Gentlemen Speak: What Are Men Really Looking For In a Woman?

Find out what's attractive to self-assured, well-adjusted men.
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Find out what's attractive to self-assured, well-adjusted men.

Perhaps you’ve heard that men find independent women attractive. But chances are you’ve also heard that independence in a woman is a turn-off to some men. You might conclude, then, that many men don’t really know what they want in a woman. And you’d be right.

The key isn't trying to figure out what all men want. You want to know what's attractive to self-assured, well-adjusted men–as in, the kind you’re looking for. And trust me, those men find strong, independent women very attractive. So what is it about a woman like this that catches a man’s attention? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Exhibit A: Happily single is more attractive than miserably single. 

Recently my sister and I were discussing a mutual acquaintance of ours and she mentioned that Delilah, as we’ll call her, had never been asked out on a proper date before. “That’s just not right!” my sister exclaimed. And I didn’t disagree, per se.

I think it’s funny that we tend to pity women who aren’t constantly pursued by men. In my experience, those women actually tend to be happier people than those who are more frequently pursued. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being pursued, but there can be something terribly exhausting about the dating game as we know it. Mature women understand that and have a healthy sense that you still have to live your life. In fact, they like the life they live, even when they’re single, and that’s apparent to everyone they meet.

So while I do agree with The Beach Boys, that the best girl should not be left at home on a Saturday night, someone who is cool with it is a lot more interesting than the girl who isn't.

Exhibit B: A self-assured woman challenges a man to be at his best.

I’m alarmed by how many men seem to think about relationships with women as if-then propositions. A particularly off-putting example of this is the idea that if a man buys a woman dinner, or even a drink, then she’s expected to “put out” and, furthermore, that a woman who doesn’t is somehow dissing him.

However depraved, this is just one example in which confident women can draw a line in the sand. When she communicates to him that she’s not some sort of sexual vending machine, he has to either A.) scram or B.) treat her like the real human being that she is. And she is, quite frankly, fine with either.

Of course, in this case he’s likely not going to be worth her time anyway. But believe me, other guys who are worth her time take notice when a woman carries herself with such dignity. Instead of taking her out to dinner because of what he might get afterwards, he’s thrilled just to have the time during dinner to enjoy her company and get to know her better.

And he’ll have to be on top of his game. He’ll probably shave, cut his fingernails, press his shirt, maybe even get a haircut and get his car washed. We might not like to admit it, but we love that stuff, at least when we’re doing it with a beautiful woman in mind. And we especially like it when you notice.

Exhibit C: We don’t actually want to be the center of the universe.

A wise man once told me, “You want a girl who forgets to call you.” Initially I thought, that’s weird, as I don’t typically consider forgetfulness to be a virtue. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I definitely don’t want a girl who’s always calling, texting, wondering why I haven’t responded. In a word: clingy. No, I want a girl who forgets to call me. Not because she’s flighty, or she’s playing games, or she’s just not that into me, but because she has her own things to do.

When it comes down to it, the real impressive women that I have met have other things going on than, well, me (or whomever). And yes, that can mean her soul-sister relationships with all her BFFs. It can mean hobbies, art, music, even fashion, so long as it’s good fashion.

But, even more, I’m talking about something bigger than herself: teaching young people; taking time for the elderly, the mentally challenged, the neglected; taking up social causes because they’re good and not just because they’re popular; making New Year’s resolutions that build virtue; and actually resolving said New Year’s resolutions.

Yes, a pretty girl catches my eye. But to keep my attention, a woman has to be about something. Something great. Even to the point where I might be fairly incidental to her life, at least initially.

Ultimately, that’s the stuff that inspires me to have my own mission, to get my own shit together, to live for something bigger than myself.

Because what do I really want when I’m seeking a woman? Someone who can bring the best out of me. And that’s not just some magical reaction that happens when two people really like each other. It’s something that’s learned and developed, long before you ever meet Mr. Right.

And when you’ve got that, you’ll be noticed.