I was a late bloomer when it came to women. In fact, I tend to be a late bloomer when it comes to just about anything. But I also tend to make up for lost time quickly once I do get started. The image of a snowball rolling down a hill comes to mind.
This is a realization that I am faced with daily. I think many of us are. Whether it be coming across photos on Facebook or receiving a text message from an old friend, it is a common occurrence to understand that the things which once interested us, simply, do not anymore.
This is no surprise to anyone. Priorities change as we grow and mature mentally and emotionally – but I thought it may be fun to compare the things men look for in women when we are in our early 20’s, compared to when we are in our late 20’s. Using myself as an example, I will use “Then” as a benchmark representing around 20 years old nearly 10 years ago, and “Now” representing around 30 years old.
Then: We want a girl who is strikingly beautiful. Sexy. Probably with sort of an attitude. An edge. She likes to party often and knows all of the right places to do it. She is, in some ways, a status symbol to be seen with.
Now: A woman we find physically attractive in a much more refined way. Jet black hair and tight dresses give way to someone we can picture bringing home to mom and dad, or attending a work event with. The edgy attitude gives way to a kind heart we want to build a relationship with. A woman who makes us realize that when you truly love someone for who they really are, everything about them becomes beautiful.
Then: A girl who either has a loose belt on her morals, or no belt at all. We are not really looking for a committed relationship and tend to gravitate towards girls who are on the same page (of course). Go out, have fun, have a good time, and that’s that.
Now: A good girl who is bad only for us. We want to be confident and secure that (if she was ever in the “then” phase), she has now grown out of it and has developed into a woman we can trust in a committed relationship. A woman who presents herself well, carries herself with class, and still enjoys intimate time with the one man in her life.
Then: The edgier the fashion, the better. When I was in my early 20’s I was a completely different person in how I wanted the world to perceive me and how I saw the world in return. I worked in nightlife where the rules of style were often stretched. Let’s put it this way, there are still pictures of my mohawk floating around the internet somewhere. Anyway, moving on…naturally we were attracted to the more “promiscuous” look on girls, so to speak.
Now: Equal parts sexy and classy. As more mature men, we desire a woman who we can respect as well as desire. One who we are proud to be seen with and can be an equal teammate with both in life and our relationship. While we cannot judge a book by its cover, the fashion and style sense of a 20 year old transposed onto a 30 year old often does not signal maturity.
Then: Your interests are partying, partying, and partying? Great!
Now: We want a woman who is interested in the world. Passionate about something. Anything. Art, music, culture, her business, life in general. A woman who we can sit with and talk for hours. A woman who will teach us things and challenge us intellectually, while we can simultaneously do the same for her.
Then: A girl who appreciates us.
Now: A woman who appreciates us. That’s right, this one doesn’t change. No matter who we are or what phase we are in during our lives, even the most kindhearted, giving people will eventually grow weary of not being appreciated. No man (or woman) wants to be taken for granted.
There are, of course, plenty of qualities we grow to appreciate both in our relationships as well as in the woman we are with, but we often do not recognize them until we get older. This is not to say we actually want women to lack these qualities, it is simply that we do not realize that we want them yet.
The things that would have attracted me to a woman five years ago would likely now send me moving in the other direction. I believe during our formative teenage years and even through our early 20’s, most of us go through dynamic changes and personal growth that only begins to become more steady as we reach our later 20’s. This, of course, is a very general broad statement.
Personal growth should never cease, but the experiences we develop from along this journey assist us in realizing what it is we want out of ourselves, out of our lives, and out of our teammate. There comes a point in a man’s life where he gets tired of the wild nights out and realizes he is chasing a fulfillment through the noisy bars that is not actually hiding there at all.
Now: We want love. An equal. A teammate. A best friend. A woman.
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