The Unwittingly Attractive Things Men Do

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Once my older sister, 16 to my 14, was driving us to the store. She was always a fast driver, and we followed too closely in our wrecked-once Ford EXP behind a red Mercedes convertible down a winding hill, the driver a tanned, affluent-looking middle-aged man. He stopped short as we neared a stop sign, and our bumper tapped his. We gasped, but he barely paused. Rather, he grinned at us in the rearview, then simply waved a tanned, gold-banded left hand nonchalantly as if to say, toodaloo! We busted out in nervous laughter, and then later, we swooned.


What exactly was it that he'd done to impress us so? I guess he could've stopped, exploded about the scratch on his expensive car, acted like a dick, and made us pay up. But somehow in that tiny wave, he'd telegraphed a world of understanding, forgiveness, kindness, and even an appreciation for our teenage mischief. He was the nicest rich, married, tan guy we'd ever met (and possibly the only so far). We never even saw his face really, but we were smitten. We still bring it up on occasion to this day: the story of the really nice married-man hand-wave.

I KNOW, it's a goofy story — the guy coulda been a complete lout — but it's really a story about the little things people do unawares that can steal your affections. Reddit took a meander down this path recently when they asked Women of Reddit, what do men do that's attractive, that men don't know about? and Nerve rounded up some of the best answers.

The nice thing (to me) is that the answers are largely not all that typically masculine things. They are not really the things we might expect women to like that men do, at least in terms of what's celebrated in the culture at large. It's not tough guy power tripping or dick-swinging, just small, good things that demonstrate basic good personhood: caring, passion, kindness, and using the advantages of cultural masculinity for good. Nothing shocking here, just a gentle bed of easy reading. Shall we?

when their eyes become softer when looking at you

Old Soft Eyes. Who isn't a sucker for this? While it's no doubt Swoon City to get the soft eyes lobbed your way, the thing to note about soft eyes is that the worst thing in the world is getting soft eyes for any other reason but romantic interest. Amirite? It's very confusing. Men, please, wield soft eyes with the utmost care.

Not to be one of those girls, but I find it hot when a guy drives calmly and safely. Too many times I've driven with guys that drive aggressively, speed, and try to show off; it is so comforting feeling like this guy that's driving me actually gives a shit about me and my safety; I think it shows good character.

There is nothing "those girls" about liking a good driver, okay? Good driving is pretty essential, all things considered. There is, it must be noted, a fine line between grandpa, nice driver, and scary road-rager, but if you can hit the sweet spot, the Goldilocks of driver types, you are demonstrating excellent personhood. Also refreshing: when a guy doesn't care which of you drives, or rather, has no sense that it's his duty as a guy to drive because he doesn't assume he's the better driver. It's fine if it turns out he is the better of the two of you, just so long as it isn't assumed cuz he's a dude.


I fucking LOVE watching my boyfriend cook. I can stand there and watch him all day long. He's bustling around, chopping veggies and putting dry rub on meats and stirring things around in a pan, all confident and sure-like. He thinks he's just making dinner. What he doesn't know is that by the time the meal is ready, after watching him be so competent and unself-conscious and focused on making the food, I want to rip his clothes off and have my way with him first, and eat dinner later.

Holla. It shows competence and self-confidence. A willingness to try things, nourish you, and like the driving thing, to not sweat the historical associating of kitchens 'n' women.


Roll up button-ups to their elbows.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. I also think of this as "good watch arm." Commenters on this thread say very accurate things, such as "Forearms are just so swoon worthy" and "the power of the forearm." This is not the bicep! It's not even the strongest thing! Just a normal old everyday forearm (that can wear a watch).


Being kind. Seriously. Just doing stuff because you are a good person. Catching you doing something that shows your character..sexiest thing ever.

Again, totally. Not a showy tough thing, just a decent person thing.

Speaking passionately about pretty much anything. When my SO talks excitedly about anything he cares about, even if it isn't really one of my interests, it is insanely attractive to me.


I can take this a step further, and say actually being passionate about an issue outside yourself. So while it's always great to hear someone talk about their love for documentaries or Brazilian restaurants, I think having a cause or issue that matters enormously is highly attractive in a man, and the reason is simple: Too many perfectly well meaning men can afford not to care about other groups, because it's really no skin off their nose. Male dominance so often means unexamined privilege, and when men are able to see past their own deeply entrenched privilege to stand up for those without it, it's a sign of compassion and intelligence. (This could be true of any privileged group, natch, but we're talking about a Reddit thread on hot dudes.)

There are more worth reading, many hilariously specific ("stretching all casual-like and showing a bit of muscle," "wear nice sweaters," "the act of loosening of the necktie"). Grooming comes up a lot, one about just running, and others that are more standard-issue lady melters, like protecting, fathering, and so on. Now somebody just needs to ask the same question about women, and let us cross our fingers that it's not all thigh gaps and hair flips.


Image via Shutterstock.



I love when I overhear my husband talking to our cats, when he doesn't realize I'm listening. They were originally my cats, and he is not much of a cat person in general, but sometimes I'll overhear him from the other room explaining the finer points of baseball or old western films to one of them and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.