If you’re like a lot of independent and successful women, you may have bought into the myth that men are afraid of powerful women when it comes to pursuing a romantic relationship. If this is true, how then do we find an appropriate man to date? Actually, it’s not a true statement that men are put off by independent and successful women. What men are turned off by is a woman’s invulnerability. So, what you need to know is how to not be intimidating when dating.
To be invulnerable means to be incapable of being wounded, hurt or damaged. In the context of attracting a potential romantic interest, it’s more than emotional vulnerability, however. Offering a man the chance to guide, share his expertise or knowledge, empowering him by listening to him and welcoming his suggestions are also ways to show vulnerability. Therein lies the mystery to women who are capable and accustomed to taking care of everything themselves.
I wondered what it meant to show one’s vulnerability to a man? Did it mean that I am needy or weak if I did? If a man is wired to protect, provide and procreate (the three Ps), how can he do two of the three, protect and provide, if he doesn’t have the opportunity to do so? To provide also includes, empathy, compassion and validation; in other words, it is not solely providing monetary items.
When it is suggested that a woman is intimidating, in man-glish (the language of men) it indicates ‘you don’t need anything.’ To be clear, to need and be needy are different things. Men want to be needed and they want to be our heroes – if we let them.
With this discovery, I began to look for opportunities to be voluntarily vulnerable. I wanted to attract the alpha male and since the alpha male is programmed to protect, provide and procreate, I needed to radiate femininity to be attractive to him. This meant I had to be willing to ask men for help or a favor.
I have always been self conscious, though, about imposing on others given my natural tendency to do for myself. If I wanted to get this right I needed to get out of my own way. First, I considered where I might find men willing to help me. Second, I knew it would have to be something that was in his ‘wheelhouse’ or something that he knew about or knew how to do. Immediately I thought of Home Depot and the golf driving range as target rich environments.
My experiment started in Home Depot one weekend when I went looking for a new outdoor light to put in my flowerbed. In the lighting aisle, I was overwhelmed by the plethora of lights from which to choose. As I was contemplating which light, I noticed a man standing beside me looking at the same lighting section. I turned to him and asked, “Can you help me?” He replied, “I’ll try.” I then asked, “Do you know what the difference is between these two lights?”
Without hesitation he gave me a thorough run down on the two lights and which is the better light. I said, “Sold. Thank you. You saved me a lot of time trying to figure these out.” While I noticed a wedding ring on his left hand and the goal is to find an available man, I got to practice being voluntarily vulnerable. He smiled and said, “You’re welcome” and I went about my way.
My more memorable voluntary vulnerable moment occurred at the golf driving range. Although I took two semesters of golf in college it has been a while since I stepped onto a driving range and I needed to brush up on my swing. After hitting several balls I turned around to the man hitting golf balls behind me and I asked, “Can I ask you a favor? Would you mind looking at my swing to see if I’m swinging the right way?”
That started a thirty-minute mini lesson in swinging the golf club correctly. Steve, as he introduced himself, was more than happy to give me pointers on the correct stance and how to get the ball to go the furthest distance. It was in his ‘wheelhouse’ or area of expertise. Single and available, Steve began asking if I came to the driving range often and, well, you can imagine how this encounter turned out: he asked for my phone number.
Where do you have opportunities to be voluntarily vulnerable when dating? Think of something you need, something that would help you, a problem to be solved, something a man can provide or an opportunity to help you. You can still be the independent and successful woman you are – but now you know how to not be intimidating, too.