1. When he makes eye contact instead of investing in grand gestures.
There are so many reasons not to overdo it when it comes to wooing a woman. A dozen red roses or a single long-stem might make the ladies of The Bachelor swoon, but those cheesetastic gestures never play out as well in real life as they do on television. Eye contact, on the other hand, is a powerful, underrated approach to winning a woman’s heart (and the right to poke her vagina, maybe). Frequent, extended gazes feel sincere because no one can hide behind their eyes. A man who makes eye contact often comes off as honest and interested. Every bouquet of flowers eventually dies, bleeding into the next, but our peepers and the experiences they record live as long as we do.
2. When he’s fit but not ripped.
The difference in sex appeal between a gym rat with rows of visible abdominal muscles and a man with a nice lean torso is definitely negligible. Sure, Channing Tatum is hot as hell. But we don’t need you to be Channing Tatum to get turned on. Just like you (hopefully) don’t need us to be Allessandra Abrosio. Physical fitness is great, but too much muscle and an unhealthy fixation with the gym are totally unappealing. Women aren’t nearly as impressed by large biceps as some men might want them to be. So chill with the weight lifting and the protein shakes and spend more time with your girlfriend instead.
3. When he wears classic clothing instead of reaching for cool.
Cool isn’t something any man can pull off just by buying the “right” clothes. At least in part, cool is a naturally occurring characteristic, and the only thing worse than being completely devoid of it is trying too hard to exude it. When an uncool guy endeavors to look cool by appropriating elements of a cool person’s wardrobe, he almost always ends up looking like a fool. Luckily, classic looks are easy to adopt and reliably appealing. A simple t-shirt and jeans with Converse generally works. You can’t buy cool, but most smart women already know that cool is a highly overrated trait anyway. What women want is authenticity, from head to footwear.
4. When he rocks a hairy chest rather than manscaping.
You know what would be awesome? If we could all stop fretting over every single hair that sprouts from a follicle on our bodies. Untamed eyebrows a la Cara Delevigne are in and pubic bush is back, probably because women finally realized that waxing is a grand ol’ waste of time and an unnecessary exercise in masochism. The truth is, hair is just as sexy as hairlessness. A chest sweater isn’t a problem, but a man who obsesses over hair removal is. Back and chest “on fleek?” Yes please! Manscaping? No thank you.
5. When he defends your honor, but without throwing punches.
It’s nice to be defended. But there’s rarely a reason for a man to get physical with a stranger. A lot of men assume that women enjoy watching them demonstrate their brawn by pounding each other. But even under the guise of sticking up for a woman, fighting looks like the last resort between grown-ups incapable of reasoning their way out of a sticky situation. So even the man who “wins” a fight ends up looking weak minded. It’s far more appealing to watch men sort things out in a civilized manner than to witness a Barbaric battle.
6. When he keeps it basic with the bathroom products.
A man whose medicine cabinet, bathroom counter, and shower are littered with toiletries doesn’t just look like a sucker for advertisements. He looks like a pansy—a sexist judgment, perhaps, but one that many women make nonetheless. Why? Because no woman wants to date a man who takes longer to get ready for a night out than she does. Cleanliness is always appreciated, but over attention to skincare and complicated beauty regimens are the opposite of hot. So ditch the facial serums made from exotic oils “for men” and the fancy exfoliating scrubs and embrace the low maintenance approach already.
7. When he lets his natural smell dominate.
If you’re showering daily and generally attentive to your hygiene, feel free to skip the cologne altogether. No matter how discerning a man’s nose is, the scent he commits to might very well repel the woman he loves. Plus, a strong cologne will overshadow those naturally occurring pheromones our bodies produce to draw the opposite sex. Why risk dousing yourself in something that might turn a woman off when you can rock the clean human scent instead?
8. When he chooses a cheap but thoughtful memento over an expensive gift.
Unless you’re dating a terribly materialistic, low quality human, she’ll agree that the most meaningful presents don’t cost a lot of money. No man should underestimate the value of a two dollar souvenir. Whether you’re traveling together or separately, it’s always worth spending a few bucks on a silly trinket at a road stop in the middle of nowhere. Ultimately, it’s not the pricy jewelry people remember, but the memories packaged with the tiny mementos.
9. When he cooks instead of taking you out to a fancy dinner.
It’s fun to get decked out and to splurge on an unbelievably sumptuous, multiple course meal at a restaurant where the servers insist on referring to you as “sir” and “madame.” But the frills of fine dining establishments don’t compare to the effort required to prepare and serve a home cooked meal. Cooking for someone else requires time and careful planning. It also demands making oneself vulnerable to another’s taste buds and preferences. Whether the menu features hotdogs or filet mignon, an at-home dinner date is an intimate affair that never goes unappreciated.