I recently had the painful experience of being rejected after a first date by a series of women that I met on Match.com. I’m under no illusions that I’m the kind of man who’d turn female heads when I walk into a room. Even so, zero out of five seemed a pretty low success rate, so I’ve been thinking about how I could improve it without any thoughts of ‘game’ or other manipulative tactics.
I’ve got a hunch that being attractive to a woman on a first date is not as simple just being nice or acting naturally. I reckon that, in the same way that a woman can be seen more positively with the use of some subtle make-up – not to falsify her looks but to enhance her actual appearance – any man can draw attention to and enhance his most appealing masculine qualities. I get that this is conforming to the stereotype that men initially pay more attention to women’s appearance, whereas females are mainly interested in personality. But while it’s obviously not that simple, from my experience there is still enough truth in it to be useful.
I don’t want to pretend to be someone else – that could never work and would be dishonest to everyone – but to present the most appealing version of myself possible, in a way that feels authentic. I would do this at a job interview, so why not do the same for a first date – which after all in many ways IS a kind of interview! By putting my best self forward, at least I’ll know that if she turns me down, we definitely wouldn’t have been right for each other.
My first step in this attempt to increase my dating success rate has been to find out what kinds of characteristics make a man attractive in women’s eyes, so I consulted with some female friends to get a list. Of course not all of these will work for all women, and no man can be expected to have them all. But if they are representative of what women like, boosting my score in any of them can only help my chances!
Here are what my women friends thought would describe the kind of man they’d like to see again:
- He’s a listener, who pays attention to what she says, and seems generally interested in her.
- He also has plenty to say but doesn’t make the conversation all about him.
- He seems genuinely attracted to her, but without drooling or being creepy.
- He seems confident without being arrogant; modest but not self-effacing.
- He’s aware of his capabilities and status but doesn’t try to impress her or show off.
- He doesn’t try to tell her his life story. But if she asks for more information, he’s more than happy to give it, but in small doses. A certain level of mystery is always intriguing.
- He shows respect for himself in his personal appearance – quality but understated clothing and good personal hygiene.
- He doesn’t pay attention to any other women in the vicinity when he’s with her.
- He is kind to service staff and everyone they encounter – even animals!
- He shows that he has a full social and family life and is happy enough on his own, even though he would prefer to be in a relationship – ideally with her.
- He’s ready to pay for shared treats but is completely happy to let her pay her way.
- He’s not in a rush and doesn’t try to ‘grab’ her or go for a premature kiss but shows he’s at ease with physical contact.
- Humor is like sugar, it’s best in small doses. Clowns aren’t sexy – even clever ones!
- Many women want to feel ‘needed’ – so it’s good to let a little vulnerability slip through.
- He combines a sense of masculine strength and adventurousness with helping her feel safe in his company.
For men out there who are already endowed with any or all of these qualities, be grateful that you are so blessed. For me, and maybe other men like me, I think a little more effort is needed to make these hopefully innate parts of our character as ‘good men’ shine out. And if they seem to be hidden in us for some reason, we can try to find out why, and then learn to cultivate and develop them. In the meantime, if we ‘fake it until we make it’, that’s surely going to be good for everyone!