Why Men Think They Want Smart Women But Really Don’t

Why Men Think They Want Smart Women But Really Don't

Jenna Birch interviewed me again for Shape Magazine and Yahoo Health in 2015, and I was delighted to learn that she wrote a book called “The Love Gap: A Radical Way to Win in Life and Love.” I can’t vouch for the book itself but I really love this excerpt I read on Psychology Today and wanted to share it with you.

“After looking into  the mating preferences of more  than 5,000 men and women  by way of survey, researcher and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., writes that we are seeing a “Clooney Effect” in this country – a nod to the recent marriage of America’s favorite bachelor, actor George Clooney, to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin. According to Fisher’s numbers, men desire smart, strong, successful women; 87 percent of men said they would date a woman who was more  intellectual than they were, who was better educated, and who made  considerably more money than they  did, while  86  percent said they  were in search of a woman who was confident and self-assured.”

Sounds all well and good. Except, as you know, there’s a gap between what men say they want in theory and what they actually want in practice.

“Men only  think  they know what they want – or they know what they want in theory, not what they’d choose when put to the test IRL. “Men seem to be influenced less by their ideal partner preferences and more by their emotions or feelings at the moment,” she says. “Specifically, when men were outperformed by a woman in a domain that they cared about – intelligence – they felt threatened,  assessed by diminished self-ratings of masculinity, which then led them to act in a way counter to what their expressed ideal preferences were.” In other words, these guys felt way inferior in the smarter woman’s presence, and so they went rogue; they ditched their self-described dream gal for  someone who  didn’t best their intelligence.”

I found this paragraph particularly validating because it acknowledges the central thesis of my book “Why He Disappeared – the Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever.”

Men are about FEELINGS. Being hot will get you in the door. Brains will turn him on. But being “a catch” on paper is not nearly as important as how he feels in your presence.

What does this mean for you, the reader?

Well, it would be easy to spin this as men are so fragile and insecure that they can’t deal with an equal – because, to some degree, there’s an element of truth to it.

“The flip side is that you can be as smart, strong, and successful as you want but not at the expense of making your partner feel bad.”

The flip side is that you can be as smart, strong, and successful as you want but not at the expense of making your partner feel bad. If you have a fundamentally secure boyfriend but he doesn’t feel smart, sexy, trusted, needed, and respected by you, he is not going to be a happy camper – no matter how impressive you are.

Long story short:

There are plenty of men who are too insecure for smart, strong, successful women. We’re not talking about them.

But when you have a guy who is NOT intimidated by you, the best way to ensure a happy relationship is to make him FEEL good around you. Unlike your age or your personality, this is something very powerful that is fully within your control.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.


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  1. 1

    Hello Evan – thank you for all the excellent advice. It’s shed light on what’s happened in lots of my countless failed relationships.

    Further to your previous post, how can we strike the right balance between making your man feel good and not putting him on a pedestal? Any advice for this aimless (and largely unsuccessful dater) are much appreciated.

    Best, Jules

    P. S. For the Evan detractors… Take the advice or leave it, but please do stop shooting the messenger. I figure if I knew better then I wouldn’t read his blog…

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks for the kind words, Jules. The best remedy I have for a self-proclaimed “unsuccessful dater” is called Love U and it’s being launched for the first time in two years starting next week. Get on my mailing list if you’re not already there and I hope to see you in class. Sorry if that sounds sales-y or tone-deaf to your original question: but there’s not a one-line blog comment that will fully answer your question. It’s a process, like committing to a personal trainer for six months to get into good shape.

  2. 2
    No Name To Give

    Ya gotta be dumb and perky. Smile and nod a lot.

    1. 2.1

      Don’t think so, and if the other party demands it when you don’t want to, you’re not a good fit. Plenty of intelligent people have successful relationships. There is a difference between asserting a quality and making it a point of competition.

      1. 2.1.1
        No Name To Give

        It’s your world. I’m just passing through.

        1. Cathalei

          Oh, not exactly mine. If someone constantly makes you act in ways that you don’t want to, you are not a good fit. I daresay that’s quite universal. Then again, I wouldn’t call people going after what they want and getting it dumb. Sure, they can initially play dumb, but if thehy’re going strong after that duration, there would come a time where they don’t want that charade anymore.

          That’s why I never compare myself analytically to those whom I date, because if either one of us fall short, it would eventually come through. You can’t sustain that kind of attraction with this competitive game. You have to feel like you are a part of one team and your interests are common. See  Robert’s comment below. I am also perfectly okay with the fact that not everyone will like me -I have quite divisive ways- and it isn’t any loss. If one doesn’t like me for my brains or mind when I mean no harm, so be it.

      2. 2.1.2

        Here’s the thing: most people make it a competition even if you are actively trying to avoid that outcome. It’s a minefield women have to navigate everywhere :/ . You can simply be sharing a random thought and suddenly the other person accuses you of “thinking you are so smart”.

        Sometimes, you can’t win. I’ll let the pretty women navigate those waters. My intelligence is all I’ve got.


        1. Noquay

          So true Noone,   I can laugh at it now but my last   rship was with someone who was, by his own admission, much less intelligent. He began to suffer from severe stomach pain and I examined his abdomen and correctly diagnosed an umbilical hernia. He was planning on going on a trip overseas and I begged him to get the operation beforehand and saved him from what could’ve been an emergency situation according to his MD. His response? “You are too damned smart!”. He overlapped me 6 mo later with a personal trainer from his gym. Can’t win for loosin

    2. 2.2

      Nah, being/playing dumb will pretty quickly make you boring and annoying.   My main takeaway from this article is that men don’t want to compete with their partners.   Competing with a person makes us feel about them in a certain way that is incompatible with romance.   So if you are a successful woman you probably should avoid direct comparisons of your success.   That’s gonna be easiest if you look for men who focus their ambitions on other areas than yours.

    3. 2.3

      I’m ok with my kid and cats. I spend most of my work day playing that game. No energy left to pretend when I’m done working lol.

      1. 2.3.1
        No Name To Give

        Right? Besides, I can’t rely on looks, youth, or body measurements. My intelligence is one of the few things I have going for me.

  3. 3

    You can be as dumb as a box of rocks or a Rhodes scholar-but if he lacks a secure attachment style he is probably a fragile fellow anyway. Not sure where this equation balances, but a guy won’t stick around if he doesn’t feel like your hero. You can be doing all the right things, i.e., lean back and be feminine–but if he feels emasculated for whatever reason, he may not stay. Happened to me when the avoidant guy lost his career.

    1. 3.1

      The article kind of reminds me of the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”

      The secure guy will still feel like your hero even if you out rank him in the intelligence department.   Case in point, the guy I’m currently dating only has a bachelors.   We work on the same campus with approx 6,000 other employees all of whom worship the almighty PhD.   He fixes things, splits wood, reaches the jars on the top shelf, and it looks like I will benefit from his turf management skills this summer.   So what, if I out-earn him and out-rank him in the alphabet-soup-department?   There’s a lot more to a relationship than IQ’s and dollar signs.

      Sure, a lot of guys get a insecure when faced with their ideal woman, but who wants to date them?   Not I.

      1. 3.1.1

        I really don’t think it has anything to do with being secure or insecure.   Rather, I think it has to do with which qualities any one of us invests our sexuality into.   The men whose attraction to you is unaffected by your out-doing them in intelligence, education and material success are the ones who don’t invest their masculinity into those things.

    2. 3.2

      This this this, 1000%, Kath. A lot of dating/relationship/marriage problems, for men AND women, boil down to Attachment Style. Also I’ve noticed that the emasculation thing can really be a problem, even if you aren’t trying to do it consciously.

  4. 4

    On one level yes- smile and nod a lot… if this infuriates you a lot, think of it in another way: my previous husband was highly intellectual, my current husband is a farmer.articulate and a good conversationalist but      not a theoretical physicist, and slower than me at getting his head round things at times. But equally. When it comes to constructing a new drainage system or operating power tools hes much quicker and more accurate than me. I wouldn’t like it if he rolled his eyes or laughed at me trying to do these things, so I need to be patient and kind when he is trying to keep up with me mentally, just like he is with me. This is not dumbing yourself down, it’s just good manners. Hope that helps

    1. 4.1
      No Name To Give

      I don’t begrudge anyone who is looking for love that opportunity to find it. I hope they do and wish them the very best.

  5. 5

    I have three Science degrees, am a semi-retired Professor and can say from experience; most men DO NOT want women more intelligent, more informed, more capable, or higher earning than they are. It’s really not a matter of looking down at then, making them feel bad. Just being yourself, thinking, speaking, doing what you do will make them feel bad because it reminds them of what they are not. Those who admire you initially do so because you make them look good and some are looking for meal tickets. I’ve had three men in my life who still admire and respect me for who I am: two relationships and my best friend. They’re all highly educated, very comfortable in their own skin, and very successful (landscape architect, owner of a veterinary hospital, ex academic Dean) and 20 sone years older than I. They don’t need propping up. Thing is, most men want women lower on the scale than they whereas most women want at least equals.

    1. 5.1
      Yet Another Guy


      “Thing is, most men want women lower on the scale than they whereas most women want at least equals.”

      However, I do not see where the problem is for women in that equation. A man who has a woman who is lower on the scale than him is by definition with at least her equal. The problem is that very smart women have a difficult time finding a smarter man. While I earn a good living, I work in academia; therefore, it is not difficult to find a woman of equal intelligence who earns more than I earn if she works in the private sector. I am not threatened by a woman’s intelligence, nor am I threatened by her earning power because I am comfortable on my own earnings. What I do not want to do is compete for the role of man in my relationship. The woman I am currently dating is a vice president in an organization with over 30K employees. My ex is also in senior management in a large organization. The difference between the woman I am dating and my ex is that my ex routinely attempted emasculate me (my sisters even mentioned it when I told them that I was leaving my ex). That is what men fear when they are dealing with a smart, successful woman. If a woman is smart and successful, she needs to learn to lead with feminine energy when she leaves the office or keeping guy around who is at least her equal is going to be difficult.

      1. 5.1.1


        Yep, 99% of the problem is finding a guy who is at the same or a tad higher place where the woman is who is not already taken, especially at my age. The meal ticket seekers, barely employed, barely literate dudes are everywhere. Was re-reading “Dateonomics” , and the author comes right out and stated that yep once a woman finds herself single at an older age that what is left are often the very troubled or socially inept, even among us academics. Lots of folk say date down but in practice, it doesn’t work well. Ones values, lifestyle, politics, just about everything isn’t compatible in most cases. I have always been extremely careful about not emasculating, leading with my feminine side though I’ve had to become pretty self sufficient.   Really considering giving up for good.

        1. Tron Swanson

          “very troubled or socially inept”?   Hey, some of us are both!

        2. Noone45

          Eh, this blog’s mission aside: most of the women I meet who have stayed single past 50 have more money , seem happier,and seem to be in better health than the married ones. Some of the newer research shows older women who stay single are thinner, drink less, and love a few years longer. I often wonder if women aren’t being offered a bad deal in marriage.

        3. Yet Another Guy


          Some of the newer research shows older women who stay single are thinner, drink less, and love a few years longer.

          That’s because single have to stay thinner in order to attract a man.   Women who are married do not have to watch their weight.

        4. Noone45

          Na, that’s not what the researchers said, but keep believing the world revolves around dick.

        5. Lynx

          Anecdotally, some of us are in better shape post-divorce because we can now control our time and money. My ex would have complained constantly about my current routine of 6:30am gym classes (too early!) at a small, local gym (Planet Fitness is cheaper!) No lie, I am way healthier single than married.

  6. 6

    For years I struggled with finding men who would accept that I was a partner at a law firm, a litigation lawyer who outearned most of them.     But after reading Evan’s book and about the concept of mirroring I realized that it may not be my intelligence that was turning men off, it was rather than I was treating dating like I treated my work. If I was interested I would pursue. I would take the lead, I would show interest, and the men would get turned off.     I started mirroring and that’s how I met my fiance.     I think sometimes what happens is that if we as alpha women are seeking alpha men we need to be willing to allow the men to be alpha.   My fiance is not a super strong alpha, but he is one and by allowing him to take the lead and feel in control in the early stages of dating I was able to allow things to progress. He is in no way intimidated by my job, or my degree or how much I make, because he knows that he has many other things to bring to the table.        I fought what Evan said for years, said oh just be myself and if a man does not like it so be it. I was certain it was my intelligence or my carrer, and in some cases maybe it was.   But I think in most cases it was actually how I behaved in the early stages of dating that turned men off.

  7. 7

    I believe much of this would become moot if men would place more focus on what the bring to a relationship emotionally.   As a financially successful and independent woman I can’t stroke a man’s ego just because he can buy me dinner (and yes, many of them apparently get enough of that feedback from other women that they think their work is done once they’ve put that credit card on the check) and I won’t hide the fact that I travel solo wherever and whenever I want.   Nor will I feign ignorance on a topic a man thinks I know nothing about; I’ve sussed out more than one BS artist by casually asking a well-informed question that he clearly couldn’t answer.   The thing is, it’s possible none of this matters if a man is willing and able to talk to his ‘soft skills’ if you will.

  8. 8
    Tron Swanson

    I’m not surprised that a large majority of men said that they’d consider dating a woman who’s more intellectual, more educated, higher-earning, etc. Nor am I surprised that men tend to ditch women like this. Now, many traditional and somewhat-traditional men pretend to be okay with this, and are lying. And as Evan said, others may be okay with the idea of it, but they won’t like the reality. It’s probably something they haven’t thought through. But, in other cases, I think that the two phenomenons–men saying that they’re open to getting involved with educated women, and men not liking educated women–are entirely unrelated.

    If you continued the work of this survey and asked many men, “Would you consider dating a woman of above-average intelligence and ambition?”, I’m sure they’d say yes. This is where I’ll get into trouble: I think most men would answer in the affirmative because they consider those things non-factors. Their “Yes” doesn’t mean “Yes, I’m attracted to intelligence,” it means “Yes, that isn’t relevant for me, so it wouldn’t stop me from dating her.” I’m sure there’s a higher class of men who actually do care about that, but for the vast majority, it matters far less than the woman being attractive, having a minimal-drama personality, and being emotionally stable. I’ve had many female friends (I have them, believe it or not!) ask me why men’s dating profiles never mention how they value a woman’s career, accomplishments, etc. I tell them the answer as gently as possible, I promise. And when guys I know tell me about new women in their life, their career/education is mentioned after the first five or six other details…if those things are mentioned at all. I just don’t think most men care that much.

    (True story: I was once involved with a woman who thought that I was threatened by her accomplishments. This led to various accusations from her, as she lectured me about many of the issues mentioned in this thread…but her rage was short-circuited, as I was forced to admit that I’d completely forgotten whatever it was she did. She definitely went to college, but I forgot about the rest. Her “career” was just the thing I had to endure hearing about while I waited for sexytimes, nodding and saying “Uh-huh” and wondering what she was wearing underneath. It didn’t matter to me, it wasn’t why I was attracted to her. It’s hard to be threatened by something that goes in one ear and out the other.)

    As previously mentioned, some men are indeed threatened by women’s abilities. Still, I think that many don’t care, but don’t want to deal with a constant atmosphere of challenge and competition. I’m going to go on a little bit of a tangent, now, so please bear with me. Have you seen the movies, TV shows, and commercials where men and women are competing with each other, and it’s presented in a flirtatious way? In other words, both parties are enjoying it? I’m obviously just one person, so I’m sure I could be in a bubble, but, I’ve never encountered that in real life or heard about it from others. And some of the material mentioned in Evan’s post would seem to back that up–a significant portion of men don’t enjoy competing with women. I’m sure there are men who enjoy “challenging” women, but I’ve never come across any. In fact, I tend to see the opposite, as men reject women who flirtingly trying to compete with them, while gravitating to less-intense personalities.

    I personally think that most men view “competition” and “challenge” as stressful things that happen outside the home. Even if they enjoy them, they don’t want them all the time. When they come home from work, they don’t want to butt heads, they want support. I think that it’s because of this, and not being threatened/being insecure, that many men flee from more accomplished women. They want to come home and relax, not deal with a Type A personality that’s ready to put them through their paces.

    1. 8.1

      “very troubled or socially inept”?   Hey, some of us are both!

      Tron, this gave me a much-needed chuckle on a difficult morning.   🙂

      I personally think that most men view “competition” and “challenge” as stressful things that happen outside the home. Even if they enjoy them, they don’t want them all the time. When they come home from work, they don’t want to butt heads, they want support. I think that it’s because of this, and not being threatened/being insecure, that many men flee from more accomplished women. They want to come home and relax, not deal with a Type A personality that’s ready to put them through their paces.

      This is exactly what I think about men.   Exactly.   But that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to date socially inept and troubled men.   (Though I used to.)   Or men that that are completely in a feminine space. (Done with that too.). Evan says women want nice guys with an edge.   I want a nice man with an edge, just very, very leetle bit of edge.   Too much and I’m out.   It can just be exhausting to me. I need my home to be a respite, restful place to recharge.

      I don’t have a scarcity mindset about finding my person.   It will just take time.   In the meantime, I live my life joyfully.   But yes, I’d love to find a man who is still manly but isn’t trying to perform for me all the time.   Could we all just relax?   Not relax and play video games and be unemployed, but just relax and be present.

      1. 8.1.1
        Tron Swanson


        I’ve seen that “nice guy with an edge” idea popping up in more and more places. I think it speaks to a larger truth, one that not many people realize: namely, that women are attracted to a pair of traits that tend to be mutually-exclusive.

        On the one hand, women want a man who’s modern and civil in certain ways. He accepts and respects the progress that women have made in society. He isn’t controlling, unreasonably demanding, or dismissive of women in the way that most men of past generations were. If they take him out in public–around friends or family, or at some event–he’ll behave like a civilized human being, and won’t embarrass them. He’s developed his emotional knowledge and social skills, and can navigate the complicated world of relationship dynamics.

        On the other hand, women want a man they’re attracted to…and for women, attraction is more than just physical. It usually has to do with confidence and ambition and inner strength. They want a little bit of an edge, as you said. And, apparently, attraction can be cultivated through courting, and other special practices that hail from the past. Sure, when the woman is at work, she wants to be treated as an equal–but when she gets home, she’d like to be a little bit of a princess, at least sometimes. She wants her man to do small things for her that show his love. Special romantic treatment, nothing crazy and showy, just tokens of affection.

        I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. If you take the good part of modernity, you’ll probably be stuck with the parts you’re less attracted to, as well: men who exist in a “feminine space,” I believe you called it. Instead of just emotional enough, they’re too emotional. And if you take the parts of the past that you like–men who are strong and fiercely protective and who believe in the old romantic traditions–you’ll probably be stuck with the scarier parts, too. Men who are controlling, men who have certain antiquated beliefs about women, etc. And their social skills and relationship skills will probably be pretty limited.

        I have no doubt that some men combine the best (from your perspective) of both those worlds…but I don’t think there are that many of them. Those traits are the opposite of each other. You may find a tiger, and you may find a housecat, but there aren’t many tigers that are suited for living in houses. Contradictory people do exist, but basing one’s relationship strategy around successfully finding one and dating one…yeah, I don’t know.

        Look, I’ve had a few girlfriends and a lot of FWBs, and they’ve almost all left me to get married, or at least to move in with a guy. Surprisingly, most of them still keep in contact with me, at least loosely. I’ve noticed a very interesting pattern: they want the “hybrid” type of man, but they can’t find one, so they instead settle for one type and try to pass him off as a hybrid. They marry a guy they’re obviously physically attracted to, and they insist that he’s cerebral and sophisticated, but he just grunts a lot and drinks beer and endlessly ridicules and insults any woman that tries to do something with her life. Or they marry a glasses-wearing guy that’s on the skinny side, some feminist ally who’s extremely trendy and educated. They’re always hanging off of him, or talking about how hot they think he is…but when you look at them, you can see how bored and lifeless they are, and it’s never a surprise when they get divorced.

        The manosphere has its own evo-psych conspiracy theory about this, of course. As childbirth has become less linked to marriage, they claim that women’s new strategy is to reproduce with men they want to ****, and then raise the children with a less-exciting provider type. One type of man for sex, another type for support. If they get bored, they can go back to ****ing men they’re viscerally attracted to, and then find a replacement provider once they’re ready to settle down again. I think it’s plausible, but I’m not entirely convinced by it; it could just be that women, like men, make bad decisions when they’re younger. I’ll wait for more data and field reports to come in before I make up my mind.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          “that women are attracted to a pair of traits that tend to be mutually-exclusive.”

          Sort of true, but the mutually exclusive is too black and white. I’d like to think I’m one of these guys; not edgy, per se, but not a boring, opinion-less, kiss-ass. And I treat my wife REALLY well in spite of the fact that I have opinions. I am not alone, not by a long shot.

          But your greater point – that what one is ATTRACTED to and what is SAFE in the long-term are often wildly disparate things – that is the entire nature of my business and my Love U curriculum. On this, you’re correct. People have to reconcile how to find a relationship that provides both attraction AND comfort. Most people get one or the other, but not both.

        2. S.


          Or they marry a glasses-wearing guy that’s on the skinny side, some feminist ally who’s extremely trendy and educated. They’re always hanging off of him, or talking about how hot they think he is…but when you look at them, you can see how bored and lifeless they are, and it’s never a surprise when they get divorced.

          As I read your comment, I certainly was going to say just this.   If I had to make a choice, it would be this guy.   Too often confidence (to me) crosses the fine line into arrogance and so sometimes even regular confidence is a turn-off for me.   Again, I don’t want to be exhausted at home; I just want a safe place to land.

          And to me, that safety is attractive. I have never dated men who weren’t highly attractive to me. People might not see it in public but we are like white on rice in private. ;-). But the other traits matter equally.

          Interesting question about whether that can get boring.   It depends!   I haven’t married anyone so I can’t tell you that.   But there are some men where I know instinctively I’d never be bored.   Something about how his mind works.   Something about the unpredictability combined with safety is a turn-on for me and will always be.   Other guys I know the courtship has run its course in six months.   They all have in common is I know they are kindness personified, way kinder than the average person.   Aww, I’ve been very lucky with most of the men I’ve dated.   🙂

          I think the only thing I can say is I must have a high safety radar.   So other things that many women find attractive viscerally make me feel unsafe.   No one believes me, but I just can’t relax around those type of men.   If I’m not relaxed, no sexytiems.

          I’ve only dated one man who was truly in the middle.   Hmm.   I’m not sure why I was attracted to him.   I think that I’m trying to break my habit of dating beta males.   I may have overcorrected.   I also think, just through some things he said, that his mother may have been a survivor of domestic violence.   He was always wanted to support women. So even in our early Match e-mails he was super courteous, kind, and really funny.   I even went away with him after five weeks of knowing him, I felt that safe.   And he treated me so well.   But I think since he was a bit more on the masculine scale he actually wanted me to be more driven to kind of match him.   And I found myself getting exhausted trying to be what I thought he wanted.   (The attraction between us was fine.   A bit lower on my end that usually but ramped up to high once I got to know him.)

          So I dunno, Tron.   I’m not a woman to want a man just for sex.   I don’t necessarily think women make bad decisions, just some women do want children.   Some women don’t want to spend the time when they’re most attractive and hormonal . . . alone.

          That guy with a leetle edge, may be rare.   But he’s out there.   Maybe he’s experiencing the same thing. Too masculine for some women, too on the feminine side for others.

          It’s just difficult to find the right person, but it can be done.   🙂

        3. Emily, to


          namely, that women are attracted to a pair of traits that tend to be mutually-exclusive.

          I think there’s some truth to this. Women want an Alan Alda type who’s modern and emotionally intelligent in life but a Rhett Butler type who’s confident, dominant and rogue-like in the bedroom. But isn’t it also true of men?   The old adage of lady in the kitchen, freak in the bedroom. And that opens up that rather tedious can of worms we just went through on several posts about WHO ELSE she’s been a freak with and how soon. A woman who’s confident in the bedroom probably got that way through experience and may have a liberal attitude about sexual mores. While we’ve learned here that doesn’t bother some men, it certainly bothers others. And I realize that doesn’t bother you because you’re only looking for sex but it may bother some men who are looking for relationships.

        4. Emily, to


          Something about the unpredictability combined with safety is a turn-on for me and will always be.  

          I don’t understand how someone can be safe and unpredictable. If I feel safe and like I can totally be myself with a guy, I usually think of him as a friend. If he’s unpredictable and I can’t figure him out (I have to also be attracted), I think of him romantically. It’s not uncommon. Studies (which have been written about here) have been done about how men like women to be warm and obvious in their attraction in the beginning, whereas women like men who are a bit unpredictable.

        5. S.

          @Emily, to

          Rhett, Ashley, Alan Alda, eh.   None of these appeal to me.   Trying to think of an archetype that does appeal to me in real life.   Hmm.   I think I’d probably like emo Jon Snow.   He’s not super-duper masculine to me, but he’s still manly.   I don’t like the actor’s looks, but I like Jon’s convictions and his values.   I like that he struggles to stand for what he believes in.

          And Randall on This is Us.   His looks are okay and if he treated me well I might find him attractive.   For me looks are like, okay you’ll do but let’s see how we are together.   After we interact that’s when things really soar in hotness for me.   I’m cautiously optimistic beforehand.

          TV and movies are fantasies.   I don’t expect men to behave like that in real life and hope they don’t.   In real life it’s so much about how we interact when we first meet that attracts me.

          So: Women want an Alan Alda type who’s modern and emotionally intelligent in life but a Rhett Butler type who’s confident, dominant and rogue-like in the bedroom.

          A lot of women.   Not all. 😉

        6. S.

          @ Emily, to

          Remember I only want a little bit of edge.   So unpredictability is about degree.   There is a great deal of predictability in most men I date.

          For me unpredictability, means the person is basically the same, but I don’t know what kind of joke he’ll make tonight.   But I know there will be jokes and banter.   I don’t what he’ll pick for our anniversary but I know he will do something.   For me, it’s very, very subtle.   And when you both get to know one another, you know what the person likes, how many surprises are good, which kind.

          So there is a wealth of safety and trust there and within there are still little subtle things you still don’t know, will never know.   It’s only a little unpredictability.

          Nuance.   I’m all about nuance.   And it’s so fun when a guy kinda gets that and we are in that space together.   It’s awesome!

        7. Emily, to

          Rhett, Ashley, Alan Alda, eh.   None of these appeal to me.  
          I never found Alan Alda attractive. I was using him as an example of a modern man. But Rhett …. omg. Ashely, no. Too wimpy.
          And Randall on  This is Us.   His looks are okay
          I’ve only seen one season but I liked his character. He’s an attractive guy and was very funny on SNL.
          TV and movies are fantasies.  
          But they usually tap into something primitive and subconscious. Like in the 20s with movie hunk Rudolph Valentino. In his biggest hit, he kidnapped a woman and took her off into the desert. She begs, “Why have you brought me here? ” And he says, “Are you not woman enough to know?” He’s looking at her with menace and cruelty, and it drove women of the time wild. Those silent movies look hammy now, but his appeal tapped into something.

        8. Emily, to



          Oh, ok. I understand. I thought you meant unpredictability as in … will he call today? … if I go out with him, what will he try? When will he make a move? etc.   But what I’m referring to is something you can only do in the very beginning.   What you’re referring to is something that happens once you know someone.

        9. Tron Swanson


          I agree that it isn’t always mutually-exclusive…but I suspect it is 90% of the time. As you say, most people will get one or the other, but not both. Repeating myself a bit, I think that “nice guy with an edge” is both a near-impossible ideal and female shorthand for “He has all the traits society tells me to want, but I also want to **** him.”

          Ironically, I’m also a “nice guy with an edge,” but I’m definitely not the sort of “nice guy” that women want, nor do I have the sort of edge they want.


          I’m glad you know what you want–good luck in finding it.


          You’re right, most men are hypocrites when it comes to this issue: they want a woman who’s great in bed, but they’ll judge her for how she got that way. Also, in our tougher economic climate, many want an employed woman who can hold up her end of the financial bargain–a modern woman, in other words–but they want her to be traditional and submissive at home. Ridiculous, if you ask me.

          As for a woman’s sexual experience not bothering me: for the record, it didn’t bother me back when I was looking for a relationship, either. I grew up in an odd little historical bubble, when we were taught that it was time to let go of traditions and treat each other in a gender-neutral way. (Now, as evidenced by Evan’s blog, it’s more about admitting gender differences and finding ways to deal with them.) I was never traditional to begin with, so it was easy, for me. A girlfriend with a lot of sexual experience? No problem, we were taught to let go of the old kind of jealousy/insecurity, and I did. Many men moved on and tried to modernize, I think. But…little did I know that the women in my life had only partially modernized. I let go of my gender’s outdated fantasy, i.e. the virginal housewife who’s preternaturally good at sex, and I thought that women would let go of theirs, i.e. the alpha male who’s simultaneously dangerous and protective. Long story short, I always ended up getting abandoned for the sort of traditional men that they claimed to hate. Live and learn…

        10. S.

          @Emily, to

          I typically am more attracted to men I get to know. That sort of thing gets ignored on this blog but it’s true. I’m also remarkably good at establishing rapport right away. If the guy is as well, it doesn’t take much time for me to know him. The guy with a leetle bit of edge? I find them to be more open. Less guard up. I love that. 😀

          I used to be attracted to that sort of unpredictability you describe. Not sure how I stopped that. Just burned too many times. Also, that sort of unpredictability never gets better. I just started to get hooked on feeling secure and finding that unpredictability in healthier ways.

          @ Tron

          Thanks! It’s good to know. 😉

          and I thought that women would let go of theirs, i.e. the alpha male who’s simultaneously dangerous and protective. Long story short, I always ended up getting abandoned for the sort of traditional men that they claimed to hate. Live and learn…

          Again, not all women! Some of us did let go of being treated badly. I think reading the dating coaches’ blogs for several years may have had some effect! And well, I’m a smart person and eventually figured out something better. Took a long, long while and I will always be learning. Thanks goodness there are really good men out there!

          I don’t know why men focus on the women who *didn’t* learn this vs. those of us who have . . . why poke the wound over and over? I focus on the men who treated me well and that lives on in my memory not those I allowed to treat me, even for a few days, differently.

        11. Emily, to

          “Long story short, I always ended up getting abandoned for the sort of traditional men that they claimed to hate. Live and learn…”
          Maybe I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you’re saying traditional, masculine men. When I was a kid, I had a friend whose mother would make the threat of “don’t make me call your father down here,” and my friend and her siblings we were legitimately a bit afraid of him. Her mother wasn’t passive at all, but her father was “the man” of the home. I don’t know a lot of guys like that today.

        12. S.

          @ Emily, to

          But Rhett …. omg.

          I could have never handled Rhett no way, no how. I think there is more Melly in me than Scarlett. We could have been great friends, but nope. Hell, even Scarlett had trouble and she was hard as nails. I don’t think that any normal woman I know wants to settle down and live with Rhett Butler! Too much drama for me. I like watching it on screen but at home, I want someone to watch Netflix with. Not RB. 😉

          But they usually tap into something primitive and subconscious.

          Some things are unconscious and my opinion is that they stay that way. Or are fine if you want to act out with your partner. I don’t think it’s realistic for an day-to-day marraige. My subconsicous is the same that thought I wanted 11 chemistry with the room spinning. 7 chemistry is just fine! And I can use my brain and make some rational decisions. In caveman days when it was pure survival and people died by age 25 or 30? Totally different scenario.

          He’s looking at her with menace and cruelty, and it drove women of the time wild.

          Um, ew! I actually shuddered with revulsion reading this. Ew. Again if one wants to act out this fantasy with a partner cool. But Rudolph kidnapping woman doesn’t make a woman feel safe enough to marry for the rest of her life.

          Some will argue that men and woman want to marry the person they can act out their fantasies with. Fair enough. But that shouldn’t be a primary reason for marriage.

        13. Lynx

          @Emily, to:  Her mother wasn’t passive at all, but her father was “the man” of the home. I don’t know a lot of guys like that today.


          They’re a diminishing breed, probably for the better, but I was married to one. Here’s the funny part: I actually thought I was a passive person, but it turned out that it was just in comparison to him. I remember being shocked once, in the ‘outside’ world, when a colleague commented on my chutzpah – it was the last way I viewed myself.

        14. Emily, to


          I used to be attracted to that sort of unpredictability you describe. Not sure how I stopped that. Just burned too many times. Also, that sort of unpredictability never gets better.

          Maybe we’re talking about 2 different things. What I’m referring to is the guy   who’s calling daily after one date, whose every move you already know after a week. I think things should gradually grow. It’s weird to get a daily phone call and a barrage to texts from someone you’ve known for 48 hours.   I agree with this site that it shouldn’t take more than 3 months for someone to become your boyfriend. But it also should take more than a week.

        15. Emily, to


          I could have never handled Rhett no way, no how.  

          I referred to Rhett in terms of the 5% of the time you spend in the bedroom. Not all the time. Tron posted that women want a pair of traits from men that are mutually exclusive and I partially agreed. You can’t expect a more sensitive man to become Rhett 5% of the time, and you can’t expect a Rhett type (I personally don’t know any) to become more sensitive 95% of the time.

        16. S.

          @ Emily, to

          I referred to Rhett in terms of the 5% of the time you spend in the bedroom.

          This whole thread just tickles me. 🙂 If only you could have a person just for 5%! But it doesn’t work like that. How important is that 5% to anyone? Good question.

          I don’t want mutually exclusive traits. If I couldn’t find a man with a little edge, I’d probably be best with a man with no edge. And I mean that. Everyone makes it sound like the end of the world. It’s annoying at times, but I could live with him a hell of a lot better than with Rhett. He was rather annoyed when Scarlett kicked him out of their bed. And not because she didn’t like sex. She had three children and didn’t want another one the next year. And they both turned out to be ridiculously fertile. Slow your roll, Rhett. No, he was all breaking doors.

          Nah, I can’t handle Rhett even in the bedroom. And I don’t want to. If I have to make a choice, I would choose traits that are consistent. I would like that little bit of edge, but would ultimately be okay without it if my other needs were met.

          Sometimes you have to pick traits you can live with and be happy with. So see? I’m self-aware and know what I want. I don’t know any of these women who want inconsistent traits so I can’t generalize and say that’s true.

          If you are a woman reading this and you want inconsistent traits in a man, how does that end up working out well for you long-term?

        17. Emily, to

          “They’re a diminishing breed, probably for the better, ”

          I hope not. We respected him.

        18. Emily, to


          This whole thread just tickles me. If only you could have a person just for 5%! But it doesn’t work like that. How important is that 5% to anyone? Good question.

          Depends how important that 5% is to you.   🙂 Sex is very important to some people. And I know you’re going to respond that it’s important to you, too. If you can find all you want in one type of guy, great.   🙂   Reminds me of lines in the movie “Doctor Zhivago” about there being 2 kinds of women and 2 kinds of men.  (Komarovski to Lara): “There are two kinds of men and only two, and that young man is one kind. He is high-minded. He is pure. He is the kind of man that the world pretends to look up to and in fact despises. He is the kind of man who breeds unhappiness, particularly in women.  There’s another kind. Not high-minded. Not pure. But alive.   … Because there’s two kinds of women …  and you, as we well know, are not the first kind.”  

        19. Lynx

          @Emily, to: You may not have encountered a man who is quite as uber-masculine / Type A++ / assertive as my ex.

          He’s a dinosaur, born too late. If he’d have been in his prime during WW2, he’d have been a decorated war hero feted with ticker tape parades.  But the world has changed, and his commanding behavior no longer garners respect. It repels adults and frightens children.

          He was exciting to date, but way too selfish and arrogant to be a good partner/father. Yes, he’s financially successful, but no amount of money is worth being bound to a person who is unable to see, accept, and appreciate others for who they are.

          I work with a lot of 30-something young fathers; they are not exciting, edgy, wealthy guys. But their wives and children are incredibly lucky, because they are engaged, involved, loving partners. So, I’m biased, and do not view the trend of men becoming nicer as a lamentable thing.

        20. Emily, to


          I work with a lot of 30-something young fathers; they are not exciting, edgy, wealthy guys. But their wives and children are incredibly lucky, because they are engaged, involved, loving partners. So, I’m biased, and do not view the trend of men becoming nicer as a lamentable thing.

          I didn’t say he wasn’t nice. He wasn’t an inflexible drill sergeant,   but we kids knew he had boundaries. And having boundaries and enforcing them meant he gave a shit. He was the opposite of my dad, who would give in because he didn’t want to be bothered anymore.   Kids innately sense which adults are strong and which aren’t, but we wanted the boundaries, particularly as we got to be teenagers.

        21. S.

          @ Emily, to

          So you’re saying you want Rhett for sex 5% of the time.   I couldn’t handle Rhett for sex 5% of the time.   The thing is I wouldn’t want anyone in my bed that I want just for sex.   It’s important but it’s not *that* important, good grief.   I know, heresy on this board, but yeah, I said it.

          Rhett would be a bad lay for me because 1) cue exhaustion and 2) a part of me would be afraid of him.

          I had really meant that wouldn’t it be nice if you could just have the best 5% of a person and not any of the negative traits?   But that’s just a fantasy.   Loving someone means being able to love them and at least living with their faults without it driving you nuts.

          But I see your type.   😉   Good luck!   I’ll take Randall. Sweet, sweetheart who no percent of will ever kick down my door, thank goodness.

          I haven’t seen Dr. Zhivago and didn’t really under the quote. 🙁

  9. 9

    I   had a long response to this, but I deleted it. I guess at 48 I decided not to dumb myself down or put ambitions aside to find a man.   Also, I’m a single parent with bills to pay. Those are priorities and what I am successful at pays those bills. I am also attractive, funny, and completely capable of making a man feel good and be supportive of what he does while still   being smart and successful at what I do.   I fail to see why these things can’t exist together.

    I don’t do online dating anymore but still get asked out often. Sometimes I say yes; sometimes I say no.

    But I won’t sacrifice my brains to do it. I have worked too hard. Simply put, there has to be better, more secure men out there who are okay that I have a brain. If I don’t meet one, I’m okay with that.

  10. 10
    Suzanne L Hendricks-Poole

    Okay. I’m done.

    At 64, I accept that my peer group will want to date younger and I can’t and don’t want to maintain sex kitten status.


    You are welcome to men who feel deserving.   And I will   laugh all the way to my   smart, intelligent,   self-supporting bank.

    Without compromising integrity.

    Evan. Bless you and the aspect that your Mom found someone she is successful in life with.

    But.   Options for men are wider than women. Women compromise more. Less options. Read actuary tables.

    Men will still marry more for a sexual partner over any other criteria.

    1. 10.1

      Thank you for this.

      I want to   add I have a 16-year-old daughter and will not tell her that she won’t find love if she’s smart and ambitious. What a horrible message to send to young women.

      1. 10.1.1

        As a mom to a 19-year old daughter, I agree that would be a horrible message – but fortunately, I don’t have to tell her that because it isn’t true. The point that’s been made many times over is that, if a smart and ambitious woman will only date a man who is smarter and more ambitious (and taller and wealthier and older and more educated) then she’s going to have slim pickings.


        As parents, I believe it’s on us  to squelch outdated models by supporting progressive ones. My niece is an example, since she’s partnered with a guy who is shorter, less ambitious and less financially successful. And, together for 7 years, they’re among the happiest couples I know.

    2. 10.2
      No Name To Give

      Can’t argue with that. I’m only 50 but I realized I can’t do it anymore. I’m not mad that I’m not what men want. It is what it is. I’m at peace with it.

    3. 10.3

      You know, the older I get, the more I see the wisdom in the “Cool Girl” monologue.   She may have been a sociopath, but she had a damn good point. It really just seems to be about how “useful” you are. When you are no longer what people consider useful, they toss you out. Hell, it’s how you “make” someone feel. It’s some kind of gross game where you play the part enough times to win a mediocre prize.

      The saddest part is how people lie to each other and themselves.   We pretend our society values individuals.   It doesn’t – society values conformity. You can go to Instagram right now and see it. The same body over and over, the same poses, the same clothes.   The breadth of human imagination is indeed slim.


  11. 11
    Chelsea R.

    The most important thing I’ve learned from Evan is ‘all good qualities come with bad qualities’. I think that is what Evan is trying to reiterate here. I understand Evan’s view here completely, even though I’m a woman. For example, I recently came out of a toxic on again off again six year ‘situation-ship’. The guy was very smart business wise, owned his own successful businesses, made a lot of money. He was very successful accomplishment wise. He was also selfish, a workaholic, and incredibly arrogant about his accomplishments. He always made me feel like I was beneath him. I’m now dating a guy with a very low paying job, but I don’t   care about his lack of career accomplishments because he’s super sweet and easy going and fun to be around. The first guy taught me that I no longer care how accomplished men are. I imagine that’s how many men feel about super accomplished, very intellectual women: a lot of them (not all!) probably come with the bad qualities of being workholics, or arrogant or selfish. I don’t think it’s that men don’t WANT super smart, successful women, I just think maybe once they find one there may be some personality traits that go along with that that aren’t what they want. This was my experience. Evan, i’d Love to hear your thoughts!

    1. 11.1

      Couldn’t have said it better. It definitely doesn’t mean being intelligent or successful makes a person arrogant and selfish. But everyone has some flaws and you are supposed to find ones that you can live with or even find endearing. Intelligence, sexiness, you name it may get your partner to overlook certain flaws; but certain actions are straws that break the camel’s neck. “Intelligent but arrogant”, “sexy but crazy” combinations will last depending on your partner’s patience and willingness to overlook the latter part, when they decide the loss overweighs the gain, they would prefer to say next.

  12. 12

    Hi Evan,

    This is pretty timely so I hope you don’t mind a male perspective question.

    You have often spoken about how when single you use to really love dating intelligent women. So what advice do you have in dealing with women who DON’T realize they make you feel inferior or dumber than them? I’m not talking about a self-esteem issue but actual things they say or do in response to the intelligence gap that they don’t notice they are doing.

    I was briefly courting a chemist with her PhD and she would make statements about acid-based chemical reactions and sub-atomic reactions or energy-motion-mass distribution theorems, etc. Things that produce this or that. Ordinary things that we have today because of science which I thought was fascinating. However, she would always make statements like it’s so simple because it’s something even a high school student should know or this was something I learned back in 7th grade. Then she  would look at me and expect that I knew the fundamental  principles  of the “why & how” of things also-or when she would be surprised I can’t do simple  calculus  equation in my head.  She was probably right, I probably did learn it back in high school; I just didn’t remember (^_^).  

    She was not trying to be mean or rude however, the way she would word it made me feel dumb for not knowing the answer-since I’m older than a high school student and in her mind the subject matter was simple enough for kids to understand. After several dozen conversations like this when they look you in the eye expecting the right answer, you do feel inferior. NOT because you don’t know the material, or because they know what you don’t, but because of the little comments or side looks when you don’t know what they know.

    So how do you advise guys to handle women like this? To an outside observer it would appear that they are dumped for someone not as intelligent because men are intimidated by smart women but in truth guys like me just want someone who doesn’t look disappointed every time we don’t know the answer to what in their mind is simple.

    …     …     …

    A sub-question I have is how does this post take into account what you say about women not wanting to date down and Jeremy saying women can’t date a men they don’t respect? It seems like even if a man wants to date a woman who is smarter than he is, she would not want to date him…

    1. 12.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “So how do you advise guys to handle women like this? To an outside observer it would appear that they are dumped for someone not as intelligent because men are intimidated by smart women but in truth guys like me just want someone who doesn’t look disappointed every time we don’t know the answer to what in their mind is simple.”

      I wouldn’t advise guys to handle women like this. It’s not your job to coach her into becoming more self-aware or sensitive. Find a smart woman who is not patronizing or condescending. And if you’re a strong couple, you can say something gently to point out that you don’t appreciate her tone. For the most part, I wouldn’t expect it to change very much.

      A sub-question I have is how does this post take into account what you say about women not wanting to date down and Jeremy saying women can’t date a men they don’t respect? It seems like even if a man wants to date a woman who is smarter than he is, she would not want to date him…

      You’ve got it, Adrian. Which is a huge part of the problem for smart, strong, successful women. Men DO like smart, strong, successful women. They are all attractive traits. But if men are willing to date women who are not as smart and women are not, we’re left in this situation where women complain there are no good men, but men have and endless number of options. If a man in the 90th percentile of intelligence is comfortable dating women “above” him and below him, he’s fine. If a woman is only interested in the small percentage “above” her, she’s got a really small dating pool – and that’s before we account for things like character, kindness, religion, honesty, money, etc.

      1. 12.1.1

        Thanks Evan, Your mentorships is always appreciated.

    2. 12.2

      Perhaps just mentioning it is the way to go. I remember one time, my ex seemed upset and I had no idea why. My mom happened to be there at the time, and when my ex left for a moment, she turned to me and said: he’s upset because he’s not as smart as you. This was completely surprising to me, because it was not what I was thinking at all. In fact, it was only because I thought he was generally intelligent, and superior to me in some ways (such as emotional intelligence and group interaction) that I spoke to him with the assumption that he would understand what I was discussing. After that, I took care to dumb down what I said and his feathers stopped being ruffled. But I never would have realized it had someone not taken the time to tell me in a direct way.

      1. 12.2.1

        Hi Nissa,

        I agree that people who don’t realize that they are putting others down should be talked to BUT I also realize that many people will take it as YOU are being overly sensitive or You are the one with an issue.

        This is why I have mixed feelings on being honest when you reject someone after the first date. On the one hand if you tell them about their behavior you seem like the judgmental insensitive jerk, but on the other hand by not telling them you are inadvertently passing the problem on to the next person.

        When someone points out my behavioral problems I don’t like it but I do take it into consideration; unfortunately a lot of people don’t do this.

        1. Nissa

          To me, it’s the difference between being selfish and selfless. If I’m honest, I’m being selfless – I’m giving them what they need to grow, to improve, to have a greater chance of getting what they want. I’m helping them by kindly, with consideration of their feelings, to see how others are receiving them. If I’m not honest, it’s because I’m being selfish. I’m caring most about not getting my own feelings hurt and my not experiencing any discomfort.

          In terms of the Bible, as per Proverbs 9:8: rebuke a wise man, and he will love [you]. In the words of the Buddha: crying with the wise is better than laughing with the fool. Or Nietzsche: There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.

          It’s important to consider your audience. If you genuinely consider this person one that you care about, why wouldn’t you choose the selfless option? Why not trust them to be fair or kind? Why not trust yourself to be mature and able to handle unwarranted criticism with aplomb? It’s always less about the other person, than it is about us.

          As per Socrates: True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves and the world around us.

  13. 13

    I think this comes down to masculine and feminine energy.   Men want to feel needed, appreciated, and like they can still be your hero.   They want to feel like they matter to you, are appreciated by you when they are around you.   Evan is right here.   Women want to feel protected, sexy, feminine.   That is biology and it has not changed much in 1o00 years.   Regardless of feminism, more women as high income earners, etc.   A woman can still be smart, strong, confident; most men I know find that sexy as hell; as long as she allows her vulnerable, feminine side to make an entrance as well.   Both sides can co-exist.   The “dumb, helpless, girl-child” schtick only works on certain types of men (who usually have issues of their own) and not the ones higher on the food chain.

  14. 14
    No Name To Give

    It’s kind of interesting how men are also capable of doing what women so often do, and that is projecting their idea of what we are or think we should be off on to us. There were those occasions when a man would see my profile and decide I was the elsewhere mentioned “sex kitten”, and I have never been that in my life. And then when they find out I’m not their idealized version of me, they are very disappointed. Ah well, what can you do?

    1. 14.1

      “I’d rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I am not” holds true. Maybe it is time to change the audience for others who don’t idealize the same way. An open talk on the way puts the frauds away.

      1. 14.1.1
        No Name To Give

        Men look for sex and find love also holds true. We already know my brain and resume won’t get me anywhere.

        1. Cathalei

          It makes sense from a humane standpoint. We don’t base our interpersonal interactions based on resumes. Business transactions and interpersonal relationships operate in different realms, whom I would choose as a customer to do business with usually wouldn’t match with whom I’d like to spend my leisure time with. “People forget what you say as well as what you do, but they don’t forget how you make them feel.” That’s not to say I take to fools kindly, that’s not something I’m even patient with. It’s to say resumes don’t affect the direction of interpersonal relationships, for example, how much would your feelings towards your parents change based on whether they graduated from ‘Ivy league’ or not? Do women who don’t have glowing resumes deserve to be treated badly and abused if relationships are supposed to be based on resumes? I am on autistic spectrum myself, and too many of so called educated people saw fit to treat me as less than because of it for me to give much credence to it. A NSA and a relationship is different like that. Similar intelligence would be important to carry out relationship, not the proxies that are put in the place of intelligence. Someone whom I could trust and who would accept me as I am as I would her/him while carrying out intelligent conversations would beat any resume or degree that is accompanied by a judgmental attitude that’s intended to “put me in my place”.

  15. 15
    No Name To Give


    I don’t date. The men interested in me pretty much don’t have jobs or teeth. But I’m too fat and plain to be worthy of men I might be interested in. So I stay out of the game and just come here to chat. It’s an interesting window into the culture. It does remind me too, that romantic relationships aren’t for me. But I enjoy the banter. That’s what brings me here.

    1. 15.1
      Yet Another Guy


      Are there not men who are you equal who have teeth and jobs?   Or is that you find men who are the male version of yourself unattractive?

      1. 15.1.1
        No Name To Give


        I don’t see what it matters. My not getting romantically involved doesn’t hurt anyone. As a matter of fact, quite a few men who’ve been known to comment here would give me kudos for removing myself from the dating pool.

        1. Yet Another Guy


          It matters because if it is the latter, what you are saying is that you reject yourself. That is not a good place to be in life.

        2. Noone45

          It’s ok to dislike your appearance, physical body, etc. At some point, you have to make peace with it, but reality is what it is. It’s ok to not be partnered. No name is not harming anyone by not dating, nor is she rejecting herself. That’s impossible,   she lives in her body.

          I wouldn’t screw anyone who looks like me. I don’t live lies, so love isn’t for me.

      2. 15.1.2
        No Name To Give


        A romantic relationship can be a wonderful thing but they are not a life and death matter. There are no promises we will have one and there are no promises we will be happy if we do.

        1. Yet Another Guy


          You are absolutely correct, but you cannot win unless you are willing to play.   I just broke it off with a woman I with whom I had been involved for close to five months.

        2. No Name To Give


          I don’t see this as the Kobiashi Maru. It’s not a binary choice. I also have to be sure that I can be the partner a man deserves. I’ve been on my own for 15 years which is a long time. I’ve grown comfortable in that. It’s not that easy to decide you want to rearrange your life when you haven’t had to be accountable to or responsible to a partner. It’s not solely about not having met an “equal” I’m attracted to; I recognize that I also have to be willing to be a good partner and I have not made yet made up my mind I want to let a guy in.

          I have no illusions about getting the rich, handsome, successful guy. Such isn’t meant for me. And no, I haven’t been attracted to anyone who is my equal. It’s not because I think I’m a special snowflake who deserves more than anyone else. Right now the whole thing leaves me “meh”. Maybe it will change, maybe it won’t. But if it doesn’t, I better be ok with that.

        3. sylvana


          it takes a tremendous amount of effort to play the dating game. And there are very little rewards for some people. If the odds of you winning are stacked way high against you, it doesn’t make much sense to put all the effort into it.

          Way more logical to put the effort into something rewarding instead. Or, at least, not having to put in the effort to begin with, and enjoy your life instead of adding a bunch of extra stress to your life that won’t have much (if any) of a payoff.


        4. Yet Another Guy


          Way more logical to put the effort into something rewarding instead. Or, at least, not having to put in the effort to begin with, and enjoy your life instead of adding a bunch of extra stress to your life that won’t have much (if any) of a payoff.

          That sounds eerily like the justification that MGTOW guys use for avoiding women.   I have watched enough MGTOW videos on YouTube to reach the conclusion that the average MGTOW guy is of less than average attractiveness.   In essence, going MGTOW is a coping mechanism for lack of success in dating.   It is easier to blame women for lack of success than assess where one is going wrong and attempt to make the changes necessary to be more successful in the dating game.   While playing the dating game will never be as easy for these guys as it is for a top 20% guy, I find that a lot of these guys are unsuccessful because they have their sights set too high or are unwilling to make changes that would make them more attractive to women.

        5. Tron Swanson

          To an extent, MGTOW has definitely been a coping mechanism, for me. I’m far happier and more functional than I was when I was expending a lot of (wasted) effort on women. I personally don’t think I have my sights set too high, though I’m definitely unwilling to make certain changes to myself.

        6. No Name To Give


          Unless I’m mistaken, you seem to be arguing against people choosing to stay single although not coming right out and saying so. I am just curious, do you believe everyone one needs to be in a romantic relationship?

        7. sylvana


          I would say not quite like MGTOW, because these women don’t really blame men for anything. They have simply accepted that they are not what men want. There is a big difference.

          Is it a coping mechanism for a lot of women? Yes, certainly.

          and attempt to make the changes necessary to be more successful in the dating game.

          Well, first of all, you would have to define “success”. For most men, success means sexual desirability and actually getting laid. Or at the very least, being able to have women want to date them (and have sex with them). Aka – literally success in the DATING game. Most women, on the other hand, would consider success only if they manage to achieve that long-term relationship. Sex or sexual desirability is not really a success. So success in the dating game actually means success in long-term relationships.

          Either way you look at it (dating or long-term), this is where the whole “effort” part I mentioned comes into play. You have to run a cost/benefit analysis to see if it is worth it. For people who are naturally more attractive, it likely is. Others would have to spend most of their free time just focusing on one single aspect: Their looks.

          But looks, to me, are the least of the problems. A much bigger issue when it comes to cost vs. benefit is core personality traits: Level of dominance, masculine and feminine energy. Your values, believes, the level of alone time a person needs, etc.

          Can a person pretend to be someone they’re not to be successful in the dating game? Of course. Will it make them happy? Absolutely not. Especially not in the long run.

          And, as No Name To Give has pointed out. There’s the simple matter of freedom. You can live life the way you choose, please yourself, be accountable or responsible to yourself only. Or you can sacrifice your freedom, completely rearrange your life, and start pleasing, being accountable to, and having responsibility to a partner. If you’re comfortable on your own, and don’t have the drive to “conquer”, the cost vs. reward scale can quickly tip the wrong way.

        8. Yet Another Guy


          Unless I’m mistaken, you seem to be arguing against people choosing to stay single although not coming right out and saying so. I am just curious, do you believe everyone one needs to be in a romantic relationship?

          I am not arguing against remaining single.   I am arguing against remaining single because the alternative requires one to take risks and endure rejection and possibly settle for less than one desires.   We all endure rejection to some extent, and most of us realize that we have to settle to some extent.   Those who do not realize that compromises need to be made will more than likely remain single for the remainder of their lives.

        9. Marika


          If you choose to comment here, it’s reasonable to expect people to challenge and question you on your views, particularly when they are  diametrically opposed to the whole point of the blog.

        10. No Name To Give

          Hey,  Marika –

          I never made the claim I would not or could not be challenged. But I explained it nonetheless. If you personally don’t like my explanation, I don’t know what to tell you. Sylvana seems to get it.

        11. No Name To Give


          It’s really a matter of how much does one want a romantic relationship. If that is a priority for you, then yes, you’d better take the risks and make the compromises, I agree. But to do that just for the sake of doing it isn’t always the right thing.   For some, it can bring more stress and anxiety than is really useful or necessary.

        12. Tron Swanson


          I completely understand what you’re saying. Like you, I’m not what my preferred gender wants. I had to choose between being myself and being what they wanted me to be. That part of the equation, as well as other parts, were causing me to experience high levels of stress and anxiety. For my own well-being, I chose to partially remove myself from the situation. Not entirely, but enough to keep it from affecting the parts of my life that I actually care about.

        13. Noone45


          “Those who do not realize that compromises need to be made will more than likely remain single for the remainder of their lives.”

          And who cares if they are  single for life? There are far worse outcomes compared to being single. Many of the letter writers to the blog are examples of that fact. In fact, sometimes it’s not a smart idea to pursue  something even if you do want it. Let’s take me for example; unattractive, late ’30s, divorced, one nonverbal autistic  child, lives in the southeast.   The good? Own a home, have a job, health insurance, clever, laid back, etc. In my life, I don’t attract people I want to be around. Most of them have serious life issues such as addiction, mental illness, etc. Why should I compromise and allow that into my life? All good sense says I should not date. The pay off isn’t there.

          As for my goals, I’m studying for the CCNA, a test with a 20% pass rate. I have passed that test before, in my 20’s. My goal is to move into a career where I can afford private health care for my son and have access to better educational  opportunities for him. This takes hours of my time during the week. Why should I take time out to pursue dating when I can go after something that has a much better chance of paying  off for my happiness?

          That’s not to say romantic relationships are a waste of time for everyone. My parents have been married for almost 40 years. My best friend is getting married in October. In the case of my best friend, I’m the reason she kept dating him as I suggested she look past his appearance at first. She’s a very happy person due to that. I support  others in their pursuits if they are healthy goals. The annoyance here is this subtext that there is something wrong with being a single woman or it’s sad when a woman “gives up”on love. Women do not live for men or love. Gay women live, asexual and aromantic women, women who prefer knitting to sex, etc. All of these are valid choices, none of which involve catering to men. Want to date? Cool. Don’t want to date? Fine. Your choice, but don’t try to change other people’s choices because it’s not what you want.

        14. Evan Marc Katz

          I’ll just jump in and reiterate what Marika is saying: you have every right to live your life as you see fit, No One.

          But it does strike me as odd that you’d spend this much time engaging on a blog specifically designed for people who want to find lasting, romantic relationships.

          It’s like you’re the atheist showing up at church, talking about your lack of faith, and then you seem surprised when other people point out that maybe you aren’t a typical fit for church. You’re ALLOWED to attend, but that doesn’t mean that others won’t fit it a bit surprising and contradictory.

        15. sylvana

          YAG, NNTG,

          YAG, I think I understand now. You’re arguing against staying out of the dating game due to fear based reasons. I fully agree with you there. Although I will still admit it baffles me to hear that coming from you … lol


          Fully agree with you as well. First, you have to see if a relationship is truly what you want. To me, for example, it always sounded wonderful on paper. Then reality hit.

          And second, you have to run the cost/benefit analysis. If cost outweighs the benefits, you’ll be a lot happier staying single for life.

          In the end, everyone should do what makes them the happiest. If fear is holding you back, it means you would likely be happier in a relationship. If it’s more a matter of cost outweighing benefits, you’d likely be happier staying single.

      3. 15.1.3


        Wouldn’t it be a disservice to the guy whom she forces things despite lack of any feelings on her part? I appreciate her honesty unlike the woman who asked that if she would be “settling” if she married the guy who was her “best friend” whom she was not attracted to in the slightest. There are many questions that I can’t relate to much, but that was the one when I was amazed by the blatant entitlement. (If you didn’t read this question I’d highly recommend you to do so. You’d see what I am talking about.) While I don’t agree with NNTG’s actual and/or perceived physical flaws would bar her from relationships (plenty to prove the opposite), I commend her for her honesty about what she wants and her integrity to follow through her needs without deception. A relationship might be good and beneficial for our lives, but not at the cost of lying to ourselves and others.

    2. 15.2

      It’s curious that anyone with zero interest in dating/relationships would read this blog. Seems like a huge waste of time.

      1. 15.2.1
        No Name To Give


        I explained it already. If you can’t accept it or don’t bother to read it, there’s not really anything I can do for you.

        1. Lynx

          I’m not referring specifically to you, @NNTG, I probably should have made that clearer. I’ve been periodically skimming the EMK comments for a few months now, and have read posts by several people who say they are not interested in dating, or they have extremely negative feelings about the opposite gender (I’m assuming there are only cisgender readers).


          I do find it curious.

        2. sylvana


          I have to second what No Name To Give said. I admire people who can make relationships work. Likewise, I think it is wonderful if two people who are truly compatible and deeply in love for a lifetime actually find each other. My grandparents were like that. Totally in love (and hot for each other) until the very end.

          That being said, I think a lot of people who are no longer interested in dating come here for two reasons.

          1) You learn a lot about human behavior/personality, etc. in general from this blog, which can help with relationships outside of romantic ones as well. And is rather fascinating overall. Evan might cringe, but I find this blog just as fascinating as a human interest blog, not just as a dating blog.

          2) This blog does, in a sense, validate certain feelings some people have. People do have a need to connect to others. The decision to no longer date is generally not an easy one. If a person has decided to stop dating for a certain reason, and finds those reasons confirmed here, it does help solidify the decision.

          I respect Evan because he does NOT sugar coat things. He presents people with reality. Which allows people to see things how they are, and make a decision based on facts. Some people find things aren’t as bad as they thought. Some learn what they are willing or not willing to compromise on. Some lash out because their illusions are shattered. People on the fence might be swayed either way. And others who have decided to no longer date might find validation for their reasons.


      2. 15.2.2
        No Name To Give


        I can’t speak for other non-daters, but I can be positive for other people when it comes to love and relationships. I’m glad my ex-husband is happily re-married. I think it’s wonder when people celebrate 50+ years together. I am not sure everybody can have a romantic relationship but if they desire such, I wish them nothing but success in finding it as long as it’s healthy and happy.

      3. 15.2.3


        Thank you for your explanation. It makes sense. Like Lynx, I’m perplexed that non-daters/anti-daters hang around here and comment regularly, but your explanation was helpful.

        I have to say, though, you’re not the typical commenter in this regard. While you can be controversial, you aren’t whiny, or come here specifically to blast the opposite sex, or write endlessly about the exact same thing. It wasn’t even obvious (to me) that you had stopped dating. Yout comments can be interesting and funny and add a little sass.

        Perhaps for someone who is looking for advice and suppprt, you can see that the garden variety whingy, poor me, ‘dating sux’, ‘men/women suck’, ‘mgtow/women opting out’ commenters are a massive buzz-kill. They bring the whole community down. This isn’t a group therapy session for everyone’s random issues & complaints.

        Like I said, I wouldn’t put you in this category.

        1. No Name To Give


          I’ve been very clear on here that if others want love and look for it, I wish them all the best in finding it, and more power to them good for them. Now I’m sorry that you don’t like that I know my place in the world and I am at peace with it. And recognizing I’m not what men want is not bashing men or being whiny. We can’t all be sex kittens. We can’t all be desirable. I’m not mad at it. It is what it is. The digs aren’t necessary. Nowhere have I taken any swipes at you.

        2. Noone45

          I didn’t know you were the blog police.

        3. sylvana


          thank you for the kind words 🙂

          And I understand what you mean. I tend to just ignore those kind of comments. It’s not even worth engaging them, because you won’t get so much as a decent argument out of it…lol

          (Although I still think we can eventually rescue Tron from the MGTOW side. He doesn’t seem to fit the profile.)

          No Name To Give,

          I don’t think Marika was referrring to you at all. You’re also not in that whiny/man-bashing/dating sucks category 🙂


  16. 16


    I just broke it off with a woman with whom I had been involved for close to five months.


  17. 17

      No Name

    This is my exact point – it’s reasonable to expect to be challenged given the nature, content of this blog and flavour of your comments. That’s not a dig, it’s just a fact. Negative and repetitive comments get push back, whether or not you construe that as a dig.

    I recall when you first started commenting here, people tried responding to your comments with supportive, sympathetic statements, but you didn’t like that either.

    1. 17.1
      No Name To Give


      I really don’t know how many more times I can repeat that I am not pining away or having pity parties because I don’t date. I don’t really know how many more times I can repeat that I’m all for folks finding love who are looking for it. You are not more of an expert in my point of view than I am. I don’t know if you are the mayor of the comments section or what, but I’m sorry my presence displeases you so. Maybe I should lie and say I’m out with a new guy every night so that you can feel better.

      1. 17.1.1

        Do whatever you please  No Name. I’m just pointing out again that if you keep writing the kinds of comments you do, you’ll keep getting questioned and challenged. If you’re cool with that – go for your life. But as much as you say you don’t mind being challenged, it’s pretty clear that you do mind.

        Noone45 – it’s not my blog.  Evan is generous enough to let through most comments. It’s a shame people abuse that generosity to air all their own personal issues & disagree with the key concepts. Over. And. Over.

        But, hey, it’s a free Internet.

        1. No Name To Give


          What I mind is being portrayed as something I’m not trying to be. As you can clearly see, when YAG challenged me, we had a discussion. When I get lumped in with the whiny man-bashing crowd, then I mind. And I will push back on that.

        2. sylvana

          No Name To Give,

          I still don’t think Marika was lumping you into that crowd. Her comment was addressed to me. I think she simply didn’t feel the need to list every other name here that is somewhat in the same category as I. Especially seeing how her post was from her to me.

          I actually read her post twice to see if she mentioned your name in a negative context. But she didn’t.

          She was simply trying to explain the “daters” side of view to ME. You weren’t mentioned at all. So I don’t see why you would think this remark even applied to you.  

          If I read that comment adressed to someone else, I would have never thought that I was being lumped in. And even if I was, who cares?


    2. 17.2

      Marika,   NNTG, Noone45,

      I’ll probably get my head bit off, but I’m not understanding the hostility toward Marika here.

      1. 17.2.1
        No Name To Give


        I’m not going to bite your head off. I said my piece so I’m moving on. Thanks for understanding,

      2. 17.2.2
        No Name To Give


        I can be humble enough to say that if I misunderstood then my apologies, and apologies to Marika, in particular.

      3. 17.2.3

        Do you know what I do when I don’t like a comment? Scroll past it. Complaining about what other people discuss on the internet is akin to whining about music you don’t like. Listen to something else, easy solution.   But thinking you get to tell other people what to do ? Na. I don’t feel I have the right to tell others what to say or if they should post at all. If the owner doesn’t care, then you probably should just scroll past stuff you dislike.   I’ll take exception to racist, sexist, homophobic trash,   but I don’t own the place.

  18. 18
    No Name To Give


    Just saw your comment. I’m not bothered by anyone finding it curious I as a non-dating person would be seen on here as on oddball. I’ve been the oddball all my life but that’s another story. I’m not even bothered by being challenged. It’s that in the course of the dialogue, that was somehow turned into “working out issues”. It was discussion, nothing more. I even repeated and went so far as to say romantic relationships can be very good things and I hope those seeking find what they’re looking for. If I explained myself, I would think that would be good enough.

    1. 18.1

      It was aimed at me. If he wants me to go, not an issue. I’ll put it back on block.

      1. 18.1.1
        No Name To Give


        I don’t think you should. There might be some readers that want to date but may relate to issues you bring up.

        1. Noone45

          I refuse to conform to the positivity pressure in society. You know, if I did fold and act the way they wanted, they’d dislike that too. You can’t win. Might as well not play lol.

  19. 19

    I’m new to this blog so I haven’t gotten super far, but my question in reading this post is “Would you give the same advice to a man?”. Or, are we women still expected to dumb ourselves down to make a man feel good?

    1. 19.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I missed the part about “dumbing yourself down.” Where did I say that?

  20. 20

    It’s true that men are intimidated by women who are smarter than them. Because they need to feel superior, smarter, better than the women they love who they still view as beneath them. I often wondered why my husband chose me when he was surrounded by far cleverer women than me. He’s a Ph.D. physicist with a first-class degree in Maths. He came first place in his university. I have three degrees also but it turned men off, never impressed them. So I literally had to marry the smartest guy in this city, who knows he is smarter than me, in order for him to feel secure. We need a societal shift for men to stop believing that they need to be superior to us in order to feel validated.

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