This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Rational Male" by Rollo Tomassi. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What is Rollo Tomassi’s advice on how to be more masculine? How can you embrace masculinity with just three rules?
In his book The Rational Male, Rollo Tomassi asserts that women have an agenda to dominate men. To combat this agenda, he says, men must become aware of their own value and embrace their natural masculine impulses.
Below we’ll look at the three main rules Tomassi outlines for men to recognize their value, have more sex, build better relationships, and feel good about themselves.
#1: Postpone Long-Term Relationships and Build Your Value
The first rule in being more masculine is to focus on yourself. Tomassi advises men to remain single until their 30s, the time when their sexual desirability is highest. Delaying commitment will allow them to gain experience with many women so they’re better able to judge character and identify good female mating partners.
(Shortform note: Tomassi’s advice to postpone relationships could backfire, as some women avoid men who have never been in a long-term relationship. These women assume that perpetually single men are somehow “damaged” or unwilling to commit.)
Before their 30s, Tomassi advises, men should build their value by pursuing their educational and career ambitions, as well as devoting time to their physical fitness. By building their value, men will enjoy better sexual opportunities as they mature, as women are attracted to fit, successful men.
(Shortform note: While Tomassi frames building their value as something men should do to attract women, in Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey suggests that it’s something men must do before they enter the dating scene. Harvey says that a man’s self-worth and value as a partner are linked with his achievements, particularly his job, title, and earning capability. He elaborates that only when men measure up in these areas can they truly devote attention to women and relationships.)
Additionally, Tomassi says, the more value men build—through their status, career achievements, and physical attractiveness—the more leverage they will have with women. A high-status, physically and socially dominating man can define the terms of his relationship with a woman much better than a frumpy guy working a minimum-wage job.
(Shortform note: Research doesn’t specifically address Tomassi’s claim that higher-status, attractive men can more easily dictate the terms of their relationships. However, research does show that when women earn more and have higher-status jobs than their husbands, they resent their husbands, experience more conflict in their relationships, and often express a desire to leave their marriages. Thus, men may be wise to pursue status and career success as Tomassi advises because they’ll be more likely to build harmonious relationships that last.)
#2: Don’t Negotiate for Sex
It’s essential, says Tomassi, that men refuse to negotiate with women for sexual access if they want to know how to be more masculine. Women control men by granting or denying sexual access, and men need to stay alert for any conditional offers of sex. For example, a woman might say, “We can have some fun later if you take me to that new restaurant,” or “If you stay home tonight instead of going out with your friends, I’ll make it worth your while.”
When a woman negotiates for sex, it’s a test. She’s assessing whether a man is the strong protector and provider she needs. According to Tomassi, a man fails this test by succumbing to a woman’s demands. He sends the message that he needs her more than she needs him, surrendering his authority and losing the woman’s respect.
(Shortform note: Many people agree with Tomassi that it’s a bad idea for couples to approach sex as a transactional arrangement. For example, if a woman consents to sex only if her man changes the oil in her car, it can lead to resentment. However, couples who talk openly about sex—including how frequently they want to engage in sex—can have healthy negotiations around sex that lead to a frequency of intercourse that’s satisfying for both partners.)
As Tomassi explains, a woman wants to see that her romantic partner controls the circumstances around him. Therefore, refusing to negotiate is the only way for men to pass the test. In this way, men demonstrate their need to be more masculine, honor their value, and ensure that women’s desire is real, not just a reward for men’s compliance.
(Shortform note: Many studies confirm Tomassi’s assertion that women like men who are confident, independent, and in control. But make sure confidence doesn’t transform into arrogance and selfishness, which turns women off. To demonstrate that you’re a guy who has confidence without arrogance, be kind, respectful, open-minded, and modest. Listen intently when others talk, and deliver your opinions with clarity.)
#3: Keep Women Curious and Uncertain
Tomassi argues that the last rule of being more masculine is to be unpredictable by finding creative ways to pique women’s imaginations. Although women say they want a man who’s reliable and steady, they actually want a man who sparks excitement, intrigue, and mystery.
As soon as a woman thinks she knows all there is to know about a man, she loses interest. Why? When there’s nothing more to learn about a guy, she can continue scanning elsewhere to compare him with other men—always seeking the highest-status man available. But if a man keeps a woman guessing about what he’ll do or say, she’ll see him as independent, assertive, and exciting. As Tomassi explains, that compels her to be attentive and respectful, and she’ll continue investing energy into him.
So, how can men build intrigue and spark excitement to keep women interested? Tomassi recommends being creative: Go out with the guys after work, make a cocky comment, be funny, start working out, take up a new hobby, or change the way you dress.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Rational Male summary :
- How women use a feminine agenda to manipulate men
- Why sex should never be a transactional arrangement
- Why men don't need long-term relationships