If there’s one adjective that’s discussed pretty much ad-nauseam when it comes to women, it’s femininity. Judging by how often it’s discussed, it’s easily the most sought-after quality after beauty. To most men, feminity is like the proverbial oasis in a dry desert. Feminity is what the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León would’ve been looking for if he hadn’t been looking for the fountain of youth.

But whereas beauty is easily understood and needs no further explanation (you’re either attracted to the woman or not), feminity is more opaque and complicated.

As an Eastern European guy, I always considered American (or foreign-born Americanized) women to be somehow “different,” and, as a result, mostly dated Eastern European and Latin American women (my Eastern European and Latin American friends in New York did the same thing).

While I couldn’t verbalize it at that time, one of the reasons I went for non-Americanized women over Americanized women was because the former were more feminine than the latter.

So, what exactly is femininity? A feminine woman implicitly understands the existence of polarity when it comes to her own self-actualization and when dealing with other people (both men and women). She intrinsically knows that men and women are different and that gender is a biological—not a societal—construct.

Sometimes guys are talking about feminity, but what they are actually referring to is “girlyness.” Thus, if a woman isn’t especially girly, then they don’t consider her to be feminine. Conversely, if a woman is tough and “ball-busting,” she’s considered masculine.

But that’s a wrong way of looking at it. There are plenty of women who are tough and ball-busting, but are still extremely feminine.

For instance, Eastern European women are, for the most part, very feminine, but not all of them are girly girls who uncontrollably giggle at everything you say. I’ve met plenty of women who are tough and goal-oriented, but they still behave according to the implicit rules of gender relations, making them very feminine.

Vulnerability

Feminity is also about being secure and not ashamed of being the “weaker” sex. It’s being secure and comfortable with the desire to submit to a stronger man. It’s a form of vulnerability. If a woman isn’t comfortable with all that; if she believes that men and women are equal in all ways—including biologically and psychologically—if she believes that there’s no such thing as gender and gender roles, then there’s no more feminity and masculinity.

Long ago, when I lived in San Francisco Bay Area, I went out with an American girl who worked in the tech industry. It was our first date. She was smart, interesting and very ambitious. We had a lot of fun. I definitely liked her.

But the most memorable part wasn’t the actual date, but what happened right after. As we were leaving the restaurant, I opened the restaurant’s door to let her out. It’s something that I do out of courtesy for both women and men.

I immediately felt something was off. While she didn’t say anything, I could tell she felt uncomfortable not having to open the door herself. It was as though I intruded on her personal space and invaded her comfort zone.

Now, I’m not one of those super chivalrous guys who always opens doors for women. I don’t run around and go out of my way to do it. I do it every now and then. But I feel there’s something wrong when you open the door for a woman and she immediately becomes uncomfortable as though you’ve just deprived all her hard-won  freedoms.

A feminine woman has no problems letting the man take the lead, whether it’s opening the door or letting him seduce her—in fact, she expects nothing less. I don’t know any Latin American or Eastern European women who would suddenly freeze and become uncomfortable when a man is trying to be chivalrous.

Polarity

Feminine women naturally communicate differently with men than women who are raised in a culture that lacks clearly defined gender roles. American dating is about having endless, politically-correct conversations that span all kinds of (widely regurgitated) topics. These conversations more resemble televised debates than intimate flirting. The reason that happens is because there’s no gender polarity.

The more feminine the woman, the stronger her desire for polarity, and, consequently, the more she desires a masculine guy. The stronger the polarity, the less you need to employ “fillers” of useless conversation to pass the time and fish for attraction. Of course, there’s a catch: it requires the man to be authentic with his desires and masculinity and not be fake by trying to be someone that he’s clearly not.

Moreover, a feminine woman is actually comfortable being a feminine woman. She views feminity as a valuable asset that’s duly part of who she’s, an asset that’s meant to be celebrated and leveraged instead of a liability that should be downplayed and even compensated for. She’s glad that she was born a woman and not a man.

I feel that feminity is one of the greatest gifts that a woman can bestow to the world. When I began traveling, I started to experience amazing connections and “chemistry” with women, connections that I’ve almost never experienced during my life in America. It’s as though my dating life went from being black and white to an unlimited palette of bright and exciting colors.

But the world is rapidly changing. Cultures are becoming increasingly genderless. In places where traditional relationships are the norm, women are being shamed for their feminine behavior instead of appreciated and celebrated for it. And I’m afraid that without feminity, amazing things like “chemistry” between two human beings will soon be relegated to the dustbin of history.

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