The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Men and Women Want

Some years ago, an old college friend complained to me that he couldn't get a girlfriend. "What's wrong?" He asked. I asked him what he felt he had to offer a woman. 'I'm kind," he said. "Loyal. A good listener. I care."

I felt bad for having to say this, but I did: "She can get all of that from one of her girlfriends,"
I said. "What do you offer her she can't get there?"

This was a hard one, and it was hard for me to grasp when I first became interested in girls: the rules for boy-girl relationships were different from the rules for friendships. Further, the rules for girls were different from the rules for boys. What men want from women is critically different from what women want from men, typically, and throughout history and around the world.

Understand this, and relationships are easy. Miss this, and you can flounder endlessly. I was reminded of this as I looked at Day Sixty-Three of the 101 PROGRAM, discussing the secret I call the Beauty-Power Axis. So simple, so powerful, so politically incorrect. And so damned accurate!


Now, I'm not necessarily suggesting that you accept MY point of view on what makes relationships work. But it is critical that you have YOUR point of view. What are we as a species? As men and women? What do we want from each other? What are the common elements that make relationships work?

Once you have a theory, look at the relationships around you. If you can't find a good one to observe, that says something about YOU, not the world. There are plenty of happy relationships that have lasted a lifetime. Study them. Find the common rules, principles and values underlying them.

And then...apply those understandings to your own life!


"(The 101 program) has had an amazing impact on my work life. Simply, I laugh a lot more, good laughter, seeing the humor in the often frantic, Dilbert-esque world."--Pete Shult


Ayana said...

I understand where your friend is coming from. Seems like "old fashioned" relationships and dating have gone the way of the dinosaur. As a woman, I want to be in a committed relationship and I attract men but not the right ones. They all want to have sex, and thats it. I'm thinking
hello dont you want to get to know me first? a little? Of course I am lumping all men into one category but these are the one I run into. It is disheartening. And yes I have read your beauty vs power theory and the exchange that goes on between women and men and I agree with you. What is a lady to do

Steven Barnes said...

A lady maintains her standards, and seeks a gentleman who shares them. Any guy who would reject you because you won't have sex on the first couple of dates would never be long-term relationship material anyway. And it isn't just the guys' fault, hon--if girls weren't giving it up on the first date, guys would have no sense of entitlement. Both men AND women have to grow up on this one: sex isn't a game, or a toy.