Friday, 18 January 2008

What Men Want: Debunking the Myths

When I wrote What Men Want. Part 1: Boobies back in December, I promised to follow it up with Parts 2 & 3, Blow Jobs and Beer. As these are 2 topics on which I am never knowingly under-opinionated, a brief discussion will follow shortly. Very brief - this isn't one of those filthy sex blogs, you know...

A common theme has emerged from this week's blogs and papers - a theme of women being lied to and generally mis-led on the subject of what is expected of them, and more specifically, what is expected or desired of them by men.

I'm not absolutely sure how these silly myths end up in mainstream consciousness, sending young girls and grown women alike rushing out to grab the blonde hair dye and fake tan, and booking themselves in for a french manicure and boob job to prop up their resulting non-existent self-esteem. I suspect that porn and advertising will be to blame somewhere along the way. But I am sure that most of it is utter bollocks.

I am sure, becausae I've discussed it with a lot of honest men. I have observed inconsistencies between men's reactions to real women and, the images of women we are told are attractive. I have asked direct questions and had direct answers. The knowledge I have gained has been liberating and priceless, and it genuinely upsets me that so many women cause themselves unnecessary grief and loss of self-worth because they either don't know or refuse to believe it.

So, before this starts to turn into a serious essay, I bring you my Top 5 Myths: What Women Seem to Think Men Want And Why They are Wrong.

1. Big Breasts. There is no getting away from the fact that men like breasts, and an enormous pair of hooters is always going to be an attention grabber. But for the overwhelming majority of men, it's quality, not size that matters. Of course men enjoy looking at pictures of women with big boobs, but they really do like looking at pictures of women with small ones just as much. As the Lancashire lads used to tell me 'Anything more than a nice handful is a waste...'

2. Revealing Clothes. 'Less is more' is a nonsense statement on more than one level. Again, we are lulled into the idea that because men enjoy looking at the sexy images that lads mags and porn present, we must reproduce those looks to be found attractive. Not so. A man who is simply out for a sexual conquest, will be looking for the magic combination of maximum ego-gratification/minimum effort and is therefore likely to hit on the most sexually obvious woman in the room. But how likely is he to call her the next day? I think we all know the answer to that one. Emphasising one's best bits does not mean hanging them out like meat on a butcher's hook.

3. The Domestic Goddess. You can try, but unless you are the genuine article when it comes to effortlessly cleaning like a fantasy Swedish au pair girl, whilst cooking like Nigella, in all her buxom, spatula-licking glory, then attempting it is futile. In reality, you'll end up nagging him into oblivion about every little misdemeanour, and will be no fun whatsoever. I will make an exception for three issues - wet towels, dirty shoes, and opened post. Any man who leaves them lying around the house every day deserves everything he gets.

4. Manicured Nails. I just don't get it, and neither do any men that I know. Especially French or American manicures - they're just all wrong. Apparently some women have this done to their feet too. Why? I suspect this one passed me by because I spent my formative years amongst aspiring musicians. You simply can't play most musical instruments with great long talons, so no-one had them. It didn't hold us back, I promise you. As long as your nails are clean and not bitten, you haven't chewed around the tops of your fingers, and your hands are not covered in hair, warts or callouses, you'll be just fine. (Unless you want to date Tad Safran, but then I would have to question your sanity...)

5. To Feel Needed. Possibly controversial, but I say no. Men like to feel wanted, loved and desired and (this is crucial), useful. They do not want to feel as though you would crumple in a pathetic heap if they were to leave you to it for a few weeks. It's a subtle difference perhaps, but I cannot over-emphasise its importance. It's one of the biggest contradictions going - women are often told that men like to feel needed, men often cite neediness as one of the least attractive traits a woman can have. It can be a fine line to tread - treating him like a hero for fixing a shelf will serve you well, crying into his shirt because you simply must have the shelf fixed today and can't possibly manage it yourself - do you see my point?

So there we have it. You really don't need to be PornStar Barbie to be attractive to men. I hope you will enjoy the freedom this knowledge brings as much as I do. As someone recently commented on one of my favourite blogs- 'It's tough for blokes. We have to kiss loads of princesses before we find a real woman!'


Robert said...

you need your own cable tv show!!! Maybe you could go on *the view* and set everyone straight. Very creative and insightful writing here you dont know baby spice emmma by any chance do you??? *daydreaming* you are quite witty and humorous miss melissaria

Ms Robinson said...

I think number five is especially important - the notion of being useful. As you point out it is a fine balance but in general a girl who doesn't fall apart is going to win.

I am thinking of a collective blog and there will be a group of us which will include you. Details are being worked on. x

having my cake said...

I am soooo with you on manicured nails, especially those hideous french polished toenails! And yet, I seem to be totally in the minority because everyone else seems to have them at least on their fingers. Yuck!

Loved that link to the lady on sex blogs. *Makes note to read it every time Im tempted to reveal to a friend about my own salacious writing*. Anonymity, Anonymity, Anonymity!

Melissaria said...

Robert: Welcome and thank you for your kind words. Sadly, there is no mad queue of tv producers beating down my door in search of my homespun northern wisdom, so the blog will just have to do...actually, I think I'd hate to be on TV - here in the UK you only get about two minutes of nice fame before some horrible celebrity gossip mag finds an unflattering photo and publishes it emblazoned with the words 'URGH - what a rough old trout, and just LOOK at the size of her arse...' it's not nice. And I don't know Baby Spice Emma, sorry!

Ms Robinson: It's a very hard balance and I only wish that I always lived by my own advice; still, we live and learn. A collective blog sounds like lots of fun - I look forward to hearing more!

Having my Cake: Those nails are a travesty. I'm think that at one point they were a symbol of status and wealth - incompatible with manual labour - but I wasn't sure enough of my facts to actually blog that. But they've been around for a long time, and show no sign of going away. I will remember to come and ask for your advice if I ever get around to writing that blow-job piece, and promise not to ask who you are!

Digitarry said...

Boobs are good.

Overt enough so that others know how great you look, but concealed enough so that only he knows how GREAT you look. (This goes for attitude just as much as clothes)

Domestic goddess not required, but knickers that crawl to the laundry basket on their own don't count as "a cheeky personality".

Nails... You can lump this with fussy ordering, calorie counting, having a preference in bottled water and Ruth Kelly... pointless and irritating.

Needed but not put upon. Wanted but not crowded. I guess that is a tough balance. Still, they've got to understand the 4096 different meanings of "Fine" so it's swings and roundabouts.

Melissaria said...

Welcome back - good points, well made. I think all of those things work both ways. The basic requirements for a partner in both men and women may not be so very different after all.

Readers not in the UK might like to note that Ruth Kelly is a government minister with a particularly fine line in appropriate but pointless blah blah management bullshit.

Maria said...

Hmm...if there is a total non-expert on men, that would be me. And I might add that I don't stay up late at night worrying over it either....:)

I think that men and women are alike in that yes, we like a nice package, but the specifics aren't that important. Who cares about nails really unless you have some sort of fetish?

And neediness? Ugh. It sucks no matter which sex is the one with it. Clinginess is unattractive on all levels.

Melissaria said...

Maria, I think you're absolutely right, and agree that the same set of basics applies all round - unless, as you say, a particular fetish is involved! Makes an effort = good. High maintenance = never so good.

Ultimately, all the expensive fakery can do is perhaps catch someone's attention. Holding on to it is a another matter entirely. As far as I can tell, no-one's managed to distill that one into mere words as yet...

Daran said...

Your "get your tits out" anecdote in the first part is actually quite pertinent. No, you don't have to get your tits out, but for heaven's sake, be clear about what you want. If you're interested in me and would welcome being chatted up, please behave in a way that isn't identical to the way you do when all you want is to be friends, and you'd be mortally offended if I tried to chat you up.

That's top of my list of what I want from women.