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A list of things that supposedly make men less attractive to women, but don’t necessarily

June 5, 2015

Want to be a macho, macho man? Well, don’t. Unless you are already. Then it’s fine.

There is and will continue to be a lot of guff spoken about how to attract women / men, as if people are ripe peaches to be plucked off a tree and no more variable than that.

Meanwhile, the implicit (or sometimes explicit) message I get is that for women, you must pretend to be a Real Man. Women, they don’t like lack of confidence and they don’t like nerds. Because all women are uber confident and none of them are nerds.

The only advice out there that really works is a cliché, and that’s the “be yourself” one. The problem with clichés is that they’re based in fact but they aren’t qualified enough. What it should say is “Be yourself, unless you are a psychopath” or “Be yourself, unless you are a stinking cretin.”

What’s really being said is that attempting to be like someone else just doesn’t fool anyone. When we come up with labels like “macho” or “nerdy, “strong” or “vulnerable”, we make attributes as trivial as clothes, things which you can either take off and put on, rather than things which change organically or perhaps never change at all. If you do The Sports, you won’t become macho. You might get fitter and you might grow confidence, but it doesn’t work unless you picked something you like and feel comfortable in. There’s not much worse for your self-esteem than thinking “I have to be like these people, because these people are better than me, but I can’t.”

So. Forgive the one in several million lists on the subject, but I’m going to go ahead and list all the things which, in my experience, women don’t automatically find unattractive.

1) Vulnerability. That’s not to say you’re highly strung or insecure. It means that, if someone asks you what you’re feeling about something, and it’s a bit sad, you won’t act like the question is invasive, or pretend that you feel nothing. Some of those things which sound sappy if you put them on are perfect shows of appropriate, and flattering emotion if meant and used sparingly. Anything as simple as “I don’t really want to go home, I want to hang out some more.” If it’s honest, no reasonable person can object to that. But, never put on vulnerability in order to get in pants. Apart from being slimy, sooner or later you’ll get rumbled and that will be a low moment indeed.

2) Talkativeness. The problem with talkative people is they often talk a load of garbage. That doesn’t much matter if the person you’re talking to likes listening to garbage. And you would be amazed how many people do. Find someone who likes your junk and whose junk you like (*snort*) and get chattering away like chimps. Garbage, by the way, is in the ear of the listener. I don’t think myself boring, but I could recite from memory the chain of items needed to get the magnifying glass in Link’s Awakening, and if you didn’t know what that sentence meant, suffice to say it would send you to sleep. I never get tired of it, though.

3) Bad dress sense. Clothes are just clothes. You can talk over the top of them. Get rid of the dried ketchup stains and smelly bits, and you’re good to go. I can’t say that stinkiness isn’t a turn-off, I’m afraid. If you’re on the stinky side, I wouldn’t go setting up societies called Stinky and Proud. You won’t get people to stick around long enough for the protest. Fun fact: woman have bad dress sense, even when they look good. They are taught, via all manner of pressures, how to dress appropriately. Especially at parties, you can’t tell by clothes who’s glamorous and who’s putting it on; you can tell better by how comfortable or uncomfortable someone looks. These are bin bag wearers by nature, and they go to parties.

4) Slow mover. Pressure to pounce is one of the most pernicious peer pressures there is out there, and it exists only for men. It makes nervous men hideously misjudge a situation and act like a sex pest. Of course, confident men do it too, but is there anything worse than going against your gut and still messing it up? I’d say not. If you’re more of a 1950’s gentlemanly hat-wearer than an 1980s alien face-hugger, wipe that sweaty brow surreptitiously in your brim and get your Bogart on.

5) Not being like the one that went before you. People, especially people who’ve dated a lot, like variety. Variety throws up all sorts of interesting experiences, some of which you may prefer to all the ones they’ve had before. Trying to be like the ex before you came along is a drastic mistake; he’s the ex for a reason.

6) Footing the bill for everything. Never assume. If you pick up a modern -minded woman, she’ll resent the implication that you’re the breadwinner, that you earn more or that she’s in the poor house. What people are willing to accept from strangers in bars for a cheap night out with friends is not the same as what they’d want on a date. For those who think women live to have their drinks bought for them, it’s not uncommon for women to grudgingly accept drinks because they’re not left an awful lot of choice by insistent men who think it’s their role in life to buy women drinks. See how the cycle forms.

7) Being less sexually experienced than her. If I had a pound for every time a woman took my inexperience as some kind of personal challenge, I really could afford to buy one of them all their drinks for the whole night. People are creepy, they like putting their stamp on you. They think of it as indelible, their contribution to the world. You’ll take that experience with you to the next person… Eww. Like I said, people are creepy. It works in your favour.

8) Earning less. It’s the same as the footing the bill for thing. If you aren’t paying for everything, you don’t have to be earning more. In a world of gender equality in the work place, the idea that it in some way reflects badly on either of you if she earns as much, or more, is ludicrous. How exactly does one intend to escape it, without either appearing a patriarch or a gold-digger? In short, people accept what society throws at them.

9) Being shorter than average. Women aren’t stupid. They know that “average” means “average” and that average is average. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s average. The average height means the height most people will be, or be close to. People who say they need their man to be “above average height” are being ridiculous because they, personally, are a bit ridiculous. They may well grow out of it, because most people must; if every woman needed men to be taller than average, there would be more single men here than China.

10) Being shorter than her. It’s a terrible, terrible thing! That people only notice when you first meet them. Then they get over it. See, as folk grow older and more mature they meet more people and change their view based on the way the world actually is. Some of the people they meet might well be at eye level with them, and they get over it. Then the next one is a head shorter, and they get over that, too. The next one is at tit level, and maybe that barely matters any more than the one who wasn’t quite at eye level.

I read this heartwarming story in a tabloid (imagine that) a few years ago about a pantomime cast for Snow White, where Snow White had hooked up with, not Prince Charming, but – yep, one of the dwarves. An actual man with dwarfism. The whole article was given over to her talking about how wonderful he is. It took up a double-page spread, though most of that was a picture.

I’ve met a few Snow Whites. People think she’s the exception, that they’ll never meet a woman like that. Why not? If you like and respect a person, surely you aren’t assuming they’re too shallow to like you, or why would you be drawn to them in the first place? Give people a few minutes to get over something, and they will.

The funny thing about attraction is, when your Prince(ss) Charming doesn’t appear or turns out to be a wanker, that average Jo(e) looks better and better. Then when the average Jo(e) turns out to be a wanker, or spoken for or something else, the less-than-average Jo(e) will have to do. Not being someone’s first choice in a room isn’t the end of the world. And settling for someone you never thought you could be attracted to can sometimes be the best choice you ever made.

11) Timidity. I can think of at least two types of person who like timidity; people who are timid themselves and find even average levels of confidence boorish and intimidating, and people who are plenty confident for both of you, so like being able to own the conversation. And own you. And dress you up in their secret gimp suit. People who have met enough confident people to last them a lifetime.

12) Silence. For the same reason as timidity, being quiet is appealing for people who like the sound of their own voice. In my experience, there’s nothing wrong with people just because they like the sound of their own voice. Lots of people do. Being quiet makes people think you’re nice, or shy, or something else which they might find appealing, and it lets them bounce all their opinions off you because they think if you say nothing, you have no judgement – or at least, that you won’t use it against them. For the world’s weird, that can be quite a relief.

Shutting up tends to mean people tell you their secrets, as well. And my, what secrets we have. The world is dying to bleed itself dry of all the stuff they aren’t supposed to be telling anybody, or which is a bit uncomfortable to hear. Fun fact; words of support help a person a lot less than sympathetic or open body language. And a lot of people are also pretty awful at reading body language correctly. The result is, you could be sitting there zoning out and someone might not notice, if what they need is to not notice. Speaking runs the risk of saying something wrong; when you hear that so-and-so is “so supportive”, they’re probably just quiet.

13) Small willy 😦 This is the same as the height thing. Everyone can only reasonably expect average, and the average is actually smaller than you think (5.5 inches erect from base to inch, varies elsewhere). And where there’s average, slightly below average isn’t inconceivable. People have written reams and reams about this so I won’t go on, but how many problems this poses for you depends entirely on how conventional you insist on being, and how conventional you want her to be. Whoever she is, she might quite happily be a lot less sexually conventional, if it was called for. Not that you should roll on up your first date with an extensive list of kinky fantasies.

14) No six pack. How often, how often a man feels like he has to have that curious bumpy formation to attract women. Two things. One, it’s not as sought after as you think. Two, you have to work out a lot to get one, which cuts down on opportunities you have to actually get out there and start talking to people. Three, if you’re not naturally a fitness freak or a model you’ll never sustain it, and if you are a fitness freak, chances are the worst thing you can do is sit around in a gym doing crunches, because jogging is overall much better exercise. Women have already learned in part to let models be models, and role on the normal people. Men have to as well. Models get paid for all that. If you’re getting paid, fair enough, but otherwise it’s probably costing you something.

15) On the heavy side. Did you know that the more you weigh, the stronger you are? Yes, including fat. You can’t flex very effectively, but you can pick people up or wrestle them to the ground. It’s like fighting a bear. You’re a bear. Rawr!

16) On the lighter side. In case you’re wondering, I’ve been all up and down the weight spectrum. You have to play the cards you’re dealt. Get those impossibly skinny jeans if you feel like it, and if the woman you like tries to pick you up or put you on her lap, accept it. One thing that people are looking for in deciding whether they like you or not is your insecurities (not to be confused with vulnerability, which isn’t the same). The fewer you have, the easier you are to get on with and more likeable you are. Besides, not wanting to sit on your girl’s lap even though she’s twice your weight is silly, it makes you look like you think you’re too alpha for all that. And unfortunately, you’re not. And actually, it doesn’t make you that unfortunate.

17) Feminine. Why do so many women bang on about wanting gay male friends? It might be because gay men are not a sexual threat, but in part I think it’s because their idea of what a gay man is is someone who you can treat like your best girlfriend. You can go shopping and stuff, woo! It’s not impossible to not be gay and go out shopping with your girlfriend and a bunch of good grace. If you think about it logically, a woman in your company is about to dress up in all manner of clothes and parade around in front of you. Sounds like something a man who likes women might well enjoy. She’ll enjoy it, because she’s doing something she wants to do with you, and sharing something you really like with someone is bound to be more fun that something you sort of like. As long as the person you’re with doesn’t drag their heels in and sulk.

If you can enjoy doing “girly” stuff, you maximise your chance to hang out in a context which suits her. If you go to a gathering and a group of them start putting make-up on each other and try putting it on you as well, why not let them? See what your shade is, go on. You might like it. They’ll like you for it, much more than if you flounce away, angry at this slur on your precious masculinity. I think it’s fair to say people who are game for a range of things and take new situations with good humour are a lot more popular than those who don’t. Don’t fret constantly about being friend zoned either, there’s a lot wrong with that concept.

18) Submissive. I am of the personal belief that sexually, most people are “switch” – that is to say, they occasionally enjoy being in the “dominant” position, and occasionally the “submissive” position. These are odd words anyway, because they assume too much; that someone who is underneath is submissive, for example. As for who is “giving”, well, whether or not that’s taken as a sign of submission or dominance depends on context. Really, it all depends on context. Being with someone a bit forceful can make you less so, being with someone less can make you more. Personally, I tend to attract people who like to have things their way. Suits me. There’s no shortage of them about.

19) Not very strong. This comes with weight a lot. Most men are actually a touch stronger than most women without trying, so if you’re not, you might be looking at a woman who makes an effort to be physically strong and is very proud of the fact. If so, the worst thing you could do would be to sulk because she can open the pickle jar and you can’t. Milk it. Make a joke about being a poor helpless maiden and have her lift all your boxes for you from now until the next turn of the century. If she likes being strong she’ll be happy to and if she’s boastful or goads other people about it, she deserves it! In any case people prefer to make friends with people who don’t act hung up on the fact that they can’t do certain things. And whatever people like in friends, they like in boyfriends and girlfriends, if not so much in one night stands. If you can think of an exception to that rule, leave it in the comment section and I’ll tell you all the reasons why you’re WRONG.

20) Not being an alpha. Maintaining an alpha male stance takes some work. You have to have the lot; macho, ripped, confident, sexual prowess; socially efficient, not too talkative but not quiet enough to have people think you’re shy. Basically, everything in this list. It’s so much work, most don’t manage and trying to keep it going is more hard work than working with what you have and trying a different tac.

One more point to consider: people are full of shit. They say they like one thing, and they go off and date the exact opposite. So, don’t take seriously people who say they aren’t attracted to X. Have a feel around anyway (FIGURATIVELY) and if you aren’t getting anywhere, be graceful about it.

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