Because we know you’ve all wondered…
It’s become a popular adage that smart, funny, self-confident women are destined for true love as sure as Selena Gomez is (eventually) destined for Justin Bieber.
We hear male friends, colleagues, and casual acquaintances say, “I’m looking for a girl who’s confident and makes me laugh”. We’re told not to inhibit out personalities around men, to be proud of our achievements, and live by the philosophy that somewhere out there is a man who will take us just as we are, rampant self-esteem essential.
So why, why, are there so many confident, clever women who struggle to find dates, let alone relationships?
I would describe myself as a wildly confident person. After battling an eating disorder in my late teens and early 20s, I am now more than happy with my appearance. I’m not ashamed to admit I use my looks for personal gain (any advantage, right?), I’ve got a good brain, an eccentric mind, and a wicked sense of humor. And contrary to how women are programmed to behave, I choose not to apologize for myself, and accept compliments without self-deprecating deflection.
Does this make me desirable? Yep. Does this get me a lot of, erm, physical attention from guys? Absolutely. But does it make me girlfriend material? Well, that’s the burning question asked by a lot of intelligent, confident women, not just me.
In an attempt to answer this (and to prove to myself I’m not just whining), I turned to my good friend science. A study conducted by the University at Buffalo, California Lutheran University, and the University of Texas at Austin revealed 86 per cent of male participants insisted they were attracted to smart women. However, after pairing them up in a controlled environment with women of varying levels of intelligence, the vast majority were more attracted to the less intelligent ladies. Since smart often relates to confident, we can assume this would render the same result.
After this depressing revelation, I had a good long think about my own life and personality. I’ve never done the ‘boyfriend’ thing. I’ve never wanted to, and I’m still not sweating over it. However, it strikes me as funny that the vast majority of my friends who are in relationships are my quieter, self-admittedly less confident friends. By contrast, my super sassy, bubbly, hilarious friends may have casual sex on the reg, but getting asked out to dinner? Don’t even think about it.
In addition to this, my male friends, who profess from the rooftops they’re desperate for a confident girl who makes them laugh, immediately jump on the bandwagon of the less secure girl when they’re sniffing around for a relationship. I mean, come on, no guy is going to openly admit he likes women who are less accomplished or confident than him. That’ll just make him look like a douche.
The only men I know who will date women exuding confidence and healthy ego, have obscenely enormous levels of confidence as well. Good news, right? It would be, if these secure men made up the bulk of the population. Sadly, they don’t. And this is a little bit of a problem.
So what does confidence entail? Genuine self-esteem results from intelligence, physical attractiveness, funny-factor, and knowledge that you possess these traits (with some exceptions, of course). However, positive self-awareness doesn’t come naturally, especially for women. It takes a specific type of personality to perceive your own worth, let alone unashamedly admit to it.
And despite their often emotionless exteriors, guys want to feel needed just as much as we do. They are programmed by nature to protect and provide. If a woman appears wholly self-sufficient, she’s not allowing him to do this.
So if providing is inherently tied into masculinity, why would ‘alpha-career woman’ top the list of what a guy wants in a long-term partner? That’s the role he wants to fill.
So where does this leave self-sufficient, unashamedly sassy women? After all, we don’t have any trouble with initially attracting men. We’re confident enough to jump into bed if the urge takes us, and aren’t ashamed to have a one night stand. As for casual sex, we’re all over it. But that, unfortunately, is usually where it ends.
Confidence is sexy because it makes social interaction easier, and bedroom action fiery. However, from my observation, this can be subconsciously seen by men as an obstacle to a long-term partnership, as it raises the niggling question of whether you’ll stick around if you don’t actually need him in order to derive your self-worth.
So what should confident women do about it?
The way I see it, we have two options. We can hang out for our wildly self-assured male counterpart who will love our self-esteem as much as he loves his own. Or, as icky as it makes us feel, we can tone it down just a tad in the initial stages. Then, once we’ve constructed a mutual attachment, we can let the rampant self-confidence out bit by bit. Either option is worth a try, right?
Comment: Do you think men are threatened by smart, confident women?
Daisy is a writer, actress, and outspoken feminist. She has a peculiar fixation with tennis and often shouts, "Vamos Rafa!" at inappropriate moments. Harry Potter is her spirit animal. Follow Daisy on Twitter and Facebook.