Hey Evan, I’m having trouble —as I guess most of the people on this blog are— with finding a partner. I took the big step of asking a friend to be brutally dead honest with me about why they thought I couldn’t find someone great. No wishy-washy answers about giving it time, or not meeting the right kind of people, just absolute dead straight feedback. They thought about it for a good long time, and then replied that I intimidate men. They pointed out that I have a very good degree from a top university, but more than that, in my personal life I am very straightforward and honest. I play no games, hide behind no lies and I play by my own rules. Basically it came down to the fact that I’m not super-feminine. I’m short and slim, and pretty enough if no great beauty, and I dress in a hyper feminine way: dresses, heels, makeup, hair done. I smile a lot. But personality-wise, I am not feminine in the least. I’m the kind of person that values energy, directness, and honesty, and provides them. I have a great sense of humor (verified by friends and family) and I am flippant rather than intense and romantic. My friend said that men didn’t like that. They didn’t like a woman who was funnier than they are, who would earn more at equivalent stages of life and who didn’t want a man to protect and look after her. My BIG question is: are there men who will want me as I am? I am willing to change a lot, but I’m not willing to become some submissive little doll of a woman who only cares about her husband’s success rather than her own. Am I destined to live alone, rolling in a big pile of money, but without anyone to share it with? Yes I have my faults, huge amounts of them, but would I be better off pretending to be someone else? —Amber
Hate to tell you, Amber, but…
Your friend lied to you.
You don’t really intimidate men.
Being feminine isn’t defined by long hair or a curvy body —— being feminine is about being receptive, warm, upbeat, nurturing, supportive, sexy, and confident in your own femininity.
The truth is that the men you want don’t want you in return.
This is the topic of the most popular blog post I’ve ever written, although I’m not exactly sure what’s up for debate.
Before I get into explaining my thesis, I want to backtrack a little bit.
It’s possible that you intimidate men. But even if you do, you wouldn’t really want to marry a man who is intimidated by you, right?
So if we can discard those guys who think you’re too much for them, why would any other man not want to be with you?
I don’t know you personally, but you’ve identified it yourself: “I am not feminine in the least.”
Being feminine isn’t defined by long hair or a curvy body or — as you falsely state — becoming some “submissive little doll of a woman.”
Being feminine is about being receptive, warm, upbeat, nurturing, supportive, sexy, and confident in your own femininity.
The great news is that you can still be smart, strong, and successful and possess ALL of these qualities.
But there simply aren’t many men who think that the most important qualities in a wife are straightforward, direct, flippant, funny and rich.
Sorry about that. I’m just reporting what you’ve already seen.
Now, to be clear, there’s nothing WRONG with being direct, honest, flippant, funny and rich (really, there’s not!). But you know who else is that way?
The men you’re looking to date.
Problem is: those men have no desire to date themselves.
This is the dichotomy of the smart, strong, successful woman.
You want to date the male version of yourself.
He’s looking for someone to complement him, to give him what he doesn’t get from his guy friends, what he can’t find in the office.
There’s one other thing that struck me about your email, Amber.
It was this line:
“They didn’t like a woman who was funnier than they are, who would earn more at equivalent stages of life and who didn’t want a man to protect and look after her.”
If we aren’t financially supporting you, if we aren’t protecting you, listening to you, helping to fix the plumbing, setting up the computer, picking you up at the airport… what exactly are we there for?
There’s just too many fallacies being thrown around here:
You’re too funny? And that’s a negative? My sister is certainly funnier than her husband. My mom was arguably funnier than my dad. Some people think my wife is funnier than I am (and I’m a former comedy writer).
So I’m not down with that. What I will agree with is that two people can’t be the center of attention and if you’re the center of attention and he (as an alpha male) likes to be the center of attention, his needs aren’t being met with you. Doesn’t make you wrong for being this way, but it might mean you need to choose a guy who can take a backseat to your big personality.
Your next point was about you earning more money than men.
Sure, some guys have their masculinity threatened by that. For many years, we’ve been taught that we have to be the providers — witness the number of women who expect men to pay for the first date, to pay for the wedding ring, etc. It’s not something that we can easily get over. At the same time, you making money is not the deal breaker you think it is — at least not with an enlightened man.
Listen, I’d love it if my wife made a million bucks. But in order to do that, she’d probably have to work 50-60 hours a week, go into the office on weekends, travel, and be less available for nights watching TV, weekend trips away, and regular sex. No, thanks. I’m fine with her making $50K.
Most other successful men have come to the same conclusion. If he does fine for himself, he doesn’t care what his wife makes. It’s only women who make a lot of money who care what their spouses make.
Finally, what you don’t seem to understand here, Amber, is that men want to be NEEDED. If we aren’t financially supporting you, if we aren’t protecting you, listening to you, helping to fix the plumbing, setting up the computer, picking you up at the airport… what exactly are we there for?
You wrote that you don’t “want a man to protect and look after” you.
That’s unfortunate. Because that’s what WE want to do.
As to your final question: “are there men who will want me as I am?”
Are there men who don’t want to be needed? Who value your directness over your supportiveness? Sure. Probably.
But they may not be the men that you want to date.
Despite your attraction, any strong-willed man will clash with you non-stop, so what you’re left with is a more pliant beta-male.
Those are your choices: soften up a bit and tap into your feminine side or find a softer man who embraces your directness because he doesn’t have it himself.
P.S. Most of my successful clients were the ones who chose different men instead of attempting to change their own personalities.