One hundred women may like 100 hundred different things in men, from shoulders to eyes, artistic sensibility to military mien. But the one thing almost all women find attractive in members of the opposite sex is a predilection towards helping others.
In other words, guys, we think those of you who do volunteer work are really, really sexy.
It does not matter what you do. Feed the homeless, give blood, plant trees, as long as you do something for the less fortunate (although there are bonus points for working with children, but I'll get to that later).
My cousin, Karen, a law student in Tallahassee, my friend Hannah, and I recently discussed this over the phone. It is probably safe to say none of us would ever date the same person. Hannah is religious, her dates, quieter, more studious; Karen, the reformed sorority girl, has a long history with military men; I prefer the more creative type. But put them in an apron behind a soup kitchen counter and it's every girl for herself.
The reason, we three professional, single 20-somethings decided, is women think that if a guy has a heart big enough for helping others, he will be open, caring and generous with a mate, namely (or should I say, hopefully) with Hannah, Karen, or me.
Karen thinks it s more impressive the more successful the guy is.
"It means more to me when a guy has a really crazy life. It shows (he's) able to find a balance."
Me, I'm not so picky.
There are corollaries to this theory too. Like men with children.
"What's sexier than a man playing with a child?," Hannah demanded. "I'm sorry, but nothing."
One day, we will want children. We will be protective of them. A man who likes kids will, presumably, take care of his kids - our kids - too.
Or religious men. Maybe this is why God created the Mehitza (separation between men and women in Orthodox services). I'd say "yes" to anybody who asked me out after Saturday morning services. Because if he is religious, then he must perform mitzvot -- such as tikun olum (repairing the world) -- performing some sort of charitable work. And there we go again.
Or, as Hannah said, "You have to bring his mom flowers or something, because obviously she raised him right."
Not that any of us have ever found a date, much less true romance, with a male volunteer.
Like sufganiot (jelly doughnuts) in South Texas or tallitot (prayer shawls) in Tallahassee, nice Jewish boys who care enough to volunteer their time and effort are rare. But the three of us like the idea (of course, we like the idea of Ben Affleck, too).
Sadly, this attraction doesn't seem to work both ways. As my friend Dave so delicately put it, "If they were hot it would make them hotter, but it wouldn't make a not-hot girl hot."
This from the 24-year-old who was picked up by an older woman two years ago while they were were volunteering in Boston.
I have male friends who have volunteered to work events because they know it is a great place to pick up chicks, because they know women dig that in a guy.
Although I must admit I know of no one -- including myself, who has volunteered somewhere for the sole purpose of making a catch -- and most of my friends have volunteered somewhere in the past year.
So maybe we should all volunteer to send our mothers flowers.