Friday, 2 September 2011

Now For the Good Stuff

Having contemplated all the things that make us go "Hmm!" perhaps we should contemplate what attributes of men we (or our friends) meet make us smile.

The absence of these attributes is not necessarily a "deal-breaker" but they are attributes that make women in my own community nod with approval.

1. He looks and dresses appropriately--even sharply--for whatever the occasion is.

2. He appears friendly and confident, with a good handshake.

3. He is a good conversationalist, neither dominating nor lagging behind in the conversation.

4. He has an interesting--or at least skilled--career or he is working towards an interesting or skilled career.

5. He comes from a good, friendly and clean-living family. (Some families really are deal-breakers, by the way. You might like the man very much, but then you think about what it would be like to be with his snarling, food-throwing, Jackass-watching family every second Thanksgiving for the rest of your life, and the bloom goes off the romance.)

6. He goes to Mass on Sunday. Extra points if he goes to daily Mass, although any girlfriend of his potential girlfriend would also say "Hmm! And has he already discerned that he isn't called to the priesthood or...?"

7. He has photos of his nephews and nieces or of still-little brothers and sisters in his wallet.

8. He owns a reasonable amount of real estate (e.g. one condo or one house, maybe a second house--like a cottage--if he is older). Owning real estate means that a man is serious about his economic well-being and has already put some work and saving into it. But owning too much real estate for his age and career position might make friends say "Hmm! He's not like that father in Long Day's Journey Into Night, is he?)

9. People--of different ages, men and women--keep spontaneously telling you what a great guy he is. (Be wary of written testimonials by his male friends that appear in the post, however. And I'm not sure I want to tell you that story...)

10. He has a habitually sunny disposition.

11. A car is nice. A car means you don't have to take the subway or the bus home from a date. It means you don't have to find a cab and pay a complete stranger who may or may not know your neighbourhood or language or how to speak politely to a woman* to take you home. Scrap this if you have a car!

*Hands up everyone who has found herself listening to a skeezy cab driver who thinks it is okay if he talks about sex with you.


aussie girl in australia said...

*raises hand and nods*

Anonymous said...

*hand up*

I actually think I would be creeped out by a guy who ticked all those boxes. Especially #7. He sounds like one of the Mormon missionary boys who go door-knocking around here. You want to invite them in for a cup of tea but you know there's no way of getting past the glaze. "Sharply dressed" AND "habitually sunny" to me says, "something to hide".

Sheila said...

I'm all about #10. He doesn't have to have a fixed smile plastered over his face at all times, but he should focus on the positive and not waste the first (or second or third) complaining about the unfairness of his life, or really anything. More positive than negative. People can be negative with those they know well -- when you're just meeting someone, you should be positive.

Seraphic said...

Well, B.A. is habitually sunny. I think that's why I liked him so much right from the start.

Jam said...

*hand up* I remember one particularly creepy ride -- which included a long complaint about how girls now are all about the sex and don't recognize a good man who can even drive well -- oh yes -- I started pondering whether asking him to let me out would make it worse? Thankfully it all came to nothing, safely.

The good news is, there are so many possible good things I can hardly think of any that would be special. I would say among my friends, aside from "as long as you're happy":

1. He "has his own life". He does x for a living, y in his free time, and is really into z. You want to know that the guy "gets out". In general I think Chicagoans are aware of all the groups, performances, resources, etc of the city and are suspicious of those who don't try to pursue at least some of what interests them, or who habitually don't go to things because it's too far away. Whoops, negative. Anyway, I think this is pretty universal but in the specific context of a city you judge it by clubs joined, performances attended, etc.

2. Chicagoans (like most cities, I would guess) judge people based on where they live. Aside from the obvious ($$$$$) the assumption is that you move to a neighborhood that suits your personality and the things you like to do. Also, roommate squabbles and living with strangers becomes more weird the older you get and the longer you've been here. So a guy who really likes his neighborhood, who knows the businesses and what's going on there, and is reasonably satisfied with his apartment, is universally approved of.

3. This might only be true for part of the population, but a guy who can navigate the CTA (public transit) with a minimum of guidance is a guy who knows the city and "gets out", and generally signals competence.

Young Canadian RC Male said...

Seraph I'm not happy you put 8 as a smile condition. Many of us young males in today's society in North America (Toronto, since that's the example you are using) cannot afford the ridiculous real estate. Even the cheapest condominium is about $250,000 if lucky (and in poor locations to boot without a car)! The cheapest, smallest houses of questionable helath standards are about $700,000 minimum! The few men that have that kind of money sitting around, likely does because their parents were financially sounds and put it away in savings or stocks, or they come from wealthy families themselves (but often times, they lack the other qualities on your smile list).

If anything, likely what happens is that husband and wife haven't saved enough, pay for the house jointly along with a mortgage being in debt. This is not ideal and depending on their careers and if they choose to throw a kid into the mix, go further into debt.

Finally, most women in our modern developed/secular societies won't even care to look at a man who doesn't have material goods (unless said woman herself is not financially secure or somewhat poorer) so therefore the other qualities in your list will be unimportant to material wealth. Having 8 up just encourages this.

So Seraph, I say that having real estate should be either optional or stricken from this list.

healthily sanguine said...

Maybe the key word is "reasonable": it's reasonable, in my opinion, for guys under 30 not to own ANY real estate because these things often take time. But if you're 30 or over--whether you're a man or woman--if you're a responsible person, you will have planned in this direction and taken action towards owning your own property.

Morgan said...

This is related to Seraphic's #10 and Jam's #2: To me the most attractive proof of a "habitually sunny disposition" is how a man treats strangers, people in service industries, and his neighbors (particularly if he's in very close proximity, i.e. a New York apartment building).

Being somewhat shy (or at least reserved around strangers), I find it so attractive when a man is on friendly, familiar terms with the people in his frequented neighborhoods -- everyone from shopkeepers to sidewalk vendors to regular passersby on his home block, or near his office. (Also, if you go to Mass with him and he knows people in his parish besides just the young adults, that's a great sign.)

This is something that's hard for a young woman to do risk-free -- inevitably you end up being friendly to creeps (including, yes, cab drivers!) -- so it's all the more appealing when a man is obviously involved/invested in the lives of people around him, even in just a daily, simple, non-creepy, friendly way.

Anonymous said...

Cheap, small house, excellent hygienic conditions, new furnace, North Toronto district 580,000.
Apply to Aged P.

Seraphic said...

Yes, does anybody want to buy a house from my mother? She has one. Sheppard W-Yonge area, nearby school, shopping, subway...

It's not a CONDITION of a smile. IT is just something that impresses, ESPECIALLY in Toronto. No woman in Toronto is going to expect a single man aged 27-35 to have bought his own home already, but if he has bought a place (to live in or to rent out), that is going to impress. That's just the way it is.

A man might get all depressed and feel less-than because a woman he likes already owns her own house but--believe me--most women are not going to feel that way about a guy.

Again: not a condition. However, it does impress the friends (unless he's a crazy speculator type who has seriously overreached himself). That's just how it is.

Jam said...

Property-ownership is an interesting topic. I'm beginning to suspect that it is just me who finds it weird when single people buy houses. Condos, apartments... ok... houses, not ok. Maybe this stems from my family's suspicion of "too much house".

Cassiopeia said...

@ Number 5. The family's tremendously important. For the reasons You have stated, but also for one that is often overlooked with sometimes tragic effects... Take a good look at his father - this may be one of the most important things you can do to secure your marriage to be a happy one. He is going to be his father sooner or later. That may seem unfair and/or absurd, but it is so. If he comes from a "good family" - a truly "good" one - he will (most probably) be able to create a good family of his own. If he comes from a pathological one, he is bound to follow one of two paths: he's either going to end up exactly the same, or do everything he can to prevent becoming the same and still turn out to have many characteristics of his father's. That's the truth. And it's especially poignant when it comes to His Father's attitude towards women; and I don't mean only the father's expressed opinions, as such are only what he thinks he thinks about women - I mean mainly how he acts around and towards women. This is something that is almost sure to be stuck in the son's head, wether he knows and wishes it or not.
That's why you should always get to know His father well before you make any important decisions. That may seem odd in some Western sociaties, where the rule is not only that grown-up children don't live with their parents, but also that the parents and the fiancees meet fot the first time only after the engagement, but at least the second rule's not a good rule.

Seraphic Spouse said...

The thing about buying a house as a single person, Jam, is that you can rent rooms in it (if you get the permits, blah, blah). It's a way to pay off the mortgage.

I know a guy who bought a house as soon as he had a down payment saved from his office job. He rented rooms out to guys at his work. When he got married, he kept only one renter. And eventually the renter moved on. Result: house in which to keep wife and children and mortgage payments greatly reduced.

If you're going to pay rent anyway (goes the Ontario thinking) might as well BUY if you can and then use the money you would have spent on rent to pay off the mortgage.

This, of course, can be a trap, and I've seen married women stuck in offices they hate "because of the mortgage." However, I don't know if these women were the primary breadwinners or what.

Seraphic Spouse said...

By the way, this list does not reflect the fond hopes of penniless young men that traditional Catholic women who would rather endure martyrdom than use birth control will overlook certain men's inability to support themselves, their wives and their children.

It reflects what women I know find agreeable in a Single man. Again, few women in Toronto expect Single men under 35 to own their own homes. However, we are going to be impressed if they do.

The overarching philosophy of this blog is that Single people must be rooted in reality, and one reality is that men over 27 who don't have a job, or solid career plans, or any hope of saving money, or any evidence of get-up-and-go are not considered good prospects by women who hope to have and raise their own children.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with all of the above. I also have an opinion on real estate ownership as I am a home owner myself. I own a condo in downtown Toronto. It's small and modest, and yes I have a mortgage. I bought it at the age of 25 after three years of diligently saving for a downpayment.

My family is not at all wealthy and did not help me with this purchase financially. I am university educated (also no financial contribution from parents there) and I am now in a good profession, however it's still in its early stages since I'm still in my 20s. What I'm trying to say is that I'm by no means well-off.

There is no magic here. I simply was and still am very careful with my finances. I cook my own meals at home, I don't have cable TV, and I don't shop as much as people around me seem to. It's very possible to make a real estate purchase and grow one's equity in one's 20s! It just takes a different mind set. I don't see why a young man cannot do this. Now.. if only I could meet such a man...

Silent Jen

sciencegirl said...

Things that impress:

1) Friendly
2) Speaks another language
3) Well-read
4) Can build/fix stuff
5) Kind, even to really annoying people
6) Well-traveled but NOT pompous about the benefits of travel
7) Gifted in facial hair (k, that may be just me, but unusually attractive beards/sideburns will get praise)
8) Catholics: Knowledgeable & pious but not overbearing
9) no credit card debt
10) musical

In my area & among grad students, owning a home neither impresses nor disappoints. Many do, and many don't, and neither seem "more responsible" to others, as far as I can tell.

This will be something that depends greatly on the local culture. Personally, I think homes are great places to live and poor investments, but if you live in a place where you can rent out rooms & want to do! Way to save some cash.

Little Mary said...

I think the real estate is one of those local things... it is quite common for single, young folks of both genders to own a home in some areas of the midwest (which may be cheaper then renting). Women folk tend to interpret that as getting ready for a family.

A real smile on a guy is awesome; a non-smiler who has read that he should smile who tries faking one risks looking creepy. An upbeat, positive, smile on the inside is what you most need (and obviously, not all the time).

Things that make me heart jump when I see men doing them... (and I don't think any of these things requires much cash)
-- holding doors open and being kind to little old ladies
-- Guys holding babies, playing with toddlers
-- manly service -- scraping ice off women's cars, carrying packages, holding doors open -- especially when you can tell it's a habit
-- a good sense of humor, ability to laugh at himself
-- isn't afraid to break out some silly moves on the dance floor or have a snowball fight
-- guys who can throw a party, a bbq, organize stuff. Throwing a birthday party for a guy friend or to celebrate a holiday would win tons of points with the ladies you invite (make sure your guy friends come too!)... particularly if you had some party games...

to sum it up -- kindness and confidence!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not one of those people for whom a habitually sunny disposition is terribly important. I don't like it when men frequently complain about life or indulge in self-pity, but for some reason "habitually sunny" often reads "fake" to me. Maybe it's because I suffer from clinical depression (sometimes so severe that I no longer want to live) and can't really relate to habitually sunny people. So I don't like it when men are negative, but I don't relate well to men (or women) who seem to be always happy. [Because my depression is a very personal topic for me, I will be posting anonymously today.]

Things that make me smile about a man (not an exhaustive list):
1. Being genuinely interested in me and in other people.
2. Holding doors.
3. Making the sign of the cross when passing a chapel in which the Eucharist is present.
4. Going to Mass regularly.
5. Knowing where he is and where he wants to be in life, having a sense of direction.
6. Looking manly.
7. A good sense of humor.
8. A good conversationalist, especially because I am not one.
9. Intelligence.
10. Follows through on what he says he will do.

Anonymous for this post

kiwikatie said...

Oh I'm really enjoying these 'red flag' and 'good stuff' discussions.
From a New Zealand perpective:
Red flags: pretty much all the stuff you mentioned Seraphic. There seem to be slim pickings for Nice Catholic Boys in NZ. We have a small population anyway, miniscule Catholic population and even smaller amount who actually go to church and take their faith seriously. Moan moan :)
Things that impress:
Cars are pretty essential here due to small population = not great public transport. I am extremely suspicious of men who don't drive.
Real estate is good (or working towards real estate).
A job or working towards one. Having some ambition in live is very attractive.
Have travelled - we are a bit isolated here so most young NZers travel fairly extensively in their 20s. (Going to Australia does not count. Sorry any Australians :) )

Lynn said...

If I'm ever fortunate enough to try again, I will look for a man who has good friends. Not just acquaintances to hang out with, or people to have a really deep conversation with once a year, but good friends where they do the whole relationship-maintenance thing of keeping in frequent contact and helping each other out and building community.

Young Canadian RC Male said...

Thanks Seraph for the clarification and telling me to cheer up a bit. It's not easy being a "seraphic single," especially a seraphic single guy who's still trying to break it in and find that one person to devote themselves to for life as Christ did to his Church.

Naive said...

Well, a friend of mine ticks all those boxes, except maybe 7 (I have no idea about what he puts in his wallet, except money and cards, of course). And he is highly intelligent, has a great sense of humour, and even gifted in facial hair :-)))(thanks Sciencegirl!). And he sends me 2-3 mails every day and has a habit of telling me about his spiritual life and asking for an advice.
Once upon a time I believed that something would happen between us. Now I think he's a kind of emotional recluse and definitely not interested in me (except in my brain).
Dear Seraphic, unsolicited advice would be helpful!

Seraphic said...

Two to three emails a day sounds intriguing, unless (of course) he's sending a whole lot of women 2-3 emails a day. Email--good. Telling you about his spiritual life--not so good. There are priests for that. Asking for advice--not so good.

Do you ever see this man? How often? How long has this been going on?

Naive said...

We know each other quite long (both work for the same company), but this has been going on for two years. And although we live in the same city, we see each other once a month (at most).
All this situation is getting on my nerves so I'm thinking about ignoring him.
I'm sick and tired of over-30 single boys who are looking for female friends, and friends only (no matter how good and gorgeous these girls are), no single thought about something more.

Ashley said...

Amen to #s 2,3,4,5,6, and 10 especially! These things all seem to be good indicators that he's well-rounded and balanced, with no glaring neuroses, and I like my men to be free of glaring neuroses. ;)

It is also awesome if they have old friends that have known them since they were young, even children. This means they can maintain friendships and commitment.

I also love it when men are really passionate about some hobby, preferably an active, outdoorsy one (not video games or movies).

It is a big plus if they try to take care of themselves by working out or eating healthy (without being preoccupied with their perfect appearance); even better would be if they know how to cook a good meal! This would make me smile.

I appreciate men who know how to be flexible and are mindful and considerate of those around them. Being perceptive and generous (with their time, life, service) is a great attribute.

Good with kids and has a playful side - or doesn't take himself too seriously.

Is grounded and secure in his masculinity, rooted in a deep relationship with God. Active prayer life.

It is great when they know how to be the leader and can plan an event or host a party and make others feel comfortable. Also a plus when they hold doors open, make a woman feel like a lady, and plan creative dates on their own.

AH-MAZING if they treat women with respect, and are close with their sisters or mother.