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Do Men Want Women With Low Self-Esteem?

Uh-oh. This one might ruffle some feathers. But we’re here to engage, right? So lezdoit! I recently asked readers what kinds of topics they wanted me to discuss in future posts. The resounding consensus…relationships. So here’s what I’ve been pondering lately.

FIRST–Let me be as clear as I possibly can. A woman’s worth/self-esteem is NOT inextricably tied to her outward appearance, body shape or size. We are intelligent, powerful, multi-faceted human beings with far more to offer than what we look like. Okay? So please re-direct any feminist tirades to a far more deserving outlet like the GOP. These are simply my personal experiences and observations.

Thank you

Growing up overweight absolutely affected my self-esteem. The first time someone called me fat was in the first grade. I was 6 years old. I don’t remember all the circumstances surrounding the incident, but I remember that was the age that I became aware of my size and that it was “a problem.” That was also the age I got into my first physical fight. It was with a boy in my class named Dion who made fun of me for being heavy. Six years old or not, I was not about let some snot-nosed boy play me, (read: hurt me,) and get away with it. So, we squared up at recess, apparently far enough away that the teacher couldn’t see us and we fought. I lost. It wasn’t awful. It ended with him on top of me, shoving my face in the dirt. I had a few scrapes from rocks and sticks and my nose was a little sore from where he pushed it into the ground, but mostly I was just dirty and sad. I never told anyone. Not a teacher, not a parent, not a friend.  I just got up, cleaned off as best I could and went back to class. I was teased about my weight from the age of 6 until around 18/19. I still remember my friend’s boyfriend in college called me fat to my face…like it was a totally acceptable descriptive. I was used to it at that point, but I promise you, it still stung.basketballtotheface

All of this is just a long way of getting to a very simple point, my weight took a toll on my self-esteem. I was always insecure about my body, (still am, obvi,) so much so that I never expected to get attention from guys. Weird thing is though…I did. Not Rihanna at Crop Over Fest attention, but around the 8th grade, boys started to notice me a little, and they weren’t trying to pick fights anymore. High school, college, into my twenties–I wasn’t bringing all the boys to the yard or anything, but I was…good.  Even between relationships, there were always guys around giving me attention.  Go figure.

Fast-forward, though, after YEARS of self-awareness work and spiritual practice, I started to heal some of those old wounds from my childhood, (I’m still working on a few,) and really began to love myself. As it turned out, it had NOTHING to do with a man’s attention. WHAAAAAT?! (This is sarcasm in case that’s not clear, ’cause…no shit.)


I realized that my value in this world was not determined by a number on the scale, cellulite in my thighs, who thought I was cute, my job, my bank account, accolades, or even my residual jiggle factor, (shout out to my O.G. readers!) Sure I would still struggle with insecurities, but I finally started to accept that my dopeness was innate, God-given, and unfuckwitable!


Hello, more evolved, confident me….goodbye dates!


The irony would be hilarious if it wasn’t maddening. Since dealing with a lot of those self-esteem issues, the attention I get from men has gone from “respectable” to I went on three dates last year. Bruh! THREE!! In. A. Year! And no, I’m not conceited or high maintenance or “too picky” or any other trope that gets applied to women who have a hard time dating. I go out. I engage. I smile–all the sh*t somebody said we’re supposed to do. *longest eye roll ever* Doesn’t matter. I can be at a social function and not get so much as a head nod. *sniffs pits* All good there. *checks teeth in mirror* No spinach. *smiles to make self more approachable* Ooh, got one! *Guy walks up*

Me: *Smiling pleasantly* Hi.

Him: Hi. Could you pass me a napkin?



So finally, I asked one of my guy friends about it, and I’ll never forget what he said, “You know what it is, you just seem like…you’re good. Not, like, mean or anti-social but just… good. Like you don’t need anything.” To which I responded, “I don’t need anything. Isn’t that a good thing?” His reply: “It is, but it’s not. Not for a guy.

Mind. Blown.

After all these years of hearing men complain about women being needy or gold diggers or opportunistic or a myriad of other stereotypes perpetuated by strippers and reality T.V. stars, here I have this handsome, well educated, successful man telling me that I’m not needy enough.  LeahMichelleShock(And before you ask, yes I tried to get at him. He gave me no play. That’s why we’re friends. *Kanye shrug*)

Then came the questions. Is that what men were attracted to all those years, my need to be wanted, to be thought of as desirable, to be seen as something other than “the fat one”? In hindsight, I have to wonder if at least some of the guys weren’t somehow attracted to this deep, veiled wound that had been festering since I was kid. Maybe it was a vibe they picked up on, my body language, my genuine surprise at their interest in me. But now that I’ve stitched up the gaping hole and put some ‘Tussin on it, I’m…less desirable? titus surpriseWell ain’t that about a bih?!

Again, this is all theory, but one worth exploring I think. I used to call B.S. whenever I heard people say that confident women have a harder time dating. To an insecure girl, that sounded like Sean-Spicer-level-mumbo-jumbo.  But now…Iowno. I floated this idea by a few guys on set last Friday, (ages 27-40,) and they agreed there was something to it.

So y’all tell me: Do you think a majority of men, (not ALL of course,) gravitate to women with low self-esteem, or am I reading way to much into this? I’d love to hear what you have to say on this one. And please, FELLAS, speak up. I want your feedback too! Let a girl know!

*** P.S.: Dates or no dates, ladies…stay dope! And don’t you dare dim your shine for nobody! Mmmkay?!


Former Fat Girl…Gone!






10 responses »

  1. Ugh I think this may be true. I’ve had guys come at me wayy later (like months to years) saying they always like me, yada yada but that they didn’t approach me because I seemed intimidating i.e. I dressed well, walked with my head held high, l “looked taken”. But honestly I’ve been insecure all my life, I just try to hide it. Is like a battle between my inner self, who loves all of me so much, and what I see in the mirror.

  2. I’m in a FB group and they literally had the same conversation about a week ago. Many of the men – I can’t say all because I can tell remember – said the same thing your friend said. It sounds like you and I are alike in the sense that we don’t “need” anything, per sé. But a man wanting a woman who seems like she “needs” him also doesn’t necessarily mean he wants a woman with low self-esteem.

    Once in a while (and girl, these NYC streets are rough on a young G, lol), men will say to me, “I didn’t think you were single – you seem like you’ve either have one or you’re just…you good.” It is odd because they also never say I have this “I can do bad all by myself” demeanor. Never that. I don’t know…

  3. SimpleComplexity

    Ok, the way I cackled out loud at parts of this!! I LOVVVVE the way and the tone with which you write!! There is a LOT to be said for the, ” …you just seem like you’re good…” line. That ranks right up there with the “you seem like the type to already have a man” and the “you have a degree, a career, a car and you already own your own house; what do you need a man for?” lines (and yes, I’ve heard both of those as legit reasons why I can’t get so much as a lingering glance at outings) *insert side-eye and dramatic sigh*. At this point, I just go out to have a good time with my crew because I already know that no one is going to be checking for me *insert additional side-eye*. Working in the reverse, I was thin to average-sized while growing up and gained weight (quite a bit) after college. So while I was doing “ok” while thinner, I always got FAR less attention from men than my friends did, but back then the excuse was, “you look like too much work and I’m not trying to work that hard.”- I PROMISE you that was what one dude told me then he ended up with one of my friends who let him smash in the parking lot behind the club *insert lengthy eyeroll*. However, those who chose to accept the challenge were GREATLY rewarded, lol (and quite a few stay in contact with me to this day…). So my self-esteem in the ‘man’ arena was always a little shaky because although I got the catcalls, most weren’t trying to DATE me-and that was when I thought I was FINE. Now that there’s more of me, my self-esteem is even more suspect in the ‘man’ arena and my milkshake STILL isn’t bringing them all to the yard. So we can’t look as though we have a man (whatever that looks like), we can’t seem to have a stable life, we can’t look too easy or to have too much self-esteem lest we seem too hard to get, and NOW we can’t be too confident….welll, guess it’s a good thing that I have ‘Me, Myself and I” (word to Bey). Khalilah, you are AMAZINGLY gorgeous (like, your beauty is a SCENE STEALER) and I LOVE your work.

  4. I have to say I agree. I grew up the opposite way, I was super skinny and tall. Told I had big lips. It wasn’t until high school when I realized I was cute and gained some confidence because I started to get noticed. Never by who I liked though, I was always friend zoned. I have since put on a lot of weight and am single af. I used to attribute it to my weight gain but I had a male friend tell me today how beautiful I was and that I could have whoever I wanted. It shocks me to hear that sometimes. I don’t feel that way but I know I can bag a few. I have the same issues I had when I was skinny. I’m also 6ft tall so it’s always been hard. I think confidence makes you require different from the person you choose to date, I was told that is why certain ppl don’t approach me. You may just look like you require more. That’s not always a bad thing.

  5. Love this! I do believe that men tend to gravitate toward women who are either actually needy or who play the “needy” role well. Far too often I hear women, many of whom are married, comment that we women have to allow a man to “think” he’s in control and “taking care of business,” even if we are truly the ones managing the household, our lives, and often times the lives of our men. I personally am not interested in playing that game in any way, shape, or form, and am also single (happily). I’ve often been told that I either look disinterested, intimidating, or act as though I “don’t need a man”….the latter of which is true…but you get my point.

    Just had a thought….the word “co-dependent” just popped into my head. In addictions (talking about drug use), the term co-dependent describes the dynamic that you often see within a partnership where the self identity of the “care taker” of the addicted individual is very strongly centered around his/her being needed by the addicted individual. Thus the addicted person needs to remain addicted in order to maintain the care takers sense of identity (make sense?). Men are often socialized to believe that their identity as men lies in whether or not they are able to “provide, protect, and profess..” (as per Steve Harvey…insert eye roll). Maybe this notion that men want a woman who is needy stems from some measure of co-dependency, where these particular men believe that their worth is dependent upon the degree to which they can/have to take care of a woman. I may have gone too far here…LOL…but just a thought. Who knows..either way, if being an independent woman is a turn off for a man…then we CLEARLY don’t need that man!!

  6. Nice read…👍

  7. Another outstanding piece!!! I gotta take some time & formulate my feedback. But there’s definitely some credence to your view. Might have to actually INBOX you my inner thoughts LOL

  8. Damn, I didn’t even think about this theory. I pride myself not being needy and sometime now going like 2 years my phone been the driest. I’m still in my early 20’s so I’m not really looking for something serious like we get married tomorrow type ish. But just nice to hang and talk with and probably some D.O.D. Anyways, I have a few guys friends told me I’m not “open enough”. Which I didn’t get because I will give a nice smile and make small talk if you approach me respectfully. Reading your post got me thinking and I agree. Like damn. Mind is blown

  9. I used to attribute it to my NY attitude while living in the south.. Alot of these men seem intimidated by a woman doing even the bare minimum and doing it confidently on her own. I dated a guy once that mid argument near the end of our time whined he was tired of fixing me! Which was news to me bc a) I thought he had issues a-plenty and b) I never asked for any help or to be fixed. Men like that ish. I don’t know why. The want you kinda broken with some flaws so they can say they helped mold you into the woman you are or the woman they want or… On the flip side I’ve met plenty of men who met me confident and proceeded to try to erode my esteem.

    If It means being formerly broken but confident and secure on my own. I’ll take that. I’ve grown to really enjoy being the woman I’ve become through my own refinement and growth process


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