Today we're going #wayback to 1984. To the song She's Strange by Cameo:
She's strange, and I like it
She's strange, just the way she is
Strange, walking down the avenue
She's strange, always doing something new
She's the kind of person everybody knows
She reeks distinction from head to toe
She's my Twilight Zone, my Al Capone
She's my Rolling Stones and my Eva Perone
And I like it . . .
When it comes to attracting men, most women worry about the wrong things. We focus on fixing "flaws" that men either don't notice or don't care about—usually related to physical appearance. We do that because at our core we aren't really trying to attract men, we're locked in a pattern of trying to appease other women.
Women grow up policing each other, and some go to great lengths to make sure other girls don't step too far out of line (meaning: don't outshine your friends). Back in my day, if a girl was too fashionably dressed, there would be a swift "who does she think she is" reaction, usually coupled with a "she thinks she's cute." Of course that censure applied to thoughts and opinions as well; any girl who dared to think for herself risked becoming an outcast.
Even today, I have clients who heard similar messages growing up, and have carried that impulse to conform into adulthood. They are afraid to "stand out" by being too attractive, or to express opinions that are not "nice" or popular. Their nails are done to perfection (a detail appreciated only by other women), but the constant self-monitoring has erased their feminine charm and allure (qualities real men do appreciate and respond to). The strategies that worked so well to appease other girls, back in the day, may actually be blocking them from connecting with men today.
TIP: Make sure playground rules haven't followed you into adulthood. If you still think "fitting in" is important, you may be turning off the quality men you wish to attract.
When you were a kid, did other girls ever make you feel like you were strange? In a woman's world, it is very hurtful to be labeled different or odd. By contrast, what does a man say, when a woman strikes him as "strange"? He says she is:
At first, you were just a blur of movement in the crowd, but now that he has really noticed you he sees that you are strange. He is curious about you. This is attraction, for a guy. The woman who is different from all the others (in his view) and different from himself is like an Enchantress. He feels helpless, unable to resist her spell. No man says, "I'm obsessed with her—she is so generic." Or: "I must have her—she is virtually interchangeable with all of her friends." There is no magic in simply fitting in.
When it comes to accepting difference, men are typically more evolved than women. They are highly tolerant of their friends' quirks and oddities, and are more likely to notice a breech in loyalty or respect than behavior that is simply "weird." They barely notice if another guy adheres to out-there religious or political beliefs or is otherwise unconventional, as long as he upholds a basic code of decency and friendship. "He's cool, he parties" is about as much commentary as you may get from college-aged men, regarding a new roommate. Women could learn a lot from the peaceful tolerance that exists in the man-cave.
TIP: Most men easily accept others' quirks and oddities. Women could learn a lot from the peaceful tolerance that exists in the man-cave.
Women ask me all the time about confidence. They know that it is supposedly an attractive quality, but are dismayed when they actually drive men away with (what they think is) a display of inner strength. The key is that when a woman attempts to convey confidence in a traditionally masculine way, she usually appears insecure instead. This is why so many Alpha Women mistakenly think men are scared off by their "confidence" when nothing could be further from the truth. Men read those signals differently from you.
Instead, I invite you to think of "strange" as your path to true confidence. It's a safe place where that judgmental crowd from high school has no power over you. You are free to express your most serene, feminine, and vulnerable self.
TIP: "Strange" is your path to confidence. It's a safe place where you are free to express your most serene, feminine, and vulnerable self.
Men appreciate the unique, but I'm not suggesting that you should scare away your dates by dressing like a goth ghoul from Monster High or revealing every little quirk and tattoo. That attention-seeking behavior is not different or special, it's the lowest form of Walmart-normal. The woman who is strange by today's standards is:
- Mysterious—She doesn't over-share personal details about herself or others.
- Unpredictable—She thinks for herself and does not follow the crowd or look to her friends for validation.
- Serene—She is slow to take offense and assumes good intentions; she is not a drama queen.
- Modest—She is quietly confident and doesn't need to boast or name-drop or sell herself. [Genuine humility is such a prized quality among men that it deserves its own post; guys have a HIGH radar for boastfulness in any form, and even a hint of it sets off alarm bells in a man's mind.]
- Respectful—She graciously accepts that others may not agree with her views, and rises above the need to "win" or debate others.
- Open—She is curious about other people and accepts their differences; this is part of what makes the world beautiful to her.
- Vulnerable—She doesn't need to bluster her way through a conversation; if she makes a mistake, she says so.
These are characteristics of a truly confident person and none require you to have every aspect of your life in order or to strive for an unobtainable, perfect image. When you've mastered a truly feminine expression of confidence, you can be you and attract a man who appreciates what you have to offer. Focus on distinguishing yourself in every way possible. Give yourself permission to be outstanding.
Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.