“So,” Chris Calo told me when we brainstormed about cool article ideas for “Way Too Social”. “Why don’t you write about what a man wants in a woman?”
At first, I laughed. “What a volatile subject,” I said. “I mean, isn’t that completely subjective? Anything I’d write could be completely different for the next…”
And then, I paused for a moment. “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy….” I thought. “We’re on to something here!”
Sure: I’d be a presumptuous cock to assume I can speak for all men. But speak as a (read: a) man? Yeah, I can do that.
You know what, this is fun! I get to say what I want in a woman, no holding back, all-out and no gloss. All I need is a disclaimer and I can design away! Hey, in the end, probably there’ll be a lot of guys agreeing with me. And it’ll spark cool conversations.
Great idea, Chris! Let’s do this, then.
A disclaimer? You didn’t see that coming, did you?
Look. “What a man wants in a woman”, you know, that’s a highly subjective thing… and I bet you didn’t see this line coming either. But it’s true! I guess it’s easy if you’re a superficial dude. Boobs, shape, not too stupid.
But why be so shallow?
Once you go a little deeper, there will be a lot of qualities you’ll appreciate in a woman that I have much further down on my list, if at all. And there will be those we can (perhaps all?) agree on.
So let it be known: all I present here is my personal ideas.
I have no university degree qualifying me to say what men want in women, no papers to prove I’m an expert. Truth is, I’m not one. I’m a guy who loves human beings and companionship. A guy who’s spent a lot of time thinking about women, and more time being around them.
Women are awesome and here’s what I find makes them attractive.
David Deida introduces this cool concept of masculinity and femininity as human polarities in his best-selling spiritual guide for men, “The Way of the Superior Man”. Basically, he says all humans have feminine and masculine sides, while typically, men have more of a masculine essence and women are more feminine (duh).
While the masculine encapsulates capacities like…
- Goal-oriented action
- and a higher spiritual purpose,
…the feminine has characteristics such as…
If you identify more with the masculine, Deida argues (and it makes a lot of sense to me), you’ll feel attracted to the feminine touch.
So yeah, this is subjective. Will I be more attracted to the feminine spirit in a woman – a silk-clad vision of sensuality traveling on the wind, an artistic, natural spirit radiating from her? Yup.
Does that make more masculine women inherently unattractive? Hell no. I’ve met and been enraptured by them, and so will you.
But think about Deida’s concepts. They’re interesting to say the least, and reflect some core human experiences.
Funny how things go, huh? While I love a gentle, caring, warm woman, I also want to see her climb trees, kick asses and take names, crack dirty jokes, swear, engage in play-insult battles, and be politically incorrect.
Have you ever had a woman tell you, “I’m not made of sugar?” I’ve been given that line time and again, and it was always when I was treating her like some fragile princess. Hey, I mean it’s cool if you give her your jacket when she’s cold (bonus points if it means sacrificing your own comfort). I love doing that and reveling in the affection it generates.
But those flighty girly girls bore and/or annoy me. How about a spine? Give me Katniss Everdeen, Dana Scully, Buffy Summers or princess Leia any time over the insane chicks presented in run-of-the-mill romantic comedies.
(Watch The Fall to see Gillian Anderson portray a layered, highly interesting badass.)
Thought and Education.
Look, if she can’t tell the conspiracy bullshit in Zeitgeist from the cogent breakdown of American social ills in Miss Representation in validity, but appreciates both and is excited about documentaries, I’m still interested in talking to her.
See, I once spoke to a young lady who was – after years of cruising the party scene – getting highly interested in current world affairs. She was learning about political systems, feminism, historic figures, the state of the planet and more. Yeah, she was still a little hazy on what the name of that other political party in the US was (spoiler: Republicans), but she was writing papers on Gandhi and I loved talking to her about him.
For me, this criteria is genderless. Man, woman: if I can’t see eye to eye with them, they have no business being in my life. Much as ditzes can educate themselves, dudebros can. And it will make them all interesting to me. The difference is that when it comes to women, it factors into my attraction to them.
“What’s your favourite movie,” I ask.
“Ummm… Crazy, Stupid, Love,” they say.
“I dunno… It’s, like, totally funny!”
No, it doesn’t have to be movies. Perhaps you don’t care, and that’s cool. But I need you to say something interesting, something I can listen to.
I’ve dated biologists, engineers and psychologists. They opened up my horizons in ways I hadn’t imagined, and I still call them up for good conversation today!
Just give me something to work with.
This somewhat follows what I wrote about “Badassness” further up. An “edge” is that personality trait where she dares to be confrontational, contentious, critical or delicate (aw man, that last one broke my cool alliteration).
Some of the coolest women I know have strong, well-founded opinions and they’re not afraid to voice them. Loudly and clearly. These may be (often are) points that clearly set them apart from the mainstream: some are burlesque dancers, others don’t want kids, some are convinced feminists.
Yet others have no filter when it comes to making crass, politically incorrect jokes.
Yeah, you bet they polarize. With a little insight, though, it becomes obvious who among them have pure hearts and strong ethics powering their attitudes, and I feel infinitely drawn to their company. The very fact that they diverge from the straight and narrow makes them interesting.
Conviction, ladies. As far as I’m concerned, it’s attractive.
Tell you what. This is, to some extent, where looks come into play.
Yeah, looks! You were waiting for that, right? We’re all physical to some extent. And looks do matter. They may matter more to men than women, but each gender needs to have that part licked.
So what does self-worth have to do with looks?
Well, I believe the latter say a lot about the former. Let’s get one thing out of the way: we all have our physical features, and there’s only so much we can do about them (short of splurging for plastic surgery, which, um, no).
Despite that, the way a woman (and, again, man) dresses and carries herself is a conscious choice she’s making. Is she aware of her physicality as much as her personality? Is she bringing both out in her looks and demeanour? We can tell a lot by a person’s clothing and accessories, as well as body language and tone of voice.
- Is she making the best of her body, say, by working out or choosing clothes that show it in the most beautiful ways?
- Is she grooming herself and putting an effort into her make-up and accessories?
- Is she making eye-contact, is she relaxed, is her body language open and friendly?
- Is she at peace? Has she fully accepted herself and is standing unapologetically?
Beyond that, it really is an attitude thing. If I can see a person is grounded in their personality and convictions, I will find them intriguing. Is she being assertive? Is she clearly stating her boundaries? Does she know exactly what she likes? Is she designing her social circle?
An Open Mind.
I remember speaking to a girl once who had a judgmental tone about pretty much everything and – worse – everybody. Even though her words weren’t that much different from what another person would have said, her voice revealed that she presumed to have a monopoly on the truth and the right way to live figured out. She had ready-made opinions for anything you’d bring up.
Even her laugh was finicky and presumptuous.
I didn’t quite like her.
An open mind, in my opinion, doesn’t mean you have to like and appreciate everybody and everything. No, it just means you don’t close yourself off to the world and what it has to offer.
It means you accept that in the grand scheme of things, you don’t know jack and every waking minute is an opportunity to learn.
It means being deeply curious.
Just as I’m keen and excited to listen to everybody, just so I can learn from them, I want the woman I date to exhibit a healthy thirst for knowledge and experience.
When I ask her why she picked me, I want to hear specific reasons. You see, I pick the people who get into my life by two kinds of criteria:
- Criteria I have figured out and defined
- Criteria I feel in my gut
I think we can agree we all have this gut feeling that tells us if something or somebody is good or bad for us. It’s not stupid, that feeling. If we don’t feel comfortable in certain surroundings, there’s usually a good reason, even though we can’t always put our finger on it.
A lot of introspection allows us to, bit by bit, figure out the exact reasons why we like one thing and not another. These insights eventually become our personal standards. I find it intriguing if a person has this stuff figured out and can name it.
In addition, I believe a person’s standards will incite them to challenge others: she won’t just let anybody hang out in her life and (worse) screw with it. No, she will challenge and test people, and ideally in plain language anybody can understand.
Femininity, badassness, thought and education, an edge, self-worth, an open mind, standards, honesty. So many criteria for a partner!
By the way, if you think speaking your mind in plain and blunt language isn’t romantic, you’re wrong.
Another person’s trust, love and appreciation are really worth a lot only when we feel like we deserve them. When we know that for reasons a, b and c, we have prevailed against competitors and earned the privilege of being in her life. This is a high value I am willing to preserve, protect, respect and defend.
You may remember that we talked about honesty before. Quite honestly, I can’t stress this point enough. Honesty will make or break a relationship, and the best way to make somebody (me included) understand you’re the real deal is to be willing to piss them off with your truth.
Is she willing to do this? Perfect. She’s somebody I’m gonna trust.
Before I leave you for today, I’d like to leave a couple of quick words about dealbreakers. I kind of smell another article here, because this could really be a topic all its own. But for the time we have left, let me quickly list three:
- Bad smell. Ugh.
- Jealousy. What a bullshit emotion. Nothing good comes from it. Replace it with trust or move on.
- Substance abuse. Makes me suspect she doesn’t really have herself together. I wonder why I think that.
Well, well, well!
Femininity, badassness, thought and education, an edge, self-worth, an open mind, standards, honesty. So many criteria for a partner! How does this guy even get to first base, you may ask.
That’s not so hard, actually. The beautiful thing is, I really believe we attract like-minded people, and there are many women out there who have easily put this much thought into who they want. Many have been burned by flaming assholes and refined their criteria in response.
If you’re looking for a beautiful, interesting adult to share your life, you’ll do well to set a tight set of standards. And when a woman sees you have them, and she gets to be with you anyway, she’ll know it’s worth a damn.
Attraction rises, nature does the rest.
We’re not that different, us men and those women. We ping until somebody pings back. If we don’t get what we want out of that, we adjust our settings and ping again. And even though this article says “What a man wants in a woman”, remember that I am just that: a man.
Give some thought to what you want. And now, let’s discuss. Ladies, do you think these are fair things to want? Do they mirror your experiences with guys? Gentlemen, do you agree? What other ideas do you have? Let me know in the comments!