Thought Catalog recently published an article on ways women can attract men, with an invitation, presumably addressed at women who are attracted to men, from the author, presumably a straight man, to write a rebuttal. Well, let it never be said that I don’t rise to a challenge. Note: this is not meant to be an article about my specific preferences (if it was, there’d be paragraphs about types of stubble, an itemized, Jane Austen-heavy reading list, and more), but rather about women in general. If you’re ready, let’s begin:
1. Dress Like You Care
You can be preppy, a little goth, rockin’ the suits, hipster, whatever, but nobody likes a slovenly mess. It’s just true. If your wardrobe is nothing but basketball shorts and old t-shirts, you look like you don’t care. Studies have shown that straight men women care exactly the same amount about appearances; it’s just that men have a much narrower range of preferences, while women are all over the place, depending on the individual. No single style appeals to everyone, but having no style at all appeals to no one.
2. Understand What’s Appropriate In Different Situations
Related but not identical to 1; even if I think your flannel shirt and old jeans make you look hot, please don’t wear them to Thanksgiving at my grandma’s. Similarly, nobody needs you to wear a tuxedo to a garage band show. I know you like to pretend you don’t understand these things, but that’s crap and we both know it.
3. Have Some Long-Term Goals
This whole myth of being “chill” must be destroyed at once. Why would you want to hang around a person who doesn’t care about their own life? It’s not about making a ton of money — your goal could even be something completely non-career-centric, like getting married and having kids, or mastering a musical instrument. But someone who just floats through life is not someone you want around you.
4. Be Feminine
Yup, you heard me right. Women LOVE a guy who likes art, who stops to pet puppies or wave at babies on the street, who’s not afraid to admit that he cried when he saw Up for the first time. This myth that ladies love a guy who exists in a state of terrified hypermasculinity is nonsense. And frankly, look at the male celebrities with the most women fangirling over them — your Zayn Maliks, Ryan Goslings, Tom Hiddlestons, etc. A lot of “pretty boys” and “sensitive souls.” Tell you something?
5. Be Thoughtful
This is maybe the biggest one here. Your girlfriend probably remembers your favorite band, what teams you root for, what restaurants you like, and all that. We’d like you to do the same. I’m not saying to take this to a creepy extreme — you don’t have to gather all her favorite stuff to woo her, or serenade her with her favorite song on the first date — but if the girl you like mentions having been a Theater Kid in high school, and you remember that information and ask her to see a play, you will score ten million brownie points in the blink of an eye.
6. Sex Life
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret: men, if you want a woman who believes sex is something special, only to be shared with those she has a deep emotional connection with, she will NOT be happy if you’ve had a lot of casual sex. She will probably be pretty turned off, actually. On the other hand, if you enjoy casual sex and so does your gf, that’s awesome too. Or if you’ve agreed to never discuss past encounters (beyond STI status, of course). Or if you’re past experiences don’t match up, but it’s just a quirk of circumstance, not radically different viewpoints. And ethical non-monogamy is great for those who prefer it. But you can’t expect to date someone with a particular set of values when you don’t share them. You have to choose.
7. Be Intelligent
An attractive guy who can’t hold a conversation is like art in a museum — we like to look, but have no interest in touching.
8. Be Emotionally Available
If you’re not over your ex, don’t date. Simple. Beyond that, most women want a guy who can be there for them, emotionally. If you’re someone who shuts down every time someone asks you how you feel, that’s a.) unhealthy, and b.) not grounds for a good relationship. Working on your emotions and communication skills is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s healthy, attractive, and a sign of self-respect.
9. Be Willing to Cook at Least Three Times a Week
Hey, everyone’s gotta eat, and odds are you and your girlfriend both work, so take turns on the cooking and splurge at a nice restaurant once a week.
10. Put Down the Phone
Checking your texts while we’re talking to you is the fastest way to show us that you don’t care, so why should we?
11. Hygiene. Own It.
Shower. Shave (or maintain well-groomed facial hair, none of your Duck Dynasty nonsense). Make sure you smell neutral-to-appealing. Get a flattering haircut at a real barber’s instead of letting your drunk friend do it. Pop a breath mint. This should go without saying.
12. Be Straightforward
We are not psychic. We do not automatically know you are interested in us. We are not so vain as to assume every man wants us. Please, for pity’s sake, if you like a girl, ask her out on a date. Use your words. Knowing what you want and not being afraid to ask for it is appealing.
13. Care About Our Opinions More Than Your Friends’
You’ve reached the end of this list, and you’ve probably noticed how different it is from similar lists written by men. You might even worry that if you did these things, your guy friends would think you’re “whipped.” Here’s a question: SO WHAT? Are you out to impress your friends, or please your girlfriend/ get a girlfriend?
Ever notice how in a lot of the “how to impress women” lists written by men, the advice is suspiciously similar to the power fantasy created by men, for men, that’s been sold to you guys for decades? It’s fine if you really want to impress “the guys” — approval from your friends and peers is a legitimate need — but be honest about it. Women are notoriously under-marketed to in terms of romantic/sexual fantasy (look at how TV shows will jam pretty girls in skimpy outfits into any old scene, but selling sexy men is rare), so we’ve had to figure out on our own what we like. We’ve had a lot of time. We know. If you really want to impress and attract women, listen to us. And if “the guys” give you shit for it, so what? I don’t see them doing any better.