The most sexually and romantically successful men I know are the exact opposite of the macho stereotype. They are sensitive, they like babies and puppies, cry in the movies, understand fashion and design, cook and clean very well, have good manners, know a lot of poetry by heart, enjoy traveling, are not very competitive, are not hugely motivated by money, and don’t highly value an opportunity to spend time drinking beer with other men. At least, not as highly as they do a chance to go shopping for salad bowls or used books with their female friends.
The loneliest and saddest men I know, the ones who barely manage to get rid of their virginity by the age of 40, are the closest to the macho stereotype. Their favorite topic of conversation is their most recent visit to a strip bar with their buddies, they eat with their hands, belch loudly, brag that they never bought a piece of clothing that cost more than $9.99, think that grooming is for sissies, enjoy calling women whores and sluts, feel very uncomfortable around small children, only watch movies filled with bloody corpses or rape scenes, and live to compete with other men.
(Both of these descriptions were created strictly on the basis of real men I know very well, so please don’t tell me these are caricatures.)
This works in the exact same way with women. The most sexually and romantically successful women I have ever known are the ones who are loud, brash, competitive, domineering, messy, and bray like horses. There are these two sisters I know who make me and my sister look like total wallflowers by their side. Both have very powerful, overwhelming personalities of the bulldozer type. And in spite of not being even remotely in possession of what one would call conventional beauty, they always had boyfriends and admirers coming out of every pore of their body, it seemed.
The loneliest, saddest women who barely manage to get rid of their virginity by the age of 40, are the closest to the Angel in the House stereotype. They are quiet, modest, bake perfect cookies and bring them to every occasion, cry often and easily, are perfectly coiffed at every point of their lives, don’t seem to know how to sweat or experience any other unpleasant bodily functions, are traumatized by competition and confrontation, and look like Charlotte from Sex and the City. They are the kind that make everybody around sigh, “I don’t know what men are thinking, letting someone this perfect remain lonely!”
I had this friend who was raised to embody every stereotype of patriarchal femininity. She batted her eyelashes, wore ultra-feminine little outfits, spoke in a very quiet, childish voice, treated every man she met like a deity, simpered and pouted all day long – and reached the age of 32 without ever going on a single date. Mind you, this is a very attractive woman with a figure everybody dreams of having.
We lost touch for a few years, and when we finally talked, she was a completely different person. The quite, whispery voice was gone; the modesty and the tendency to get scandalized by everything “improper” disappeared together with perfect little outfits. Now she loudly shared dirty jokes, brayed like a donkey, was irreverent, sarcastic, and the opposite of modest. She also had men slaughtering each other for her. I mean this literally: people were inflicting grave bodily harm on each other to win the opportunity to be with her. She didn’t value them very highly, though, because she prefers quiet sensitive guys who like babies, puppies, and cute salad bowls.