At the end of the day, most men just want a woman who’s nice. “Nice,” to a man, means being soft, gentle and kind. It means asking your husband how his day was and really listening. It means doing something nice for him with no expectation of getting something in return—you know, the way you did when you were dating.
But wait a minute, you say. Don’t women want the same thing? A man who’s nice?
Not exactly. Most women do want a man who’s kind, but that’s not the same as nice. Ask any guy you know, and he’ll likely give you example after example of women they know who said they wanted a nice guy but in reality wanted a bad boy. That’s because just as most men are attracted to femininity, or softness, most women are attracted to masculinity. And masculinity is hard. Gruff. Take charge.
So, where are you on the nice scale? If you’re not an inherently nice person, believe me I get it. I think I’m pretty nice, but that isn’t the first word one would think of to describe me. The truth is, I’ve had to exercise my nice muscle.
I’ve had to learn how to be be nice.
A lot of women think they’re nice because they act nice. But acting nice and being nice are two different things. Being nice means you think of others before you think about yourself. (And yes, there’s such thing as being too nice and putting your needs last; but I’m not talking about that.) It means you’re attune to the needs of others and incorporate those needs into the equation.
Most husbands have no desire to lord over their wives, but they don’t want to fight with them either. All they want is peace.
It’s really obvious when you’re dealing with a genuinely nice person (as opposed to a phony nice person). Women like my hair stylist and my editor at Fox, or even my own daughter (though at 17, I can’t call her a “woman” just yet), ooze niceness. It comes so naturally to them! That makes them easy to love.
That’s what men like: women who are easy to love.
Now for the record, I don’t mean men are looking for a pushover. That’s a common misperception of beta females. Being soft, gentle and kind does not mean you have no life or opinions of your own. That’s the narrative the culture sells, but it isn’t true. Being nice just means being nice, the same way you’re nice to your friends or to your co-workers.
Problem is, women have been taught that being a nice or solicitous wife equates to servitude, as though a woman’s niceness automatically equates to being a mouse—whereupon her husband will walk all over her.
That’s not how it works. Most husbands have no desire to lord over their wives, but they don’t want to fight with them either. All they want is peace.
And the nicer you are, the more likely they are to find it.
Suzanne Venker is the author of five books on marriage, feminism and gender politics. Her latest book is "The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS." Find her on Twitter@SuzanneVenker.