

  5. 35
    Annie

    @Andrew 39

    I think some people are confused about what “makes” a person feminine or masculine. 

    The best description is what Evan gave, masculine is to do, feminine is to be receptive.  

  6. 36
    Trenia

    If Evan #34 is correct, the relationship and dating options will continue to worsen for women. Why? Because women are changing and evolving while men are trying to stay in the same place. What Evan said men want in a woman could have easily been said 40 years ago. The problem with that? Women’s roles and choices have drastically changed and improved since then.
    Women are starting to outpace men getting college degrees, especially in African-American and Latino communities, and more and more women are going for more high-powered positions. If men don’t evolve on some level and if women and men aren’t able to come to some kind of consensus, there will be a lot more single women in the world.

    1. 36.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Trenia “…there will be a lot more single women in the world”. You’re right. And that’s what we’re seeing. Women embrace their masculine energy (Go! Do! Achieve!) Men are not looking to date the female versions of themselves. And there’s a rising community of people like me who merely point out what we see – that it’s easier to embrace your own receptive feminine energy OR choose a less ambitious/charismatic man than it is to, say, change all men.

  7. 37
    Dancing Faun

    EMK, you said: “No, you’re a pain in the ass who likes to make other people wrong.”

    Is this an example of your feminine energy? Hoo boy.

    If our jobs determined our “energy” you would be calling me the most feminine person in the world. I am a ballet dancer. Hello. The only profession more feminine than that is being a princess. But I gotta draw the line somewhere.

    1. 37.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Sorry, Black Swan. You’re a ballet dancer who has an abundance of masculine energy. That doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as feminine energy or that we can’t draw general conclusions from stereotypes.

  8. 38
    Diana

    Trenia, your post reminded me of a recent article posted on CNN, which I’m including here, if Evan will allow it. I’ve seen other similar stories, too. I am raising a teenaged son and I sometimes think he doesn’t really know what it means to be a man. And I ask myself, “What does it mean to be a man in today’s society?” I think a lot of the young, adult men are feeling confused, and this has to play it’s part in dating, too. Sometimes it does seem as if women are evolving at rapid speed to a whole new level, and what’s going to be the outcome say 30 years from now?
     
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/04/opinion/bennett-men-in-trouble/index.html?hpt=li_c2
     

  9. 39
    Dancing Faun

    And just as a sidebar, EMK, because I know you’ll never post it: Your response to me is verbally abusive.  You can attract a certain kind of people with this kind of show of “masculine strength,” but it still is what it is. You won’t get far in the advice world if you are abusive in public. Good luck with that.

    1. 39.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      DancingFaun – I can’t spend much time worrying about what women who DON’T like me have to say.

      As long as I keep doing what I’ve been doing successfully for 8 years – providing articulate and passionate advocacy for smart, strong, successful women who want to understand how good men think – I will continue to take my chances that I’ll lose readers like you.

      The world is big enough for all of us. I wish you luck in your future endeavors and sincerely hope you find the relationship you deserve. Now, please, stop insulting me on my own blog.

      EMK

  10. 40
    Helen

    Trenia, amen. As for your last line: “there will be a lot more single women in the world…” you know, sister, this isn’t the worst tragedy in the world. I have a daughter. I want the best for her. So I will encourage her to: go to Yale if possible, cure cancer if she likes, train for a triathlon if she likes, become a ballet dancer or law partner if she likes. What I will NOT encourage her to do is to make herself appealing for Mr. Generic American man who wants a receptive woman. Because she needs to learn how to live on her own – even the best partners could leave, die, etc. Because there’s so much more to life than being receptive. Because I’m not going to ask her to do the crazy dance of being assertive in one realm of life and passive in another.
     
    When it comes down to it, sisters, we need to pursue what we desire in life. You can call “pursuing” a masculine trait if you want. I call it a human trait. Each of us is born with that desire, that flame. Not just the males. As Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?” If it is to tone yourself down so that a man will want you… I hope you will consider whether you are asking for too little.

    1. 40.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Helen: that’s a great “you go, girl” speech. Unfortunately, it’s poor advice. In fact, “the crazy dance of being assertive in one realm of life and (receptive) in another” is EXACTLY the recipe for relationship success for women. If you want to be busy, and aggressive, and always “right” then you’ll just have to accept the fact that the smart, strong, successful men in the universe, on the whole, are not going to be falling for you. You don’t bring enough to his life, despite your many achievements. There’s nothing wrong with an achievement oriented life, mind you. But two people with Type A personalities tend not to make for the most compatible bedfellows. Your better bet is the beta male who is content with you killing the pig and making the bacon (he can fry it up in a pan for you)

      And since you don’t seem to want to believe this when I say it about women, how about we apply this same advice to men, shall we?

      Exhibit A: Alan is a man who does not want to buy into what is expected of his gender. He decided school wasn’t for him. He got a job right out of high school and was making $45,000 in his 20’s, which, for his needs, was pretty darned good. He never pursued adult education, content with his life as a middle manager. He likes women, but he doesn’t need a woman. He’s got his dog, his friends, his family, his weekend college football. Now that he’s 40, he’s let his body go a little bit, the way men do. In his heart, he’s a good man. Yet he’s really surprised that women aren’t responding to him on Match.com. When he got honest feedback from his one close woman friend, she told him that he was paunchy, not that educated, not that fit, and didn’t give women the feeling of intellect, security or inspiration that they needed to be with him.

      My advice to Alan: understand what women want, and become that guy. Clean up your act. Get your degree. Put more pride and effort into your career. You’ll be able to attract more (and higher quality) women. If you don’t do that, you may find dating is a rough go.

      I’m TELLING you what men want in a partner, and you keep resisting. And then you come back with “cure cancer, train for a triathlon”? Hey, the world needs people who will sacrifice to make big things happen. But I can’t think of too many men who’d be content in a relationship with that woman, since she’s never around.

      The point is that you have a choice. By telling women that it’s crazy asking them to be “receptive”, you’re ignoring what most men want. This isn’t a judgment; just an observation. You try it your way. I’ll keep explaining to you what men think.

      Just don’t twist what I said. You can STILL be smart, generous, accomplished, successful and educated. None of these are mutually exclusive to being feminine. Just know that these traits aren’t what men are vying for in women (we already have them ourselves!). Play up your femininity, optimism, understanding and self-awareness and you can land any man you want. Play up your triathlon times and your pool will shrink accordingly.

      Would you tell Alan to keep trucking along, doughy, unmotivated, uneducated and content, just because that’s the way he is? I guess you could. I just think that he’d have a lot more dating options if he appealed to a majority of women (Generic American Females) who value traits like drive, ambition, passion, and education.

  11. 41
    Soul

    I agree with Evan, and then again, I think it is important that we, women, start appreciating our feminine gifts and their true value, instead of valuing ONLY so-called masculine characteristics (Go! Get! Achieve!). Then again I love men and I admire and need masculine energy all the time. I get it from my man, from my brothers and from my male friends (I do need to activate it in my profession, but being a university professor, I do feel my femininity at work too).

    Think about it…….or better: close your eyes and starting FEELING this…..in this world there is nothing like a sunset on a beach, a beautiful dance, a warm bath, fine delicacies, a mom’s hug, or the warm body of a loving wife…….and this by no means is less important than a Yale degree or a CEO position. Many times, it is far better and far more useful: think about how a loving gesture can heal a broken heart….or bring peace to a community…

    even if I am not extremely religious myself, we do not say that “God is achievement” or “God is performance” loooool. That would come across as very odd, wouldn’t it?…..we say “God is love”, “God heals”…..that’s because this is what the world needs most: beauty and femininity…

    1. 41.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thank you, Soul. You articulated feminine energy far better than I have. That is what men want. Accomplishments are icing on the cake. I have trouble seeing why stating this is so controversial.

      In fact, I’m shocked that so many women continue to read this blog when they don’t agree with my central thesis that men (in general) date women because we feel good around you, not because of your resume.

      How can you continue to tell me that I’m wrong about what (most) men want? Or is it that you simply don’t want this to be true because it would mean that, perhaps, you don’t make men feel very good, and that would be a hard pill to swallow? I really would like to know.

  12. 42
    Helen

    Evan, it boils back down to what I’d mentioned earlier: the unspoken assumption that if someone is A, s/he also is B and does C.
     
    I have a high-powered job. So does my husband. Neither of us has ever worked 60-hour weeks (re: a statement above) – not even close to that. Same with all our colleagues. So the assumption that a successful career means never being around is simply untrue.
     
    In your 2nd-to-last paragraph: another example. I’m on board with you completely till the last sentence, and would say that if you pursue what you want and love your life, it’s easier to be optimistic, understanding, and all those things men want. But then the last sentence: why should participating in triathlons mean that a woman isn’t the above? It’s not either/or. It almost never is either/or.
     
    I didn’t twist anything you said. However, I’d tell my daughter that if she’s with a man who isn’t content with her curing cancer and training for a triathlon, then she should look for someone else.  That someone else may or may not be more or less ambitious than her.  This agrees with your point 48. Again, I wasn’t disagreeing with you. I wonder if you took my comments – which were meant generally – too personally.
     
    “I’m TELLING you what men want in a partner, and you keep resisting.” Not all men want the same thing in women. E.g., what about those more vs. less ambitious men you mention? Aside from examples in our own lives, several men posting here are testimony to that. 
     
    Evan, we both have daughters (congratulations on your new cute little one). When it comes down to what we want for them, what would you advise her? I wouldn’t tell others how to raise children, but for my own part, I will advise my daughter to pursue her dreams and not be stymied by worrying whether she is becoming too “alpha” to men as a result. Just as I would advise my son to pursue his dreams. You say this is poor advice. Not only do I not believe that is so in the context of relationships (because happiness makes you attractive), I would say it’s good advice for life. We should always remember, we only have one life to live.

    1. 42.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I think, Helen, that doing anything to the extreme has a cost. I also think there are exceptions to every rule. So forgive me if I don’t say in each sentence “many men”, “many women”, “most feminine traits”, “most high powered jobs” etc.

      Successful careers VERY OFTEN mean that you’re putting work first and sacrificing your personal life. That may be the case for YOU, but it’s not for my private clients, all smart, successful women. It’s tiring to have every assertion I make rebutted because it doesn’t apply to EVERYONE. That goes for all the rest of my advice as well – it’s generalized advice that applies to a vast majority. 30% of men, by my estimate, are feminine – they don’t ask out women, they want you to call them, they want you to make the decisions. They tend to struggle more with women because women want them to have more confidence and “man up”. My advice is not intended to tell you how to get that guy. That guy isn’t in high demand, he’s fundamentally a pleaser, and he’ll be a great fit for most alpha women – if they’d only respect him.

      My advice is for the masses. The exceptions – and there are many – don’t disprove the rules.

      Finally, how will I raise my daughter? It’s a great question. I’ve been told that it’s at least 50% nature and that you can’t really mold kids, but steer them gently. I would hope that if I were a good parent, I’d let my daughter know that there are consequences to all behavior. If you skip out on class regularly, it’ll be harder to get into college. If you do recreational drugs at a young age, it will distract you from your long-term goals. If you have sex with your boyfriend, make sure he loves you first. Etc. Similarly, I think telling people to “just be yourself” can be bad advice…when being yourself isn’t actually WORKING. So I go back to the parameters I set in Why He Disappeared. This isn’t about right and wrong; this is about EFFECTIVE vs. INEFFECTIVE.

      A woman who is too alpha may be herself, but she is INEFFECTIVE in connecting with men on a romantic level. I don’t think this is something that I should continue to foster – not in my daughter, not in my readers.

      I can name a number of areas of my life where I was INEFFECTIVE in my teens and twenties…not because I was “bad” or “stupid”, but just because I was “being myself” and it wasn’t working.

      Case in point: I pursued my dreams of being a screenwriter…until I realized that it wasn’t working. Then, I had to figure out a new way of being. I would guess that most women who have everything EXCEPT a happy love life would want to learn what they’re doing ineffectively, instead of encouraged to keep spending their spare time summitting Everest or burning the midnight oil at your law firm.

  13. 43
    Katarina Phang

    Poor Evan, he has to repeat himself over and over and over.

    Ladies, I’m an alpha female (I can support myself and I don’t need a man to survive) but I know to attract a masculine guy I can’t be all alpha in my mannerism with him.  I will have to take a “backseat” a little and I’m okay with that because in fact I feel happier that way (as long as he’s not abusive, but I can live with a bit of “fragile male ego” and adapt to it for the “greater good,”: i.e. me being cherished as a woman as he feels manly around me and I feel womanly around him.

    I use all my masculine energy all I like when I’m by myself: slay dragons, cure cancer…well not exactly, you name it.  But when I’m with a man, I just want to relax and be a woman (okay, pamper and spoil me silly…that won’t hurt).  Let him do all the “work”: ask, plan, take me to dates, pay…etc.  

    It can be done and I’m doing it.  And guys keep asking for more dates.  They don’t doubt at all I’m an independent woman who doesn’t need them to survive.

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive, indeed but there is a time for each.  Be all masculine when you’re alone, and all feminine when you’re with him.  I don’t see a problem at all in that. 

    1. 43.1
      Malcolm

      Is this irrational (?) Is this imbalanced (?) Is this insensitive (?) Is this self-serving (?) 
      My Gawd . . . what is there in this that is so hard for some Women to appreciate (?)

  14. 44
    Greg

    I don’t see whats so hard to understand.  Men are attracted to different things than females.  An extreme case of this would be a rap music video.  The “masculine” men in the video always have money, ride in big cars, a million ugly tattoos and are totally in charge.  In fact the lyrics of the songs usually talk about how the rapper runs the city or the world and is a big “Boss.”  The women in the videos are the complete opposite of the men in the videos.   “Feminine” and submissive to an extreme degree, willing to do what ever the rapper demands. Most videos and songs talk about kicking any woman to the curb who isn’t fun, has an attitude, ego has a big mouth and wants to nag and argue. The rappers don’t portray their objects of desire as someone who’s just like them.  They want the opposite.  Of course this is a very extreme example, but it just goes to show that men are not attracted to same traits they posses, like extreme ambition power and control.  You women should listen to Evan.

  15. 45
    Goldie

    @ EMK #52:
     
    “In fact, I’m shocked that so many women continue to read this blog when they don’t agree with my central thesis that men (in general) date women because we feel good around you, not because of your resume.”
     
    I don’t understand why that has to be limited to men. Why do women (in general) date men, if not because they feel good around them? not for the free dinners, I’m sure!
     
    Take our friend Alan. Alan’s problem, to me, is not that he doesn’t have what women want – he doesn’t have what people want. He’s boring and lazy. He cannot carry a conversation about anything except college football. His favorite way to spend a weekend is in a recliner in front of the TV with his dog. Truth be told, I’d sooner spend time with Alan’s dog than with Alan, for the simple reason that Alan’s dog is fun, and Alan is not. Nothing to do with his masculine energies or lack thereof. That’s just what I respond to on a date: fun ;)
     
    I actually liked the post, a lot. But to me, it said: here are the basic human traits that we all enjoy in a partner. Develop those traits, and look for those traits in your partner. If it turns out that your partner doesn’t have them, move on. Applies to both genders, IMO.
     
    @ Trenia #42: but men do evolve. I’m pretty sure fifty years ago, a man wouldn’t be caught dead changing diapers, taking off work to be home with his sick kid, cooking dinner, etc. I see growth and development from both genders, not just one.

    1. 45.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Goldie: No one said it was limited to men. This is a blog for women who want to understand men. That’s why all the posts have to do with telling women how they can adjust, not harping on what’s “wrong” with men.

      The other point to make is that both men and women who choose healthy relationships WILL find a partner who makes him/her “feel good”. However, there’s a large swath of people who only consider that as an afterthought.

      Those are the men who describe women as “crazy, whiny, motormouth, emotionally unstable golddiggers” (but put up with her because she’s hot).

      Or the women who describe men as selfish, egotistical, emotionally unavailable players (but put up with him because he’s cute, smart and rich).

      In other words, we’re attracted to what we’re attracted to, but ultimately, successful relationships for men occur when we get over women’s looks and start concentrating on how you treat us.

      Same goes for women.

      Alas, this blog is for women so the takeaway is about making your man feel good, not complaining about how men don’t make you feel good. Don’t like how he treats you? Leave him.

  16. 46
    Diana

    To Helen #49, I hear much of my own words in your message. I have raised my daughter in a similar way, i.e. first and foremost to be financially independent, and to be aware that she doesn’t need to have a husband or children to live a fulfilling life. It’s not because I personally believe that being married and having children isn’t wonderful, fulfilling and rewarding. I know from first-hand experience the tremendous blessings they bring.
     
    I wanted her to realize and to understand that she has the freedom to make more choices than ever before for herself, to think for herself, to be herself, to break free from societal norms, and to weigh ALL that life has to offer and only then make the decisions that feel right to her.
     
    I have noticed a trend with her and her girlfriends. They are making what seems like more deliberate, definitive choices about their lives, and many of them have no desire to marry or have children. This could change, of course, as their lives change, and whatever my daughter chooses will always have my love and support. But I do believe there’s kind of a general consensus of wondering among a lot of young women today, “Do I really need a man in my life, and if I feel that I do, how much am I truly willing to change to attract him, hope to keep him, please him, etc.? With such a self-empowered feeling, and men generally not being encouraged to do the same [this isn’t meant toward Evan], I think it’s going to be a tough call.

  17. 47
    Helen

    Katarina, it doesn’t seem to have to boil down to polarities. I hate to say it because it sounds as though I’m bragging, but I get exactly the same type of attention from men in my work environments, even when they know I’m both alpha and happily married. What it comes down to is being happy, making others around you happy, and sharing with them exactly what you want in a way that you know they’ll knock themselves over to give it to you. And they always do. ;) (Frankly, I love men. That’s another stereotype to overturn: alpha women can absolutely adore men.)
     
    On that at least, we definitely agree with Evan’s original point. Confidence, ladies! Heck, I agree with independence and emotional maturity as well… so why does it have to become an issue of polarity of masculine vs. feminine? However you decide to pursue it, be happy. I can think of no greater way to attract others.

  18. 48
    Katarina Phang

    Helen, because polarity creates passion.  That’s what I have learned personally as well.

    The more a guy feels manly and a woman feels womanly, sex is alive and well.

    The surest path of the death of sex is the loss of polarity. 

    1. 48.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Money quote from Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul “You struggle day and night to make the world fit your mode and label everything that doesn’t fit as wrong, bad or unfair. If anything happens that challenges how you view things, you fight. You defend. You rationalize. You get frustrated and angry over simple little things. This is a result of being unable to fit what’s actually happening into your model of reality. If you want to go beyond your model, you have to take the risk of not believing in it. If your mental model is bothering you, it’s because it doesn’t incorporate reality. Your choice is to either resist reality or go beyond the limits of your model.”

  19. 49
    Helen

    Diana #59: it’s encouraging to hear that your (grown) daughter and her girlfriends are seriously considering their options; sounds like you informed her well. Personally I don’t believe it is possible to live a fulfilling life if you spend every moment trying to be pleasing to others, whether male or female. Of course, we should follow the basic social norms of being decent and kind to others, but that doesn’t mean that we should obsess about winning others’ approval. That, after all, is no guarantee for being coupled happily, either.

    What you describe in your last paragraph has been happening in Japan.  For the last 2 decades, Japanese women have been increasingly opting out of marriage. The traditional norm was that, once married, Japanese women are expected to shoulder nearly 100% of household and childrearing duties even if she has a job, and the man can be gone at all hours of the day and have a geisha on the side. So the women are saying: why get married at all? Instead, they hang out with their girlfriends (there’s a much stronger girlfriend culture in Japan) and have pets. This has provoked crises – depressed men and plunging fertility rates among them – in which even the government has had to step in and try to entice women into marriage with economic incentives. All very interesting to observe.

  20. 50
    Kristine

    Helen #63 and other Helen, and Treina, and a few others:
     
    You know, I think this is the problem.  Let’s analogize it to driving a car.  I don’t mind being a passenger.  I love being a passenger!  But I don’t want to be a passenger to a driver who’s intoxicated, or has vision problems, or has brain damage.
     
    I think the problem is by and large not that smart, successful, capable women don’t want to be passengers.  (I’m sure some don’t, but they’re probably a small minority, and probably find the men who DO wish to be passengers and those relationships are comfortable and stable)
     
    The problem is that women can’t find decent drivers.  Maybe they find men who are not horrible people but who just get distracted and repeatedly stop looking at the road.  And then after a couple of accidents, the woman doesn’t want to LEAVE – but she doesn’t want to let him drive!
     
    So she drives.  But MEN (and I don’t blame them for this, I love them for this) REALLY BY AND LARGE DON’T WANT TO BE PASSENGERS.  This is what Evan says, and I don’t actually disagree with him.  The problem is, they don’t want to be passengers even if they’re terrible, dangerous drivers! 
     
    I think what people are saying on this blog – and this is why I was so hostile to Evan before – is that, we see that (1) it’s true that men will give you no peace from the passenger seat, and (2) many, many, even most men, if you let them drive, will get in accidents, possibly kill you, almost definitely get you into a crash that will hurt you so badly it will greatly impede your quality of life. 
     
    So the unpalatable choice faced by many, many women is to either (1) be alone, driving my own car, but lonely; (2) be a passenger to a man who gets in accidents all the time, biting my tongue, distracting myself with prescription drugs or what-have-you, and trying to avoid trips in the car (aka spending time together); or (3) drive a car with a man as a passenger and endure his resentment and passive-aggression.  (Or should I say passenger-aggression?  Ha ha)
     
    Even the “Alans” of the world get bent out of shape at the idea of a woman who attempts to drive. 
     
    That is all.

  21. 51
    Goldie

    @ Kristine #64, good analogy. Or how about a driver that, upon hearing that you want to go to, oh say a grocery store a few miles down the road, tells you, “Nah you don’t really want to go there. What you really want is a road trip to Arizona! Here, let me take you”. I don’t care if he’s the best driver in the world, I don’t want to go to Arizona unless I have explicitly said I do!
     
    Or how about a driver who doesn’t make pit stops because he doesn’t need any, and the rest of you can just hold it… the list goes on and on.
     
    Personally, I’d like to take turns driving. Even the best drivers get tired and need rest! Or, like what we used to do with my ex when we traveled in pre-GPS times – he drove and I navigated. I sat in the passenger seat with a huge map from AAA in my lap, watched the road signs and told him exactly when to turn, change lanes, which exit to take etc. I was also in charge of all controls in the car that weren’t related to driving – temperature control, music, etc. Also, the navigator (whoever it was at the moment) had to feed the driver, so the driver would pay attention to the road. Traveling was actually one of the few things we did well in our marriage. Never had any problems, never got lost. Why? because of teamwork.
     
    Back to your list of possible choices for women, I guess I just came up with choice number 4! But yeah, I agree that alpha males aren’t probably  going to like that one. Well that’s why I’m not looking for an alpha male.

  22. 52
    L

    Maybe I’m too late for this discussion – but I think that Evan’s advice is applicable to a certain extent, however, it’s also very generational. I’m in my mid 20’s in an MBA program and I worked before school, and I can say that most of the men that I meet (American men, that is) would not be attracted to someone who’s main selling points is just easy going and nurturing. These are 20’s something successful, higher earning men with strong career growth potentials. What they really want is a yale grad who is  also easy going and nurturing, and frankly, there are plenty of those out there. 

    Talking about my accomplishments never made a man unattracted to me. Going to a great business school didn’t make my boyfriend less attracted to me, in fact it made him value because he’s proud to talk about my accomplishments. I think it only becomes a problem when that’s the only thing you have going for you and you have nothing to offer but your accomplishments.  

    Going back to the business world, I see investment bankers married to investment bankers, consultants married to constultants, and doctors looking for other doctors who understand their life styles so I don’t think that being a high earning women precludes you from dating. 

  23. 53
    Helen

    Kristine 64, while I love your analogy, I’ll add three real-life scenarios:

    (4) The woman is driving alone, but is not lonely.

    (5) The man is a GOOD driver.

    (6) The man and the woman take turns driving down the long, hard, winding, but beautiful road of life. With or without kids in the backseat, kicking their parents’ seats and getting into fights and rolling down windows at random times.

  24. 54
    Joe

    Don’t make Evan turn this blog around and go home!

    (Ha! -EMK)

  25. 55
    Evan Marc Katz

    L,

    This is not a generational thing. This is a male thing.

    I graduated magna cum laude from Duke. I spent 15 years attempting to find partnership based on intelligence. I’d tell friends who wanted to set me up to start with the smartest woman they knew and work backwards. I went on 300 dates using this formula. Know what I discovered?

    Book-smart, educated and accomplished has little to nothing to do with “emotional intelligence.” Knowing how to let a guy be a guy. Knowing how to take care of him without being his mom. Knowing how to support him unconditionally. Knowing a hundred little things you can do to make his life better. Knowing how to accept him as he is instead of trying to mold him into who you want him to be.

    My wife is intelligent, but she’s not an Ivy Leaguer, and I don’t care at all. The reason I married her is that she’s the best life partner I could find…not necessarily the most impressive.

    Brilliant men may prefer brilliant women, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good fit, especially if she isn’t supportive, nurturing, fun, playful, and emotionally generous. (Of course, few women would admit to not being all of these qualities, but the fact remains, if men are consistently leaving you despite how “impressive” you are, there’s something you might be missing.)

  26. 56
    Steve

    “What’s Attractive IN Men is What’s Attractive TO Men”
     
    This slogan sounds like it is contradicting a GREAT lesson from one of EMK’s classic posts about why *some* highly successful women strike out in the dating scene:  http://tinyurl.com/2lfqyg
     
    Basically, in that post EMK states that is a mistake for women to assume what they find attractive in men is what men find attractive in women.  To put it crudely,  just because women are impressed by resumes is no reason to assume that is what men are looking for in women.
     
    I think this earlier point is far more useful ( and correct ) than the new seemingly contradictory slogan above.
     
     

  27. 57
    Diana

    I don’t know. While emotional intelligence is lacking in many individuals, and no doubt many overachievers are as Evan has described when it comes to dating, etc., I know there are many others who are also supportive, nurturing, fun, available, etc. I work at a major research university, and academic and/or career success doesn’t automatically equate with negative personality traits for either sex. I know this isn’t what Evan is saying. There are also many individuals who don’t have the academic and/or career success, and who also won’t make for a better partner because they, too, are on the lower end of emotional intelligence. 
     
    IMHO, try to avoid stereotypical, assumptive thinking about individuals and give them the opportunity to show you what they’re made of. You might be pleasantly surprised, and if not, you’ll learn something valuable in the process.

  28. 58
    L

    Evan (#69), I totally agree with you that a woman does need to have emotional intelligence and know how to let a man be a man. But as I look around most of my female peers – most of them have that covered while still managing to be super successful in their career. And I will say thing again, looking at the successful business people around me mid-20’s to mid-30’s, many of whom are married, none of them are married to un-sucessful and un-driven women. Perhaps they are not good fits and will get divorced and in 14 years or so come to see your point of view, but right now they don’t feel the same way – these are the guys that we, or at least I have to date. Dating in my late 20’s, I feel that being nurturing and feminine is not enough to snag a guy anymore – they also want to hear about travels, career ambitions and so on. I’ve had several friends who were broken up with because they guys felt that the women were too passive in their own lives and the men couldn’t bring themselves to respect them when there were so many other perfectly normal AND driven women around them. 

    I think that the negative reaction from all the women to your post is because you are assuming that if the woman wears the pants at work, she will also want to wear them at home. For many, I don’t think that’s the case. If that is the case, I’d say it’s lack of social awareness of the female doing this, rather than a reflection on successful women acting masculine all the time. Just because I’m doing hardcore quant finance modeling at work doesn’t mean that I come home every day and make my boyfriend, who never got past basic calc, listen to my accomplishments that day even though his eyes are glazing over with  boredom instead of asking him about his day and heating dinner. Maybe that’s what women are actually doing and this is were you are coming from, but I wouldn’t say this is really reflective of most. 

    I totally agree with the main point of your blog – which is that men like women who like men and want to make men feel good – but I completely disagree that a woman must give up all assertive traits in all areas of her life to do this. And I also do believe that many many men out there do want a successful and accomplished woman. 

    1. 58.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @L – “I completely disagree that a woman must give up all assertive traits in all areas of her life to do this.”

      I’d disagree with me too, if I actually said that. You can be as assertive as you want at work. It just doesn’t fly very well at home with a similarly assertive guy.

  29. 59
    Kristen

    Wow, this is a difficult discussion. While I agree with Evan’s ideas on how to be “successful” with men, I think it speaks to our where we are in our society in terms of gender equality. Helen, thank you for all your comments. You seem like a very likable, easy to get along with person and a great mother. I am going to need more time to think about what it means to be a “good candidate” for a marriage partnership. I’m very troubled by the idea that the weight of making a partnership work weighs most heavily on the woman’s shoulders. At least that’s what I am hearing. It seems to me that accepting your partner (liking them as they are…) is the biggest start to success.

    1. 59.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Kristen “the weight of making a partnership work weighs most heavily on the woman’s shoulders”. Nope.

      1) The only thing you can change is yourself, not men. That’s what rests on your shoulders – responsibility for YOUR actions.
      2) If you’re not satisfied with the effort a man’s giving, then you’ll dump your guy and there is no relationship.

      Sounds to me like it’s pretty equally weighted. A guy who isn’t a good boyfriend loses the privilege of dating you. How is that weighing on your shoulders?

  30. 60
    nathan

    It seems to me that it’s only people who exhibit the extremes that are always going to run into problems like this. Two people who are highly assertive in all areas of their lives will probably have a hard time in a relationship with each other. Or two people who are totally passive.
     
    But how many folks fit that bill? I don’t know very many on either end, and think most of us are somewhere along the continuum. The way I see it, a good partner will be someone that support you being strong and assertive at times, and who also will help you to stand back and reflect when that’s appropriate. Compromise should mostly be about benefiting both people in some manner, as opposed to making someone stuff their views and ideas to please the other. If you’re relationship is either a turf war, or a situation where you have to hide who you are, then it’s really not worth being in.

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