Single Ladies: How to Find a Good Man

Why do so many women lament the lack of good men?

Ladies, where can you find a good man nowadays? Recently this has become a burning question for women, and seemingly no one can provide a satisfactory answer. The holiday season is fast approaching, and I know plenty of girls who will be lamenting about not having anyone to kiss under the mistletoe or to bring to those stale office parties.

As a happily coupled woman in my twenties living in New York City, I am frequently asked by my single girlfriends to help them find a good man. Maybe my boyfriend has some single friends I could introduce them to? Sure, I say, he does. At first they get a happy glimmer in their eyes, but then the questions begin:

“Does he live in Manhattan? Because I refuse to leave the island for anything or anybody.”

“Um, yeah he does … ”

“Did he go to college? I am so done with dating models and actors that can’t string two words together.”

“He did…”

“OK, well what does he do now? Does he make enough money?”

The 21 questions continue, until the girl doesn’t find an answer she was looking for to a couple of them, and the date is over before it began. She crosses off yet another potential suitor from her radar before even laying eyes on him, just because he doesn’t pass the extensive checklist that she has subjected him to. Afterwards, or the next time I see her, the subject of how hard it is to find a good man will surely come up once again.

I wonder, when did we as women become so demanding of our partners? After gaining all the rights and privileges that the men enjoyed over the past 40 years we are more than capable of taking care of ourselves financially and emotionally. According to a New York Times survey, young women in metropolitan areas out earn their male peers, women everywhere earn 60% of bachelors degrees, and dominate 12 out of 15 industries projected for rapid growth in the next few years.

These days, it is a very real possibility that a woman might be more successful professionally and earn more money than her potential suitor, yet we are still looking for a man we can look up to, in more ways than one. (Did I mention he must be over six feet tall?)

By striving to find that elusive man who is more educated, has more money, comes from a respectable family, and is perfect in every sense of the word women are once again reverting to the ways of their mothers and grandmothers, when being with a man of a higher status was the only way to move up in society.

The mentality of looking for an accomplished man was understandable fifty years ago just as it is understandable now. After all, no one wants to be with a deadbeat.

However, we forget that now a man of status is not our only way to move up in society and ensure a successful life for our offspring. It has been ingrained in the female psyche to look for that strong alpha male to take care of us from the beginning of time, first because we needed him to fight off the lions in the jungle and carry wood for the fire, and later when we were stifled by laws and societal constraints that favored the men and weren’t allowed to pursue our dreams.

Thankfully, now we have become equals at last. Women are rapidly taking over the workforce, and men are moving over. If women comprise almost 50% of the workforce, we surely don’t need a man to pay our bills, do we?

True equality means helping each other along the way; it means that it is OK to earn a higher salary or be better educated than your man. I am not advocating for successful women to be dating unmotivated men, but to realize that it is you who might be the power player in the relationship.

I want the ladies who complain about the lack of good men to open their eyes and look around. Maybe your New Year’s resolution could be to cut a couple of prerequisites from the must-have list, and who knows, the ideal man might be around the corner.


Read more: Why Do Men Marry at All?

Image credit: Rose Robinson/Flickr

About Olga Blik

I was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to America when I was 12. I am now living in New York and pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Biology at Columbia University.


  1. This is a tough one. Can women be too picky? Absolutely yes. OTOH, compatibility is very important. I think a blue collar guy who like sports could be a great partner – for someone. But what on earth would we talk about? I think shorter guys can be very attractive, but I’m tall (5’9″) so that limits my options to taller guys – otherwise it feels physically awkward; I have hang ups about being teased as a child for being too tall and being with shorter men makes me feel
    large and unsexy. Which is irrational but tough to get over. Finally, I’ve dated brooding artist/musician types who don’t have money — no thank you! I’m not looking to support that kind of guy.

    I’m old enough to have learned that being alone is actually far better than being with someone who isn’t compatible with me.

    • I bet you would still not outright refuse a guy who is shorter or blue collar or a musician. I bet you would do what I do and say to your friend “I’m not going to go out on a blind date with this guy, but if you arrange some happy hours or parties and invite him, I’ll come out and meet him.” Absolutely everyone has their preferences. The “I won’t date (blank)” attitude usually translates to “All things being equal, I prefer not to (blank).” Funny enough, many of my friends who claim I’m too picky wouldn’t stop telling me how I was dating someone too old (10 years older) or too young (4 years younger), or someone who wasn’t serious about being monogamous (I’m not either). You know what’s best for you. My consolation is that when my coupled friends get divorced/break up in a decade, they’ll realize how much better it is to be “picky.”

  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone who has not dated past college should be banned from giving unsolicited dating advice. There is no comparison between the issues involved in dating as a single working adult and dating in college, where you meet guys practically when you step out of your dorm room. Here’s a conversation I had a few years ago with a married friend of mine:
    Her: I want to set you up with one of my husband’s friends.
    me: Ok. What’s he like? Where did he go to school?
    Her: Well, he didn’t…He’s in the military.
    Me: oh ok… what part of the city does he live in?
    Her: well, he doesn’t. He lives out in the suburbs.
    Me: is he into politics? board games? art? indie music?
    Her: no, he likes sports though…
    Me: it sounds like we have absolutely nothing in common. All of our interests are polar opposites and the only thing we have in common is knowing two of the same people.
    Her: Come on! He owns a house!
    Me: How is that supposed to change my mind?
    Her: You’re just so picky.

    I have a masters degree, I work in politics, a huge part of my life revolves around the city I live in, I frequently go to cultural events and get involved in various organizations. My college experience was a huge part of my life. At this point in my life, I have a basic understand of what I need in a partner and where potential relationship strife comes from. Whereas, perhaps in the past, when it was more crucial to get married, women were more likely to just give anything a shot. Not so much anymore. Does this mean I won’t give someone a chance if he didn’t go to college? If he doesn’t work in my industry? If he makes less money than I do? No, but he will have to work a little harder to prove to me that he has the qualities often correlated with something like going to college (correlation is not causation!).
    The older you get as a single woman, the more you recognize the things that do not work for you in relationships. You also start to realize how many of the guys you’re interested in are in relationships with other people, or just not interested in you for whatever reason.

  3. Oh come on! This is a massive generalization! Yes it is partially true but I firmly believe this ‘vetting’ attitude of men is passed down through the generations and is ingrained in hundreds of years of history, therefore hard to change. I’m a 21yr old undergrad whose never had a boyfriend and if I say to my mum I met a nice guy she’ll always ask the same two questions-‘Ohhh! Is he taller than you? What does he study?’ if even one answer to these two questions is unsatisfactory (he’s taller but dropped out of uni…or he’s doing law but is really short) he is immediately dismissed by my mother, and forceably by me because its too hard not be swayed by her. Anyway yeh men and women are equals but we’re talking about ability to earn money non stop throughout our adult lives…whether the feminists want to scream about it or not we are biology disadvantaged in that respect-once a women wants to have a few kids she inevitably won’t be able to work for a certain amount of time-if she’s the bread winner how will that work? She won’t be able to afford have as many kids as she wants perhaps? It’s very easy for women in a couple to be smug, to blame us to be too picky? But if you ask yourself if you settled…I am very confident your answer would be no. Personally I struggle to meet a guy who meets me personality and intelligence wise that I am also attracted too-someone I clique with, now I’ve met a few of those guys but they all had girlfriends. If I ever meet some like that available and interested all the other credentials will go out the window.
    ‘ At first they get a happy glimmer in their eyes’
    Yeh…smug alright…or maybe just patronising I don’t know.

  4. If you are looking for a “great guy” in a singles bar, you will have to look really closely…most of those guys want in your pants, not your heart. The right guys is usually the one who makes you smile & laugh, not the one that makes your hear skip when you see him across the room. That guy knows his effect and uses it on a regular basis, why would he want to settle for just you? To use an old saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”…get to know a guy first, see if you have stuff in common, go for coffee, go to the movies…be friends first, because the passion and excitement fades over time and you need to be left with someone you want to hang out with.

    And don’t forget that if you don’t put effort into the relationship, you will grow apart and not know why the attraction is gone…a great relationship takes time and effort, so don’t expect everything to be perfect all the time. There will be good times and bad times…and it’s how a relationship comes through the bad times that shows how good it is, the good times are really easy because you are happy and can’t imagine anyone else in your life…but sometimes you will wonder how you ever ended up with this person, that’s when you know you have lost touch and need to put in more effort. It’s easier to fix a broken relationship than it is to start all over again. Not as exciting, but in the long run you will have a more fulfilling life.

    Good Luck!!


  5. I did not meet any suitable guys until I hit grad school….

    Basically, I think it is up to women to become the “ideal man” that they want to marry….like Margaret Cho says: ” I’m the one I want”….

    Once you set out goals for yourself, then suddenly you will find yourself with guys who also have similar goals and outlooks….the best guys are working hard on their careers and busy busy busy studying/working/networking….they don’t always have the time to just hang out in single bars…


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