I've sat down for conversations with hundreds of men in my time as a matchmaker—old, young, tall, short, attractive, less attractive, some looking for love, and some not ready for love. While I learned that no two men are exactly alike, I also picked up on patterns and behaviors that surprised me. What I found not only busted the myth of the insensitive, unromantic, sex-crazed man, but it gave me a clearer picture of what many men want. So, here's what I've learned about men in my time as a matchmaker:
- Beauty Lies In The Eyes Of The Beholder. Men are undoubtedly visual, and I'd be hard-pressed to think of one man who has told me that he didn't care what his mate looked like. But the upside here is that what each man finds beautiful varies to some degree. I won't sugarcoat the fact that most men prefer fit women. But, some men define fit as a curvy size 10, while others think a lean size 2 is the only picture of fitness. For every guy who prefers an enhanced Barbie lookalike with fake lashes and hair extensions, there is another who is repulsed by the look, thinking it's overdone. One man's plain Jane is another man's natural beauty. Every woman has an audience of men—she just has to find it.
- Good-looking Men Are Open-Minded. This one has repeatedly surprised me the most. I've worked with several tall, attractive, interesting, successful male clients who have lines of women waiting to date them. I've found that these men are open-minded and less critical of others. One of my most successful and attractive clients decided that he preferred to be matched without first seeing pictures. When I asked him why, he simply shrugged and said, "I know people don't always look like their pictures, and there are lots of ways to be attractive." Perhaps it was because he lived amongst the beautiful people and grew tired of it, or perhaps it was because he was looking for a unique experience, but he believed many people had at least one attractive quality worth exploring. On the flip side, I've found that men who are less successful with love have unrealistic ideals. Often, those men are looking for a trophy to balance out their own insecurities.
- Men Love Fast & Furious. Men fall fast and they fall hard. And they're not afraid to show it. Most of the time, if you are a woman wondering if a man is into you, he probably isn't. Yes, of course men get nervous and scared like everyone else, but when they fall in love, they're generally willing to send a clear message. Men don't often play hard-to-get, and many times they'll be the first to utter the "I love you" or set the boundaries of the relationship.
- The Chase Doesn't Always Result In A Catch. The old rules of courtship taught women to to wait for men to make the first move, to make men feel like they had earned a prize. I've seen many men grow tired of the gamesmanship of dating. Making a man chase you is risky and often leads to him becoming frustrated with mixed signals. Men are looking for someone to love them back, just like everyone else. Love is a two-way street, and men want someone to travel down the road side-by-side, not someone to chase 3 strides behind.
- Men Can Be Regular Romeos. Men can be just as romantic as women, and I'm not sure where the myth began that they weren't. William Shakespeare and Ralph Waldo Emerson were men, after all. Hand-holding, spontaneity, love poems—men love them just as much as women. I get calls from current and past clients regularly, wondering if their romantic gestures are overdone or cheesy. I don't often get those calls from women.
- Men Have Confidence Concerns. Men don't have to deal with being the gender that has been over-sexualized in the media, or the sex that strives for equality. They may not suffer from eating disorders as frequently as women do, or have to deal with the constant bombardment of media images displaying unrealistic body ideals. But they are hyper aware of their insecurities as well. Men worry about being tall enough, their masculine physique, having enough hair, and being financially successful. Male clients have put their matchmaking contracts on hold with me until they firmed up at the gym, or delayed dates until after fixing a bad haircut. Just because many men may appear fearless in their career pursuits or pursuit of you doesn't mean they aren't aware of their imperfections.
- Laughing Into Love. Sense of humor goes a long, long way for men. They want to laugh with you, but what they really want is for you to laugh at their jokes. While many women are drawn to men who have made them laugh, men are largely drawn to women who laugh at their jokes. Laughter sends the message to men that they're sexy and desired. As one client flatly said to me, "I want a woman who knows I'm funny."
My position as a matchmaker has afforded me the opportunity to learn about so many interesting people. I've learned to never assume anything about anyone, and that everyone has a unique story to share. But one thing we unequivocally share is that we all want to be loved—men are no different.
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