What to Look For In a Woman

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About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for Spill.com and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.


  1. Would you blame women’s choices if they continually met abusive men?

    • If they continually met abusive men and dated them? Yes. That doesn’t mean you say to them, “OMG you are so stupid that you keep picking abusive men! What is wrong with you!.” Instead, you start to unravel the ball of yarn to see why they keep making the choice over and over again and talk to them about how to change that. In this case “blame” is simply a way to acknowledge the choices one is making and figure out how to change them. All of us have had to do that at some point in our life.

    • In case you’re trying to imply that womanhood is some judgment-free zone where we never take responsibility for our own mistakes and choices, which is the impression I get from your question (there’s a very “sure, it’s allllllways the man’s fault” vibe to it), think again.

      I don’t know what advice NerdLove would give to women; he doesn’t seem to be in the business of advising women as it is, and can only speak from his own experience. But I can tell you that among the “sisterhood” (ugh, but it does the job), we women tend to not have a ton of patience with other women who repeatedly make bad relationship choices. We will call each other out, albeit diplomatically, when we see each other floundering. The advice I run across most commonly is “Stop dating, take some time to work on yourself, at least *consider* therapy, and when you’re ready to start dating again, Aim Higher.” We encourage each other not to accept “any boyfriend is better than being alone” as truth, which means fighting against a lot of programming and conditioning, so we don’t always get through to each other on that note. And in my experience anyway, when a female friend ignores advice and continues to choose bad matches, there’s a limited time period where her friends will tolerate that before fading out on her because we’re tired of her nonsense too.

      The only women who DON’T call each other out on nonsensical romantic choices are the ones who are participating in said nonsense themselves and don’t see what’s wrong with it. Incidentally, these are the “drama llamas” NerdLove referenced. And they don’t make good romantic partners for anyone.

      • Archy’s comment could be some residual frustration from the air that NerfLove’s posts have given in the past where despite not appearing to be in the business of advising women because he doesn’t have the experience he has been comfortable with using women’s experiences as proof that the male experience isn’t as rough as men say it is.

  2. Relationships are a 2-person thing: if equitable, a reflection and match for self, if asymmetric, a shadow of self! Entering relationships requires a choice, on my part, and being chosen on the part of the other. Only my part is in my control, more so if I continue to develop my-self.

  3. I think this article would be applicable in reverse ‘What to look for in a man’, I mean it’s pretty univeral stuff. Good advice.

  4. “Someone whom you think counterbalances your own inhibitions or a lack in your life.”

    There are definitely relationships where this is a bad thing, but in general I have to disagree. Can anyone “complete” you? No. However, life fulfillment is not based on how great you think your partner is. Feeling fulfilled is based on your opinion of yourself. If you can find someone that helps you be a better person you will be happier.

    My girlfriend and I make each other better. It works because it’s an equal trade. I have self-motivation problems and she has anxiety problems. Never make the mistake of trying to “fix” each other. That won’t work. I will always have motivation problems and she will always be anxious, but we are both happier because of the influences we have on one another. I am a calming presence in her life and because of me she is happier and more positive. She is an active motivated person. Watching her in action has inspired me to do so much more than I would have otherwise, including writing an article for the GMP. Not to sound unromantic, but it’s basic economics. Our relationship works because we both have valuable resource to offer. We do also have everything else listed though, which makes a huge difference.

    • @Renner Of course relationships are transactional!We spend too much time chasing romance like its crack cocaine and not enough time dealing with the practical aspects of relationships.What you have in your relationship is rare.I wish you the best of luck.

  5. Better piece then some of the stuff I’ve seen come from Harris lately.

    Although can we stop with rating women on a scale from 1-10? No one, even if they have a wonderful personality, what’s to be their man’s “7″ in the face of a “10″. That is like a backhanded compliment. How about simply realizing women are worthy people without you having to attach score cards onto them.

  6. Don Draper says:

    One of the most practical, honest articles I’ve ever read…bravo!

  7. Don’t expect someone else to complete you. Amen, brother.

    I found my new favorite phrase: “drama llamas.” Thanks! :-)

    • FlyingKal says:

      Maybe it’s my not-perfect English, but.
      It would be rather boring, i assume, to have a partner that was a complete mirror-perfect image of my own behaviour.
      Also, a partner that would make me less of a person isn’t what I have in my mind either.
      So I don’t expect someone else to complete me, but rather complement me, in that the partnership will make us both rise to new levels, as the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

  8. One cannot become comlete while living in a cave. A good relationship is like a good team.If players have the exact same skills,the team is limited.A team is an ecample of structured co dependence.No person is an island,which is testimony to our incompleteness.This doesn’t mean one is a simpering trainwreck,an empty vessel waiting to be filled.

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