October 4, 2006

What do men want?

I don’t really know what men want. Like other weighty subjects, I used to think that I’d know it all by the time I was thirty. Now I’m in my fifties, and I sometimes just don’t get it, like I still don’t have much of a clue.

So I ask around. Many years ago, I was told that men just need the “2 F’s.” F..k ‘em and Feed ‘em. I heard recently, from what I think is a reliable source, that men just want three things – sex, toys, and to be left alone. These guys must be joking – there has to be more than that, doesn’t there?

But I come from a women’s view. We hear from relationship coaches and therapists and friends that we need to make a list of what we want in a man, divide it into what we must have and what would be nice to have, and then make a list of relationship breakers, that even if the guy has a ton of the things on our list, one thing, like being rude to waiters, means that we can’t keep them. So we have the lists that go on and on of the things we want, like they must be kind and gentle and like kids and be responsible and make a good living and make us laugh. And then we meet the guy that fits the list, doesn’t appear to have any deal-breakers, and we like him but we’re not attacted to him so we move on to meet the next one and do the evaluation all over again. And, from what I’ve heard from my poll, guys really do have short lists, mainly that the woman has to be good in bed and nice to them and not be critical of them. A short list, but maybe that really sums it all up in a nutshell.

But is there some commonality in what we men and women want in a mate? We could say that we really just want to be loved, but does that say it all and could that look different for each of us? For me, it’s finding someone who knows me, the bad and the good, the silly and the profound, the wounded places and the healthy places, and thinks I’m someone really special anyway. It’s someone who knows my insides and thinks it’s important to treat that knowledge respectfully and with kindness. It’s someone who is willing to share their insides with me, letting me see who they really are and allowing me the privilege of that knowledge, knowing that I, too, will treat them with tenderness when they are most vulnerable. It’s someone who sometimes will provide me with a safe place to fall when life is difficult and who will allow me to provide him with the same soft place, too.

So maybe the bottom line is that we can have feelings for a person, probably based on their look and how they make us feel, but that love is really a verb, it’s something we do for someone we care about. It’s our actions, like listening to them complain about their day when our day has been awful. Like rubbing their back when it's our shoulders that ache. Like cooking their favorite dish when we’d like to get take-out. Like trying to make them feel important even when we’re feeling low. Like loving them even when they forget to put down the toilet seat or when they don’t notice that we need some attention.

I still don’t know the answers to what a man wants. But maybe it’s really that simple, that we all want someone who sometimes can make us feel like we’re the most important person in the world. And someone we are willing to treat like a queen or a king, even when all we really want is to be left alone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It certainly takes a confident guy to know when to leave us alone and not make a big deal about it. As long as we don't abuse it and give them the time they need to feel like we still want to be with them then it's all good. And...a confident woman to take time for themselves. We all need our space.