The woman I’m describing is kind yet strong. She has a strength that is ever so subtle. She doesn’t give up her life, and she won’t chase a man. She won’t let a man think he has a 100 percent “hold” on her. And she’ll stand up for herself when he steps over the line.

She knows what she wants but won’t compromise herself to get it. But she’s feminine, like a “Steel Magnolia”—flowery on the outside and steel on the inside. She uses this very femininity to her own advantage. It isn’t that she takes undue advantage of men, because she plays fair. She has one thing the nice girl doesn’t: a presence of mind because she isn’t swept away by a romantic fantasy. This presence of mind enables her to wield her power when it is necessary.

In addition, she has the ability to remain cool under pressure. Whereas a woman who is “too nice” gives and gives until she is depleted, the woman with presence of mind knows when to pull back.

Among the hundreds of interviews I conducted with men for the book, over 90 percent laughed and agreed with the title within the first thirty seconds. Some men chuckled as though their best-kept secret had just been revealed. “Men need a mental challenge,” they said. Time and time again, this was the recurrent theme.

The men I interviewed all phrased it slightly differently, but the message didn’t change. “Men like it when a woman has a bit of an edge to her,” they said. Two things became clear across the board: First, they would regularly use the phrase mental challenge to describe a woman who didn’t appear needy. And second, the word bitch was synonymous with their concept of mental challenge. And this characteristic, above all, they found attractive.

When I used the phrase mental challenge with men, it was immediately clear to them the quality I meant. On the other hand, when I interviewed hundreds of women, rarely did they understand the same phrase. They often related the phrase to intelligence, rather than to neediness. It wasn’t just that my hunch was confirmed by these interviews; they also strengthened my sense of purpose. I thought that anything this obvious to men should not be kept a secret from women.

This book addresses the very issues that men won’t. He won’t say, “Look, don’t be a doormat,” “Don’t always say yes,” “Don’t revolve your whole world around me.” This book is necessary because these are things a man will not spell out for his partner.

In the chapters that follow, you’ll find one message coming through loud and clear: Success in love isn’t about looks; it’s about attitude. The media would have us believe differently. A teenage girl picks up a magazine and reads: “Get that boy’s attention” with an item of clothing, or a certain look. “This nail color or lipstick will wow him,” the magazine assures her. And what does the girl learn? How to obsess over someone else’s approval.

Then there is the issue of how the media treats aging. The teenage woman evolves into a twenty-something woman with confidence, and the media bombards her with negative images of aging. The message here is: Two wrinkles and a stretch mark, and she’s “marked down” like last season’s merchandise that’s sold at half price. And what does she learn? How to obsess over someone else’s disapproval.

So what’s the message of this book? It’s that a bit of irreverence is necessary to have any self-esteem at all. Not irreverence for people, but rather, for what other people think. The bitch is an empowered woman who derives tremendous strength from the ability to be an independent thinker, particularly in a world that still teaches women how to be self-abnegating. This woman doesn’t live someone else’s standards, only her own.

This is the woman who plays by her own rules, who has a feeling of confidence, freedom, and empowerment. And it’s this feeling that I hope women will glean from reading this book.

The woman who has a positive experience with men possesses the ever-so-subtle qualities I discuss in this book: a sense of humor and an aura that conveys, “I’m driving the train here. I’ll tell you where we get on and where we get off.” This woman has that presence of mind to do what is in her best interest and an attitude that says she doesn’t need to be there. She is there by choice.

The bitchy women who are so loved by men give off a devil-may-care quality and, yes, have that “edge.” This is that same edge, coincidentally, that men say they find so magnetic. The difference is this woman isn’t looking for it outside herself; it is a special quality she carries within.

Note: Throughout this book, some names have been changed at the request of those interviewed.





Act Like a Prize and You’ll Turn

Him into a Believer

“Sex appeal is 50% what

you’ve got, and 50% what

people think you’ve got.”


Meet the Nice Girl

Everyone has known a “nice girl.” She is the woman who will overcompensate, giving everything to a man she barely knows, without him having to invest much in the relationship. She’s the woman who gives blindly because she wants so much for her attentions to be reciprocated. She’s the woman who goes along with what she thinks her man will like or want because she wants to keep the relationship at all costs. Every woman, at some point, has been there.

Certainly, the average fashion magazine gives women ridiculous relationship advice that makes it easy to understand why women are so eager to overcompensate: “Play hard to get, then cook him a four-course meal… bake him Valentine’s cookies with exotic sprinkles shipped from Malaysia (just like Martha Stewart). Don’t forget the little doilies and the organic strawberries that you drove two hours to get. Then serve it all to him on the second date, wearing a black lace nightie.” And what is this a recipe for? Disaster.

ATTRACTION PRINCIPLE #1 Anything a person chases in life runs away.

Especially when it comes to dealing with a man. With one caveat: If you chase him in a black nightie, first he’ll have sex with you… and then he’ll run.

Why does a man run from a situation like this one? He runs because the woman’s behavior doesn’t suggest that she places a high value on herself. The relationship is new, and the bond between them is relatively shallow. Yet she’s already dealt him her best card.

The fact that she is willing to overcompensate to a virtual stranger immediately suggests one of two things. He’ll either assume she is desperate, or he’ll assume she is willing to sleep with all men right away. Or both. What gets lost is his appreciation for her extra effort. Once a man begins to lose respect for a woman because she is willing to subtly devalue herself, he will also lose the desire to get closer to her. Nightie or no nightie.

A dreamgirl, on the other hand, won’t kill herself to impress anyone. This is why the woman he really falls in love with doesn’t serve a four-course meal. And you won’t see her breaking out the fancy china, either. She’ll start out cooking him a one-course meal. (Popcorn.) No fancy doilies. A Tupperware bowl does the trick. She simply asks her guest, “Hey, do you want the bag or the bowl?” Six months later, the same woman throws together a meal and puts down a hot plate in front of him. And what does he say to himself? “Man! I’m special!”

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