Manolith, a men’s lifestyle online magazine, recently ran the article 20 Reasons You’re Still Single. I was delighted to learn that there are apparently a significant number of men who want a relationship and need advice. The piece addresses a wide range of typical male weaknesses, including questionable hygiene, douchebaggery and being “too nice.”
One of the premises of Hooking Up Smart is that in general, men are more interested in sexual variety than women, and therefore less interested in committed relationships. Individual preferences fall within a spectrum, but current relationship and cultural dynamics can be said to favor the male. Women need to be smart and strategic if they want to secure and maintain a satisfying relationship.
Many contributing factors have created “hookup culture,” where physical intimacy precedes emotional intimacy, which may or may not develop. While the odds may be against committed relationships, there are some happy couples to be seen around. Even at college, that Happy Hookup Hunting Ground, you see couples walking hand in hand. It happens.
Is it a matter of luck? Right place, right time? Or are there women who have a knack for bringing out the boyfriend in guys? None of us can control luck or timing. We can present our best physical selves by taking care of ourselves and taking pride in our appearance, but we can’t mess (much) with the genetic hand we’ve been dealt. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that we can control our behavior, and that can change everything! I’m not suggesting that you change to get yourself a man. I’m suggesting that there are certain behaviors that men, as well as discriminating women, find unattractive. In fact, there are certain behaviors that actually telegraph that you are not relationship material. Becoming aware of those behaviors, and getting rid of them, can be very powerful in changing the way that you are perceived.
My 20 tough love reasons for why you don’t have a boyfriend:
1. You’re needy. You met him last weekend, he texted a few times, and now you just won’t leave the guy alone. You went from 0 to 60 in a few days. You’re already planning for next weekend. This is probably the #1 behavior that gets girls labeled psycho in the early days.
2. You like players. You say you want a nice guy, but you fall for the same lines again and again. You can’t resist the bad boys, the ones who have dumped on other women. You think that you will be different, that nabbing a player will validate your feminine powers. But the player always wins, because the player always walks.
3. You’re a princess. You want a man who will proclaim to the world that he is whipped as butter. He will worship the very ground you walk on. Trouble is, the only men who will happily inhabit a one-down position in a relationship have no balls. Do you really want a guy who will eagerly go to a bunch of chick flicks with you? Wouldn’t you rather accompany him to Transformers from time to time?
4. You flirt too much. Flirting is an essential skill in any woman’s toolkit. It is meant to indicate to a guy that you are singling him out for special attention because you are attracted to him. If you flirt like crazy with every Y chromosome you encounter, it loses its effectiveness, and makes you seem “not very choosy.” Also, if you are spending time with a guy but can’t stand the idea of hiding your light under a bushel, he is not going to appreciate your flirting with other men. It makes him look and feel less manly, and awakens unwelcome feelings of jealousy.
5. You’re not in the game. If you’re shy, reserved, or aloof, you are not approachable. Many beautiful women are ignored by guys because the odds of rejection are too high. You also telegraph likely rejection if you hold back. If you find a guy attractive, meet him halfway by signaling your interest with eye contact and a smile. If you know him, pay him some attention.
6. You’re too picky. You want a guy who is well-educated, financially successful, handsome, funny, witty, generous, blah blah blah. You want a 10. Get realistic. How about well-educated, funny and generous? Or handsome and witty, but a poet, i.e. broke? Perhaps financially successful, generous and fun to be with, but never went to college? Keep an open mind when you’re sizing up men. Allow yourself to find the good.
7. You’re a Girl Gone Wild. Stop dancing on tabletops when you’re drunk. In fact, stop getting drunk. Drunk is ugly. No one, male or female, ever became more attractive when they got drunk (beer goggles just fool you into thinking they did). When you are drunk, you say and do foolish things. Step away from the beer pong table. If you wouldn’t do it sober…then you really don’t want to do it at all.
8. You’re ditzy. I once knew a very smart woman who exclaimed at a frat party that she thought Mt. Rushmore was a natural phenomenon. I don’t know why some women love to get all girly and giggly. I suppose it makes them feel sexier, a la Marilyn Monroe. If you’re with a guy who wants his women stupid, you need a new guy. Lose the simpering act.
9. You’re a Mean Girl. Seriously, stop being a bitch. I’ve heard guys speak in awe (and fear) of mean girls, but Chuck Bass is the only guy I’ve ever seen who really wanted to love one, and he’s fictitious. Sometimes, guys want to get with mean girls because they’re powerful, but that relationship isn’t about love.
10. You’re high maintenance. You always feel slighted. He’s always saying and doing the wrong thing. Your feelings are constantly hurt, and he is constantly apologizing. Fighting all the time can be rewarding in the short-term, because it amps up the sexual tension for makeup sex, but ultimately it’s a total boner-killer.
11. You’re aggressive. You act like one of the guys. You pursue, make moves, call the shots. You say that you’re a liberated woman, so you can grab whatever cock grabs your fancy. That will get you laid, but try to remember that it’s the male of the species that got the big dose of testosterone. That male is biologically programmed to seek his complementary opposite – which includes a much larger dose of estrogen. You can be strong, independent, and very, very female.
12. You’re self-absorbed. You talk about yourself all the time. You talk about your ex all the time. You cry on his shoulder all the time when you don’t get what you want. You’re not really giving. You’re not emotionally engaged in a caring and generous way. If you’re not curious about him; if you are not hungry for details about who he is and what he’s into, then maybe he’s the wrong guy. Or maybe you’re the wrong girl.
13. You’re a homebody. You’re not out there meeting new people every day. You are not going through each day looking to interact with and smile at attractive and approachable people. And by the way, get off the cell phone. The adorable guy behind you in line at Starbucks can’t say hi if you’re on your phone, plus he’s hearing you sound like a complete idiot with your BFF.
14. You’re too hard to get. Yes, everyone likes a challenge. No one likes eager or desperate. But employing “The Rules” or some other silly tactic is just going to leave you solo. If he asks you out spontaneously for tonight, that’s a real invitation. If you are interested, accept. A guy’s suggesting a plan on the spur of the moment is not him treating you badly. It’s him expressing an interest in spending time with you. (Obviously, do the opposite of what I say here if it’s a booty call situation.)
15. Your number is too high. OK, fine, you don’t want any guy who cares about how many people you’ve slept with. Problem is….that’s most guys. You don’t have to tell anyone your personal data. Just be aware that when you’re making the rounds within a certain community or group of friends, word gets out fast. I don’t think there has ever, ever been a guy who got laid and didn’t tell anyone about it afterwards. If your number is high and that fact is well known, you have every right to find a new pack of males and revirginate reinvent yourself.
16. You’re flaky. A plan is a commitment. Don’t blow someone off when something better comes along. Don’t ditch him because your friend “really needs you.” Don’t double book yourself. Don’t be late. Don’t get drunk and not show. Women constantly complain that men aren’t reliable, but I’ve seen plenty of women flake out on guys.
17. You’re materialistic. You know what? The best dates are cheap dates. In fact, I think the best dates I ever had were actually free dates. Cooking together. Hanging out. Taking a long walk. I met my husband in graduate school, and he was dead broke. He was paying his own way and had very little money. We’d only been together a month or so when my birthday rolled around. He gave me very inexpensive fun earrings, but what I remember is the card he made. All it said on it was: Head Over Heels. That was the best birthday gift ever.
18. You’re scared. You’ve been burned before. You are understandably wary. This leads you to be withholding. He puts it out there, lays it on the line, and you just can’t reciprocate. You really like him, but you just don’t want to get hurt again. This means he knows up front that he will be the one to get hurt. No guy will stick around to watch that happen. You’ve got to find a way forward. There is no love for any of us without considerable risk, so do what you need to do to work through it.
19. You’re rigid. You have plans for Saturday night, but his buddies are going to a game that night, would Friday be OK? You say, “No, you made plans with me first. And Saturday is date night.” He picks you up and mentions that one of his friends and his gf will be joining the two of you for dinner, if that’s OK. It’s not. You’re miffed that you two won’t be having a night alone. He wants to go to the party, you don’t. You grudgingly agree to go and stay for an hour. After an hour, you want to leave, he’s having a great time. You let him know that an hour’s up and it’s time to leave RIGHT NOW. Being rigid is largely about asserting control. That’s never a winning relationship tactic.
20. You’re a pushover. You put up with all kinds of crap. You allow yourself to be booty called and stood up. You allow him to tease you in a not-affectionate way (comments about your weight come to mind). You allow him to pick fights, and then forgive him for flirting or hooking up with another girl in the two hours you were broken up. If you do not respect yourself, he certainly isn’t going to respect you, and your value in his eyes will tank.
Full disclosure? I’ve been guilty of at least six of these relationship killers, possibly all at the same time. Most of us can relate to at least a couple of them. If you can’t, ask a close friend to give you an honest assessment.
What I have found in my own life is that becoming aware of my behavior allows me to look at it objectively, and to begin to change, or even just “tweak” it.
Try a new approach, and see what happens. Can’t hurt!