What do women want?

So I’m in the middle of a very entertaining conversation with a man, when he suddenly sits up and asks me that one most important question…not that one you deviant bastard, the other one…’What kind of man are you looking for?’  Cue frustration.  You know how men dread the ‘we have to talk’ phrase?  I dread this question just as much, if not more.  How the hell are you supposed to answer such a vague and loaded question?  Its not that I don’t understand where a man is coming from when he asks, half the time I’m busy trying to figure out the same thing, what does he want from me, and more importantly do I have it to give.  I get it, we’re all trying to draw a road map to happily ever after, but asking this question more often than not results in even more confusion, at least on my part. 

I’ve been searching a long time,
For someone exactly like you,
I’ve been travelling all around the world,
Waiting for you to come through…

Any lover of Rom Com’s knows this song only too well, it was used most memorably in ‘Bridget Jones’, the grand finale (i.e. the big kiss at the end), after she ran down the street in the middle of deep winter, in her knickers, to go get her man.  Slight detour, that kiss, to which this song is the soundtrack, transformed Colin Firth from serious man who could possibly be the sperm donor for my unborn children to ubersexy man who can wrap me in his coat any damn day…fog, vague lust, the usual.  Detour over.  The song is ‘Someone Like You’ by Van Morrison, singer, composer, general maker of weird and wonderful music, with a discography stretching from 1967 to the present, and be knowing he’s not a bugger of one album a decade, the man is prolific.  He is on every list of great musicians worth talking about, has won awards galore, has been inducted into every conceivable hall of fame, I think he even has an OBE thingi, but to us hoi polloi, he’s best known for the song, ‘Crazy Love’, yes, that one (she gives me love, love , love, love, crazy love…), ignore the many brilliant covers you’ve heard and dig up the original, its worth the effort.  For reasons I am yet to decipher, however, today’s track doesn’t rank as one his greatest hits, but that just goes to show how much I don’t know about music.  I know, I’m an uncultured idiot, uneducated in the ways of serious music, but dammit this song is just lovely, it has piano, and string thingis, and when he does his ‘aaaaaahhhhI’ve been, all around the world…’ at 2.40, my world goes a little quieter.  Seriously, play the song for yourself, listen to it and tell me he doesn’t move you when he sings.  Actually don’t tell me, I can’t handle the disappointment.   

Someone like you, make it all worth while,
Someone like you, keep me satisfied,
Someone exactly like you…

After writing a dodgy reply to a man who at this point must be staring at the email and wondering, ‘What was the question again?’ (such is the vagueness of my response), I decided to do a bit of research, convinced that, as with all problems man-related, google would have the answers I seek, and it did.  Another slight detour.  You know how they have that suggestion thingi that tries to guess what you want to ask, giving you options as you type in your query?  Apparently the suggestions are based in part on your search history, which is why these days when I type in anything that has ‘man’, the suggestions all have something to do with relationships, or sex, or a song.  That’s right, in my quest to bring you knowledge I have been marked as a thieving pirate, or a lonely woman, or a lonely horny woman.  Damn you google and all your snide little suggestions, damn you!  Detour over.  This is the best of what I found, and to be on the safe side you may want to read them for yourselves, because I have been known to mislead people in an attempt at making a point: What Women WantA Woman’s Worth, What a girl wants and 10 ways to be the man women want. 

According to the geniuses on the internet, and in this instance they really are geniuses (they’re simply saying what should be common sense, but isn’t), this is what women want:
     1. a man they can trust
     2. a man they can respect
     3. a man they can be friends with
     4. a man they can be lovers with
I know, confusing, right?  And this is after I’ve distilled it down to its essence.  Allow me to expound.

I’ve been travelling a hard road,
Looking for someone exactly like you,
I’ve been carrying my heavy load,
Waiting for the light to come shining through…

A man they can trust refers to sincerity and honesty, two qualities that were at the top of all but one list.  Simply put, (grown ass) women want a man who will be straight with her, whether or not she likes the truth he tells her.  And this is not just about what he says, but who he is as well, which means no pretending to be something, or someone, you’re not.  I know you think that women are shallow, fickle creatures who are easily distracted by shiny objects and what not, but I assure you, she will see through your ruse, sooner rather than later.  What you need to remember at all times is this, when a woman is interested in a man, she will go to great lengths to sniff out each and every flaw the man possesses.  She’s like a bloodhound and you, sir, in all your pretence, are nothing but a decomposing corpse, in a shallow grave, lying hidden in the swamp about to be discovered.  Now that I think about it, this is probably why women take deceit so seriously, and why lying to the woman is considered unforgivable.  Trust is the first hurdle you must jump, the last thing she needs is to find out that not only did you not jump the damn thing, you burnt it in a bonfire out back in the dark of night.  Lie to a woman at the beginning and you will never recover, not unless you have great skills of persuasion, or you are now a reformed man.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  

A man they can respect is, however, a bit harder to define, because it’s specific to the woman you’re dealing with and her idea of the ideal man (read fairy tale and daddy issues).  Generally, women want men who are suitably masculine, which to our minds means strong, confident, ambitious, with a dash of chivalry and a smidgen of raw macho maleness …think Idris Elba in Luther meets Idris Elba in Daddy’s Girls.  I know, using Idris as an example skews the field somewhat, but he’s one of the few men both men and women agree is bloody sexy, and absolutely brilliant.  There is one more attribute hidden in the ‘real man’ description, hidden because of the negative connotations it creates.  Women want a man who can take care of them, and by this she means a man who is capable of meeting all her needs, emotional, physical, and possibly financial.  I know, the money aspect tends to get many people, or possibly just me, foaming at the mouth, but it’s the inescapable reality, she needs to know that you can ‘provide’ for all her needs.  On the up side, these needs are as diverse as the women themselves.  It’s not just about money, is what I’m saying, but I’ve said it before at length (Aint nothing going on but the rent?), and I refuse to rehash.

I’ve been doing some soul searching,
To find out where you are at,
I’ve been up and down the highway,
In all kinds of foreign lands…

That a woman wants to her man to be her friend seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?  Apparently not.  Gentlemen, this is where all the smart, funny and adventurous stuff comes in, because apparently women not only want to talk to their men, they want to enjoy hanging out with them too, they want to be your pal.  Who knew?  Yes, I’m mocking you buggers.  For some reason men, at least the men I’ve tried to date recently, don’t seem to understand this bit.  Where men place sex before friendship, women tend to do the reverse, at least when it comes to serious relationships, not flings.  The reason women like funny men is simply because they make us happy, and we like to be happy.  Again, who knew?  We love smart men because smart men are interesting to talk to, and occasionally they teach us something new, and we like that, a lot.  We crave men who will drag us out of our little cocoons and help us do all the interesting crap we’ve been dreaming of, or maybe join us on the exciting journeys we’re already on.  That’s what the shared interests are about, dammit, we just wanna hang with you.  These are the men who make us feel good about who we are, the way (real) friends do.  Are you willing to be that man?  If not, you might want to leave the poor woman to get on with her search, go focus on your funga instead.  Just a thought.

And the last one about wanting to be lovers?  Now this is the fun bit, its where the attractiveness of the man comes into play.  As a man, the thing you need to realise is that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, all that matters is if she thinks you’re hot, and/or sexy, and by association if you make her feel hot, and/or sexy.  Really.  I’m sure you know a chick that’s dating a man who closely resembles the back of a bus, the same man she describes as a sexy, sexy man, and you’re sitting there wondering, eh?  Well I hate to break it to you, but contrary to what the glossy magazines and silly advertisements like to tell us, attractiveness and beauty are not synonymous, so stop walking around thinking that because you don’t look like Idris, she’ll never be interested in you.  I guarantee you, there is a woman out here looking at your ugly/too hairy/stunted/broke/cross-eyed/possibly stupid/(insert whatever flaw you imagine you have) ass and lusting after it with seriousness.  No really, she is.  Its all relative my lovely, they don’t say love is blind for nothing. 

Now I know that you men place a lot of emphasis on this ‘let’s be lovers’ part, because sex is almost always at the front of your minds, and that’s okay, sex is in fact quite important to your relationship.  But even as you go out in search of your woman, please keep in mind that this is at the end of her list, granted its a very short list, but it still came last.  Turns out, she hasn’t been holding out on you to make you suffer, its just not a priority to her right now, she’s just trying to be your friend first, no?  Insert evil laughter here…

Which brings me back to the beginning, and my awkward conversation.  Whenever I’m asked what I’m looking for in a man, my mind goes blank and I start fumbling around for answers, muttering something about not speaking for all women, and then adding something vague about a good man, and capping it all off with the tried and tested, ‘someone like me’.  What I should be saying, however, is that I have no idea, not really.  Truth is, I’ve always figured that picking a man is pretty much like buying a pair of shoes; I often walk into the shop with a very clear idea of what it is I want, say, a pair of heels for work, preferably black leather or maybe dark brown, sling-backs or maybe pumps, three inches high or maybe a cute kitten heel…I know what I want, right?  Of course I do.  That’s why I walk out with a pair of orange suede sandals, wedges no less, shoes that I cannot wear to work, and shoes that nothing in my wardrobe will ever work with, ever.  But I know what I want, right?  Same thing happens when picking a man, I’ll say I want a smart, sober, perceptive man, who’s 6 feet tall and loves Tolkein, and then I walk out of the shop (read bar) with a jackass who can’t read so much as a stop sign, or reach the stop sign for that matter, because he’s a midget, and crawling drunk. 

I’ve been all around the world,
Marching to the beat of a different drum,
But just lately I have realised,
The best is yet to come…

Clearly I have no clue, but I can tell you this much, I’ll know what I want when I see it.