Women will forgive you for not being as “bad boy sexy” as fantasy characters. They will reject you for not being yourself.
When I was in my 20’s, I had some long-term relationships with good guys who weren’t ready to settle down, and some flings with bad boys and abandoners. I was a little insecure, a lot scattered and not big on follow-through, so I took a course for women called “Claiming the Masculine” which taught me how to focus, persevere and complete important projects.
By the time I was in my 30s, I was a genuinely confident and somewhat accomplished urbanite, but also, stereotypically single and unhappy about it. Some “experts” suggested the reason for this was because I was now too “masculine” to attract a man. What men really wanted was a woman they could take care of in order to feel a sense of their own purpose and importance, and I needed to behave somewhat diminished in order to attract them.
Just in case you’re having any type of gag reflex reading that, imagine the back of my throat when the article How to Get a Girlfriend came into my inbox, asking for my input — the latest in a sea of information teaching nice guys tactics for winning. But this one took the cake: It posits that since women love TV Characters who are psychopaths, criminals and bad boys, nice men should try to behave more like them.
I’m all for projecting aspects of self in order to get what you want.
But this gender crap has just gone too far.
With suggestions such as, “Be wildly unpredictable and borderline dangerous” and “Indifferent with a hint of goodness,” this article represents the worst kind of gender divisiveness we have around.
Fantasy vs. Reality
What women love about the fictional characters that the article cites: Christian Grey (50 Shades), Don Draper (Mad Men), and all shapes of mythological hybrid creatures like Eric Northman (True Blood), is exactly what the article suggests – they are fictional, aka fantasy.
Remember when you were a kid and tried to fly by jumping off your bed after seeing a super hero flick? How’d that go?
Fantasy inspires us because it taps into primitive forces in us that we connect with but for the most part, we cannot embody without losing an essential piece of our humanity. That’s how fantasy works.
Look, if you need to get laid in order to feel your place in the world, fine, go ahead – try acting like a bad boy to attract women and feel powerful in that regard. Hang up on a woman mid-sentence, as the article suggests, in order to elicit excitement. Oh, and if you have a case of TMI, then by all means, please “manufacture mystery,” and spare us from the torrent of information we’d rather not hear all at once. But if you want a girlfriend or a relationship, unless you really know what true partnership is about, these inauthentic behaviors will land you feeling lonely at your core. You’ll have a lot of short relationships with a lot of drama that lead nowhere.
Author-ity is Hot
As a writer, relationship and leadership consultant, the word authority has new meaning for me. It no longer represents an outside force that can impose rules. It now means the ability we each have to author — to write the story of — our lives.
We need to stop dividing men into good, bad, and nice, and focus more on personal authority, self-leadership and authenticity. People who have a clear vision for their lives, who are willing to take risks to manifest it, who respect others on the way to getting it, and who are independent but want to be connected, are sexy.
People who genuinely like themselves are attractive. People who don’t wrap themselves in a cloak of apology because their sense of inadequacy has too much power in their inner world, stand out.
If you’re a nice guy reading this and fear for your potential for love, don’t. You may want to develop yourself to be a better partner, but you don’t need to be someone you’re not in order to be loved. You don’t need to wear leather or “be wildly unpredictable and borderline dangerous.” You simply need to get clear on your vision about the type of woman you really want to be with. When you stand in your authority in your efforts to pursue her, by assessing whether or not she matches your vision, well . . .That’s hot.
And then – like the rest of us – you might need to beef up your courage.
Is shattering stereotypes about men your cup of tea? Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.
This post is republished on Medium.
Photo credit: iStock