A sweet little girl amused me at dinner tonight — but she embarrassed her mother.
Kayleigh is 4 years old and her mom is one of the managers of a restaurant where I’m a frequent customer. I was there for dinner Friday when Kayleigh came in with her mom and I got to meet her. She’s an outgoing little girl and she likes to talk.
When she found out my name, her face lit up and she said, “You come in here all the time!” I asked her how she knew that. She looked proud of herself as she explained how she knew who I was.
“My momma has a crush on you!” she said happily.
Her mother turned purple in the face and they suddenly had to leave.
I’ve told this amusing story to several people tonight, both online and in real life. A common response from well-meaning people is that I should ask the mom to go out sometime. I’ve tried to explain why not — and I finally had a sudden insight.
I’m not interested in Kayleigh’s mom. She’s attractive enough and she’s nice enough, but something’s missing. She’s not an “alpha woman.” Something clicked and I suddenly realized something I’d never noticed before.
I’ve made several attempts to explain the kind of women I’m attracted to. My efforts never quite seem right. I can explain quite a bit about who I’m attracted to — and who I’m not attracted to — but my explanations have always seemed incomplete.
Yes, I’m attracted to a certain type of beauty. Yes, I have a strong attraction for a certain type of intelligence. I obviously need a woman who shares my values and sees the world in ways that are compatible with the ways in which I see it. I can say quite a bit about all those things, but my descriptions seem incomplete.
I’m attracted to a winner. I’m attracted to the kind of competent woman who gets things done. I’m attracted to a woman who has a certain status — there’s that word again — that she’s gained from her track record.
I’m attracted to the sort of strong woman who intimidates a lot of men (and women). She has a kind of presence — often both physically and energetically — that fills a room and sends a signal that this is someone to be reckoned with.
I’ve never had a word for any of that. I’ve never had a conscious understanding of it. But every time I’ve fallen for a woman — especially for the last 20 years — she’s been that sort of woman. For lack of a better term, I’m calling her an “alpha woman,” at least until I come up with something better.
I’m not talking about a woman who dominates me. I have absolutely no use for someone who wants to control me. There’s not a submissive bone in my body. But I’m attracted to someone who’s strong enough, smart enough, competent enough and successful enough not to be intimidated and subservient to the dysfunctional world around us — who’s not afraid to take on big things and to win.
I’ve realized for a long time that I was attracted to taller women. The women to whom I’ve been halfway seriously involved with over the last 15 years have ranged from 5-9 to 6-2. Every one has had a physical presence that would intimidate a wimpy man.
I see other common themes in these women now that I think in these terms. Some were star athletes — one in tennis and one in basketball, for instance — and others were teen entrepreneurs who achieved more than normal kids knew how to do. But in all cases, they’ve been women with a history of powerfully striving and winning.
They’ve been modern warrior women, each an “alpha woman” in her own way.
And now I understand why so many nice and attractive women — many of whom well-meaning people suggest I date — have been so uninteresting to me. It’s not that they weren’t nice and decent and wonderful women. They simply haven’t been the sort at whom you’d look and think, “That woman could take over the world if she wanted to.”
Every time I have fallen in love with a woman, it’s been because that woman has become my “ideal woman.” That doesn’t mean I’ve thought that any of them was perfect. (I actually find that with great strengths come great weaknesses, even if this sort of woman is hard-headed about fixing those weaknesses.) But each one with whom I’ve fallen in love has become my standard of the ideal woman — and I haven’t been able to get past her until I found a new “alpha woman” to steal my interest.
Suddenly, this all makes sense, but it makes sense in the context of what I’ve recently realized about the missing status that I want back for myself. I want to regain that status and respect for myself — and because I want to be strong enough and powerful enough to interest the sort of powerful and successful woman who I want.
That all makes sense now.
So I’m thankful to Kayleigh. I’m thankful to the people who’ve been telling me I should try to date her mom. Tonight forced me to put two and two together and finally understand what’s been right in front of me all along.
I want an alpha woman. A winner. A powerful and successful force of nature who wants to fight the world with me. Someone who wants to be something extraordinary and build an extraordinary family.
I get it now. I see why I used to love her. And that other one. Why I still love this one. And why it would feel like death to compromise by marrying someone who doesn’t fit this powerful standard.