Guys, have you ever worried you don’t have that elusive something that women crave? Perhaps you think you lack a devil-may-care attitude that the ladies love, or that you don’t have a Stephen Colbert-level wit that would win someone’s heart. Relax! We spoke to relationship experts and women across the country and learned that those attributes men believe are impressive just don’t cut it. In fact, the qualities that attract women may surprise you... and, chances are, you possess at least one of them. Learn how to embrace these six traits for dating success.
1. She loves that you’re a man of few words
It’s no secret that women love to communicate with the men in their lives. “Women like to connect, and when that happens, they will melt,” says Emerson E. Eggerichs, Ph.D., author of Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs. Of course, when most men hear that, they cringe, thinking it means long, drawn-out talks about every feeling either of you has ever had since you met. Wrong! According to Dr. Eggerichs, women don’t need lots of verbiage from men. The truth is, your lady can get the same communication from you via eye contact — without a single word being uttered. Simply stand face-to-face with her, look into her eyes, and show your affection with a simple physical gesture — say, holding her arm or caressing her face. “It’s in their very nature for women to want you to look at them,” Dr. Eggerichs explains. “Infant girls make eye contact with adults who are around them, while boys make eye contact but look away if there’s a mobile, ceiling fan or anything else to distract them overhead.” Cultivate your connection with a little unabashed eye contact, and you’ll be on the fast track to winning her heart.
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2. She loves how hairy you are — really!
That’s right, go ahead and cancel that back-waxing appointment. A study at the Zoological Society of San Diego (of people, not animals) revealed that women are more attracted to men with furry bodies, regardless of the silhouette. Scientists theorize that body hair advertises good health and active hormones, making it a positive sign in the selection of a mate. For further proof, just listen to Laura McNeely of Spring, TX: “I always love noticing that a guy, especially a clean-cut one, has a little bit of chest hair sticking up out of his Oxford shirt. It’s like saying, ‘I may have an uptight job, but there’s a caveman lurking inside.’”
3. She loves your strong emotional attachment to your favorite sports team
Most men learn by their teens to downplay their obsession with professional sports in front of the ladies. But dating coach David Wygant, author of Always Talk to Strangers, says that revealing certain elements of your big-league insanity to a woman will make her feel more connected to you. “Men try to hide when our eyes get all wet during the last 30 seconds of a game or when we see our fellow men get all emotional on the sidelines, but after a long season, we need that emotional release,” Wygant says. And the truth is, women would rather see you get sappy over sports than never see you act mushy at all — it lets them know there’s a sensitive guy underneath. And if you are prone to hugging your friends after your team wins? You just added some bonus points!
4. She loves when you act tough
While women often want an evolved, emotionally available man these days, putting a little “wild man” demeanor into your repertoire can equal popularity on the dating scene. “Most women want bad-boy qualities so they don’t have to act perfect all the time,” says Nancy Slotnick, author of Turn Your Cablight On: Get Your Dream Man in 6 Months or Less. After all, if a woman is afraid to be anything less than perfect in front of you, your relationship will be stifled and you’ll both end up bored. Anne Giddens of Wilmington, NC, adds: “A lot of guys are total gentlemen on dates, so being with someone who mouths off a bit shows that he’ll protect me if something happens. And that, in turn, makes me feel girlie and taken care of. It’s a total turn-on.” Hint at your bad-boy side by being slightly protective of your girl when someone else talks to her, suggesting thrill-type dates — which can increase adrenaline production and promote physical attraction — or simply planning a date without consulting her (spontaneity in general is a good thing). Of course, don’t do anything that’s actually disrespectful or dangerous — that’s not the kind of bad-boy behavior anyone wants.
5. She loves your artistic side
You don’t need a massive paycheck to appeal to the ladies. They actually find the “I’m working on a screenplay” lifestyle alluring. One study found that artists and poets had experienced a total of 4-10 romantic partners, while people with less creative jobs had three. According to the study’s author, Daniel Nettle, Ph.D., a psychology lecturer at Newcastle University in the UK, creative people tend to be charismatic and their artistic pursuits are particularly interesting to others. The study also found that the number of romantic partners an artsy type had increased when he spent more time on creative, right-brained pursuits. And you don’t have to be a starving artist to appeal to women. Even if you’re an investment analyst, you might play the saxophone on the side. So flaunt that hobby — women dig guys with creativity.
6. She loves your geeky electronics obsession
Your wall of speaker cords. Your closet full of video games. Your wireless universe. Believe it or not, the very things that women roll their eyes about can also be the things that draw them in, too. “When a guy shows a woman some new gadget, it shows his intelligence,” says Andrea Miller, founder and CEO of YourTango.com, an online magazine about love, dating and sex. “It’s also always attractive when someone has a passion.” May Beach from Pine Hill, NJ, agrees: “Sometimes when I see my boyfriend working furiously at his laptop, it’s the most endearing thing,” she admits. “It’s like the difference between knowing a guy speaks a foreign language — ho-hum — and hearing him converse fluently in it — hot!” So don’t be afraid to share your excitement about a bit of computer hardware — just don’t expect her to stand in line overnight with you, waiting with bated breath for it to hit the shelves.
Freelance writer Laura Gilbert contributes to The Knot, Stuff and Health magazines.