An Open Letter to American Men: Here’s What Women Want

An Open Letter to American Men: Here's What Women WantI received an email the other day from a woman named Jessica who wanted to address why romance novels are such a “booming industry.” Namely, because they cater to women’s ingrained desire for a dominant male—the subject of a new book I’m writing.

Here’s what Jessica had to say:

We alpha women are tired. Tired of always feeling like we have to do it all ourselves, tired of feeling like we have to prove that we can handle it all all the time. We want so badly for the dominant male to just come in and take over and handle things so we can focus on what we really want: to have a loving relationship and to raise our kids while knowing we’re taken care of and protected. We want that so badly, but society makes us feel guilty for wanting it so we constantly battle ourselves in an effort to convince ourselves that we don’t need those things — which is exhausting since at the end of the day we know, deep down, that’s what we want and need. Reading [romance] novels [like Fifty Shades] is an escape, and a safe way to be dominated and not be judged for it.

Sadly, our culture of equality undermines this very real human desire by removing the inherent hierarchical structure that exists between the sexes due to their physical and psychological differences. Women in particular have been taught to resent this and thus don’t understand it. Instead they believe the sexes are the same, or “equal,” and don’t realize until years later that when it comes to love, the equality meme—though it sounds pretty—is flawed.

People also conflate being dominant with being domineering. Those are not the same things, and indeed both men and women are turned off by domineering partners.

A man’s dominance merely signals his ability to be a strong provider and protector—to be respected by his peers, to meet life’s challenges, and to defend himself and his loved ones against their enemies. Men who appear weak, lazy, or easily dominated are less able to protect and help women and children and thus make women feel unsafe. When women are around men like this, they feel they have to take the lead because, well, somebody has to. But deep down, they don’t want that person to be them.

They want it to be you.

Now I realize you can say in response, “Well, if women hadn’t rejected chivalry, insisted upon equality and demoted men in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this boat!” And I don’t disagree. But I’m not concerned with the feminists who led this fight and who wouldn’t know how to have a real relationship with a man if it were handed to them on a silver platter.

I’m concerned with women like Jessica, who were fed this false narrative and couldn’t help but be affected by it. They are suffering and don’t know what to do. So instead they read romance novels and dream about men who are stronger than they are.

I wrote my last book, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, for precisely these women since they’re the relationship navigators and have the ability to behave in ways that produce the kind of man they’re looking for. But now I’d like to address the men who are married to, living with, or in love with such women since I hear from them as well and they too are suffering.

So here goes:

I know modern women may appear at times to be “badass bitches” who don’t need a soul and who may even pride themselves on being this way. But it’s a mask, and you have to be able to see through it. Most of these women have simply been taught, as Jessica points out, to do it all and to be it all. Either that or they’ve been hurt and have put up walls. Either way, you have to break those walls down if you want to be in a successful relationship.

How do you do this?

1. Grow a spine.

What every strong woman wants is to know that the man she’s with is stronger than she is. She ultimately wants to be tamed. As the strong and independent Bathsheba tells Gabriel in Far from the Madding Crowd, which was set in Victorian England (thus proving how ageless this dynamic is), “If I were ever to marry, I’d want somebody to tame me, and you’d never be able to do it. You’d grow to despise me.”

2. Take the lead.

Being strong and taking the lead in a relationship doesn’t mean throwing your weight around or not allowing the other person a voice. It means being strong in your own right, irrespective of what those around you think or do. You need to be someone who can take initiative and make decisions, as opposed to being a spectator or observer of life. Don’t be a follower who lets your woman lead. Lead.

3. Know what you want.

There is nothing that irks the alpha woman more than a man who’s indecisive or who turns the decision-making over to her. It may appear as though she wants to make all the decisions, but she doesn’t. What she wants more than anything else is for her man to prove himself just as capable so the woman can sit back and let life happen. Modern women are dying to relax but feel they can’t because they don’t trust their man to get the job done. And to be fair, many men have abdicated their strength to women. So you need to show her you’re capable of being relied upon.

4. Get educated.

There are a lot brilliant women running around today, which I know can be intimidating. That means you need to be at least as educated as they are because women tend to marry across and up the dominance hierarchy. If a college degree is not in the cards, you can get the equivalent of a degree by simply reading and paying attention to what’s going on around you. Have an informed opinion, and don’t be afraid to share it. Hold firm to your beliefs and have a strong mind. But to do this, you have to watch less television and play fewer video games. Being smart is an action, not a state of being.

5. Be authoritative and reasonably fit.

Women are attracted to men in authority who look good. That doesn’t mean you have to be rich or svelte, or own a company, or wear a suit all the time. But there’s no getting around the fact that how you present yourself matters. Alpha women take care of themselves and want a man who takes care of himself. You don’t have to look like Brad Pitt—just be active instead of passive. Don’t talk—act. Be authoritative in whatever you do. It will make a huge difference in how she responds to you.

6. Be a gentleman.

I can hear what you’re thinking now: Men used to be gentleman until women insisted men not be by saying they can open doors for themselves and even pay their own way! This is unquestionably true. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to the message. Be a gentleman anyway, which goes along with the rest of this post: do what’s right regardless of what you’re being told to think or to be. Women love that. It means you have your own mind, which is something to which modern women can relate.

All of which is basically to say, don’t let yourself be bullied by societal messages that claim you need to be anything other than what you are: unabashedly male. Not only is there nothing wrong with being a man, women are in fact craving real men—no matter how much it might seem otherwise.

So try these suggestions on for size, and let me know how it goes. Good luck.

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Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017.

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