Young single women in the Orthodox Church don’t stay single for long. Since the ratio of young men to women is so high, it doesn’t take long for single women to be taken off the market. As Orthodox men calculate their prospects, a common question is asked: “How can I attract a woman?”
In the past, I developed a lifestyle around answering this question. It inevitably involved transforming myself into a man I thought women would be attracted to. I exaggerated my strengths, concealed my weaknesses, lied without ceasing, uprooted myself to locations where it was easier to meet women, and engaged in numerous sins to win over a woman’s fleeting affections. I can’t help but chafe when a man asks me how to attract a woman because—without spiritual considerations—the answer that “works” is to deceive and manipulate.
To attract a woman, one can mimic the approach of the Protestant Churches and be “seeker sensitive.” You could identify your target (the woman), find out her desires, and then mold yourself to satisfy them, even if that’s not who you are. You become a phony to, at the minimum, lie by omission so that she becomes attracted to the “best version of yourself.” You toss overboard the useful but socially mundane gifts that God has given you and instead summon qualities you don’t possess so that the women of this evil age lust after you. If they like a muscular man and you are puny, you hit the gym with urgent zeal. If they like a funny man and you are not, you practice comedy. If they like a “bad boy” but you are not, you must insinuate that you are a great sinner (if you served time in jail, that would be a plus in their eyes!). The whole idea of wanting to attract a woman presupposes that your current state is not attractive, and that you must transform both your physique and personality into that which pleases a woman to satisfy her in a carnal manner while using the flimsy pretext that it is all being doing for “spiritual” reasons.
Can you not already see how seeking to attract women makes an idol out of them? We are supposed to transform ourselves into children of God through prayer, obedience, and worship, and we attempt that with hardly any vigor, but when it comes to being liked by a woman, we are ready to change ourselves wholesale to be with a female creature who was made in our image. Indeed, wanting to attract a woman inverts the natural order, because we were made in the image of God and women were made in the image of man. Before you even meet her, by possessing a desire to win her over, you’ve already stepped foot into the pit. Without even knowing it, and in the most subtle of ways, she will control you as long as the ensuing relationship lasts, directly or indirectly.
Attempting to attract a woman through techniques or tactics is secular behavior, and I know this because I did it for nearly two decades, and learned exclusively how to do so from secular sources. There is nothing Christian about modifying your essence and nature to be more pleasing to women than God while they are busy modifying their essence and nature to be more pleasing to men than God. There is nothing Christian about becoming handsome or socially astute through effort in order to excite a woman, to be vainglorious to attract the vainglorious. No, you do those things not to please God but to please yourself through the female flesh. I wholeheartedly condemn all efforts at “self-improvement” or “transformation” where the aim of your effort is to attract a woman instead of serve God. Men who are desperate to find a wife think they must attract a woman to please God when really they must please God so that He sends them a suitable woman. Surely it is better to evaluate a woman that God sends you versus one you met using sales tactics while talking to dozens of women on internet apps so that maybe one desires the result of your false transformation enough to get into a relationship with you.
The correct question to ask is this: How can I identify a woman who recognizes my love for Lord Jesus Christ? Instead of manually attracting a woman through superficial changes that clash with your God-given qualities and gifts, you instead use your eyes and ears to identify the one woman who wants you to lead her with faith. Notice the word “one.” You don’t need to attract a lot of women: you only need to find one woman who sees your own attraction for Christ. This means you can come across thousands of women who discard you as if you were trash, who do not see your love for God and call you all sorts of insulting names, and you will be tempted to fall into despair to think that no woman will ever love you, and be tempted to inject yourself with testosterone and wear cool skinny jeans like they do in Sweden, but you should deny that instinct, stay true to the faith, and wait for God to enlighten a woman that you are her match, and to enlighten you that she is your match, because an Orthodox marriage is not a sales drive or a numbers game, but a game of patience and faith where we put our full trust in God to deliver what we need for our salvation and the salvation of others.
It is infinitely better for you to do a prostration to please God than a rep at the bench press to please a woman. It is better to make a spontaneous prayer glorifying God when you behold a beautiful mountain or vista than to make a worldly joke that you hope will make a woman laugh. It is better to shed tears of repentance at your sins than to puff out your chest to make a woman think you are an alpha male. I did all the latter and have nothing to show for it but darkness and sin. If you don’t think that you can get married using God alone, without tips and advice from the secular world of which I once preached, then you have not a woman problem but a spiritual problem.
Allow me to predict your future if you go on trying to attract a woman outside of the clean waters of the Church. In order to transform yourself into an “attractive” man, you will create a fantasy persona and wade into the sewage of the world, of dating apps and the like, and get the attention of a lukewarm woman who likes your personality, your skin-deep transformation, who transformed herself to attract a man and uses no less deception than you. You may enter a relationship with her, a pseudo-courtship infused with secular behaviors, because she was on the app after all and demands physical and emotional pleasure like all other women on the app, but you will rationalize to yourself that you’re doing God’s will and all will be fine. After some time passes, you become tired of wearing the mask, of being someone you’re not, but she is attracted to the mask, the false persona, the man full of self-pride and self-will, and you are scared to take it off because the pleasure and validation her affections give you will be withdrawn. Soon her secular flaws become more glaring as your attempt to flirt-to-convert her into the Church reveals that she’s only converting because she wants to receive the secular benefits of being a married woman, not because she wants to worship God in his True Church. You’re overly committed and don’t want to lose her. You fall for the false despairing notion that no other woman will love you due to your impatience and lack of trust in God. You decide to marry her before she flees into the arms of another man. How many good years will you have until the expensive bill comes due? I’ve seen this bill with my own eyes concerning other men, and let me tell you, this is a bill that is so expensive that no man can pay it in full. The payment plan lasts for the rest of your life, and if that’s God’s will for you then so be it, but I fail to see how using deception to hunt for secular women who were never serious about the faith in the first place is what God ordains for Orthodox men.
My advice for men essentially boils down to “be yourself,” but with a huge caveat: you are like Christ. Be yourself where yourself is Christ, who the Church teaches us to be like, and identify a woman who wants to cleave into one flesh with an icon of Christ, of which you will be upon marriage as you establish a “little church” in your family home. What additional advice do you need in this case? You need to be a man with basic strength, courage, and communication ability. You need to notice when a woman stares at you for more than two seconds or when she asks around about you, and petition God to help you meet this woman and get to know her and discern if she could be your wife. That’s it! If you think I’m exaggerating, this is all I’m using in my own life, for anything else will kindle my passions and undoubtedly lead to sin. While I have reams of secular experience with women, and can analyze their behavior on the most minute level, it’s only useful when giving advice to other men in various stages of relationship difficulty, usually with women enflamed with worldly desires. For myself, however, I use my senses to identify which woman is interested in me and then my brain to discern her level of faith and then my heart to lean on God for help, because no matter how much experience you have with women, you will never see inside her soul and know for sure if she’s the one. It is effortless for her to pretend to be someone she’s not, whether subconsciously or otherwise, and since women are more socially advanced than men, you will be tricked and end up marrying a stranger, but know that God can see into her soul, and He knows who she really is, so don’t listen to me or other men when evaluating a particular woman: lean on God instead.
If you make googly eyes with a pretty woman and think to yourself how you can attract her, you’ve already lost. You’ve made her a false idol and have decided to trust your eyes and fallen flesh more than God. I pity you because you remind me of myself! You’re already in the pit and don’t know it. Through your weak faith and self-trust, you are about to make this woman into your god, and your inevitable fall may shatter you. I wish I can relay to you all the horror stories I’ve seen and heard that sum up thusly: the more desperate a man is to cleave to a secular woman, the more painful the outcome will be. It’s possible you may get an adorable child or two from it, but there will never be peace for them if the home is broken, and there is a high chance they will grow up to be broken themselves, and every day will be full of regret. Wake up, Christian man! A woman is not your God! Do not attempt to attract anything besides the grace of God within His Orthodox Church, because you will be surely chastised, as I have been chastised, of wasting most of your life with secular women who keep your eyes away from God and onto the pleasures of your body and the feeding of your will and pride. Love God and simply wait for a woman who sees your love and wants to love God the way you do, and then you’ll have a good chance, and God will be with you. Whatever cross we have to bear in this life, whether it be a painful marriage, divorce, singledom, or something else we can’t foresee, may God give us the strength to bear it so that we retain our Orthodox faith until the end.