Men Are Put Off By My Intellect So How Can I Be More Approachable?

young intelligent lady wearing eyeglasses and holding a pen on her right hand

I’m a nerd, and it’s always hindered me when it comes to dating. I’m happy with what I’ve done and I’ve spent most of my life in school; I have two master’s degrees and am finishing up my Ph.D. in the next 1-2 years, and I’m 28. And I’m planning to spend the rest of my life in academia. I know I sound like a snob, but I’m not. I’m not an elitist and don’t think I’m any better than anybody else; but men tend to either get intimidated by me, or think I must be unattainable, aloof, or snobby because of my intelligence.

I don’t talk about work all the time, and I don’t expect the men I’m with to have the same level of education, nor do I think it’s essential or a marker of someone’s worth; it was simply what was most enjoyable for me personally.

I have a baby face and I’m really short, so I look way younger than I am, and I work on my appearance a lot because I’ve always felt deeply insecure about being too much of a bookworm. So while I do get asked out a lot/men show interest, online and elsewhere, the problem is that the men who are interested in me are looking at me as a blonde 21-year-old, basically a kid–which means they are the type who want to have fun with, well, a blonde 21-year-old. That means I don’t get taken seriously at all at first, and then they get freaked out by my multiple degrees (basically, then I get taken way TOO seriously).

I don’t know how to find a balance; I’ve tried to date older men, to look older, to tone down my intelligence, to play it up… I’m exhausted and I just want to be myself and have someone appreciate my education and intelligence/intellectual passions without being intimidated by them. I’ve been broken up with and have broken up with people because they outright told me (or, on a couple of occasions, I could tell that they thought) that I was ‘too smart’ and ‘too intense’ and ‘they felt small compared to me’ or ‘couldn’t measure up’ (exact quote). I like dominant, masculine men and I have a naturally submissive, feminine personality; in other words, I definitely don’t come off too strong or forward (it may be the opposite). But those kinds of men (take-charge men, that is) don’t usually appreciate one side of me, and the more artistic, egalitarian guys tend to only appreciate my intelligence and accomplishments and not me as a woman in a traditional sense. I’m not sure how to integrate the different sides of myself and find someone else who gets it, too. How can I be more approachable? Or, if nothing else, what on earth is my actual problem?


Well-written email, Mel. Allow me to key in on a handful of sentences where I think your answer subtly reveals itself.

    1. I don’t know how to find a balance; I’ve tried to date older men, to look older, to tone down my intelligence, to play it up…,

You usually won’t hear me saying this here, but did it occur to you that you don’t have to do anything different? Did it occur to you that attempting to contort yourself to be more appealing may be part of the problem? Did it occur to you that you are just fine as you are and that it may take a few years for guys your age to catch up with you? All of these are just as viable as the theories you’re throwing around.

You’d be better off being a little more zen about it than trying to solve an equation that doesn’t actually have an answer.

Believe me: I’m a believer in the definition of insanity, and looking in the mirror, and trying new ways when the old ways aren’t getting results. But sometimes, you can do the very best you can, and still fall short. That’s life. I would think you’d be better off being a little more zen about it than trying to solve an equation that doesn’t actually have an answer.

    2. “Men tend to either get intimidated by me, or think I must be unattainable, aloof, or snobby because of my intelligence.”

I’ve written about this a bunch, but WHO CARES about those men?

Let’s say 75% of men are intimidated by you. That leaves 25% of men as your dating pool. Choose from among them.

To me, it’s no different than, hypothetically, an evangelical Christian woman who wouldn’t date me because I’m a Jewish atheist. Fine. I don’t want a partner who thinks I’m going to hell anyway. You don’t want a partner who is intimidated by you and makes false assumptions about you. So stop worrying about them.

    3. “The problem is that the men who are interested in me are looking at me as a blonde 21-year-old, basically a kid–which means they are the type who want to have fun with, well, a blonde 21-year-old.”

An interesting observation, but ultimately, a high-class problem. I suppose you can dress more “adult,” you can lie about your age online and make yourself older, you can start hanging out at AARP rallies, but really, you shouldn’t have to.

If you’re petite and youthful looking, that will serve you well for the rest of your life. And I think that’s one of the only blind spots you have, my friend. You are only 28. You’ve been out of college for 7 years and spent most of it in the library. There is a LONG time ahead of you to figure out who you’re going to marry.

Instead of fishing for the right type of guy, how about you try on a whole bunch of different guys to see how they fit.

Think of yourself at 21. That’s the same as 35 year old you looking back on 28 year old you. You follow? There’s a lot more trial and error in your future. And based on your last paragraph, you’re going to need it:

    4. I’ve been broken up with and have broken up with people because they outright told me (or, on a couple of occasions, I could tell that they thought) that I was ‘too smart’ and ‘too intense’ and ‘they felt small compared to me’ or ‘couldn’t measure up’ (exact quote). I like dominant, masculine men and I have a naturally submissive, feminine personality; in other words, I definitely don’t come off too strong or forward (it may be the opposite). But those kinds of men (take-charge men, that is) don’t usually appreciate one side of me, and the more artistic, egalitarian guys tend to only appreciate my intelligence and accomplishments and not me as a woman in a traditional sense.

You’ve just outlined the conundrum of smart, strong, successful women who want men who are even more impressive than they are. But instead of fishing for the right type of guy, how about you try on a whole bunch of different guys to see how they fit. You may discover — as most of my clients do — that what you’re attracted to and what is the best fit for you are two different things. Or maybe not. Point is that you need a guy who gets you, appreciates you, is not intimidated by you, is masculine enough for you to be attracted, and feminine enough to be artistic and egalitarian… you can see why, with your limited experience and fine-tuned tastes, it may be hard to find Mr. Right. Keep reading here and email me in a few years and I think you’ll be singing a different tune.

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  1. 1

    I agree with Evan – even if you can pretend for awhile, you cannot fundamentally change who you are inside or mask your intelligence for long. You want someone to accept you for who you are and to support your life goals. You probably don’t lead with all your degrees but eventually that will come out. I think you should go on a dating spree and date a lot of different men until you find out what qualities you absolutely must have and what you are willing to trade off. For example, if you really need an intelligent partner who gets you on that same level and is not intimidated by you then you may have to sacrifice some other things like financial security, or religion, or a full head of hair. I speak from experience in that you are always going to intimidate some men no matter how approachable you make yourself. But they are probably not the right men for you because they will continue to have an inferiority complex around you and you can’t “fix” that. You want someone who complements you not competes against you. I suspect it might take longer for you to find the right person and you just have to compensate for that by dating a lot more people and having a clear handle on what you yourself want and are willing to compromise on.

  2. 2

    To an extent I can appreciate the predicament the OP is in. Like most men, I have been taught that to win the affections of a woman we must be something that can be looked up to. Something that is at least equal to if not more successful in something than the woman. Fair or not, that is the message that has been ingrained into the psyche of most men. So I can certainly understand the the insecurity or lack of confidence a lot of men could have when approaching or dating a woman with such obvious intelligence. And please do not misinterpret that as to saying that men prefer ‘dumb’ women because that is simply not true, but in a society where even many women prefer their mates to be smarter and/or more successful than they are, it can be a tough bar to measure up to. Rightly or wrongly many men may feel threatened or insecure if they are dating someone that may be better at what they do than they are. Sorry, just the way it is. That being said an exception to this would be someone that is very smart or intelligent that is successful in a different field of study or line of work. For instance I am pretty good at what I do and a certain amount of my ego is tied to the success I have in my job and profession. Dating someone that does what I do but better or more successfully than I do would be a bit of a blow to my ego. So for me personally I wouldn’t date someone like that, but that’s just me. BUT dating someone that does something else that is a completely different to what I do would pose no threat to my ego, even if that person is more educated or more successful in their respective job or field of study than I am in mine. Maybe that is an approach the OP could consider and focus on dating people that do something completely different than what she does regardless of their education.

  3. 3

    Mel, as a guy who pursued a similar path, (got out of graduate school at around 28, then a two year post-doc, and finally got my first “real” job at 30), I suspect I see what part of the problem is. In an academic, grad school type of environment a large majority of the men you find around you will be ones who have learned to fit into, even thrive, in that setting. Academia today is a very politically correct, polite, follow-the-rules, egalitarian environment. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, quite a few of the dominant, take charge men may have left to earn a living or start their own business before now. That will leave the types of men you like in rather short supply, at least on campus. Hopefully you can get some social contacts going on outside that.

    You didn’t say what field of study you were in, but in any case I’d recommend looking for guys in the STEM fields. Those have by far the best male/female ratios in graduate schools, and most of the guys I’ve known in that area, which is a lot since that is my background, dream of finding a nice fellow nerd to share a life with. The upside is, you won’t find a lot of “players”. The downside is, you won’t find a lot with dominant personalities and great social skills, but there are a few.

    I would actually disagree slightly with our host’s comment about having plenty of time and say don’t wait too long to find the right person, at least if you want to have a family, because he has emphasized taking a couple of years to get to know someone to decide on marriage. If you do that, you don’t have the luxury trying too many relationships. He is absolutely on the money, though, about trying dating more men, and that having some significant percentage that doesn’t match you is ok. If you follow his advice about not sticking with a relationship that isn’t working for too long, you should be fine.

    The old book “What Color is my Parachute” about job hunting made that same point, if you are looking for a job at age 52, and some employers discriminate based on age, then your available pool is those employers who DON’T discriminate. Similarly, focus your dating efforts on groups who might find your nerdiness appealing, as I suggested with my STEM comment above. That is something a narrowly crafted online dating profile can help with, while you can never weed out all the wierdos who are looking for “the 21 year old blonde”, you can potentially get just a manageable number of prospects in addition. Then, your prospects can probably be easily separated from the wierdos, since I’m guessing your prospects would be able to string several sentences together in a row. . . 🙂

    1. 3.1

      Gilbert, Nice response. I agree, Mel should not waste time, she doesn’t want to “panic buy” if she gets into her 30’s with no prospects especially if she wants a family. And Mel, why on EARTH would you want an alpha? There is your problem. Find a nice nerdy guy to have deep conversations with, my goodness, the alphas will not hear a word you say, or care about that, and never appreciate your sensitivity. Go find a cute academic introverted nerdy guy and be the couple everyone is jealous of!!!   You sound just like my daughter, and that’s what I hope for her 🙂

  4. 4

    By STEM, you mean science, tech, engineering, and mathematics? For that group, I will add my observation that people in those fields, more so for the practical fields than the theoretical, TEND to display less ego, probably because ego causes delays and distortions during the search for useful solutions to real problems. There are always outliers, though, with egos as big as their campus buildings. Let’s also get a word in for accountants whose numbers must match at the bottom of the spreadsheet and who are NOT spinning fantasies to mask corruption of their enterprises.

  5. 5

    So here’s the thing. I am this woman, except I am now 37 and still single and let me tell you it does not get better with age, it actually gets worse. I followed the advice that Evan gives you, I was myself. I also tried to change myself to be less intimidating, not talk about work, etc, but nothing worked. Even is correct in that there is about 25% of the male population that is not intimidated by you, but finding those men is like a needle in a haystack and very frustrating. Many men will say it is not an issue, only to a few months in realize it actually is. I have been dumped for”being in a different economic and social class,” as well as being too intimidating etc. See the bigger issue is a female that is both attractive and educated, which it seems that you are. I also look very young. I still get carded on regular for booze. I have the same problem, I get asked out a lot. On online dating sites I get more emails then I know what to do with, because men think they are going to date a pretty blond bimbo. But when they find out the truth then the relationships almost always fail. One thing I can say which is going to be contrary to Evan’s advice is stop dating men that make less money than you and are less educated. I know this is truly going to limit your dating pool. But for years it did not matter to me,and I dated alot of men that were not in this category. The problem is that it matters to them, and I have felt that time and time again. It’s not worth it.

    1. 5.1

      I’m similar, but more of an average-pretty late 30something, but also quite youthful in appearance. I’m fit, active, and have a good legal career.

      I dated in South Florida for years, a place where highly successful men tended toward very feminine, high maintenance trophy type women, leaving out women like myself. My prettier colleagues had success with white collar men in the same professional level. So that left a smaller pool for women who are attractive but not stunning, and also professionally successful and therefore intimidating. I dated plenty of blue-collar guys as well as white collar types. From less educated men, I have run into plenty of intimidation as well as men who would automatically stereotype female attorneys. I have had a handful of friends and colleagues that have successfully maintained relationships with guys who had more average careers. But overall, that has been rare.

      My MO on Match now is to focus in on the men who are average looking but seem accomplished or at least intellectual with similar interests.

      1. 5.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        When I was dating online, I had a picture that had me in a very Asian haircut: blunt bangs, long straight hair.

        I looked very F.O.B. (fresh off the boat lol) so I’m sure a number of men thought I was an Asian bimbo, who spoke broken English. My profile wasn’t written that way and my emails showed my intelligence. On dates I’m sure my dates were pleasantly surprised that I spoke without any accent. In fact there were a few men that insisted we have a phone call before meeting. lol

        I suspect that because you want to eradicate the thought the you’re a bimbo from your dates’ minds that you go out of your way to be more abrasive? challenging? – that kind of thing.

        I always felt that my intelligence during dates was a turn on for my dates, not a turn off. I didn’t mind them at all thinking that I was an Asian bimbo with brains (maybe that’s an oxymoron??) — I played up my fun, feminine side, but my intelligence is hard to miss as I never hid that nor suppressed it. I got second dates from almost everyone, except the ones *I* was ambivalent about.

        Intelligence is a turn on for quality men. It’s even a turn on for bad boys. If they’re turned off, it wasn’t because of your intelligence. It was likely the way you displayed your intelligence or maybe your attitude (e.g., to prove you weren’t a bimbo).

        1. Karmic Equation

          MODERATOR, can you move this reply to under LISA instead of Josie? Thanks!

        2. Lisa

          Just to be clear I never said I did not get a second date or a third date or even a fourth date.   I got all of those and much more.    It was just that when it came down to being serious the men would end things.   I am not surmising that they did due to my intelligence or job its what I was told.    And over and over again. I grew up in the tiniest town with the poorest of parents and trust me I am not arrogant in anyway far from it.   I do not flaunt my intelligence.   And I’m not sure its my intelligence so much as my job and my salary.   Look men need to feel   like they have the upper hand in some way be it looks intelligence or money.    When they don’t they leave.    Bottom line.   While I respect your point of view I disagree.

        3. Karmic Equation

          Why do you discuss salary with men who aren’t your boyfriend? Heck, I didn’t even discuss my salary with ANY of my bf’s. How does that even come up in a discussion? Why would you discuss this with a stranger? I don’t get this.


          Only my husband knew, and that was because we did our taxes together. And he made more than I, so there was no issue there to be concerned about.


          None of my friends or even my family knows what I make. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but my and my accountant’s.

        4. Lisa

          I don’t know if it’s just women that men assume make a certain salary that get asked this question but I agree with you asking about someone’s salary is rude and I would never do it. But men ask me around 70% or so of the time within the first three dates.   Often it’s not a direct question it’s them stating their own salary   and looking for my response or reaction.   I don’t give one.   Or snide comments like well I’m sure you make more than X amount or most attorneys make X.   To you can afford that you make X why do you drive that car clearly you are rich? I never respond but boy do they press.   I’ve had several say well if we got married you could just support me right?   I live in DC where people are job and   salary obsessed sure but it still is pretty crazy.


    2. 5.2

      I have to wonder if there is a feedback loop going on here where men get discouraged by the fact that most women prefer men who are more successful than they are, or at least, men that are equally successful. As a result, men start to avoid women who are as successful as them. Then, the women who actually don’t mind if a man is less successful get discouraged by this and start to avoid men who are less successful, which only goes to further reinforce men’s beliefs about the preferences of women.

      1. 5.2.1

        I think you’re on to something.   Maybe we should all commit to breaking the rules ourselves at least once in a while.

      2. 5.2.2

        I think you may have hit the nail right on the head!   Wow!

    3. 5.3

      Lisa, you say, “when they find out the truth then the relationships almost always fail.” I assume the “truth” is that you aren’t actually a pretty blonde bimbo? Is there something in your profile that gives that impression? If so, maybe a change is in order?

      1. 5.3.1

        Or maybe we aren’t really the best judge of our actions, and the way we are perceived. Maybe, if she is at least very good friends with a few of these guys, or she thinks some of them are good men that she can confide in, then she can approach them and tell them how she feels, and ask them to be honest with her about why she is having trouble connecting with men. She has to assure them that she wants brutal honesty, and she has to be honor that by not killing the messenger if they tell her something that hurts her feelings.

        Maybe she comes across as a know it all, without realizing she does that. Maybe she seems too cold. Smart, and funny, but also cold, maybe? Maybe most guys want a lot of affection, but for her, a mental connection is all she wants. I don’t know, only her and the guys she dated have a clue bout this.

        Maybe Evan is right, maybe she needs to do nothing. Maybe guys her age are just after sex, and aren’t getting it so they leave. For her, it is better to continue that instead of having sex with guys hoping to keep them around. It doesn’t work anyway. If you aren’t waiting for, the guy isn’t likely to stick around much longer just because you sleep with him. It will just hurt more when he does eventually leave.

        I would start with some heart to heart talks with some of these guys. Just the ones that seem like genuinely nice, honest guys that she can be vulnerable with enough to talk openly about this, and who will tell her the truth. They have to be detailed in what they say, however. Saying she was too intense isn’t enough. Was that intensity too masculine in nature, too cold? She might learn some things about herself that she was not aware of. She may learn that it is OK for her to be super intelligent but that she has to find a way of expressing to the guy that there are many qualities that she can respect in a man, and a man only needs one of those qualities for her to have the utmost respect for him, such as being honest and loyal. Maybe she still gives a subtle indication that she valuers intelligence in men above all else. That would be intimidating to most men not her equal in academics.

        You can build up another person without acting like you are dumb. Did he restore an old classic car? Rave about it. Tell him that this is a rare ability and you really respect the talent and dedication it must have taken to do it, and that you couldn’t do it, if you can’t. If you can, just don’t mention it. This is the time to let it be about him so he knows you value him.

        This could be anything. Maybe he knows how to play 3 instruments, or is great at wood working, and built you a beautiful hope chest with an aromatic cedar interior. Who wouldn’t love one of those? Find something he is passionate about, and support him in it, and show him that you find that a quality that you admire, respect, and even find sexy.

        Remember, guys want a woman who makes them feel good about themselves. I read where a female actor said that it was too hard to be married to somebody in the same industry, and that this is what came between her and her ex, who was also an actor. She is now married to, or engaged to a guy who is an artist. So they have things in common, but they aren’t doing the same thing. So maybe this allows him to feel more respected by her, for what he does. There is no competition.

      2. 5.3.2

        Nope my profile says right out my level of education and job.   It is well written etc.    and it’s not just online that it happens its in real life too :). I have naturally large breasts that are hard to hide and am curvy with long blond hair and what I’ve been told is a pretty face.   People do not perceive me as the person I really am.    There is still a huge misconception that pretty women are dumb.    The things people and men have said to me I could go on and on.    Suffice to say it’s a perception issue.   I do not dress slutty either.   I guess I could die my hair cut it get a breast reduction but short of that I look how I look.

        1. Lin

          I have a blonde bimbo looking friend like this also. Man always said she wans’t relationship material but guess what she is very happy in one… and those men are not. It is true that there is a right men for you, and me and even Evan who tried 300 times to meet the right person. Just don’t be desperate…

    4. 5.4

      “… I get more emails then I know what to do with, because men think they are going to date a pretty blond bimbo. But when they find out the truth then the relationships almost always fail. One thing I can say which is going to be contrary to Evan’s advice is stop dating men that make less money than you and are less educated. I know this is truly going to limit your dating pool. But for years it did not matter to me,and I dated alot of men that were not in this category. The problem is that it matters to THEM, and I have felt that time and time again. It’s not worth it.”


      Not blonde and no longer dating online, but otherwise can confirm.


      1. 5.4.1

        Thanks.   I think people think I make this stuff up!

    5. 5.5

      The relationship has a better chance if Mel finds someone with equal education and interests. An online profile with all out honest truth about who she is and what she is looking for, find that needle in a haystack girl! Otherwise, get a sweet subservient trophy husband that can follow you from town to town if you need to make changes for your job. BE the alpha.

      1. 5.5.1

        The relationship has a better chance if Mel finds someone with equal interests, religious beliefs, political beliefs, goals such as how many children if any, similar love languages, and a mutual respect for the other person’s morals and values.   Even better if they are in alignment on those morals and values.   Similar education is a plus, but not a requirement.

        I have had the guy who had an identical degree, and was as interesting to talk to as a box of rocks.

        I have had the guy who had a Master’s, but had very little time for a relationship.   He had no balance in his life.   It was all about work and trying to climb the corporate ladder.

        I have had the guy who had a PhD, and was sleeping with one of his grad students. One that I know of, but may have been more.


        One of the most interesting men I ever knew had no college, but worked hard and made decent money.   He had a thirst for knowledge, even though he never went to college.   He was always looking up stuff on the internet, and would read in depth on many different topics.   He was always saying, “Hey, guess what I just read…”   He also never tried to act like something he wasn’t. but it was quite funny to see the guys with degrees assume that he was dumb, until he would politely take them to school on a subject.   The thing is, unlike the college grads who were trying to show off their superior intellect, he never did that.   If he did not know something, he would say so, and say that he would research it when he got home.   He would then simply ask the other guy to continue, and that he found the topic interesting, and so was interested in what the guy knew about it.   As a result, any time there was a conflict in what was being discussed, he was never the one in the wrong.   Not one single time.


        He was not without ambition, though making a lot of money was not one of his priorities.   He would make these wooden creations that were just beautiful, and never used plans.   He had a very strong creative streak.   He made the most beautiful hope chest with a bench for me, that I still have and treasure.


        I assure you of one thing.   If you are disqualifying men right out of the gate, based on education or income, you are passing up some real gems.   But that is your loss and another woman’s gain.

  6. 6

    It’s not about men feeling intimidated or whatever. Academic/career accomplishment is masculine, and masculine men typically aren’t attracted to masculinity (not to double up on the criticism but even the name “Mel” is masculine). The OP has seen it herself – masculine “dominant” men pass whereas the feminine “artsy” men buy.

    Ultimately I think the advice is good – she can’t/shouldn’t change who she is and she’s a bit off the norm so it will take more time to find a compatible man. However, I would suggest eschewing this “intimidated” mindset for that is self defeating.

    1. 6.1

      Mel isn’t my real name; it was to make myself anonymous for the question.

      Hmm. I’ve actually never been accused of being too masculine. Overly girly/feminine/not enough of one of the boys is usually what I’m accused of, in both my profession and in dating. No one who ever met me would think I was masculine. I don’t think intelligence itself lends itself to masculinity; I think maybe if I were a CEO, a lawyer, or even working in TV or something, that would apply, but definitely not academics in the humanities…pretty much only super-feminine women, gay guys, and artists ’round these parts. Librarian or cat lady seem to be the main stereotypes, never masculinity.

      1. 6.1.1

        Plus, I’ve been directly told that my degrees themselves were intimidating and people felt they ‘couldn’t compete with that’ (not that I asked them to) or that they ‘weren’t good enough for me’ and I ‘needed someone smarter.’ Sure, they could all have been lying, but I doubt it. I think it IS a real issue, maybe only because society privileges certain kinds of intelligence over others.

        1. SAL9000

          Well, to be more specific, I was intending to state that career and education accomplishment is/can be masculine. If you lead with this on your dates and interaction with men, it will be an “issue” inasmuch that more often than not it will be a turnoff for masculine men.

          I’d bet a princely sum that most/all of those men were indeed lying under the general auspices/variations of the, “it’s not you, it’s me” line.

        2. L

          I think the “masculine” argument is stupid. Professional and academic success is not a masculine trait and I doubt many men worth their salt think that a woman, by nature of being accomplished is too “masculine” to date. Having been a graduate student in the social sciences during my 20s, I have spent years in academia. Are you sure you’re not coming across as pretentious? It’s a problem I noticed that many graduate students have (male or female) and it is possible that you may inadvertently be projecting that type of image. I don’t mean this in a rude way at all, it’s just something I have noticed – particularly in fields like Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Political Theory etc. In graduate school, people become accustomed to talking about how much they know and trying to show off their intellect with their peers. They are great attributes for professional success, but not so great for romantic success.

        3. CC

          It could be that men are so self directed and self invested that they only want to date and not commit until they feel it is time for them to settle down. In the meantime, they want sex and experiences, shop around, and play the field. They could meet the perfect woman for them, but not be “ready”. Then when they are ready, bam, the next woman they have anything workable with is the one who they ask for marriage. I’ve seen this…. a man go through many great matches, but not be ready. We women may have to face the fact that it’s not our education, sexuality, values, flirting, communication, jobs or all the rest we agonize over. It may just come down to timing and because the man is the one who asks, he gets to decide. We might do better with our dating if we just accept this and stop trying to be any different than we are. Of course, this would make Evan’s job a little obsolete, but I’m sure he can coach men in how to be ready for marriage and   mUCH MUCH happier, like he is. Whatta ya say, Evan, can you do that for us?

        4. Evan Marc Katz

          You seem to misunderstand what i do. I will not disabuse you of your theories.

      2. 6.1.2

        I too am overly girly and feminine.   So it’s not that.   But I’m a lawyer could be it.

      3. 6.1.3
        Sum Guy

        Mel, should have read you were in the humanities…no idea of guys in those areas of academia.   My experience is from the sciences, a very different academic world.

    2. 6.2

      Why is academic achievement masculine? More women than men finish college. Anyone that thinks academic achievement and professional success is masculine is not worth the effort. There are plenty of guys that want to date their equals. I wonder if the letter writer might come across as too braggy or pretentious…

      1. 6.2.1
        Erik V

        Because in the archetypical meaning of the word masculine professional achievement is male, while nurturing, cozyness and pleasure are archetypical female. It has to be noticed that the archetypical meaning of words are most of the times outdated as well.

        We all need both female and male characteristics to stay balanced but we do not need them all the time.

    3. 6.3

      “Academic/career accomplishment is masculine”


      That’s a complete misconstruction.


      Just because you frame it as such, it doesn’t follow that that construction is some sort of absolute truth.      That’s ridiculous.

  7. 7
    Been there

    I’ve been there. It gets better.

    I have an educational background similar to Mel’s and a great job in academia. When I told men about my job, I got comments like “Whoa, I can’t compete with that!” and “Wow, I know I said I wanted someone smart, but not THAT smart!” I felt discouraged, and I felt unfairly ruled out of relationships based on something that wasn’t relevant to the relationship from my perspective. It’s not like I was going to make them pass a calculus test before I’d give them a hug to welcome them home at night.

    One of my friends recommended embracing the fact that a lot of men ruled themselves out right away as a really handy time saver. If they weren’t going to enjoy the relationship because they felt they had to have the better career or feel smarter all the time, then that’s just where they are in life right now, and better to have them withdraw early and free up my time. That helped me. What if they didn’t? What if they stuck around despite feeling competitive with me as a mate and were always hoping I wouldn’t do that well, so they would look better, or what if they were always cutting me down in small ways to build themselves up? That would be so much worse over the long haul.

    I did wince a little when I told men about my job, since that was always the end of things. But you know what? It wasn’t always. One man in particular who impressed me with his humor, integrity, kindness, and other qualities responded to the information about what I do with “That’s amazing! Tell me more!”

    And that’s the man I’m marrying in a couple of weeks.

    If I have any advice in addition to just encouragement, it would be this: look for men who are interested in self-improvement, personal growth, that sort of thing. Those men are living principles that their thoughts, confidence, and happiness are related to themselves, their own choices, their own careers, their own accomplishments. They don’t need the women in their lives to be any particular way to “make” them better men; they do that on their own, for themselves.

    Good luck!

    1. 7.1

      ‘When I told men about my job, I got comments like “Whoa, I can’t compete with that!””

      Dear Jeebus, if I hear that one more time.   I hear that from men who are married & who should know better.


      “If I have any advice in addition to just encouragement, it would be this: look for men who are interested in self-improvement, personal growth, that sort of thing”

      This is the beginning of a piece of good advice.

      “Those men are living principles that their thoughts, confidence, and happiness are related to themselves, their own choices, their own careers, their own accomplishments.”

      This is, IMO, a better and more refined framing of it.



      The only thing I have trouble with at that point – and I’ve said this to more than one dating coach;   there don’t seem to be a whole lot of responses that vary substantively from “deer-in-headlights” – is the math.


      If most of the quality women are directed to look for this kind of quality man … and the sheer percentage of those quality men is that much smaller than the vast numbers of quality women who are looking for them — what are the quality women supposed to do who are left out …?

      1. 7.1.1

        “If most of the quality women are directed to look for this kind of quality man … and the sheer percentage of those quality men is that much smaller than the vast numbers of quality women who are looking for them – what are the quality women supposed to do who are left out …?”


        That’s a pretty big assumption (that there are more “quality” women than men).

  8. 8

    There are a number of things that can be intimidating to men – appearance is another one. If you’re open to meeting a wide variety of men, you’ll eventually find some that aren’t intimidated by you. Online dating was actually really great for me because it allowed me to meet men who I would never normally interact with. In my 20’s, I dated men who I interacted with in my daily life, but there was really no connection for me. In my 30’s, there were less single men and the one’s who approached me were the confident ones. They were great, but not really long-term prospects. Now that I’m in my 40’s and have apparently became somewhat intimidating, I tried the Internet and met the perfect person after a couple of months. He’s not someone I would ever have met in a normal situation, but we have chemistry and compatibility.

  9. 9

    I, too, had the immediate reaction that Mel should not try to change herself. I’ve found out about a few men who decided not to date me ’cause they thought I was too smart. At first I was surprised – seemed like something out of ancient history – and then I settled into “oh well – I’m not about to play dumb.” Evan encourages us not to limit ourselves to men who are taller/ smarter/ kinder/ richer, but I kinda luck into dating smart men since only those who are confident in their intelligence will ask me out. I can’t imagine trying to sustain a lifelong conversation with someone who won’t challenge me, so I’m good with that.
    Now I’m in a relationship with a man who loves my brain. We have directly competed in mathematics and it was just fun, not threatening. He’s not intimidated that I can run a faster mile, either. Maybe his ego is protected by being taller or making more money, but I think what really matters is my obvious respect for him. I’m constantly working to become a smarter, sexier, more accomplished, better version of myself not to outshine him, but to be worthy of him, and he seems cool with that. Maybe the pool of such wonderful men is small (I think I’ve met five or six in my lifetime) but you only need one, so don’t settle.

    1. 9.1

      “Maybe the pool of such wonderful men is small (I think I’ve met five or six in my lifetime)  “


      So – as I asked someone else upthread, and more than one dating coach – if fifty or sixty quality women are looking for those five or six men, what are the other fifty-four or fifty-five quality women supposed to do …?

      1. 9.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        This is your blind spot – you believe that there are 60 quality women for 6 quality men. As long as you believe this to be true, it explains everything you write. This is your belief – it is far from a fact. If you were a man, I can assure you’d have a more nuanced take on things.

        1. m

          “you believe that there are 60 quality women for 6 quality men.”

          I absolutely don’t believe that, and I’m amazed that you would suggest that I did.    In print, even.   

          If I did believe it I wouldn’t even try (and I know for a fact that I’m far from the only woman in that position, and the numbers who are Like Me In That Way literally number in the thousands.   And those are just the ones I personally know.   (Yes, personally, in the thousands; you know I’m a member of more than one alumni network and/or association and/or lettered organization).   You know — your target market).
          What does … interest me (it actually amuses me, but I have no wish to be accused of being patronizing) … is that that particular deflection is used to dodge the soul of the question.
          Because it doesn’t really matter if there are 60 quality women for every 6 quality men, or 40, or 10.   It only matters that there are *more* (and I do also know that there are more, because we are *obligated* to be better at everything we do, professionally, personally, interpersonally, romantically, and in terms of being a household manager — because we as women are perceived as being automatically worth less to the world — so we have to automatically be *twice* as good at everything just to be considered *half* as good).
          And the fact that you refuse to even consider those conditions as possibilities flavors everything that YOU write (if we’re going to deal in absolutes here, speaking of lack of nuance).
            If you were a man, I can assure you’d have a more nuanced take on things.
          Hahahahaha.    That’s funny!   🙂
          Let’s break this down, shall we?

          Subatomically, if you will, it also only matters that there are more in any given demographic group in which the women are considered marriageable.
          If, for example, we’re going to talk about African-Americans, since that’s the group that are in the news so unfortunately often concerning this sort of thing — are you really going to argue that there are more AA men in jail of marriageable age (who are straight) than there are women?   Are you really going to say that “That’s because AA women aren’t willing to date interracially” in the face of Mellody Hobson-Lucas, and Grace Hightower-DeNiro, and Janet Langhart Cohen — and all that even as your boy Christian Rudder runs those terrible studies seeming to sympathize with Asian-American men and African-American women even as he makes them more of a caricature of undesirability, which underscores that the perception by other races of these women as “eligible” is going to influence their ability to date interracially no matter how much like Janet Jackson or Kerri Washington (both of whom are also married interracially) they look??
          Are you really going to stay out on that limb and insist that there are just as many eligible, romantically & emotionally sophisticated, gainfully employed (notice I didn’t say “six-figure” or “millionaire”, or any of the other adjectives guys who argue like you argue here try to use to try to derail this kind of discussion with minutiae) *men* in that group as there are *women* who meet similar — because we know that men don’t judge women by the same yardsticks, now, don’t we?   We’ve at least agreed on that, yes?   — emotionally & physically fit (because we all know men darn near require the latter), as well as financially fit (we do agree that men demand that women be able to “pay their own way”) and household-management-ability-level (given the discussion in the other post, irrespective of women still having to do the lion’s share of that work in every dual-gender, dual-earning household) qualifications?
          Are you really??
          Because if so, there are DOE and DOL and APA and (unfortunately, USDOC) and countless other studies that would laugh right in your face (so no teeny-tiny individual would have to).

          But also, if so, I’ll rephrase the question.
          If there are *7* quality women in a given demographic group (where all the friends are, and all the professional connections, of that group of people, even if that group as a result is international, so as not to field any accusations that the demographic group in question is being limited to, say, Tyson’s Corner in Virginia, or New York’s Upper East Side), but only your aforementioned 6 quality men …
          what is that woman supposed to do …??

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Tom already answered your question: if this were a game of musical chairs, you’d be screwed. Thankfully, there are millions of folks out there, which is why there are 50 million married women in the US alone. If you want to find someone, you can. If you want to complain that there are no quality men, you can do that, too. It’s obvious which course of action you prefer.

          Oh, and I’ll remind you that the internet is a big place and that I’m sure there are many blogs that would bother you less. If you really don’t like me or my worldview or my advice very much, I will take no offense. Honestly, I get no pleasure out of these exchanges.

        3. Tom10

          “if fifty or sixty quality women are looking for those five or six men, what are the other fifty-four or fifty-five quality women supposed to do …?”
          “This is your blind spot — you believe that there are 60 quality women for 6 quality men”
          True dat Evan. m seems to totally forget that her definition of what constitutes a “quality” woman and a man’s definition of what constitutes a “quality” woman are *vaaaastly* different, which leads to her continual dating woes and funny math.
          She reminds me of a guy moaning about why the most beautiful women keep ignoring him and then complaining how unfair it all is. If there are fifty or sixty “quality” men all looking for those five or six women, what are the other fifty-four or fifty-five “quality” men supposed to do…?

        4. Tom10

          @ m
          “Are you really going to stay out on that limb and insist that there are just as many eligible, romantically & emotionally sophisticated, gainfully employed …  *men*  in that group as there are *women*  who meet similar…emotionally & physically fit …as well as financially fit … qualifications?”
          m, on second thoughts I actually think you’re correct. I believe that there *are* more “high quality” women (by your definition) looking to get married than there are their male equivalents.
          “what is  that woman  supposed to do …??”
          Well, men face the same predicament when looking for casual sex. There *are* more – and this is similarly statistically proven — men who want casual sex than there are women who want casual sex. So if there aren’t enough women for casual sex (there aren’t) to go around for all the men who want it, what are the guys left out to do?
          Well, they can either abstain, pay for sex or:
          –                   date older women
          –                   date fatter women
          –                   date uglier women
          –                   date less intelligent women etc.
          And many guys do just that, as they have no choice if they want regular casual sex.
          Or, they could improve themselves and ensure that they’re not the guy who’s left out.
          So, as there *is* a supply and demand imbalance between eligible men and women regarding marriage, at some point, you have to pick your priorities about what attributes you really want in a man, and then disregard what isn’t absolutely necessary.   
          “If there are  *7*  quality women in a given demographic group… but only your aforementioned 6 quality men …”
          Except there is no given demographic group of just 7 quality women and 6 quality men; there are millions and millions of men out there to pick from.
          So statistically women should be able to find an “eligible, romantically & emotionally sophisticated gainfully employed…as well as emotionally & physically fit” man amongst all those millions of men, but he might just be a bit older, or a bit fatter, or a bit uglier, or a bit less intelligent.
          Or, they could improve themselves and ensure that they’re not the woman who’s left out.

        5. Rampiance

          I agree with Tom.     I noticed that every time I improved myself in a significant way, my pool of men changed significantly and I felt that my leap up was matched by their leap up.     By that, I mean that the new men I met were more suited to the new me than the previous men I had been meeting.

          The kind of improvements I’m talking about are improvement mainly in outlook, sensitivity, perception, and self-confidence, followed by better skills in what I already do.    The improvements in my pool of men were also in these areas.     Those are the areas that happen to be important to me ~ other people might have different priorities.

          Every time I grow, my men grow with me.    It’s like magic!     I haven’t found my happy match yet, and I strongly suspect it’s because I have a few major things to improve before I feel REALLY HAPPY with myself.    Meanwhile, I feel VERY GOOD about who I am becoming.

        6. m

          “Tom already answered your question”


          He didn’t choose to reply directly to me, so I didn’t see his response till after you wrote this last … diatribe.

          “If you want to find someone, you can. If you want to complain that there are no quality men, you can do that, too. It’s obvious which course of action you prefer.”


          Not only are these two choices of action not as mutually exclusive as you paint them, but to adopt your mode of delivery — *nowhere* did I state “There are NO quality men.”

          But since you make it clear here that you’re far more interested in making what you believe to be your point then actually engaging in an empathetic discussion with women who are having a more difficult time than some others, due in great part to circumstances they themselves don’t control (sexism, racism & ethnocentrism, more family responsibilities and hence less time) and despite their continual efforts at improvement (when you appear to love to leap to the assumption they’re not making any )– I do notice your GoTo response seems to be to toss people out of the topic / out of the blog as opposed to actually try to to hear/read what they might really be saying — I’ll end my bona fide, good faith, and repeated attempts at an actual discussion of the problem here.


          You have yourself a nice day.



        7. Lisa

          Hey Evan come to the DC or NYC area what M says is fact in these areas!

  10. 10
    That East Asian Man

    Dear Mel,

    Your letter reminds me of a conversation that took place several years ago, at the end of our 30th anniversary reunion at Harvard, Princeton or Yale (I prefer not to say which one).

    I was sitting in the airport shuttle bus with a female classmate, when she said, “I went on very few dates in college, and that was typical of my friends as well. Why wasn’t there more dating going on?” To which I responded, “What you’re really saying is: during our college years, when every single co-ed was at the peak of her physical beauty, why wasn’t every man on campus knocking on her dorm-room door, asking her out on a date?!!”

    Here’s my answer to you, Mel: The men who appreciate you–for being exactly the woman that you are–are still maturing. Give them some more time to catch up with you. Yes, they’re basically clueless right now, and that hurts. But they’re a smart bunch, and they’ll figure out what it takes to attract a woman like you. You’ll see. Just hang in there until they do.

    In the meantime, you have a real opportunity to date different kinds of men, and learn more about what you want in a relationship. Don’t play games — just be yourself. If a man isn’t happy with who you are, then count yourself lucky for not wasting any more time with him.

    Best wishes to you.

  11. 11

    To the OP, have you ever read the book “Stumbling on Happiness” by Dan Gilbert? If not, I highly recommend it. The book deals with the difficulties people have with “affective forecasting” – basically, predicting what will make themselves happy in the future. We think we want certain things for our future selves, but when time passes, we often realize that our desires are significantly different than we thought they would be.

    A big part of why this is true is that we have trouble envisioning that our future desires will be different from what we want right now. Thus, if a 19 year old girl wants a handsome, ambitious man (and finds one), she may be surprised at age 35 that she now prefers a man who is more available as a husband and father, and that his looks and ambition are less important than she thought they would be. Or, to pick another example at random, a woman who, at age 28, believes she wants to spend the rest of her life in a high-powered job may discover at age 37 that she wants to be a mother more than anything.

    After describing all the reasons people are terrible at predicting what will make them happy, the author of this book comes to a conclusion: The best way to avoid errors in affective forecasting is to look at a group of people in an older cohort who were where you were at your age, and have done what you plan/hope to do. Ask them what their pitfalls were, look what happened to them and how their desires turned out. Ask them what they would do differently, if they could.

    I realize it may seem off-topic – but I don’t think it is. Evan advised you to date around, to hopefully discover what you want. I disagree with this advice, though it is inevitable that you will date around. But I don’t think that the simple act of dating around will tell you what you want. Instead, I might recommend really thinking about what you want for your future – beyond academia. Do you want a marriage? Do you want kids? How do you foresee the pieces of your life intertwining with that of a man (and kids) in your idealizations? And once you have answered those questions for yourself, find some older women who have done what you want to do, and see the type of men they married and how it worked out for THEM in reality. And, IMHO, that will give you a much better idea of what will be more likely to work for you in the future than simply dating around and forecasting what you hope to want in the future based on what you want right now.

    Sorry for the long post. I know that your original problem was that the men you like aren’t interested in YOU, and here I am giving you advice on determining what you want in a man. But here’s the thing – you can’t make men be more interested in you. You can only be your best possible self, and hope to find someone compatible. The secret is knowing what compatibility means – which qualities you really want/need in a man (and which are less important), which qualities you hope a man will want/need in you, and how you hope those qualities will fit together.

  12. 12
    Karmic Equation

    Who are you, Mel, without your degrees? I mean, are you funny, happy, kind to animals, optimistic, compassionate, etc?

    That’s the person that you need to be on dates. You don’t have to “dumb” down to show the fun, happy, kind, optimistic side of you. Intellect actually has nothing to do with the above qualities, which are the qualities men value over intellect.

    Change what you talk about on dates. Instead of talking about your latest probs in your studies, tell stories about your childhood that are funny and self-deprecating. Stories about how you and your siblings got into scraps you’re glad your parents never found out about. Stories that humanize you and show them the real you–but make sure they’re ENTERTAINING stories, not your deep dark secrets 🙂 Ask lots of questions, Get the guy talk about himself in the same way. A funny childhood story. Funny dating stories. Stupid things he did with his best friends when he was a teenager. THIS is what I loved most about dating, being able to experience life vicariously through others, while getting to know them. I felt most comfortable asking questions and less comfortable when I had to answer them, primarily because I already know myself. So I’d rather get my date to talk about himself so I get a better sense of who he is.

    Your problem isn’t that you’re not “approachable” — because men do approach and date you. Your problem is that you’re aren’t “sticky” — men don’t stick around for more than a few dates.

    Your intellect will shine through in the way you ask your questions and tell your stories. You don’t need to talk about your degrees to show your dates you’re intelligent.

    I make six figures. I’m Ivy-league educated. Since my divorce 9 years ago (I’m 48) — my boyfriends have had less education than I did, made less than I did. My current boyfriend is a great communicator, but doesn’t always use proper grammar. I notice, but I don’t care. You know why? Because when I was in the emergency room, he was there with me. When he said something that upset me (he didn’t mean to upset me) — he noticed and wouldn’t let me “It’s nothing” it away. He made me tell him what was bothering me. Listened to my concern. Then restated what had originally upset me in a better way, to make sure he was clear and that I was no longer upset.

    His having degrees or even “high intellect” wouldn’t have indicated he could be so compassionate and kind. That’s what I’m trying to say above. Show your dates who you ARE not what you’ve earned. Because when you’re successful at showing your dates who you ARE, you’re going to be “sticky” 🙂 Good men don’t walk away from good women, intelligent or not. Your job on dates is to make sure that your “goodness” shines through.

    Good luck.

    1. 12.1

      I agree on your comments about character and privileging that above all else.

      I don’t ever lead with my degrees, but it actually does turn out to be more of a turn off than I generally expect.

      1. 12.1.1

        You need to talk to these guys, and ask them why this matters to them. Maybe you can learn some ways o talk to guys about it that will help ease their minds. Maybe they just fear that you won’t respect them…not really. Men are all to aware that most women prefer to marry peers, or their betters. Women are not typically fond of marrying down. There is a blog post about that. The question it is titled with is, “Why Are Women Expected to Date Men With a Lower Educational Level?” So obviously this is an issue to many women. Maybe these men just fear this will be the case with you. If not now, later, when your priorities alter through age and experience. They fear you resenting them for not being your equal.

        I think your first step is to try to learn WHY this has turned guys off. What about it is it that they fear? Do they fear having to go to business parties where he is known as Mr. Mel? Where the whole time, he tries to do his duty and mingle, and the first thing every guy asks is what he does for a living, and he is afraid that he will be looked down on? Remember Tom Cruise in Cocktails? I don’t think guys like the idea of that being their future.

        I think they like the idea that your money may afford you two as a couple, more fun and freedom to enjoy life, but they don’t like the idea of being “the loser” in the circle of friends, and at business functions/parties. This may be a silly worry with no basis, but to them, it may be very real. Or, there may be some other reason. But I feel that it is likely one of the two I mentioned. Fear of how you will perceive him, if not now, later. And or, how he will be perceived in your circle of friends. I think that to a man, his standing in his family and his circle of friends is very important to him, and I don’t see that ever changing. So it is always going to be something that women have to deal with as we try to find a boyfriend or husband.

        1. jeremy

          I respect your opinions, and I find your comments to be among the most intelligent I’ve read here. Having said that, I disagree with elements of this particular posting of yours.

          You are making an assumption that “talking to these men” will reveal some truth to Mel. That, on the one hand, these men will know their fears on a conscious level, and will admit them truthfully to another person. And, on the other hand, the idea that the OP would be able to convince these men to set aside their fears with verbal reassurances that their fears are unfounded. Both of these are quite unlikely.

          Please remember that men (generally) want to be admired by women, for the qualities in which they ego-invest their sexuality. Different men will ego-invest in different qualities, but most will place a significant emphasis on their ability to provide and protect. Given that provisioning implies education and income potential, most men will want to be admired by women for their abilities in this regard…..and a woman can not admire a man’s provisioning capabilities if hers are superior. She can respect them, but not admire them.

          Not all men ego-invest their sexuality in education and income – some invest in their physique, some in their creativity or craftsmanship, etc. Thus, Mel could either find a man whose education/income matches/exceeds her own (so she could admire him), or a man who ego-invests his sexuality in some other quality which he possesses in greater quantity than she.

          But no amount of verbal reassurances will convince a man who ego-invests his sexuality in providership to feel comfortable with a woman whose abilities exceed his own.

      2. 12.1.2

        Is it a turnoff or not a turn-ON as you expected? If you don’t lead with it, what feedback are you getting that makes you think it’s a turn-off?

        Most guys simply are *uninterested* in your degrees. I’m not interested in ANYONE’s degrees, or other educational accomplishments (I’m an autodidact, and always assumed everyone was like me). I mean, does anyone lead with “I have a degree in X” when meeting same-sex people, and becoming friends?

        1. Lisa

          This is for Jeremy thank you for confirming this is exactly what I am saying.   The man needs to have the upper hand in one area.   So when you are a head turning looker with a great body who makes more money is better educated and has a better job you are pretty much screwed.    Even the better looking guys still run!

      3. 12.1.3
        Karmic Equation

        Maybe it’s because it’s been so long since I’ve been in college, but even after college, I don’t recall ever talking about my education. In the past year, the ONLY time I talked about education was with date who had a masters (maybe it was even two) — but who decided to lead a “time rich, money poor” life. He went into renting out an Air BnB room with a friend. He manages it and splits the proceed with his friend, whose condo they’re BnB’ing with. And that only came up because HE brought it up. I dion’t recall any other date bringing up education on a date. I don’t think that even my current bf knows I went to Harvard.

        It’s good that you don’t lead with your education. I would say, if you can, find a way to talk about your FEELINGS about your education instead of your education itself. On that date with the 2-masters AirBnB guy, he asked my majors. This is what I said “Well, my first semester, I decided to go into Linguistics. I LOVED that. It was so interesting. There’s a developmental reason why babies often say “dada” before “mama”. Did you know that? Then I took semester 2 with the same professor but this time I HATED it. The class was about studying the language that was spoken by only 5 people in South America. I had no interest in that language. So I promptly changed majors to French Lit, but woke up after a nightmare one night wondering what I would do with a French Lit degree. Teach? Become a translator? Not for me. So I FINALLY ended up a psychology major, which I really should have started with except that I heard most psychologists go crazy and I didn’t want to do that to myself. Then I took a leave of absence. Loved making money and doing what I wanted and never went back. What I do now wasn’t even taught back then, so I have no regrets.”

        How can any guy get intimidated by that? So first and foremost, don’t bring up education yourself, because if you don’t, odds are the guy won’t, cuz he doesn’t care! Second, if he does bring it up, do what I did, and instead of being matter of fact about it, be feminine and describe what you love about what you’re doing (in lay terms), and if he’s interested, he’ll probe. If not, you or he should be able to tangentialize into some other topic.

        No man will be intimidated by your passion about your studies. Get him to focus on that instead of the actual “title” of your studies. You know?

      4. 12.1.4

        It’s not hard for me to believe that men are afraid of smart women. Who wants to be outwitted? Society has taught them to be above their woman in all ways, and here’s a woman who is seriously brainy and can figure things out for herself. Come on, men say they want intelligent women but they don’t want someone smarter than they are. This is ancient history.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Have you also ever considered the phenomenon in which women demand men who are smarter? There is just as much of that going on, if you’re in the business of pointing fingers for blame.

  13. 13
    Mrs. F

    Hi Mel,

    Your post really resonated with me. I, too, was dating while pursuing a Phd (in Biophysics). I definitely faced some of the situation you described. Usually when I first met a guy I would steer clear of the details of my research. Best to keep things vague but I found that even mentioning that I was working on a graduate degree in the sciences was enough to intimidate most guys. Over time, I just counted those guys as nothing more than “not a match for me” and didn’t let it get to get to me. Finally, unexpectedly I met a guy at a party with two years left in my Phd that not only didn’t seem intimidated by my education but actually seemed genuinely interested in my research and science in general. He thought it was so cool to be in research and academia. We talked hours that first night and found we had other similarly interests too (snowboarding, traveling etc). Next week it will be 8 years since that night. We will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary this Fall and are expecting our 2nd child any day now. I don’t know if I have any profound advice. All I can say is when it’s the right guy, it’s the right guy in all the ways that matter. He’d appreciate you for who you are whether you’re petite or youthful looking or highly educated. And the funny thing about my hubby is that though less formally educated (well he still has a Masters degree in engineering), he’s probably more of a nerd than me and keeps up with current science way more than I do. Good luck in your search – stay true to yourself. Their loss if they can’t appreciate you for all you are!

    1. 13.1

      This just made me wonder something. Is Mel an education nerd, but attracted to guys who are jocks? Could that be the issue? Surely there are guys who have similar interests in education, and the subjects she has degrees in. But is she instead chasing after more the jocks, and less the nerds?

      1. 13.1.1


        You are 100% right. That is almost certainly the case. I have seen it time and time again with intellectual women. They are not interested in other education nerds, they are interested in the “hot” bad boys, jocks and similar guys.

  14. 14

    The male ego is a huge and fragile thing. I once had a sales job at which I excelled. I brought in many more orders than my male colleagues, much to their consternation. Indeed, they made my life most uncomfortable. One wouldn’t talk to me. Another was blatantly rude to me–when he saw that his offensive behavior toward me wasn’t going to make me quit, he left the company in a huff. Another actively sought to shut me out of all communication with our boss. Another spread malicious gossip about me. They all quit; I stayed. What I learned from all this is that a woman really has to tone down her accomplishments, intellect, etc., in order to sustain any kind of personal relationship with a man. In the workplace, it’s okay (albeit problematic) to outshine men, but when it comes to romance, women must defer to the male ego. It’s basic biology. Some things will never change.

    1. 14.1

      “The male ego is a huge and fragile thing.”

      Stop, just stop this nonsensical insult of men. Anything you say after this statement is automatically suspect.

      1. 14.1.1

        I agree that is an insult. Women have very frail egos also. That said, I can see her situations being normal. I have a friend who works the sales floor in the apparel section of a large Harley Dealership. She, being very beautiful, and “exotic” looking due to her being Asian/Caucasian, she could sell guys stuff they never would have bought. It was kind of funny to see her in action.

        Some guy would be walking around, looking, and you could tell he wasn’t really serious about buying anything. But guys seem to become dumb around beautiful women. Before long, he was leaving with a new $500 Leather Jacket, or several items of clothing. I think they are afraid to not spend money in front of a beautiful woman. Or they just can’t say no to her. Or they think that dropping a lot of money will impress her, which is dumb because she actually becomes turned off by the guys she can work so easily.

        My point is that it is very likely that Julie being a woman, helps her close deals. The men are very likely to have professional jealousy issues as a result. Men understand this dynamic, as I described above. So they likely feel that they are at an unfair disadvantage, which leads to their improper actions.

    2. 14.2
      Erik V

      I can relate when it comes to the professional world, nobody likes to be outclassed by somebody else and as a man I do not have a problem admitting certainly not by a woman.

      But mentally I’ve made my own little area of expertise in which I’m really good at and nobody does a better job in that area of expertise than I do myself and if such a thing would happen it would really hurt my ego.
      But when somebody is better outside my area of expertise that doesn’t hurt my ego because I can rationalize it (I cannot be the best in everything).

      Same goes for private life, never compete with your loved ones on their turf, let them be the better than you in something If you have a great cook as friend let him make dinner, if you are better in fashion/style lead the way when you go shopping

      1. 14.2.1

        I’ve never dated a professional cook, but if I did, I would have no problem telling him that he is better at it than I am. Same goes for a guy who is not professional trained, but has such a passion for cooking that he has learned more than I have. I would not hesitate to tell him that he is better at it than me. I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to get him to do all of the cooking. That wouldn’t be fair. Instead, I would ask him to teach me. To work with me in the kitchen so that I could become better.

        Maybe this is something men can learn to do also. Tell her she is better, when she is, and then ask her to teach him.

        1. erik v

          why would he want to learn cooking/decorating/… when the partner is better at it?

          I’ve been in relationships where I was better in ironing clothing, she never asked me to teach her the proper way to iron a shirt.
          and a clumsy cook can be very sexy 🙂

  15. 15


    I feel your pain and I hope that you find the guy that is right for you soon. While I don’t have a degree and am not into academia, like you are, I do share your enjoyment of learning and I like to discuss intellectual things. I like going to museums and watching documentaries. So you could say I’m more on the nerdy side.

    I am not sure if this applies to you, so take this comment or leave it, but what I have seen, is that some women in your position, blonde, pretty and extremely smart, are just not attracted to other smart guys. They are not attracted to guys who would open doors for them, carry on long discussions with them and would be on an equal intellectual footing with them. The reason is, these guys, these super smart guys in academia, give off beta male energy. They aren’t dominant, super masculine and in control, all traits that women, especially pretty women like. Instead they are attracted to frat guys, jocks and these types of men, men who do display these traits. You are FAR from alone in this preference. Nearly all women, run away like crazy from these kind of beta, non-threatening, men, so again, don’t feel guilty or bad about this. It is just the way things are.

    I wish I had an answer or suggestion for you, I really do. But I really don’t. I know this is kind of cold comfort, but just be relieved that a lot of men are attracted to you and you do have a large number of men to choose from, even if most are not appropriate, that is a positive thing. You can be happy about that.

    My point of view, as a guy who is intellectual, is that it is really up to us intellectual guys, to step up to the plate and completely change ourselves and our attitudes and actions so we are, while partially being ourselves, emulating the successful traits that jocks and other guys you girls consider “hot” use to attract women. In other words, the burden is on us intellectual guys, to take on more jock-type (alpha-type) traits, so that we are more attractive. We need to abandon the feminist, nice guy programming we have had since birth put into us by our friends and families and change ourselves into attractive men. Us men know that asking girls out repeatedly after she has turned us down, being the “nice guy,” putting women on pedestals, buying flowers on the first date and similar behavior doesn’t work, turns women off, disgusts them and chases them away. So why do us guys, especially us intellectual guys, continue to do this. We need to change ourselves.

    1. 15.1

      “Us men know that asking girls out repeatedly after she has turned us down, being the “nice guy,” putting women on pedestals, buying flowers on the first date and similar behavior doesn’t work, turns women off, disgusts them and chases them away.”

      Adam, you may be correct in asserting this, but you are wildly incorrect when you tell men to adopt the traits of so called adult frat boys and jocks. I don’t think you understand the difference between a confident, self-assured man and a cocky “bro” who possesses a “perceived” sense of confidence. These “brosefs” jack up their bodies, jack up their trucks, and walk around like hulk to compensate for something they lack. You are comparing two extremes: the beta, insecure guy, and the cocky jock. There’s a sweet spot in the middle, and that’s what we women look for: confident, not cocky. Self-assured, not super masculine. A man who can be persistent, but who is not desperate. A 21 year-old may go gaga over a jock, but by the time she’s 25 or so, she can smell his overcompensation from a mile away.

      1. 15.1.1

        I never said we should become jocks and do EVERYTHING they do. But clearly, if a girl is going “gaga” over a guy, there is something he is doing very right and that something, should be emulated. There are character traits that they have, that are causing this reaction. These should be copied.

        My thought process and the thought process of men who have faced similar challenges, isn’t very difficult to understand. We have found that the majority of women are not strongly attracted to the way we really are and don’t respond to how we have been taught to treat them by our friends and families. They are simply not sexually interested. They don’t consider us “exciting” and “sexy.” Women like who we are and they want to be friends with us. They think we are good people and enjoy hanging out with us, we simply don’t turn them on. Obviously, we want women to be sexually attracted to us so we have to adopt the traits that women find sexually attractive. I’ll never forget the time (when I was single), told a girl I was interested in, I had a girlfriend (a total lie). She got extremely turned on, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the opposite of everything I had been told. The kind of woman who would reject me as a single man, is now extremely attracted to me now that she thinks I have a girlfriend.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Adam, I have been with a wonderful man for 6 months now. He is not a “bad boy” or a “nice guy”.

          He opens doors for me, he tells me I’m “gorgeous” (I only think I am cute, but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder), I rarely drive, he does most of it, even though I offer. He is only just now letting me pay, although I have been offering from about the third date on. Usually I have to “stealth pay”, by making him dinner, bringing food ingredients over to his house when we cook together at his place, giving him movie passes in holiday cards and giving gifts on gift giving occasions. Since he is retired and I still work, he takes my car into the shop for me (I pay for THAT of course), but him taking the car in for me is a TREMENDOUS help.

          I have NOT lost respect or attraction for him. I did not break up with him when he sent flowers to the office or had a birthday cake and a balloon bouquet waiting for me, after he took me out to dinner.

          I LOVE this man and he is doing all the things men like to whine that “don’t work”. I know plenty of women who are in relationships such as mine. So treating women well does “work” if it’s a relationship you want. It doesn’t work on EVERY woman, but unless you are a player who wants to bed every woman, just say “next” and find the woman who loves you AS YOU ARE !!!!!!!!! I also have know women who have been with the “bad boys”. They eventually get fed up and leave , after wasting varying amounts of time, .

          If a woman is viscerally attracted to a man, oftentimes, there’s not much he can do to drive her away. If he’s good to her, she stays, if he treats her poorly, unfortunately she still stays, until the pain becomes to much to bear.

          Ever hear that expression “You can’t do the wrong thing with the right man ?” Same applies to a woman. If she’s the right woman, she won’t ditch you because you treat her well.

        2. Noemi

          “if a girl is going “gaga” over a guy, there is something he is doing very right and that something, should be emulated. There are character traits that they have, that are causing this reaction. These should be copied.”

          You’re correct–this will work on your typical 21 year old who is a little immature.

          “I had a girlfriend (a total lie). She got extremely turned on, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the opposite of everything I had been told”

          This woman went gaga over you because her knowledge that you had a boyfriend signaled that you had options, and that you aren’t a weak, desperate man. Yet, you can convey these qualities in another manner: simply walk away when a woman isn’t interested, and date others. This signals that you can and will find someone else.

          Your notion that women like masculine, confident men is 100% on the money. But your reasoning is false. A quality woman will walk away when you tell her she has a boyfriend. A quality woman will appreciate flowers on a first date, and being properly courted. It’s not these actions, but the REASONS behind these actions that signal certain things to a woman. I was talking to my significant other about this the other night. He simply stated that both strong and weak men can bring flowers on a first date. Yet, the weak man feels compelled to bring flowers BECAUSE he feels he needs to go the extra mile, due to his perception that he has no options. Many players do this. They bring flowers and woo a woman till her eyeballs pop. What accounts for the women who fall for these men, exclaiming “but he made me feel so special”?

          I will never, ever agree with you that all your tactics will work on all women. Only on some.

        3. Adam


          It is wonderful that you have such a beautiful relationship. I am so happy that you and your boyfriend make each other happy.

          I think the X factor which we are not talking about is attraction. You are very attracted to him already and he is very attracted to you. You are a committed couple. So that makes everything different.

          Imagine a guy who you just met. You have never gone out with him before and on your first date he comes with a huge bouquet of flowers and makes grand declarations of his attraction to you and beings doing stuff for you. Well sure, if you are that into him yourself, you would welcome it. But if you weren’t, you would consider it weird and creepy. You are just getting to know this guy and he is moving way to fast.

          You are completely right, if she is viscerally attracted to him there is very little he can do to mess this up, but for intellectual young guys, this doesn’t happen very often and in fact is VERY rare. As I said earlier, I remember in my teens and early 20s, YEARS going by with only a handful of dates, if that. And nothing really serious. In hindsight, I messed things up by being too serious too soon.

          Noemi: I totally understand where you are coming from and how what I did signals I have options. And you are right, there are other ways to convey this. But saying you have a girlfriend is one of the best ones. Another one is having some attractive female friends go out with you and pretend to be interested in you in front of other women. There are other techniques as well, but at the end of the day, the keynote of all of these techniques is intentional deception. Some guys go as far as saying that they are already married and even buying a fake wedding ring. I have never tried that, but I have heard that many men have gotten great results from this. In fact, one of my friends, who is married and has kids, had to stop wearing his wedding ring — it attracted tons and tons of women and he was interested in staying with his wife.

          You are right, my tactics don’t work on all women. Totally agree. It is just about 1000% times more effective than what I was doing before, which is being a respectful “nice guy.” The techniques outlined in books by seduction coaches such as Alan Roger Currie, are just significantly more effective than what I was doing before. And at the end, that is all that matters. Yes, a quality woman may not fall for them, but at the end of the day, most women, including quality women, are more attracted to guys with the high partner counts, as opposed to guys with lower partner counts. So through this process, I am becoming more attractive to all women which I view as a positive thing.

      2. 15.1.2

        I actually know some of my friends who are dating/married a man who they first turned down. After they started to court them romantically they saw them in a different light.
        Which woman doesn’t like to be treated nice? A flower, going to a nice resto, a nice gesture from the opposite sex?

        1. Adam


          I am talking about flowers on the first date. Most women are turned off by this. Don’t believe me. Google search the following article “Flowers on the First Date (aka No Second Date)” It appeared in Women’s Health magazine in 2011 and it states in part:

          “We actually love them. They’re pretty, they smell good… what’s not to love? But men have taken that love way too far. And it must be stopped. Flowers on the first date are too forward, make the guy look über needy, and are just plain obnoxious to deal with.”

          At the end of the day, I am for guys simply observing the guys girls fantasize about and have sex with and then emulating the successful traits of those guys. Not doing what girls say they want. But emulating the traits of who they ACTUALLY go for and sleep with and are wildly attracted to. Nothing in this process involves being your “genuine self,” being the “nice, respectful guy” or any other such nonsense. I used to believe that when I was younger and it got me NOWHERE with women. I remember turning 21 and still being a virgin, because while all the women in my social circle and all the women I met, thought I was a “great,” “nice guy,” who would make a “great girlfriend” for some “lucky girl,” none of them had any kind of interest in me besides as a platonic friend. So clearly, I had to change and I am happy I did.

    2. 15.2


      I hear the pain in your words, and I feel compelled to respond as a woman.

      I echo Noemi’s sentiments HUGELY.

      Let me illustrate by example – I have a guy friend, and I think he has feelings for me and wants to date me. Instead of manning up and asking me out, which would be a clear, direct, masculine thing I could respect, he spends endless time hanging out with me as a friend, paying for my drinks and meals, following me around, letting me lead the conversation. He’s a kind, sweet, successful guy, but this behaviour is just kind of, well… irritating. It seems dishonest somehow, as if although he has professed to just be my friend, it feels like he is trying to wheedle his way in and I am just waiting for the day when he feels like he has put in the hard yards and now feels entitled to tell me that he actually wants to ask me out. There’s something about this “nicey nicey” behaviour which feels controlling to women, as if now because you’ve put in the effort/expense, you are entitled to something in return. It seems to lack boundaries and directness, which are both things women find massively attractive. It’s got nothing at all to do with being too nice. Actually scratch that, nice often comes across as being sickly sweet. Another thing about my guy friend is he comes across as a bit spineless – he’ll always go where I want to go and not have any opinions or strong feelings on things. Women don’t want that. Strong, good traits like kindness, honesty, integrity, being a gentleman without being a doormat, YES, these are things women find incredibly hot.

      So my guy friend whom I described above, whom I like as a person but would never date in a million years because of this undercurrent of “wanting” something from me – I feel constantly like he’s sussing me out, wanting to know how he can please me and mould to me. It’s a major turn-off that women have for these so-called nice guys. Contrast this with a guy from my office who I am majorly hot for – he is not any less of a good guy, he’s kind and polite and gentlemanly and friendly. But he comes across as being happy with who he is, not needing to change to please someone else, comfortable in his own skin. There is a sense of boundaries and self-containment about him, like he’s not a pushover. He has the confidence to be direct. This makes a woman feel very safe. These are the sorts of masculine traits that are truly attractive, not all the posturing and drunken jackassery.

      1. 15.2.1

        You are on the money. This is a prime example of when a man displays signs of weakness. Yet, men who read PUA tactics would tell this man to demonstrate his value to you by pretending that he has a girlfriend, rather than simply have him become more confident and self assured.

        1. JennLee

          You are right, and that seems ridiculous on the surface. Why on Earth would I be interested in a man who already has a girlfriend? If he will dump her so easily, will he do the same with me just because somebody new comes along? Frankly, some other women often use creepy when it shouldn’t be used, but this is an area where I think a man is being creepy. If he already has a girlfriend, and yet he is going through the motions of courtship or dating with me, I would see that as very creepy. He is obviously not trustworthy if this is how he operates.

          Yet this seems to work for them a lot. Why? Are other women really that dumb that they can’t see that a man who will pursue you, while already being committed to somebody else, is no catch at all. Frankly, when I see this happen, I feel sorry for the woman. You know how when a friend talks about their boyfriend, and asks you thoughts, and you know the best thing to do is say something positive, even though you think she is out of her mind? That’s how I feel when I see other women in a relationship that started off that way. And, they usually do end in train wreck fashion.

          I like confident men, honorable, honest, kind, men. It is neither honest nor honorable to pursue somebody when you are already in a committed relationship. Either put all of your efforts into that relationship, or get out and go about finding somebody new. Don’t hold onto the person you are with until you find somebody else. That’s anything but honorable.

        2. Adam


          I completely agree with you JennLee. It is ridiculous and it makes absolutely no sense. I am far from a master pickup artist, but having said that, the things I have learned that attract women, make no sense from my perspective. All I know is that they work and all that matters at the end of the day.

          A lot of women consider the fact that man is already married or already has a girlfriend as a positive because that shows that he is in demand from other women. And since he is, therefore he is someone they want to be with you. I don’t pretend to understand this reasoning, I just know that many women have this idea. Women will even skip several nice, perfectly good single guys and try to latch onto a guy that is taken.

      2. 15.2.2
        Karmic Equation

        I changed the gender in your paragraph, Clare. You captured what MEN want in the women they want LTRs with:

        Contrast this with a woman from my office who I am majorly hot for — she is not any less of a good woman, she’s kind and polite and friendly. But she comes across as being happy with who she is, not needing to change to please someone else, comfortable in her own skin. There is a sense of boundaries and self-containment about her, like she’s not a pushover. She has the confidence to be direct. This makes a man feel very safe .

      3. 15.2.3


        Thanks so much for your response and I understand where you are coming from. You make some good points. You are absolutely right, he should be upfront and blunt about where he is coming from and what he wants. I am a big fan of a dating coach, Alan Roger Currie, who preaches this very point. It is a point that a lot of “nice guys” are weak on.

        The underlying problem, which you and other women are probably not aware of, is men are indoctrinated by their families, friends and the media into this “beta male,” weak, nice guy behavior. For example, when I was younger, I was told by my family and friends, that if I was really attracted to a girl, I shouldn’t ask her out initially, instead I should be her friend and get to know her better. And I am not the only guy who has been given similarly horrible advice. This kind of horrible advice as you have pointed out, turns women off and chases them away. But outside of the seduction community, there is no place for a man to get deprogrammed of all this junk. Everything every pickup artist says is NOT accurate or constructive. But the reason why it is wildly popular among men who have trouble or who have had trouble with women, is because it is about 10,000% more effective than any of the advice they have been given by their well meaning female friends, relatives and other people in their lives.

        Also, in today’s politically correct society, men are told that dominance and strength are bad traits. That is why you see so many weak men who are following the lead of their wives or girlfriends and trying to get them to make all the decisions. This is especially the case in men who have gone to college and had to take women’s studies or any similar classes. Again, there are some men who are naturally submissive but there is a larger group of men that have been indoctrinated by society, their family and friends in the idea that it is “sexist” to be the leader of the relationship and being a strong, dominant male and leader of the relationship “reinforces gender stereotypes.” Therefore, they change their behavior to what they feel is right, which of course, chases women away.

        And I hate to say it to you ladies, but while I fully support the part of feminism that deals with equal pay and equal rights for women, the parts of feminism that say that men and women are exactly the same (we have equal rights, but we are not identical) and that men should stop being men are 100% wrong and is to blame, in large part for this problem. You have a generation of men being indoctrinated in silly feminist ideas like if a man looks at a woman and openly, politely and clearly states that he finds her attractive this is somehow equivalent to him raping her. It is in fact, a mini-rape. Or if an adult man and woman decide to engage in rough sex in the privacy of their own bedroom, he is now “oppressing” her, which is nonsense.

        1. Clare


          I agree with you, and it hurts me to see men emasculated, every bit as much as it hurts me to see a woman put down. I am a strong believer that our relationships would benefit hugely if both men and women could learn to really love and appreciate the differences that make us who we are. If we could only get to the point that we are all secure enough in who we are that we don’t need other people to be just like us. You could replace the adjectives “male” or “female” with black, white, gay, straight etc. and the point would be the same. Men don’t need to conform to women’s standards, and women don’t need to conform to men’s standards, we just need to find a happy middle ground where we can meet and relate and appreciate one another.

          I personally have learnt to take joy in seeing a man doing what men do best – helping, teaching, providing, protect, leading in an honourable way etc. And it makes me happy when a man can appreciate my feminine qualities too – being soft and gentle, leading with my heart, emoting and being a woman.

    3. 15.3

      First off, repeatedly asking a woman out after she has politely declined is obnoxious and stalkery. Secondly, you should never put anyone on a pedestal. Nobody ever survives the fall. We want to be respected and treated like equals, not revered. That’s creepy. Finally, most so called “Nice Guys” are not in the least bit nice. They are often passive aggressive, dishonest, insecure and after exactly the same things as the “Jocks” they despise so much, sex from only the most beautiful of women. It’s all sour grapes really. Like many women, I quite like “Beta” men. That’s not to say that I like spineless, useless lumps who have nothing to offer. The two are not the same. I’ve never been the slightest bit interested in those macho, alpha male chest thumpers. Another thing a lot of men seem to overlook is that women, just like men, like attractive people. If you are a good looking beta guy who doesn’t act like a wet dishrag around women you will have zero trouble finding a date. Conversely, a hot woman can have very little going for her otherwise and still get plenty of attention from men. It’s the same for both genders. Women are simply more aware of our physical assets or limitations because it has been pounded into our heads all our lives. Looks win out. If you don’t have those you can either compensate by being a fun, supportive, confident person or you can throw your hands up and complain that the deck is stacked against you. Your choice.

      1. 15.3.1


        You, like many women I have spoken to about this are 100% wrong when it comes to nice guys. Sure, there are some that are like what you have described, but the vast majority are not. And I am speaking from the perspective of a guy who used to be a “nice guy.” Every single point you made is 100% wrong. I was never “passive aggressive.” I never expected sex with the most beautiful women. I simply wanted a girlfriend who didn’t have to be a super model but did have to be at least slightly attractive, who was pleasant and who I got along with. Instead I kept on getting put in the friends zone. Women liked me, but they didn’t like me like THAT.

        See, you and similar women, are why I wholeheartedly advocate that so-called “nice guys” change their approach and stop being so “nice.” It is actually part of a process, they need to stop being so nice, they need to lose weight and get on a diet, they need to lie about their relationship status and sexual history and do many other things to become more attractive. They need to get onto a plan to improve themselves.

        If women don’t like alpha male “chest thumpers” then stop sleeping with them. As much as you undoubtedly dislike my ideas and perspective, I simply advocate copying the traits of men who women sleep with, not who they say they want to sleep with but who they actually sleep with. If guys in relationships, who are players turn you women on, I am going to advocate that men emulate this behavior. I personally see no reason to cheat on anyone, so the simplest solution to this problem, is simply to give the idea that you are already in a relationship by simply stating you have a girlfriend or even buying a fake wedding ring. Now I have never gone as far as buying a fake wedding ring, but I have heard that men who have pretended to be married have gotten tons and tons of female attention, so it is something I will have to try one of these days.

        And no it is not the “same for both genders.” This is to put it bluntly a total and utter delusion. There are many guys who look great who couldn’t get a date to save their life. With men, it is 90% how a woman looks. With a woman, is is maybe 33% how he looks, 33% how he acts, for example how masculine and dominant he is and his relative status in relation to the woman and 33% how much money he has. So, appearance does matter, but it is not everything. And also, when we look at the various genders and what is considered hot or not, men consider 60% of women attractive. Women consider 20% of men attractive. This isn’t right or wrong, the sexes are different, but it is is definitely not an even playing field and to say that it is is delusional.

        Today society teaches men to be weak, to be submissive in short to be feminine and to abandon their masculine traits and tendencies. They teach us to be “nice guys” It is wonderful that there are dating coaches like Alan Roger Currie, Bobby Rio and others, to help us deprogram ourselves of this toxic feminist programming that is fed to us by our friends, family, movies and our environment.

        I don’t believe in sitting around and complaining. I believe in fact, that men should STOP complaining and start being the kind of men that women want. That is my philosophy. Men do too much complaining. If you are in college and see women going after the frat brothers and not paying attention to you, then look at what the frat brothers are doing and simply copy it. They don’t do things for women. You don’t do this. They treat women a certain way on dates. You treat them the same way on dates. You copy the successful behavior.

        1. Erik V

          I’m with Holly on this but couldn’t state it the way she did.

          A man who is really confident isn’t thinking about sex all the day, he certainly thinking how and he is certainly not swapping vaginas for the sake of counting numbers.

          The invention of birth control did indeed liberate the Pickup-Artist.

          A good PUA is the closest most men can come to become a real alpha man, they appear confident but they are not.  I’ve never been a PUA (in a good year I might have 3  different sexual partners) but I’m very happy with my sex life.


        2. m

          Adam –

          I find it really interesting that there are so many women here telling you directly what they want and, instead of listening to them, you are arguing with them all and   basically telling them “You don’t know what you want – let ME tell you what you want.”


          If the basic tenet you purport to believe in is “treating women as people” (which those who cling to PUA rhetoric   as “rules” generally *don’t* actually believe, but that’s another discussion altogether) … how many people do you think are actually going to respond positively to that approach (“Let ME tell you what you want”)?


          /things that make you go hmm

        3. Fiona


          You may not be aware of this but there is a big movement that tears about Nice Guys (TM)– guys who say they are nice but are really assholes. It is a criticism of the complaint that men sometimes make “why doesn’t she like me, I’m such a nice guy.” Unfortunately for men who are truly nice, the descriptor has been used by many men with entitled attitudes (they think women owe them sex because they’re “nice” and they complain about the friend zone and things like that).

          If you really are a nice guy (kind, compassionate, considerate), that’s great, but it is not enough. After all, who wants something that is just nice? It’s the baseline. If you had the choice of four or five restaurants, would you go to the one that is nice or the one that is awesome, exciting, delicious, etc?

          I suggest you stop describing yourself as a nice guy as it’s a really loaded term.

        4. Adam



          You make a good point. There are some guys who think that women should have sex with them simply because they exist. There are certain guys that feel they are entitled to super models. I was never that type of guy and guys like that are idiots. Nobody is owed sex from anyone. Just to clarify, by nice I mean a guy that is chivalrous, opens doors, treats women very well, tries to make her happy, etc. A genuine guy who is looking for a girlfriend, not simply a one night stand or temporary fling. A guy who tries to be “friends first” and is very respectful. That was the kind of guy I was and I describe as “nice.” I was also extremely shy around women I was attracted to. I just wanted a nice girl to make my girlfriend that could make me happy and I could make happy. That is what I was looking for and that is what I had a lot of trouble with.




          You are right. I have absolutely no idea, not clue at all as to WHY women are attracted to what they are attracted to. I have no clue and you women are far more expert at that then I am. All I know, is that certain behaviors and attitudes, when copied, provide better results than the attitudes I had previously. I do know that other men that have adopted behavior and attitudes of men who are successful with women have experienced greater success with women than they experience before. So now, I am definitely not telling you anything, but I am sharing my experience and my view of the world as I see it.


          Erik V:


          There are good PUAs and bad PUAs. One big criticism I have of many PUAs are the lies, the fake lines and the rehearsed scripts. The dating coaches / PUAs that I am into, advocate total upfront honesty and building your life so that you are gradually changing your genuine self into the alpha male that women are attracted to.


          See Erik, the fact which I see to be unable to communicate to you, is there are many, many men who are born who don’t “just get” women. They don’t automatically know what to do and what to say around women. They are confused. They are upset and uncertain. They aren’t all bitter and angry and hateful towards women, in the case of many of these men, they are like I was. They are simply upset and confused. They recognize that they are doing the wrong thing and acting the wrong way towards women. They recognize that it is THEIR behavior that is turning off women and it is THEIR behavior that they need to change, but they simply have no knowledge of what they need to do. They aren’t sure how they need to act to attract women and they are continually being given wrong information. And THAT is the problem that the pickup industry solves. Again, there are a lot of PUAs who spout nonsense. A lot. But there are several that give out useable information that help men become more successful with women.


          If you are a woman or a guy who “just gets it” and has no problems with this area whatsoever, it is probably very unreal that someone could have a problem with this area. But believe it. A lot of men do and up until the advent and later popularization of PUAs, there was no possible hope for these men. NONE.

        5. Tom10

          @ Adam #15.3.1
          “See Erik, the fact which I see to be unable to communicate to you, is there are many, many men who are born who don’t “just get” womenIf you are a woman or a guy who “just gets it” and has no problems with this area whatsoever, it is probably very unreal that someone could have a problem with this area. But believe it.
          I actually think that’s a very good point Adam. Having read thousands of comments over the years – both here and on other blogs – and having analyzed dating for quite some time I came to a similar conclusion: dating, to a certain extent, is a talent like any other. Some people are gifted musicians, some are gifted sports people and some people just have a natural gift for dating and understanding how dating works. Evan would be one such person.
          I’ve always been surprised reading comments from super-smart people here and could never understand why they just don’t “get it” but now I understand: they simply don’t have a natural gift for dating. I’ve always been fairly lucky that I can tell within minutes whether a woman is interested in me (sexually) or not, so I can filter extremely quickly and move on asap if she’s not. I always cringe when I see people who can’t do this and waste days, months and even years on people who aren’t actually that interested.
          That said, like music and sports, one’s dating skills can be improved following sound techniques, which is where your PUA stuff comes in handy.

        6. Erik V


          First let me make it very clear: the first 19 years of my life I didn’t had a girlfriend at all – the fact that schools here in Europe were not gender mixed might have contributed to that – and the next years I was not succesfull with the ladies to say the least.

          But I didn’t complain about it and was confident in myself, at least in the fields I was good in, I was good and confident in my job as well. Things changed for me when a woman labeled me “a bad boy” and she meant it in the sexiest way she could (and she was 15 years younger than I was).

          That was my personal eye-opener and changed me to the core.

          Let me clarify that statement. I was raised to be nice, my parents believed it was important to do good, have good morals, be polite, do what you are told, don’t ask others for favours you are not entitled to, … and also they believed that if you act that way you will  get what you are entitled to and have a good lfie.

          My parents did what they believed was good for me, but they raised a nice man and one that wasn’t me (I  could go in depth about why I cannot just “do what I’m told” but that is worth  a topic in his own right), when I became aware of that I could make the little  changes to become  a much better man.

          First, look to the arts in particular the literature: the alpha male is a main character in literature since  the very beginning and he has  always be loved by the girls. The alpha male is descripted as a confident man,  who  follows his own rules but has a good  moral code and is focused.  When  you are confronted with his behaviour a typical reaction would be “Ah, 🙂 ”

          The beta man  (also “the nice man”)  does have  a good moral code, might  be focused but is not confident and follows the guidelines  set out by others. When you are confronted with his behaviour a typical reaction would be “Ah, ok ”

          And the bad boy is confident, follows his  own rule  but is not focused on good and does not have a good moral code. When you are confronted with his behaviour a typical reaction would be “Ah, 🙁 ”

          I know a few males who dress the way they want in their own home, some of them put on a nice ironed shirt with a tie, others walk around in their underwear. All of them do it because they feel they are allowed to wear the clothes they like. Which one do you think will get the girl.

          Everyone – man and woman  – are unsecure and being around confident people assures us, that’s why both alpha man and bad boys are attractive. In addition, their lifestyle is intresting because they did not follow the script most of us followed which also attracts people. But in the end a bad boy gives bad vibes and they loose out against real alpha men.

          I do live in Western Europe and here we have a TV-series called SUITS, since it’s originated in the USA I assume most of you are aware of it. It’s a drama centered around a young lawyer Mike Ross, his boss is Harvey Spector and another character is Louis Litt. While Harvey Spector is the alpha male (well dressed, outspoken, very good at his job, very confident, popular with friends and envied by his numerous enemies; his office is decorated with sport memorabilia given by pro athletes), Louis Litt is the typical beta “nice guy” male. Although he is very good at his job, he isn’t very confident about himself and doesn’t have much friends at all (he is not well dressed, his office has pictures of himself).

          You can learn more about alpha and beta males from that TV-series than you will doing from attending any PUA class. In the third season there is a quarrel between Mike Ross and Harvye Spector and Louis Litt tries to convince Mike Ross to work for him and leave Harvey Spector, he goes all the way: invites him for lunch, gives him challenging and rewarding work, bring in refreshment, … A real “nice guy” and when he thinks he has it, Harvey Spector walks in, says “sorry”, shake hands.

          Another book you might want to read is fifty shades of grey, not for the explicit sexscenes  but for the lifestyle of Christian Grey.

          And finally, while I agree with you that nobody is entitled to have sex with a woman, a true alpha male does feel entitled to have sex with a woman if he wants that (but having good morals he will  not want it if she does not want it). I noticed with myself that before    “my conversion” I asked my girlfriend she wanted sex, after I just took her without asking (and she liked it)

        7. Erik V

          @ tom

          “That said, like music and sports, one’s dating skills can be improved following sound techniques, which is where your PUA stuff comes in handy.”

          I disagree, first get your life in order, that is make it more intresting (stay yourself), become more confident (outside the dating area), dress better (polish those shoes).

          Then attend some PUA training to know how to read a woman’s body language and how to show intrest in her without being creepy.

        8. Adam

          Erik V:


          Where you are confused, where we are not connecting intellectually, is yes, there are bits of pop culture that do show men how to be alpha. That is correct. But the overwhelming message of pop culture, the overwhelming message which is being pushed by society towards men who have trouble with women is not, that they need to be alpha, but that they need to be much more beta which in actual fact turns women off. Unless a guy is already aware of what out there is good advice and what is bad advice, he will, 99% of the time end up adopting and following the bad advice since it is much more prevalent than the good advice.
          And it sounds like you are naturally an alpha male bad boy. Well, more power to you. You don’t have this problem then and it is good that you have this area of your life figured out.   But just because YOU have it figured out, don’t think that other guys are so fortunate. And I understand you didn’t have a girlfriend until you were 19, since you grew up in a school that was mostly gender separated. Well, that must have been rough.   But please don’t take that experience and figure that you know what some of the guys like I used to be went through because, you really have no idea. No idea at all whatsoever.

          Since beginning my journey, I have spoken to guys who are 30 year-old virgins, guys who have are in their late 20s and have never had a long term girlfriend and many other guys who experienced the same sort of deep seated relationship problems that I ran into. And what you guys who “just get it” and women seem not to understand, is that these guys, like I used to be, were not and are not “creeps,” “losers,” “defective,” “a-holes,” “jerks” and other nasty things. They are simply men who are naturally beta and have been taught that they need to play up their beta traits to attract women, which is 100% wrong. For the most part, these men are deeply depressed about their situation and have tried and tried and tried to resolve these issues but had no effective way to do this until PUA since nearly all relationship advice out there is designed to ensure that women are deeply and utterly repulsed by the man following the advice. Just look at the common advice to “be yourself.” That is probably the worst advice you can give a guy who struggles with relationships. It is beyond destructive and idiotic. He has ALREADY been himself and failed. So he should continue to do what has failed? This is obviously stupid and unworkable. And the second piece of advice, to “be honest” about your past relationship issues, is probably the #2 most destructive piece of advice a guy in this situation can be given. If he is an older virgin or has only had a few sex partners, he should be honest with a woman about this? Why? So she can immediately dump him and run away screaming. And there is tons of other popular advice that guys are given which will guarantee that women are turned off by them and stay away.


        9. Adam

          Exactly, completely agree with you. It is a skill that can be learned and improved.   Everyone has things they are good at and bad at.


          For example, in my younger days, I knew a guy, around my age, who was fantastic with women. Great   with women and always had a girlfriend. He was also a talented musician. But he was horrible at academics and struggled with that.   On the other hand, I was horrible with women but was great with most academics, especially history, reading and comprehension. I was very gifted in those areas. So we all have our strong points and weak points.

        10. Erik V

          Actually I believe I do understand it and my advice remains: be yourself but do it in an intelligent way.

          That is do what you prefer to do. If that is putting on a tie with an eldridge knot (google it if you do not know what that is), then do that. Stop doing what you do not like (I stopped going to bars because that wasn’t my thing, but i did find a winebar which is more my thing).

          And what you do, make sure you are good at it.

          Then forget the ladies and they will come (I believe this is called showing value in PUA-terms).

          BTW, my sister is 41 years old and as far as I know still not yet kiss-closed, I know that is a serious issue for her.

        11. Adam

          @Erik V


          If that worked for you, more power to you. I have never seen that work in the real world, but to each his own. There are guys I know that are brilliant and accomplished, but are horrible with women. There are guys that have very little to their name and are awesome with women. Continuing to be yourself if what you truly are is unattractive to women, I see as unsuccessful.

        12. Erik V

          This works for nearly everyone because it does change your own mindset to the core.

          No need to respond

      2. 15.3.2

        Just to give you an idea of how different things are, there was a reality TV show, years ago, called The Pickup Artist, featuring the famous pickup artist who goes by the name Mystery. Mystery has probably slept with thousands of women and is therefore someone who can teach seduction.

        In the show, Mystery is teaching a class full of guys that have had enormous difficulty with relationships. Some of them were virgins, some of them had only had one girlfriend, they were all men who women would consider “losers.” One of these men was a professional actor and the other was a male model. Once they learned seduction, they began attracting and seducing women. Before that point, looking the exact same way, they couldn’t attract a woman to save their life. Therefore, the idea that women are as attracted to appearance as men are is a lie. If it were the truth, learning pickup wouldn’t have affected his success and it clearly did.

        There was another show, called Keys to the VIP, which featured experienced pickup artists. One of the episodes involved a contest where the pickup artists had to not wear deodorant or take a bath for a day, and tell women that they picked up garbage for a living if asked. They were sent into a club and they were able to pickup women. Their appearance was horrible but their pickup skills were great. Therefore they succeeded.

        1. Erik V

          I have to completely disagree with you: the first thing the PUA-schools teach their students is to change their wardrobe and looks.

          In an other post here I’ve said a girl described me as a “bad boy”, I disagreed with her but tried to understand why she considered me a “bad boy”, this is how I found out about PUA and got interested in it, my intrest was not out of necessity (I had some luck with women) but out of curiosity and a desire to improve myself.

          I’ve never felt home in PUA because I obtain more pleasure from a deeper connection with people than instant sexual penetration can deliver) and my attention moved to male style, body language, … I became a big believer in the difference between “beta” and “alpha” males.

          However let me point out that not everyone can be an alpha male and it might be very hard for some to become one, maybe even impossible.

          The first thing I improved on was my haircut, then my shoe polish and tie knot (also very cheap to improve), now I’m morphing my wardrobe. At the same time I changed body language, … And I can assure you it does make a difference even knowing that it wasn’t bad before.

          I’ve quickly replaced PUA with a genuine intrest in male style, body language

        2. Al

          Adam, you’ve got a lot in there and I doubt I’ll be able to get to it all without writing a novel so I’ll hit on the points I feel are pertinent. First off, I can’t be 100% wrong about what women want because, well, I’m a woman. It kind of gives me the inside track. While YOU may not have fallen into the “Nice Guy” meme, I can tell you, not just from my own personal experience, but that of many, many women that there is a parade of ineffectual, unconfident, needy men with a very selfish agenda out there masquerading as nice people. If you don’t believe me just type “nice guy” into Google and see what comes back. There are numerous websites dedicated to just this one topic. I didn’t invent this issue. I’m just commenting on it.

          While I agree with you that if someone of either gender is having trouble finding a love connection, they might want to try and get themselves into better shape and do what they can to improve their appearance, I think your assertion that men need to treat women like crap or lie to get them is asinine. I really do question what kind of women you are going after here because I know a LOT of attractive, cool, intelligent women who would never go for that nonsense in a million years. You say “If you are in college and see women going after the frat brothers and not paying attention to you, then look at what the frat brothers are doing and simply copy it.” I’d counter that perhaps the better answer would be to aim for a higher quality (but less hot) kind of woman. It is precisely the type of empty headed shallow girls you are aiming for that is your problem here. And yeah, if that’s what you want you’re going to have a problem if you’re not already one of the “in crowd.” They like Frat boys because they are Sorority Girls, similar creatures, and if you’re not one of them you get excluded. Can you really be surprised that these ultra hot girls are, in fact, just as shallow as you are? That they want the masculine equivalent of themselves? There are a ton of other awesome women on campus with a very different perspective but if those Sorority girls are the ones you want maybe your tactics are a good idea. Just don’t assume we are all like that or that it’s a path to anything lasting. It might get you laid (probably not though) but being a poser won’t get you anything real.

          As far as the Reality TV goes… that’s all scripted nonsense and does not, in ANY way, represent reality. If you’re dim enough believe that shit’s real there’s not much hope for you I’m afraid. Oh, and I hate to tell you this, but The Amish Mafia was totally fake as well.

        3. Adam


          I am not going to write a novel and refute you point by point. I am all about what works in the real world. I have no interest in what anyone, a man or a woman THINKS will work. I am interested in what DOES work and what can be PROVEN to work. Yes, there are “nice guys” out there that are actually jerks. But I myself was not one of these guys. I was a nice respectful guy who was looking for a girlfriend to cherish and love. And I realized I had to change myself when women only looked at me as a platonic friend. I’m not angry about this, it just is what it is. And this is not only my experience. It is the experience of countless other guys I have spoken to as well. And look Al, we eventually get sick of being the platonic friend, being dumped after the second date, being cheated on, being friend zoned, being orbiters, being your personal Uber, being pushed aside for the jock, etc. We actually get tired of it. And despite your idea that only the “hottest” girls are like this, this is totally untrue. All women chase after alpha guys with these kinds of dominant traits. Even the “nice church girls” and the “nice nerdy girls.” Don’t believe me, read Evan’s articles on this. They are entitled “Most Women Don’t Dream of Dating Nice Guys” and “Most Women Don’t Dream of Dating Nice Guys.”

          And the smart ones amongst us, don’t get angry, we simply make friends with some of these jocks and other guys women hate but at the same time, love to have wild passionate sex with and discover what they are doing that is so effective. We stop listening to women and start listening to men who are effective with women. These men can not only seduce most women, but they are in a position where, because of their long experience with women, they are also able to keep a woman happy in a long term relationship.

          The bottom line is women could very easily put an end to all frat male, bad boy behavior. Women could bankrupt the entire pickup industry practically overnight. All they would have to do is STOP sleeping with bad boys, jerks, players and jocks. That is all. Just stop sleeping with them and start having relationships with guys who adore you and treat you like gold. Just ignore the bad boys and focus on the guys who treat you with respect. If all women did this, the frat boy, bad boy behavior would disappear and these guys would start becoming gentlemen, because that is what attracts women.

          You believe whatever you want to believe Al. In the meantime, I’ll continue to talk to men who are successful with women. I’ll continue to read books by men like Alan Roger Currie, and other experts who have slept with several hundred if not thousands of women. I’m going to listen to the men who have been married for over 10 years and have wives that are still not only in love with them, but in lust with them as well. I’m going to listen to those men.

        4. Holly

          I might be in the minority here, but I find guys who’ve had sex with “hundreds, if not thousands” of women completely gross. I’m all for the guys learning to get better with women, but not like that. That pickup artist crap only teaches men how to treat women like objects of varying numerical sexual value. I agree that there may be a few gems of wisdom in there, but it’s nothing that can’t be learned by finding your confidence from actually becoming the kind of man women really want, from the inside out. Being successful with women takes more than lying, ridiculous clothes and backhanded compliments. None of that would work on a quality woman. How do I know that? Because I am one. I, for one, have always backed off as soon as I found out a guy was taken. I may be disappointed but I’d never try to move in on another woman’s man.

        5. Adam



          Sounds like you are a quality woman. Most women get turned on by guys who are attractive to other women. Many women find taken men especially attractive.


          It is good that you have bucked this trend and are looking for an unattached man. My hat is off to you.

        6. erik V

          I doubt that most women are attracted to men who are in committed relationships, at least not when they are looking for a relationships longer than one night.

          Most of us (men and women) want our partner to be loyal and exclusive or at least that is the ideal and we do not want to deal with exes, divorces and all the crap that comes with that.

          It’s something completely different for relationships that are intended to be short and meaningless, in particular for PUA. A PUA has the intention to sleep with as much women as possible and one sticky woman can ruin his numbers, therefore a PUA has to signal sexual intrest and unavailability for longterm relationship at the same time and that’s why they surround themselves with plenty of women, wear fake wedding rings, …

          A PUA plays a numbergame and needs to rapidly weed out the women who will not accept a one-night stand so he can focus on the few women that might do that.

        7. Adam

          Erik V,

          I agree with you in theory. Things should absolutely be that way. From a logical perspective you are absolutely right.

          But many women, whether for simply a one night stand or for a longer relationship, are attracted to men who they perceive other women are attracted to, or in other words, men who are taken. There are tons and tons of articles regarding this and tons of theories regarding why this is the case. Obviously not every woman is that way — there are exceptions to every rule. But having said that, I have seen it happen enough times to realize that this is the case.

          As I mentioned earlier, one of my friends, who is married with kids, had to stop wearing his wedding ring at work. It was attracting a huge amount of female attention. On the occasions where I have lied to women about having a girlfriend, the girl has become dramatically more attracted to me.   Again, the difference in attracting is huge. It is not slightly more attracted, it is significantly more attracted.

          There was even a study conducted by Melissa Burkley of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater with her colleague Jessica Parker several years ago (2009). As part of this study, two groups of women were shown a picture of a particular guy. Half the women were told that he was single. In the group that thought he was single, about 60% were interested in dating him.   The women in the other group were told he was taken. In this group, 90% of the women were interested in dating this man.

          Again, I don’t make the rules, I simply follow them. I sincerely wish things were not this way. I sincerely do. But from my perspective, it is a choice of “being myself,” like I was in my younger days and living a mostly celibate life and changing myself to become more attractive to women. I have selected the second option.

          By the way, I disagree with PUAs who lie about their long term intentions and spin a completely and totally fictitious personality. While, for example, if you have only slept with a few girls, you would have to lie about that, there is no reason to lie about your entire background, interests, etc.   When I talk about PUA, I am talking about PUA gurus who believe in what is called natural game, as opposed to those who have long lists of routines to remember. For example, Bobby Rio is an example of natural game as is one of my favorite coaches Alan Roger Currie. Currie’s philosophy, is that men need to be alpha, dominant and totally upfront and honest about their intentions towards women. For example, if they are looking for a one night stand, they need to not pretend that they want a long term relationship. They should be completely upfront and honest about their ideas and desires. They need to lay all their cards on the table in front of the woman so that she can make an informed decision. This honesty, confidence and dominance turns many women on.

        8. Erik V

          This is a reaction on Adam’s comment where he refers to a study conducted by Melissa Burkley, study who found that women are more interested to date a men who is in a committed relationship.

          That study did ask the women about a possible date not a partner for a one-night stand and certainly not a men she would have a longstanding relationship with.

          I can understand why: men in a committed relationship are unavailable for a longterm relationship and therefore less likely to become stalkish, … so less danger but they can still be fun to be with.  I know a lot of people do go out on dates (lunches, sportdates, …) with other people just to have fun but the moment there is a risk the other might become “interested” in them they stop doing that, why do you think that is the case?

          (think male friends and one suddenly outs himself as gay; married persons who get a divorce).


        9. Noemi

          Adam, I read the study by the Oklahoma State Univ. professor you mentioned. On its face, it appears to be a solid study. But, reading it in some detail revealed to me why the findings are what they are.

          1. The women in the study were undergraduates. The researchers did not include variation in terms of ages. Had they done so, the study may have yielded different results.

          2. This is my opinion, but studies that tap into hypothetical situations should be interpreted with caution. This study tapped into constructs such as “how appealing is this person”, but also “how likely would you show interest”, “how likely would you initiate a conversation with this person”, how likely would you initiate a relationship with this person”, and “how direct would you be in initiating a romantic relationship with this person.” Perhaps, women say they “would” do this and that, but may not actually behave in that manner.

          3. Studies that have measured actual instances of poaching have found that men were more likely to report engaging in mate poaching tactics (see: Schmitt, 2004 and Schmitt & Buss, 2001). It could be that women are more hesitant to be honest about their mate-poaching tactics, I acknowledge that. But it’s still something to note.

          4. The study by Schmitt & Buss also found that people who mate poach are more likely to be low in agreeableness and consciousness than those who do not. So, rather than making blanket statements that women are attracted to men who are not single, recognize that there are men and women who poach, and those who do so are low in agreeableness and consciousness.

    4. 15.4
      Erik V

      I think it’s a little more complicated than this.

      I know a few high class escorts (not as a client though and here it’s legal) and the higher the price range the more important it becomes to connect with the client on an intellectual level.

      Woman do not go for “nice guys”, but they might settle for them.

      Once a woman told me I was a “bad boy” which she meant in the most sexiest and attractive way she could, what she meant was that I do lead, i take decisions and I’m not afraid to make my point and defend it (which I even do in a very agressive way but only in words and arguments) without being afraid of what others think about it.

      She was wrong, I’m not a “bad boy”, but more a genuine alpha male (and excuse me I know I’m not very well placed to say this), that is I have a professional goal on which I remain focused, I’m – somehow – respected by my peers and I do have a high moral standard. And while I defend my opinions and decisions I do value and respect others and their opinions.

      Women are attracted to genuine alpha males but they might mistake a “bad boy” for one.

      1. 15.4.1


        You make some great points. I should clarify myself. Yes looks are important for women. I never said they were totally unimportant. But my point was that they are a lot less important than they are for a man. For example, I know a girl who is absolutely gorgeous, looks like a model. She is married to a short guy that weighs at least 225 pounds. He is quite fat and kind of round. Very nice person, but definitely not a “hot guy” by any stretch of the imagination. However he has a strong, dominant personality and makes tons of money. So that makes up for his looks. This kind of thing does happen with men, but it is significantly less common. A male 10 almost certainly will never select a woman who looks like a 2 for his wife. It happens, but again it is very, very rare.

        Completely agree with you on “nice guys.” Women settle for these men and are never truly attracted to them.

        It is great that you are doing well with women, there are some traits you have which we should all emulate. See, some guys are born alpha males and some guys have to learn how to be alpha males and that is where PUA comes in.

  16. 16

    Just to give an unusual perspective, from a source that should know some of the issue…
    It might be a misleading exterior, attracting mostly men who don’t value substance. Maybe emphasis should be on choosing more age-appropriate apparel and a new hairstyle, per an image that says post-college and smart, while still attractive. For example, not that people should dress in primarily black, but it seems far more common in women in the work force than college students. (Sorry, no referral to give re an image professional who works with women, but they are almost everywhere.)

    1. 16.1

      Gosh, do you really think the hair cut is what men get hot and bothered over? The longer the hair, the more they like it. That is all they really seem to care about hair. Hair cuts? Not so much. Did any guy in the history of the planet ever say: “yeah, and she has this cute and sassy bob” or “it’s layered in the back and has fringe bangs”? NO. This is how it goes: her hair is long, or medium or short, blonde, brunette or red, curly or straight. The End. But I bet they can guestimate your cup size to the t. Just saying….

  17. 17

    I am in my mid-30s and working on a Ph.D. I went through many years of anxieties and self-doubt. I wondered if I had effectively eliminated my romantic prospects by my decision to enter a Ph.D. program. Like you, I encountered situations where, as soon as I mentioned that I was a Ph.D. candidate, I immediately felt the turn-off and intimidation from the other side.

    I’m speaking from personal experience, but what I did was first, like what Mic said, I began paying more attention to my appearance, which meant wearing more age-appropriate, feminine clothes, maintaining flattering hairstyles, wearing contacts from time to time, and wearing light makeup. Having been a bookworm and nerd for most of my life, I didn’t place a priority on my appearance and balked at suggestions from close friends to start paying more attention in this area, feeling that they were too superficial. I’ve come to learn however, that men are visual creatures. I didn’t reinvent my look. (Tried that once. Ended up not looking like myself and attracting the wrong types of men.) What I did though was to stick to my style, but to just make sure I always looked my best in the wardrobe and makeup that I was comfortable in. In the process, I became more confident too, which translated to the way I carried myself and interacted with men.

    Secondly, and this is super important, what I’ll write echoes what Evan stated. Many men will be turned off and intimidated by your accomplishments. If that is the case, they are not the right men for you, and there’s no need to bemoan their quick exit. Be grateful they took themselves out of running and didn’t waste your time. There are many men who will appreciate your keen intellect. I followed Evan’s advice on putting myself out there in online dating, focusing on having a good time in my dates, making sure my date was also enjoying himself, and not being afraid to engage in lighthearted tasteful flirting. Also, I worked to weed out the “unworthies” as quickly as possible. I cannot emphasize how essential this is.

    You’d be surprised as to who is and isn’t intimidated by a woman’s education level. I’ve come across highly accomplished men (i.e. Ph.D.’s, doctors) who harbored resentment over women who had similar levels of success, and men with bachelors who are confident in themselves and sincerely appreciate smart women for who they are.

    I met my fiance by implementing the two things I mentioned, and by voraciously reading Evan’s blog. You situation may or may not be the same as mine, but I just wanted to share my experience. I really do empathize with what you are going through. But you’ve come to the right place in Evan’s blog, and the key is to persevere in the dating world, use each date as a learning experience, and develop a good sense of who to weed and who to keep. I wish you the best of luck!!

    1. 17.1

      Mel, maybe a tattoo? JK, but really, if you wear glasses that may be it. I have noticed men have an aversion to glasses. The guy I just broke up with (yesterday) LOVED my hair, but always asked me to take my glasses off. This bugged me a little. He always said he found me super smart, but sure didn’t like it when I turned my logic on the relationship issues. Ouch.

  18. 18

    This is a good one.

    As a man, I can appreciate her former suitors’ reservations.

    As men, there is something in us that makes us feel like we should be “worthy” of a woman, as in- better than her, or at least, as good as her. So being gives us the courage to approach her and court her.

    I think we intuit that the better we are in relation to her, the better our chances of winning her hand.

    Call it social programming, call it evolutionary psychology, call it anything you want.

    If you’re a woman, you’ll dismiss it as insecurity.

    If you’re a man, for you it’s real and not just insecurity, so you don’t dismiss it.

    I think it’s partly because we as men are evaluated by those in a woman’s life; her parents, friends, colleagues, coworkers, etc. will look at us and ask themselves “why him?”

    The more impressive the woman, the more options she is considered to have, so the more intense the scrutiny.


    1. 18.1

      Ha: “Discuss.” The final command goes along with your exclamatory pen name. 🙂

      I agree with your point that it isn’t necessarily insecurity that stops a man’s approach or pursuit. Sometimes it’s just them doing appropriate evaluations of the potential match. I’ll describe a phenomenon I’ve seen a few times.

      I walk into a room where others know me variously from not at all to quite well. At times I have been particularly aware and have seen the men size each other up and rank themselves … and they decide in a few seconds who is “worthy” of my attention. After these seconds of assessments, the nominated man makes his approach. It’s kind of like one of those primate documentaries. Really fascinating.

  19. 19

    @Julie 14 did you ever give thought to the possibility that you’re not all that pleasant to be around in the workplace? We poor fragile Neanderthal males respond very well to coworkers who deliver, but who are also pleasant to be around, irrespective of gender (or religion or nationality or race).

  20. 20

    I only read some of the comments so I may repeat what someone else said.

    I reeeeally have never been convinced by the whole “my intelligence is the reason I’m single” thingee. Nothing personal vs the OP, just a general statement. Most of my childhood friends (around OP’s age) are in the top 0.5-1% of IQ–along with being blessed with lots of other good attributes. Today I was just chatting to one who had gone to Oxford and is finishing her PhD, who is happily married.

    I know everyone has a limited sample size to draw personal experiences from, but a vast majority of the borderline-geniuses I know seem to find rship-stuff much easier than the avg person. Which makes sense. I mean, they’re so intelligent and intuitive and easily learn rship skills. I’ve mentioned this topic to some of them before, and they say they haven’t experienced being rejected for their intellect, but even if it ever happened, there are billions of other guys who wouldn’t, so who cares?

    I think smthg Evan pointed out–“Did it occur to you that attempting to contort yourself to be more appealing may be part of the problem?”–is an excellent pt. Insecurity can be sniffed a mile away by quality people. It subconsciously makes them think they are out of the insecure person’s league and that they can do better. Insecurity tends to create a self-fulfilling prophesy.

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