Spending a decade and a half of your life with someone only to find out they're not even remotely close to the person you thought they were can leave one...ahem...jaded. I left my marriage damn near traumatized and with a heap of trust issues (although at the time I thought I was fine). A year later I've realized I was fine because I had to be and was actually surviving on adrenaline and fear for the first few months. Add in twelve months of serial dating and I've realized most men in today's world are narcissitic, selfish, immature, or non-commital. If youre reading this and we dated this year, I'm probably not referring to you, especially if we're still friends...I'm likely referring to the guy I had one date with and realized almost instantly he was an asshole. If you got a second date, or a third, or we're still in touch, then we just didn't work out for other reasons. Sorry bout ya!
But, this post is not about my bad dates or cautious outlook on men. It's about putting out into the universe what I'm looking for, while simultaneously teaching men how women think about men they're dating...I met someone recently that demonstrated each of these points and got me very excited that someone like this does, in fact, exist, and not to settle.
1. Good Dresser
I was immediately attracted to this person because he was well-dressed head-to-toe. Clean shaven, fresh hair cut, well tailored suit, and gorgeous shoes. Yes, this matters to women! Why? Because it shows us you give a damn! It shows us that you recognize the effort we put into our appearance for you and you mirror that effort because you too have self-respect. It's also a sign of maturity. No- baggy sweatpants, sneakers, and concert t-shirts don't cut it in adulthood. Buy clothes that fit and are age appropriate, for god sakes.
Ironically I had matched with this person online way before randomly bumping into them in public so we'd been chatting for months already before meeting. In all that time, he never once was crass, disrespectful, or solicited the far-too-commonly requested dirty photos. If this request hasn't happened to you yet, count yourself lucky. This is typcally requested within the first twenty-four hours of giving out my number and is always answered with "now you're blocked. have a good life" type of text. Whether its a text, a coffee, or a date, I always feel like Queen of the Castle when I'm with this person. This is called "chivalry". He exhibits old school charm and carries himself with class! Fellas, opening a girl's door is NOT all it takes. Treat her like a QUEEN and she'll treat you like a King. It's that simple.
I have guy friends that talk poorly about women who date successful men as if they're "golddiggers" (as if these men tip us after dates or take us shopping, lol) and I'll tell you I've never dated a man because of money. I have; however, dated primarily successful men because these men posess character, intelligence, class, drive, ambition, are goal oriented, and achieve their dreams. These traits are what are appealing about successful men, not "money" as many men mistakenly believe. So, if you're not in the higher tax bracket, find ways to show you posess these traits in other areas of your life. Success takes many forms and its not all financial.
Women work their booties off (literally) to stay in shape. We eat right, exercise, buy expensive shapewear, and pop supplements like M&Ms, yet most men in their thirties and forties think its okay to sport a beer belly and man boobs. You know why these things are un-sexy to women? The traits associated with them are laziness, complacency, and lack of respect for yourself. If you can't take care of yourself, how can you possibly care of a woman? Again, many men roll their eyes at women who date men in shape, like we're vain, or something, but women see a man in shape as someone who takes pride in their health and will likely stay healthy as they age. That's what's sexy!
Many of my guy friends think a woman who's looking for a well-traveled man is looking for money, but that's not even remotely close! A well-traveled man is often adventurous, open-minded, cultured, mature, experienced, and has great stories and a fresh persective on current events and hot topics. Spontaneity and a lust for life are qualities many women find attractive, and we know a man whose seen the world is likely to posess these traits. These Texas born and bred, yee-haw " 'Merica", types that think everything here is bigger, better and all there is are a huge turn off. If you don't have a passport and can't open your mind to other religions, cultures, and ways of living, you're not for me!
Ive had dates that have gone really well and even led to second, third, and fourth dates. Interesting conversations, chemistry, connection, and hope...then comes the scariest date of all- visiting the man's home. Short of finding a dead body in the corner, I've seen it all! Men in their thirties and forties who live as if theyre renting a room in a fraternity house. A woman can be understanding of aesthetic differences between a family home and a bachelor pad, but if your home is not clean and your furniture looks like you borrowed from friends or went dumpster diving, we're likely to ghost you and never return to your home. Fellas, its time to step it up. No, you don't need to spend your retirement at Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn, but nice bedding, clean bathroom, and well made pieces of furniture go a long way. Live as if you'd like to share a life, and a home, with another human one day, putting into practice the "Field of Dream" theory...if you build it, she will come.
I'm going to say honesty is number one. Most women are reasonable and understanding if told the truth upfront. If you're looking to hook up, tell her that. If you just want someone to keep you company while you heal a broken heart, let her know. If you want a long term relationship, but have zero interest in marriage and kids, she needs to know. You'd be surprised what kind of arrangement women are open to when they know whats up. And, if its not for them, they may stay friends with you and introduce you to their girlfriends who may be more keen. But, lie to a woman, or hide intentions and feelings only puts you in the category we've put 95% of the men we've met...the liers, cheaters, game players, who are too immature to be open, honest, and direct with a female for fear she'll (gasp) not want to date them.
If you don't make her a priority, she'll keep you as just an option, too. Sure, we live in a society of feminists and dating apps that give women the lead, but many women still want to be pursued. We love a good morning text, a "when can I see you again?" call after a great date, and whats even better- "I need to see you. I bought you a ticket to meet me here" or "I made reservations for us here". Be a man, take the lead! Women love this. It shows masculinity, leadership, faith in your connection, and maturity. A lil effort goes a long way. Any sign of weakness or insecurity can be a huge turnoff.
I've been divorced about a year now and my business has been in start-up phase for twice that long. Let's just say, "money is tight!" It's hard to admit that because we live in a junk culture where money, status, material things have value, but in actuality what matters is safety, happiness, and love. I made the courageous decision to leave a life of luxury and becme a single mother of two ids under two because I valued safety, happiness, and love more than things. But, with that decision came a bank account balance that bounces back and forth between positive and negative and we live on a very limited budget.
I could write an entire post on how I stretch the money that we have coming in, but instead, I'd like to focus on the options that are available to women who find themself in this position- those that can't secure affordable childcare, therefore can't find a "real" job, and find themselves in a financial cul-de-sac. You don't have to be a martyr and live without constantly. Sure, there are scrifices, but fortunately in today's world, we have options! We can live the life we dream if we work towards it.
Unless it strictly enforced in your lease agreement, you can rent your home out on Airbnb whether you lease it or own it. Setting up an account is easy! Check with friends and family about retreating to their home for a night or two when your home is being used, or turn it into a mini vacay and go camping!
There were a few months immeiately following my divorce that my ex justdidn't pay child support. That through me for a HUGE loop and left me terrified I couldn't provide for my kids. So, I downloaded the uber driver app and hit the road! It's easy to make about $20-30hr and bot Uber and Lyft offer incentives for referring other drivers.
3. Scooter Charger
If you live in a metropolitan area where Bird and Lime scooters are used all over town, download the app and apply to be a charger! Each app has a GPS tracker to show you where bikes are located that may be low in battery. Pick them up and take them home to charge at your home...up to four at a time, which equates to about $20-25. Do this a couple times a night and it's an easy lil' side business to supplement your income, or just buy that cute dress you've been eyeing!
Most major grocery store chains are offering curbside shopping via Instacart and similar services. This is a super easy way to put a lil extra cash in your pocket to make ends meet and you can set your own hours!
5. Facebook Marketplace
Some months, December for example, are very costly in nature due to holidays, birthdays, or travel, etc. Or, occassionally life hits you upside the head with car trouble, home repairs, or other unforeseen costs. For me (in December, no less) I needed two new tires, my son broke his leg, my washer broke, AND it was Christmas. Ummmm....I do NOT have money set aside to be punched in the gut like that financially. So, I turned to facebook marketplace and started selling anything (and everything) we no longer needed. I was amazed at how much junk I was holding onto that I never use!
Want to travel but have "no money": Get a credit card associated with an airline and use it for ALL expenses and pay it off EVERY month. Rent your home on Airbnb when you're away and get to jet setting!
It irks me ever so slightly when I meet someone who tells me they've visited Austin and they had fun on Sixth Street. In fact, I'll probably roll my eyes or blush with embarassment. News Flash: Locals HATE Sixth Street! That's where we go when we're in the mood to witness a bar fight, relive the pleasure of drip drying over a dirty toilet, and hop over the vomit of a bachelorette wearing a neon wig as we walk down the strip looking for the next joyous encounter with a toothless man swinging a wallet on a chain. Theres a reason it's nicknamed "dirty six". Locals, and parents, value much more about Austin than the party scene. I feel blessed I get to raise my boys here because there's SO much to do with littles in this city.
So, what do you do in Austin with littles?
Short Drive outside town:
Walking into Target a few days ago I had one kid in the seat of the cart and the other standing up in the cart with his arms out by his sides pretending to fly. He has been standing in carts since he was old enough to pull up on the bars. He's also toppled over enough times IN the cart that he knows to hold on tight when I start pushing it and he's almost fallen out enough times that he keeps his feet firmly planted and his focus on his balance. In the event he were to fall over and I thought he might actually fall out (which is highly unlikely at his age and ability, I'd grab his shirt and hold him in, or it's likely I'd catch him before he hit the floor. So, why did strangers ALL feel the need to tell him, "Be careful"?
Dont tell my kids to be careful!
That's not what I want for them! I don't tell my kids to be careful because I don't want to imply there's something to be afraid of. I want them to grab life by te horns and go for it. I want them to be aware of dangers, sure, like drowning, fire, strangers, and knives, but in this instance there was literally NOTHING to be careful about. So, telling my son to be careful in a case like this could imply there's fear ahead. Instead, I prefer he stay in his active imagination and pretend hes flying as I not only speed up, but I also make an effort to hit speed bumbs and bounce over curbs.
Risk within reason is how I run my house. A teacher who attended one of my workshops recently ased, "Are there any rules in your house?" I've been asked this question before and the answer is, "No". I don't really have any rules in my house. My kids don't really break rules because they're arent any. Instead, they govern themselves within the framework make choices with love. I find myself saying that often.
When I see a hand pulled back to hit another, I'll gently grab the arm, pull him into a hug (disguised straight jacket)and say, "Make choices with love". Should a toy car go flying in the air, I may request "Make choices with love and drive the car on the table or the ground, please". The purpose of this method is to only set limits when limits need to be set. Toddlers are naturally going to try to push limits and test boundaries; its developmental. If I were to create a bunch of rules for them, their natural incliniation is to try to break those rules just to see what might happen.
When a natural consequence could occur I allow that to happen such as a toy getting lost, a book getting torn, a sibling to fight back or be too angry to play the game. Perhaps its a dinner plate being put away until better manners are shown, but in my home we make choices with love and decisions are based on what's good for me and others around me.
When they're playing, the last thing on my mind is whether or not they're being careful because as far as I'm concerned, if they're engaged in their play and are not harming themselves or others, by golly, let kids play!
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Chelsea Vail, Join Whole Heart, inventor/entrepreneur and parenting specialist!
Parenting expert, blogger, inventor, single mom to twins, barefoot nomad, adventure seeker, boho spirit, advocate of play