By Andrew Aitken
I was on a second date last week, and towards the end of the evening the girl told me “You know what I like about you? You don’t ask me what I want.” I laughed because although I knew what she was trying to say, it sounded like “I like you because you ignore me.” So she clarified: “No, I mean, like when it comes to where we are going or how we are getting there, you are decisive and know what you want. You always check to make sure your decision is OK with me, but you don’t need my opinion to have your own. Other guys will constantly ask me what I want to do, even though I really don’t care; and then it is just awkward because we go back and forth trying to ‘let’ each other decide – but I don’t want to have to make the decisions.”
This girl and I are compatible (in this sense, at least) because I am decisive and comfortable with being in control, while she is laid-back and likes to be taken care of. In this respect, I am very masculine and she is very feminine. We work together. If I didn’t take charge and wasn’t as decisive, or if she wanted more input than I offered her, we would have problems.
Years ago I used to think that women would like me if I bowed to their every wish. I would constantly fight my natural inclination to take charge in an effort to accommodate the girl’s desires – which is probably exactly what my date’s previous boyfriends and dates were doing. Like them, I would try to let her choose the time of the date or the restaurant, because I assumed that she cared. And this usually led to the kind of awkward back-and-forth she described. The reality was always that I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the date, but I was so wrapped up in wanting to please her, and so wrong about what she really wanted from me, that I repressed my urge to follow my masculine instinct to take charge.
I say all this in order to draw an analogy for women: in the same way that I didn’t realize that women wanted me to let my masculine tendencies govern my interactions with them, many woman don’t understand that men want women to let their feminine instincts guide their behavior. By feminine instincts I mean – among other things – a woman’s desire to be taken care of, to be protected, to feel small, and to be desired or wanted (rather than self-sufficient). Men love these things about women because it gives us an opportunity to be in control, to protect, or to feel strong and self-sufficient – in other words, to exercise our masculine selves. By suppressing those instincts, you fight your nature and thereby inhibit your ability to attract, love and be loved by a man.
Many women either project their own desires onto men and assume that men want women to be (for example) decisive, powerful and goal-oriented, or else they believe these things because we are all told them by the undercurrents of feminism in modern American culture. However the seeds of the these ideas are planted, the result is the same: these women mask their authentic, feminine selves due to misinformation about what men want.
A simplistic understanding of the advice I offer on this blog would be “be more feminine and you will attract more men.” Although this isn’t a misunderstanding, it falls short of capturing the whole picture. Women are all feminine in varying degrees (just as men are masculine in varying degrees). Not every woman is the archetype of femininity, and it would be inauthentic for those who are less feminine to force themselves into the strictest “female” mold. However, it is just as inauthentic for a woman to suppress the natural feminine instincts that she does have.
So a better understanding of the advice I give on this blog would be “Allow your natural level of femininity to pervade your personality.” If your experience is at all similar to mine, allowing your true sexuality to “drive you” will make you feel much more comfortable with yourself in your interactions with the opposite sex. The interactions will feel more easy and fluid, because you will be acting more in line with your natural instincts. Furthermore, you will start to attract men who are more naturally compatible with you. If you are less feminine, you will attract men that are naturally less masculine, and you will compliment each other better than if you tried dating an extremely masculine guy. Or if you are very feminine, you will stop attracting men who aren’t masculine enough for you. You might find that you date fewer men (though I doubt this), but your dates will be more successful and “chemistry” will occur more frequently.
One word of caution: don’t confuse “authenticity” with laziness or fear. Not wearing heels because you don’t want sore feet shouldn’t be excused by telling yourself you “aren’t feminine enough” to wear them. Likewise, you shouldn’t hide behind unflattering clothes by telling yourself you are a “tom-boy” or that they just attract “the wrong kind of attention,” if the truth is that you are afraid to step outside of your comfort zone by wearing sexier, more feminine clothes.