Dr Ricky Arenson

It’s become fashionable to propose that women are looking for emotional vulnerability in men. Men should show “their sensitive side” and not be afraid to express emotion. But is this true?

Firstly, a disclaimer: women have diversity in their tastes, unlike men. Let’s face it, men are wired to be primarily visual in their sexual tastes, and they are preoccupied with looks. Don’t shoot the messenger, but men are obsessed with good-looking women, with great legs and breasts. 

Women are more complicated than ever. Some are more interested in looks, others like muscles, and some prefer tall and slim, but there’s no escaping the observation that on the arm of most celebrities, sportsmen, rich and powerful men, is often a gorgeous, younger woman. You won’t see the converse: men are not attracted to successful women on average. Interesting. I’ll leave that to you to make your own value judgments.

Why are so many women interested in “alpha males”? There’s no escaping genetics and millions of years of evolution. Women are seeking a mate who can protect and provide, hence there is a big market for men of wealth, power, and physical prowess.

At school, the most popular guy is often the “bad boy”. He’s alpha in the playground because humans admire popularity, but we also get excited about those who push boundaries. And if there’s one thing that seduces the human mind, it’s excitement. Think of the billions of dollars we spend on entertainment. Bad boys are a good, cheap alternative for young women seeking adrenaline. Everyone wants to have a good time.

There is also evidence that women are attracted to men with a good sense of humour. This is consistent with the human interest in entertainment, but there are more sophisticated reasons. For example, laughter connects people. They are laughing at the same jokes, so their minds are in synch. Laughter releases positive hormones, so the couple feels happier and associates good feelings with being together. Dating is supposed to be fun.

So men, don’t go crying and talking about your bad childhood on your first date. This does not attract women. An emotional connection has to be earned. Earlier dates are about getting to know each other, enjoyment, excitement, and romance. Hence, laughter is more connecting than bringing the mood down with tragic and inappropriately private tales too early. I’m sorry to say that most people do not have high regard for people who cry and lament their problems on first dates. It’s very off-putting.

In the long term, many women want a caring husband who is sensitive to their needs, a great father, and emotionally connected. So, after a few dates, men might consider toning down the repetitive jokes, putting away the biker jacket, and showing female partners their more sensitive side. But please, no “emotional vulnerability” on first dates!