Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

7 Things I Think Are More Important Than Game

Earlier this week I was having a conversation with a couple of my female friends about guys and game.  The gist of the conversation was this – if a guy really has no confidence/can’t talk to girls AT ALL and he feels that, for whatever reason, spending lots of money on one of those “skills workshops” is the way to solve his problems then he should.  We’re not going to judge him.

Even if it does seem like there are better ways to spend the money.  It’s his money.

The thing is, great is only going to get a guy so far.  We figured that a guy could coast on alone until about the age of 27.  And then after that, he better damn well have some substance behind it.  Otherwise, he’s going to be stuck dating a bunch of really vacuous chicks (and if he’s into vacuous chicks, then that’s not an issue).

Take Mr. Nicepost, for example.  Mr. Nicepost has awesome game.  I watched as he flirted with some girls who were a good 20 years younger than him at the GiveAndDate party the other night. I wasn’t jealous, btw.  I thought it was kind of awesome.  But I have a strange sense of humor.

And sure, his great game could get him plenty of pussy (oh please, don’t be shocked).  It wouldn’t, however, get him far with me.  I need a guy to be able to sit down and have a real, substantive conversation with me.  Otherwise he’s not going to get past the second date.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a list of things that will earn a guy a second look.  No one of these is enough to close the deal.   But find me a guy who can check a lot of these off the list and there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to want to get to know him better.  Much better.  This is my list, but I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of women over the age of 30 found these things hot, too.

  1. He’s spent time abroad.  I’m not talking about 2 weeks in Cancun or a summer working at Club Med.
  2. He speaks at least one language other than English. And yes, the more languages he speaks the more impressed I am.
  3. He’s well read.  I admit I’m a book snob. If an online dating site asks about a guy’s reading habits and he says that he either, A) only has time for the sports page or B) loved the Da Vinci Code, then I’m going to stop reading.  Conversely, a guy who mentions one of my favorite (and more obscure) authors can get away with a lot.
  4. He’s open-minded.  This can be hard to assess, I realize.  But men who are quick to judge, blame and label tend to be narrow-minded and oh, so unsexy.
  5. He’s willing to admit his mistakes (This is very different than wallowing in self-pity).  No one makes it to the age of 30 without making any major mistakes.  I can’t be turned on by someone who can’t admit his flaws and errors.
  6. He’s passionate about something.  OK, I realize that that’s vague.  Let me explain.  I think it’s really very hot when a guy has a career or hobby that he loves so much that he loses track of time when he’s working on it.  Not because he has to, but because he wants to.
  7. He doesn’t have a lot of regrets.  Again, this might sound vague and so I’m going to give you a concrete example.  Take Mr. Nicepost (Perhaps I should’ve asked him if this is OK?  Oh, well, too late now.) – he’s lived in many different cities and a few different countries.  Why?  BECAUSE HE WANTED TO.  I’m not interested in guys who are going to be wondering what their lives might have been like if only they’d taken more chances.

So tell me ladies, what would be on your list?


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18 to “7 Things I Think Are More Important Than Game”


  1. AoC Johnny says:

    LOL I would like to know what you think they “teach” at a “skills workshop” LOL :)

  2. lostplum says:

    It leads to a lot of the items on your list, but my is by far: A higher education. I’ve meet and been out with many smart and great guys who only finished high school, but at the end of the day it’s not as sexy and doesn’t have as much ‘substance’ as those who have gone on…..and if you went on from that, even better ; )

  3. CarmontheVerge says:

    Travels abroad – well read – open minded – mistake admitter and passionate are all on my list.

    I would also add someone who is secure in his own skin, ambitious, treats the women in his life well, doesn’t act like an ass at Ranger games, gives out good candy on Halloween and gives me flowers other than roses :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I 100% agree with your list, especially with the traveling bit. I find that people who travel abroad are generally open-minded, at least try to speak another language and tend to live without regret. (Huge generalizations, but it has been my experience . . .) As a part of the open-minded requirement, I could never date a picky eater. As an Asian woman, I enjoy eating everything from Vietnamese food to Ethiopian to Peruvian to burgers and fries – or even better, steak frites. I begrudge people who are plain vanilla in their eating habits. I always imagine they’re the same way in bed :).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Add self esteem. A guy without self esteem is going to need more attention and coddling, and will probably wind up cheating (emotionally or physically).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Curious to know your thoughts on this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/27/AR2009082704163.html?g=0
    Will his wife dump him?

  7. American Girl says:

    I would like to include good sense of humor and good educational background. Having these qualities will give you spontaneous conversation that you won’t able to recognize that it is very late.

    Kudos!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

  8. Tales From A Bar Stool says:

    Great list. Those are all solid qualities.

    As for game, you can’t learn it. You’ve either got it or you don’t.

  9. Jennifer-from-NY says:

    Personally other languages is not an important factor for me. I’m ok at one not widely spoken language but the other two I’ve taken classes in are Ancient Greek and Latin; not exactly important to get around. I think certain things are markers that someone will be more interesting, such as travel, but they can be intellegent and not be well travelled. A lot of it is how you mesh, not in a chemistry/physical way, but personalities. I always find it interesting how you often compliment someone better when you don’t have the same core interests (in my case I am young so this often means majors).
    Also I read a lot for fun so I’d rather know he likes whatever, or is too busy cause of hobby x, than the specific books. My last boyfriend was well read in an English department sense and a complete jerk. Current is hugely smart but has many other commitments and doesn’t read for pleasure much. Yet still a much better match.
    Hope it’s ok if I comment not being of the right age ;)

  10. Simone Grant says:

    OMG – It’s been a while since I’ve had this many anon comments. Hell yeah to self-esteem and most definitely to not being a picky eater. Such important things. I was just talking about that (the picky eater thing) on my last date). And as to that story of the cheating wife and the punishment she heaped on her husband, I think it’s ridiculous. It does not seem like a path to forgiveness, but rather the opposite. Many marriages recover from adultery (not that I’m saying she should forgive him, just that many people do forgive the same thing). Step one usually isn’t public humiliation.

    -AoC Johnny
    Well, I do know that not all of those workshops are the same :-) But that said, a guy isn’t going to engage in any meaningful conversations about great literature, do any extensive travel, brush up on his language skills or gain that advanced degree that Lostplum mentions.
    -Lostplum
    Me, too. I try to have an open mind about that as I know so many dolts with advanced degrees, but the fact is that I’m immediately more interested in a guy with a Ph.d. in something I find fascinating.
    -CarmontheVerge
    Oh my, yes, to flowers other than roses. It might seem like a small thing, but I hate roses.
    -American Girl
    Yes, the good sense of humor thing would probably be on most people’s list, I think. But then, I think that’s very subjective.
    -Tales From A Bar Stool
    I’m not going to get into a dialogue about whether or not guys can learn game. I thinks it kind of a silly cottage industry, but don’t begrudge anyone for participating.
    -Jennifer-from-NY
    Of course it’s ok that you comment, regardless of your age :-) I think there are plenty of very smart people who don’t speak multiple languages, haven’t traveled much and don’t read books for pleasure. There are many ways to be smart. These just happen to be markers of certain pathways, ways that a person has chosen to spend their life and time. And as with anything related to dating and relationships, it’s a matter of taste.

  11. drumdance says:

    I’ve never done a workshop, but the in talking to others I’ve heard the main thing they do is help you with your confidence in approaching and also force you to look at yourself a little more deeply. By that I mean you become more comfortable talking about big things (life goals) in a way that’s interesting. For younger guys in particular this can be difficult (older guys who’ve been around the block can draw on real-life experience).

    I’ve nver had that problem, so I don’t really need it. But I know a guy who’s kind of a geek (I am too, btw) who found the workshop very useful in helping him communicate his passion for quantum physics in a way that’s interesting, not academic (he’s a postdoc researcher).

  12. Simone Grant says:

    -drumdance
    AoC Johnny wasn’t being serious with his question. If you check his blog you’ll see he’s part of the Art of Charm crew. And I’m pretty damn familiar with what many of those workshops teach (again, they’re not all the same). I’m currently working on an article for another site, in fact.

  13. dikke kus says:

    You have a good list. I would add: 8. Hard working. 9. Good manners. 10. Genuine behavior.
    11. Adventurous. 12 Outgoing. 13. Generous. 14. Likes his mother. No snobby conversations please. I can’t stand a lecture of some kind or a put down instead of a hello, how are you. Also I added generous because its a turn off when a successful man has selfish behavior and won’t buy you a Martini since it’s too expensive – meanwhile they have a Porsche parked in Valet. It’s a sign of immaturity and a cold misdemeanor. Add a nice smile, and a twinkle in the eye. Broad shoulders. Do I ask too much? Well that would be the whipped cream topping.

  14. cupofcha says:

    Thank you for defining those more vague terms, such as mature, smart, etc, we use when describing ideal men. Passion, intelligence, adventurousness, and open mindedness are hugely important for me as they form many other attractive qualities down the line.

    1.) Dude, “Oh yeah, I’ve been to 28 different countries, and long enough in each for a totally rad night of debauchery.” –Stay at home, save money and passport pages, and lessen your countryman’s bad rep overseas. :)

    2.) Undeniably sexy. Also, I think it shows he’s into other cultures and traveling.

    3.) The more one reads the more activity one’s brain has. I’m such a sucker for stuffed bookshelves. Upon seeing a large selection and variety of books when first visiting a guy’s home is a never fail turn on and sometimes doubles my interest.

    4.)-7.) You said it. And well.

    I add honesty and adventurousness to the list. The former because he can be all that, and still be untrustworthy. The latter because he can still be all that, but not up to experimenting or experiencing life. To me, that’s the opposite of life.

  15. Singletude says:

    If and when I ever date again, I think I’m going to try to aim straight for the heart of the matter: Is he a good person? By that, I mean is he kind (even when we disagree)? generous (to those in need)? compassionate (to those who are suffering)? thoughtful (when I’ve had a hard day)? honest (when it’s hard to ‘fess up to)? reliable (when things get tough)? loyal (in the face of temptation)? communicative (so I know what’s on his mind) affectionate (so I know he loves me)?

    He does need to have a certain level of intelligence so we can enjoy each other’s conversation, and of course I have to be physically attracted to him, but other than that, it’s just icing on the cake.

  16. dikke kus says:

    Good ones singletude. Great list.

  17. Simone Grant says:

    -dikke kus
    I like whipped cream :-) (in other words, I like your list a lot, and no I don’t think it’s too much to ask for).
    -cupofcha
    Thanks. Yes, I agree. Adventurous is an important quality. And a very sexy one.
    -Singletude
    It’s so funny, it never even occurs to me to say, “he must be a good person” but of course those traits must be there. They’re more important than anything else.

  18. Mr. Lore' says:

    Um, I’m a dude. A young dude at that I’m only 22, but if you wonderful women are what these little 20yr old girls i date are going to turn into as they get older, then there’s hope for me yet. I’ve always had a hard time dating girls my age because they all for that ridiculous ” game”. Like that don’t know that dudes are just trying to get in their panties. I don’t have this ” Game”; nor do i need it. i honestly think that ” Game” was invented by some half witted uber-testosterone unconfidnet men. My black-ass has more to offer then 45min of rokus pussy pounding. I have ambition, possess a functional brain, manners and a strong mom that’ll beat my ass if miss treat any women. anyway I’m happy to know that that is what WOMEN look for in men. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to start an intelligent substantial conversation with a young lady that doesn’t know who Joe Biden is or who’s greatest goal in life is to get a “sweet ass tattoo on her lower back”. WTF happened to ambition,serously? whats wrong with my generation, both men and women? But i would like to tell you ladies that there are loads of guys out there that possess most if not all these qualities, unfortunately for the us both we just have to look a little harder…maybe a lot harder.