Be Authentic


Why Keeping it Real is Sexy

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.


A friend of mine recently posted in a dating group: “What should I say when a man asks me what I like to read.”

My answer: be authentic - what do you like to read?

In surveys, men report confidence as being the number one sexiest trait a woman can possess. Number two is authenticity.

What does it mean to be authentic? When you’re authentic, you are being real. You’re truthful. You’re genuine. I mean, don’t take that to the extreme, but stop trying to figure out what he wants to hear!

The reason men are attracted to authenticity is because an authentic woman is a confident woman with healthy boundaries and an intact sense of self-worth.

Authentic women are straight-shooters and men respect that! Men say authenticity is important to them, but first let’s understand what authenticity is NOT:

Authenticity is NOT bombarding him with ALL of the truth RIGHT AWAY. Telling someone everything about you, your past, your fears, and your drama in the first few weeks of dating is akin to trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose: it’s overwhelming. Yes, if you are a recovering alcoholic, he should probably know that if the relationship progresses, but don’t tell him that on the first date!

Authenticity is NOT being rude in the name of “being up front.” This new guy is just asking you out and (hopefully) trying to get to know you. You don’t need to come at him with, “And I’m not trying to get cheated on again by ANOTHER liar!” (As you’re waving your finger and sucking your teeth.) He doesn’t want to feel like he’s being punished for what the last guy did.

“Authentic” doesn’t mean “angry.” If you’re authentically angry, you should resolve that before you try to get into a relationship, because angry women are generally not attractive.

Now let’s look at what it means to be authentic:

Be truthful, but mysterious. If the only thing you read is your social media feed, that’s a problem. The issue isn’t to try to figure out what to say to make yourself look good. He’s trying to figure out if you’re well-rounded and intelligent.

If you’re over 40, you should be up-to-speed on something more than the Kardashians and the latest Netflix offerings.

Do you know which teams are in the playoffs? Do you have an opinion on the latest political issues? Do you keep up with local news?

“I don’t care about sports,” or “I don’t keep up with politics” are silly answers when you are an adult. You don’t need to be a sports expert or a political commentator, but be informed!

Men want to talk about something other than what the Real Housewives and the royals are doing.

If you only read trashy romance novels and books on how to catch a man, maybe you could say you like to read “escapist fiction” and “personal development” books.

Be real about what you want. A lot of dating coaches counsel women, when asked, “What are you looking for?” to reply with, “I don’t know....just to meet new people.” These well-meaning coaches suggest this so that you don’t scare away a man with your desire for commitment.

However, men aren’t afraid of commitment. They just don’t want to be locked into marriage before the first date! When a man hears, “I’m just looking to meet people,” he hears, “I’m open to hanging out and hooking up” because that’s what HE would mean if he said that! Men don’t do anything without a reason.

Men don’t go to the mall just to kill time. They don’t go shopping with their buddies just to see if anything catches their eye. They go to the mall to get a blue shirt. Or a pair of dress shoes.

A better answer: “I’m looking for a long-term, committed relationship.” Then, if he asks if that includes marriage, “Possibly - if it’s the right person.” This allows him to decide if he wants to proceed.

Men know that most women want commitment, so pretending you haven’t thought about it is inauthentic and they know that!

Be real about what you don’t want. Men respect boundaries. I’m all about letting the man lead, but you have to give him some guidelines!

If he says he wants to take you to his favorite Mexican food place and you can’t stand Mexican food, tell him you don’t like it! He’ll figure something else out. If not eating tacos is a deal-breaker for him, it’s better if he knows that up front.

Not ready to go away for a weekend together? Say that! Trying to figure out what a woman wants is like nailing Jell-O to a wall. Don’t make him guess why you’re acting like Bambi in cross-hairs.

Again, be nice when you’re being authentic. “I’m truly enjoying getting to know you but I’m not ready to go away together yet,” is better than making a snarky comment about his wanting to get you in a hotel room.

Part of a One-Derful Life is being authentic and real so that you can relax and spend your time and energy trying to figure out “what to say.”

If you’re struggling with a broken heart, feeling One-Derful seems nearly impossible. If that’s you, click here to check out our ABC’s of Healing.

Question: Are you authentic?


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