You Think You Attract The Wrong Men, But You Don’t

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If you’re single, you’ve probably gone through hell in the dating world.

Investing your time in guys who don’t follow through after a first date.

Wasting months on men who don’t want anything more than a casual relationship.

Taking years to wait for a man to propose when he was never really going to.

Yes, as a dating coach, I am very fluent in the way you can allow your optimism to override your realism when it comes to love.

And yes, it’s true. Loving and losing can hurt far more than never loving at all.

And after all of those false starts and rejections and disappointments, it would be very easy to come to the conclusion that, dammit, you just seem to attract the “wrong” men.

Except it’s not true.

What if I told you that in my 15 years of single adulthood, I went out with a lot of women who were, let’s just say…highly emotional.

After all of those false starts and rejections and disappointments, it would be very easy to come to the conclusion that, dammit, you just seem to attract the “wrong” men.

Girlfriends who left me at weddings, restaurants and holiday parties.

Girlfriends who told me I was a sociopath.

Girlfriends who threatened to beat up people with candlesticks.

Girlfriends who sent me anonymous hate email.

Seriously. And this is the stuff I can share with you in a blog post!

Anyway, once upon a time, one of my friends was listening to one of my dating horror stories and offered her diagnosis:

“You’re clearly attracted to crazy women. You must really love the drama.”

It was a reasonable conclusion to draw. After all, I did have a disproportionate number of stories about highly emotional women. But when I thought about it, she was wrong.

I didn’t like drama.

I didn’t like crazy.

I craved stability and normalcy and unconditional love and support.

That’s when it dawned upon me:

My problem wasn’t that I was attracted to crazy women…

Yes, I was attracted to women, and yes, a certain percentage of them were going to be crazy. That’s not surprising.

The real issue was how much time I’d invested in these women, hoping that they’d suddenly become calm. That’s where I was guilty. I continually put myself through roller-coaster relationships with insecure people, hoping that they would work themselves out.

They never did.

The wrong men never work themselves out either.

Thus, the problem isn’t that you’re attracting the wrong men. That’s just a myth.

The truth is that you don’t ATTRACT the wrong men, you ACCEPT the wrong men.

The truth is that you don’t ATTRACT the wrong men, you ACCEPT the wrong men.

When you’re dating a man who has been with you for five years and never proposed, the problem is that you ACCEPTED HIM.

When you’re dating a man who is verbally abusive, and shuts down when you attempt to reasonably communicate with him, the problem is that you ACCEPTED him.

When you’re dating a man who has addiction issues, employment issues, and emotional issues, the problem is that you ACCEPTED him.

I’m not encouraging you to be intolerant of men’s flaws. I’m telling you that if you think you ATTRACT flawed men, you’re incorrect.

You attract lots of men.

By your definition, 95% of them are going to be the “wrong” men. As such, you’re never going to stop attracting the wrong men.

What you ARE going to do different is to stop ACCEPTING them.

Stop accepting unacceptable treatment and justifying it because you “love” him.

Stop spinning your wheels, waiting by the phone, walking on pins and needles in fear he’ll dump you.

Stop investing your emotions in men who refuse to give you the love, security, and consistency that you deserve.

Finally, stop beating yourself up for attracting the wrong men. That’s a waste of time.

If you consistently find yourself in relationships with liars, cheaters, addicts, leeches, or commitmentphobes, your job isn’t to get them to stop lying, cheating, drinking, mooching or committing. Your job is to leave.

At a certain point, it’s not his fault for being fundamentally flawed.

It’s your fault for thinking that your chemistry is powerful enough to change your broken relationship. Remember, most men are the wrong men. The problem is that you give the men these men a free pass because of your chemistry.

You’ll never stop attracting the wrong men, but starting now, you can stop ACCEPTING the bad behavior of the wrong men… and save yourself years of heartbreak and pain.

Finally, you’ll be open to receiving the quality of love you deserve.

But it starts with you.

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Comments:

  1. 41
    Karl R

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “What gets a guy to marry you is creating the fantasy that his life will be a whole lot easier, better or happier because he’s married.”

    What makes you think this is a fantasy?

    I don’t want kids. If getting married is going to make my life harder, worse or unhappy, why would I bother getting married at all?

    Would you marry a man who was going to make your life harder, worse or unhappy?

    As you said, “you should be the kind of person you want to attract.”

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “I have friends who are dead ringers for certain popular actresses. […] in the years that I’ve known her, less than a handful of guys have shown interest.”

    If you want to attract more men, make eye contact and smile at them. Women who did that were approached by more men, even when there were more attractive women present.

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “When men say they want relationships, it seems to me that they are looking for something very specific.   And that specific thing?   Family-friendly.”

    I doubt it. If a man wants kids, he’s looking for someone who shares that goal (and who he thinks will be a good mother), but that’s the extent of it.

    Kids (or no kids) is frequently a dealbreaker for men and women. You just need to find someone who feels the same way.

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “The woman who is close to her family is quick to say states that she will not become a mom unless the guy does all the work.”

    I don’t want kids, and I still find that statement to be a turn-off. She’d be better off getting her tubes tied and just telling men that she never wants kids.

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “My parents are very angry people and I have cut contact after begging them to enter into family counseling.”

    So what? That’s not terribly different from my relationship with my parents. Some people will treat it as a red flag (something which requires a closer look to see if it’s an indicator of more serious problems), but very few treat it as a dealbreaker.

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “My other beautiful friend is from Appalachia and worries how people will view her blue-collar, hard-drinking relatives.”

    Unless they live with her, I’d view them like any other people I don’t necessarily like but have to occasionally get along with.

    Her worrying sounds like a bigger barrier than her relatives.

    My family includes one schizophrenic, one multiple personality, one obsessive-compulsive and one manic-depressive. Of those four, two are alcoholics (one recovered, one not). One of the “sane”  family members  is a chauvanistic, homophobic bigot.

    After meeting most of my fiancée’s family, I told her, “I’d like to introduce you to some of my family, but I want to start with someone who’s nice -and- sane. That narrows it down to one.”

    Family is only an impediment if you allow it to be.

    Kate Candy said: (#42)
    “And some of us attractive women are not the fantasy girls.”

    Returning to your original point, if a man’s life with you is going to be harder, worse or less happy, than a relationship with you is not an attractive prospect. (And the same should apply if the sexes are reversed.)

    When it comes to my fiancée, “easy to get along with” and “makes me happy” are a lot more important than “physically attractive.” And while I certainly attracted some women who weren’t easy to get along with (etc.), I chose not to accept them.

  2. 42
    Liz

    Congrats on the engagement, Karl!

  3. 44
    Bill

    @ Kate Candy -> Sounds like you have a lot of reasons of why a women cannot get into a healthy relationship with a man. At the end of the day a ugly fat women to a very slender beautiful women will be engaged by many men. The men you choose to spend your time with are the men you create these  positive  and negative experiences with. There are more than plenty of ugly fat women who are in amazing happy long term relationships with a healthy stable male.

    If you are a women who can not find one it is not because there are not men wanting to date you that have all the basic requirements you seek. It is because you are choosing the men that seem to be more attractive short term vs long term.

    At the end of the day. You have these feelings about long term relationships and marriages. You choose the wrong men and expect them to become long term partners.

    Own your own choices… Your the victim of your own choices.

  4. 45
    Michael17

    Kate Candy #42: Yes, what you seem to be saying–this is a problem that a lot of women bring up. They don’t really make the first move, so their pool of guys to date is restricted to the guys who pursue them.
      
    The mirror problem that guys have is that they don’t come across a lot of single available women, so there is no one for them to date.
      
    So let’s flip the script here–what advice would you give these guys?

  5. 46
    Bren

    Evan….You said this all so perfectly…
      
    I began making little excuses for my ex-husbands bad behaviors before we were ever married…. He said and did all the right things… He was perfect in my eyes…. except for those few nasty little outbursts here and there… But, he was so remorseful… and promised it would not continue…. So, I accepted him… AND It all started because of the wonderful CHEMISTRY we had! It seemed to make everything so special… and continued to… Even though I learned to walk around him in a way to avoid those outbursts…near the end I realized just how abusive he had become….   After we separated… I kept saying “I miss the man I thought I knew…and fell in love with”….
      
    Divorced just a year….the first man I finally allowed into my heart was widowed and there was such CHEMISTRY…   We were instantly taken with one another…I wanted to tread carefully… He asked me to be his girlfriend after our first date…. I needed to think about it… I did not even know him… He was persistent asking again the next day… It was nice to be so adored… and I allowed the whole chemistry thing to cloud my judgment… I liked him…so I said okay…let’s see how this goes.
      
      
    Yes, I accepted what I knew of him and enjoyed the relationship…for about 3 weeks…. And then some bad behaviors showed up… I pulled back… and said I could no longer be his “girlfriend” with him behaving this way.. I said I would be his friend for now and we’ll see beyond that… He told me….I was all he had…. I felt sad for him…. Although I pulled back.. I was still somewhat emotionally invested….
      
    I believed he would get through what he was going through… so I was supportive of him….I thought I could be patient… after all I had just gone through an emotional time myself… But I was being up front about my story…It turns out he was not…
      
    He finally confessed weeks later… that he had lied to me… He had lost his wife only 4 months prior to meeting me instead of a year… He said he lied because he was afraid I would not see him…and then would not stay with him…but he needed to tell me now and hoped I would not leave him… There was a reason he told me at that point… and it was for his benefit… Even though I got it at that time… I still accepted him….
      
    After 7 weeks of being supportive of him… I could not go on….I realized that I was giving and he was taking and taking… The relationship that I thought had started out about “us”… seemed now to be all about him…what he wanted and needed… and I don’t even know if I mattered. When I told him I needed to walk away… He was very angry….and refused to even listen to how I felt…
      
    At first…he showed me what I wanted to see…. But when I got a good glimpse of this man…. I still accepted him… I believed he was dealing with his loss…and hoped to once again see… “that wonderful man I thought I had met”…
      
    This experience has served as a wake up call for me….I have needed to evaluate who I am attracted to and why I would be attracted to a man who will tell me anything I want to hear in order to get me to do what he wants me to do….but be emotionally unavailable himself.
      
    Yes.. the chemistry is important…but it can lead us down a familiar path to heartache… if we rely on it too heavily… I’m a work in progress….and thankful that I am learning… This was only 7 weeks…instead of 14 years.   By taking a good long study of myself I’m hoping to discover what a healthy relationship with chemistry really looks and feels like!
      
    Thank you Evan….
      
      
      
      
      

  6. 47
    Donna

    God Evan….you’re good!   Its so refreshing to have someone talking total sense.   For years we’ve been told to look to ourselves to figure out why we attract the men we do.   But you’re right.   We accept these men who will so obviously not meet our needs.   It doesn’t make them bad men – they’re just not the men for us.   We invest our time and emotional energy into someone who we hope will change – and of course they never do.   We focus on them – when we should be focusing on ourselves and our needs.   I’ve just walked away from a 14 month relationship that with hindsight – I should have walked away from after 3 months.   But I accepted him.   My responsibility.   Your blogs and straight talking have really helped me.   Just wanted to say Thank You.  🙂

  7. 48
    Kate Candy

    MIke, Karl R. and Bill,  
    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.   It gives me something to think about.   You guys seem very nice.   I’m not saying that the guys my friends and I meet are not nice, but somehow it all goes awry.   Bren and Donna’s comments are examples, I think, of the reality of relationships.   Firstly, I wonder if Bren and Donna chose these guys from a handful of other men who showed interest.   Or are their two postings examples of what I often see in life, the idea that one man comes along and then another man comes along.   This is different than “a lot of fish in the sea.”   The reality that I’ve seen is that one fish swims by.   You think, well, that fish looks like a good bet, so I’ll catch it.   It ends up being a bit poisonous and you go back to fishing.   A beautiful fish swims by, but it wriggles off your hook.   The next time a fish swims by, you overlook some obvious problems because you’re hungry.   Secondly, men can passionately invest in other things besides relationships, and while women also enjoy hobbies, they are very focused–and I would say too focused–on the fantasy of the prince.   A fantasy that Evan seems to support.

    Perhaps when I used the word “fantasy,” i would have been better off saying “asset.”   Men marry women who are assets.   Women marry men who will marry them.   They overlook a lot if a guy will commit.   Men, when thinking about getting married, seem to be more levelheaded.   I think it’s because men do have a steadier stream of “fish” then women do, and men are looking for a woman who will make them happier, wealthier, fitter, etc. but women stay in relationships in which they are unhappy because they would rather not be alone. I think men can marry for emotional reasons, but men have more choices and can wait longer to settle down.   

    So, if this were a perfect world, I would wish that women would work on being happy with the same intensity that they work to find a man.   I know this has been said before, this idea that if you do what you love, you’ll meet someone who loves the same things and voila, romance.   But when a guy loves football, he doesn’t care if he finds a woman to share it with him, he just loves football.   If he finds a woman who loves it too, great; if not, great, he’ll see football with his buddies.   I think women should work towards getting to that point, loving life and loving life alone and partnerless.   Then one becomes more objective about ones choices.   I don’t have to catch a fish because I’m okay just standing here watching the sunset over the river.

    When a man finds a woman who he says is easy to get along with, I wonder how much of herself she is submerging in order to be “easy to get along with.”   My friends who are married have learned not to bring their problems to their husbands because husbands want a happy home.   Everyone wants a happy home, but the woman works on it and the man not so much.   In my experience, with my friends, my family and myself, men want smooth sailing, and the woman is the one who is expected to provide that.

    I’ve just exited a relationship with a guy who was “great on paper.”   He was attractive, educated, made a good living.   He was ready to commit, asked me to move in, saw marriage in our future, but he also did not believe in talking through things.   If I had a problem, that was my problem.   If I had a problem with some aspect of his behavior, his response was “you’ve got to take the good with the bad.”   If I persisted because I didn’t feel that he listened to or understood the issue, he would talk along with me and then either hang up or leave the room.   If I brought the issue up again because I felt it wasn’t resolved, he would say I was picking fights, vindictive, overly sensitive, anything to get me to shut the hell up.   I responded to an e-mail he sent asking to see me, by saying that because of his anger, I did not want to see him.   He didn’t reply. We didn’t see each other for a couple of months.   Then I called to get some things I’d left at his apartment.   He explained that he didn’t think we were right for each other.   I agreed, explaining that I was only calling to get my stuff and that I wished him well.   Perhaps it was reverse psychology, but now the guy is a new person.   He’s calm, rational, and attentive.   It seems to me he thought because he was “a catch,” he did not have to work on his “stuff.”   I would have to accept his stuff.   No thank you.   

    So, I guess my points are that I agree that a woman should be attractive and pleasant.   But she should also understand that men have different needs in relationships, that their reason to get married is more practical than wanting to be a woman’s prince.    I think Evan gives wonderful advice, which I think can be very helpful, but I think he’s off when he says that women attract a lot of men or that women can find an employed, attentive, supportive, sexual guy (not sexy, but just a guy who wants to have sex regularly) by updating their look, smiling more or changing their dating strategies.   It’s way more complicated than that.

  8. 49
    Sayanta

    KC

    Comment 50- you’re completely right. Goes along with what I said before about women needing to find purpose and passion in any place other than a relationship.

  9. 50
    Bill

    It is never that complicated. It is simple. You can not have everything. No one can have everything that is the reality. Women always want to reach a level of emotional satisfaction which means many variables come into play these variables are often very hard to satisfy.  

    At the end of the day it takes two people to work on the relationship.

  10. 51
    Karl R

    Kate Candy said: (#50)
    “one man comes along and then another man comes along.   This is different than ‘a lot of fish in the sea.’    The reality that I’ve seen is that one fish swims by.   You think, well, that fish looks like a good bet, so I’ll catch it.   It ends up being a bit poisonous and you go back to fishing.”  

    That’s exactly what we mean when we’re talking about “a lot of fish in the sea.” If there were a lot of women immediately available that we could chose from, we’d have to use a different metaphor.

    Men don’t have a steadier stream of fish. But, speaking from personal experience, I was willing to wait as long as necessary for a good one.

    Kate Candy said: (#50)
    “I think women should work towards getting to that point, loving life and loving life alone and partnerless.   Then one becomes more objective about ones choices.”

    I would say that applies to both men and women. My fiancée and I were both happy being single. We weren’t going to settle for a relationship  unless it  exceeded what we already had. A person who is miserable being single will also be looking for an improvement … but “slightly less miserable” counts as an improvement if you’re miserable to begin with.

    Kate Candy said: (#50)
    “When a man finds a woman who he says is easy to get along with, I wonder how much of herself she is submerging in order to be ‘easy to get along with.'”

    My fiancée (and several of my ex-girlfriends) believe that I’m easy to get along with. And I find the idea of submerging myself to be ludicrous.

    I’m easy to get along with because I don’t let most  things bother me, and I don’t expect other people to change.

    If there’s something that I  can’t accommodate over the long run, then I’ll see if there’s a compromise that we can both easily live with. If not, then I know that the relationship won’t work over the long haul … and it’s time to go fishing again.

    Similarly, my fiancée believes that it’s easier for her to  accommodate  any differences, rather  than for her to try to change me.

    Kate Candy said: (#50)
    “If I had a problem with some aspect of his behavior, his response was ‘you’ve got to take the good with the bad.'”

    My fiancée and I would tend to agree with his point of view. In general, someone is not going to change their personality or their habitual behaviors just because you want them to. You can either accept them as they are, or you can leave and find someone else. (Either option could be the correct one, depending on the situation.)

    Going back to my earlier point, I can be single without having to change at all. Furthermore, I won’t be nagged about my  behavior when I’m single. This is also  true for my fiancée.

    If I have a problem with my fiancée’s behavior, I can either choose to live with it, or I can leave. Or I can do what you did: try to get her to change her behavior, which will make the relationship unpleasant enough that she will choose to leave. And the same is true if she has a problem with my behavior.

    You’re probably aware of your less endearing habits and personality traits. Are you willing to change them just becaue a boyfriend starts bugging you about them? If you were that open to changing them, you probably would have changed them while you were single.

    I can accept all of my fiancée’s less than perfect traits and behavior and still exceed the happiness of being single (likewise for her).

    Kate Candy said: (#50)
    “It seems to me he thought because he was ‘a catch,’ he did not have to work on his ‘stuff.’    I would have to accept his stuff.  No thank you.”

    He doesn’t have to be a catch. Based upon your short description, that man looks better (on paper) than I do.

    If a woman is unwilling to accept my “stuff,” I can keep waiting until I find a woman who doesn’t think my “stuff” is a big deal. That’s reality  …  and I have a lot of time.

    Evan tells women not to settle for anything less than an attentive, supportive, accepting  man who wants to have a relationship (and sex) with her. She shouldn’t settle for someone who doesn’t make her happy.

    But everyone tries to complicate things more than that. They want a partner who looks good on paper. They want chemistry on the first date. They want someone who will change  into what they want.  They want a lot of things that don’t matter or are impossible to attain.

    Keep it simple.

  11. 52
    Helen

    Karl R: First, congratulations on your engagement. I’m happy for you and your fiancee; it sounds as though you have a very  fun and mature relationship.

    Kate Candy, I wish  every woman could take your terrific paragraph here to heart:  
    “So, if this were a perfect world, I would wish that women would work on being happy with the same intensity that they work to find a man. I know this has been said before, this idea that if you do what you love, you’ll meet someone who loves the same things and voila, romance. But when a guy loves football, he doesn’t care if he finds a woman to share it with him, he just loves football. If he finds a woman who loves it too, great; if not, great, he’ll see football with his buddies. I think women should work towards getting to that point, loving life and loving life alone and partnerless. Then one becomes more objective about ones choices. I don’t have to catch a fish because I’m okay just standing here watching the sunset over the river.”

    We should live our lives following our passions OUTSIDE of relationships.  The world is so rich; there is so much to discover, explore, study, and do. It is great to have a partner, but ultimately everyone should be able to find joy and fulfillment with themselves, not relying on someone else to make them happy.

  12. 53
    Bren

    #50…. To answer your question… I just wanted a normal guy who enjoyed being in a relationship…
      
    I had been divorced for 16 years and raised my children alone… So I was quite independent and happy with my career etc… when I met my ex-husband…(together 14 years). I did not feel that I was settling in any way…or hungry in any way…. He was different than the others I had dated…He was a little younger…and he had been married and was just divorced.
      
    I broke my own rule of “call me in a year”….because of the chemistry we both thought made it perfect between us…   He was quite handsome, very charming, funny, affectionate, he said and did everything right… and we had great times together…cooking together and enjoying each others company…. I was fine being single but wanted to meet someone to have a lasting relationship with… When I met him I thought he was the one…. and he felt the same about me… We had many happy and loving times… but there was his anger issues…
      
    This last one… (7 weeks)… was someone I met on Match….After being   separated (1 yr.) and divorced 8 months… After all that time of healing… I had finally began dating casually on Match for about 5 months… when I met this man… We chatted on line briefly and then he asked me to meet him at a shopping mall…There was instant chemistry between us….and our first date lasted for hours… While shopping people thought we were married because of how comfortable we were with each other…the way we looked at each other, giggled, smiled, he gently touched my hair, held out his arm for me to hold etc….We had dinner, chatted away for hours…laughed and our first kiss was just as special…
      
    I had not expected any of this…. He was an average, normal sort of guy… and I liked him… He rushed to ask me to be his girlfriend right away… although a little nervous about it I finally said yes… I enjoyed him and his attention…
      
    BUT I had not let anyone else rush me… I had set boundaries with all the others including the tall, dark, handsome and sexy ones… No way was I going to let anyone push me into anything… nor was I hungry! I had plenty of fish to choose from… I chose to allow this charming normal man into my heart…
      
    He was recently widowed…   He said it had been a year….I asked 5 times are you sure you are ready…. which he assured me he was. So I accepted that… But he lied..afraid I would not see him if he told me it was only 4 months…
      
    What these two had in common….was that they were recently fresh out of long term relationships…. One divorce the other death…. They needed me…. so they treated me extra special… and made everything so perfect…. That seemed to make them different from all the others…
      
    They both choose and pursued me… Although others had chosen and pursed me… these two treated me very sweet… It all seemed rather effortless most of the time…It was fun and comfortable…to be with them…in the beginning anyway…. They seemed comfortable being in a relationship… and I liked the normalcy about our day to day life together..
      
    I’ve learned that I needed time….and they needed time…. so, I’m back to my “call me in year” rule!
      
    In fact I have spoken with a friend who lost his wife a year ago… and I can see that he is much more ready to date now… I knew he wasn’t when I met him last summer….and I was just starting to date myself…So, I pulled back… He did not pursue me any further at that time because he realized that he was not ready either…… He took the time… and is now reaching out to date… so we will see how it goes…
      
      
      
      
      

  13. 54
    Gina

    @ Helen #54: “We should live our lives following our passions OUTSIDE of relationships.  The world is so rich; there is so much to discover, explore, study, and do. It is great to have a partner, but ultimately everyone should be able to find joy and fulfillment with themselves, not relying on someone else to make them happy.”

    Helen, I agree with you 100%!!!!!!!!! Excellent comment!!

  14. 55
    Anne T

    Kate Candy: if he is perfect on paper it doesn’t mean he is perfect for you, let alone the fact that perfect is an uthopia (at least for human beings). There are so many different personalities out there, some will be compatible on the long term, some won’t see eye to eye, some will be attracted by the differences at first interactions to only end up hating them afterwards. Why work so hard on mixing oil and water? So, i guess there are people compatible with our, even craziest stuff, and people always dreaming to change what actually made us speacial for them in the first place.

  15. 57
    quel

    Amen great advice it really helped me out alot!

  16. 58
    Dr. Saum Yemian, Psy. D

    good read. I can also add that being seductive is the ability of tapping into sexual energy. There is a natural chemical component that triggers sexual response in all species, including humans. In miro-biology, its called pheromones, which is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Found in women exclusively, this natural chemical can do wonders if a woman is able to tap her inner self and become in control of her sexual energy. We all have known at some point the girl that always gets the guy, often you may even wonder, what does she have that you don’t have, if you pay attention closely, you’ll be able to see her pheromones in action. The trick is doing this tactfully in a socially acceptable way.

  17. 59
    Jadafisk

    Wait, what? It’s a well-documented fact that both men and women possess pheromones.

  18. 60
    DrSaum

    Jadafisk #61: Very true, that was a typo on my part. It is found in both men and women. My point there was that women have an edge on pheromones because men are naturally wired to be driven towards things that arouse them. They have a greater affinity towards physical attributes and are more likely to pick up on the signals than women.

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