Lately, I’ve noticed a plethora of articles aimed at women written to give us insight into what guys find attractive and what they don’t. I get the idea in principle – dating can be so confusing and anxiety-inducing, and the idea of demystifying some of it is a good one in theory. Some people really do need to be told that talking incessantly about exes is a no-no, that blabbing on and on about yourself on a date is lame, and that sleeping with a guy on a first date is far more controversial than it should be. Where these articles lose me are when they start to get hypercritical – telling women what we should and shouldn’t wear, how we should do our hair, what we should and shouldn’t eat or drink, and generally ridiculous policing of our behavior all for the sake of being more palatable to men.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive. It’s totally normal and healthy. But it should never be at the expense of yourself. I haven’t polled every single guy out there, but I’m willing to bet the vast majority of the well-adjusted ones want to date women who are confident, secure, intelligent, kind, and have a sense of humor. The thing is – those all manifest themselves in so many different ways. If you feel hot in t-shirts and jeans, rock it. If you’re a trendy shopaholic, then don’t be afraid to kill it in your peplum skirts or gladiator sandals. If you’re well-read, don’t dumb yourself down – conversely, don’t pretend to know things you actually don’t. If you’re a hardcore sports fan, there’s no reason to hide it – and if you barely know the difference between tennis and soccer, that’s okay too. If you’re strictly a vodka kind of gal, don’t pretend like Corona is your absolute favorite beverage ever. What guys (and what people in general) respond to is authenticity. Focus on highlighting the best parts of your personality and don’t worry too much about being someone’s “dream girl.”
Dating isn’t about captivating every single person you meet. It’s about creating chemistry with people you’re compatible with. People who appreciate you for your best attributes. More importantly, it’s about finding someone that you actively enjoy spending time with, someone who has the traits that you are looking for. You are far too unique to force yourself into some lowest common denominator idea of what is or isn’t alluring.
Jasmine is a graduate of Northern Arizona University who moved across the country to the Washington DC area for the politics and stayed for the cupcakes. She’s into working on her fitness, collecting nail polish, devouring current events, being the only person who still watches Gossip Girl, and relentlessly tweeting @itsajasmine.