Monday, March 4, 2013

Less Masculine = More Feminine

I pulled the following statement from the comments of the post The Analogy Between Confidence and Beauty:

So I had a revelation about a few weeks ago...and it pertains almost exactly to this post. I'm a confident 7, well-spoken girl but have always wondered why I'm having such issues with attracting the right type of guys when I have such a well-rounded personality. So I started to experiment with how I acted around guys. I became more feminine, I would act more sweet, talk less, be less witty or sarcastic and it was crazy how many more guys came flocking to me. It was kind of disheartening though that I had to become this demure thing to attract more guys. I felt like I was compromising myself, and at times not even being myself because I had to bite my tongue so much and watch what I said. I don't want to be a bobblehead airhead girl, but it seems as though that's what guys want. How do I attract the men I want without compromising myself?

I want to share my response, because I have had similar questions from other readers, and it is an important point for any woman trying to understand her feminine self in the modern world:

You only think of behaving in a more feminine manner as "compromising yourself" because you've been conditioned to think of your personal value in purely masculine terms. But why is it "compromising" to be MORE feminine? You are too fixated on the fact that you are being LESS masculine. Yes, you are LESS ambitious, LESS witty, LESS assertive; but why think of these changes in negative terms? What about the fact that you've become MORE receptive, or MORE radiant, sweetER, or MORE beautiful?
Men and women are two halves of a whole: one typically active (male) and one typically passive (female). But neither one is more important or better than the other, any more than an electrical plug and socket - which are typically referred to as "male" and "female" - are more or less important when it comes to conveying electricity.
It is only because "success" in our society is defined in masculine terms that you feel like you have reduced or compromised yourself as a person by this change. So instead of considering what you've subtracted or "repressed" by being LESS male, focus on what you've added or improved by being MORE female.

There is one more important point here: even though the "bobblehead airhead girl" gets good responses from men, this doesn't mean that she therefore represents the ideal of femininity that men seek. Men prefer her because there are elements of the "bobblehead" that they like: her carefree spirit, her flirtiness, her willingness to be led, her cheerfulness, etc. Her characteristic stupidity and lack of substance are things that men merely tolerate in order to experience the feminine qualities that they desire so deeply - that is, the qualities that men do not typically have in themselves and cannot get from masculine women.

If this seems unfair or counter-intuitive, consider that women behave similarly in their selection of men: they often tolerate insensitivity, excessive pride or stubbornness (i.e. they date "assholes") only because these qualities are unfortunately common in most of the men who have the masculine qualities that they want: strength, aggression, unshakable confidence, ambition, etc. - in other words, the qualities that women do not typically have in themselves and cannot get from feminine men.

Related Posts
1. Femininity, Authenticity and Compatibility
2. Are You Repressing Your Femininity?
3. Misconceptions


  1. I did a similar experiment that yielded similar results. Also experienced disheartenment, but realized that this was going to be a positive thing in the long run.

    The other night I had a weird experience with a friend and someone she ran into while we were out "bar hopping"

    I was completely sober, but it was around 4 am and both of my friends were drunk. We ran into this overweight girl (wearing a red velvet dress and a leopard print coat) she had her hair chopped pixie short and dyed platinum.

    She comes right up to me because she knows my friend( they go to art school together) and she starts yelling at me. She was just making fun of the way in which I was shaking her hand, I'll be honest I have a weak grip.
    She wasn't bullying me, but she was kind of making jokes at my expense in front of a large group of people outside the bar.

    It was so embarrassing. I just though to myself, whatever, this woman is crass and disgusting. She spoke with this throaty, cigarette voice and I finally got it. That's not attractive. She had that "grrlpower" attitude I used to admire.

    I wanted to be like those girls once. . Ugh.

    Anyway she just started making fun of my name and my handshake and whatever else. I just laughed along and then walked off with my other friend.

    I bet you she thinks she is really "witty" and "assertive." just sad.

  2. Of course men and women are different, but the struggle for self esteem transcends gender lines, and confidence (and the confidence to be authentic) is the most attractive quality in either gender.

    Trying to become more feminine as a ploy to get more attention from men may or may not get you a small spike in male attention, and even if it does, it will be counterproductive, because it will be sending yourself an implicit message that your worth is dependent on external validation.

    Sure, I am attracted to guys who are masculine and aggressive and all that. But they only get a guy so far. After a while, if it's not genuine, I pick up the whiff of inauthenticity, and it's a huge turnoff. Much more attractive is a guy who is confident enough with himself to just be who he is, which for most men, is a mix of masculine AND feminine qualities. The same goes for women.

    1. thefemaleperspectiveMarch 4, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      That 'inauthenticity' you speak of is what today's wanna-be Alpha males call as a PUA(Pick Up Artist). They're especially rampant in American Universities right now. The moment I see one I make a RUN FOR IT.

    2. This is why I don't advocate trying to be more feminine, but rather, allowing your authentic feminine self to shine through. See this post: Femininity, Authenticity and Compatibility.

    3. Andrew: your idea about "allowing your authentic feminine self to shine through" is backwards reasoning. If you want to let your authentic self shine through, you have to be ready to accept whatever it ends up being—however "feminine" or "masculine" it is.

      Cultural pressure for women and men to act a certain way doesn't always match up to the reality of who we are, and that creates shame. And there is no bigger obstacle to being your authentic self than shame.

    4. Are you saying that no women repress their feminine selves, and could benefit from ceasing to do so?

      I am not suggesting for a moment that women should try to be more feminine than they are, or be ashamed of being masculine. I genuinely mean that women should stop and think "am I trying to be masculine in ways that make me unhappy?" If the answer is yes, they should stop. If it is no, they should proceed as is.

      I also think it would be a good exercise for women to ask themselves whether or not they are forcing themselves to be more feminine than they really are. This, too, is a way of allowing their true level of femininity to pervade their personality.

      And, incidentally, I also think men need to be authentically masculine. Many are forced by their parents to be jocks when they are more suited to be artists or dancers, while others are constantly taught to repress their aggression or ambition (or other traditionally masculine traits) when it is unnatural for them to do so.

    5. Andrew: no, I'm not saying that no women repress their feminine selves. Women repress all kinds of stuff. We're told that we're too feminine on the one hand and too masculine on the other. There are a lot of conflicting messages out there about how both men and women should be, and that can feel really defeating.

      I think your heart is in the right place with this post, but I think you actually end up adding to all that stressful societal pressure, rather than chipping away at it. I think it's a lot more helpful to encourage women—and men!—to focus on who they really are without judgment. We're judged by society and our peers enough already.

    6. Linz, practicality before ideologu. in short, get your head out of the bloody clouds. What your implicit suggestion is here is that one should simple just "be themselves" and that should be good enough. Sorry, but it that is unacceptable past the age of 7 to believe.. One should always strive to be their BEST selves and fulfill their potential and self-improvement requires altering one's self. There is no "authentic" self in any meaningful way. The self I was at age 12 is completely different from the self I am a decade later. Personalities are transient.

      Many women these days projecting a contrived masculinity which tends to hinder their success with men rather than improve it. They project, they see the traits which attract them to men and assume mimicry of these traits while endear the men they want to them - they do not .

      Being that most women want to be with men and are happier in long term relationships, it is to their best interests to understand the things which may be inhibiting their goal of attaining that such as having an overly brash or aggressive personality. Andrew calls for women to consider toning down these repellant traits.

      And I'm sorry, dear, external validations are everything in life. I could think I'm the best dancer in the world, but if enough of the right people's opinions don't reflect my own, I ain't making it to broadway.

      Validation is really all that matters in life as it is the only measurable way one can confirm the opinions one holds about themselves. otherwise, one will find themselves existing in ignorance and delusions of grandeur about the way they are perceived.

      Again, I say it : practicality before ideology.

    7. Soleil:

      I should clarify some of my points, because I actually completely agree with you that there is no "one true self." In the words of Walt Whitman, "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes."

      We're complex beings: we contain masculine and feminine traits, cruelty and kindness, shame and confidence. When I say be authentic, I don't mean being authentic to some bogus "one true self." Rather, I mean that we must continually practice authenticity—not to uncover this mythic true self supposedly at our core, but rather to move through life, with all its complexities, changes, and contradictions, in an authentic way.

      Of course external validation matters if you want to be successful. But if you define your entire self worth based on other people's approval, you probably won't end up successful. When you're addicted to external approval, you can't win no matter whether people love or hate what you do.

      Let's use the example you gave of the dancer. If you're a young dancer who gets lots of negative feedback, and you take all that feedback to heart and believe that you suck, you will probably get discouraged and stop dancing.

      Now let's say that instead you're a young dancer who gets tons of praise. It's easy to become dependent on that praise, so that if you want to try a new, difficult dance where it might take failing many times before you get it right, you are too scared even to try because if you aren't perfect, you won't get the praise you're accustomed to.

      In both cases, if you had a strong sense of worthiness—of internal validation—you would keep putting yourself out there and improving, no matter whether you got praise or criticism, no matter whether you succeeded or failed.

      It's not that the praise doesn't feel good or the criticism doesn't hurt. It's that you can't define your worth on it.

    8. "If you want to let your authentic self shine through, you have to be ready to accept whatever it ends up being—however "feminine" or "masculine" it is. Cultural pressure for women and men to act a certain way doesn't always match up to the reality of who we are, and that creates shame. And there is no bigger obstacle to being your authentic self than shame."

      There is nothing wrong with shame. Without shame there is no dignity. The ability to feel shame about one's behavior is healthy, natural, and universal unless you're a sociopath. Shame is not a hinderance to the "authentic self", to the contrary it is the only thing that can motivate someone to live up to their values and form a sense of self worth. Someone who walks around doing whatever they want with no shame is not fit to live in society. Someone who rationalizes their misdeeds or excuses their personality flaws by saying "I'm being true to myself" is a fool. This kind of "authenticity" is certainly not a virtue, it's solipsistic laziness.

      The real problem with this article is that the girl who wrote in thinks being feminine is being a "bobbleheaded airhead". She might as well have said: "I tried being kindhearted (sweet) and genuine (not sarcastic), and allowed the other person the opportunity to speak more (by talking less), but I felt like I was having to constantly bite my tongue". It's sad that people see this as "compromising yourself" instead of working towards becoming a better person. It's sad that being feminine is equated with being stupid and silent, instead of having social tact. And further, it's insulting to men to suggest that this is what they value in a partner.

    9. thefemaleperspectiveMarch 6, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      @Emily I'm the original commenter, I never equated femininity to BEING a "bobblehead". I'm a nurse's aide and a professional dancer, I think I know a thing or two about being feminine;) I would say I've always been sweet and genuine, but my key choice of word was MORE...I became even MORE sweetER than usual with the guys I was flirting with. At the time I did this experiment I was still in college and a vast majority of guys in my dating pool were also frat boys, who now that I look back really only had one agenda, and to get what they wanted without having to talk all night they went for the "bobbleheads". My dating age range is also higher now and the men are more interested in seriously dating so i'm not having the issues I was before:)

  3. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for this post. I agree and have experienced that embracing your femininity is great for many reasons, including being more attractive to men. I have a question about this issue though. Where is the line between being passive and being a doormat? I am certainly not implying that being "passive"/embracing the feminine role = being a doormat, but I often find this balance hard to strike in my own life, especially when I am dating a man who isn't as "dominant" as others. For some reason, I find it very easy and comfortable to be feminine with a man who is extremely dominant, but with others it isn't as easy. But they seem so hard to find!!

    Have you heard of this book ( What would say to that/whether you are meant to strike a balance between holding your own/not letting a man walk all over you and being feminine and passive?

    1. I've read that book and agree with the spirit though I don't agree completely with some of the ways they try to apply that spirit. The general idea of that book is that you should have strong personal boundaries, and there is a lot to this idea. I have recommended the following post to many readers because it explains the concept very well:


      I see why you think there is a conflict between having boundaries and being submissive, but I don't think the conflict is a necessary one.

      Much of a woman's boundaries are exercised in choosing WHICH man she allows to dominate her. After making that selection, most women turns over some of their boundaries to their man. So you will have to exercise your boundaries a lot during dating (making him initiate, not having sex without him meeting your criteria, etc.) but then you will allow a man to assume some control of those boundaries in the relationship - but only because you have chosen him as someone worthy and capable of defining and maintaining those boundaries for you.

      What men want is a woman who has her own boundaries but is also willing to hand them over to him, from a position of deep trust in his abilities. And in my experience, women want little more than a man to whom then can completely entrust with those boundaries.

    2. Read the Fascinating Girl or Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin

    3. Andrew, I like your blog, but the idea that a woman—or anyone—would turn the responsibility of maintaining their boundaries over to someone else is ridiculous, and really poor advice. Being able to set boundaries for yourself is what being an adult and living life is all about, and suggesting that women are somehow exempt from this is frankly sexist.

      You are the only one who gets to define what's important to you, and evaluating whether the people in your life are treating you well. The responsibility to do so does not end when you get into a relationship. In fact, it becomes even more important.

      When Marc at PostMasculine is talking about when he refers to boundaries is self-respect, and being a grown-up. A lot of women leave these things at the door when they meet a man they like, and this sends a message that they aren't valuable, and is a recipe for unhealthy relationships and unhappiness.

    4. Setting boundaries so that you are not taken advantage of is not unfeminine.

    5. "You are the only one who gets to define what's important to you, and evaluating whether the people in your life are treating you well. The responsibility to do so does not end when you get into a relationship. In fact, it becomes even more important."

      I disagree. If you hand your heart over to someone in a realtionship the other person has the responsibility not to break it.

      If they do, then they are in the wrong. You could argue that maybe you should have exercised better choice of who you give your heart to, but, the responsibly/blame still lies with the person who did the heart breaking.

      This reasoning applies to anyone who defects from a contract.

    6. Chris—

      I think it comes down to "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Of course relationships are about entrusting your heart to another person and hoping that they uphold the trust you put in them. But often, it doesn't work out that way. And if the person you're with is treating you poorly, at some point you have to take responsibility for your own life and decide to walk away.

      It's not about who is in the wrong, it's about realizing that no one else can care for you if you don't care for yourself.

    7. Linz, regarding your initial response to my comment: women surrender their boundaries to men all the time, particularly in marriages, but even in dating situations. This happens whenever the man is allowed to make decisions for a woman, which happens frequently.

      Example 1 : The woman when she is alone has a preference about where/what she eats for dinner. She has personal boundaries about what is or is not acceptable in this regard. But when going on a date, she not only hands over that decision to him, but actually prefers that he makes it for her. She is usually more concerned that he is decisive than that he makes a decision amenable to her. She relinquishes completely the boundaries she would normally set about what restaurants are acceptable.

      Example 2 : Single women provide for themselves. They work for their money, have their own place, pay for their food, etc. (this is in the US, of course). These women have personal boundaries in their life about how much they spend relative to their earnings, what amount of savings is sufficient, etc. The stronger these boundaries are, the less inclined they will be to deviate from them when the opportunity to take a vacation arises, or their friends ask them to go out on a weeknight to an expensive nightclub. However, when most American women get married, the supervision of her financial boundaries becomes the responsibility of the husband. He decides what is enough savings, whether or not they can afford private schools for the kids, etc.

      Now, I do agree with you that the woman very much needs to maintain the personal boundaries that she keeps, and she should hold them strong to show him her value. This is very important. But to give him control of nothing in her life is unfeminine. And the more masculine he is, the more her inability to let him control some parts of her life (which inevitably include her boundaries) will upset the relationship.

      I also realize that men partially relinquish their boundaries to their woman (his boundaries related to his diet, for example, if she cooks for him). But in my experience, the man still exercises some control over the boundaries he “gives” to his wife, whereas the woman is more content to let her husband handle hers without questioning them. This is because often women marry men whom they admire for their authority, leadership, intelligence, etc.

      The point I was trying to make, though, is that women DO exercise their boundaries by choosing a man who is going to maintain her boundaries for her, the way she would want if she were in control of them herself. In this sense, if she chooses well, the handing over of her boundaries does nothing but relieve her of the vigilance she previously had to maintain.

    8. I'm sure you would agree with this, but there are obviously red lines, right? I.e. boundaries about whether the man can openly flirt with other women, whether he keeps his promises to the woman (if they are reasonable promises), whether he keeps her trust and doesn't betray it, whether he treats her respectfully (without contempt or disdain), etc. Those seem like boundaries that, if broken, should result in the woman walking away from the relationship.

    9. Andrew: the examples you gave are not about boundaries. Boundaries, as Mark at PostMasculine defines them, are by definition only something that a person can define and maintain for herself. You can never entrust them to someone else. Healthy personal boundaries means taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, while not taking responsibility for the actions or emotions of others.

      I totally agree that in a relationship, you accomodate the other person, break out of your routine and comfort zone, and not do things the way you're used to doing them when you're single. But that's not about giving up your boundaries to someone else; that's being accommodating, open, and flexible.

    10. Andrew,

      Thank you very much for your response. I am genuinely learning a lot from the ideas in this post and others about femininity. The article you recommended was insightful in many ways, but I feel like his examples are a bit extreme (ie a woman demanding that a guy stay in with her instead of going out with his friends or her being overly persistent about them moving in together). To me these seem extremely obvious as they with just push a guy away. Earlier you mentioned:

      "the woman very much needs to maintain the personal boundaries that she keeps, and she should hold them strong to show him her value" you mean while in a relationship? If so, can you give some examples of boundaries that we should hold onto when in a relationship to remind our boyfriend of our value?

    11. Linz,

      It sounds like we disagree only on the semantics.


      I mean things like not letting him express his interest for other women, dressing well for him and taking his opinion of your wardrobe seriously but not letting him dictate your appearance, letting him make final decisions but always demanding that he consider your opinion seriously, etc.

      You can be a loving wife who respects and serves her husband willingly, but still acknowledge that certain things are out of bounds.

    12. Ahh, okay. Yah that makes sense, thank you!

    13. Andrew, I have to agree with Linz. I think you were misusing the word "boundary." Not every decision in life involves a personal boundary. For me, deciding what restaurant to eat at or what to order is not an emotional decision. OK... maybe if you're a vegetarian and you let your boyfriend order you meat... that's handing your boundaries over to him... but that is not healthy!

      These are some examples of personal boundaries....

      It's not OK for other people to:

      Go though my personal belongings
      Criticize me
      Make comments about my weight
      Take their anger out on me
      Humiliate me in front of others
      Tell off-color jokes in my company
      Invade my personal space

      It's OK for me to:

      Turn the ringer off on the phone
      Take my time returning calls or e-mails
      Change my mind
      Bow out of a volunteer activity
      Cancel a commitment when I'm not feeling well
      Reserve a place in my home that is off-limits to others.

      On another topic... it is not true that men usually make a family's financial decision's! It's most often the role of women to do the family bookkeeping. While the guy's approval is necessary, it's the woman who usually does the budgeting and planning. The man is too busy out hunting! ;)

    14. Sally:

      I LOVE your lists of personal boundaries. It's interesting how most of them are not gender-specific, which gets at my original point that boundaries aren't a gender issue, but rather a self-confidence issue. Of course there are certain hot-button boundary areas that might resonate more with women than with men ("make comments about my weight," for example) but I still believe that we have more in common with men than in difference.

  4. can you define what you describe as being witty? In my mind i attribute it to having a strong sense of humor, and the ability to not take yourself too seriously, however, due to the "masculine" connotation you're associating it with, I think your definition may be different than mine. Can you elaborate? Thanks!

    1. I also thought that the use of "witty" was sort of odd. I think what the commenter and perhaps Andrew were referring to was a tendency to always need to have the sharpest, wittiest retort possible. Basically, the conversational upper-hand and thus prove how incredibly smart you are. A turn-off in both sexes, honestly.

    2. By witty I meant sharp-witted: sarcastic, constantly trying to elicit a response from those listening, show-manship, etc.

      I disagree that this is unattractive in men when it is done correctly (think of the depiction of Truman Capote in the movie "Capote" then make him straight instead of gay). When a man shows his wit and is successful in always eliciting a response from his audience, and controls the conversation because those he converses with respect and admire him, it is incredibly attractive to women.

      And actually when it is done correctly by women it isn't really unattractive, but it isn't attractive either.

    3. Being sarcastic and on-stage showy is unattractive, or simply being funny? Let's just pretend that I'm funny (not deluded about that- actually funny) and that I like cracking one-liners as part of existing. Word play is fun, too. I do not like making jokes at people's expense, because then they're not having fun, so I'm not having fun. Is being funny per se unattractive, or did you mean something else by wit? Does funny fall into the 'intelligence' post? Not that it matters, practically, because I am who I am and can only be happy expressing that, but out of curiosity... Would you be more attracted to a female stand-up comic, say, if she weren't funny?

    4. thefemaleperspectiveMarch 4, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      I was the original commenter of this post. My definition of witty is sarcasm but less crass and more of an intelligent/clever sense of humor. Either way in my experiment, I found it best to leave the humor on the back burner no matter how low I dialed down my 'witty remarks' and just flirt without the humor.

    5. Heterosexual women aren't funny.

      This is universal Law.

    6. In my experience, I think guys like it when you come up with clever responses to their jokes. It shows you "got" their joke on a level others might not have, and really appreciated it. It also shows you're not an idiot, who is just laughing and nodding.

    7. thefemaleperspectiveMarch 5, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      @Vicomte I went to high school with this girl years ago(she is heterosexual) and she hosts and does tangent YouTube videos now. I personally find her humor cutely funny. Here's one o her videos:

      Do guys find her kind of humor a turn-off? I would think she'd be more appealing because it's just cute and not offensive. If anything she laughs at herself a lot. Or do men and women just have different definitions of what is funny all together?

      @Andrew I'd like to know your opinion on this as well.

    8. I watched the video expecting to be proved wrong, but around 3/4 of the way through I realized that I still hadn't even chuckled. At some point in the last 1/4 I cracked a smile, but it wasn't very funny at all.

      I did, however thoroughly enjoy watching it, and by it I mean her. She has great energy, a great voice, confidence and she is cute. I watched three or four videos in fact.

      Anyway, I don't think this is really evidence for or against the fact that funny girls can be attractive, because she isn't that funny. Or at least, she is cuter than she is funny.

    9. Let me add to that. She is not only cute, but light-hearted (in the videos) and vulnerable - as you pointed out she laughs at herself a lot. These are attractive traits, but I don't think it is the humor itself that is attractive.

    10. Besides, when I think about it AGAIN, funny isn't even the issue here, WIT is the issue here: clever, sharp thinking - often displayed as pointed humor, but not necessarily. I would not call this girl witty, even if I conceded that she is funny. She is vulnerable, upbeat and flirty, but she isn't making cutting, insightful, quick comments that would be more characteristic of a strong "wit."

      wit /wit/ Noun
      Mental sharpness and inventiveness; keen intelligence

    11. original questioner here! So would you consider Chelsea Handler or Sarah Silverman as examples of witty women? They are women generally classified as "funny". Would you concede that these women are witty? Just trying to get a clear understanding! Thanks again, great blog!

    12. I'm curious what you think about the comebacks, Andrew!

      While it might be a turn off for guys if a girl goes out of her way to constantly say witty things, I think clever responses to a guy's witty jokes are appreciated.

      Andrew, If you say something witty, would you prefer the girl to respond by saying something witty back, or just laughing? (The latter could mean she didn't get your joke..)

      Original commenter: Tina Fey is an example, too, of a witty/funny lady that some guys find attractive.

      Funny, I googled Chelsea Handler (didn't know who she was!) and came across this piece of relationship advice. It's good!
      'Any time you feel like hitting (your partner) or killing them or you’re mad, just do the exact opposite and just love at them, just kiss on them,'” Handler says. “...And then that air is taken out of that situation, and then the next day, you can talk about the situation in a normal, calm fashion."

    13. PS I watched the youtube video that "female perspective" posted. That girl is very feminine. She's more ditsy than witty. (Although I guess ditsy-ness when done on purpose is kind of witty in an ironic way..?)

      Her voice is so annyoying! It's like Mila Kunis in that 70s show. But lots of guys love Mila Kunis, so I guess annoying to one person is cute to another?

    14. Really, girls aren't funny.

      They can be clever, cute, and entertaining, but they are never funny.

      I made it thirty seconds into the video. This girl isn't funny. Cute, and entertaining: yes.

      Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf were witty, but not funny.

      Ellen Degeneres is funny. Paula Poundstone is funny(she's asexual apparently).

      Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey are not funny, but women will always be able to find a niche in male endeavors, based on novelty and (to a lesser extent) political correctness.

    15. @vicomte in your opinion what is it about women that makes them incapable of being funny? (inferred from "they are never funny"). Also, what is it about novelty and political correctness that allows women to become funny in those niches?

  5. Dominant men seek passive women who will let them be the dominant one in the relationship. This woman hasn't figured out yet that she needs to just do the passive men who will let her be herself. Of course men say "No, men aren't supposed to be passive, that means they are wimps." Sorry but this is only true for certain men. There are plenty of passive men that can be happy with a woman being strong, confident, assertive, etc and still maintain a level of masculinity. She just needs to find a man that isn't obsessed with being the alpha dog, which will only create a power struggle.

    1. That assumes she wants that type of guy, a passive one. In the question, she says she's looking for "the right type of guys," so her experience would seem to spring from attracting the kind of guys she likes, but not in a way that makes her happy about it.

    2. I think that's only the case with certain dominant men. I have met plenty of dominant men who like their women to be at least a little bit challenging and keep them on their toes. They don't want a ball buster, but they don't want a woman who's too easy with them either.

    3. I agree with Lucy. We want, need women who are challenging. We just do not want to date / marry women who think they have bigger cocks than us.

  6. I think the questions were:
    - If a guys asks me out / asks to see me and I was busy but tell him that we can "catch up next week", he says "yes!", do I leave it to him to initiate again?
    - If it happens more than once (say I was busy the first time, ill the next), should I still expect his initiation?
    - Should a woman alter her approach if she senses that the guy needs reassurement? You wrote a post about shy men, but consider that he is not shy, but that you have a clear idea that he considers you out of his league (hence he might be shy around the woman, but not in general). Does this change the scenario at all? I am certain that I could risk losing a guy like that taking a passive stance.
    Acting true to my feminine nature means being passive. But in the same way in which many factors influence my actions and might prevent me from acting 100% feminine, I am sure there are things which might prevent a man from acting 100% masculine.

    1. leave it open for him to set the date. Just make sure it's clear you feel bad you haven't been able to see him and that you wish you hadn't had to cancel. Just so he knows you aren't really blowing him off. I would still let him initiate. But don't go overboard with the cancellations. There's no reason you should have to cancel on him a third time.

    2. Anon 4.16 here. I should add we've been dating for many weeks now.

    3. - If a guys asks me out / asks to see me and I was busy but tell him that we can "catch up next week", he says "yes!", do I leave it to him to initiate again?

      Yes, definitely.

      - If it happens more than once (say I was busy the first time, ill the next), should I still expect his initiation?

      I'm on the fence about what to do the second time. The third time, I think the ball IS in your court to re-initiate. Ideally, you will make sure when you tell him no that he understands you really would like to see him again, and you give him enough information to know when you will be available so that it doesn't happen a third time. If you were sick, I would suggest telling him "I am not feeling well so I don't know exactly when I will be free, but can I let you know when I feel better and we can schedule something?" Then call him when you feel better - assuming he says yes.

      - Should a woman alter her approach if she senses that the guy needs reassurement?

      Read this post: The Dynamics of Dating Shy Men

    4. Just to add to what Andrew said.... If you turned him down two times he probably is starting to think you might not be that interested. I think it would be advisable to contact him and say "hey, sorry I got caught up, things are less hectic now" or "I'm feeling better now" -- opening the door for him to ask you out. But make sure you follow through!

      Also, I think it's reasonable that upon saying no you make an alternative and definite plan for a time that you are available. For example you could say "hey, sorry i can't, i have exams this week. but maybe Saturday?"

    5. If a woman can't do something I suggest then I expect her to give another time that she would be free. "I'd love to but I'm busy but next weekend I'm free." Then I would say, "Okay, let's do Friday." Too little interest from the woman and I'll just assume that, she's not interested. If she just says she'd love to but is too busy and doesn't suggest some other time then I'll assume she's not interested. Too many girls play the vague "some other time" card which means never.

      Women, you are adults, you can communicate like adults.

  7. I find this post really interesting... I can't decide if I like it, hate it, agree or disagree, but its making me think. I look back at what I would consider my most successful flirtations - as in most successful responses and I'm not sure if I was being "more feminine" as described my your reader that you quoted, but I think I would consider it that way. When I feel like I'm most on my game and attracting good attention and have had good follow through on flirtation- (here's a place that I 100% agree with you) its when I have good posture, I'm confidently carrying myself, I smile more, I laugh easily, when I tease/poke fun/use sarcasm its always with a smile or followed by a quick laugh and usually a casual touch, I use good eye contact. This could be complete coincidence, but I feel like I've had more success standing (even in a group of other women or mixed company) than I do in situations where I'm sitting. I haven't found that there is a direct correlation to whether or not I share my opinions, act competitively (when engaging in an activity like pool, darts, etc.)... I can see how smiling, laughing, touching, etc. are considered feminine, but I think a woman can share her opinions and be confident and still be feminine- I do think sharing an opinion is masculine, but HOW you share can be.
    I'm confident, straightforward and assertive, but I don't think anyone would ever classify me as bitchy or a "ball-buster" which is how these traits can sometimes be packaged negatively. Now, I'll admit, I'm also pretty short (5 feet tall), small, and I have long hair, so I have femininity in some of my most general physical characteristics- it may be easy for these to influence my words, actions, and personality to be see in a feminine way. So that probably works in my favor... And the most used adjectives for me are probably energetic and positive- which I wouldn't consider masculine or feminine in nature, but combined with a smile and a flip of the hair, probably come off as feminine.
    I was raised in a family that values traditional gender roles, but with an education that encouraged me to see past them. I would consider myself a feminist AND I hope to be a stay at home mom someday (I don't see the two as mutually exclusive). Hopefully, this means that I have found a balance between masculinity and femininity within me. I am a woman, so I am feminine, but I don't think that has to mean airhead (or bobblehead- love that as a metaphor!) I think one can be feminine without "holding her tongue" or not being herself. I think to do this intentionally may take much thought- but there's so many ways in can be expressed- not just by what you say, but how you say it, facial expressions, fashion, makeup, hair, mannerisms, how you physically interact/touch with others, etc.
    A few people mentioned in comments people who think they are witty and I'd like to say that while most men may not be out there looking for an intelligent woman and some sparring can annoying, crass, or generally off-putting- not all talk or sparring is. The men I've seriously dated in my life have always valued this highly- that I tease, speak well, etc... I think sometimes being smart or sounding smart or sparring gets a bad wrap because some people who do it, do it with the wrong attitude or motivation- if you're doing it to make the people around you feel small or less, to feel stupid and below you, or to be just plain mean-- yea, that's unattractive. Kindness may be considered feminine, but I wish it was just considered human, because a general sense of kindness or caring towards people makes most individuals better people overall.

    1. " Kindness may be considered feminine, but I wish it was just considered human, because a general sense of kindness or caring towards people makes most individuals better people overall."

      you might find this post interesting:

      yours is a very femcentric opinion...which is good, but I don't necessarily think it's "human" to always be kind. I think most alpha males would disagree.

    2. I read it over and I do see that you are not saying we should always be kind. But still that post is enlightening and helped me understand men better.

    3. I read your post and agree with a lot of what you said. Its true in my experience that how you look will play a role in how what you say is interpreted. Because I have a non-threatening appearance I feel my more witty and sarcastic jokes aren't taken the wrong way. Also, it doesn't hurt to include a cheeky smile when your teasing.

      Also its not necessarily what you say its how you say it. When ever I express an opinion Im careful of the tone and make sure I preface what I say with "I politely disagree", "with all due respect" ect. Something polite so people will not think I am being hostile for disagreeing with them. The same thing goes for humor. Having a sense of humor is great so long as you don't go to far. I don't make jokes at the expense of others or to be the center of attention. If I do mark a witty remark its usually in response to a comment directed at me, within the context of playful banter. I don't go out of my way to make people laugh or put others down.

  8. David Wygant had a great post about this today, too:

    1. Not sure about this- think of Pink- the singer, super talented, but she is kinda muscular, butch, low voice, short hair, and wrote a shrieking song called "just you and your hand tonight"!!!???? She is married to a hottie and has a baby, didn't she pull this off while in her twenties? Think of feminine ladies- still single; Lucy Liu, Kylie Minogue, Jen Aniston, Cameron Diaz....

    2. I wouldn't say Cameron Diaz is feminine. She is a thrill seeker and likes to push herself to physical and mental extremes. Like men do.

      I thought Jen had found someone?

    3. I think Pink found the right guy and has feminine and motherhood side. Being feminine is not only about the appeareance and performance. Those feminine women outside with their look can be masculine inside with their character or point of view in life. Contrary with it, tomboy outside can be more feminine inside.

      Don't judge book by its cover.

  9. Andrew - I would be curious to hear your thoughts about Wygant's post. Are they mostly similar to your own thoughts?

    I should say that one thing I and many other women of my generation struggle with is having different "modes." Wygant, in that post, mentions that it's totally cool to be aggressive and assertive by day, as long as you're feminine and sensual by night. The thing is, though, men get to be aggressive and assertive...all day long. They don't have to switch between "more masculine mode" and "more feminine mode" in the same way women do.

    What advice do you have for women about changing what attributes you take on during the day like a chameleon? It's really hard to do and sometimes feels emotionally exhausting.

    1. "Wygant, in that post, mentions that it's totally cool to be aggressive and assertive by day, as long as you're feminine and sensual by night."

      I think this is difficult to do, but it is probably what a lot of women want to hear. In other words, they want to think they have the ability to do both, when the reality is that changing your character back and forth like this is much harder than maintaining a single disposition in all aspects of your life.

      In general I really like David Wygant's stuff. There are nuances like this occasionally that I disagree with, but his is one of the few sites out there that I would recommend to my readers. He's spent several years (maybe more?) learning about this stuff and experiencing it at a level that very few other men have. He is insightful and has non of the anger or resentment that seethes from so many of the ex-PUA guys on the internet. Check it out if you have a chance:

      Link: David Wygant

  10. Dear Andrew,

    I think your blog makes 100% perfect sense but I think you make too many assumptions. For example, why do you assume that women are more feminine or men are more masculine? There are more than enough ambitious women who do well in their careers, at school, or who strive and achieve at being the best thing at something to defy that stereotype, after all most women work in masculine jobs. What are you basing these ideals of 'masculininty' and 'femininity' on? I would argue there are as many masculine men as there are masculine women but due to societal views (like this blog) women behave femininely and men behave masculinely.

    1. Yes Marie, but where do those societal views come from, thin air? The patriarchy? Gender is a social construct? Or maybe they are simply biological imperatives that drive us and have done so since time immemorial.

    2. I don't think he assumes that women are necessarily more feminine and that men are more masculine, because he refers to both masculine women and feminine men. And most people are a mix of various masculine and feminine traits. But to foster attraction you have to highlight some kind of gender difference.

    3. I don't assume anything about any particular man or woman. There are men who are more feminine than many women; and there are women who are more masculine than many men. But on the whole, I absolutely believe that women are more feminine and men are more masculine. If you disagree with this, then there is no way we can talk coherently about any of the topics I write about.

    4. Two words. Testosterone and estrogen. Research the impact of each and the level most women and most men have and you won`t be in doubt anymore.

    5. Yes guys, I used to think that testosterone and estrogen were the key. But then when I researched them I couldn't find any outstanding evidence for what you're saying anonymous - in fact, I couldn't find any evidence at all. To be honest, in all the men and women I have seen, I could honestly rank half of each of them as 'leaders' and half of them as not, where men should according to 'masculinity' be more leaders than women. It just doesn't add up.

    6. Btw guys, feel free to show me any other evidence or why you believe what you do - I would love to learn more.

  11. Actually I reckon that a woman should be herself, if she has a strong personality, she should express that, then maybe she will come across a man who can subdue it with his own strength of personality.

    Even within a group of men some subdue others with their intellectual fortitude and wit.

    Her personality is going to be evident sooner or later as she cannot continue to play coy and submissive and many men may become intimidated when it does show.

    However if a woman is putting on the 'grrl powerrr' act, she should drop it because any guy worth his salt is likely to see through it and turn away.

    1. It's about being yourself but rather the best version of yourself. When you stop over-analysing your personality or what people think of you, it's a lot easier to be natural in social situations as well. But definitely parts of your personality don't come out at once. For example, while I'm submissive at first, I do have a fiery temper if someone crosses me which doesn't come out until absolutely necessary as well as the fact that I'm strong minded about certain things.

      I think overall men like feminine women but they want you not to be 'easy'. I don't mean that with a sexual connotation. I have heard men describe women as 'easy' when they mean women for whom it is easy for them to impress or get to a relationship with. I've found that certain men I've come across don't tend to be interested in women who are too 'girlish'.

  12. I'm definitely more feminine but this doesn't seem to earn me more male attention, or attention of a better quality. Most of the attention I get is from insecure men, that I reject because I don't want to date anyone who can't stand being alone. I understand that being feminine helps, and to me it comes naturally, but I only seem to get interest from men I really do not find attractive. And I'm talking personality rather than looks.

    I actually find that my more unassuming manner is a turn off for some hyper masculine men who see it as some kind if weakness. I am confident but mild mannered. They think that I'm just not outgoing but I'm actually an introvert who loves being around people, without feeling the need to get to know everyone in the world or to be the loudest person in the room.

    I think being a 'bubbly' woman as an attractive feature is a matter of personal taste for men, so my dad has told me. Some men like women who are always smiling and laughing and some find it a bit too much. I do sometimes wonder how the amount of interest I get is affected by the fact that I'm mostly quiet and mysterious, still approachable and friendly but not giggling all the time. It's not on purpose but is just my manner. I worry it makes me look a bit intimidating sometimes and I'm not quite sure how to remedy that.

    1. Hey Lucy, have you taken the Myers Briggs personality test? I would say I'm the same as you -- I love being around people but don't need to get to know everyone. I prefer to focus on finding "interesting" people to talk to, not hamming it up for the crowd. Although if I find someone interesting, I can be super flirty.

      Anyway, my personality type is ENTP - which makes me an extrovert. My understanding of the definition of "extrovert" is someone who gets energy from being around other people. You don't necessarily have to be super sociable to be an extrovert. Likewise, some introverts are very charismatic, but they can only handle being around groups of strangers in doses, they need to "recharge."

      This is kind of a tangent, but just to set the record straight about introverts/extroverts.

      Anyway - yes you're right. I don't know if you necessarily need to be bubbly, but smiling is definitely attractive. Everyone wants to be with someone who seems happy and will bring joy into their lives.

    2. Hi Sally,

      Isn't Myers Briggs fascinating? I took the test and came out as INFJ. I am very much a people person and I like small groups. I can adapt to bigger ones but I feel that spending too long in a scenario of heavy interaction really takes it out of me. I'm close to mid-way between introversion and extroversion.

      I tend to be turned off by men who are too much like me because of how I intense I am. I like men who are more logical and laid back because I am slightly crazy and passionate. I get a lot of attention from men with similar personalities but can't gel with them because it's like there is too much intensity for my brain to handle if it's more than my own. But I do need balance because as an introvert I find that some men want me to be someone I'm not whereas I am totally comfortable not doing what is expected of me or really paying any attention to peer pressure at all.

      I have to agree with you. People equate shyness with introversion and extroversion with sociability all the time. I am quite sociable so sometimes people don't believe that I'm an introvert. Other times people think I'm being shy whereas in reality, I'm simply quiet. It's a bit annoying because I get on with pretty much anyone but initially they think the quiet demeanor makes me hard to impress but there's a lot more to me than meets the eye.

      And it would be the same with everyone else. Sometimes I get a bit apathetic about dating because I realise that men are attracted to what they perceive about me rather than who I actually am.

    3. I guess you wouldn't want to come off as "crazy and passionate" in the beginning. Guys are more attracted to "sane and carefree" I think hehehe

      However, I think you can be quiet, even shy, but still approachable. You just gotta be smiley and receptive to guys when they talk to you.

      Andrew - do you have a recap post where you talk about all the things you can do to be approachable?

    4. Hi Lucy,

      I'm an INFJ too! And I completely see where you are coming from regarding the amount of social interaction you find optimal.

      I'm also turned off by men who are too similar. I feel we end up talking about things that are too serious all the time. My boyfriend is an INTJ, but a fairly goofy one. He's laid back and logical so he helps keep me grounded when I start becoming too emotional or idealistic. We can discuss big ideas and serious stuff, but I can also be relaxed around him and he helps bring out the lighter side of me.

    5. Lucy I can relate to almost every word you wrote. I'm an INTJ. I am not at all shy, but realize that is how I often come across. I also tend to attract insecure men, which is a real turn off of course.


  13. Hi Andrew, I think what you're talking about would be better clarified if you were aware of the concept of 'sexual polarity'. Here's a link to a blog entry by 'Evolution: Male' which I think brilliantly discusses the concept:

    I'd be interested to know what you think.

    1. I scanned the post and saw that he quotes David Deida about some of the fundamental ideas, so I think it is safe for me to say I am on board with all of it.

  14. How do you define "strong?" Why is a man who needs a submissive woman called strong? A truly strong man doesn't need a weak woman to make him feel strong.That's not strength, that's ego and a need for it to be fed, which is actually weakness. A strong woman-one who does not hide her vibrant personality, intelligence, wit and everything that makes her glow-does not need a man whose ego she has to keep on a pedestal.

    1. Yea, continue with your hamster rationalizations

      It does NOT matter if the man is strong or weak, you are missing the point. It is evolutionary, men are the ones who should be leading the woman not the other way round.

      "A truly strong man doesn't need a weak woman to make him feel strong"

      Straw man argument 101. Who said anything about a weak woman? are you defining weak as less dominant, less argumentative, cheerful, encouraging and nurturing? Are you defining strong as dominant, argumentative, cold?

      "That's not strength, that's ego and a need for it to be fed, which is actually weakness"

      Again, strawman. But I will indulge your trollish proposition. Whether it be a strong Alpha male or a lower beta bale or an omega, most men love their ego stroked. Just as most women love to feel beautiful or desired in their lover's eyes. Does a woman wanting to feel desired make her insecure, unstable or of lower self esteem? You see the flaw in your "logic"?

      "A strong woman- one who does not hide her vibrant personality, intelligence, wit and eveything that makes her glow - does not need a man whose ego has to keep on a pedestal"

      Faulty deduction once again. A woman can be meek, submissive and more feminine without losing any of the attributes you described above.

      Thanks for playing.

    2. Hey Olivia, for being such a strong proponent of feminine, NON-argumentative women, that was a pretty masculine (and angry) retort. Perhaps you should reconsider how feminine you really are. You actually sound like a bitter dude writing under a female name.

    3. I agree that truly strong men who are comfortable within themselves do not want a really submissive woman who lacks a lot in confidence. The confident healthy men want a woman who respects herself as much as they respect her. The men who do want really submissive women are often full of ego. I know this from experience because I used to be extremely meek. Because of that, I did get a man full of ego and weakness who had abusive tendencies.
      This is why it's so important to be more of a feminist in dating. As much as this blog talks about gender roles, I do not believe it is at all anti-feminist and it shouldn't be read that way.
      No woman should submit herself to the point of being a doormat. We should all learn how to differentiate between a genuinely respectful and confident man and a man with a splenetic ego.

    4. @ Anonymous, that wasn't argument. There has to be some coherent back and forth before it can be labelled an argument. I am a lawyer by profession and could care less whether you think my "retort" was masculine and/or angry. It does not move me emotionally either way and neither should I must admit though, straw man arguments are a pet-peeve and I will reply to such. Also, I never claimed to be feminine. I am working on it, but I am definitely not the quintessential feminine woman I would like to be. In fact the only thing just about feminine about me is my hourglass 115lb petite frame and the way I dress. The difference between me and you (or the first anonymous, if you are not one and the same) is that I am willing to swallow the pill and work on it instead of grasping at straws (heh).

      lol @ bitter dude writing under a female name...that's rich. I am almost flattered.

    5. "lol @ bitter dude writing under a female name...that's rich. I am almost flattered. "

      You really do sound like some fool from the manosphere trying to be a woman.

    6. @ original post

      Why does femininity always have to equal weakness? Why is being demure something negative?
      I think it is such a westernized POV and it's complete bullshit.
      masculinity needs femininity. Submission is not being a doormat or being weak. There are positives to everything. We have to stop valuing certain traits over others.

      The most masculine men will be attracted to the most feminine women. People in the "in between" are free to date among themselves.

      But by saying such things as "weak women" you souund just like the bitter fat chicks that say oh well who wants to date a "size zero stick figure."

      Riiiiight. like all slender women are dying of anorexia... like all feminine, sweet women are weak. sure thing.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. Yes, but to who will the confident women going about her life, not allowing to be shamed into submission by some anony on the internet for example, express her demure side to? The man whom she respects and admires as masculine. To him she will be feminine, but to all else, they are unproven.

    9. "Yes, you are LESS ambitious, LESS witty, LESS assertive; but why think of these changes in negative terms? "

      Because they're negative changes! Women ARE intelligent, ambitious, funny, loud, know what they want and freely express it. Why is that masculine? Why do women who express themselves in full capacity have to dial down their personalities to fit a chauvinistic male standard? I get the "don't talk about your career so much, smile, be warm and receptive" thing, but hide your vibrant personality, don't be so funny, keep your opinions to yourself? What kind of woman is that? A boring one in my opinion.

    10. I think that "being less vibrant" "not being funny" and "having zero opinions on anything" was not really the point of Andrew's comment. Guys love vibrant, exuberant, energetic women with a good sense of humor and thoughts of her own. I think what is meant by that sentence is more this:

      Ambitious = ambition for the pure sake of power/money/status
      Witty = sarcastic, caustic, pointed
      Assertive = forceful about your opinions without having the social graces to know when expressing your opinions is a good or bad idea - for example, if I am a Democrat and am at my conservative aunt's house for Thanksgiving dinner, that's not the appropriate time or place to tell her I think she's wrong about healthcare

      Also, consider the following analogy - you get a comment from a guy that says this:
      "So I had a revelation about a few weeks ago...and it pertains almost exactly to this post. I'm a confident 7, kindhearted guy but have always wondered why I'm having such issues with attracting the right type of women when I have such a well-rounded personality. So I started to experiment with how I acted around girls. I became more masculine, I would act more confident, express my opinions more, be more witty and it was crazy how many more girls came flocking to me. It was kind of disheartening though that I had to become this "Mad Men" man to attract more girls. I felt like I was compromising myself, and at times not even being myself because I had to assert myself and make more decisions. I don't want to be a douchebag hedge fund manager, but it seems as though that's what girls want. How do I attract the women I want without compromising myself?"

  15. I have noticed when I interact with guys Im actually attracted to I tone down my commentary, jokes, ect. Its something I do without thinking twice. I would definiely consider myself more ambitious than the average woman, maybe even most men, but I don't bring that into my interactions with other people, espceially guys I like. Mostly because there is no way to convey my goals in life without coming across as "showing off". Also, the guys Im most interested in are very ambitious themselves so what I want to do isnt going to impress them the same way it would another female or a middling/low ambition male, so I just don't bring it up, unless they ask me specifically. If anything it could be seem as trying to one-up them and they will be put off.

    I personally believe ambitous and intelligent men look for intelligence and ambition in their mates to a degree. The problem is many women who have those traits feel the need to showboat and compete with these men. These guys already face stiff competition in their feilds of work and the last thing they want is to compete with a wife/girlfriend. I will admit that I am ambitios and set high goals for myself but I need to turn that off when dealing with men, as it doenst impress them and it can actually turn them off. If I want to attract the right guy for me I have to leave that stuff at the door. Its a compromise Im willing to make.

  16. Also, Im not quite sure I agree that a more dominate female will prefer/naturally be attracted to a more submissive male. Only because I almost never see the reverse being true. Submissive males almost always want feminine women. The problem for them is the women they want most, the hyper-feminine, have an easier time attracting the men all women want, the alpha. For dominate women I think they either luck out and get a very dominant male, or they settle for a more submissive male. Some love and prefer a submissive man but I don't feel many do. In my personal experience all the dominate women who have submissive men seem to be angry and frustrated with these men.

    This has been true for me personally. When I wasn't on top of my beauty/personality/social game I told myself I preferred a more introverted, "geeky", ect man. Well, now that I have improved myself and actually have a shot at the confident/dominate male I realize this kind of guy is most attractive to me. It wasn't until this type of guy showed me attention that I realized this is what I have liked all along. Needless to say my "type" has changed. Go figure.

    1. I'm impressed that you're able to do that, and I'd love to know how. How do you shut off your "masculine mode" when you're done with work and go into "feminine mode?"

    2. Im not an expert or anything but these things have helped me thus far.

      Well for one..I do talk less and become more receptive. Men like to talk about themselves and their passions so I engage them that way. Ask him what his hobbies are and what he likes to do in his spare time. Ask about what he does for a living and does he enjoy it? When asking what he does be careful not to sound gold-diggerish or judgmental. Many women will ask a man what he does just to gauge his earning potential, not out of genuine interest. The less you talk the less trouble you get yourself into. Take a genuine interest in what they like, but don't pretend to love or be an expert in their hobbies if you are not.

      I let them ask me what I like, do for a living, or my goals. I don't just volunteer that information. Leading with accomplishments, if you are a woman, is seen as masculine and unattractive. Kills me to admit that but its true. Im sure all ambitious and intelligent women are proud of themselves, their achievements, and the standards we set for ourselves. However, talking about these things without being prompted is seen as competitive and showy. So just keep it under wraps until he brings it up.

      That's what I can think of off the top of my head. But I will post if anything else comes to mind.

      Also, I just feel there is something in me that makes me assume a more submissive role in the presence of an attractive, masculine man. I don't know what that is. I do believe I am more feminine than masculine at my core, maybe that is it.

    3. I'm a more dominate woman because A)I'm just naturally bossy and B)I was always the oldest and that role just was thrown upon me. And I can absolutely say that I don't want a man more submissive than me. NO WAY. I have always had to be the one taking care of everyone and everything. I want a guy who can take care of me and take charge. I want my man to be a man, not my "child".

    4. I've noticed that I usually let the guy do all the question asking. I answer everything enthusiastically (but I also simplify a lot as not to have to give long explanations) and only once he's all out of questions and there is a silence do I say "So, what about you?"

      I'm not sure if it's the right strategy or not, but it's what happens for me naturally. Also, I find that the way I answer the questions changes depending on the person. Usually I am very modest about my career, but to what degree depends on who is asking me. I guess I subconsciously want to put myself on their level.

  17. I'm with you, and I've experienced that too (becoming more feminine in the presence of an attractive, masculine man).

    How do you watch yourself from becoming simpering, though? I find that, when I'm with an attractive/confident man, I blush more and giggle a little bit more than I normally would (more out of habit than out of intention), but I worry that it comes across as simpering or doe-eyed. Attractive, masculine men already have tons of women fawning all over them, don't they?

    1. "Attractive, masculine men already have tons of women fawning all over them, don't they?"

      Yes we have :)

    2. I don't know.. Thomas, is there anything wrong with being simpering or doe-eyed?

      Acting in a way that shows that you like a guy (giggling/blushing), I don't think makes you seem any less intelligent or interesting. Guys need those kind of signals in order to know its worth pursuing you.

      However, if the guy does gives you signals he's not interested in you, you should probably cut it out or you'll just seem pathetic :P However, if that's the case you never had a chance anyway... so it doesn't really matter.

    3. Hi Sally,
      "Is there anything wrong with being simpering or doe-eyed?"

      Hmm, I'm not too sure actually. One thing for sure is that attractive, masculine men know that they have plenty of options. There are no 'hidden gems' out there who are attractive but don't realize it. If you meet a guy who seems like that then he's playing game to cloak his confidence.

      I know whenever I talk to very attractive women I keep reminding myself to speak to her exactly the same as if she was a girl who I wasn't very keen on. So I imagine it's the same for women. I.e. you have to treat attractive men exactly as you would the men you're not keen on, for him to treat you as an equal and a potential partner.

    4. So...if those men know they can date tons of attractive women, what is it about any one attractive woman in particular that you feel sets her apart?

    5. Anjali
      "if those men know they can date tons of attractive women, what is it about any one woman in particular that you feel sets her apart?"

      Good question. I'd say it's timing - i.e. whenever he decides it's time to stop dating around and looks for a relationship he will pick the most attractive and feminine woman he can.

      I know this is a depressing answer because you have no control over the outcome. This only applies to the most attractive and masculine guys though.

    6. If you are hanging on a guy's every word before he's even shown any interest, then it would make you seem like too easy of a win. I know some girls who develop crushes on every hot guy they meet, and are really obvious about it. They get all shy and blush a lot, and I can see how that's totally a turn off. It's the element of being at least a little bit "hard to get" that adds to your attractiveness. It's OK to show that you're interested (you can laugh at his jokes, be enthusiastic in the way you talk to him) but you have to show that you have options, too. He's not THAT special.

      However, once the guy shows interest in you, and has "chased" you to some degree (meaning you've hung out multiple times) THEN you can be as doting as you want. Blushing and giggling is totally fine. He'll be flattered and feel good when he's around you. This means he's gotten to the first level of "winning" you.

    7. @Thomas - It basically sounds like dating a guy who's 27-29 is a good bet then, even if I'm only 22 or 23.

      @Sally - good insight!

    8. Anjali, regarding age, that's what Andrew said in this post:

      However, I guess it depends on what you want out of the relationship. If you want a boyfriend for the moment, date guys in your age range. If you want someone to settle down with, go for older guys. The younger ones won't be ready for that (of course it depends on the culture.. I'm assuming you're talking about American or Occidental guys.)

    9. Anjali
      "it basically sounds like dating a guy who's 27-29 is a good bet then, even if I'm only 22 or 23."

      Not a bad idea - although attractive men who are 27-29 and want a girlfriend are probably the most highly sought-after group of men - they can choose women from 20 to 35. They also have a bit of experience too. Luckily for you attractive 23-year old women are probably the most sought-after group of women too.

      It's not much a matter of age because different men want different things. Some attractive guys like to play until they're in their 30's and even longer. Other guys are serial monogamists.

      It's a matter of being able to distinguish between the attractive guys who just want to sleep with you and guys who want relationships.

  18. I think that we show different sides of ourselves to different people:
    - With your child, you're your "mommy" self
    - with your boss, you are your "subordinate" self
    - with those who report to you, you're your "boss" self.
    - With your mother, you're your "mom's daughter" self
    - with your father, you're your "daddy's daughter" self
    - with your younger sister, you're your "older sister" self
    - with your older brother, you're your "younger sister" self

    ...Would you argue that each of those selves that you show to those people are making you "compromise" yourself or make you "less" of yourself in some way? I don't think so. You're showing the side of yourself that is most appropriate with the audience. Would you show your "mommy self" to your "boss"? No.

    So why would any of you question showing your most feminine self to men you want to attract? How is doing that being any less you than when you're showing your mommy self to your child or your daddy's little girl self to your dad?

    Wouldn't showing your best feminine self be the most effective way of showing a man the "woman" you are? Men are looking for "women" not versions of themselves with boobs and long hair.

    Know what your own feminine strengths are and make sure you show the best of those strengths when around men. Yes, that means not talking about your achievements and goals. (Receptiveness) Yes, that means listening to him talk about his passions (admiration). Yes, that means smiling at him with warmth (radiance). You're NOT being LESS you when you let your feminine side out.

    You're being the BEST you to achieve your objective. Attracting men, so that YOU have the option of filtering him out. If they don't come to you, you have nothing to select from.

    To paraphrase Chris Rock, "Men are only as faithful as their options" -- I would say "Women are only as attractive as the options they attract."

  19. A-fucking-men! Great post, Andrew!

  20. First time commenter here! Interesting post Andrew.

    I think that for women the key is to not be afraid of allowing whatever amount of natural femininity they have to shine through. Some women are definitely more feminine than others. I do believe, however, that feminine aspects exist within all women. If a woman is not ashamed to show whatever feminine aspects that she possesses, an increase in male attention would follow (especially from men who crave femininity).

    I definitely have a lot of masculine aspects to my personality, but I also have a significant amount of femininity. I've found that half the battle of attracting men involves being open about whatever femininity I posses. It isn't unnatural for me because it's a part of my personality that I accept and claim as my own. If I were to try to be feminine in ways that were inauthentic to me, I would probably become very frustrated. I'd rather just play up my natural feminine aspects instead of playing a part that I'm not meant to. I think a lot of women would have better results by playing up whatever natural feminine aspects they do posses, no matter how insignificant they may think such qualities are.

    1. Any examples in your case what would be a "natural" feminine aspect vs. an "unnatural" one?

    2. For me, here is small list that I can think of.

      Some of my natural aspects of femininity:

      -I have a very feminine manner of dress/appearance. I love clothing with ribbons, bows, lace, and flowing fabrics. I dress in such clothing because it feels natural to me, and it's what I prefer. I also love playing around with makeup, so my physical appearance is very feminine as well.

      -I'm very nurturing towards ill people. I wanted to be a doctor for awhile, but I'm currently working towards becoming a therapist. I found that whenever any of my boyfriends were sick or ailing, in the past, I instinctively wanted to be by their sides to tend to them.

      -I have good manners/social graces. I tend to act in a fashion that could be considered "elegant".

      -I love arts and crafts/sewing/knitting. I once mended the hems of some of my ex-boyfriends shirts by sewing them by hand. He was very impressed with the gesture.

      Some unnatural aspects of femininity, for me:

      - Cooking (I'm not the greatest cook, and I would say that I only have minimal to moderate levels of interest in learning how to cook better.)

      -Having children (I'm ambivalent about ever having children. I don't have a very strong natural maternal instinct.)

      -Passive humor (I'd consider myself witty, and my sense of humor has been known to rub some people the wrong way.)

      -Submission (I generally don't like it when people tell me what to do, men included. The only places I would consider myself to be somewhat submissive would be the bedroom and the office.)

    3. You know, Andrew wasn't that clear what exactly he defines as being "feminine." I guess he was mostly talking about the aspects of femininity that are apparent upon first meeting someone.

      Luckily the cooking and children topics probably won't come up on the first date. But the humor and "submissive" factors, maybe. Although I don't think being feminine necessarily means being submissive. Not dominating doesn't necessarily mean submitting does it?

    4. I think the best thing a woman can do so as not to be submissive but not dominating either is simply expressing her desires and allowing the man or men in her life to fulfill them. That sounds better than always going along with what he wants and letting him be the shot caller in the relationship. Most men love pleasing women and are eager to hear what they want. That sounds pretty winning to me.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. "That sounds better than always going along with what he wants and letting him be the shot caller in the relationship. Most men love pleasing women and are eager to hear what they want."

      Yes and no. Most men love to be in charge, so let them call the shots on things that you're not passionate about. On things you ARE passionate about, you can be assertive, they will respect your passion, as long as you're not domineering about it. Pick your battles; if you're constantly fighting for control over something, then maybe you're not compatible, so end the relationship--and the constant fighting makes issues great and small have the same value...So only fight on the deal-breaker stuff. If it's a to-may-to / to-mah-to thing, just let him have his way. It's part of being feminine and receptive.

      Men love to make their women happy. But they don't want to be constantly "working" at making them happy (e.g., no demands, no drama, no tears, etc., from to get a man to do what you want to make you happy) -- Men want to know that who they are AS THEY ARE make you happy. That how they do what they do makes you happy. If you feel you have to always correct him to make you happy, then you're making HIM unhappy and your relationship will suffer. You start in on trying to change them "for the better" or "to suit you" and he is not going to be too keen on pleasing you. The exception being in bed...and even then a well-timed moan or whimper will do your relationship more good than actually verbalizing, "Honey, a little more to the left." ;)

  21. Since many women here seem to see femininity as a negative thing and are outraged by the suggestion that women tap into their feminine energies, I'll throw in my 2 cents.

    I want to avoid the semantics for a moment to describe what I see as the "big picture essence" of femininity. Each woman is different and her femininity is not the same as another woman's. That said, some common themes I feel (figuratively, not literally):

    It is the force of life. The masculine energy is about destroying things, killing things, conquering things, but the feminine energy is about creating things and bringing life to things. That manifests itself in so many different ways, whether it's literally creating life and having a child, gardening or cultivating plants, caring for a pet, painting, writing, singing, coming up with new ideas in whatever career field she works in, or decorating her office or home so that it's beautiful.

    That's why "radiance" and "compassion" are so often mentioned as feminine qualities. A radiant woman spreads life and light and joy with everyone around her - she makes other people's lives lighter, she makes people smile, she herself smiles often. She fundamentally sees life as beautiful and sweet and wants to add her beauty and sweetness to it. She touches people with her vibrant, infectious energy. She appreciates aesthetics. She is empathetic and tries to understand what other people are feeling, she feels with them, and she is genuinely interested in alleviating their pain in any way she can.

    Now, if that's the core essence of femininity, someone tell me what's so bad about that? Why does being MORE of those things mean being LESS?

    1. Why is masculine energy "destroying?

      I have an interest in Jungian Psychological Types, most often referred to as MBTI, and what you describe sounds like Extroverted women who prefer Feeling (ESFJ, ENFJ, ESFP & ENFP). These women make up a large chunk of the female population, so no wonder their energy is the prototype for feminine.

      Many women are also NOT those types though. What of the Introverted Thinking women? What if she creates in the realm of science or philosophy? What if she cultivates amazing theories that benefit her fellow humans?
      Such women are unlikely to have a radiant energy. They are not usually warm or nurturing in the common uses of these words. Is this woman unlovable then, doomed to being unattractive?

      I think your view really invalidates individuality. So many people NATURALLY do not fit these narrow molds of "masculine" or "feminine". That is why movements were born to recognize their preferences & needs to begin with.

      FYI, I say this as a woman who has more of a "feminine" demeanor over all.

  22. i am feeling a bit distressed as a man has invited me to dinner @ his place followed by a movie and it is our 4th date. i am not comfortable at this stage and have worded a message back to him along the lines of:

    "i do like the idea of cooking because its something i love to do, and the idea of snuggling up to a movie after would feel good too, but i would feel more comfortable if we spent time together that gets us out and about for the next little while. how do you feel about that? "

    although one might say it is assumptive, from our time together we have very nice chemistry and my feeling is that he would like to explore our physical aspect, where as i am looking to learn more about emotional first- should i mention this or wait to do it in person?

    ****the message has not been sent yet****

    i am looking for feedback as to asserting my boundaries in a feminine way? when i see him next in person i plan to let him know that i am only willing to become sexually intimate with a man when i am in an exclusive monogamous relationship. this will be intertwined into our friendly and conversation. is it also fair to let him know that i am dating other men and would like to see how we progress and if either of us sees a potential for long-term?

    1. thefemaleperspectiveMarch 6, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Have you thought about still cooking for him and then suggesting to go out and see a movie in the theaters after dinner? You can hint a movie that's only playing in theaters that you've been dying to see. This way you take out the awkwardness of having to sound assumpitve. If you don't feel comfortable being physical just yet, no harm in verbally expressing this. You're not compromising your feminine power by saying 'no, not yet' If he truly is interested in you, he'll respect your wishes and know you're a woman of good caliber.

  23. thank-you tfp, perhaps it would be good to qualify my assumption by saying i'm not comfortable going to a mans home so early in getting to know him?

    is it o.k to ask him how he feels about it as i have written? or just leave it there as a statement and see how he responds... again trying to navigate new relationship waters. thanks! :))

    1. thefemaleperspectiveMarch 6, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      I would keep it short sweet and simple. If you don't feel comfortable going over to his place just say that, don't necessarily have to be long-winded or have a big discussion about it. I'm sure he'll get the hint. Last person I was in a relationship with I let him know I didn't want to be physical until I just felt ready and he said "you're worth the wait". That's all I needed to be assured and that's the only conversation we had. Short, to the point, and no pressure. If he brings it up again and probes with more questions, you can go into detail. Good luck:)

    2. Keep things light. It's only your fourth date. Be happy and cheery and suggest an alternative plan. You don't have to make it complicated just yet.

      Your original suggested message isn't bad. But I'd simplify it more. "I'd love to hang out, but how about if we go out to dinner?"

      He'll get the idea. No need to spell it out for him.

      Anyway -- let us know what happens!

    3. thank-you for the feedback!!!!

      i sent the message last night, it was pretty clear and up-front that i wasn't comfortable spending time in a mans home so early in getting to know him, but that there was a movie out that i would like to see...

      he responded with "it's o.k, i understand. i only wanted to suggest a way of meeting up where we could talk more and cuddle in a quiet environment. which movie would you like to go see and when would suit you best? looking forward to seeing you and getting to know you better"

      when i see him i will let him know that i am most interested in finding out if we have potential for something long-term at this stage and that i won't be physically intimate until i am in an exclusive relationship. I am 36 and he is 30- i want to make sure we are both on similar life paths... i would like children in the next few years as well as marriage. its tricky talking about it up-front, its early so i want to have fun but also establish my needs in going forward.

  24. thank-you! i will keep it simple and follow up with a movie out that i really do want to see! if he is deserving of me, he will prove that. and if not then better to know now ;)

  25. What I don't really understand is why many men's concept of their masculinity seems to be so dependent on women's femininity? A lot of men just seem to have very fragile egos especially when dealing with women. They seem to take great offense at something a woman says something that they perceive to be a slight or "emasculating" even when the woman did not intend for that at all. And even if these same men would laugh or just shrug off the same comments coming from other men. I don't get it. I would think that if a man were truly confident in his worth as a man and his masculinity, then his confidence and self-worth would almost always remain firmly intact, regardless of what women (or other men) say or do.

    1. "I would think that if a man were truly confident in his worth as a man and his masculinity, then his confidence and self-worth would almost always remain firmly intact, regardless of what women (or other men) say or do."

      You're right, and they would, but who IS truly confident?

      (Nice commment. Would be curious to know who you are. Can you comment using a name next time?)

    2. This is kind of like saying that "real women" never EVER get hurt or offended by a man's comment that EVEN KIND OF suggests that she isn't beautiful. Every girl is guilty of it once in a while. Consider the following example:

      Girl: How does this dress look on me?
      Guy: It looks fine.
      Girl: "It looks fine?????" Oh my God, you must think I don't look attractive enough in it.
      Guy: What? I said it looked fine - how could you take that to mean I don't find you attractive?
      (Clearly, what the girl wanted was for his eyes to light up looking at her for him to tell her she looked exquisite, not just "fine." She also wouldn't have been NEARLY as offended if his comment had come from one of her girlfriends.)

      I mean, I guess a woman who is truly confident in her worth as a woman and her beauty would maintain that confidence and beauty fully intact, regardless of what a man says about her appearance, but let's face it - we're human, and sometimes we feel hurt if the man insinuates that we're not desirable.

    3. Yeah we are all vulnerable on some level. I try not to ask questions which will be a trap for the guy to mess up. And I make mistakes with that too, thinking friends want honesty. Sometimes all you want to hear is "you look great" and to leave it at that. I'm actually kind of desensitized to men calling me beautiful, because I've heard it from too many creeps who say it to anyone with a vagina. It almost offends me because I automatically think that the guy is lying.

    4. Anon 9:58
      I agree with the masculinity concept, but I'm not sure if that's the point. It implies that men are only attracted to femininity as long as it makes them feel more masculine / confirms their masculinity. Although it's a big part of it, a lot of a woman's femininity is appealing because 1) it signalizes fertility and nurturing skills and 2) it is different from what he is accustomed to, or "exotic".
      It's like those women saying women are threatened by their intelligence/career/wit or ambition. Although it is probably sometimes the case, I think it just as often is irrelevant - they don't feel like less of a man, they are just not interested. Most men have way more testosterone than the average woman. It takes a lot for a woman to be more of a man than a man is, at the core.

    5. "It takes a lot for a woman to be more of a man than a man is, at the core."

      Yes I agree. Unfortunately due to my own past behaviour, I know how to undermine a man's masculinity and have done accidentally in the past. It wasn't anything obviously brutal. I would undermine these men by trying to outwit them and probably getting too involved in certain parts of their lives (like how they dress, what they eat etc). Now I'm quite conscious of this 're-modelling' aspect. I try only to date men for whom I feel a great deal of respect for as a man. If I don't feel this, I know it isn't right. I don't believe a man should have to prove himself to me. It isn't right if it seems that the guy is the type to willingly let me change him.

      And I don't know if this blog addresses the question but what is the limit of 're-modelling' a woman can do in a man's life? I always wonder about this because I'm so interested in fashion and design and want to show men I date how to dress better or style their interiors. I don't know how to do that without coming across as intrusive. Unfortunately my driven nature rather intrudes onto other people.

      Anyway I am sure I'm derailing the discussion just a wee bit.

    6. Lucy: Like you, I care about fashion and design, although I have never dated a man whom I felt needed help or improvement in those areas.
      I don't think men mind in general women who help them out. A guy I know often says (when told he's looks good), "my girlfriend knows how to dress me up!". You're right that it requires a confident man though.
      I think the clue, whether you're dealing with men or women really, is to just keep it positive. As in, "I'd love to see more of that colour on you" or "curtains like that would look great in your apartment". Don't try to sneakily change things, simply buy stuff for him or criticize.

      I do think it is a bit weird if you constantly go for men you try to change though. Men don't look for "fixer uppers" in women - they go for the girls who already have made themselves look good, have cute apartments and a good lifestyle. And I think they assume women look for the same in men. You should fall in love with the man he is. Maybe you're just afraid of going for what you really want or a man who appears to be high status, so you rather choose one of a lower league and try to improve him yourself. Most women want a man who's better than themselves, but you seem to either compete or try to change them.

    7. Lucy,
      "What is the limit of 're-modelling' a woman can do in a man's life."

      As Anonymous 5:04 said it's safe to assume that the limit is zero. Never ever try to change a man. Either accept him as he is, or leave him. These are your only two choices.

    8. @Anon 5: 04 - Yeah you really hit a nerve. I think you're on to something. I need to do something about the fact I tend to go for the 'fixer upper' rather than the guys I'm really very into. It's a confidence issue.

      @Thomas - I know you are right. Thanks for confirming what I thought. I certainly don't want to be the type of woman who wants to change her man.

  26. @ Andrew

    "You're right, and they would, but who IS truly confident?(Nice commment. Would be curious to know who you are. Can you comment using a name next time?"

    Thanks Andrew, in respone to your question about who is truly confident, I'd say there's a lot of people who are. The ones who know what's really important and aren't caught up in things or certain people's opinions that just don't have much relevance to their actual self-worth and confidence. However, at the same time, I do understand that even an authentically confident person will most likely experience self-doubt is they are constantly criticized and never receive positive feedback, however, note that I did say such a person's confidence and self-worth would ALMOST always remain firmly intact. Everyone has vulnerabilities and doubts, but I still believe that the truly confident do not let allow that negativity to interfere with their self-worth and confidence, even if it is challenged by others. I'm think my username will be warriorqueen, what do you think?

    1. I agree with you, but disagree at the same time.

      Where I agree: A person should strive be as confident in their self-worth as they can be and try not to let others' criticisms get to them.

      Where we depart: That said, even if you were the most secure person in the world, I'm guessing you would much prefer being around someone who made you feel good about yourself instead of bad. A man doesn't NEED to tell you you're beautiful for you to be happy, but you'd prefer it (comparatively) to a man who suggested you were less than beautiful. Similarly, a woman doesn't NEED to tell a confident man that she admires and respects him for him to be happy, but he'd prefer it (comparatively) to a woman who suggested he was less than authoritative or in charge.

      It's not about absolutes, per se - it's just about maximizing your chances relative to other women.

    2. (Just some minor editing for clarity's sake)
      However, at the same time, I do understand that even an authentically confident person will most likely experience self-doubt if they are constantly criticized and never receive positive feedback, however, note that I did say such a person's confidence and self-worth would ALMOST always remain firmly intact. When I said always, I meant that occasionally, they might not feel not so great about themselves because everyone has vulnerabilities and doubts, but even in spite of that I still believe that the truly confident do not let allow that negativity to interfere with their overall self-worth and confidence, even if it is challenged by others.

    3. @Ellen Olenska

      To clarify, my posts weren't really arguing what PREFERENCE men and women have for the way others react to them because I think it's obvious that most would want and prefer positive reinforcement. The main point I was trying to make was that people who are truly confident will for the MOST PART feel that way regardless of how others react to them. It may not be easy, but it can and is done by many people.

    4. Agreed, but the point of all of this seems to be to reveal how a woman can maximize her chances with the men she really wants, not to reveal how she can be the kind of woman that men perhaps tolerate. If two women are equally attractive, and one makes the man feel admired, respected, and authoritative while the other one frequently calls into question his masculinity, which one would the man logically choose? Desirable men have options - therefore, instead of saying to ourselves "he can handle it when we do things he doesn't like," maybe we should say to ourselves, "I should do things he likes because it would maximize my chances."

    5. @ellenolenska
      "instead of saying to ourselves "he can handle it when we do things he doesn't like," maybe we should say to ourselves, "I should do things he likes because it would maximize my chances."

      Yes, that's a good point, however it's not the one I was trying to make. I wasn't arguing that women should be able to do things that men don't like by virtue of the fact that they can handle it. Nor was I trying to suggest that a woman should not try to make a man feel "admired, respected and authoritive," my point, as mentioned before, was that so many men's sense of their self-confidence and masculinity seems to be very dependent on whether or not they can gain a woman's approval. And I believe that their masculinity and confidence is what they can and should already possess, and perhaps a woman's positive reinforcement can enhance that, but ultimately, his sense of self-worth and confidence should already be within him. As integral a part of his identity as his name or origins, and not something that can so easily be taken away.

  27. This is one point that I constantly struggle to understand. I don't understand why and how being witty, being well spoken and able to hold a debate, and eventually driven in pursuing something that you feel passionate about are considered "masculine" qualities. I consider those to be gender free personal qualities, in that they don't contribute to make someone more masculine or feminine.

    Yet what this woman experienced is something I notice constantly. The women who attract the most men and eventually find themselves very easily in long term relationships are those who have no opinion on their own, would most of the time listen and agree, laugh easily, and very rarely have some project they're eager to realize.
    Maybe it's because men find it easier to project what they're looking for in a woman on such women. But overall I ca't find any reason explaining why things are such.

    Feminity does lie in passivity, meaning that you're not the one who should lead within a relationship. But it is also much more than just laying back, going with the flow and, well, just be.
    Feminity is mostly about being patient, nurturing, kind, compassionate and understanding.

    I do feel like the idea of feminity nowadays is one widely spread by the media where women are pretty faces on heels, who smiles a lot, but don't have a true character of their own.

    1. I used to make that essentialism argument too ("Why are aggressiveness, confidence, decisiveness, and authoritativeness necessarily masculine qualities? Many women possess those qualities!")

      But then I came to the answer - that criticism sort of misses the point of all of this advice, which is the following: you attract your complement, not your clone. I could just as easily call confidence, decisiveness, and authoritativeness "apple" qualities instead of "masculine" qualities just to denote the existence of a category. I could also just as easily call warmth, receptiveness, and radiance "banana" qualities instead of "feminine" qualities. The point is just to distinguish sets of traits from each other without necessarily saying that "apple = male" and "banana = female." People (men or women) with apple qualities will be attracted to people (men or women) with banana qualities. They complement each other.

      BUT if you are a woman who WANTS to be with a man with more apple characteristics, it behooves you to cultivate more banana characteristics so as to be more appealing to him. If you want a man with more banana traits, though, then feel free to display more of your apple traits. It's a question of complementing a man instead of being exactly the same as that man.

    2. I see what you're saying. I like the fact that I can hold a debate. I like an intellectual challenge and if that makes me less attractive to the majority of men then so be it. I don't claim to be hugely intelligent but I'm not two-dimensional either. Like you, I'll take quality over quantity. For example, when I know I'm right, I never back down out of dignity and principle. Maybe that isn't feminine? Who knows? I'm not saying I pick arguments about trivia, but want to take a stand on something important. It's amazing how many men I've come across who expect me to acquiesce immediately to their point of view. From time to time, I consider whether that might be a turn off but it's not something I'm prepared to change because it would run contrary to my character and values.

      I agree with you about how the media represents femininity. I'm troubled by the fact there is a flip side to character aspects we're meant to convey - that we're meant to be effortlessly beautiful but we're constantly confronted with images of perfection. I see that I'm meant to be sensual but chaste. Feminists disagree about what's 'feminine' so anything I or another woman does can be pitched as 'unfeminine'.

      This blog gets a lot of criticism here from people who think the posts are anti-feminist. But that's just one side of the coin. You could be a die-hard feminist and be a sweetheart at the same time - it all depends on how you choose to define 'feminine' (i.e. how does behaviour relate to values?). Relating the 'feminine' to what is 'masculine' is another concept as well. A woman could be more passive with her man, but more active and 'masculine' in a work environment. This advice does not have to be undermining to the act of being a strong woman. It is all relative.

    3. I certainly think it's possible to feminine and a feminist at the same time. Feminism is such a huge umbrella term that it means so many different things, at this point, to so many different people. Here's how I interpret feminism:

      A. Women should have the freedom to make whatever choices they want about how to live their lives, as long as their choices are not harming other people and as long as they are happy with the consequences of their choices.
      B. Women, therefore, don't have the right to judge each other for making choices that are different from the ones they personally are making. A stay-at-home mom has no right to judge a career woman, and a career woman has no right to judge a stay-at-home mom. Each woman is just doing what she feels is best for her life. There is no "right choice" or "wrong choice."

      So, it's completely possible to fit those two criteria and still be feminine because tapping into your feminine energies is a CHOICE. The stay-at-home mom in this example could very well be a feminist just because she respects the career woman's right the choose her own manner of living, even if it's not the choice she herself would personally make. As long as you're happy with the choice and it's not hurting anyone, go for it.

    4. What if a woman were feminine, nurturing, warm, vivacious, supportive AND strong, independent, ambitious, intelligent, funny, clever, witty, etc, Would some men still believe that her so-called "masculine" traits even cancel out her very feminine ones? I believe it's possible for a man to be strong, protective, dominant, but also caring, kind and nurturing. For example, I, along with many other women, would never think that a man who helps his wife around the house or with child care as any less manly or masculine, so why would a man think a woman to be any less feminine if she has traits that are considered masculine, even if those masculine traits are positive and beneficial?

    5. Yeah, I think this creates false dichotomies. People are more nuanced than this.

  28. Gender differences:

  29. I am not sure if you have addressed "birthdays" before.
    I have been dating a guy on and off for a few months. Some of the time I've been traveling, and we have been for dinners and drinks, but unfortunately I've had to decline a few times he's asked me out. I have initiated once to a positive response, but don't want to do it too much. We are a bit in between now - however I do feel quite certain of his interest in me. Both from his behavior and the fact that he's talked about me to friends.
    His birthday is coming up in not too long. I am interested in him, even if I haven't expressed that clearly enough before. What do I do on his bday? If we haven't spoken in a few days, just drop him a text? Call? I have him on facebook, and I know he follows up on me, and I've heard from experience that guys like receiving messages on their timeline from attractive girls. So do I leave him a message there, like everybody else?

    So in my scenario - or in general - what is the appropriate reaction to a guy's birthday?

  30. Someone here said they did not understand how having an opinion and arguing well etc. was masculine and made you less feminine. I would say it is mostly about how you do it. The blogs of Stingray and Spacetraveller are good examples of women that write insightful but in a feminine way.

    The point definitively gets across but it is softer and rounder.

  31. Hi Andrew,

    I came across this blog post and wondered if it's a good example of the kind of behaviour you are talking about:

    At least, it'd indicative of something I've experienced - that it isn't always a good idea to listen to your friends' advice about men. Not sure if this was the right place to post this but I thought you'd enjoy the article.

    - Lu

    1. Lucy,

      Not exactly. The post you linked to talks about being honest about why you are upset with "men in general" and reeling in the emotions that result from that attitude (whatever its causes). Here in this post I am talking about recognizing that being more feminine only seems like a bad thing if you define strengths in entirely masculine terms.

  32. Andrew or somebody, preferably a male reader- Some men are very masculine and RESERVED, as in they don't say much on a date because being communicative is generally a feminine trait, and they don't emote very much. I'm very attracted to this type, but I can never feel the way I want to feel around them. When they're reserved, I am more chatty than demure, ask more questions and feel like I'm leading the conversation, which I hate. This makes me feel masculine and not at all sexy or even comfortable. I feel very feminine and attractive around men who are more communicative, but I'm not attracted to those men. I win those guys over easily but always strike out with the reserved types, and it's not because I'm intimidated by them or am playing out of my league. The reserved type just brings out the masculine "leader" quality in me, which throws off the male-female dynamic that Andrew talks about. It kills the chemistry. How do I overcome this? Do I suffer awkward silences or is there a more winning way to present myself around this type so I can be in my feminine without being boring? I really want to get it right.

  33. Thank you for your great post! I love the way you explain that masculinity and femininity deeply crave certain characteristics from the opposite sex... I myself used to deny that there even existed masculine and feminine energy, stupidly thinking that men's and women's minds work in the same way... but now I realize that is only because we live in a society driven heavily by masculinity... we get praised for our education and work achievements, how "strong" and "independent" we can be, simultaneously and unconsciously becoming more self centered and rigid.
    But then I met my current fiancee who is a man with such an intense masculine energy that I had to revisit my own femininity to have a shot at making our relationship work... now many people nowadays would read that completely wrong, misunderstanding the word "femininity." No, I have not become some airhead or dumbed myself down. What I have done is learn the meaning of surrender, and acknowledging the vulnerability that is simply the core of my being. And there is ironically an incredible feeling of freedom, lightness, radiance, euphoria, and power, even ecstasy, (NOT restraint in the very least), that comes with this acknowledgement. There also comes a deeper understanding of my other half and his needs as a masculine man.
    I wish that more men would speak up about this issue which most people in the Western world seem to be blind to! I say men because most women unaware of this will feel hateful towards other women with these views, while they might be more inspired to listen to a male if they are struggling in that area.
    I feel like there is so much blame put on the men for failed relationships when the fact is women don't even make an effort to understand them and how they are different! I just remember so many girls and women in my life having conversations about how men are insensitive and so much immature than women and they cheat etc etc. But rather than complaining, why not change ourselves in order to inspire the men in our lives to be nurturing, loving, faithful, etc? If you don't know how to inspire it, read about it, and more importantly experiment - you will find it is very real!!
    As you said in this post, masculine is not better than feminine or vice versa... both are needed in the world, although these days it is definitely easier and more "practical" to be more on the masculine side.

  34. Lucy, I'm an INFJ too and I feel really similar to you. it's annoying I seem to often attract men who are similar to me rather than polarizing my feminine energy,. They feel more like friends than potential romantic partners. I also agree that people mistakenly equate introversion with not being social.

    I believe we INFJ have a lot of natural traditionally feminine traits but men my age these days want extraverted women who are more "out there", witty, potty mouthed, super assertive and with more masculine traits...Pretty much contrasting all this post by Andrew says. So it boggles my mind when I come across the blogs such as this stating men want women who are more like me. Where are those men? lol

  35. What makes you think that men want women who are super assertive and masculine?

    I think what you'll find when you stop and think about it is that the women who are that way are also hot. And it's the hotness men like, not the masculinity.

    1. Hi Andrew, it's because in my surroundings the men I know in my age group fall for women who are more assertive than myself (and at times even aggressive) and other women I know. And not all of these more assertive women are "hot" by societal standards. Maybe these men are just more feminine in their energy than masculine guys.

      Plus a ton of modern dating advice stresses that women should be witty, proactive and assertive. Perhaps their intent is to encourage women to be flirtatious, and to have boundaries but they stress assertiveness in women a lot.


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  37. Andrew, does talking less make a women seem more feminine? Should women talk less and the man be the one talking more?

    1. Absolutely not. Some of the most feminine girls I know are huge extroverts.


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