Bullish: When Guys Just Want to Be Friends

It’s not anti-feminist to show vulnerability

You should not pretend to be stupid to attract a man. But it’s actually a good idea to share at least one thing you’re bad at. This goes for men as well, which is why I can stand by this advice.

While many competent women are like, “Well, I need a man for love and sex! I’m not an island. I have unfulfilled needs!”, for many men, your strictly relationship-related needs are not real and tangible enough for those men to feel needed. They need you to need them to do something.

Don’t make things up. But most of us need a ride somewhere or have a leaky faucet or received a weird appliance as a gift and never bothered to set it up, or always thought it might be fun to learn to play racquetball, or just hate chopping onions and want someone else to do it, forever.

Personally, while I demand that any man of mine be able to drive long distances, I am also attracted to men who can barely feed themselves – like, without me, it’s Cocoa Puffs and marijuana for dinner. Then I step in and I’m all like, “Yes, you CAN make scallops in your very own home! The yellow stuff is polenta. It is made of corn. I know corn is not from Italy. I don’t know where the Italians got ahold of corn. Why yes, I did whip that butter myself.” (Please try to even say “Why yes, I did whip that butter myself” in a non-sexy way. Try.)

For every two or three things you say that could come across as braggy, throw in something at which you’re a bit hopeless. Why? Because people need each other. That’s not being a bimbo. That’s human.



Some men really are turned off by competence and emotional health.

Some men want a manic pixie dream girl. The more competent you are, the more you remind them of their mom, and thus the more they are turned off.

There’s just nothing you can do about this. You can be super awesome and confident and nice and even beautiful, and yet there are some men who will think you’re a good role model, or they’d like to marry someone like you when they finally settle down, but they really don’t want to fuck any of those things. A lot of men want to fuck a twenty-two year old drunken runaway with daddy issues. This type of man is surprisingly not that bothered by middle-of-the-night phone calls regarding the fact that such a woman is having a breakdown, presently located in a gutter, or feels incapable of leaving her own home without assistance and needs a sandwich, some Jagermeister, and someone to cry on about the aforementioned daddy issues.

Think of these men like your gay friends – they can like you a lot, but it’s just not going to go anywhere. Their sexual orientation just doesn’t include you. In fact, it’s as though the more you have in common with these men, the less sexual the whole thing is for them, because they just want to put their penis in a mascara-smudged, self-destructive mess.

Some of these men feel guilty about their sexual preferences and sort of feel like they should like some other kind of woman. But they don’t. You don’t want one of these men anyway, no more than you would want an ex-gay (as in, “converted” by a Christian ministry!) husband who was trying very, very hard to pretend to be heterosexual.

Maybe you could avoid these men by mentioning in your profile that you’re “emotionally healthy” and “stable.”

(See Bullish Life: Towards a Monstrous Regiment of Women.)

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    • Fabel

      I’m not currently dating–or seeking anybody– but I did read this whole column & just wanted to say that I always love what you write about introversion. As an introvert, everything rings so true.

    • Mike

      “I’m pretty sure the problem is with these pathetic cads and not with me”

      First things first, get over the “its not me its them thing” If you’re not in the relationship you want its you, believe me. ( guy or gal) But the good thing once you admit its you then you can do something about it. The truth is though most people in this situation would rather be right than honest. In that case feel free to keep banging your head against the wall while basking in your righteous superiority of how awesome you are.

      Second guys aren’t that complicated. They want fuckable, supportive, nice, reasonably happy partners (where talking long tern here For shorter and shorter relationships eliminate items on that list in reverse order.) Aaaanyway, At no time are we really looking for awesome that’s what your girlfriends admire.

      Yes, It’s very important that my partner be happy and supported in whatever decision she makes: career, personal whatever but you know what those are things I want for her because they make her happy. Personally I could care less if someones a scientist or works in a supermarket or if they’re, cool, trendy, opinionated or particularly smart for that matter. In my personal case I like arty, smart types but simply being nice trumps those other two by a hundred fold.

      Which brings me to my last point. I think the value of simply being a nice person is a vastly under rated quality among women. They value independence, respect, strength and somehow see niceness as a weakness or at the very least as compromise to men. You ever notice your sweetest friends have the least problems getting dates. Its totally admirable to be an intelligent independent person but unless your genuinely sympathetic and nice as a person please don’t wonder why your single

      • Eagle Eye

        Eh, I disagree, as someone who no one would quantify as ‘nice’ or ‘sweet’ in that I’m pretty sure my intensity kinda overpowers the two adjectives above – I don’t think that the OP would really want to be with someone whose looking for a ‘nice girl.’ My boyfriend of 3 years certainly isn’t a ‘nice guy’ he loves and supports me (although certainly not blindly and neither do I simply blindly support him – if I think that he’s making a mistake I tell him, and he does the same). Instead, he thinks that I’m awesome and I think that he’s awesome and together we’re just more awesome. Our mutual intensity compliments one another, whether that means heated political debates or decided to find the perfect recipe for pan seared steak.

        And I don’t think that I’m an outlier here since of my friends in serious relationships, most of them are pretty intense – and few of them would be considered ‘nice.’

      • Sandra
      • Mike

        haha all i did was add some basic guy perspective that was sorely needed to this post. But of course women are natural experts on the subject of guy behavior. That’s why this chick went on 30 dates and doesnt have a boyfriend. Oddly imo not once does she even wonder if its something about her.

    • Daisy

      Where oh where can I get a walrus print dress? Also, “Andie” sounds like a truly awesome person! I do hope she’ll take some of your advice into consideration and lands herself a good man.

    • Mike

      I didn’t mean to suggest you cant get into a good relationship if niceness is not your strong point I’m just saying your drawing from a much smaller pool. I will say as a guy if you took a poll, after sexual compatibility “nice” and “supportive” (being blindly supportive is not really support) would be at the top of the list. Sorta like i imagine employed and not living at home might beat the top of a woman’s list.

    • Faith

      I love this article. Love, love, love it.

    • d

      Somehow I feel if a guy wrote about “When Girls Just Want to be Friends” people would be labeling him a nice guy/creep/loser…

    • Renee

      I’d rather fuck Neil deGrasse Tyson than Channing Tatum…no question.

      • e jerry powell

        And you would be absolutely correct.