What (Most) Women Want

As much as things have changed socially between men and women over the last several decades, there’s some things that show no sign of changing! Yup, attraction is not politically correct. As much as people want gender equality, they still expect a man to be responsible for what’s going on in his home. The following is an excerpt from Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, by Elliott Katz, who wrote the book after getting a divorce:

Michael raised his glass to his grandfather, “Grandpa Joseph, to you and Grandma Sarah on your fiftieth anniversary. Tell me, how did you do it? Lisa and I have been together for seven years and I don’t think we’re going to make it to eight.”

Grandpa put his hand on Michael’s shoulder. “It wasn’t easy. We both had a lot to learn.”

“I’ve tried hard to be nice and make her happy. But no matter what I do, it’s never good enough.”

Grandpa kissed Sarah on the cheek… The music began to play a Viennese waltz, one popular when Joseph and Sarah were first married. As Michael walked across the backyard, he saw a dove on a wooden fence and listened to its chroo choo. He looked at the dove, then over at his grandma and went over to her. She’d always been one of his favorite people and she was the best cook in the world. Her door was always open.

“Michael, it’s good to see you,” Sarah smiled. She reached up and gave him a big hug.

Michael took her by the arm. “May I have this dance?”

She smiled and they walked onto the lawn where Michael led her in the sweeping turns of the waltz.

As they danced, Michael said, “Grandma, I heard a theory. They say being a couple is like dancing. When one person steps forward, the other steps back. Do you think that’s true?”

Sarah thought for a moment. “I think it’s like dancing in another way. If you don’t lead, I can’t dance.”

That last sentence really sums it up: there won’t be any dancing if you don’t lead. More than material things, leadership is what women truly crave from men.

Wait, in our hyper-materialistic world, don’t women prefer wealthy guys? All other things being equal – yes. When you ask women why they prefer wealthy guys, they’ll usually say wealthy men often possess other traits they like, such as ambition, decisiveness and intelligence. Only some will acknowledge they also like the financial safety net.

Unfortunately, many women seem to think that having money automatically translates into being a leader. Or that being a good leader in a professional setting automatically translates into being a good leader in a personal setting. The more privileged or caught up in fantasy (reality TV, rom coms, erotic novels, etc) a woman is, the less she will understand there is a difference between the qualities that drive monetary success and the qualities that ensure relationship success.

In Why Men Are the Way They Are, Warren Farrell talks about how men have a primary fantasy – access to as many beautiful women as desired without risk of rejection – whereas women have primary and secondary fantasies – security and a family, then excitement, passion, attention, gentleness and firmness, which are all provided from one man who only desires them. Popular women’s magazines give “a woman recipes to make it worthwhile for a man to keep her and her family secure” while popular men’s magazines give “a man recipes about how to be successful at making women more interested in having sex with him.” The most popular publications all require their readers to “work at the role they must play in order to entice the other sex to fulfill their fantasy.” Hence why women are “sex objects” and men are “success objects.”

As a side note, one of the things Katz discusses is the confusion men have about making women happy:

Men want to make women happy. [They] want to buy [women] things. And sometimes they get in a situation where they’re just buying things, buying things, and they’re working themselves to an early heart attack, and it seems their wives are never happy. So it’s interesting, I read from one source a story from 2,000 years ago, really unbelievable, that said: if you want to get rich to buy luxuries for your wife, you’ll never be rich, because your wife will never be satisfied. Who is rich? A man who is married to a woman who does not have a lot of material demands and who is content with her share…

You don’t have to work for the big houses, it’s not going to make a difference. Yes, you have to work, you have to bring in income, you have to live a reasonable life, but if you’re just working to buy more of those things, like ‘if I could just buy enough of those things to make my life happy’… you know, you don’t have to, because it’s not going to make a difference… It’s not going to bring that happiness you thought it would… Stepping forward and dealing with problems [is what matters most]. So many times women will say ‘there’s a problem with [our] kids.’ The man will say, ‘well, you know, you know more about raising kids than I do, you deal with it. If the kid is having a problem at school, you go see the principal, you know more about this stuff, I’ll bring in the money.’ And that’s a big mistake. You know people say to me, ‘well, look, what if a man works hard and he’s tired when he gets home?’ And I’ll say, ‘just like a man works hard to provide a good life for his family, he’s got to save some of that energy to show leadership and be the man of the house, for the same reason: he wants his family to happy. His family won’t be happy with a man who’s just there bringing in money. They want a man who is the man of the house, who is the father and leader of the household.’…You can bring in tons of money but if you’re not being a father and a husband, your wife’s not going to want you.

What he’s hinting at is the tension that occurs when a woman’s primary fantasy is fulfilled but her secondary fantasy is not. The more privileged a woman is the less she will appreciate that in order to fulfill her primary fantasy a man must be out in the world producing and performing, which often leaves little time to fulfill the secondary fantasy (“you never make time for me!”). But that’s how men are conditioned to believe they will receive love – by being away from the family.

Listen to more of Katz’s thoughts here:

To be totally frank, I haven’t seen a modern relationship where there are children and a woman’s primary and secondary fantasy are both being met.

I’ve seen many happy couples in my grandparent’s generation and noticed that in every case, the woman did not expect her secondary fantasies to be fulfilled. Or, she had a solid group of close friends that were able to fill most of her secondary needs.

In addition to men stepping up as leaders, I think part of what modern relationship success really hinges on is a woman acknowledging all of her expectations and understanding that reality is, well, reality (I freely admit I’m not perfect and working on this one, too). Notice I say “part;” clearly, this is a two-way street. Both parties have to put continual effort into being the best friend and lover each other deserves. I invite your thoughts as well as posts on What (Most) Men Want.

– Nikita