For those of you who don’t know me my name is Ally Spotts and I’m a writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon. I’m single, a committed Christian, and I also happen to write a lot about dating and relationships. If you’ve never been to my site, you can visit me here!
Last week I wrote a post titled, “Why Christian Women Date Non-Christian Men,” and Hans found it when one of my more dedicated fans [thanks dad] posted a link in the comments of his blog. Before I knew it he was asking me to write a post about what I, as a single woman, am looking for in a man.
The problem is (I realized, after I agreed) I don’t have a list of things that I’m looking for in a man. I mean, I am looking for some things, I guess – mostly that he is also a committed Christian – but somewhere along the line I realized that the actual or mental lists I was keeping were making me really prone to selfish, unrealistic expectations for what I wanted in a husband. So I ditched it.
So I’ll give you a different list, instead. It isn’t a checklist, and it isn’t a list of ideas I’ve picked up from romance novels or fantasies from Hollywood. It’s just a list of things I’ve noticed the men I know sometimes do, things that tend to catch my attention.
Again, it isn’t a checklist. I don’t expect any man to be all of these things all the time. But it is a list of real things that real men have done. I’ve witnessed them. In real life. Not a novel or a romantic movie.
These are the things that, as a single woman, really get me thinking…
1. When a man treats all women well, not just the ones he wants to date. The men in my life who are most protective of (and kind toward) me are often men who have no intention of asking me on a date. My brother, for example. My dad. My friends’ husbands. My brother-in-law. And when I see an available man treat his mom or his sister or a close friend with tenderness and care, it is a huge head-turner for me.
2. When a man’s actions match his words: Some men have really good intentions but not much follow-through; and while this can seem impressive at first, I’m ultimately distrustful of a man like this. I am much more prone to notice a man who is faithful in the little things. He says he’ll call and he does. He shows up on time. He doesn’t commit to things unless he knows he can finish them. If a man is consistent, the littlest things can make the biggest impression.
3. When a man has a strong work ethic. There is something unbelievably sexy (am I allowed to say that here?) about a man who works hard. It can be physical, mental or emotional labor. It doesn’t matter. A man who has drive and stamina and perseverance toward a particular task is bound to catch my eye (in fact, he might even catch me staring…)
4. When a man is committed to open and honest communication. I am so impressed when a man is willing to initiate difficult (but necessary) conversations with me and with others around him. Hard conversations are (wait for it…) hard to have but I’m always impressed with a man who is up to the challenge.
5. When a man asks good questions. A man who asks good questions demonstrates selflessness, compassion and generosity, not to mention a wiliness to connect with those around him. Those qualities are really, really attractive to me.
6. When a man is good with a grill. Hey – a girl has to eat… right?
7. When a man is generous with his money. Several months ago I was at a restaurant with a large group of people and a friend of mine excused himself to the restroom, gave his credit card to the waitress, and paid for the meal before any of us even realized what happened. For the rest of the week I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I admired that simple act of kindness.
8. When a man is generous with his time. Some men don’t have the means to be as financially generous as the man I described above, but that’s okay. I find it equally attractive when I see a man offer his time, sacrificially, for the good of the community. Men I know volunteer their time to lead and inspire youth, help their parents with yard work or other chores, or give up their Saturday to help a friend move. These are all things that make me stop and go, hmmm…
9. When a man doesn’t flirt with every girl woman who flirts with him. One of the most impressive things in the world to me is watching a man who is selective with his flirtation. This doesn’t mean he never flirts, or that he only flirts with one girl his whole life (flirtation can be a necessary and important part of determining romantic connection) it just means that he doesn’t respond to every beautiful girl who happens to blink her eyes at him. I think that single-mindedness can demonstrate a man’s strength of character, self-confidence and conviction.
10. When a man has a positive attitude. This is especially true of a man who is faced with difficult circumstances, and still chooses to speak positive words about life, about himself, and about other people. When I see a man who approaches life with grace and gratitude, I definitely stop and take notice.
11. When a man has a plan: I went on a first date awhile back with a man who planned the whole evening ahead of time (a flexible plan, but solid enough that there weren’t a bunch of decisions for me to make) and I was really surprised by how comforting that was for me. On a broader scale, I’m really impressed by a man who has a 5-year or 10-year plan for his life. Even if his plan never comes to fruition, I’ll do pretty much anything for a man who knows what he is called to do with his life, and knows that he wants to do it with me.
12. When a man is competitive. I hesitate to include this because not every woman would find this quality attractive, but it is my list, so… what the heck. I love watching men play sports or games, or watching their competitive nature come out in business. I find it attractive when I see a man who doesn’t feel the need to apologize for his masculinity.
13. When a man carries his Bible: Recently I received some bad news while I was writing in a coffee shop and a friend who was sitting nearby saw my reaction and immediately went to the scripture to offer me some encouragement. I’m not saying a man always has to carry his Bible (that would be weird) I’m just saying that I find it impressive when a situation calls for it, and he has it on hand.
14. When a man takes responsibility, even if he’s not sure it’s his. I was with a man recently who took the blame for something that may or may not have been his fault, and I felt oddly impacted by that. It was such a small act in retrospect, but the truth was that no one really knew whose fault it was; and I felt oddly comforted knowing that he was willing to take the blame – and the consequences – to protect the rest of the group.
15. When a man can admit his weaknesses and is willing to work on them. Guys. If you don’t remember any other item from this list, remember this one. In fact, if I had to reduce the list to one item, it would most definitely be this. None of us are perfect. We all have areas where we need to grow. And there is something profoundly attractive about a man who recognizes this reality, is a little introspective, and is humble enough to admit when he is wrong and keep working toward the man he wants to be.
Okay, I’m just one woman, and not the authority on the subject. I need some other ladies to jump in. What do you think about my list? Any changes or additions?
And MEN. Call me selfish but I’m dying to hear from you. How can a girl catch your attention?