Do Men Like Bitches Or Nice Girls?

Do Men Like Bitches Or Nice Girls?
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Evan,

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

—Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,

I’m thrilled that you asked this. Honestly.

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

These questions are all completely misguided.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here’s the deal, Stephanie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You want a nice guy with balls.

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

That about sums it up, doesn’t it?

Join our conversation (140 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 41
    Joe

    @ Michelle #33:

    Good analogy–good men don’t care if there are doors that are currently shut, as long as they aren’t locked.

  2. 42
    DinaStrange

    I don’t understand why do you need to set boundaries? Why can’t a person have the boundaries in the first place. I mean, what is actually happening to our society, we are like wolves trying to get that pound of flesh, only to be bitten by another wolf trying to take it away from us.

    Seriously screwed up society.

  3. 43
    Ruby

    I don’t think that setting boundaries necessarily has to do with putting off sex. As EMK wrote, it’s about basic assertiveness. If a man says or does something that you find upsetting, you simply tell him. You don’t spend a lot of time tolerating someone who disregards your feelings. It can also be as simple as pulling back from the other person too. If a man says that he’ll call you “tomorrow”, but doesn’t get around to it until 5 days later, you might choose to mention it, or you just might not be available when he finally does call.
      
    It’s tricky, though, because in the early stages of dating, men tend to move more slowly and need more time to make up their minds. However, that doesn’t mean that a man should gives mixed signals or behave rudely. Setting boundaries is what earns a woman respect. I think that oftentimes, we women worry too much about getting the man’s approval, rather than realizing that dating is a time for us to evaluate a guy’s behavior and his potential as a long-term partner.

  4. 44
    Liz

    There is a huge difference between being a “bitch” and being responsive and receptive. I would never be rude, dismissive, or a “bitch,” to anyone. No cancellations, no refusing to respond to calls or texts. No being flighty about plans or juggling massive amounts of men until “Mr. Right” values me. Because I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. If they do, I won’t see them again.  

    That being said, if you want to see me, and have me in your life, you will make it happen-I can’t cajole you there. It really is that simple. I won’t capture you by being a “bitch” or the polar opposite. There isn’t a magic potion to all this. The best advice I have ever heard, is be the person you want to meet. Things will progress because you are sexually attracted to me, we have a ton in common, it feels easy and care free, and we both want a relationship. There are tons of first dates that don’t melt into second dates, and for the most part, I think it is because my boundaries are inherent. Does this mean some nights I stay home because I don’t accept a date at noon that day? Yeps. Does it mean I don’t get called back from the “lets see what happens, I just want to have fun” types? But what is left is a whole bunch of guys that line-up just perfectly! And I get to go to the gym, get massages, do yoga and see my friends. Granted I would like to be able to have more sex with the same partner, consistently, but that makes me batty without the relationship part.

  5. 45
    Julia

    @Heather

    What kind of men are you attracting? This has happened to me maybe once, I never have men push me for sex and always feeling 100% in control of when I will have sex.

  6. 46
    Rachael

    @julia

    agreed! I’ve never been pushed or pressured. Of course they put the moves on, but have always allowed me to be in control of the when and where and how of it all. In my experience all the men I have dated have been very gentlemanly about sex. Even the ones who wanted a “no strings” type thing.  

    Heres how it goes: the ones who don’t want strings have said (nearly the exact same thing) “if you don’t want to that’s cool”. The ones who want a relationship have said “we don’t have to do it until you’re ready.” or “It’s ok if you’re not ready we can wait.” None have pressured or been amgry if I said no.

  7. 47
    Fusee

    @Kate #28: “However, some times I am wondering whether the way you enforce the boundary makes all the difference between make and break in a relationship.”
      
    Well, yes, but it depends if we are really talking about a boundary statement/enforcement, or a punishment/judgment. To me a boundary is the external manifestation of an internal value, therefore me stating/enforcing my boundaries is the expression of my bare-bone standards. A kind of user’s manual to follow if you seek to be part of my life. No hole or even door in my boundaries. Doors are passageways from my external circle to my more intimate circle, while my boundaries are permanent and unconditional.
      
    Since people have different values, it is unavoidable for people to run into each other’s boundaries as they interact more intimately with one another. Some people are more empathetic and gentle and tend to test boundaries less, while others are more blunt and straight to the point. It’s okay to test a boundary. They do not know your values and they want to know what works for you and what does not. What is not okay is to pressure someone after they have expressed their boundary. When a boundary is tested, words, behavior, and actions must match to demonstrate the existence of a boundary, or enforce it if needed.
      
    The most effective approach to express/enforce a boundary is to proceed with a perfect blend of consideration and firmness. This is how the message is best conveyed and in case a second chance is an option, this is how to garantee the best results upon granting the second chance. If no second chance is possible, this is how the other party is the most likely to learn something from the experience. Over-reacting, “acting insulted”, showing disrespect in return is not enforcing a boundary; it is potentially violating the other party’s boundaries by passing judgement and insulting their own values.
      
    On the first few dates when any faux-pas does not usually lead to second chances, passing judgement by words, body-language, or attitude is a sure way to failure. Who wants to feel judged and criticized? If they ask for sex (who can blame them to try in these times of easy casual sex that so many sadly consent to engage into?) and you do not want to go there, simply stop, look at them in the eyes, and explain your values in a short considerate and firm statement. When it’s done, take a deep breath, and go back to being the fun and interesting woman that they are so attracted to. If they keep pushing for it, then you know what you need to do. With a perfect blend of consideration and firmness.

  8. 48
    Heather

    @ Ellen and Julia:

    Well here in DC, it’s a really interesting dating pool.   There are a TON of alpha male types, because this is a powerful city/area, and so what I think happens, is that alot of these guys carry out the workplace mentality, into the dating pool.   And that is a huge turnoff for me.   Is EVERY guy here like that?   No.   But I have heard a few friends here in the area, tell me the same thing, so I know it’s not just me.

    I did my best to make sure I wasn’t coming across as too flirtatious or whatnot, but also made sure I balanced it by not acting like a total prude, either.   Meaning, I was fine with kissing on the first date but more than that, probably not so much.   But unfortunately, that’s just what goes on here, alot of men (and I am sure women too, so I’m not guy bashing here) want what they want, when they want it, and I witness it alot in the workplace too, alot of patients getting very nasty very quickly, if not given their way, right away.

    It was getting extremely frustrating to date here, even though I was very proud of myself for not allowing a guy to bust my boundaries.   Like another poster said.   Did it mean that I was at home some Friday and Saturday nights, because a guy asked at the last minute, or backed out, then wanted to reschedule?   You betcha.   Did it mean there were alot of guys who didn’t call back because I wouldn’t “put out”?   Yep.   But it taught me to value myself and respect myself, and that if a guy couldn’t respect my needs and values, then he wasn’t a guy worth having, anyways.   Sometimes it was cold comfort indeed, but I knew that I had to stick up for myself or everyone would just trample all over me and I’d be miserable.

    I did consider looking in another area to meet someone, since I was hoping to eventually relocate to Philadelphia, but then I met my guy.   DC is just a tough area to date, and both men and women will tell you that.

    1. 48.1
      Omg

      I never found DC to be a tough city to date in at all. It is a city of overeducated workaholics though so if that’s not your thing I can see how you might be unhappy. But my professional freinds in Philadelphia hate it and say once you hit your late   20s your choices are be a side piece for the small number of professional men who think they’re playboys, support a blue collar guy whos “trying” to make it, or just be alone.

  9. 49
    Mia

    Yeah, I simply don’t believe that men are sex-crazed beasts out for only one thing that we women need to tame. I’ve only been strung along for sex a couple times in the last 10 years. I do think men are too driven by checklists and the myth of instant chemistry, but that’s different from solely   prowling for their next lay and insulting women with sex talk on a first date. Perhaps I think this way bc most men I go on a date with are confident and have SOME game , so they know it wouldn’t work to push me when we hardly know each other.  

    I also have a little sympathy for guys in this regard bc as an attractive young woman with a high sex drive I can sleep with a hot guy whenever I want. But it must be awful as a man not in the top 20 percent to actually have to work for sex and plough through dozens of rejections to get it.   I’m sure these poor guys just get frustrated and let out their angst in offensive ways inadvertently.

  10. 50
    Catherine

    HI Mia-re 49   some men are “sex crazed beasts out for only one thing”” but others are not. One just   has to weed through them to find the good ones.
    As for sex talk on the first date, try going to speed dating and finding a guy is telling that his penis is pierced in under 5minutes of meeting you! Now   the guy may be a socially inept doofus   but if a man doesn’t know how to behave in his late 30s / 40s will he ever? Certainly I have struck numerous guys who   basically  have said “so when are we going to have sex? “” on the first date and I’m a conservatively dressed, good girl.One just wonders whether these guys have read one’s profile or are retarded if they can’t sum up the nature of the woman in front of them.

  11. 51
    Mia

    Heather, I just moved out of Philly – and while dating somewhere like dc is my worst nightmare (grew up there, but left after hs), it’s not like Philly was a great situation either. While I was bombarded with responses on match there, nothing came of it, and in general I find the people in my new Midwestern city to be better quality, even if I hardly get any responses onlinewith the same photos. I think it’s a racial thing, since I continue to meet many men in real life who are at least physically attracted to me. Then again, men may be similar anywhere – when I was talking to a Midwestern guy about how they all seem so much more gentlemanly, he smiled and said, Men are the same, it’s just that out here we’re more polite about it.

    1. 51.1
      MV

      A racial thing? Please explain.  

  12. 52
    Paula

    I’ve read the Why Men love Bitches and actually think her second book Why Men Marry Bitches was better. The first seemed to be too much game playing and the other was more authentic.
    As EMK mentions, being a bitch according to this book is to have boundaries. Also, in the beginning, we are to be wooed so we shouldn’t be doing all these nice things for the man. He is the suitor and should do the majority of the work in the beginning.
    In the beginning, I think doing something nice to the ratio of 3:1 is best. If the man does something nice for me and takes me out for dinner or dates 3 times then maybe the next date would be me doing something nice but nothing too big.
    One reader here said she thought that book was teaching her to be a doormat I think misunderstood the concept. It’s about acting like a lady. If a man does something disrespectful, you do not be passive or act cool or act like some emotional loonie. You state your boundaries and how you expected to be treated in a calm manner. She emphasizes being calm and rational but one can still set boundaries. It seems like men will tune us out if we are being overly emotional and freaking out. But then, don’t women want to deal with people who are emotionally mature and not some man who is wailing and pouting to get his way?
    Argov only used that Bitch title as a marketing gimmick and if you read the contents, it’s obviously not about being a bitch but being empowered and having standards for yourself

  13. 53
    Heather

    @ Mia,

    That very well could be; when I lived in Philly, I was married so had no idea what the dating pool was truly like.   I met a number of very nice men in my travels though, and I did date one that I’d been friends with for awhile, after I got divorced.   He was a very good guy, unfortunately there were just too many obstacles for us to work out, and it broke my heart that we could not work it out.   I guess because I’d had better experiences with men in Philly, made me think that it would be easier to date there.   Plus the absence of true alpha males I think made me feel more comfortable up there.

    I got a chuckle out of your comment about dating in DC being your worst nightmare, and honey, you are speaking truth!   Heck, even guys tell me it sucks to date here.   My guy has told me some pretty crazy stories about women he met here.   He’s actually from the Midwest and very gentlemanly, and never pressures me for anything.   Midwestern men are much more polite about what they want, it seems.  

  14. 54
    Julia

    I live in Philly, its very hard to date here.

  15. 55
    Rochelle

    I’ve been   the “too nice” woman and been the “too bitchy”..I have a naturally calm sweet  demeanor  most of the time, and still sometimes catch myself being the former, but sometimes depending on what the guy did, I will give him a mulligan.   When I was one extreme or the other, friends   would tell me how I was wrong for behaving that way.   (Friends can give really confusing advice sometimes and I don’t really go to them for it anymore lol)  It was so frustrating but now I get it. It really is a matter of showing that you value yourself but also making a man feel good. Once I understood why being too nice was   sending the message “I’m a doormat who will tolerate anything” it became easier to change that. I feel like men do test our boundaries and a lot of the time they aren’t even doing it deliberately, but ones who do it all the time and on purpose aren’t acceptable.

  16. 56
    Jackie

    Might be the best blog yet! I periodically ask myself this question! It really is all about the right balance. In this sense, men and women aren’t that different, and they want to the same thing.  

    Thanks for posting Evan!

  17. 57
    sammi

    Thanks Evan, you give a balanced view and find your articles honest and refreshing.

  18. 58
    mindlessthinker

    Ok.   I am career-minded, have my own goals, am very assertive, have very strict boundaries, and guys still don’t go for me.

    The more I read stuff about “should I be a bitch?” and “being a bitch means having boundaries” (other articles) and “men love assertiveness” the less I believe it based on my own experience.   According to the people who write these articles, my personality is either completely right, or completely wrong, but there is still the fact that being myself never works.

    People tend to complain that I’m very cold and that I never open up to anyone about anything (which I have never seen as a problem) and then when I do, things turn out shitty.   Furthermore, being quiet gets me losers and being outgoing gets me abusive assholes.   As far as I’m concerned, this whole “dating game” is bullshit and we should all just live life alone.   People who are loose can have unplanned children with their one-night stands and that way there will be no worries about the human race continuing.

    1. 58.1
      Garret

      I think women struggle with where to draw the line just as men do. When I hear a woman say she is strong, assertive, etc… I hear, “I’m bitch and want everything my way.”

      Like, if you tell me that i have to call during certain times only, then sorry, that isn’t going to work for me…so…NEXT! Common sense does apply. If she tells me, I go to bed at 10pm every night, then I know not to call after about 9:30 or 9:45 unless it is urgent, or an emergency.

      If she insists on changing my radio station every time she gets in the car, then no…NEXT!

      In short, if she basically wants everything her way, and acts bitchy or passive aggressive every time she doesn’t get it, then…NEXT!

      When guys say they want a strong woman, they mean they want a woman who isn’t going to be easily seduced by some other guy…some smooth talking pretty boy.

      They want you to be able to resist bad advice from your friends…not succumb to peer pressure.

      They want you to be able to solve a lot of your own problems, not be the type that does nothing but whine about everything…and oh yeah, whine because we then try to solve your problem so you will stop whining.

      In short, we want to see a woman who is firm with her boundaries with other people, but is soft and vulnerable with us. We want somebody who has our back. We want somebody who will not let us abuse them but does let us lead them, and knows the difference between the two.

      We want somebody who makes time for us.

      We want somebody who makes us a Sammich! LOL Yes, that is serious. And yes, you have the right to have a Sammich made for you also. In short, you should enjoy doing things for us, just as we enjoy doing things for you.

  19. 59
    Mickey

    ” good men respond well to such “training”

    Training? What is he…a seal???    

  20. 60
    Omiz

    LIFE IS MUCH SIMPLER THAN THIS LADIES!!! JUST LIKE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A “NICE GUY” AND A “GOOD GUY”, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “NICE GIRL” AND “GOOD GIRL”. YES, GUYS LOVE STRONG GIRLS..BUT BITCHES? NO. JUST LIKE A GIRL WHO WANTS A STRONG, KIND, LOVING, CARING AND ASSERTIVE MAN (GOOD GUY)AND NOT SOME ASS HOLE WHO IS STRONG AND ASSERTIVE BUT IS A JERK, GUY WANT A KIND, LOVING AND CARING STRONG WOMAN. ITS AS EASY AS THAT. NO BITCHES ..NO ASS HOLES..NO DOORMATS..SIMPLY YOU. BE YOURSELF. HAVE VALUES. SET BOUNDARIES. LIVE LIFE AND BE VIBRANT. A GOOD MAN WILL FIND YOU.

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