The strong vs. nice woman debate

Why Men Love BitchesWhy Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl — A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship by Sherry Argov

First, let me allow the author to explain the title, as it is somewhat off putting to those of us who don’t relish being referred to as bitches. Argov writes “I’m not recommending that a woman have an abrasive disposition. The woman I’m describing is kind yet strong. She doesn’t give up her life, and she won’t chase a man.” Of course, Why Men Love Confident Women wouldn’t have garnered the same kind of press, so she went with a more sensational title.

I agree with some of what she says. I saw myself both as a strong woman standing up for myself, as well as a “nice” woman who has allowed myself in the past to get taken for granted.

Other advice was the opposite of my values. For example, she advocates being “dumb like a fox.” I read this chapter as how to play games. You don’t tell the man directly what you want or are upset about, you show it by your actions. For example, the man you’re dating calls you at 10 p.m. to say he misses you and wants you to come over and cuddle. You are irritated that he wants you to drive to his place for a booty call. But do you say that? No. That would be too direct. Instead, you tell him you’re slipping into something sexy and will be over in 5 minutes. Could he wait you outside with an umbrella since it’s raining? (I don’t know why he wouldn’t suggest you bring your own umbrella, but hey, this is Argov’s book.) He waits, and waits, and waits and you don’t arrive. After an hour, it dawns on him you’re not coming and he was being a lout!

Or to show your live-in beau he can’t control you, you stay out 2 hours after you told him you’d be home, without calling. That is downright rude to me, and I’d be worried sick if someone I cared about was two hours late and didn’t let me know they were okay.

Her point is that men don’t hear words, they only see actions. They won’t hear that you’re upset with them. They tune it out as if you’re nagging. Isn’t this a tad condescending? It implies all men are uncommunicative and unable to talk about issues openly, honestly and maturely.

The book was confusing because she says bitches are nice, but nice gals get treated like doormats. But the examples she gave showing when strong women were nice, revealed they were duplicitous and passive aggressive, not saying what they were feeling or wanted.

I like the general message that you need to be clear on what you want and not change who you are to fit what you think your guy wants. This means don’t give up your gym time, gal pals and other self-care priorities. She says you need to look out for yourself all the time, and the more you do the more appealing you will be to men. The more you acquiesce and change your life to constantly accommodate his preferences, he loses respect for you. Which means he’ll go poof in an instant.

In “Do men want feisty women?” we discussed that many men like spirited, strong women. When I bounced off the book’s premise to a guy pal I adore, he said, “I don’t think most guys are attracted to strong women. I think they scare the pants off the guys.” I can see it would with some men, but I also know some won’t put up with a dependent woman. The key is to figure out who you are and what you want, then find a way to attract what is a good fit for you.

What’s your opinion about the book’s teachings? Do you think it is best to not say what you want but show through your actions/inactions?

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,,, , , , ,

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to







6 responses to “The strong vs. nice woman debate”

  1. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I read this book and also Argov’s other book, ‘Why Men Marry Bitches.’ While I enjoyed both books and do agree with the author’s assertion that women need to remain strong and in control of themselves and their emotions in order to have workable relationships, (and to avoid going crazy or being driven to drink by the men in their lives), I disagree with the author’s theory that men prefer strong women.

    Most of the men I’ve met, whether long time friends or casual dates, seem to pair up long term with women who are pliable and more suppliant than the “bitches” of Argov’s books. Maybe it’s because strong women do scare men, as your friend observed, or maybe it’s because most of the men I’ve met don’t care to match wits with a woman who can leave them in the proverbial verbal dust every time.

    And, no, I’m not willing to dumb myself down to win a guy’s approval or play head games to get dates, it’s not in my honest, blunt spoken nature. I prefer to speak directly and openly about my needs and feelings and expect my dates to behave in a similar fashion. I may get fewer dates this way, but at least the guys I do meet and date (and hopefully the man I will one day marry) will be with me because they like me for the person I really am and not because I’m good at mind f-ing.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  2. Cindy (The 15 Minute Dating Blog) Avatar

    I think sometimes woman who are very confident can be mistaken as being “bitchy” . With the tradition view of a woman as someone who is not supposed to have her own opinions.

    Very good post indeed!

  3. nysharon Avatar

    I think the message in the book is that men like confident, less dependant women and want us to hold our own. They like to pursue you so you shouldn’t try too hard to please. Let them come to you. I loved this book and I have reread it. It’s amusing to make a point. Its phylosphy seems to ring true in situation I have been in.

  4. Lisa Avatar

    “Intimate Communion”, by David Deida…”Enchanted Love”, by Marianne Williamson. You can be strong and still be all woman. I like difference in the sexes…..what Deida calls Polarity.

  5. writesome Avatar

    While I can’t imagine telling someone I’d be over and then not showing up, and leaving them waiting in the rain…it does feel deliciously revengeful, even if it’s just what you wish you had done instead of saying no or actually going over for the booty call. Not sure I’m cut out for that, but if it were a guy who responded well to that kind of treatment, maybe. But, would I want to be with a guy who responded well to that kind of treatment?

  6. hunter Avatar

    ….me in the rain for 2 hours? That is a plain, flat out, blatant, ‘get lost mother f###….

    Some men are attracted to the strong woman, only to find out later, that we can’t handle her.