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March 17, 2011

What Drives Men Wild


By Elaine Viets

Lose those lacy garters, ladies. Nix the sheer nighties and deep-six the stiletto heels.

Here’s what you need to do to attract a man . . . Shake your assets and watch the love light in his eyes. Show him your juicy paycheck and well-developed pension.

That was the conclusion of the Women, Money & Power study commissioned by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

Do you still believe men are turned off by women with big assets? How old school.

Clingy gold diggers are as quaint as high-button shoes nowadays – and about as attractive.

Most men "find financially independent women sexy," the Allianz study says. That’s not a simple male majority (or is that simple majority of males?). The survey says 96 percent of men are attracted to self-sufficient women.

The baby doll who depends on her sugar daddy to keep her in diamonds has been dumped.

Diamond ring 

What turns men on now?

A woman’s "ability to take care of herself." At least that’s the guys told Sherri Brown, a managing partner of Cali Pearl Corp. "Successful men are attracted to women that are smart, strong and are aggressively seeking to be financially independent," one man e-mailed Brown.

"Ladies, don’t be afraid to grab the financial reins," she advises. "It’s sexy."

We women need to do more to enhance our sex appeal. And we should start young.

Most parents do not discuss the facts about the bulls and the bears with their daughters. They do not tell young women when they need a condominium. Female financial education is scantier than a stripper’s wardrobe.  More than 90 percent of women feel financially insecure, the survey said. A bag lady can’t bag a good man.

It makes sense that men would want a financially secure female.  It takes the pressure off them. They don’t have to kill themselves to keep her in Ferraris and Jimmy Choos. A hot mama can buy her own hot cars and sexy shoes.

The survey also explains something that has puzzled me for years.

When I was a reporter, I interviewed a receptionist at a St. Louis massage parlor called Beaver Lodge. That Beaver Lodge is no longer in business, but there must be a million more places with that wink-wink name.

The women who worked at the massage parlor wore costumes. These included the standards: a French maid, a harem dancer, a police officer, a girl in black lingerie, and a hooker in high leather boots. (The French maid pictured here did NOT work there. That model lives a blameless life.)

But one costume outsold all these. This woman's outfit was a real turn-on for the customers.

Know what it was?

She dressed like an executive. She wore a plain business suit and a sensible blouse.

I’ve pondered her popularity ever since. Back then, I thought men wanted her because they enjoyed humiliating their female bosses.

Now I've decided there’s another reason. The guys lusted for that street look  – Wall Street.

Suit use 




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Interesting, Elaine. And another sign of how times have changed for the better!

This made the rounds last week, but I think it's worth repeating:


I never thought about things from this angle, and to be honest, that's bothering me....

I've never met her but I don't like Sherri Brown or her conclusions. There are very few, of either gender, that are financially independent these days. And there are many, of both genders, if not already in bag person status, are only one unlucky change of circumstance away from a demeaning bag existence adventure. Sherri makes 96% of men sound every bit as charming as Newt Gingrich or John Edwards, the deep feeling souls that dumped wives as they became ill. Guess they ladies weren't self sufficient enough for them anymore.

I agree women need to know just as much as men about handling finances. But at a time when everyone's pensions have been raided by banksters why would she feel the need to inform women of one more reason to feel inadequate? One big bronx cheer for Sherri Brown.

As for women feeling financially secure, this is 2011 and we still haven't passed the Equal Rights Amendment!!

I wonder...have these surveyed men ever stopped to consider that a financially savvy woman might not want to be saddled with them? Or...heaven forbid, that there could be a Joanie "Edwards" or "Newtonia" who could do to them as they might have done to others? Women do need to know about finance, regardless of marital or partnership status, if only to make smart decisions on how to make sure they have enough to STAY independent...or clean up the mess their partners may have created. When I worked in a bank, we saw many older women who had no idea how to even write a check. I like to know where my money goes, so Chuck and I have separate accounts. Works for me...

I get the notion that the “sexy” businesswoman would have a certain appeal to the more superficial bearers of a “Y” chromosome. Especially to a lay-about who spends every penny they earn and then some. Princess Charming riding to Mr. Loser’s rescue when he realizes he probably should have been putting a couple of buck into that 401K is nice fantasy. For the kind of guy who frequents strip clubs and “happy ending” massage parlors it would be right up there with winning the lottery or hurting your back and getting a lifetime disability check.

We – meaning me and my wife of over 4 decades -- had that lovely chat with the CPA everyone on the downhill side of 60 wants to have. “You have enough.” You can keep your “business suit” babes; I’ll stick with my “Lab Coat” lassie. In our house the “naughty” microbiology is much sexier than Wall Street any day.

So Allianz Life Insurance is saying now it's okay to be smart and successful, because it's sexy? Because of course that's the only reason a woman should worry about her income - to get a man. Sounds like things haven't changed all that much after all. We're still earning about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. Wonder how well Allianz pays?

Yikes, guys! I just looked at those survey questions again. It asks who makes the financial decisions in the household -- him or her. There's no place for couples where each person makes his or her own decision. (and there's no way to say that in English without stumbling into a gender trap).
What was I thinking?
I'm going to soak my head and reread Gloria Steinem.

Elaine - EEK! don't be soaking your head! Gloriosa! I found your blog interesting. Not that (being married and retired and all) I'll be thinking of ways to entice and interest too many men besides Donald, but I did find it interesting. When you look at the sterotypical woman from the old sitcoms, and look at what the media (or society in this case, at least supposedly) thinks of as "the" stereotypical woman image of today, well, I just find it interesting. Picturing Donna Reed running the vacuum cleaner in a business suit and tie makes as much sense as running the vacuum cleaner wearing high heels, a little black dress and pearls. We all know, of course, that people aren't so easily compartmentalized. Not the women in question, and not the men being questioned. But those "supposed" images of women's evolution over the past several years are extremely interesting to me.

hmmm - I rambled on much too long and still don't know if I made the point I wanted to make. so. back to making paper cranes which I am AWFUL at! Grr! practice practice practice . . .

I am skeptical of most of these surveys.

And I think we all know what men really want. They just don't ask that question.

Happy St. Patrick's day! Celebrate by watching the great John Belushi's classic SNL rant - "The Luck of the Irish".

I am officially taking the day off!

The queen of my castle learned at an early age about knowing the household finance. Her father died when she was 18. Her dad made the money and paid the bills. Her mom didn't have a clue until he got sick. Rent and food can be powerful motivators.

As a guy, hell yes financially independent is sexy. I am sure there are guys who want a gold digger, they tend to rent them by the hour or month. As much fun as bringing home a big boobed bleach blonde would be, It is not a fun that lasts. And sooner or later, blondie is going to want a big check.

I was at a friends house once, there was a big box from a shoe company in the living room. "Your wife bought that many shoes?" "Her money she can do what she wants."

Actually she showed him. She now spends her money at her house.

Alan makes a very good point; why should some of us support certain men? Not that I ever have, but who would choose to have such an unequal partnership?

26 years ago, if I'd kept my insurance business instead of deciding to work from home and raise my own kids, I would have been considered "more successful" to a certain segment of the population, the one that considers financial success above the equally, and perhaps more important marker of ending up with independent adult children. Before they were out of college. I worked as hard on that goal as I did in any business I ever worked for or in.

There was a disturbing commentary in a recent New Yorker Magazine, in the movie reviews. The movie Hall Pass was under review, and the reviewer compared it to similar recent movies in which adult men act worse than children. The women in these films are often (almost always) portrayed as sensible, and not much more, while the men are given permission to run riot and do incredibly stupid, vulgar, and infantile things.

No wonder so many men have the fantasy of having a strong successful woman take care of them. We are fostering an entire generation of the kind of men we don't even want. And I certainly do not want my daughters to have to settle for such men.

One step forward; two giant steps back. Sigh.

Joining Kaye in saying, don't soak your head!! It's all still interesting, even if we don't quite believe it. I've long wondered if men in general would one day decide to heave a relieved sigh and realize they no longer have to do it all financially. It would match the eye-opening moment when women realized we *can* do it all financially.

I love being single now, but there have been moments when I wished I had a partner just to share the financial worries. It's scary out here alone sometimes, but then it is for a lot of "mated" people, too, I know, and just because a person has a partner doesn't necessarily mean that partner is either comforting or helpful.

As a society, we're still working this stuff out.

You're right, Nancy. We are still working it out. "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" now seems quaint.
Karen and Alan, the most difficult relationship for people to understand is a marriage of equals.

I don't find this survey's findings difficult to believe. But what I'm curious about is who's doing dishes and picking up the kids. My guess is that, the Men of the Blog being the exceptions to the general rule, it's still those sexy, savvy business-babes. They come home, they take off the suit, put on the sweats, and start in with the homework and the housework.

I don’t know if we can be financially equal to men. If I want to earn as much money as my fellow men colleages do, I practically have to sleep over in the office. But in this case my children will only see their nanny not their Mom… It’s already almost the case but at least it’s me who puts them to bed and reads them before sleep and I cannot deprive them of this even if in consideration I’d have several thousand euros more per year.

I took a similar survey recently that did have "share the decision equally" as one of the options on spending, housework, and children. Haven't seen the results though. We decided from the beginning that divorce was never going to be an option so we never had separate bank accounts. Over the years, we've had monumental fights on just about any subject you could name....except money. Weird, but that's the one thing we've never fought about even back when we didn't have any and had to choose between books (my splurge weakness) and records (his).

Not sure I'd ever completely trust what people SAY on surveys, but I think there are many actions pointing to more equal roles and responsibilities.
Several years ago a teaching colleage mentioned that his wife's promotion meant that he would be picking up a bit larger share of work -- specifically, when a child was sick, he would be staying home 2 days for her 1. He also mentioned that her income would be much more than his. I asked if that bothered him and the very question puzzled him. He then surveyed his students, who also agreed that more money into a family, from either parent, would be equally welcome.
My father's generation didn't want their wives to work, in the '70's men were threatened by women earning more than they did, but now . . . money is money and we can use it. . . and it just makes sense that we encourage all men and women to be prepared to support themselves.
. . .and no head-soaking, Elaine. Your hair is too pretty to mess up ;-)

and Happy St. Patrick's Day!! May the road rise up to meet you . . .

Sandi, good point -- at what point should "being sexy" be abandoned as a reason for doing anything? or rather, should it ever be the reason?

Storyteller Judith Black http://www.storiesalive.com/repertoire/Contemporary_Women.html
put together a program on "The Fading Scent" after seeing an AARP article and photo array celebrating sexy at sixty . . . and wondering if there might be a better use for investment of time, energy, money . . . perhaps solving some of the world's problems, feeding the hungry, houses, health care?

Suppose "being sexy" meant being attractive to the opposite sex, Mary? And we could invest more time in being good rather than looking good by the transient standards of the day.
Maybe that's too much of a dream.

"the Men of the Blog being the exceptions...", that would be exceptional.

"The Marriage of equals" As I do the taxes and think about equality, I have never contributed less than 45 or more than 55 percent of our household income.

I am available as house hubby/stud muffin/stay at home dad. The wife's boss hasn't seen fit to properly reward her efforts to allow this to be true.

When studies start going world wide, remember there are some places that really bring down the curve, Afghanistan, Ghana, India anyone?

"No woman who loved me ever cost me money."

"Most women see with their eyes. Real women see with their hearts. Good damn thing, too, or I'd still be a virgin."

Burke, as written by Andrew Vachss

Elaine, this is a very thought provoking blog.

I see a problem with the man vs woman attraction.
I think it all starts with the pheromones. I am not sure that men or women are sniffing each other's wallets and bracing themselves with the thought that yes maybe he or she could be the one.
Every generation takes a little step towards equality and then circumstances kick in.
Being a widower left with kids sure plays havoc on a family and the man has to be all to everyone as I have experience with my father.

Money sure helps even things out. But I think that looking out for the other person in the relationship transcends any monetary factor. Until you take the emotions and heart out of the equation there is always going to be a sense of caring no matter who holds the purse strings.

Well said, Marie. I like that phrase "sniffing each other's wallets." May steal it for a book, with your permission.

Wow, Elaine I would be honored to be quoted."
Thank you!!

My 22 year-old daughter sent me this last week. I think maybe this next generation of daughters aren't all that concerned with how sexy they appear to men. They are more interested in being whole people. But I enjoyed this.


This is a great topic! Attractiveness and pay ratios aside, women should always be as self sufficient as possible. I've seen too many abuse cases where women had no power and no options. For those of us who've been passing this advice along to the younger generation, it doesn't hurt to add the idea that men also find this attractive. It shouldn't be our sole motivation, but it's better than the old days when we were encouraged to hide our capabilities in order not to compete with men.

Sigh, William quoted Andrew Vachss . . .

If wearing a business suit makes me sexy, then sexy I'm not. I have never owned a business suit and right now I don't actually own a dress! I need a survey that says baggy khaki's and a t-shirt covered up with a hoodie is sexy. I have lots of that look in my closet.

If I ever dated seriously enough to be joining finances, I would get a pre-nup whether we were getting married or not. I have worked and saved very diligently for the last 20 some years and it is for my retirement, not someone else's. Since it has been almost 6 years since I have been on a date, this is a moot point.

Loved your word play in this, Elaine. (Okay, I'm too shallow to engage on the actual issue you raised.) Perhaps gold-diggers haven't gone the way of the dodo . . . they've just "evolved" to have a Y chromosome.

LOL, Laura. Male fortune hunters were a staple of Victorian novels. They've always been around. They preferred their wives to be empty-headed and at their mercy, once they got what they wanted. Which was control of the lady's fortune and no possibility of divorce.

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