I could write about what I have come to learn during 75 years about the man/woman thing.
But I won’t. I value my wife, daughters, extended family females and female friends. They might not like what I would write. So let’s dispense with that “full truth” idea.
But I cannot resist telling a “part truth.”
The “part truth” is my reaction to “10 things women are programmed to look for in men.” I came across the article via Facebook, naturally enough. Similar hogwash is peddled at nearly every supermarket checkout counter, and it cuts across genders – about what men look for in women as well as what women look for in men. I haven’t yet seen any LGBTQ dating advice in mass-market venues, but they probably do exist somewhere on the Internet.
This specific article listed these qualities: 1. Tallness. 2. Intelligence. 3. Confidence. 4. Social skills. 5. Communication skills. 6. Similar interests. 7. Sense of humor. 8. Compassion. 9. Listening skills. 10. Get this – Owning a dog (but not owning a cat).
That list is fiction. It is what some woman or women would like us to think they look for in a man. What women actually look for – and what men actually look for in women – is, in my experience, earthier.
The shame in such articles is that some nice but not movie star handsome guy will read it and invest much time and money in improving his social skills when he would be more attractive to women by getting rid of his bad breath.
Here’s how to find out the truth.
Most of us know at least 10 divorced women. Some are remarried. Others are not. Ask each divorcee why she married her now ex-spouse in the first place.
Social skills? “He sprawls on the couch all weekend, watching football.”
Tallness? “That was attractive – when his height was a bigger number than his beer belly.”
Similar interests? How many women share their ex-husbands’ interests in hunting or working on cars or trucks? Granted, more than did 50 years ago, but c’mon.
“Sex” is nowhere on that “10 things” list, but everything from anthropology to zoology screams at us that women look for men for the same instinctual, gut-level reason that men look for women, and it is not just to hold hands while singing hymns at church.
Men are simpler. “She is hot,” is about as far as a guy’s intellectual mate-seeking thought processes go before other processes take over. “He is hot” for a woman can get more complicated: “I want my children to look like that,” or “I would love to have him be the one I take home to meet my family.”
But “own a dog”? That makes me angry.
I get fired up about lists like these, even though I am suckered into reading them during my spare time.
We deceive ourselves. We delude ourselves.
Not much harm is done by deluding ourselves about a mate.
But a lot of harm is done by deluding ourselves about what we say or do about illegal drugs or other serious issues.
“Illegal drugs are bad!” we tell our children, our friends, our co-workers.
We think that should do the trick. After all, we spoke up.
Yet our children, our friends, our co-workers still use illegal drugs and become addicted.
We didn’t address the core issue: Illegal drugs make users feel wonderful, at least at first. Many addicts will admit to the feeling of “better than sex”!
We say, “Bad!” and nothing else.
Sellers, or other users, say, “Wonderful!” and nothing else.
We don’t say, “”They make you feel great for a while, but then they make you feel miserable for the rest of your life.”
The sellers/users also leave out that “feel miserable later” truth. So new users are deluded, just as the men seeking to attract women can be deluded by the goofy Internet listings.
There is a point to be made here.
It has to do with looking at ourselves honestly, looking at our family members, friends and neighbors honestly, without prejudices positive or negative.
Based on my own 75 years of experience, here, in no particular order, are 10 things that I think attract most young women to men: Good looks; sexuality; sense of humor; friendliness; availability; security/safety, real or perceived; familiarity; fatherhood potential; money; fun.
As for what men look for in women ... that list includes beauty, sensitivity, warmth, maternal skills, humor, conviviality, patience, fidelity, sweetness and – get this – owning chickens.
That is what I looked for, and found.
Remember, my wife does read these articles.
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Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: email@example.com