I know my writing has been angry as of late, but I just seem to be picking up on all the ridiculousness of the world! This entry will be a list of qualities I experience as necessary to capture the attention of a 21st century man. I don’t want it to be offensive to many of the women I know, as plenty of them are happily married or dating wonderful men, and don’t share the same experiences as me. And I know there are conscientious young men out there, but the list below will apply to the other ones. This is my experience as a college-educated young woman. It’s a joke, but not really. This is life.
How to Catch a Man in 2010
1. If you meet a nice-looking man at a bar, don’t tell him what college you went to if it was a good one, instead just tell him what state it was in.
2. Instead of saving money for your own financial security, spend any extra on updating your wardrobe. Put it on a credit card if you must.
3. Wear uncomfortable high heels at unnecessary times, like going to the airport or grocery store.
4. Squeeze an exercise regimen into your spare time, but don’t require it of your mate. Avoid soda, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, and fat. (After all, that couple in “The King of Queens” was so darn cute.)
5. Dress in suggestive clothing all the time, but don’t gratify your own sexual needs. Everyone knows that each sexual partner a woman has reduces her desirability as a marriage commodity.
6. If you express feminist tendencies, laugh and bat your eyelashes when men around you make “lesbian” remarks.
7. Instead of spending an hour reading in the morning, spend that hour getting ready. Or, if you insist on having it all, wake yourself up an hour early and do both, and develop a coke habit to support your lifestyle.
8. Never think critically of your situation.
9. Instead of getting to know the women you work with, give them fake smiles and talk behind their backs.
10. If you work in a male-dominated company, just shrug it off when your ideas and creativity are ignored. Continue to accept work that is below your capacity. Congratulate male co-workers who are encouraged to succeed. After all, one of them may one day prove to be a boyfriend.
11. If a man in your life is rude to you, don’t challenge him. Instead, go home and adjust your look and attitude to be more feminine and flirtatious, so the next time he sees you, he will accept you.
12. If he likes sports, learn about sports. If he likes politics, learn about politics. If he likes hip-hop, learn about that. Read the books he reads. But never expect him to learn more about your interests.
13. Dress as the type of woman he’s attracted to, whether that be hipster, priss, or bad girl. Forget what your own fashion is.
14. Consciously or unconsciously gravitate towards jobs and careers that pay lower, so you have a higher chance of meeting a mate with a higher income than you. After all, to earn more than he would emasculate him.
15. Gravitate toward jobs with “assistant” or “support” in the title.
16. Only watch movies with him that have male protagonists. We all know that any movie with a female lead or story is a “chick flick,” however critically acclaimed. Even Sophie’s Choice was probably a chick flick.
17. Cultivate an attitude of demureness, saving your spark for alone time with girlfriends. Maintain this attitude of demureness throughout your relationship, because to make any moves that are too big or too bold will confuse and possibly hurt your mate.
18. Spend all your time with your girlfriends trying to figure out why men are the way they are, and how you can improve your relationship. Never have a discussion about art, politics, or anything else that may interest you.
19. Take pole-dancing or stripping lessons to further entice your mate, instead of learning about healing or any of the other ways female energy can be used.
20. Let society convince you to have a baby before you’re ready, so you can be a “hot young mom.” Ignore the cries of your small child but make sure she's wearing a cute outfit before you go out the door so she can make a nice accessory. Having babies past the age of 29 is so unfeminine.
This list is written as satire, but it’s not really satire. This is the way many young women live their lives. It can be particularly hard for smart women. In Maureen Dowd’s critique of the gender wars, “Are Men Necessary?” she talks about a study that showed that for every 20 points a woman’s IQ increases, her chance of marriage decreases a certain amount. She also details a tragic but funny tale about a woman who dated and married a man who had a very high IQ, who was successful in his career and proud of his intellectual accomplishments. The woman was careful to not talk too much about her own abilities, and finally, on their wedding night, she confessed to him in tears that her IQ was much higher than his. It had proved such a burden to her dating life that she had hidden it from the man that would become her husband. Thankfully, he took it in stride and ended up admiring and loving her mind.
And Dowd had her own dating challenges as an intelligent, thinking single woman. She said a co-worker at the New York Times had considered asking her out at one point but was too intimidated, because her position was too powerful. She also had Bill Clinton make a joke at a gala she attended that she was an “emasculating b****,” a joke that went over well with the crowd. Such jokes are common, but she pointed out that a male political journalist would never be called that, he would be called “hard-hitting” or something similarly admirable.
And this is why dynamic, intelligent women are afraid of appearing too bold—because it is considered “emasculating,” and could turn off a potential mate.