Facebook recently suggested an interesting article on what men wish women knew [about them]. The author polled fifteen men on this topic. While it is a small sample size, articles like these are great clickbait and certainly provide inspiration for blog posts. I’ll cut out the authors commentary and offer my perspective on the answers and add a few of my own. This was quite a difficult blog post for me to share but if I shy away, this entire exercise would be pointless. So I urge you all to read on and feel free to share or comment.
We’re not always thinking about sex.
“Rule No. 1, it’s not just about the sex.” — Kris, 29
“Women assume men just want to bed them. That isn’t true. Much of the time men want to bed women in order to see whether they might enjoy it enough to continue bedding that woman for years to come.” — Jake, 29
I think age plays a significant factor. I recall sharing a video with a fellow coworker speaking on this topic. It will naturally flow into the next points from the author. Here’s the video:
The video’s demographic covers American university students. While there’s significant evidence indicating, contrary to popular myth, men do not reach their sexual peak until much later, I suspect this is a combination of testosterone and maturity (or rather the lack thereof). As a sidenote, she later punched me for doing so as she felt she couldn’t look at any of her friends the same again. Ignorance might be bliss, but I like to think I did her a service. Many of the men polled were older than the ones from the video which leads to the next answers…
We really do want platonic female friends.
“I don’t befriend women I just want to have sex with. Male-female friendships are way more nuanced than that. I just want to meet new people and make new friends. They help you gain new experiences, new perspectives, but that’s all I want. Nothing more.” — Mike, 23
“Men can befriend women just for the sake of being friends with them. I don’t need to be interested that way. It’s constantly something I think about too. There’s this expectation thrust upon men to have sex with them, but that’s not necessarily true.” — Ezra, 33
In our early 20s (and I’m not just singling out men but including women too), we are still forming our own identities which will more or less persist throughout adulthood. Anecdotal evidence based on my observations mostly confirms this to me and everyone I know. However, women tend to be more emotionally mature and I think this creates a gap in personalities and thus establishing common ground. Besides, if we find we don’t have anything in common outside or an interest outside of sex, well there’s no motivation to pursue a relationship.
Throughout my dating experience, several women have expressed their lack of interest in me as a romantic partner and instead stated they preferred to remain friends. At first, I wasn’t interested. I reasoned: “I already have friends.” At the time, my work schedule was pretty brutal and left little time for a social life. I defined friendship in a manner most people would categorize a “close friend” and everyone else as an acquaintance. All these factors along with my introversion, made me feel it wasn’t a worthwhile relationship to pursue as I wouldn’t be in a position to maintain the relationship at a meaningful level for both parties.
I’ve since realized this was a narrow-minded perspective. The last few times it has happened, I’ve agreed. Now, most don’t expect such an answer and quickly retract the offer or avoid any contact afterwards. The response indicates the woman was being disingenuous or just trying to be polite to spare my feelings. I’d like to think I’m made of sterner stuff. I grew up an anglophone with a clearly foreign name in a francophone community. I’m not a stranger to ethnic slurs so I can accept rejection. I appreciate the effort to act nice though. I’ve also offered friendship but unless it was mutual, it has so far been denied because the woman cited not needing more friends.
While there are plenty of dating horror stories, I’ve made a few friends too as I’ve gotten older and thus wiser. Humans are social creatures no matter how meek or introverted we are individually. Most of us derive some form of pleasure or comfort from companionship. I’ve been exposed to many things outside of my comfort zone or I was simply unaware of through these relationships. I am someone who enjoys helping and contributing to others and this has afforded me additional opportunities to do so.
Where problems arise is when these intentions are blurred or do not align between both the man and woman. Men, be honest in expressing your interest when approaching a woman and vice-versa. If you are the recipient of a stranger’s attention, do try to be open-minded and establish the boundaries of what types of relationships you are willing to pursue with the person in question.
My ideal is to seek companionship first. For any relationship outside of professional ones, enjoyment in each other’s company should be the first priority. My mother once told me it was pointless to try to match me with “bimbos” because I’d be intellectually bored with them very rapidly. Sometimes, mother does know best. I’m usually attracted to outgoing women I admire their social ease, engaging demeanour and outward fascinating personalities. A case of opposites attract I suppose. By getting to know the person will be what incites more intimate desires.
We’re not actually all after one body type.
“There are guys that want every body type, just like there are women who do too. Give us a bit more credit. Different people are attracted to different types of women.” — Damien, 26
“I have friends who are attracted to big girls, small girls — it’s not just one thing. I have friends who aren’t into that pretty bombshell type. Dudes have different tastes.” — Patrick, 29
“There’s pressure on men to have a body type [preference], even if it’s not the same expectation on women. Women seem to be more accepting. There are also guys that love every type of woman. There are guys that prefer every body type.” — Jackson, 27
I concur with the above statements. The misconception arises due to society, fashion or mass media’s attempts to deify or popularize certain aesthetics:
Today, I fail to understand the utter fascination with “big butts”. In the same vein, I never understood why so many men and women find Angelina Jolie to be among the most beautiful women (at least among celebrities). One of my good friends, an artist, has an obsession with women with enormously (almost cartoon-like) large breasts.
At 6’2″, height was certainly a factor once I decided to start dating. I began only approaching women 5’5″ and above until I dated a shorter woman. She listed her height as 5’0″ on her profile but she later admitted she had lied and was 4’11½”. To which I replied I’d allow her the lie of half an inch if she’d allow the same for me. Obviously, dancing would be difficult although not impossible; but it turns out I’m a horrible dancer so I don’t necessarily mind. I’ve since revised my “criteria” to 5’0″. Women, I know you might enjoy wearing heels but in the same vein you might be overlooking a great guy because of something he cannot realistically control when you state you will only date men 6’0″ and above. I say this despite it being against my own interests!
The other factor for body type can be summed up to fitness level. I used to be overweight. I did not like how I looked nor felt during that time. I don’t want to find myself in that situation again. It was a difficult process but my second proudest moment was when I got down to a “healthy” weight. Leading a healthy lifestyle is thus very important to me and it is somewhat of a deal breaker for me. That written, I don’t expect women to be supermodels. Your choices are your own! I also recognize pressuring someone to “get into shape” won’t work. The person has to want to do so of their own volition. I’ve dated overweight women, even those who weighed more than I do. What turned me off towards some physically was a lack of desire to perform any physical activity or effort to lead a healthy lifestyle. Those I did date, I tried to be as supportive as possible, offering advice from my own experiences or participating in activities together.
We’re self-conscious of our looks too.
“Guys care more about their bodies today than they used to. We know girls care about whether we’re in shape or not. Some guys think about what they eat or what they’re wearing. We need to look good now more than ever.” —Patrick, 29
“Not everyone goes as HAM as everyone else, but regardless of who it is, everyone puts some effort into their appearance.” — Ted, 26
I touched upon this in the previous entry but I can’t stress this enough and write that maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be something you do for yourself first, and for everyone else second. We only have 1 life to live (unless you follow a religion which believes in reincarnation), and you should strive to prolong it. I’m not vain in the least bit, but everyone appreciates a compliment on one’s appearance. It’s also a matter of respect. When going out to meet people whether it is on a date or with friends, do try to make an effort to show those around you are important enough to get out of your sweatpants.
We feel judged for our earning potential.
“A lot of women immediately look to what a guy does and how much they make, and it’s all superficial. It’s no better than when a guy says ‘I’ll only date a girl with a certain type of body.’ It’s judging someone based on only one thing.” — Paul, 26
“[I feel like some] women care about how much money you make. Having money makes life easier. It would be smart to want your life to be easier.” — Shawn, 27
I’ve never really felt this way. I disagree with Paul’s statement as earnings are often a reflection of one’s career or job and does indicate many things. Usually, high salary jobs are valued because of prestige or difficulty.
For better or worse, we are defined by our careers as part of a modern society. When we ask “What do you do?” it is implied we’re asking about the job. When we want to query someone on their hobbies or leisure activities we’ll articulate that or add “for fun” as if to devalue these activities. In more primitive times, this was defined as the ability to provide for a woman [and offspring] who often found herself with little sufficiency due to limited rights within society. Obviously, with women among the workforce, this has changed somewhat.
I am not a materialistic person. I view money as a safety net which enables me to pursue my interests, expand my knowledge, and obtain new experiences outside of my career and ambitions therein. Others might choose to derive satisfaction through social status through their belongings. To me, Paul’s statement might be due to his own feelings of inadequacy at pursuing his interests due to lack of finances.
Oh, and for not conforming to masculine gender roles.
“Men are often being judged through the same types of stereotypes women hate to be seen through as well. We’re told to ‘man up’ or stop ‘living that bachelor lifestyle.’ Stereotypes can be just as harmful for men. This ‘man-up’ culture is part of the reason people think men can’t emote.” — Ezra, 33
“If a man is emotional, it can be interpreted as lack of confidence, and that’s not what you want. Women love confidence.” —David, 25
Men have emotions too — especially nerves.
“When I have a date, my day can be ruined. It’d be hard for me to work, always jittery. The past year it’s been less so. I’m going to drink tonight before my date, because it’ll open me up more. It’s a form of being guarded. “ — Paul, 26
“I get nervous before dates or meeting women. I am concerned about how I appear, or did I say the right thing. It’s completely natural. We have this awful stereotype that showing vulnerability or insecurity is not okay. Just because on the outside I’m stoic doesn’t mean we’re not really nervous on the inside.” — Ezra, 33
“This week I cooked dinner for my wife [and] I was so anxious for my wife’s approval. Some of the most nervous I’ve ever been has been before our dates.” — Bill, 26
“When you really like someone, you are nervous about doing something to mess it up or turn them away.” — Jake, 29
I combined both sections as I could not articulate an adequate response for one without responding to the other simultaneously. Ezra hits the nail on the head when he states we have an awful stereotype of the stoic caveman. I’ve documented before how I tend to over think or over-analyze myself or my interactions. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist in that regard. The best relationship I’ve ever had was one where I didn’t feel I was forcing myself to impress. What I wanted, was to be the best person I could be for her. I wanted to improve and mature as an individual not just for my own benefit but to see her smile or look back seductively, etc.
Yes, men do have these feelings. We all do. What matters is whether we can recognize them, what can we do to overcome them, and muster up the courage to act. This blog is my own way of overcoming some of my insecurities or flaws. I went to a karaoke bar and sang in front of a large crowd last weekend. I plan to join an improv group shortly.
We don’t actually care about your “number.”
“Sexually, guys want to know what you want, [not what you did]. Every woman is different, and we want to know what you want.” — Ben, 26
“I’ve had numerous sex partners. Why would I care if the other person did? Personally, I need someone who can handle my moves.” — Ted, 27
The only men who care about your number of previous sexual partners is if they are insecure about their own performance. They fear to come up short (figuratively and literally) in comparison to your previous partners. I waited a long time before becoming intimate with a woman. This actually led to some women feeling uncomfortable about being the “most experienced” in the relationship.
If there’s any advice I have to give to women on this topic, is to better communicate what you find enjoyable during sex. Men aren’t so proud as to spurn your requests unless their selfish pricks. One of the best compliments I’ve received was that I was a “generous lover”. We derive a sense of accomplishment and pride as a man in our ability to pleasure a woman; just as much if not more so than the act itself.
We don’t mind if you try to pay on a date, but know that you don’t have to.
“I’ve been on plenty of dates where women offer to pay. You just don’t want it to be held against you. In fact, it’s great when a girl says, ‘We both have jobs’ or ‘I can’t let you pay for all of this, you’ve already spent so much.'”— Jacob, 24
“I don’t mind paying at all if we’re having an enjoyable time. There’s no owing for me paying for a date. All I want is to make it comfortable and enjoyable. And just because a girl lets me pay doesn’t mean I expect sex.” — Shawn, 27
I really don’t mind to pay the first dates. However, if you clearly do not want to see the person again for whatever reason, be courteous enough to offer to pay.
And yes, we’re totally down to see superhero movies with female leads.
“As long as it’s good.” — Aaron, 26
So long as Hollywood doesn’t feel compelled to have the heroine wear a chainmail bikini. Sadly, I have little faith a Wonder Woman movie will be any good because they’ll feel compelled to include a terrible romantic plot.