Do Men Like Bitches Or Nice Girls?

Do Men Like Bitches Or Nice Girls?Evan,

When it comes to dating, what do you think works best for attracting a man – and making him want to commit? In the world of dating advice, there are two opposite schools of thought on the subject: one is coming from the likes of Sherry Argov’s “Why Men Love Bitches” where the “nice girls” get passed over the more edgy, less giving women; and the other is from Tracy McMillan’s “Why You Are Not Married”, proclaiming that kindness gets you to the altar and the “nice girls” finish first with the ring on their left hand. Example (one of many) is that cooking for a man is a sign of caring and nurturing from McMillan’s point of view, whereas it’s a number one sign of a doormat from the Argov’s. In your experience, what works?

–Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,

I’m thrilled that you asked this. Honestly.

Because you’ve outlined the central dilemma that most of my smart, strong, successful clients face: should I be a bitch or a nice girl? What works better? What do men like? What if I’m naturally one way? Should I try to be the other?

These questions are all completely misguided.

The people who are happily married all figured out which trade-offs were worth it. The people who have not figured out their tradeoffs still struggle.

They reduce female behavior to a binary choice, when, in fact, behavior can never be compared to an either/or proposition.

We see fallacies like that all the time on this blog.

When I tell you to dial down chemistry, it becomes: “Oh, so I should go out with someone who is entirely unattractive to me?”

When I tell you that if you have your own money, you don’t need a man to make more than you, it becomes, “Oh, so I should find myself some slacker deadbeat who can’t support himself?”

Sorry, but the world is grey and these are weak straw-man arguments that women use to defend why they need a man who is taller, smarter, richer, funnier, etc. Except it’s simply not true. Men don’t need women who are taller, smarter, richer and funnier, and the fact that women think they do – as if anything else is “settling” – is the main source of the problem. The people who are happily married all figured out which trade-offs were worth it. The people who have not figured out their tradeoffs still struggle.

So here’s the deal, Stephanie.

Argov’s book doesn’t tell women to be “bitches”. It tells them to have boundaries, so as to avoid the fate of all the women who read “He’s Just Not That Into You”.

If you have boundaries, you won’t sleep with a guy until he’s exclusive.
If you have boundaries, you won’t stay with him for four months without being his girlfriend.
If you have boundaries, you let him know how he disappointed you and how he can please you better, instead of silently stewing that he unknowingly mistreated you.

This is basic assertiveness – and this is what prevents you from being a doormat.

Remember, men are about feelings. How we feel around you determines whether we want to stick around for life.

NONE of this prevents you from following the McMillan “Why You’re Not Married” model (which I wrote about in my 2006 book, “Why You’re Still Single”).

She and I (and pretty much every good, sane man on the planet) agree that the best way to a man’s heart is to treat him well. Support his dreams. Accept his flaws. Laugh at his jokes. Let him be himself. Cook him dinner. Give him oral sex. We’re really not all that complicated, y’know.

Anyone who tells you that this will make you a doormat (as opposed to the perfect wife), has absolutely no understanding of what makes men tick.

Remember, men are about feelings. How we feel around you determines whether we want to stick around for life.

I can assure you that if you interpreted the Argov book to mean “don’t support his dreams, don’t accept his flaws, don’t laugh at his jokes, don’t let him be himself, don’t cook him dinner, don’t give him oral sex,” you’ve got it 100% wrong.

And if you want a shorter way to get the formula right, let’s consider what it takes for a man to do well with women.

You don’t want a weak, needy, bland man.
You don’t want a raging, difficult, selfish asshole.

You want a nice guy with balls.

We don’t want a weak, needy, bland woman.
We don’t want a raging, difficult, selfish bitch.
We want a nice girl with boundaries.

That about sums it up, doesn’t it?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Julia

    Why is it that when I am being a bitch, aka ignoring men that I have no interest in going out with again, men won’t leave me alone? I feel like its bad karmic energy but I also feel like nothing is owed to anyone after 1 date, I shouldn’t have to break up with a guy that I am not dating.

    1. 1.1
      delilah

      Evan is spot on!

  2. 2
    Stacy

    It is an excellent point that what matters is having boundaries. But sometimes you have to be a real bitch to establish and maintain those boundaries. Men are like toddlers – they will test the water to see exactly with how much BS they can get away with and still have “dinner and oral sex”. Can they not take you out for a month? Can they skip dinner with your parents 2 times in a row to watch a game? Can they give you a box of chocolates for your 30-th birthday? Can they not offer help cleaning up, changing a diper in the middle of the night, walking the dog, etc? When this happens you have to put your foot down and let them know that this behavior in unacceptable, which often leads to a tantrum (remember men are like toddlers), so you have to be really firm and follow through with whatever consequences you feel are appropriate.. good men respond well to such “training”, bad men don’t, so those are not relaitonship material

    1. 2.1
      Justin

      Wow. Maybe you should be up-front and honest about your true beliefs to every man you are with. Tell them how they are all toddlers and you need to train them. I think eventually you will find out who is really not relationship material (hint: look at a mirror).

  3. 3
    Wendy

    I remember someone once telling me that the definition of “love” is not how you feel about someone, but how you feel about yourself when you’re with that someone. I try to always keep this in mind when I’m dating. I believe if you can make a man feel good about himself when he’s around you (by supporting his dreams, accepting his flaws, etc.), then he’ll stick around, at least until the relationship falls apart for other reasons. It’s worked well for me, but I have a helluva time trying to get my bitchy friends to understand the philosophy behind it. One in particular gives me the run-down on her dates (“We went for sushi because I like sushi even though he doesn’t, then I had to tell him why he shouldn’t eat meat, and THEN I had to tell him why his car is so bad for the environment, blahblahblah….”). And she wonders why they don’t call her again!!! While my friend likes to think of herself as a “strong woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t have to waste time putting up with guys’ BS,” I think she’s a bitch. But I think men are easily drawn to bitchy women because they initially appear confident and fun (which is why us nicer, quieter gals often get passed up, and why the myth of the “bitch” personality type attracting more men persists), but when a guy finds himself being respected and appreciated by a woman, I believe it makes him stop and think, “Hey…she could be the one!” Honey gathers more flies than vinegar.

    1. 3.1
      julie

      Spot on Wendy… Have tried it and it worked for me. Respect is a major element in a relationship for a guy, if u give it to him and have it for your self, even though things might not work out, he’ll always wonder, could she have been the one? In fact, giving him respect and having boundaries at the same time makes it hard for him to walk away because he’ll always wonder, what if she’s the one? Especially considering that most sisters out there aren’t giving the respect ”jewel”

  4. 4
    Fusee

    Spot on!
     
    Especially:
     
    “If you have boundaries, you won’t sleep with a guy until he’s exclusive.
    If you have boundaries, you won’t stay with him for four months without being his girlfriend.
    If you have boundaries, you let him know how he disappointed you and how he can please you better, instead of silently stewing that he unknowingly mistreated you.”
     
    And:
     
    “…the best way to a man’s heart is to treat him well. Support his dreams. Accept his flaws. Laugh at his jokes. Let him be himself. Cook him dinner. Give him oral sex.”
     
    I will add: such behavior can not be pretended, not in the long-term at least. It is the result of a solid character and the ability to truly love. Respect, partnership, acceptance, appreciation, allowing, affection, attention, these are the attributes of real love. If you can’t support his dreams because they do not align with yours and your values, if you can’t laugh at his jokes, if you won’t give him something he really enjoys, maybe it’s time to let him go and choose a different man more compatible to you or more deserving of your love. Or to start working on your character.
     
    All my previous relationship difficulties came from not having a well-rounded character and/or from not having clear and firm boundaries. I was loyal and generous, but I was not accepting and appreciative. I wanted a life-partner, but I was choosing men based on short-term considerations. When I did the (hard) work of adding these character and boundary tools in my toolbox, my relationships improved. All of them.
     
    Being “a nice girl” or being “a bitch”? If you have a good character, you’ll be “a nice girl” by default. Spice it up by role-playing the bitch once in a while : )

  5. 5
    Jessica

    You said it best Evan, I agree with you 100% people tend to think to either extreme.

  6. 6
    Heather

    @ Stacy,

    I tend to agree as far as setting boundaries goes.  I dated a guy who did that, was constantly testing to see what he could get away with.  And because he did it constantly in front of others and because I am the kind of woman who refuses to have dating drama played out in front of others, I said very little when he’d be out of line.  Plus, he’d also yell at me and have the nerve to tell me that I had no right to be upset and he had the right to do as he wished.

    But, I dumped him and I learned to set boundaries. I do not allow men, whether strangers or dates, to treat me disrespectfully.  If a date is disrespectful in any way, shape or form on the first date, I refuse to see them again.  Especially if a first date cancels or wants to reschedule at the last minute, I made it a policy to not reschedule. 

    My boyfriend knows I will stand up for myself and if he’s disrespectful, I pipe right up now and make it really clear that I won’t tolerate his misbehavior.  I learned a lot in the last 2 years since that last relationship ended, about boundaries, and like the saying goes, “We teach others how to treat us.”  And I have made it my goal to love myself, and expect others to either respect my boundaries, or go away.  The choice is theirs.

    1. 6.1
      chuck

      Good for you Tracy!i would assume you had a good proper upbringing.No buddy should take insults.It’s funny when we apply for a job with a new employer that every buddy is on thier best behavior,worh shrewdly,on time yet when time goes on some of us slip,late,not as careful with attention.Its the bsame with a relationship people put on a show yet in time they get sarcastic…nobuddy shiould take insults or down talk.A little joking and fun talk is different yet being a proud father of two children always being reliable and fare with my children has made for a great relationship
       
       best of luck in futrue Tracy

  7. 8
    Dana Palumbo

    “A nice guy with balls” — I like that. I always said I want a man with a soft heart and a hard dick.

  8. 9
    Mia

    A lot of how to succeed with the opposite sex is not necessarily intuitive, so I recall reading the Why Men Love Bitches book and several others to get a better grasp on effective ways of dating. However, I find the book’s advice to be off base for several reasons.

    It advises women to NEVER mention commitment, that for men that process takes 4-6 months. It also advises you to wait a little while for sex, but not to bring up exclusivity or anything like that when you finally do it. The book mentions at some point that if he goes a week without calling, act as though you didn’t even notice. Well, I’ve done these things and it got me nowhere – doing this stuff puts you at risk for being the very doormat she says you shouldn’t be. I’ve always been the cool girl to a fault, and it got me nowhere – because I was being a cool girl to the wrong guys, who just took advantage of it!

    Finally, her book never brings up the point that with the right guy, you don’t NEED to be constantly putting him in his place and acting so cool and dealing with his waiting months to bring up commitment or a week-long lapse in calling.

  9. 10
    Miranda

    Evan, this post is so spot on. 

    But I always wonder why this one thing keeps coming up:

    If you have boundaries, you won’t sleep with a guy until he’s exclusive. 

    Why???? Why do I need to wait until we are exclusive just because I am female?

    I think either he’s a man with certain values so he won’t sleep around while getting to know me or he isn’t and in that case he is not relationship material for me. But the sex could still be great ;)…

  10. 11
    Michele

    I like to think I’m a nice girl, but I think I made myself too available: to meet a guy and other personal reasons. Evan, do you think we should make a man that asks us out on the spot wait to see us, even if we want to?

  11. 12
    sarahrahrah!

    Overall, I think this is really good advice, Evan. On the subject of boundaries, I think it should be understood that a woman should not be giving oral sex on tap if her man doesn’t know where her clitoris is and has no interest in finding out.  Good sex is interactive and mutually pleasurable, not obligatory. 
    I know that you know this, EMK.  I’m just stating the obvious for women who might be confused about the role of sex in ltrs.  I was once very generous sexually and demanded very little in return.  The result was that my partner didn’t respect me as I rarely voiced my needs, and he went on to cheat on me anyway, too.  Lesson to self:  if you treat your partner like he’s entitled, he will likely feel entitled.

  12. 13
    Rachael

    As usual I mostly agree with Evan.

    I don’t think anyone should have to act any way at all to get a person to stay with them. If I myself were questioning that i’d have to assume I’m questioning my own ability to be lovable. That’s a whole different can of worms…

    Any decent human being will accept someone and support their dreams if they love that person.  Respect, kindness, compassion, and appreciation should be a given.

    Abuse? Never. Men do not have a monopoly on abusive behaviour. Constantly cutting a person down, witholding affection, emotional manipulation..The list goes on. Many people (men and women, men in this case) will latch on to someone who treats them that way. That doesn’t make it ok. Being a woman does not give you a free pass. The thought of doing it purposely to selfishly gain misguided devotion is kind of twisted. 

    Go ahead and find that man of your dreams…Then break his balls till he’s hopelessly  devoted to that bull-whip we lightly referr to as “bitchiness”. Sounds wonderfully fulfilling for both people involved. 

    If you want the right man for you to stick around, value your time, and love you unconditionally, just be you! Love yourself, honour yourself, live within your own personality. The right person will stick around and when he does, respect him! I just can’t see any other way to do it…

     

  13. 14
    AR

    Thank you for writing this. I struggle with these concepts, especially when I think about my last relationship. I was with a man who had a complicated relationship with his ex, and we talked about it, I asserted boundaries about what made me uncomfortable but I trusted him and took him at his word. Then when he dumped me he said I wasn’t dramatic enough for him which is something I never thought I would hear a man say.

  14. 15
    Ruby

    I hated Tracy McMillan’s Huffington Posts articles, so I doubt I’d read her book. Plus, I’m not sure that 3 divorces qualifies someone to be a relationship “expert.” But I did enjoy Sherry Argov’s “Why Men Love Bitches”, which really should be titled, “Why Men Don’t Love Doormats.” For Argov, being a bitch means standing your ground and not tolerating disrespectful treatment. I agree with EMK and Fusee (#4), that my previous relationship difficulties also stemmed from not having clear and firm boundaries, not because I was not a nice person. I think that telling single women to have more defined boundaries, and building their self-esteem is a lot more helpful than telling them how messed up or inadequate they are.
     
    Once you have found a good guy, treating him just as well as he treats you makes for a healthy, balanced relationship. How can anyone disagree with that advice?

  15. 16
    Zann

    Great Job, Evan!  

    See? Even I can be nice sometimes.

    The world is thick with black & white thinking. It’s in politics, finance, the way we approach fitness, food, consumption, religion/spirituality, and definitely intimate relationships. I think people find comfort in hard & fast rules simply because it’s just plain easier. Better to have a Book of Rules than having to think on our feet, assess each situation, struggle with it, and find the balance. Then, when you’ve gone by the book, and it still doesn’t work out, you get to blame it on the source instead of taking personal responsibility or just sucking it up and realizing that most things involving human behavior don’t work by a formula or precise code.

    At the risk of sounding like a bee-yaaatch…. regarding Stacy’s comment (#2), “Men are like toddlers.” Not only is that pretty insulting, but it’s the perfect example of yet another rule dressed up to look like a boundary. Personally, I don’t want to “train” a man to do anything, thanks, much less want to be with a man who would LET me train him. If a guy allows you to treat him like a toddler, seems to me what you’ll wind up with is….well, a toddler. And I’m pretty sure that’s not what you want, and I’m very sure it’s not what I want.

  16. 17
    Karl S

    @Mirandah

    Evin’s talking about someone you want for the long haul.
    He *might* be the kind of guy who will jump into bed AND stick around for the relationship, but then again he might not. If you make him wait until you’re both ready to say “let’s commit to each other”, then you’ll be more certain he’s actually interested in you, and you’ll definitely weed out the fly-by-nighters.
     

  17. 18
    Paula

    I absolutely love it and agree completely!! 

  18. 19
    Goomena

    Spot on! I think Evan hit the nail right on the head. Right, guys?

  19. 20
    Paragon

    @ Julia
     
     
    “Why is it that when I am being a bitch, aka ignoring men that I have no interest in going out with again, men won’t leave me alone?”
     
    Because, you are likely observing a spurious correlation(I wouldn’t expect you would be as likely to ignore those men who you ARE interested in seeing again – thus your behavior may be only spuriously correlated with their pursuit, and not the actual ’cause’).
     
    @ Stacey
     
    ” Men are like toddlers – they will test the water to see exactly with how much BS they can get away with.”
     
    This kind of behavior isn’t dependent on sex.
     
    ” good men respond well to such “training”” 
     
    Do ‘good’ women respond equally well?
     
    Everyone has boundaries.
     
    But, it occurs that what makes someone a ‘bitch’, is how unresaonable and selfish those boundaries tend to be.
     
    @ Miranda
     
    “Evan, this post is so spot on. 
     
    But I always wonder why this one thing keeps coming up:
    If you have boundaries, you won’t sleep with a guy until he’s exclusive. 
    Why???? Why do I need to wait until we are exclusive just because I am female?”
     
    The theme of the blog(and the standing assumption in many of its entries) is women looking for ‘love’.
     
    Not women looking to ‘hook-up'(do women really need a blog for that?)
     
    But, rational foresight should take into account what Oxytocin tends to do to women, once they get a ‘taste’?(ie. these kinds of chemical diversions are a liability, assuming a stable LTR is the goal).

  20. 21
    Heather

    @ Ruby,

    Exactly.  I really thought I’d had some boundaries, with my last serious relationship, but really, I didn’t.  Once I left him, I realized that I had to learn basic stuff like: never allow a guy to ask you out at the last minute.  It means that he probably had nothing else better to do, and you’re better than “nothing else better to do.”

    I learned to turn down dates if I got a bad “gut feeling”, and to expect nothing less than kind, respectful behavior from a date.  Even with my current boyfriend, when we first started talking online, he sent me his number.  I sent a funny reply back and said, well tell ya what, here is MY number, I’m not that kinda girl, ya know! :)  He called me, 20 minutes later and said he respected that kind of mentality from me.

    Boundaries saved me a TON of drama in dating and while it meant usually just 1-2 dates from alot of guys, it saved some good-sized heartache, and allowed me to enjoy my life.

    My boyfriend says I am definitely ballsy and not a doormat, and I am glad I FINALLY learned those lessons.  Otherwise I’d still be letting men take a mile, if I gave an inch.  Oy.

  21. 22
    BeenThruTheWars

    Anyone who has actually READ Argov’s book knows that, to her, “BITCH” is an acronym – for “Babe In Total Control of Herself.”  She doesn’t reveal that until very late in the book, which is unfortunate for those who give it only a cursory glance standing in the “Dating & Relationships” aisle at Barnes & Noble.  Because, as Evan points out, it’s all about boundaries.  Being in control of one’s own behavior (as opposed to trying to control other people, a futile endeavor) is the definition of “having boundaries.”  Argov’s book is a humorous, fun and thought-provoking read for any woman who’s wondered how she can be a loving member of a relationship without becoming a doormat in the process.

  22. 23
    Helen

    I wish the term “bitch” did not get intertwined with the concept of setting boundaries. The two have nothing to do with each other. “Bitch” is a term used by abusive sorts to bully women who do not conform to their wishes. Women sometimes use this term themselves as an expression of empowerment, but it seems silly: going overboard, if you will.
     
    There is no insulting term to describe a strong man. There should be no insulting term to describe a strong woman. Strong men and women can both be kind, goodhearted (even tenderhearted), and reasonable. As Evan suggested, it’s not an either/or proposition. Be true to yourself and decent to others. That is all.

  23. 24
    Heather

    BeenThruTheWars,

    I did some serious skimming of that book a couple of years ago, and found that out about what she means by being a bitch.  It’s totally spot on.  We can’t control what a guy is going to do, but we CAN control how we respond, and can determine if what they did or said, works for us, and take action accordingly.

    I used to be a real doormat, let guys jerk me around about dates, let them fool me into thinking they were into a relationship with me when they clearly were just looking for a hookup, etc.  I finally learned to have a voice and say, “I’m sorry but that kind of behavior is upsetting to me, hurtful, inconsiderate, etc.”  That book really helped me set boundaries for myself.  Doing that really gave me more freedom than I ever imagined. I didn’t feel so used, and abused, and victimized.  I felt in control and more powerful.  Sure, I couldn’t “make” a guy call if he said he would, I could not make a guy not disappear.  But I learned last year, that I could control how I handled the disappearing acts, especially the ones who would say, “I hope we can be friends” and instead of my doing the “Oh sure, we can do that!” mentality I used to have, I would politely say, I’m sorry but my friends treat me with respect and kindness and courtesy.  I wish you no ill will but I also do not want to see nor talk to you again.

    Boundaries are awesome!  And men DO like a girl with a sense of boundaries and who loves and respects herself.

  24. 25
    Kathleen

    Yes  you are right  Been thru the WarsI #22
    loved Argovs book It was hilarious but really makes great points It became my dating bible after I became single …. Plus Ive recommended it to my friends.

    That was before I knew about Evan of course !!

    Now if I can just get over how extremely unattractive most of these guys are that are contacting me on line are….LOL

  25. 26
    Miranda

    @Paragon

    I never said I am NOT looking for love, I actually REALLY am. But no matter how much oxytocin is flooding my body: I won’t fall in love with somebody who doesn’t make me feel good. All good relationships I had started easy, without much insecurity. If a guy doesn’t make me feel good pretty soon and leaves me hanging on, he is not somebody I want to committ to. But I guess that is the core issue of most people on here, they prefer to chase a dream or an illusion…

    Speaking of boundaries, why would any woman want a guy for a relationship who clearly doesn’t know how to love her? Why not see him as what he is, a person not able to give her what she needs.

    And all I am saying is: If he is not treating me well as a person, we might still get along in bed,  and I would like to enjoy that type of thing while it lasts.

  26. 27
    Ruby

    Heather #24
     
    Agreed. Unfortunately, I learned that “I hope we can be friends” too often means, “I know I acted like a jerk and I hope you don’t hate me.” Or the man has a hidden agenda; I’ve sensed that some men weren’t happy in their current relationships, and wanted to keep the door open in case they decided to reconnect in the future.

  27. 28
    Kate

    Well, I have slowly learn how to enforce boundaries too (I hope). However, some times I am wondering whether the way you enforce the boundary makes all the difference between make and break in a relationship. For example, Evan says that men will want sex and it is up to us women to reveal little by little and playfully. I have been known to act insulted if some men wanted sex after a couple of dates, thinking they are only after that, but retrospectively maybe the way I refused was a deal-breaker for them and this is why they vanished when they did not get it?
    Also, other times, I think is it best perhaps to just give a “mulligan” (I read that wonderful letter written by Evan’s wife when she was still his girlfriend) and remember that men are human too and make mistakes? If we give them grief and enforce our boundaries and show our disappointment about too many things again it cannot be good, isn’t it?

  28. 29
    Catherine

    I agree we want a nice guy with balls and I concur that when it comes to a long term relationship men want a “” nice woman””. however, you do need to  hook the guy in initially, ie look hot so he will then discover all your good personal qualities.
    if you just look hot and then he discovers you are a bitch , he will be outta there pretty fast.

  29. 30
    Heather

    @ Kate,

    Well I hear where you are coming from.  However, if a guy is really misbehaving, or is really pushing the issue, then you have every right to be insulted, if he’s truly insulted you.  I’ve been insulted on a few first dates and I made it pretty damn clear that I wasn’t going to put up with that kind of behavior.  If they felt it was a dealbreaker that I stood up for myself, well then, too bad.  We have the right to stand up for ourselves and if a guy has a problem with it, well then there’s a red flag right there.
    @ Ruby:
    I agree with you.  I got the vibe when I’d get the “I hope we can be friends” line that what they’re saying is, yep, I was an idiot but I don’t want to be the bad guy.”  I had no problem with letting them be the bad guy, if they misbehaved.  Which was why I told them, “No, we cannot be friends, since my FRIENDS don’t treat me like you just did.”  I can forgive, but I don’t let people off the hook for their behaviors, cover for them, nor make excuses.  If they did wrong, they did wrong, and they need to own that.  I don’t want a man who can’t be accountable for his behavior, that’s cowardly.

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