The topic of “what women want” isn’t one I spend much time contemplating. I tend to think the (non-post modern feminist) conventional wisdom regarding what is desired in a man more-or-less gets it right: Financial success, self-confidence, good personal hygiene (including dress), intelligence, being one standard deviation above the mean in height, a symetrical and handsome face, somewhat older (in the range of 2-8 years), a toned upper body, the more athletic the better, etc.
But I’ve put myself on a sort of self-imposed relationship hiatus, to attain financial security and sow my other wild oats, like catching up on my RPG pile and biking the terrain trains once chugged across. So I’m aware I might not know what I’m talking about. At Al Fin, I saw Dennis Mangan mention this post from Roissy, who I’ve seen commenting in other areas of the blogosphere I frequent but who sticks in my mind because I like her, er, his, name*. It suggests as much to me, that I am indeed uninformed (I toned the vulgarity down):
What is it that separates those select few men from all the rest? The ones who wield illimitable power to inflame the desires of women?
The key to their power is not money or sports cars or beach houses or post graduate degrees or 50 inch plasma TVs or chocolate covered strawberries on a bed of rose petals or any of that. All of that is incidental and is only important to the extent that it improves your state of mind. No, the real source of this power is already within you. It is how you SEE YOURSELF. It is your decision to move through the world without apology, to set aside complaining for decisive action, to let your brass balls do your talking for you.
The quintessential masculine quality women can’t resist is SUPREME UNSHAKEABLE CONFIDENCE. You can be poor, out of shape, stupid, unemployed, addicted to drugs, and meet every one of society’s standards for LOSERNESS but if you radiate those confident vibes that say you are PERFECTLY PLEASED WITH YOURSELF you will get laid ALL THE TIME. And the kinds of girls who get wet for such men aren’t just bar sluts. Smart women, women with high self-esteems and MBAs and, yes, even — ESPECIALLY – HARDCORE FEMINISTS will crave the man who exudes such power and happily take it if it means he will grace her with the pleasure of his company for a little while longer.
My first reaction was to smile at yet another apparent truism contained in the satirical pleasantries of the pre-11th season Simpsons:
Bart: Face it, Lis–men are dogs. The worse we treat you, the more you want us.
Lisa: That’s not what dogs do!
I wonder if those men would be even more desirable if they took that confidence one step further, saying, “To hell with whether or not the girl wants it, she’s going to get it, and she’s going to like it, my balls being as brass as my knuckles!” Would that “inflame” female desires even more? As much as I detested those Evremonde brothers in A Tale of Two Cities, maybe I should’ve embraced a dark admiration for them instead!
When I dwelled on her post a little longer though, I realized my own personal experience seems to commend it. My high school and college days are tales of getting the friends of the girl I was after. I have a tendency to deify the girls I like, acting the chivalrous and selfless older brother interested only in a platonic relationship. That’s not really my natural personality, which is more arrogantly flirtatious in a playfully insulting way. Simply put, the latter has been much more effective in reeling them in. The result was several flings that lasted a couple of weeks or even days, and having been asked out by more girls than I’ve asked out.
I’ve known for years that genuflection hasn’t been the road to success. My longest relationship, lasting a little over a year, was with a girl I did manage to convince (over several months) with the weak strategy, and she was very candid about it later. She’d thought I was cute and funny enough, but that I was so distant she had no idea I had any interest in her at all and was surprised when I asked to get serious. Of course, looking back she now loved the approach!
Another girl I was disinclined (okay, afraid) to let my feelings be known to crashed her car into another parked car as she was reading the note asking her out that I’d left on her windshield! (If anyone’s still reading this, I’m really going to get myself in trouble–a consequence of that sacrosanct devotion is that I’m still in contact with almost every serious girlfriend I’ve ever had. On the other hand, I can’t even get my own mother to read the blog on a regular basis, and virtually every comment I’ve ever had appears to have come from a male–hardly a unique phenomenon in the blogosphere–so I’m probably safe).
It’s not just a matter of making the easier catch, either. My aesthetics are sort of eccentric. I’ve always been fond of coordinated, athletic girls with tomboyish tendencies–not the 5’8 blonde with long legs in designer jeans but the 5’2 gymnast in sweatpants**.
So Roissy’s advice (or revelation), to the extent that it’s more-or-less accurate (maybe it’s just self-projection), came years too late. In half a decade, when I plan to have a wife in the sights, she won’t fit that ‘swoonable’ profile that Roissy attaches in a general way to most women.
Then again, when I look back at how much time I squandered, even as things were, that I could’ve used to prep myself for graduate school in one of the sciences or to make myself familiar with the history I’m only now learning, maybe it’s not overdue. In any case, the chivalrous distance I maintain is surely more the result of some psychological insecurity than any noble intention on my part, and as such, is not too malleable. Maybe it’s what I should do. Won’t be what I will do, though.
*This post came out of the assumption that Roissy was female. Naturally, a guy telling other guys what girls want should be, ceteris paribus, treated with more skepticism than should a girl telling guys what girls want.
** That’s meant my naive initial image of shy abstention has usually been overly optimistic.