Dark mornings and the streets beautifully decorated with amber leaves; autumn is here! The noticeable chill in the air marks the beginning of indoor activity season, so this weekend my girlfriend decided to host a slumber party. We munched on Maltesers whilst listening to Mary J and debated that age old question…WHAT’S UP WITH MEN?! By 3am we were nowhere close to an answer, so gave up and went to bed. The next morning I went for a walk before everyone woke up. My girl lives by a gorgeous pond and even though the shift in temperature doesn’t agree with me, I love to photograph changes that take place during autumn.
Speaking of changes – since starting the womanhood series the majority of my readers have shifted from women between the ages of 24-35 to MEN within a similar age range. My guess is the series title (womanhood) has got you fellas thinking you can glean fresh insight into the phenomena that is WOMAN. And I get it, we’re complex people; therefore, I thought what better way to end the series than to offer men a little lesson in what women really want.
Disclaimer: Before you keyboard assassins get happy, let me firstly say, women what applies to men in this post also applies to us. Secondly, I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic. My only qualification is that I’m a woman, surrounded by other women, and every now-and-again we discuss men (sometimes until 3 in the morning).
Let’s set the scene. You’ve liked her for a long time. You admire the way she carries herself – she’s confident, independent and seems to have her feet firmly on the ground. She’s been single for a while but you don’t know if you’re her type. So, how do you decide if you should throw your hat in the ring or not?
We’ll answer this question using a processes of elimination.
1. Having a penis and a pulse does not mean you qualify. There’s a bunch of women willing to lower the bar because of a ‘shortage of good men’. This has convinced some men that what they’ve got to offer is better than it really is. We’ve made it so easy; all you guys have to do is stay alive. We chase after you, we date you and we convince you to marry us. The lowering of the bar makes it hard for a women who wont settle for just the double P. These women get labelled as hard work because you have to do more than like a few of her pictures, before she flies into your inbox with a marriage proposal. Therefore, if you’re a little work shy and not willing to hustle for her hand, you’re probably not her type.
2. If you only have a flashy car and tailored suits to offer, you need not apply. Women who become stupified by a man’s material assets have yet again lowered the standards. Trust me when I say, a woman worth having is NOT interested in how much you earn or the car you drive. She may have a PREFERENCE for these things but they certainly aren’t her PRIORITY – get to know the difference!
3. If you equate being a man with exerting control, you won’t get a look in. There are some men who (whether consciously or not) like the idea of bringing a woman that they see as independent/confident under control – almost like taming a bull. You might feel the need to ‘put your foot down’ from time-to-time to show her who’s boss; or speak to her like one of d’man dem because occasionally she needs putting in her place. If you’re not able to equate masculinity with gentleness, humility and selflessness, please don’t waste your time and more importantly don’t waste hers.
4. Yes men, will not be shortlisted. Yes dear, no dear, three bags full dear. Women require men who have an opinion about something and who have the confidence (not aggressiveness – get to know the difference!) to assert their opinion, even if it challenges her own. Which leads me to my final point.
5. The ability to communicate effectively is an essential requirement. We are narrative sharing people, therefore our lives become less meaningful when we don’t share our stories. For some reason we’ve convinced men that women have more emotional intelligence, which means we’re better at expressing thoughts and feelings; the sensible thinking side of womanhood is not convinced by this. If you struggle to express thoughts and feeling and you’re not making a concerted effort to change, don’t bother making moves! It may sound harsh, but effective communication is the basis of all good, healthy, loving relationships. When two people come together, the quality of their relationship hinges on how well they share and receive each others stories.
Men, think of it like this – a woman worth having is like a sundae. She already has the ice cream, sprinkles and sauce – all that’s missing is the cherry (feminist, keep calm). She’s looking for a man to enhance her strengths and help her identify and work through her weaknesses. This is not an easy task, but to the victor the spoils.