Letter from a reader, on how to find Victor:
Most recently I dated a man who I was apathetic about meeting because he didn’t meet my list. We clicked instantly and had dates that were a “blast” and as soon as I was ready to fall, he ran. A scared Lance afraid of who he could have been with me. He was no doubt intimidated by me, so I’m still learning how to make a man feel good about who he is and all that he has accomplished. As you know, for successful, intelligent women, this is no easy deal. How do you balance making a man feel good about being with you while impressing him with who you are so he wants to continue, and when/how do you stop impressing him? I knew, living in a blue-collar town that dating men local to me would be a challenge, but I gave it a shot anyway. He was “impressed” with me at first, but then he had to face questions like what could he do for me? I know the answers, but he’ll never get to hear them. It was my job to make him see how wonderful he was with me. I’m still wrestling with this and recently turned down a date with a man in a similar situation (less educated, less worldly, less credit, you get the idea…). I don’t take all the blame here as I do want a strong man, and he wasn’t, but I do want to make sure the next guy can’t resist me even if my list intimidates him.
I meet this intimidated man one more time to exchange some things from our short, but intense, 2-week relationship. If you have any sage advice for this last opportunity, please do let me know. I’m leaning towards just being positive – happy and energetic, but unavailable (even though I am).
Yours, Maggie B
Maggie B —
Great letter! Now, I’ve never met you, and I don’t have any idea what your dynamic is on a date with a man. But this much I noticed: you mention several times that men are intimidated by you: “He was no doubt intimidated by me.” And then they disappear. I am here to tell you that, unless you’re having a very thorough exit interview with these dudes, you don’t have access to that kind of information — especially if they disappear. He could have left because he lost his job, or his dog died, or the Steelers had a 4-game losing streak. Or because he thought you were mean. And it would still look the same.
And when you say that they’re intimidated, you’re subtly putting the onus on them: “I’m fine — they’re just intimidated by my greatness.” I’d like to bring to your attention the hard undertone to that, and it could be the thing that sends the guys running. It’s also disempowering to you, because when the issue is on them, there’s nothing you can do about it. But if it’s on you, you can grow into the person that solves the problem. Responsibility is power.
What I would encourage you to do is to err on the side of kindness. In fact, it’s much better to impress them with the expansiveness of your heart and the depth of your compassion than to do so with your accomplishments and intellect. Trust me — they’ll figure it out eventually that you’re whip-smart, and they will appreciate you for it.
But lead with love. Leave business of impressing to the guys — heck, we’ve been building pyramids, making fortunes and starting wars for thousands of years to impress women. If the women start trying to impress us, we’ll be as good as unemployed.
So just be nice to the guys. If you’re that one woman who’s being nice to them, they’re just grateful out of their minds. The more you’re attached to your ‘list’, the more these poor guys will be on the defensive, wondering, “How can I possibly measure up?”
It’s like you’re a food critic, and these poor guys are trying to make you a home-cooked meal. How can they win? So let the inner food critic go. Appreciate men for what they have, and accept their humble meal for what it is — real nourishment and a show of love. Otherwise, if their cooking goes unappreciated and you go hungry, who wins?
So let you be their big win. And, from a man to you, remember: there is nothing more attractive to a man than a woman’s vulnerability.
go get ’em