I was recently reading Iron John, A Book About Men by Robert Bly, which uses a Brothers Grimm tale to talk about stages of masculine development. The book talks about various stages of being a complete man as they relate to mythological archetypes.
Along the journey, we gain qualities such as learning to make decisions for ourselves (the wild man) or fighting for what we believe in (the warrior). The tale ends with the hero winning the hand of the King’s daughter.
Do you want to end up with a high-quality woman (the king’s daughter)? If we go by the rule of thumb that you will attract someone who is at the same level as you, what can you do to ensure that you are high level as well? We have to choose wisely and take action to progress from one stage to the next.
Here are some qualities you can cultivate, that women (and indeed people in general) find exciting, sexy, and attractive, based on feedback from women and relayed by other men.
1. Passion. We like people who have strong interests, so go ahead and share yours. You risk being polarizing, and that is good. You will attract the women that you are supposed to attract. Passion is linked with drive and purpose, and high-quality women want to see that you have a direction and that you are taking steps to get there. Men have always been admired for the action they take (on the battlefield as warriors). Passion shines through in your actions.
2. Adventure. Women (all people) are bored, they want you to come in and save them. Why do you think the damsel in distress fairy tale is so popular? We all want to be rescued from monotony. Adventure can be as simple as a new experience, and you will be the one to provide that. Adventure can take a little bit of effort, planning (being sexy takes work?), and brainstorming to come up with a good idea and executing. One of the most memorable first dates I ever went on was a caving expedition (stole the idea from Tom Sawyer), and as Joshua Foer says, “Remembering more means being more human.”
3. Acceptance. When you accept someone and their quirks, you give them permission to open up and be themselves. It takes so much energy to cover up who we are (see the book Covering by Kenji Yoshino), you can give someone the chance to finally relax. They also want to bee seen for “who they are,” this means accepting their family background, job, education level, ethnicity, body type, etc.
4. Positivity. We all want to be around people who bring us up and make us feel good. Appreciating the finer things in life can increase your happiness set point as well (See the book Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson). Some people resort to negativity or complaining to try to build connection–don’t! Your positivity shows the way to an inspiring future and makes people feel good about themselves.
5. Mystery. This might be controversial. As the marauders map in Harry Potter says, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Leave a little bit of work to their imagination. This may mean strategically keeping thoughts to yourself and using innuendo. So many people are straightforward (an admirable trait in communication) that people are craving intrigue. Why do kids look forward to Christmas presents so much–because of the mystery of a good surprise. Plan a surprise activity, most of our daily lives are full of routine and habit, you become attractive as one who shakes things up. You show that you are high value by letting people discover what is impressive about you (not seeking immediate validation).
6. Confidence. It’s easy to spot confidence, but much harder to define how to get it. Body language is important to presenting your confidence, so perfect your posture, gestures, voice, eye contact, etc. But, inner confidence will radiate out. Confidence ties back in with self-love and self-trust. Do you love yourself even as you struggle? Have you forgiven yourself for mistakes, failures, etc.? Do you respect the work you have put in and the qualities that you have cultivated in yourself? Do you feel weird and totally accept that fact?
Confidence ties in with uniqueness and being colorful. Nobody is attracted to a cookie cutter personality. Some of the weirdest things that I done recently have been the most well received: dancing like a crazy man at a wedding (I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t think people were judging me), wearing an umbrella hat to the baseball game, and sneaking down to the sewers to take photos of graffiti.
7. Decisive. Women are making decisions all the time, and they don’t want to have to make yours, too. Being decisive signals you have clear objectives and purpose. They might even disagree but will respect your decisiveness. Decisiveness is a facet of building trust–it shows you know how to express what you want and need. You can practice this by always being the man with a plan for the group: “I suggest that we try this restaurant” (Bonus points if you are the first to decide on your order from the menu).
8. Listening. As Dale Carnegie says, “To be interesting, be interested.” Listening shows that you are thinking of that person and that you value them enough to stop broadcasting yourself and take the time to try to understand them. One of the best ways to show you are listening is to summarize back to them what they have just said. Likewise, you can put a feeling to what they are describing. You can say, “Wow, that sounds like it would feel X (frustrating, relief, etc.)”. Even if you don’t get it totally right, you are trying to understand the things that are important to them.
9. A sense of wonder. My dad would ask at the dinner table what each of us had learned that day, and there was always something interesting or exciting to talk about. Share your curiosity and what you are learning about–women want to come along on your journey of discovery. It is powerfully attractive to have a childlike sense of wonder. Being able to admit being wrong or not understanding something fully shows much more depth than simply BS’ing or changing the subject.
10. Soulfulness. By this, I mean how well you connect with your emotions. Women want to know that you are human and not a robot. What are the things you struggle with? Can you share a time or a story that still upsets you? Do you feel all your feelings? Is your woman watching you as you numb out with drinking, drugs, sports, or workaholism?Don’t be the man behind the curtain. Boys hide from their pain or mistakes by numbing out; men confront their emotions face to face. The first step is to feel your feelings. (Kelee meditation really helped me with this).
There is a game a good friend of mine likes to play at parties where you have to go tell three people what you love about them. What do people love about you? Think of a relationship you have had that you couldn’t stop thinking about–was she smart and funny? Polished or spontaneous? The more you can stack these qualities on top of each other, the more irresistible you will be. What attractive qualities do you think should be on this list?
Photo: Flickr/ Leonard Lin