Commentary, Culture, Humor

What Men Really Want

February 10, 2012

We want to get into your pants with as few obstacles as possible (kidding … sort of).

I recently happened upon Elephanteer Andrea Balt’s article, “What women really want,” and I couldn’t help but hit the über-belated reply button on her excellent pocket guide (which I’ve tattooed, backwards, on my forehead) to understanding the Rubik’s cube of Womankind.

Quid pro quo, A.B.

So, where to begin?  Let’s start with a couple faux-letters to the male species (those are always fun).

Dear would-be misogynists,

Is there a global feminist conspiracy to breed out men?  No. Women are just smarter than you, and you feel threatened by that. Think about your garden variety lover’s spat: She’s right even when she’s wrong.  And what does “wrong” even mean to you, anyway?  You’ll only realize that she was “wrong” hours (maybe even days) later – when it’s too late to retort, and you look like an old, senile Commodore 64, coughing up dust through your obsolete floppy drive. It happens all the time, dude. Get used to it. 

Moreover, if it weren’t for the infinitesimal pairs of balls running amok out there, Earth would be a much more peaceful and serene place.  Let’s face it.  It’s true.  Don’t take it from me; take it from someone a lot smarter than me, a.k.a., Voltaire:

“The composition of a tragedy requires testicles.”

Dear non-would-be-misogynists (a.k.a., hopeless romantics),

When haven’t you ever just jogged a little faster; or did a few more push-ups at the gym; risked “herniating” something by the free weights; or played your guitar a little louder; or danced a little more conspicuously in a nightclub; or changed into your lucky pair of jeans; or adjusted your spectacles; or strategically cleared your throat; or put on your sunglasses; or spoke in a lower, manlier voice in the presence of a lady?

When haven’t you fixed your hair in the bathroom; or fastidiously ironed your opinions; or ironed your shirt (an occurrence as rare as a supernova); or pretended to read an amusing text message on your smartphone; or tucked in your wrinkled shirt; or furtively smell-checked your breath for olfactory biohazards in the vicinity (or in anticipation) of that one special woman?

In short: When haven’t you fanned those peacock feathers to impress the almighty her?

Look, as much as us hetero-males might like to assume sex is the end-all-be-all of all motivators, it’s so much more than that.  It’s about the game, too, right?  The game of winning and losing.  If it were solely up to the Freudian Id to concoct a list of 10 things men really want, it would look a little something like this:

  1. Let’s get naked and do it. 
  2. Let’s get naked and do it.
  3. Let’s get naked and do it.
  4. Let’s get naked and do it.
  5. Let’s get naked and do it.
  6. Let’s get naked and do it.
  7. Let’s get naked and do it.
  8. Let’s get naked and do it.
  9. Let’s get naked and do it.
  10. Let’s get naked and do it.

@ Adventureland (2009) screenshot

Yes, the Id is the inner fratboy in all men, but let’s invite the Ego and Superego for some afternoon Earl Grey, and see what insights they might have.

Being who I am (a Highly Sensitive Person), I can only speak for the oft-unnoticed beta male on the bench: the one taking notes, daydreaming, hiding behind a stack of Herman Hesse books.

The one charily strumming those canorous nylon strings — fantasizing about that knockout make-believe hipster pixie that’s made it her mission to decode his sensitive world and thus sweep him off his Chucks.

Somebody fetch me a bucket of ice water. It’s time for a wake-up call.

I can’t speak for all men, because (like fingerprints) we’re all (up close and magnified) quite different. But, I can give this general-purpose list of do’s and don’ts a shot, right?

So, without further ado:

1. When we’ve got our minds set on a project, we don’t like to multitask. We have trouble concentrating on more than one thing at a time. It’s a limitation of the species. Don’t take it personally. I’d venture to say we’re apt at doing a very few things extremely well, and rather unskilled at everything else.

@ Say Anything (1989) screenshot

Man is a unidirectional creature. Unidirectional of mind, heart, and phallus. Now, I’m no neologist, but it’s a Y-chromosome-induced trait I like to call tunnel attention disorder.

2. Massage our egos. Despite how humble, meek and self-deprecating your beta beau may seem to you, it’s an illusion. He is not immune to the magic elixir of the ego-massage (as much he feigns otherwise). Tough love, on the other hand, is best reserved for beta-males who’ve hit rock bottom, and are wading in the bubbly sewage of their own self-loathing. At that juncture, yes, please punch that fool in the face.

3. Don’t fake orgasms. Not knowing the truth will haunt us for the rest of our lives.  If we suck in bed, we want to know.  Communicate. Salt N Peppa said it best:

“Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.”

Don’t get us wrong. We know that (for many women) the very act of lovemaking itself is more than fulfilling enough (particularly with someone they love). But we also know that sex is about giving as much as it is about receiving.

Now, for some guys, the SCF (she comes first) rule yields additional benefits, such as bragging rights. For these prehistoric grunts, it’s about stacking their proverbial shelves with orgasm trophies. But it’s best to first assume our intentions are pure before drawing that conclusion and asking us the oft-uttered rhetorical question from Dating Hell, “Why is it that important to you?”

4. Sex (or lack thereof) is not a weapon or motivational tool. For instance, if we get sex in exchange for taking out the trash, walking the dog, feeding the cats, scooping the gag-inducing kitty litter, cleaning the bathroom, renewing our car registration or attending a dinner party we’d otherwise never attend; then what’s to stop us from expecting it in exchange for the countless other times we’re doing something we conveniently interpret as “responsible”?

When it comes to sex, we’re as susceptible to conditioning as Pavlov’s dog. Women, you have the power. Use it wisely! (Lest it backfires in the form of a whiny, horny beau).

5. Give us the time, space and legroom to geek out, roll in the mud, or socialize with our friends (that includes our female friends, too – well, minus the roll-around-in-mud part). While doing so, please subtract the passive-aggressive recoil later.

Be honest about our social habits, too. What exactly bothers you about one or two of our friends? Do you feel this one particular female friend is a potential threat?

Don’t wait until you blow up into to a cloud of glass confetti and angry thunderbolts before expressing these concerns. Compromises should be made to keep snowballs from turning into Abominable Snowmen.

@ Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) screenshot

6. Don’t say what you don’t mean and secretly mean something else. That’s another snowball – in Abominable Snowman Bootcamp – training to wreak havoc on an otherwise Perfect Day.

7. Don’t make fun of us in front of our friends. It makes us look like pushovers. When in reality, we may only be too accommodating of the greater good (that is, the social dynamic at hand). Being a good sport is one thing, being a human punching bag is another.

8. Lingerie, battery-powered toys, and role playing high jinks are welcome additions to any budding romance or weathered relationship. I believe alpha males, beta males, geeks and everyone in between can all agree here.

Fancy terms like “voyeurism,” “scopophilia,” or “paraphilia” wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for men being such a visual species.  Or even most of Sigmund Freud’s success as a sex-crazed, phallus-obsessed, coked-up (psycho)analyst, for that matter.

It’s as much about sight as it is about touch.

There ain’t nothing wrong with a little consensual, tête-à-tête naughtiness. Beware the Puritans!

9. Remember, the couple that showers together conserves water together (a precious resource).  Do it for the children!  The children!

10. In public, if our eyes happen to wander in the direction of another fashionista, consider it an ocular reflex action innate to the species.  It means nothing. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean we’re dead. Beta males, like women, seek validation in controversial and/or harmless ways.

We want to know we still got the “it” that first drew the impersonal “you” to us.  Or was that a one-time freak anomaly of the beta male universe?

Sometimes we feel “fat” too.  Sometimes we feel “invisible,” too.  Sometimes we feel like the Phantom of the Opera.

Whether or not the act of flirting is an acceptable means of seeking that validation (however innocent or tawdry it may be) is largely up to the couple that tangos.  As stated in item three, communicate, and set those boundaries!

If all else fails, ladies, follow your intuition.

Your “empathetic accuracy” may not be as superior as one would stereotypically assume, but when you’re faced with the challenge of reading and understanding your beta beau, you live up to the task, swimmingly.

The complexity and beauty of Womankind will forever remain a mystery for men of all types, and with that, comes great power. It isn’t the kind of power we typically attribute to men in war, in construction zones, in physical feats of strength; but in mind, intuition, heart, emotional strength and resourcefulness.

Is it still a man’s world?  Was it ever?

As the late, great James Brown once put it:

“This is a man’s world […] But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.  He’s lost in the wilderness. He’s lost in bitterness. He’s lost, lost somewhere.”

Featured image via QuickFlix

Previously posted on @ Elephant Journal

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  • Reply cristycarringtonlewis February 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Where is the freaking LOVE button? There needs to be a LOVE button for when I feel as strongly about a post as this one. Awesome awesomeness. And somehow Salt ‘n Pepa was quoted. In the same post as James Brown. That’s either genius or an early indicator of mental illness, but either way, it’s good. I need a LOVE button. Now that should have been a James Brown song. Seriously, it’s great to know what makes a man tick. Mine is the strong, silent type who doesn’t always like to share these insights.

    BTW, if you’re trying to figure out what makes a chick tick, don’t read Cosmo. Ever. I don’t know who writes that magazine, but she can’t have a job because, according to their articles, she’s having sex ALL day. And when she isn’t, she’s planning outfits that can go from the office to a cocktail party with the simple addition of twelve inch heels that would land me in the chiropractor’s office. Or she’s spending the equivalent of my rent money on a purse. Or she’s out buying MORE eyeshadow and tinted moisturizer because Jennifer Aniston recommends it. Clearly, she needs a job because it’s uber-expensive being her, but she wouldn’t be able to hold one down anyway because the least superficial article she’s read is entitled, “A Jealous Friend Tried to Sabotage Me,” and being a team-player, she is not.

    My ranting aside, your post is brilliant – and it belongs in a womens’ magazine (but not Cosmo…you’re way too good for that!) so that us chicks (I can call women “chicks” – you can’t) can understand that our man still loves us even though he’s been drinking beer and playing Pain on his PS3 for the past four hours on a Friday night. One question, what do you guys really mean when you say, “You look fine,” in response to being questioned about how a woman looks? That one drives me nuts.

  • Reply Richard Sanchez February 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Wow, that has to be the most epic and most blush-inducing comment I’ve ever received in my short 32 years of life (probably ever) — which, is a compliment to you, considering how curmudgeonly this beta boy is.

    I wonder how your man deals with being lulled and enthralled by your witticisms and milk-spurting-through-the-nose-worthy anecdotes on a daily basis.

    Notwithstanding the absence of a LOVE button (hint hint, WordPress admins), thanks for sharing some Love on this lowly pauper of a blog!

    I press the LOVE button on your enlightening tips regarding the impossible advice of Cosmo writers. Who seem to be writing for … I don’t know … out of work fashionistas sponsored by sugar daddies, or fashion models turned actors playing the part of an office employee going straight from the cubicle to the cocktail bar.

    To be frank (albeit not Earnest), I do recall surreptitiously picking up a Cosmo mag (shhh) one time (probably in a doctor’s office) after espying the promise of exclusive access to the psyche of Womankind (below a blemishless, PhotoShopped rendition of Jennifer Anniston, of course). Minutes later, I realized how little (if any) insider-intel I received from said article … its “insights” disappeared like a puff of lilac-smelling effervescence. I guess you could say it was the Febreze of advice.

    Yes! Don’t let our videogaming habits fool you. We’ve got nothing but love for you. We’re just getting some aggression out (virtually). It’s a testosterone thing.

    As long as it doesn’t interfere with the lifeblood: QT (quality time). QT means scads of different things for different couples. I mean, sometimes m’lady and I play Super Mario Bros together on the Wii (however rare that can be).

    To answer your closing Question: When we say “You look fine,” we often mean it :). Sometimes we approach it all-too pragmatically, and our curtness seems boorish, dismissive, or insensitive — as we’re fumbling for ways to make sure it doesn’t come across poorly. Pragmatically speaking, “you look fine” could also mean, “you always look great to me, except now you’re wearing a fancy dress, so you’re looking EXTRA-fine. Or, fine with a side of gourmet chips.” Also, pay especial attention to the inflection or annunciation employed when said beau uses the phrase, “you look fine.” The more emphasis put on “fine,” the better.

    Now, if there is a pause after the “you …”, that MAY be a symptom of “future-jealousy,” especially if the event-in-question involved doesn’t have him on the guest list. In that case, the ellipses that follows the “you” may be translated as “wait, you’re going out looking like that without me?” Which may even be followed by the putting-down of a PS3 controller, :).

  • Reply cristycarringtonlewis February 11, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Regarding your inquiry: I wonder how your man deals with being lulled and enthralled by your witticisms and milk-spurting-through-the-nose-worthy anecdotes on a daily basis.

    Great question. He’s often lulled to sleep by them. A sufferer of Dilatory Epigram Syndrome, I’m rarely clever verbally – which is why I force-read my blog to my husband. He hates this. Now he reads it on his own just so he doesn’t have to hear the sound of my voice. Not that he doesn’t enjoy my voice, but he claims that I “act” when I read my own writing and that I’m a terrible actress. When I do – on occasion – hit it out of the park with a verbal epigram that isn’t twenty minutes late to the dance, if Matt is drinking his Lactaid and it does spurt out of his nose, I quickly suggest that he use his Neti-Pot. We both have allergies and I’d hate for him to get a nasty sinus infection because of me. I’d never hear the end of it and it would probably only psychologically impact me in a manner that would worsen my Dilatory Epigram Syndrome. By the way, I just force-read this to him. Thank goodness, he wasn’t drinking.

  • Reply Richard Sanchez February 11, 2012 at 2:03 am

    That’s too hilarious and too fascinating. And I feel you on the discrepancy between written eloquence and verbal articulation, two diametrically opposed experiences in my own existence. I bet Matt would suffer severe withdrawals if he were deprived of your audible blogs for more than a week, :). Neti-Pots! Some of the most interesting ads I’ve ever seen have been for Neti-Pots. I never thought I’d actually be referring to them in the comments of the blog, but stranger things have happened.

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