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

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I know it’s happened to you before.

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

Your amazing boyfriend possessed almost everything on your wishlist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is there to learn from this scenario?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join our conversation (122 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 21
    Jadafisk

    So… what if someone doesn’t want to bring an 80/20 ratio of masculine to feminine energy into her life and sees more of a balance between the two as an ideal thing to maintain as an individual and as a couple? Are the guidelines completely different? Are there any at all? How do you find and keep a man with less masculine energy than generally expected?
      
    Also, why would a person look for qualities that, when it comes down to it, they don’t value enough to cultivate in themselves? If you really care about success, why wouldn’t you go out and get it instead of trying to parasite off of someone else’s? If you really care about nurturing, why wouldn’t YOU try to be more nurturing? I’m a little confused by this entire phenomenon.

  2. 22
    Helen

    Evan 22: With all due respect, yes, I do disagree with the points you raise. And if I may,  I would  gently urge you not to see the world in such absolutes, nor to be so quick to categorize people: that if they are A, then they must also be B and do C.

    You asked me specifically if I disagree with:

    A very good looking man is more likely to be a narcissist.
    A traditionally masculine man is more likely to be emotionally inaccessible.
    A rich, successful man is more likely to be a workaholic.
    An intelligent, educated man is more likely to be opinionated and arrogant.
    A creative, sensitive man is more likely to be intense or moody.

    The vast majority of good-looking men I know are not narcissists. Nor  are they more confident in demeanor than  less handsome men; they are by and large shy and gentle. Of the narcissists I know, some are good-looking and others are not. There is not an obvious trend in one direction.

    I do not know what you mean by traditionally masculine man. My definition may not be the same as others’: I consider a man masculine if he doesn’t complain too much, and makes me feel special even when he knows I’m married and that nothing will happen. Are they “emotionally inaccessible”? I wouldn’t say so, but haven’t the faintest idea. A man expressing emotions is not something that has ever been  important to me.

    “Rich, successful, intelligent, educated men”: can we agree that Nobel laureates would fit these categories? I’ve learned  from 3 Nobel laureates and have worked with a 4th for the last 2 years. Without exception, they have been friendly, down-to-earth, kind, and helpful. They’re most certainly not inaccessible or arrogant. Especially my current colleague: one of the most thoughtful human beings I’ve known. In times when I’ve wondered how to act in particular situations, I’ve tried to follow what he would do. It has always led to a good outcome. Being successful – even top of the world successful –  does not mean that you are a less decent human being.

    “Creative, sensitive men”: can we count musicians and writers  among these?  Only one I know is intense and moody. The rest are just regular decent guys. If anything, when they find out what I do, they act all impressed and kow-towing, whereas I in turn  am impressed by  what they do!

    I don’t know, Evan. People are just people. The vast, vast majority of guys I know are decent, regardless of their success or income or field.  

    1. 22.1
      Jeremy

      No idea how old this comment is, but I found it interesting, both for what it captures and what it misses.   What it captures: The notion that just because a person is “A” doesn’t necessarily mean he is also “B” just because we tend to associate A and B in our minds.

       

      What it misses:   That whether or not they are B is more important in relationships than whether they are A.   For example, regardless of whether a person is good looking, it is more important whether he is a narcissist.   Whether or not she is successful, it is more important whether she is a workoholic.   And her being a workoholic will not negatively influence how her friends and colleagues see her, but will certainly influence how her spouse sees her.   I would definitely not want to be married to a Nobel Prize winner – or an Olympic athelete, or any other person whose pursuits require singular dedication that saps their availability to that extent…..regardless of whether or not their work colleagues and friends find them to be good people, or find their behavior admirable.

  3. 23
    Ruby

    I am confused by the direction this threads has gone in. For me, the lesson here is that you can do everything right, and the guy can still turn out to be a douchecanoe. I think the whole point of date-coaching, however, is that in order to find love, you must persevere. So all these issues of masculine/feminine energy seem extraneous to me. Personality differences aren’t really masculine or feminine; certainly it wasn’t Jennifer’s being too masculine that caused her relationship to end; it was her boyfriend turning out to be a jerk.

  4. 24
    Saint Stephen

    @Jadafisk and other ladies
    What is so confusing about the masculine and feminine energy? Is simple. positive and negative. stamen and pistil. why is it so hard to fathom? i think you ladies deliberately choose to turn a blind eye to what Evan is saying even though you know is the truth.
    Men aren’t attracted to women for exactly the same qualities that made them got attracted to us. If you are a highly successful Man it potential enhances your dating pool, while it does the exact opposite for a woman. and reason been that is more easier for women to feast on a man’s money than the other way round.
    How many highly successful women do you know who bought a man a ring or necklace of $1 million dollar? i’m guessing the answer would be non. is more paramount to a Man that you are nurturing and supportive- rather than slaying dragons.  

    Helen Said: (#21)
      Women who love their work are the best partners.  
    Going by your logic- why aren’t celebrity Marriages working out?
    Jennifer Lopez is a successful singer and actress who just got divorced for the fourth time. would you presume she didn’t love her work? Evan is saying that women like her would be more prone to desiring more success than making a man happy, which is why marriages like hers and other career bound women would be more likely to fail.

    Jadafisk Said (#26)
    Also, why would a person look for qualities that, when it comes down to it, they don’t value enough to cultivate in themselves? If you really care about success, why wouldn’t you go out and get it instead of trying to parasite off of someone else’s? If you really care about nurturing, why wouldn’t YOU try to be more nurturing? I’m a little confused by this entire phenomenon.  

    Evan Marc Katz Said (#6)
    I have great respect, admiration and attraction for those women. I just decided that I didn’t want to marry her. Because she’s just like me. And I want — and many masculine achieving men want — a softer, less driven partner who takes care of them.

    Evan Mark Katz Said (#19)
    Successful partnerships are, most often, complements, not clones.  

    Evan Marc Katz Said (#20)
      but you’re just like me. And I don’t want to marry myself. It’s too much work.
    Jadafisk, with all due respect, you mean Evan and other Men should develop feminine traits before they can be deemed worthy to desire females with such traits? And wouldn’t that bounce back to what he is desperately avoiding? Evan said he didn’t want to marry his clone. and is just like you saying females who desire masculine men should develop the masculine traits themselves. your point makes entirely no sense to me.

    Evan Marc Katz Said (#2)
    It’s more important to him that you laugh at his jokes.
    Evan you are so Right and i perfectly concur. That’s one of the ways i know when a chic digs me. she makes me feel like a super comedian. 🙂
      

  5. 25
    Maria

    This article and comment threat is GREAT and have kept me on my toes.  
    I like how Evan replies back to comments and questions, then, he keeps it REAL. This by far is THE MOST entertaining, interesting dating blog for women from a MAN.
    Ladies: You do not have to agree, but Evan is right. I have learned so much about feminine and masculine energy from other dating coaches but EVan broke it DOWN! I hit a AH HA moment. I am a mentally exhausted entrepreneur who is honestly tired to trying to make things happen. So, learning about masculine energy helps me to let walls down and learn to be feminine again……
    The issue with you ladies are, you want a relationship but you also want to argue with a MAN about what his observation and opinion is on OTHER MEN. Would you rather listen to a woman? Or do you just want to continue living a lie?

    I appreciate male advice. I ABSORB it and use it. I am successfully dating. I make mistakes, but I am not going to argue with a man whom i am coming to for advice just because i dont like the way it sounds.

    I am not trying to insult of put anyone down, but some of you ladies really should consider looking at yourselves. I had to. And I am lot more successful with men.  
    No, I dont have my committment yet, but I have confidence and I am willing to learn. FROM A MAN.

    I sure hope this has touched someone’s heart.   

  6. 26
    Jadafisk

    Saint Stephen – I’m asking where does the desire for a complement come from… I’m also asking about if women who don’t want an extremely masculine hard charging achiever type should follow the same advice as women who do.

  7. 27
    Ruby

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


    Then he says, a few sentences later:  Your strongest move after such an incident is to be like the attractive man: independent, emotionally, intelligent, and confident.

    So which is it? Feminine energy while you’ve got the guy, but return to masculine energy if you lose him?  

    St Stephen wrote:
    Evan is saying that women like her would be more prone to desiring more success than making a man happy, which is why marriages like hers and other career bound women would be more likely to fail.

    Actually, marriages of older, college-educated women are half as likely to fail as those of younger, non-college-educated women. In fact, over the last 30 years, divorce rates have fallen substantially for the college-educated, while they have risen for lower-income couples without college degrees.

    1. 27.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Ruby – as some of my detractors have pointed out, these things aren’t mutually exclusive.

      In other words, you can be independent, emotionally intelligent and confident and still extremely feminine. Furthermore, I think we can all agree that feminine energy doesn’t mean “dependent, emotionally foolish and insecure”.

      So let’s not make dishonest cases here. I’ve never suggested that dating is a black and white, either/or type arrangement. No man is pure masculine, no woman is pure feminine. We’re all blends. But we’d be well served to be aware of these stereotypes and find a partner who is a good fit for our lives, not merely someone you find attractive. Despite what Helen says, there IS truth to most stereotypes. Are there beautiful women who don’t know they’re beautiful? I suppose. Self-made millionaires who don’t work that hard? Possibly. Hard-driving corporate attorneys who work 2300 hours a year and still make time to decompress and nurture their partners? I guess. But they are the exception, not the rule. My job is to give the rules.

      Just because you know of the exception doesn’t negate the fact that I’m speaking from a place of truth and trying to frame dating in a fashion that applies to as many women as possible. If you’re a woman CEO who wants to date a male CEO, you can’t be surprised if he prefers a woman who is a little more available to him on his terms. Oh, and if you insist on disagreeing with me, why don’t you pick up a book by the patron saint of smart, strong, successful women, Maureen Dowd, called “Are Men Necessary”, where she openly muses why she’s single and why her male counterparts are more likely to marry their assistants than their bosses. It’s not because they’re intimidated. It’s because their assistants are more likely to be classically “supportive”, which is a quality that THEY want more than any other.

      In fact, I was at a party tonight with a bunch of guys. I brought up this question and the consensus (verifying my theory espoused in Why He Disappeared) was that the top things that men look for in women are fun, attractive, supportive, emotionally generous, likes to try new things, low drama, doesn’t talk his ear off and fundamentally sane. Nowhere does “successful” or “highly educated” or “would argue with an eskimo about the properties of snow” come up. I will once again remind you that you CAN be a VP of business development at an internet start up with a double masters in business and law and still be ALL of the above. It’s just a lot easier for a woman who doesn’t put her career and achievements first to be able to demonstrate this emotionally and physical availability.

      Finally, the SAME goes for men. The best husband is probably not Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has been known to have two business breakfasts before 7am. If women are still willing to line up for him because he’s a billionaire, that’s great. Men won’t be lining up for the equivalent woman is all I’m saying. As the guy here, I would think you’d take what I have to say seriously instead of continuing the argument and telling me I’m wrong about what the majority of men want.

  8. 28
    Laine

    Why are all the female bloggers against Evan’s advice. It might be to your benefit to take on board what he has to say, because as a man, he knows what men find appealing in women.

    As for all the questions about what is female/male energy..surely you jest. Every person has a combination of both of these energies, with usually one that dominates. Some males have more feminine energy, others more masculine. Same with females. Think of the energy these people project…Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt. This is not gender related at all and in same sex couples, one usually exudes the female energy and the other the male.   It is rare thatprojecting   same energies will work out as a couple. For instance, a woman with more dominant male energy will attract a man with more female energy. She may not want this dynamic, but it will happen.

    Evan writes about this well. But for some reason you seem to be taking it personally. Why would that be?

  9. 29
    Saint Stephen

    Jadafisk Said (#31)
      I’m asking where does the desire for a complement come from?
      The desire comes from wanting to seek out the qualities you know you don’t fully possess, from your spouse- to make you whole. Religious marriage uses the term of “two becoming one” because it was naturally assumed that you were incomplete prior to your spouse coming into your life. and that’s why he/she is called your better half- not your exact half.

    Jadafisk Said (#31)
    I’m also asking about if women who don’t want an extremely masculine hard charging achiever type should follow the same advice as women who do.
    Every man still has an element of masculinity in him. based on that i can say yes, you still need to follow the same advice, but not to the very degree of a woman who needs an extremely masculine guy.

    The way i see it, the reason why Evan advises his smart, strong, successful female clients to tone down their personality traits in the dating world is because what makes men successful in their respective careers, gives them a greater chance of success in their dating life- but hampers that of women. and is far more easier to to find women who wants a take charge, successful, traditional masculine men, which is why you seldom find smart, strong, successful men complain about not been able to get married.   
      
    @Ruby (#32)
    Actually, marriages of older, college-educated women are half as likely to fail as those of younger, non-college-educated women. In fact, over the last 30 years, divorce rates have fallen substantially for the college-educated, while they have risen for lower-income couples without college degrees.
    And how exactly did non-college educated people came into this discussion? Evan used his wife to give a paradigm. or are you saying she is non-college educated?
    We are talking about the upper average class, as compared to the average class. Evan was  emphasizing  that assertive career minded women aren’t likely to make to make a good spouse- Helen was saying loving their jobs will make them happy women and best partners.
    I broached up celebrities, as they happened to be the first thought that came to mind when talking about women who love their profession/career, evidenced by the crazy hours they put into their work. but fail woefully when it gets down to marriage/relationship.
      

  10. 30
    Ruby

    St Stephen

    I’m talking about higher-earning, college-educated, career-oriented women, including EMK’s wife. Being those things doesn’t make a woman a ball-buster. I’m not sure how celebrities factor in to the discussion, since they are a tiny and unique percentage of the population.  

      

  11. 31
    Ruby

    EMK #34

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

  12. 32
    Jadafisk

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

  13. 33
    Andrew

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

  14. 34
    Tontae

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

  15. 35
    Annie

    @Andrew 39

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

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

  16. 36
    Trenia

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

    1. 36.1
      Evan Marc Katz

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

  17. 37
    Dancing Faun

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

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

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

    1. 37.1
      Evan Marc Katz

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

  18. 38
    Diana

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

  19. 39
    Dancing Faun

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

    1. 39.1
      Evan Marc Katz

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

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

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

      EMK

  20. 40
    Helen

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

    1. 40.1
      Evan Marc Katz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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