The Age-Old Question: What Do Women Want in Men?

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 do women want in men? Do women really like “bad guys”?

There’s not one concrete answer to what women expect from men when they’re dating or in a relationship. According to Rollo Tomassi, the author of The Rational Male, women are drawn to guys who act rude and are full of themselves. Robert Glover, on the other hand, says that women aren’t attracted to those types of men.

Check out the debate between Tomassi and Glover on what women really want in a man.

What Rollo Tomassi Says

What do women want in men?

Rollo Tomassi says that women spread the lie that they want “nice guys” who are few and far between. Most men, women disingenuously lament, are cocky meatheads locked in an outdated version of masculinity that leads them to be insensitive, overly aggressive, emotionally distant, and out of touch with what women want and need. 

Tomassi says this is blatantly false and doesn’t answer what women want in men. In reality, he explains, most men are “nice guys”—caring, compassionate, supportive, and accommodating to women’s needs—because they’ve been socialized to display qualities that women say they value. In effect, Tomassi says, most men have become like women—in the misguided belief that doing so will make them more attractive to women.

But men disadvantage themselves, Tomassi explains, by being nice and embodying feminine qualities. Why? Because women are not actually drawn to nice guys. Rather, they are drawn to guys who stand out from the pack. Men who act cocky and selfish, Tomassi insists, will be noteworthy and what women want the most.  

Remember, women never say what they really want. So, even though a woman says she wants a nice guy, she actually wants a man who is confident enough to prioritize his own interests and beliefs—an indicator that he will be a good provider and protector.

What Dr. Robert Glover Says

Other prominent voices who address what women want in men echo Tomassi’s call for men to abandon their “nice guy” mindset and behaviors. For example, in No More Mr. Nice Guy, Dr. Robert Glover says “being nice” causes men to deny their power and experience unsatisfying intimate relationships, frustration, bitterness, and disappointment. He encourages men to improve their lives by becoming an Ideal Man who is secure in their masculinity, sexuality, and self-image. Both Tomassi and Glover call for men to embrace their innate masculine tendencies and prioritize their needs.

However, in contrast to Tomassi, Glover asserts that women aren’t attracted to “jerks” who exhibit selfish, insulting behavior. So, what qualities in men do women really find attractive? Glover argues that women are attracted to confident people who fully accept themselves. Meanwhile, according to research, here’s what women look for:

  • Men who are unavailable or who “play hard to get”
  • Good looks, though more so for flings and less so for long-term relationships
  • Men who wear red, a color associated with high status
  • A sense of humor, which is seen as a sign of intelligence
  • Men with dogs
  • Altruism and kindness, though more so for long-term relationships and less so for flings
  • Men with expensive cars or apartments who appear wealthy
  • Older men who’ve had time to acquire more resources
  • Men who are attentive, present, and nonjudgmental
  • Men who undertake heroic risks like saving someone’s life
The Age-Old Question: What Do Women Want in Men?

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Rollo Tomassi's "The Rational Male" at Shortform .

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

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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