What do men want?

Just so you know, the only time women ask this question is when they’re looking to get serious, or looking for a serious man (I’m not sure that’s the same thing, is it?).  What we really want to know is what do men consider a serious woman, and how can we become one, forthwith.  No really, this question isn’t asked with a view to finding out what’s going on in the (seemingly addled) brains of the other half of the species, it’s simply an attempt by women to break men down into bite-sized chunks of information that we can easily digest.  We want to understand men, in terms of women, no?  Don’t get upset, gentlemen, it’s just what we do, and today’s soundtrack is a classic example of what we’re looking for.  ‘Someone’ is that song that women will describe as a great love song, because the man is saying all the right things, and saying them oh so well.  As to whether we can take Musiq’s word for it?  As much as I have great love for the man, that remains to be seen…

I never wanted a woman that wanted
Me for my name or material things,
I always hope for a woman that’s so sure,
Emotionally secure, with spiritual faith,
A woman that I can trust with all of my secrets,
And even listen to all of my issues,
A woman who never judge me or how I was,
She deals with me strictly through love…

I have a bunch of male friends I’ve known my entire adult life, we met back in ’96 as freshers in Campus and we’ve been close ever since.  We’ve been through campus crushes and passionate but doomed loves, mid 20’s flings and late 20’s mistakes, and now in our 30’s, children, marriage, engagements, heartbreak and fungas (that last one applies only to me, ironically given that I’m funga-averse one, or so I like to tell myself).  Over the years we’ve had many long discussions on what kind of woman they’re looking for and what men really look for in a relationship, but for all everything they’ve told me during those 16 years, I still have no clue.  That’s how confusing men are to me, to all women I suspect.  Hang on, 16 years?  Fuck me sideways!  Every so often I forget how old I am, then I write crap like that and it comes rushing back…  Where has all the time gone?  I have digressed, no?  Apologies.

When we were in our early 20’s, young and idealistic, convinced we would run the world, back then the boys wanted a girl who was hot and who loved their broke asses.  See, back then all the hot chicks in campus had boyfriends with jobs, and cars, and they had no time for the youngsters running around with books in arm and stars in eye.  That was the challenge back then, to get a girl, nay woman, who could see the potential, and shag at the drop of a heart.  Back then the boys would listen to sappy R&B on MetroFM and talk longingly of love.  Those were good times, but alas, they were not to last.  In campus Blackstreet’s (dubious cover of) ‘Can’t buy me love’ was their mantra, but after campus it became ‘We Kamu’.  Once we got out into the big bad world and they got a little cash in their pockets, idealistic thoughts of love flew out the window, to be replaced by realistic thoughts of pleasure, all the pleasure money could buy them.  In their mid 20’s, these buggers were, to a man, jackasses, using and abusing anything in a short skirt, or tight jeans.  What did they want?  A tight nininio, who looked so good all their boys were green with envy, who didn’t cost them too much money or give them too much grief.  At that point, I stopped trying to get to know their girls’ names, they were simply accessories and were treated as such by all parties concerned.  

It occurs to me that that might sound a bit harsh to those of you at that point in your life, but that’s just the way it was back then, and from the few younglings I talk to these days, the way it still is.  Moving on swiftly…

After a couple of years, approaching 30, these men then got it into their heads that they needed to settle down, get married, have the mandatory 2.5 kids and what not.  A couple of them had (what they considered) the good sense to dismiss the party girls they’d been hanging with and went off in search of serious women, women they found disturbingly easily (compared with the drama women go through trying to achieve the same), women they have since made their wives, for better and for worse.  Which brings us to the point of today’s post.  What qualifies as a serious woman?  What is it that men really want? 

All that I hope for a friendship that’s so pure,
A girl I can talk to bout whatever is on my heart,

A woman that needs me, that trust and believes me,
That wont take my kindness as some kind of weakness,

A woman who bares her soul, who’s willing to let go,
That wants me to lead her, but knows how to take control
And when I am feeling down, cause things are going wrong,
She fills me up and makes me feel strong...

As always, I turned to google in search of illumination, but given that I’ve been doing this for a minute or two, I didn’t feel the need to search high and low, this time I went straight to one source, The Huffington Post, not because there’s nothing else out there, but because this site is never content with one answer, allowing its columnists and guests to respond to each other, at length.  There is, of course, the fact that they’re milking this ‘relationship advice’ thing for all the dollars they can squeeze out of it, but who isn’t, no? 

First up is the appropriately titled, 7 Things Men Look For In A Woman.  At first glance, this appears to be the quintessential list of what men want, complete with feel good affirmations like, “Although men and women are different in how we think, communicate and express our emotions, one thing that's true for all of us is that we desire to love and be loved.  Like I said, at first glance.  Read it again and you realise that, a. she’s not really saying anything you don’t, or shouldn’t, already know, and b. she still hasn’t really told you why that guy you like doesn’t like you back.  What?  Come now, my lovelies, let’s just cut to the chase and admit that the only reason you’re reading this is because you want to know why it didn’t work out with that guy who killed your vibe, or how to make it work out with that guy whose vibe you’re feeling.  Its okay, don’t be shy, that’s what I’m doing too, or at least I was when I first started writing this, last year (long story, will rant another day).  Read this list, but keep in mind that it’s a cheat sheet, written by a woman for women.  The list tells us all a man wants, it doesn’t really speak to the why. 

Which is how I ended up at this article, What Do Men Want?  This lovely woman, on the other hand, does not attempt to give you simple answers, instead allowing the men to speak for themselves, and speak they did.  The summary?  Men want to be men, and for their women to be women.  No really, for all the talk about no more drama and tent tests (#6), seems the one thread running through the responses is that men want women who fit their image of woman (yaani softer, gentler, nurturing, feminine), because that makes them feel more masculine, because being masculine is at the core of who they are.  Incidentally, we had this discussion some months back, with my not so brilliant argument for Type A women to file down their alpha edges, and the reaction was, shall we say strong?  I think my feminist card was revoked after that little piece of genius.  I can only assume that this point I’m making will have a similar reaction, but this time it’s not me saying it, but a bunch of random men.  Don’t write me hate mail, is all I’m saying, if you cant stand this heat, then take it up with the men in your kitchen.  Simply put: being masculine = being a man.  Take a breath and read that again.  Turns out, men just want to be men.  The reason the writer didn’t bother to come up with a pretty little list, instead condensing her opinion to one neat paragraph, is because everything these men were saying could be condensed into one paragraph.  As it turns out, its not that men want to strut around like peacocks cum cave men, with women falling over themselves in awe (although, in fairness, these geniuses do like to do that, often), men simply want a woman, their woman, to see them, and respect them, as men, the men they see themselves to be.  Shocking, no?

That brings me to the next piece of wisdom, What do men really want?  Who cares!  This is a man arguing, quite strongly I might add, that men want nothing more than to be our heroes.  No really, nothing more, his is a list of one.  All the drama and obsession with having the perfect relationship, what us women like to call ‘moulding’, but what men call nagging, all the constant criticism we dish out only serves to destroy the man, and as the lovely gentleman says, “You dont want to break us; if we are broken, we dont work.  I’m not entirely convinced his hero theory works, but it does have one major saving grace, it fits into our fantasies.  Seems to me that if a woman can’t get over her delusions of fairytales and happily ever after, then perhaps she could get a prince instead?  According to this guy, it can, scratch that, it should happen.  Ladies, he wants to be your knight in shining armour.  Woohoo!  I am resisting the urge to scoff…

I suspect there are a couple of people waiting patiently for me to get to the point and distil all this nonsense down into one of my pithy lists (I mock myself).  No such luck, folks, if you want answers to this one you have go read, because this question cannot, or should not, be answered in bullet points.  The reason I insist you find out for yourself is simple, this question is a mirror; you see what you’re looking for, and what you’re looking for is your mirror image, real or imagined.  If you think men only want hot chicks, hot sex and money, then perhaps that’s because all you want is hot guys, or perhaps chicks, hot sex and money.  If you think men want loving, responsible women to have babies with, that’s probably because you’re (aspiring to be?) a loving, responsible woman, looking to have a baby, no?  More to the point, this question is only asked when a man has vexed you, and you’re sitting there trying to figure what, if anything, you did wrong, and what you need to do right next time.  Stop frowning at me, you know I’m right, right?  No?  Probably not.

Someone who will put up with the things loving me can bring,
But still be there to see us through,
Someone who would put up with the strange and complicated things,
Cause I would do the same for her too,
Someone who I can be real with, aint gotta be perfect,
Because loving one another is all that matters,
It's not hard to explain, so believe me when I say
That I found all of that in you…

What do men want?  What they don’t have.