Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Real Man

My lands. Pretty Lady cannot believe the number of times she has answered the question, 'What do women want?' and been greeted by a chorus of head-nodding, only to have the question repeated. To be fair, it is rarely Pretty Lady's friends who are asking this question; it is the unenlightened Others who do so. However, it is so reliably guaranteed to pop up in the community on a regular basis, that Pretty Lady feels she can go on answering it ad nauseam, without any fear of boring her readers.

In brief: Women want a Real Man.

Definition of a Real Man:

One who 1) knows who he is; 2) knows what he wants; 3) engages with her; 4) consistently.

All of these elements, darlings, are crucial.

The vast majority of whining, carping, frustration, rage, and lack of empathy with women comes from wannabe Real Men who wish to cut corners on one or another of the above criteria. The Pathetic faction is heavy on the end of Allowing the Woman to Define him; he is the sort who will go off and drink a gallon of aloe vera juice because the lady demonstrates an interest in holistic health care, and come running back, expecting a pat on the head. The Boorish faction, on the other hand, hold no truck with this sort of thing, at all, at all; he goes after what he wants, attains it, and parks it. He is the sort who invented the immortal line, 'Of course I love you. I married you, didn't I? What else do you want?'

Gentlemen. Please.

A lady does not wish to be the prime motivating factor for all of your actions. This is too much pressure, and it makes her feel decidedly unsafe. It gives her the uncomfortable sensation that if she were to become engrossed in her own activities for half an hour or so, you might go off and commit hari-kari for lack of sufficient attention; she does not want your blood on her hands. When she tells you to 'get a life,' she is being literal and sincere about it.

However, it gives a lady a warm, fuzzy, proud feeling to know that on some level, she is a prevailing influence in her man's life. There is nothing sweeter than the sound of the words, 'I was thinking about what you said, and I've decided...'. These words make a lady feel as though she is more than a decorative possession, to be flaunted or stowed at will. They make her feel that she is an ongoing force to be addressed; a challenge, if you will. Certainly she is more than a combination brood mare and chambermaid.

Pretty Lady would like to point out, as a side note, that a man who pursues several different women simultaneously is NOT a man who knows what he wants. He may claim that what he wants is several simultaneous girlfriends, and a concomitant freedom from responsibility; he may, in fact, want precisely that. However, such a man is incapable of engaging on an intimate level with anyone, and is thus unable to fully know himself. He is constantly shuffling communication modes, is frequently trying to remember which story he told which lady, and is never fully present. How is it possible that this man is honestly cognizant of the contents of his own mind? Let alone that he could have space in there to understand anyone else's?

Pretty Lady notes that all the men she has known who were like that were initially fascinating, having perfected the art of the initial fascination through assiduous practice, but got exponentially more boring every time the tape repeated itself. In pursuing breadth of experience, depth is inevitably sacrificed.

By the same token, a man who does not consistently engage with the woman in his life becomes, inevitably, a tedious lump who ultimately is not worth the space he takes up on the sofa. His routine may be straight, narrow and reliable; he may thus be shocked when the woman who has loyally washed his sheets for thirty years precipitately files for divorce.

But the fact is, circularity serves no ultimate purpose. Whether it be the same circular argument, the same scurrilous betrayal, or the identical carping comment of a political nature repeated every evening for three decades, circularity is a characteristic of Hell. Life, to be ridiculously cliche'd about it, is a journey. What women want is a trusted and intimate companion in a landscape which is always, and intriguingly, new.







13 comments:

Crom said...

I agreed with most of your post up until this, "What women want is a trusted and intimate companion in a landscape which is always, and intriguingly, new."

Based on your stated beliefs and archived posts I would argue that this is utterly correct for you but not the majority of females that currently populate the United States. I would contend that what most females want above all else is security. Provided that you engage the female in conversation and provide intellectual stimulus, I sincerely doubt that she wants her life uprooted in a perpetual search for new experiences. My personal experience is that most females are nest-builders provided there is an environment that is safe and secure. I have lived in a lot of different places, and always the theme hummed by the various women in my life is "Let's settle down, buy a home, start a family," not "Hot damn! It's Taos by sunset or bust!"

Perhaps I am overstating my example there to provide the reader with a wry smile, but the essence of the argument remains the same. Women certainly do love to be spirited away for a weekend in Austin, but they want to come home by Sunday night, pick up a book and fall asleep in their own bed.

Where the males usually fail, in my opinion - is when they stop looking at the horizon and champing at the bit to get on their horse and ride thataway. Instead, in a foolish attempt to please their woman, they allow that pioneer spirit to die and they plop unceremoniously onto the couch and promptly fall asleep for the next twenty years, usually until they find that their woman has absconded with the stable boy who indeed still paws the ground when looking at the horizon.

The trick is to find a woman who isn't threatened by the horizons, and who understands that to kill that spirit of adventure means that instead of the rugged partner they dreamed of, they have instead turned their Dr. Indiana Jones into Mr. Homer Simpson.

prettylady said...

Crom, you are so freakin' literal-minded. You forget that you are talking to the lady who DUMPED the financially secure gentleman who wished to spend his time motorcycling around the world with the lady of his dreams.

It is primarily intellectual, emotional, creative and spiritual landscapes which must be constantly renewed, to avoid the sink of stagnation. These have the advantage of being nearly free, infinitely nuanced, and endlessly engrossing, to the person who merely takes the trouble. This is also why it is completely inexcusable to allow these territories to remain largely unexplored in the course of a long-term relationship.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

If I may disagree with the predicate question. The question truly is "What does this woman, the one standing in front of me, want?"
Yes, the answer is acheived by items 3 and 4. Yes, the ability to do so is set up by having items 1 and 2 taken care of- well, at least as operating goals anyway.
(hey, except for NASA guys, most of us are not rocket scientists)
But us buckaroos would be better off by going straight to the point, than trying to answer a general question. Individual women, being humans, want different things.
It's funny PL, your post actually spoke about what women don't want, a subject with which I have extensive experience.
I can tell you one thing, Crom- women don't want to be afraid. That is a different animal than wanting security. Going to Taos works fine for most women in my experience, as long as they are not afraid to do so on some level. Finding that level leads us back to the begining of my comment.

prettylady said...

Ah, yes, JWYW, it occurred to me after writing this post that Pretty Lady has known women who appeared perfectly content with a lump of a fellow who allowed himself to be directed without protest or other commentary. Perhaps the question could be amended to "What do reasonably sane, intelligent and healthy women want?"

Your point about fear is well-taken. It is impossible to guarantee absolute security under all circumstances; even Pretty Lady's brilliant engineer daddy came close to being laid off during Difficult Times. However, there are certain behaviors which are guaranteed to lead to trouble; if a man makes a committed habit of abusing his health, stealing from his employers, manipulating his friends, and dealing drugs in order to make ends meet, the long-term prognosis is Not Good.

It's funny PL, your post actually spoke about what women don't want

Yes, funny, that. Perhaps this is because most of the whining to which Pretty Lady has been subject, has come from men who refuse to acknowledge their egregious membership in the 'don't want' categories.

Chris Rywalt said...

PL sez:
Pretty Lady's brilliant engineer daddy

Every time you mention him, I want to meet your daddy just a little bit more.

Crom said...

"Crom, you are so freakin' literal-minded."

Who me? Aw hell, darlin' that's just me knowing what I want, and being consistent about it.

*slow grin*

Bobert said...

"Hot damn! It's Taos by sunset or bust!"

Thanks Crom, for that gut-buster!

I can't imagine any sane person choosing Taos, New Mexico, as a destination.

A place to drive through quickly perhaps, while picking up some outrageously priced indian jewelry featuring cheap, acid-enhanced(to bring out color) turquoise made by either 1/8th(or less) indians or worn-out hippies, while avoiding the Mexicans--legal and illegal--who want all whites to disappear.

Or maybe buy a little piece of colorful pottery--costing a king's ransom--that will sit and gather dust on some knick-knack shelf back home.(Unless you like Maria's shiny black stuff, which will cost two king's ransoms)

Or maybe purchase some garish painting by a transplanted eastern hippite who came to Taos to experience the mystic "Taos hum".

You can find a few truly fine items--and artists--in Taos, but they are vastly outnumbered by the incompetnet clodhoppers that fill the tourist stalls and stores.

Taos is--in reality--New Mexico's number one place for dropouts from all walks of like to go and hide.

"Taos or bust!"

Never, ever, saw a bumper sticker that said that. Not in thirty five years of living in nothern New Mexico.

Desert Cat said...

A lady does not wish to be the prime motivating factor for all of your actions. This is too much pressure, and it makes her feel decidedly unsafe.
...
However, it gives a lady a warm, fuzzy, proud feeling to know that on some level, she is a prevailing influence in her man's life. There is nothing sweeter than the sound of the words, 'I was thinking about what you said, and I've decided...'.


...that the answer is nevertheless 'no'.

The above sounds so very much like the circular argument Daisycat and I engaged in early in our married life.

It sounds very much like the lady does not want to "own" the request/demand that she has placed on her man. Instead he is supposed to want what she wants him to want without any reference whatsoever to her being the reason he is pursuing what she wants.

And of course if he still won't comply, well there's a whole cupboard full of additional tricks to try.

Then again I'm a recovering ex-feminist still sorting through the cognitive dissonance created by what real-life women want and what I was taught liberated feminist women supposedly want.

prettylady said...

Every time you mention him, I want to meet your daddy just a little bit more.

He's the best. The best daddy in the whole wide world. Even better than you.

I can't imagine any sane person choosing Taos, New Mexico, as a destination.

Pretty Lady had a college roommate from Taos! We got along famously!

It sounds very much like the lady does not want to "own" the request/demand that she has placed on her man. Instead he is supposed to want what she wants him to want

Ah. We are having a contextual difficulty, here. You would be correct if the decision under contemplation was a decision directly affecting the lady's life, as in "I cannot stand to live in this hell-hole one more second." Under those circumstances, the decision is not an 'I' decision on the gentleman's part, unless he wishes to instantly terminate the relationship. It is a 'we' decision, which falls under a different rubric entirely.

No, what Pretty Lady was thinking of was conversations less fraught with practical significance, as in "I was thinking about what you said about the inadequacy of the Categorical Imperative in formulating a cohesive ethical philosophy, and I've decided to read some Alan Watts."

sorting through the cognitive dissonance created by what real-life women want and what I was taught liberated feminist women supposedly want.

Hint: When you ask a woman "What do you want?" and she tells you exactly what she wants, in no ambiguous terms, the correct answer is NOT "You can have anything but that. So, what do you want?"

A word to the wise.

Chris Rywalt said...

PL sez:
Even better than you.

Let's set the bar a little higher than that, shall we? Being a better daddy than I am is like being a better gymnast than John Candy.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

Is it appropriate here to ask if some womens' experience with their fathers (for better or ill) affect their definition of what a real man is?
I know it's an old psychological saw, like the proverbial "how he treats his mother is how he'll treat you, ladies". When one's paramour has a father that was, by all accounts, quite spectacular, can't it color the relationship somewhat?

prettylady said...

Of course it is, JWYW. Pretty Lady's problem is that her daddy is so perfect, he set the standard, and so far nobody else has even come close to measuring up.

prettylady said...

Of course, Daddy has flaws. But what he does have is integrity, in spades; this integrity was inherited from his father, who got it from his, who got it from his. It's a deeply ingrained thing. So when Pretty Lady discovered, at the age of 18, that 99.9% of males would even consider doing the Things That They demonstrably Do, she went mildly ballistic for a decade or so.

She's calming down, now, but she still obviously has her lapses.