What a Woman Wants

    What do women want?  It’s the source of frustration, confusion, and misunderstandings for numerous men (and even some women).  It’s a broad question, and I will attempt to offer some insight whilst not speaking for the entire female gender.  The first thing you must know is that every woman is very different and that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to the desires of a woman.  That being said, there are some things that I think are pretty unanimous in the world of what a woman wants.  I can only provide a guide, but figuring out what to do with the information is up to you.  Essentially, there is one major thing you need to know.

    I tend to follow the view of Dr. John Gray, the author of, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  Believe me, I know guys hate reading such books, but you owe it to yourself to check it out and give it a good once over.  It’s a short, easy read.  To sum it up, Dr. Gray explains how men and women have fundamentally different communication styles.  Thus when we speak to each other, we often misunderstand one another.  For example, Sally may say, “My boss is so mean.  Today he told me I had to start getting the reports out every Monday by 9am, but I don’t even get there until 8:50am.  He is so tyrannical.”  So, as a man, Sally has just said this to Fred.  Fred sees a problem.  He sees that Sally has a need to change her schedule somehow in an effort to get those reports done and out by 9am.  He also sees the obvious logic that Sally is only getting to work at 8:50am.  Fred also wonders if the said reports can be produced Friday before Sally goes home.  Fred tells Sally, “Can you get there at 8:30?  That would give you 20 extra minutes to get the reports done.”  Fred believes that perhaps Sally hasn’t thought of this yet, because obviously if she had, she wouldn’t be presenting this problem to Fred.  Sally on the other hand, appears a little more irritated and responds, “If I had to get here at 8:30am, then I would have to take the earlier bus, get up earlier, and that bus is so crowded.  I know I couldn’t do that.”  Fred thinks she’s making a small problem bigger than it has to be, I mean there are dozens of ways to meet the goal of getting the reports out by 9am.  Fred then offers, “Maybe you can put the reports together Friday before you leave, show up Monday and hand them out then.”  Now, Sally is outwardly irritated and getting snappy with the responses.  “I can’t do that because the data isn’t ready until Saturdays by the Saturday crew.  That won’t work!”  Fred has now seen Sally act irrational over something that is so simple, she is obviously insane.  All Fred was trying to do was help.  WHAT DOES SALLY WANT!?

    In this case, all Sally wanted was Fred to say, “Wow.  What a jerk!  I can’t believe they would throw a change in the work schedule without even consulting your thoughts first!”  Sally would respond, “I know, right?”  And then she’d change subjects or simply continue to vent a bit longer.  All Sally wanted was her man to empathize with her feelings (not with the situation, but with her feelings about the situation).  All Fred wanted to do was be the hero by helping her solve her problem.  If he came up with an awesome solution, she’d realize how much he cares about her and how smart he is in helping her.  Fred would be dead wrong.

    In short, men are fixers.  Men are happy when things gel.  1+1=2, it’s simple, logical, rational, and devoid of emotion.  Here is a clue: Women do not think like men.  Even women who have a larger portion of male brain than other women are incapable of thinking like a man all the time.  Women are not void of logic; it’s just not the critical aspect of life all the time as it is for men.  Women are happy when they are happy, not necessarily when everything makes sense.

    When men (Martians) have problems, (reverting back to Dr. Gray), they go into their Martian caves by themselves and they think it over.  They build schematics, look at pictures, reflect on ways they did it before, and dwell over it until they come up with a logical solution.  They do this until the problem is fixed.  Women (Venusians) don’t even have caves.  Instead, when a woman has a problem, she calls a meeting in the center of the village.  All the Venusians gather to hear the problem.  They respond with pats on the back, and respond more to her emotion at the time and not so much the problem.  A woman’s thinking tends to be that the problem is secondary to how it is making her feel.  Standard procedure on Venus is to acknowledge how she feels.  Once the feelings have been acknowledged, explained, reviewed, and questioned, the focus can then go to the problem.  But she doesn’t fix the problem herself; she solicits input from the village.  After a good while, the problem will typically get resolved, but as a group, not as an individual.  This is unheard of on Mars.

    Men, by their very nature, struggle with this concept.  But once this concept is mastered, you will find yourself being adored by women everywhere.  Whatever a woman says to you, focus on her emotions, not the actual problem.  You will have to resist every molecule of your being that screams, “OH! I know how to fix this!  I will tell her so that she can be happy again!”  Instead, simply reiterate whatever you see and hear.  If she looks angry, then say, “Wow!  I would be so mad!”  If she is crying, “I am so sorry; I know that must really hurt.”  Give it a try out loud when you are alone sometime.  You could always get a Molly Ringwald movie on Netflix and after every sentence she says, hit pause, and practice a response.  They don’t get more moody than most of her characters.  If you can get good at this, you are already ahead of most men on the planet.  It really does take practice.  I often tell my girlfriends to not take problems to men unless they want an answer.  You have to understand that women don’t know that you really DO care about her feelings and that you feel that offering a solution will change her feelings.  When you blurt out the solution to the problem, though you feel you did a good deed, all she heard was that you gave her feelings no consideration and that all you heard was the problem.  Women want to know you heard her FEELINGS and that you care about how she feels.  It’s not difficult (nor logical).

    So, biggest concept of what a woman wants is she wants to know you care about her feelings.  Not just problem related feelings, but just everyday feelings.  The only time a woman is not thinking deeply is when she is asleep.  Have you ever had your girlfriend say, “What are you thinking about?”  Do you cringe?  Men, unlike women, do not have to constantly be thinking, especially deep thoughts.  A guy could be watching TV and actually into the show.  A woman will see this quiet, solemn look on your face and truly believe you are thinking about HER (good, bad, or indifferent).  The, “What are you thinking about” is certainly a loaded question.  As a matter of fact, most questions that appear out of the blue to you men, is a loaded question.  Your answer carries the difference between a pleasant time and a crisis for all involved.  Worst possible response, “Nothing.”  Nothing?  How could someone have no thoughts???  This confuses women in a major way because we don’t experience lag time like that (unless chemicals have been introduced).  Never respond with, “nothing,” or you will be heading for trouble and start sinking like the Titanic.  Instead, explain whatever was in your brain the last time you consulted it.  “I was just sitting here thinking why they would have tried to pass on the 4th and 2.”  We can accept that, and you get to go back to the game knowing you aren’t in trouble.

    I remember reading that men think about sex every other minute of every day.  This is pretty inconceivable to me, personally, I have often wondered what that other minute is dedicated to and how you can make that switch so quickly (yes, I am being facetious).  But, men are naturally more ambitious in the physical aspects of relationships (trying to keep it PG13).  If they have not consummated the relationship yet, men will often make that a big focus (dare I say THE focus) of the goal of the relationship.  Women are very aware of this- our mothers began warning us at 2 days old and we have heard it everyday until the day we finally meet “the one.”  It’s not completely our fault ya know, we are raised to be under the understanding that we possess GOLD and that boys want nothing more than to rob our bank and leave us with nothing to show for it.  Plus, men have drastically higher levels of testosterone than do women, thus our sex drives are considerably unequal. So, how do you get into the safe?

    A woman knows when you will be “baking cookies.”  You can change your cologne, get a haircut, shave your back, wear contact lenses, change your deodorant, buy a new Challenger with the Hemi, you could buy a jet and take her to Paris and it will not matter.  She already knows if you have a snowball’s chance (women call this “potential”); if you are a shoe-in, or if she would not consider that option if the world were flooded in piss and you lived in the tallest tree.  Even if you are a “potential” candidate, doing all those changes won’t make much difference.  She’s waiting to see if she can trust you with her feelings and that you genuinely care about her…well, her feelings.  Sounds simple?  It is, but it is a full time job.  You’ve got to be able to pick up on subtleties.  “Baby, how was your day?  You look upset.”

    Here’s a big one, notice the changes.  Is she losing weight?  Is that outfit new?  Are those shoes new?  Don’t those shoes hurt?  Did you get a haircut/try a new color?  That looks so good on you!  These are golden questions.  Even if the answer is no, she’ll be so pleased that you noticed the little things like that.  Should she say no to one of those, you can throw in something like, “I just don’t remember it looking so hot on you!”  Believe me, acknowledging her feelings goes a long way.  Acknowledging her efforts will get you the rest of the way there.  Women have to endure bras, pantyhose, horrible shoes, crazy rituals at the salon that you could never comprehend, and monthly discomforts.  Women also endure feeling the need to compete with the anorexic, implanted woman with the perfect hair and make-up with arms that don’t giggle who is poised on the cover of every magazine and featured in every movie and commercial.  Some really feel the need to come as close to that unattainable picture as they can in order for you to think she is pretty.  Women are under the assumption that she will always be runner-up to the more beautiful women of the world.  Again, it’s a fault of conditioning.  Don’t hold it against her, just keep offering positive acknowledgements and eventually, she will forget other women exist.

    A common misconception of men is that women want money before sustenance.  Of course it is true for some, but they are not the majority.  Women worth dating could care less about what you make in a year (at least at first).  Money can be an aphrodisiac for some women, and they will be the one who bake cookies on the first date in hopes that she will be amply rewarded with a life of jet-setting and nannies.  They will be sorely disappointed in the end.  For the vast majority of (normal) women, we don’t care about how much money you have.  If you show her that you give a hoot about her (ask questions about her, her life, her history, religion, her shoes, her eyes, etc.), you have a firm foot in the door and your chances are as good as the next guy.  Just like a woman shouldn’t feel inferior to magazines, men should never feel inferior to guys with more than them.  And just like a guy who is hypercritical of the woman that doesn’t look like the magazine, a woman who judges you on your income should be immediately stricken from the list of potential dates anyway.  Your pocketbook is not her area of focus; it’s your interest in her that concerns her most.  After you show interest, you will notice it in return.

    Mel Gibson made a movie, “What Women Want.”  If you hate to read, this is kind of the video version of Dr. Gray’s book.  If you want to really know what women want, we simply want you to care about our feelings.

    One of my favorite movies, As Good As It Gets, an exchange took place that went like this:

    Melvin Udall: I’ve got a really great compliment for you, and it’s true.
    Carol Connelly: I’m so afraid you’re about to say something awful.
    Melvin Udall: Don’t be pessimistic, it’s not your style. Okay, here I go: Clearly, a mistake. I’ve got this, what – ailment? My doctor, a shrink that I used to go to all the time, he says that in fifty or sixty percent of the cases, a pill really helps. I *hate* pills, very dangerous thing, pills. Hate. I’m using the word “hate” here, about pills. Hate. My compliment is, that night when you came over and told me that you would never… all right, well, you were there, you know what you said. Well, my compliment to you is, the next morning, I started taking the pills.
    Carol Connelly: I don’t quite get how that’s a compliment for me.
    Melvin Udall: You make me want to be a better man.
    Carol Connelly: …That’s maybe the best compliment of my life.
    Melvin Udall: Well, maybe I overshot a little, because I was aiming at just enough to keep you from walking out.

    Melvin got it right.  This is a good example of how to melt a woman’s heart.  Saying the right things (hopefully with honest meaning) can bring you the woman of your dreams.

    Of course, for a good laugh (and obvious example of what NOT to do), here’s just one small place where Melvin drops the ball big time.  A pretty blonde receptionist at his publisher’s office is enamored by Melvin.  She is sending all the overt signals to him to express her interest in him.  She then breaks the ice by complimenting his romance novels and then asks him:

    Woman:  How do you write women so well?

    Melvin Udall: I think like a man, and I take away reason and accountability.