Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Women Want From Men


Obviously...
A couple of weeks ago, Magic Mike some how came up over drinks with my token, straight guy friends. I explained two things:
1) That sorry excuse for a movie pandered far more to the fulfillment of male fantasies than women's. It's a movie about men getting what they want, written and directed by men.
2) When you're raised into adulthood in the gay community in San Francisco, ΓΌber attractive, muscular, naked guys are a dime a dozen.

...but countless women (and gay men) loved it! And that's fine. Maybe I'm a grumpy feminist with no interest in a film based loosely on Channing Tatum's time as a teenage stripper in Tampa. Maybe I've just seen too many perfectly chiseled bare derrieres in person to be moved by seeing them on screen. There's no lack of appreciation for the male form here. Men's bodies possess a strength, grace and power that I adore. The sentiment underlying this is: "You're hot. So what? What else do you have to offer?"

Physical attractiveness is the deal maker for some women, though. Thus we once again see the problem with sweepingly deciding anything about a large group of people based on the needs and opinions of a non-representative sample. Magic Mike was not a movie made for a lady like me. But neither was The Notebook, which one of my token straights insisted I must love because I'm a Ryan Gosling fan. Nope. Too sappy, too poorly written. That Nicholas Sparks guy is the worst. Now, Lars and the Real Girl, there's a unique, nuanced, interesting story worth watching. Man falls in love with Rachel McAdams? Eh... Man falls in love with a sex doll? Yes! How delightfully quirky!

There are billions of women on the planet, gents. What do they want from you? A lot of disparate and possibly conflicting things...and possibly nothing at all. There will never be a neat and tidy list that accurately encompasses the needs and desires of every woman. If you fancy a lady you're just going to have to, oh gosh, I don't know, ask her questions about herself and listen to get to know what she's about. It's called communicating. Get into it.

The neat and tidy list of needs and desires is so attractive, though, because then you could just jump into checking things off, right? Something I appreciate about the men in my life is their ability to single mindedly solve a problem or handle a task. I need these boxes moved into that truck, and BAM! It's done. But your relationship is not a problem to be solved, or as Osho would say, it's not "a business to be managed, it's a mystery to be lived." Women are mysterious creatures and life is a mysterious venture. Maintaining a sense of mastery and control is alluring, but it's always illusory. Your woman is changing all the time, just like your life and you have to let both of those things grow and evolve so you can, too.

As a grumpy feminist, I see the ways in which men are granted privilege in our culture, but men are also severely short changed in some ways. As boys, men tend to receive a more rough, brusque quality of love that doesn't prepare them well for giving and receiving gentleness and compassion. Men are also generally taught an emotional vocabulary that is limited largely to happy and angry. Being able to get what we really need in life depends on the ability to express a full, complex range of feelings. And just as men could become more adept at communicating their needs and desires, so could women. Men shouldn't be expected to "just know" what their partners want. We could all stand to communicate with greater frequency and efficacy. No one is masterful at everything always. Men should not expect themselves to be, and their partners shouldn't expect that either. It's so much unnecessary pressure. Men should just be able to be good at what they're good at, and be encouraged to ask for help with everything else. I think this would make for happier men, and happier, healthier relationships overall.

If you're one of those sad guys convinced that every woman is just some __________, ___________, ___________ who's only after you for your ______________, you might want to consider the caliber of women you're choosing...and again, keep in mind how ridiculous it is to claim to know the character of billions of people because you've had some unsatisfactory dating experiences. Stop it. So you got hurt. So it was disappointing. Find a way to let that go and move on. I know we don't live in a culture that encourages you to express feelings, but you're a grown ass man and it's your job to take care of your emotional life. You can learn how.

Sometimes some women do choose to embody those negative things you might attribute to all of us. Don't date those women, and certainly don't marry them. In the same way that women ought to consider why they are attracted to inappropriate men, you ought to consider why you keep finding yourself attracted to women with whom you can't deeply connect. Perhaps you don't really want to be in a relationship at all or are terrified of intimacy. Regardless, you deserve a romantic partner that is, minimally, kind and respectful to you. You can decide whatever else it is that you need and desire.

Every woman decides for herself what's sexy and attractive and necessary in a man. You want to know what she wants? You're going to have to ask. If it turns out it's not what you have to offer, relax. The lady is not a bad person for not wanting anything from you. You are not a failure for not being what she wants. No matter what a catch you are, not everyone is going to be into your deal. And would you want to be with someone who doesn't see you clearly and love you completely? Should you change yourself to fit into their needs and desires? No...the answer is no.

What have we learned here today? No one can tell you what women want because women are humans and humans are wildly complex and diverse (especially human women). Don't worry about being what someone else wants. If you're unhappy on your own, being in a relationship won't make you happy. Work on being the best possible you, someone you would want to be with. Live a life you love. Find and shine your own light. In closing, a wise soundbite from Osho on this very topic:

"Nobody, whether it's your current mate or some dreamed-of partner in the future, has any obligation to deliver your happiness on a platter--nor could they even if they wanted to. Real love comes not from trying to solve our neediness by depending on another, but by developing our own inner richness and maturity. Then we have so much love to give that we naturally draw lovers towards us."

((Much of this could easily be applied for women in relationship to men, men in relationship to men, women in relationship to women...))

2 comments:

  1. You really should write more. Thoroughly enjoyed the depth and wisdom of these shared words. Thank you, gorgeous woman.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, my dear Tony! I am deeply appreciative of your encouragement and support <3

    ReplyDelete