What Women Actually Want: 5 Things Your Girlfriends Are Afraid to Tell You

No. 1: Be good-looking. (Sorry.)

Apr 23, 2014 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

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Gerard Butler: Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.

I read an article that offered "7 Things Every Guy Can Do to Be Perfect For Her." The highlights:

  1. "Honesty -- but not too much of it."
  2. "Understanding -- so that she doesn't feel the need to have to explain herself."
  3. "Caring -- she needs to know she matters to you."
  4. "Strength -- both mental and physical."
  5. "Compassion -- shows her you're capable of loving."
  6. "Security -- financial and literal."
  7. "Blind loyalty -- she wants to be the only woman he has eyes for."

And yet nowhere in there does it say any of the things that women actually talk about to their girlfriends. Name me one time you have ever asked your girlfriend, "Yeah, but how compassionate and blind loyal is he? No, no, no, I don't want to see a picture. Tell me more about his compassion, please."

Obviously compassion is essential for not being a terrible sociopathic gross monster. But in terms of first attracting a girlfriend? Compassion is not going to cut it.

Here is my counter-list for what women are actually looking for:

1. Be good looking. (OK, fine: Be better looking.)
 
It doesn't matter if you won the genetic lottery. It's still possible to be better-looking than you probably are right now. When I look at old pictures of me, I see a mess. I probably still am a mess. But I've at least figured out a few of the tricks that can make me as good-looking as possible for the dating game. A lot of times the transformation from bad-looking to good-looking can be as simple as one session hanging out with your meanest friend. He or she will tell you what she's been dying to tell you all along. What have I learned that has made me better looking from doing this exercise? I was wearing too much makeup. I look much better with a tan. Many of my outfits are hideous. Etc. Does it hurt to hear stuff like this? Sure. Does it make me better looking? Yeah, often. Let your friends help you. If they are having more success at dating, they are probably dying to tell you anyway, but just don't want to be rude. Tell them you can take it.
 
2. Be powerful but not megalomaniac powerful.
 
You don't have to be creep-jerk-powerful, but just confident-comfortable-with-yourself powerful. Meaning: You wield influence, even if it is just as someone who makes decisions swiftly, isn't afraid to offer your opinion (which is your own, not what you think someone wants to hear) and has a strong presence.
 
3. Be funny.
 
Not trying to be funny, but most people do have some kind of a sense of humor somewhere in there. Ask your friends, "When am I funniest?" Maybe they'll say never. If that's the case, hey, man, take an improv class where you can develop more of that not-trying brand of natural funny rather than the strained kind. And if you're not funny, fine. Then just develop an appreciation for what is. There's something pretty attractive about a guy who turns you on to a movie or viral video or whatever that is funny, even if the dude is not.
 
4. Be smart.
 
You don't need to be a genius but even the most handsome of guys who seem a bit slow become very unattractive very quickly even in the least picky of girls' minds. Know your strengths here. Maybe you're not book smart but you're probably wicked intelligent about a slew of other areas. I think intelligence is often demonstrated through simple curiosity (so sexy) and basic openness to new ideas (HOTT).
 
5. Be someone who has good online pictures.
 
Enough with the car selfies. Enough with the holding up your children from your first marriage or your nieces or whatever as if they are some sacrifice to the dating gods. Enough with the pictures where you just look terrible. I know one story in particular of a man who had been so unsuccessful at online dating until his photographer sister finally gave him a new photo shoot. Just a few months later, he was engaged to the love of his life.
 
We are terribly superficial human beings even when we're trying not to be. Put your best foot forward here -- but that said, also don't only use the "angles" where you don't show what you actually look like. There is nothing gnarlier than meeting someone who is 10 years older than his picture or who has an alcoholic bloat you weren't quite prepared for. Why would you set yourself up for failure like that? Get the best possible pictures of what you actually look like, and put them out there. Ask your mean friends. They will give you honest opinions that will help you curate your social presence. I promise.

That's my Top 5 for what women actually want from men.

What did I miss? What did I get wrong?