How to Attract Women

Mark Sherman, a man long out of the game, presents some (mostly) humorous advice for single guys.

Although I have been married for more than 42 years, men who come in contact with me, and especially those who meet my wonderful wife, know that once upon a time I knew the secrets of how to attract highly desirable women. I still know these secrets, but they are of as much use to me now as E-Z Pass is to a man who doesn’t own a car. But I do feel that is important for me to share with men less fortunate than I am what I did learn in those few, dare I say precious, years between the end of my first marriage and the beginning of my second—both to women much sought after.

To start with, the most important thing for any man trying to attract women is not what you should do and say, but rather what you shouldn’t do and say. Paradoxically, in fact, one of the best ways to attract women is not to show any eagerness at all in going after them. As the Bible says in one of its proverbs, “A fool’s mouth is his destruction.” As soon as you open your mouth, there is a high likelihood that you will say something that will be an immediate turn-off to any woman who might have even noticed you. So, as much as possible, say nothing. Suddenly, instead of being a fool, you will become a “man of mystery.” Wherever you are, women will gravitate toward you. You will be the envy of your friends, who have seen woman after woman disappear when they have tried such lines as “Could I have your autograph? I loved you in your latest film.”

Unfortunately, sooner or later you will have to say something, and the best approach is to keep it simple. When a woman has noticed you, and is close enough for you to speak to without yelling out, say, “Hi.”

That’s it.

Not “Hi, beautiful,” or “Hi, is this seat taken?” or “Hi, do you come here often?” Just “Hi.”

Actually, even though it may feel strange to say it these days, you might have even a better chance if you say, “Hello” rather than “Hi.” Remember, in the film Jerry Maguire, after Tom Cruise makes his speech to Renée Zellweger, trying to get her back, she says, “You had me at ‘hello.'”? Had Cruise started his speech with “Hi,” who knows if she would have given him the time of day.

Most men should probably stop right there, although if you feel you must go on, and start removing the mystery, there are websites that suggest, as one site puts it, “cute pick-up lines.” For example, here’s a line from that site: “You can’t be real. May I pinch you to see if I’m dreaming.”

Yes, go ahead, use that one, and what you might hear is “Yeah, pinch me, and I’ll punch you.”

Here’s another: “What does it feel like to be the most beautiful girl in this room?”

Give it a try, but don’t be surprised if her reply is “First of all, it’s ‘woman.’ And now that we’ve got that settled, how does it feel to be the biggest a-hole in this room?”

I’m not saying some women won’t go for these lines, but it’s better to be original. Before you think about using a line, do a Google search, and if no one else has ever used it, give it a try. I’ll give you one right here, but don’t blame me if it doesn’t work. Remember, I’ve been out of the game for more than 42 years:

“Did anyone ever tell you that you look like what you look like?”

If the woman is into Zen, you are on your way to love. If not, you can explain that you are, and ask her if she’d like to come back to your apartment to see your cushion.

You’ll notice that I haven’t said anything about physical appearance or your education and/or earnings. As for physical appearance, if you are between six feet and six-three, and are really good-looking, you are so desirable that you need never say a word to any woman ever; if you are neither, then you will have to do work-outs every day to become a hunk, and you will have to come up with some interesting things to say.

As for your education and/or earnings, if you think that’s important to today’s young women, where have you been? Certainly not in a college classroom, where women outnumber men by a ratio of close to three to two. And not in the business world, where women are starting their own businesses all over the place. No, the key to a young woman’s heart today is to tell her that your biggest desire in life is to do everything you can to help her fulfill her dreams. Your dream is to take care of the children, do the laundry, and, most of all, vacuum.


This is a very slightly revised version of a post which originally appeared on Mark’s Psychology Today blog.


Image courtesy of Flickr/Ding Yuin Shan

About Mark Sherman

Mark Sherman is editor of the Boys Initiative blog (, and also writes one for Psychology Today (Real Men Don’t Write Blogs). He received his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard, and has taught, researched, and written on gender issues since coauthoring Afterplay: A Key to Intimacy in 1979. Having three sons and four grandsons, he is especially interested in how boys and young men are doing both in and outside of school.


  1. Everything typed was very logical. However, what about this?
    what if you added a little information? I am
    not saying your content isn’t good, but suppose you added a post title that grabbed a person’s attention?
    I mean How to Attract Women — The Good Men Project is a little plain.
    You could look at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create news headlines to get people to open the links. You might add a video or a picture or two to grab readers excited about everything’ve got to say.
    Just my opinion, it could bring your blog a little livelier.

  2. Thanks for the post but here is what an independent single woman has to say on the subject:

  3. Cheeky Mary says:

    I find anyone over 6 foot unattractive and I leave them for my taller sisters…Oddly tall men find my shorter, curvier body sexier than my slender taller sisters….go figure!. I prefer my men shorter for sexual positions. Too tall and I have to reach up to kiss him whether vertical or lying down so that’s just a myth. Not everyone wants tall.

    We want someone who can lead but treats us like an equal. Having lots of women removes the scarcity thoughts and proves your desirability. It’s like game playing but if you’re having fun along the way, it’s no longer a game but just enjoyment so meets lots and lots of women and be friendly. Be ambitious and driven. Even if you don’t make it powerful and rich, you’re sexy that you tried.

    • Peter von Maidenberg says:

      “Be ambitious and driven.” Sorry, I just hear “be materialistic and status-obsessed.”

    • @Cheeky Mary:
      Scan any dating site or “men wanted” page in a newspaper, and I guesstimate you’ll find that roughly 80% of the women are looking for a man in the “above 6 ft” area, most of them without even mentioning their own height.

      • You cannot blame anyone for their preferences and what they’re attracted to. Although I think women’s attraction to tall men is a result of patriarchal conditioning than instinctual.

        Although I prefer taller men, I have dated guys around 5’9″ because they had a good personality.

        • I wasn’t blaming anyone. Just pointing out that even if Cheeky Mary likes her men on the shorter side, the majority of women seem to be of a different opinion.

        • Oh Thankyou Ma,am. Thankyou so much for giving ‘short’ 5’9″ midgets a chance.

          They were obviously repulsive initially but thanks to your consideration of their great personalities, they were honored with the opportunity to date you.

  4. wellokaythen says:

    When it comes to attracting other people, some factors are things in your control, some of them are not. The first goal should be to find out which is which.

    One you figure that out, the second goal should be to figure out which ones in your control can attract the sort of people you want. Do you want to attract any woman at all, or someone with certain charateristics?

    In the meantime, I recommend having a sense of humor about yourself, if you can.

  5. Love is not a competition. It’s not about who does what in a relationship or marriage. It’s working together with each other to see that each reach their happiness, goals, and desires in life. To cherish one another and accept one another and that includes the good, the bad, the ugly, and the unthinkable! It’s a choice of choosing to love forever and if you don’t share that in common, how you met will not matter.

    Stupid lines, great looks, money….none of that is what matters to me. If I don’t feel as though I see the real man, the real you…you will never know me. I should be able to read the writing within your heart.

    • You are Grand!

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @Christina: “Stupid lines, great looks, money….none of that is what matters to me.”

      Good for you. 🙂
      But… do you think this is representative of most women… really? :roll:

      Beauty is not in my top priorities either, but I know I’m in a minority among men (and women as well).

  6. ” if you are between six feet and six-three, and are really good-looking, you are so desirable that you need never say a word to any woman ever; if you are neither, then you will have to do the hard work”

    Dear Mark Sherman

    Why are you assuming every woman is 5 ft 9, curvy yet slim, bombshell right out of a magazine cover?

  7. Women can be mediocre in every way and still attract plenty of men.

    I never understood why all the rules are for men

    • Why would a man settle for a “mediocre” woman?

      • Because they can’t get laid elsewhere, obviously.

        • Cme…
          You are a pig…I am beautiful, strong, intelligent, great in bed and wouldn’t give you the time of day due to your thinking of women!

          I must have made great caveman quality babies…I have five wonderful grown children and a grandson that is 2yrs and grand daughter due. I am divorced after 23 years and men like you make me sick! I shall remain single forever, if it is your kind that are out there!

          • Where exactly did I say anything negative about women? I just pointed out how much I enjoy making love to the beautiful and sexually responsive ones.

            Congratulations on your fantastic family. I’m sorry that your husband cheated on you (he did, right?), but I must reject the “pig” allegation. I hold the virtues of fidelity and honesty in the highest esteem, and once I’ve picked my woman to stand by my side and bear my children I’ll stick with her come what may.

            • Because they can’t get laid elsewhere, obviously.

              It was this comment….I stand corrected..You’re not a pig..It was a pigish comment!

              And, I don’t know if he ever cheated on me…at this point I no longer care.

              • Ah, Ok. I didn’t explain myself properly. You might not understand this, but many men operate under a scarcity mentality when it comes to sex, love, and dating. They’ve convinced themselves that precious few women will ever give them the time of day let alone have sex with them, so when they find a woman who will, they cling to her like she’s a lifeboat and they’re a passenger on the Titanic, no matter how unsuitable she is in the long run.

                This is why many men wind up settling down with unsuitable/mediocre/crazy/abusive women. I don’t condone doing so, obviously…

                Really my comment should have read “because they THINK they can’t get laid elsewhere”, since that’s actually what I meant….

                • Ah…much better! Thanks for the explanation….You sound like a great husband! Congrats to your wife and family!

                  • Men will have sex with mediocre looking women because they are not as shallow as women. They are attracted to a large number and a variety of women. Most men find the average looking women attractive enough for casual sex. Although they are more picky when looking for a long term relationship (understandably so).

                    Women, on the other hand, are only attracted to very few men. The looks and bodies of most men do nothing for women. Hence they want casual sex with very attractive men only.

  8. AnonymousDog says:

    Be mysterious? Really?

    Being a ‘man of mystery’ won’t get you squat unless you are in a situation where women can notice how mysterious you are. They aren’t going to be out beating the bushes for ‘mystery men’.

    No matter what anyone tells you, the first secret to attracting women is to regularly and routinely have contact with a number of different women. Absent that, it’s going to be impossible to attract women.

  9. Heidi Draffin says:

    The key to a woman’s heart is being interested in finding out who she is, and loving what you find.

    • I think its a lot more important for a man to be good looking, handsome, sexually appealing, well built, charming and popular in order to attract women.

      Women can easily attract plenty of men even if they are just mediocre in every aspect.

      • I don’t agree with your statement. That is not what I am looking for. What is your example of a “mediocre” woman?

      • Isn’t that what people say about men? That they just want women to be good looking, beautiful, sexually appealing, fit, charming, and popular? You only notice the women getting attention from men, and completely ignore the women who are getting ignored by everyone else.

        Like Christina, I disagree with your statement. Yes, I’m glad my bf is good-looking, but I’m more glad that he is sweet to me, funny, challenging, moral, and thoughful. Physical attraction is only one component of many in building a relationship. Now if you’re not looking for a ‘relationship,’ maybe you don’t need so many components to build on. If a woman is not looking for a relationship either, why judge her for using the same shallow criteria that men use when looking for a short fling?

        • “good looking, beautiful, sexually appealing, fit, charming, and popular?”

          You think those are shallow criteria? You are badly, badly mistaken.

          1) Sex appeal and physical fitness (including some good curves) scream fertility to my innermost hindbrain. You, woman! You have good genes! You will make good strong babies for the caveman.

          2) There is no pleasure on earth like making love to a beautiful woman, particularly one who’s good in bed. All kinds of women have great personalities. Only special ones have great beauty and sexual power to boot.

          When looking for a relationship, these things matter. More than anything else.

        • Donna

          When looking for a short term fling, women are a lot more shallower than men. They usually have a lot higher standards regarding looks. Infact men have lower standards for a casual sex partner than a relationship partner. Men are more forgiving on looks when looking for short term partners.

          An average looking woman can easily find plenty of men willing to have casual sex, flings with her. But generally men need to be good looking to pull this off. Average looking women have flings and casual sex with men who are better looking than them.

          Below average women 3- 4 /10 can easily have casual sex with 6/10 guys.
          5- 6/10 women can easily have casual sex with 8/10 guys.

    • @Heidi Draffin:
      The key to a woman’s heart is being interested in finding out who she is, and loving what you find.

      Well, the first step is to actually make her to notice you so you’ll eventually get a chance to talk to her..

    • I agree! (And I find this article pretty inaccurate to how anyone would attract ME).

      Stop treating me like something to be “got” for starters

  10. “No, the key to a young woman’s heart today is to tell her that your biggest desire in life is to do everything you can to help her fulfill her dreams. Your dream is to take care of the children, do the laundry, and, most of all, vacuum.”

    This is sarcasm…yes….right?

    • If a guy said that to me, I’d marry him then and there.

      • With all the hoopla around being goal-oriented and having ambitions, as a base for attraction,
        I have a reeeally hard time believing that any woman would find a man interesting whose highest ambitions in life was to run a vacuum cleaner…

        • Nor would most men find a woman interesting if operating a vacuum was her highest ambition. When both people share the housework, there is more time to pursue actual interests. A man who supports me in that by doing his share is VERY attractive. A man who behaves as an adult life partner rather than as a child in need of maid/cook service is highly desireable.

        • Romanticorp Testing Dummy: “My two favorite things are commitment and changing myself.”
          Leela: “Does that dummy have a brother?”

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    I think being oblivious to IOIs is a pretty good technique. Unfortunately, since you don’t know it’s happening, nothing happens.

Speak Your Mind