It's no secret that women love a man in uniform, and as grown adults everywhere carefully select their costumes for Halloween, it's important to remember that not all male alter egos are created equal.
That's right, when a group of five hundred single online dating users were polled this year, women were asked what typical male Halloween costume they found most attractive. The lion's share of women—26 percent—voted for Batman.
In the same poll, when single men were asked what pop culture character/personality they were most likely to dress up as, 27 percent opted for ... The Joker. As in Batman's sworn enemy.
Granted, we are talking about Halloween costumes here. In the same poll, the majority of single men and women said that they go out on Halloween to be with friends, not to hook up and not to meet someone to date. But I couldn't help but find this little random factoid to be a bit of a microcosm of what I hear all the time about dating today: On a typical night out—when single men and women are actually hoping to find someone to date—single women are looking for Batman, and all they find are Jokers.
It's not that women are out there looking for a man with abs of steel and a perfectly chiseled jaw. On the contrary, the really attractive thing about a man in uniform is something much less cliché.
Why do women have a thing for men in Batman costumes? Because the important things that both Batman and the hero in real life have in common are trustworthiness and confidence.
According to Dr. John Gottman, author of The Man's Guide To Women, and his forty-years of research, the number one thing that women are looking for in a man is not the six-pack abs or even the six-figure bank account. "The number one thing women look for is simply this: trustworthiness." Gottman says that even upon first introduction, women are assessing men based off of a deep evolutionary need for a dependable mate. "Just remember that she's asking herself, even if she's not consciously thinking about it, 'Is he safe? Will he be there for me? Is he dependable? Is he trustworthy?" Gottman explains. "There is a reason that women think that firefighters are hot. They are a symbol of all of these qualities. Firefighters are Heroes," Gottman offers his male readers. "You can be too."
A man who exudes trustworthiness is the guy who is, as Dr. Gottman calls it, attuned to the women in the room. Extensive behavioral research shows that trust is built through emotional connection, which is made through attunement. A man who is attuned to a woman communicates that he is there for her if she needs him, that he is interested in her and cares about her. In turn, women feel respected, heard, and connected—the perfect recipe for emotional connection and trust.
So, what does trustworthy look like?
01. Attentive. Trustworthy men are attentive. This means they put away phones, avoiding scanning the room, and focus on asking good questions. Gottman also points out that good old fashioned chivalry goes a long way here as well. Guys who open the door for you, pull out chairs, and walk on the traffic side of the street are much more likely to come across as trustworthy.
02. Turned toward. Literally, men who position their feet toward you when they are talking build intimacy and trust.
03. Empathize. According to Dr. Gottman, "Understanding is an intellectual pursuit, while empathy is an emotional pursuit." The guy who tries to connect with you by asking how you feel can get away with The Joker costume and win your heart.
There is another element to a hero in uniform that catches a woman's eye and, again, has nothing really to do with the cape. Confidence is the all important ingredient to your everyday hero, but unfortunately it's a trait that many men get wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, confidence has nothing to do with showing off your paycheck, your mad skills, or your flashy Batmobile. That's called arrogance, and it nauseates women. Confidence means standing up tall, making eye contact, and initiating conversation because you feel you have something to offer—and know that you can learn something valuable from the other person, too.
01. Space maximizing. Notice the men standing up straight with shoulders back, and legs spread at a wider stance. Does he remind you of a soldier at attention? I told you it wasn't just the uniform.
02. Calm. Did you know that women find low-stress men more attractive than men how have higher stress levels? This is yet another reason why The Joker is such a no- no. The Joker's fidgety movements and crazy gestures send the message that he is, yes, unstable, but also insecure and stressed out. According to Dr. Gottman, men who fidget and make closed-body movements (like folding their arms across their chest or crossing their leg at the knee) send the signal that they are stressed out and lack confidence. If a guy acts like this, it's likely you won't be impressed.
03. Sharp eye. No, I don't mean X-Ray vision...although that could help. A guy who keeps an eye out for women who make eye contact with them and smile at them and then do something about it have figured out what wooing women is all about. But more importantly, their ability to pick up on our cues and then approach us proves he is confident.
So you see, the real reason women can't get enough of a man in uniform is far from superficial. Women want men who are heroes, and it doesn't take superhuman strength, skills, or intellect to figure that out.
Photo Credit: One Eye Click