It goes without saying that we men have cornered the market on stupidity. Have I gotten your attention now? If you are a follower of my blog you may be wondering why I am following my latest series on the Divorce Life-Cycle with a series on what women want from men. You might find me even wondering the same thing. Ah…hidden issues…nah. Maybe a deep and true desire to put the work into productive and loving relationships in my own life. Yeah…I like that better.
What I do know is that the question posed today is not unique nor earth shattering. In fact, slews of journalists, scientists, and yes the blogging community are and have been looking at this issue in a very extensive manner. What you will read will be from evolutionary psychologists, hippies, and academics from all over the globe. You will find comparisons to chimps, movies by Mel Gibson, and acts of theater like the poster above from the U.K. As individuals and societies we are fascinated with what women want, how to obtain their glance, and how to secure it for relationship purposes. And, you know what? I am fascinated too! I, though want to take a different approach.
I want to talk about these needs, the bogus and hypocritical, and the sensible ones that men should know about. I am a tad tired of men who throw their hands up and say, “Women” in an exasperated fashion.
Is it all about women’s needs? No. It is absolutely about the needs of both genders. The problem is that males have spent an eternity sending inappropriate and hurtful messages and our actions haven’t been a whole lot better. My challenge to all of the Normal Males out there is to help me define what we think women want, what we think is fair, and how we are going to be a part of the solution taking our needs and personal development first.
Why this approach you might ask? Because the young boys in our communities are provided very little, if any, direction on how to treat females and themselves in a productive and mutually fulfilling manner. What we have, to-date, promoted is carnal knowledge and “tricks” to obtain women for sexual prowess. We have been under the assumption that we need to prove something to women and then they will choose us.
What we have to prove remains debatable, but we sure can’t be docked for not trying to figure the puzzle out. Some men work on their bodies. Some work on their checkbooks and the image they can buy with an inflated bank account. You name it…men have tried it. Some of us have chosen academics to prove it is the brain and not the brawn that women want…and many haven’t even given it a thought, choosing to be unique while they wait for the doorbell to their mothers house to ring.
There will be men reading this that will attack me wanting to know why I am taking this approach. They will say it has nothing to do with women and I will say….“You’re Right!”
It absolutely is about how we conceptualize ourselves, what WE want to accomplish with our time here, and not about proving something to another human being because our mental health shouldn’t be tied to the opinions and directives of others. That sounds wonderful and it also sounds like a passionate undergraduate student who thinks they can and will create world peace. Until we better understand our fascination with mimicking the Peacock, we will struggle mightily to see that the pursuit of understanding ourselves with adequate reflection, insight, and collaboration is the real quest…not the end result.
We have seen how focusing on the end result or prize has worked out…like a train wreck! So…what to do and how to approach the question of what women want…hmmm.
I think that the prudent thing to do would be to look at this issue as a negotiation between you and yourself, you and the opposite gender, and you and society. I think it best to avoid the academic jargon…to leave behind our ever impressive resumes, and talk about this issue in a real-world manner…How does it impact me and what do I want to do about it…and do I really care? These are all fair questions that we have to ask ourselves because some men couldn’t care less what women want others desperately do.
So, with all of my protective caveats out of the way maybe I should start by sharing my personal thoughts and experiences. If I look back at my experience of this question I have to go back to when I was a boy and more specifically a 1st Grader in Troy Michigan. I was best friends with a boy who was from Peru, a great soccer player, and very different from the average white boy fashioning a bright polo shirt with upright collar. No..he was unique…he had an accent…and was athletic. That is right he was the competition and I was glad he was my friend. I figured, “Cute and desirable by affiliation.” That is me of course ;) With these fundamentals in mind…me and my friend set out to protect the females in our class from bullies and the Bart Simpson’s of our grade and thus the playground became our testing ground.
You see many young girls had been given the message that men were their protectors from commercials, cartoons, movies, and some even from their families so we were set-up perfectly. Or so we thought. We quickly learned that the most popular girls actually liked some of the boyish blundering by our classmates and we soon became relegated to a role…a position…which was of value to the girls I might add…just not the value we were hoping for. It became my first lesson in assuming one thing and being whisked away in another direction. As I grew older I tried various approaches that were not of my temperament or personality and failed miserably…I think that is precisely what Middle School is for. I tried to be the cool guy, the tough guy, the “ahh that doesn’t bother me” guy…and I found that I knew less and less about my self as I went down a path for the acceptance of females.
Please don’t feel bad for me or think I am the only one…fore fear not my experience was Normal even if emotionally painful. I, like so many males, was alone in my pursuits and worse yet very much alone when I failed. I didn’t have an audience around me that could console my personal shame and embarrassment when I looked more like a failure than a rock star.
Like most Normal Males I was never taught to ask for feedback, to desire feedback, or even how to take feedback from my peers let alone girls. We, males, are a lot like a scared cat always making sure that our heads are on a swivel because we fear that if not for us who will protect us. A lonely position I assure you and one that struggles to see the light of day for many well-intentioned and loving men.
There are legions of good men and boys who want to break the stereotypes for their own health first and for successful relationships later. We are tired of the old viewpoints and attitudes and we struggle greatly when observing young males making similar mistakes. We want to help. We need to help and we have no earthly idea how to collaborate. Normal Males realize the beauty in healthy companionship and too wonder why they struggled so mightily to figure it out.
So…in an effort to be thoughtful and mindful of the question at-hand…I propose that we start with something I have already referenced above…Feedback.
I suggest that we look at Feedback as the first variable in examining what women want. Guys…if we can’t tackle the issue of Feedback we have no business pining for women and relationships in the first place. If we can discuss the importance of and our experiences with Feedback then we can begin to look at hardcore elements that support both genders in a relationship.
So…share with me your thoughts on the importance of Feedback, for both genders, and we will then begin to build a framework of substance…one that promotes women AND men with the younger generations in mind.