What Men Want

I guess I have dated quite a few artists, but I don't think they were all the same person. OK... yes, they were all narcissists with commitment phobias and substance abuse issues, but in my opinion, the painters were very different from the sculptors.

– Sex and the City

Maybe there's a reason this headline's been sitting on my desktop - with a lot of white space beneath it - for about three months now.

It came up (as a topic) is because we get a lot of unsolicited material, which is how I came to be in possession of the book, What Men Want. I want to get that out of the way right up front, lest anyone think I bought it.

Because in truth, I really do NOT devote a lot of time to sitting around trying to decide "what men want."

First, because I have far bigger entities whose needs I'm interested in fulfilling: what the staff wants, what the bank wants, what the IRS wants....and so on.

Second, because "what men want" really doesn't need to be all that mystical. Sorry, I don't have a lot of time for coy. If you want something (as long as it doesn't involve, say, livestock), just tell me. I'll do it. Then I can get back to whatever's on HBO. What's the worst that can happen? I'll say No? (Well ok, actually, the worst that can happen is that I'll say No... and then I'll write about it here and all my friends will think you're a perv and then they'll show it to your Mom.)

The book's still sitting here on my desk. I'm horrified, and yet.. I can't quite bring myself to look away.

Chapter Five: The First Date, "Men can be pleased quite easily once you know what we want."

Ya think?

I've found that many of them can be pleased quite easily, even if you're just taking a shot in the dark. Although that is a sweeping generalization, and there are exceptions. For example, one thing I learned earlier this year (and documented amply in this space) is: "don't put things in your mouth without asking first." Actually, I think I probably learned that back in kindergarten, but its most recent application is probably NOT what Sister Helen Charles had in mind.


I quickly flip to the back of the book jacket to see who's doling out these "insights," and sure enough: dorks. One's a "consultant" (yeah...meaning I'm gonna be pickin' up the check for the duration of THAT relationship); one's a lawyer (i.e., not the man I want my children spending their weekends with after our fiery divorce); and one's an orthopod (sorry: technical penalty - disqualified for daily proximity to nurses. See also, RT, Vol. 1).

Since I didn't trust these Losers, I went to my wingmen for a poll of what real guys want.

The first response came from my friend George. That's not his name. I have to explain that because I DO have a REAL friend named George, and I don't think his WIFE would appreciate these observations.

Ahhhhhh, George. He's a simple man. With simple (if graphic) needs.

Minimal body hair (that includes a trimming of you know where. I floss with Johnson and Johnson, not your homegrown materials).

Thanks. More than I needed to know. I have one word for him on this point: Brazil. There's also only ONE professional in this town who can actually be trusted "in Brazil," and if you need her number, I have it. For GOD's SAKE: this is not a job for amateurs. You wouldn't try brain surgery at home, so why would you experiment with hot wax in sensitive regions?!

More boobs than me (that is becoming more and more difficult as I eat more crap while I'm bored). also we really don't care if they're fake.

George does not, in reality, have man-breasts, and he only confirms my suspicion that polyurethane boobs do not afflict men with the horror that all our boyfriends would have us believe that they do. (I was already pretty sure.)

Another friend summed up his laundry list with, "In the end I guess I just want a girlfriend, and if it doesn't work out, I want another one, and so on and so on..."

They all agreed, pretty unanimously, that "attractive" was a necessity, but they expressed a wide, wide range of what that might entail (and none of them were as critical of women's bodies as women seem to be of each other when they gather in covens).

As George qualified it, lest he seem shallow: "a good personality can really make up for a fat ass." (Isn't it amazing some lucky gal hasn't snapped him up by now?)

What I almost responded with was, "yeah, it's just too bad that - in men - a good personality can NOT make up for a small.." but I stopped myself.

Because I think women are pretty forgiving of. shortcomings. If they're sufficiently emotionally motivated. (Not me, mind you. Other women though.)

My point is that, even I have been blindsided by all manner of flaws in men I've found funny, fascinating, riveting, or sometimes just tall (up to and including: pathological narcissism, untreated depression, commitment issues, substance abuse, and in one case, a propensity to commit felonies that included "theft by failure to make required disposition" - then again, he was the devil, and no way I coulda seen that coming).

Other than that last exception, my ex-files are populated by my best friends- I just left my relationship with the hoary overlord of evil with nothing but the clothes on my back and a bone-deep relief that I hadn't inadvertently spawned the Anti-Christ. For months, I had nightmares of Ruth Gordon's scratchy voice scraping against my eardrums, "look at the baaaby Rosemary.. don't you wanna hooold the baaaby?")

What I learned from that (isolated) experience, is that there's a really fine line between neurotic (you know: people like us) and psychotic (you know: people like them).

The trick is figuring out which one you are (and again, I'm not judging) and then hooking up with someone who's from the same camp.