1. You respect yourself. We’re easing into it here with the obvious: it’s impossible to respect someone who doesn’t respect himself. You know yourself better than anyone else, so if, with all that knowledge you don’t like what you see — people are going to trust the authority on the subject (you).
2. You aren’t lazy. This is probably the biggest complaint people have against men, especially young men — they seem too apathetic to have passions and too lazy to follow them. If you have interests you’re pursuing in one way or another, you’re more than exceeding expectations.
3. You aren’t a yes man. There’s this cultural myth that women say they want nice guys but only really become attracted to “bad boys.” This is true, maybe, if we have a massive, culture-wide misunderstanding of what a “nice guy” is. It isn’t “nice” for someone to have no personality of their own and simply give you whatever you want, that’s just either being too passive to function (see #2) or thinking so little of a woman that you can’t say no for fear she will break. The balance women are looking for is outlined by Anaïs Nin here:
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
4. You don’t need a mom. True story: my sister’s husband had never used a napkin before they met. He was aware that they existed in restaurants, but he thought in your own home, you just used your clothing. I can’t tell you how terrifying it is that this is the tip of the iceberg. There’s nothing sexy about nagging a guy or mom-ing him, if a girl needs to teach you how to do 101 adult things, she won’t even be able to respect herself.
5. You introduce yourself to people you don’t know. I always think less of a guy if in a social or business setting he waits shyly in the corner for someone he knows to introduce him instead of doing this himself. (This applies to women too, but let’s stay on subject).
6. You read. Nothing — nothing, is worse than a bimbo. It’s nearly impossible respect people who are much less intelligent than you are and actually impossible to respect someone who doesn’t care.
7. You can turn a woman you don’t want to date down. With words. You can do this through text, even. What matters is not being someone who lives in fear of a briefly uncomfortable conversation. That is the part that’s a bad look.
8. You don’t have a bunch of kids with a bunch of different women. That’s no one’s Plan A for obvious/financial/your kid’s health reasons, so it’s a state of being you reach through some pretty active irresponsibility — which is likely not isolated to this one area of your life.
9. You don’t hate your job. This is true because you’re not the kind of person who gets “stuck.” You would never be “trapped” in a job or relationship that isn’t working, you’d simply move on to something that does work. Because you’re smart (see #6) and hard working (see #2) and have social skills (see #5) you will always have options.
10. You say what you want, even if it’s unpopular. But, you do it to be clear, not to get off on hurting someone’s feelings. This is the difference between guys who get called assholes by people who wish to be coddled, and men who self-identify as assholes because they wish they were brave enough for it to be true.