single men on greek tragedy

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Attention single hetero men, or men who used to be single, or used to be hetero, or men who wish they were single, or hell, people who know single men, or want to learn something about single men, basically, attention everyone! Help a girl out.

You date, you meet your fair share of women at bars or work or on a blind date. You thought you might meet them at the market or the dog run, but that only happens in movies, bad movies. And if you’re meeting them at the gym, I’d rather not hear from you. Just, ew.

Here’s my question: what do women say or do on dates to impress men and to show men they’re not clingy or needy? But you kinda know it’s bull. Or forget clingy and needy. What do women choose to push, thinking it’s a selling point, when in fact, it’s just annoying.

"I love hiking and football and think finding the right guy is just the cherry on top of my Sundae of a life." We know this woman has already set up her Crate and Barrel wedding registry. She’ll fill in the groom’s name later. "Oh, you know… I like Steely Dan, bacon, and swallowing."

If you’re a woman, can you think of things you tend or tended to really "push" about yourself, seeing it as a selling point as to why someone would want to get to know you better?

I can’t believe I never opened with the true fact that my grandfather’s real given name was Euripides. I mean, subliminally, maybe a man would have thought, "Greek Goddess." Eh, please, we know he thought that anyway. Okay, maybe not.



  1. For me it is independence. Also being financially secure and the need to do whatever you need to so that you can be financially secure. Maybe men hate it, who knows, I am still single.

  2. I don't try to sell myself on dates, possibly explaining why I'm still single, but I am the girl that likes football and bacon. If guys see that as just a load of BS to sell myself, then what's the point?

    I'm just myself and I consider the date to be a success if I manage to get through it without dropping sauce on my sweater or inadvertently starting an argument with him.

  3. I don't think you can say or do anything to show you are not needy; at least not without making yourself unappealing.

    Show me you are smart (not arrogant) and you like some of the things I do (or you're willing to try). And I'll be back for a second date…

  4. Haha, I love this. Yes, every girl has done it. Although I don't think I've ever pretended – just *highlighted* things . . like the fact that I like to travel, and I don't mind doing it alone. I don't cook, but I'd love to learn. I have a million hobbies and friends, and I could give a play-by-play of last week's football game, and watching football is just another thing I'm willing to do alone. I'm busy, independent, and I don't need a guy . . but if you're lucky, I might make time for you.

  5. I wouldn't say that this is something I try to say in order to seem less 'clingy', but mentioning the fact that I'm 22 (almost 23 errr) and have never had a boyfriend, seems to scare guys off…What's up with THAT?! I think they automatically assume I have some secret hidden ENORMOUS flaw that has kept me single this long…

  6. My boyfriend gets surprisingly romantic whenever he sees me doing domestic tasks. I can't do the dishes or fold laundry without getting kissed. And in the past I know I've flaunted my sewing skills and my love for baking. Rosie the Riveter would have my head.

  7. Hey Stephanie,

    I really don't mean this in a rude way at all but I'm a big fan of the blog and I've noticed that you'll "half-Post" a lot. I mean that you say you'll post about a certain topic later and then post about something completely different. I know its your blog and you have full right to do whatever you want, put it gets a little frustrating.I really enjoyed the q&a post and was looking forward to your answers but you never went back to answer most of the questions. Also, the makeup post below.

    I really don't mean this in an offensive way but I was just wondering if you had a reason for it, maybe the topic excites you one day and bores you the next?


  8. So…Steely Dan is a guy band?? Dirty Work is practically a chick flick set to music.

  9. I work for a professional sports team, and for some reason that totally turns guys on. I think the fact that I work in an industry that is male dominated, and I can hold my own in turns them on. Strong dominant female working in every guys dream job. Turn on? I would think turn off.. but guys tend to ask me out a lot after they find out where I work and what I do (though I turn them down since I have a fab bf).

  10. When I was single I used to push that I had "guy" taste in music. I would also push the fact that I'm not a big fan of shoe shopping, while excluding the fact that I'm a big fan of every other kind of shopping. I also have to admit I've said the swallowing thing ("I love swallowing" translates to "I'll do it without complaint" but no girl really LOVES it).

  11. i really think "the rules" (forget the author's name) are a pretty good guideline to not seem clingy/needy but still get the guy. worked for me!

  12. I'm the total opposite, being a married woman. I'm trying to think back to the dating days. Really, now that I think about it, I can't believe men wanted to date me. I didn't know how to let a man win or stroke his ego on occasion. I was the chick that already owned her own house, could go to the bathroom without a herd of women, and could eff a man's sht up in a first person shooter. Maybe it was the challenge that was attractive. I do like bacon, but I only swallow on special occasions.

  13. Hey, Stephanie.

    I tried to think about this for a while. I think one of the most alluring things is when women have their own life or don't seem to want commitment. For example, the woman that somehow mentions that casual sex happens. The woman that seems to have her own life and isn't sure she's ready to foul it up with a man. The woman that dates different men, as she decides. We all like to feel like we are special. If we somehow succeed in a challenge to obtain the woman, we feel better. The thrill is in the chase.

    Women that have their own lives can be alluring. Also women that don't have no more than a single cat are alluring. :-) However, I think it's often the persona more than any one thing. At least, that's what I find.

  14. Isn't the secret to just simply not be clingy? Doesn't that prove itself soon enough? I always had guys sort of pout early on that I was so busy and didn't I like them? On the other hand, I saw plenty of men settle down with women I thought were lamely clingy. Isn't that, to some men, greatly appealing?

  15. i would remember little football tidbits. not a lot of information, just a stat or two, catch a few minutes of a game, mention a football play i saw. i'd quote funny guy movies (caddyshack is a popular one that every guy has seen). i'd drink beer, the good kind, and have an opinion on it. i'd mention a road trip i went on, and i'd talk about rock climbing.

    i hate football, i love caddyshack, beer's okay, road trips are awesome, and i actually did rockclimb.

    the longest lasting relationship is the one where i was the most honest. and we're still going strong and i don't have to watch football. or swallow.

  16. Euripides, cool! Beats John (Jan in Dutch)

    Well, I like Star Wars (the classic trilogy) so much that I can quote entire sections of it, I can code (in over 5 programming languages), am a professional webmaster and sometimes game in my free time. Not that these things are a big part of my life (except for the job) but this tends to impress guys a lot. And attracks the wrong kind. One of my male coworkers once labelled me "a geek's wet dream". Oh joy. So I'd never push these things about myself on a first date (or 4). I'd rather tell him up front that I like Sex and the City and shoe shopping, and see if he's still interested.

  17. One thing I used as a selling point on dates was the fact that I pay alimony and child support to my ex-husband…it basically eliminated the whole "divorcee living in a nice house must be on the ex's dole and looking for a sugar-daddy" vibe. And made him see me as more of an equal. And kind of a bad-ass. :o)

    Now my BF and I pay enough in support, combined, to float a small village…but at least I now have a man with a J-O-B.

  18. I know Im going to get reamed for admitting this but I am going to be honest. I used to trash women, just our gender in general, when I wanted to impress men. I'd hone in on all the stereotypes of our gender that society only perpetuates, not realizing I was just as guilty.
    Also, I tend to use the word pussy just to test out the guy and if he's shocked but tickled I know I'll like him. Ha!
    Oh and I always made mention that I owned a N64, or a Playstation :D

  19. Is this a real request? I had to read it a couple of times to establish if you are truly looking for the hints for chatting someone up?

    Personally, as a hetero man, formerly single, I was never any good at chat up lines nor tried them out. I was more interested in a discussion to find a commonality rather than "I have the plunger to fit your sink, shall we?". I have been very fortunate to have dated some fantastic women, even those with model looks and bodies, but boredom sets in very quickly when you struggle to have a conversation.

    Also, I was never very good at spotting "the signs" and missed so many opportunities. Friends would often tell me so, with glee.

    One of the most impressive things for me though is intelligence and confidence in a woman, without coming across as (dare I say) "unapproachable".

    Isn't the key thing for you to know "what or who" you are looking for?

  20. Confidence! That's all I have ever heard. "You walk in the room as if you own the place." But then they are let down to know I am as human as the next girl. Ah, dating, isn't it Grand!

  21. Although it sounds like a fab opener, how many men out there would know who the hell Euripedes was? It would be completely lost on them!!!

  22. Back when I was single, the thing that was annoying for me was when my date laughed at my jokes too quickly or for too long, especially if the joke wasn't THAT funny. It would be a quick signal that either (1) she wasn't really listening, and/or (2) she just wanted to flatter me.

    Now, don't get me wrong- I loved it when the ladies flattered me. (I still do.) I just don't need it to be too obvious when it's false flattery.

  23. I always thought my MA in Counseling was a plus but I always got the "Are you analyzing me now?" question, to which I responded "Are you PAYING me now?".

    Maybe it was the sarcasm that did me in.

  24. I like to work on cars.

    I like to try new things. :::wink::wink:::

    I can't stand shopping.

    I don't mind if you like to hang out with your guy friends.

    I'll take a beer over a martini anyday.

    I'm not looking for commitment right now.

    My best friend and I are sooo close. We do everything together. Again, :::wink::wink:::

  25. The best thing about meeting my husband is that I wasn't pushing anything. I thought he was too young and career-less, so we just became friends. I was completely myself, saw him without makeup, confessed embarrassing secrets, went on road trips. The friendship endured as we both went through other relationships. Eventually, it blossomed into more.

    Before this I tended to work way too hard to put my best foot forward with new guys. I was always trying to present the right image. Smart, easy-going, not too interested. Oh, and I'd develop sudden interests that I thought would impress them. Music, environmentalism, science fiction. It was pathetic.

    Now that I've found someone who loves me exactly for who I am, I'd never go back to dating that way again.

  26. A lot of women I know (myself included a time or 2) repeat the fact that they don't really want a relationship. It sounds backwards since we are already on a DATE but it may be a way to seem less needy of a relationship by continuously saying you don't need/want one. Weirdos.

  27. I like to use the word cunt casually and abundantly. I don't know why this always seems to work. I may just be targeting the wrong demographic.

  28. I always push the same things….They're true and not an exaggeration but they are the things that I focus on: I'm Southern, I love SEC Football and I LOVE to cook. These things are impressive to most men, and has helped me to stay away from men who are not appropriately suited for me. I have lived in the NE for all of my post college life, so dating for me has always been a challenge because I'm looking for someone to treat me a little bit more "princess(ey)" then other girls. I've actually had one guy tell me that he knew that he could never make me happy in the way that I deserved- I actually think he was speaking from the heart and accepted it. One last focus for me, is working – I actually LOVE to work, so exerting my independence is really important to me.

    As I stress certain aspects of "me" I also de-emphasize others. Those include my utter distaste for car maintenance. (I seriously loathe getting my car washed or oil changed.) I stink at balancing my checkbook and I seriously can't play a single sport.

    So there you have it….One girl's totally honest view of self-promotion!

  29. Married man here remembering what women used to tell me thinking that it was a selling point, but in reality they were just fluffing me up. Here are a few.

    "I love the outdoors and don't mind roughing it a little, I especially like hiking."

    "I think I will go back for my degree, but maybe change it to something more useful than Communications."

    "Wow , your job is so fascinating. Please tell me more about acquisitions and re internment."

    And the old reliable.
    "I love sex and am really adventurous."

  30. I think the women who aren't needy/clingy come across as just that – no matter what they like. Men can spot the needy ones clear across Giants Stadium, even if they're beer swilling and pig roasting.

  31. Single city in NYC here…I was going to say I don't push anything, but of course that isn't true. I just try to highlight without being pushy. My job involves a lot of travel and big social events so honestly just talking about what I do in an average week tends to impress people who work in a more corporate environment. I leave out the fact that of course, I don't make any money compared to most of my similarly brought up and educated peers, but just because I think its tacky to talk about on a date, not because I'm ashamed of it. Aside from that, I often mention that I take cooking classes (although honestly I really love to bake more than I actually cook), tend to name-drop restaurants, and can't resist throwing out some big words and challenging literary references.

    It sounds so snobby written out that way, but honestly, those are the things that I really am most excited about–I love to work, cook, try new restaurants, and read–not that unique in the New York City singles scene, so I think the specifics of those things can be revealing and attractive if the person is similarly inclined.

    I no longer fake interest in things I don't care about, and am clear from the beginning that if you want a girl to watch football with, you're better off finding another girl, because I loathe it. However, if you're willing to include "reading a magazine on the other end of the couch with nail polish drying on my toes" in your definition of "watching," then sure, whatever.

  32. Interesting comments! It's funny what different people interpret as false/exaggeration. I wonder how much is in how it's conveyed. Because some of these comments ring true for me. Perry – I DO love hiking and camping..crave it even..although not as much as sex. However, I'd probably never share the latter on a first date…or even for a little while. Because there's way more to me than that.

  33. I can't remember what I pushed, but I do remember what I tried to downplay or hide, in the begining, at least:

    -I have a cat (now two, actually) and I loooooove him.
    -I'm a gender studies major (they NEVER like that one)
    -I go to a football-centric school, yet have never been to a game.

  34. On second thought, I guess the one thing I remember pushing was my virginity. Sounds horrible, I know, but it always worked. Men couldn't resist that challenge- though it was always the wrong type of guy, and they frequently got bored when they realized I wasn't giving it up just because they asked nicely…

  35. I like to push the fact that I can write my own TV pilots without soliciting help from the great internet unwashed.

  36. bragged to my now husband about how i love muscle cars and learned how to fly a plane when i lived in pittsburgh.

    slowly reality bled out of the illusion: i logged about 5 hour if that and ran out of money and i dated a guy with a hotrod in high school so yah, i know what a carburetor is. yah.

  37. Oh wow. I like Jessica. Now that's honesty right there.
    I had a gf who wouldnt tell guys she was a virgin because of how they would react (acting as if she would go psycho if they did have sex or fall madly in love with them, madly being the key word there).

  38. i actually have a "bank" in my head of go-to guy info that usually catches their attention…key race car drivers and what races they've won…tire sizes ("nice super swampers…35s look good on your truck but Mickey Thompsons are more practical for road wear") …common car problems and how to spot them…some hunting and fishing tips…moon phase mumbo jumbo…a pro and a con of every major Quarterback in the NFL (if you critique a player instead of adoring them it shows you "know" their background to make comparisons)…after a while all that stuff became stuff i loved (with the exception of football…love watching it…can't remember a damn thing)…so now i'm a real race fan…love hunting and fishing, big trucks with bigger tires, jimmy buffet, drinking beer, playing in mud, and yes…i actually do like to swallow…so b.s.-ing all those other guys shaped me into my dream guy's dream girl…and now i don't even have to say a word…my cowboy boots usually do all the talking (and i wear them with pearls.) I think guy's don't need you to love football but be willing to watch it with them and enjoy yourself…and guys kind of like teaching a girl all about sports..and it becomes a bond you get to share ..forever (maybe that's a bad thing?) I've also found that talking about what you've NEVER done or might not like intrigues them because then it becomes their personal mission to 'learn' you about all these things you've missed while hiding under your vagina rock…trying new things together is the best way to make a lasting relationship!

  39. Maybe I am missing something here, but wasn't the point of this post to get into the minds of men? Why did so many women respond?

  40. That they are cool with all aspects of our personality. That, if a serious relationship were to be undertaken, they would not change a thing about us. They fail to realize that we know that we know they will gather their girlfriends together after the 3 date and create a list of things they need to change, similar to creating a punch list for a house you are about to purchase.

  41. I always made a point to mention that I have a good relationship with my father and the rest of my family. I think a lot of women who are not close with their fathers, or never had one to begin with, tend to be much more difficult to be in a serious relationship with. I don't mean that as a put-down at all, just an observation I have head many men make.

  42. Stuffed I learned (the hard way) back when I was single:

    Clingy and needy are in the eye of the beholder. If he is not into you, he will think you are needy for returning his phone calls. If he really loves you, he won't resent you for wanting to spend a little time together. If words like clingy and needy come into the picture, it's probably time to move on.

  43. i second cori's sentiment entirely.

    the things i "played up" or "down played" while dating the wrong guys didn't seem to phase the RIGHT guy one bit.

    some men assume that all women are looking for a serious commitment, that they want to get married and start having children ASAP, so if you're dating one of these sorts of guys, he's going to assume that your cat means your a "cat lady" and that your eagerness to see him is desperation rather than curiosity and the simple hope to get to know him a little bit before making a decision about the future.

    that being said…

    i used to downplay my loneliness (obviously… but just because a gal is lonely, that doesn't mean she will always settle! everyone gets lonely!)!!!

    and i used to frequently point out my solo apartment, the fact i put myself through school, had a great job in the field i chose, and had a lot of friends who were there when he wasn't.

  44. New reader here! I just wanted to chime in that I completely agree with Cori. As a 30 year old extroverted recently married woman, I dated a lot prior to meeting my husband. I'm convinced if I met him a year prior we wouldn't have ended up together – neither of us were ready then.

    While we dated, I never actually pressured him into taking next steps; I just told him exactly what I was looking for in the relationship and figured if he couldn't handle it than it wasn't a good match. For example, I stopped dating other people after three months of dating and told him when I did. Then I told him that I didn't expect him to follow suit but if two months down the road we weren't progressing I probably would move on. My theory is why invest in something that isn't growing or evolving? There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship or commitment.

    Supporting him and his interests went a long way, but I never pretended to like things I didn't. I am not girly, I'm a bit pudgy but athletic, and I'm a huge dork (love comic books- I mean really love them). He's one of those rare athletic successful computer geeks who dated smoking women on a regular basis prior to me.

    I think being comfortable in your own skin and truly being happy with your life as is makes a difference in the vibes people give out. About six months prior to meeting him, I decided if I was single for the rest of my life- it still would be an awesome existence, I liked being single it was fun. Too many of my peers got into bad relationships because they just so much wanted to be in a relationship. Forget that! Life is too short.

  45. BTW. If you don't like to swallow; Goodness! DON'T DO IT! Hold it in your mouth, have a tissue nearby, be coy about it, but why suffer like that? Its just a power trip for some guys and, unless that's your thing, why demean yourself like that? Would you suck down a raw oyster to flatter someone (unless you like it of course)? Find something you do like and go full-on with that; he'll forget about the whole not-swallowing thing.

  46. I’m disgusted by the simpleton belief that all men enjoy spectator sports. The thought that many women seem to assume that kinda grosses me out. And if women are ever wasting their time worrying that they don’t know enough about football, why don’t they look for the many thousands of single men (here in Austin alone) who don’t give a rat’s ass about sports? I know I’m not the only man in Austin who doesn’t care about sports, cars, or video games. And yes, poor, dear, naive Andrea (commenter above), I know who freaking Euripides is. What are you saying, more women than men know who Euripides is? Is that because women are more literate than men? Is that why you misspelled Euripides?

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