PsychologyDating

Guys, Here’s What It’s Actually Like To Be A Woman

Written with Geoffrey Miller. This story is an exclusive chapter excerpt from MATE: Become the Man Women Want.

She’s Been Dealing With Creepy Douchebags for a Long Time

A woman can tell how well your life is going from how you look, in about two seconds. Your face and body are leaking all kinds of cues about your sexual experience, self-confidence, and personality—and she can see it all in one glance. Before you approach her, she’s already decided whether she wants you to talk to her, and she’s already judged your mate value and your status before you toss the first lame, derpy pickup line at her. She can smell your over-practiced pick-up artists tricks from a mile away. It’s like her superpower.

By the time you’ve met her, a normal American woman has spent years honing that superpower. She had to develop it after putting up with so much shit from lame guys hitting on her, catcalling, sexually harassing, and potentially even stalking her. Since puberty, when she started developing hips and breasts and pretty facial features, she’s had to deal with creepers and sketchballs to some degree or another, and she’s probably pretty sick of it.

It’s hard for guys to appreciate what it would be like to grow up being stared at and sexually harassed every day of your life from age twelve onward. So instead, what you need to realize is that all this sexual attention a woman gets sows in her a fear of raw physical violence—reactive assault—that could be sparked if she ignores your come-ons, rejects you in a way you find demeaning, or dates you for six months before finding out you’re a paranoid, jealous control freak.

That’s the female reality of living in sexual fear. She’s afraid of creeps, weirdos, crazies, losers, and stalkers. And believe us when we say that, from her perspective, they make up a high proportion of men—especially the ones likely to hit on her in inappropriate ways, places, and times. Psychological and environmental factors explain much of this perspective.


The psychological research, for instance, shows that, from a woman’s point of view, most guys she meets will be less kind, less agreeable, less empathic, less conscientious, less reliable, less clean—less everything really—than she and her friends are. Even if she accepts those sex differences, she still has to wrangle with the fact that many mental illnesses and personality disorders are more common among men (the more dangerous ones no less). These male-dominated disorders include alcoholism, drug addiction, autism, schizophrenia, narcissism, white-collar sociopathy, and criminal psychopathy. All of which make each random encounter with a man less likely to end in love and more likely to end with a fight-or-flight response.

Most guys reading this right now are probably sitting there thinking, “WTF, I’ve never done any of that creepy shit. Don’t lump me in with those assholes.” And we agree. Most of you guys are solid dudes. You’re just suffering for the actions of the highly nonrandom sample of guys who hit on every woman in sight. That’s why it’s so important to understand the world from a woman’s perspective.

Think about women’s experiences with guys like a city cop’s experience with people in general. Cops spend 90 percent of their time dealing with the scummiest 5 percent of humanity. The ones who’ve been around a while often develop a cynical, negative, and fatalist view of humans, based on the totality of their bitter experiences. It’s not that humans are all bad. It’s that cops see only the worst.

Likewise, women spend a big proportion of their time in the mating market avoiding the small percentage of guys who are the most intrusive, obnoxious, or insane. Psychopaths are sexually predatory, uninhibited, and confident, so although they’re only 4 percent of the American male population, they might account for 40 percent of the men who have hit on any given woman. Guys with Asperger’s are another factor; although they’re often introverted (and so less likely to approach a woman), if they do approach, they’re bad at reading nonverbal cues of disinterest or rejection, so they’re more likely to persist beyond a woman’s comfort zone. There are almost too many other types of men who do things women find repulsive to name them all.

Simply put, her experience is that the worst guys come straight at her while the best guys are nowhere to be seen.

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