What a man wants


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Category: Reflections 16 Feb 14

“Your greatest creation is yourself. Like any great work of art, creating a great self means putting in hard work, every day, for years.”—Joss Wheadon

I was on a treadmill in a Delhi hotel when I got chatting to a girl with raven hair, pink cheeks and flashing eyes. She was in her early 30s, heavy according to Western standards (but just right for the East and the Caribbean man).  She was a New India girl. Educated, urbane, confident; with a job in marketing. She had a packed life of work and travel and weekends of clubbing, theatre, and galleries. There was just one problem, she said, looking out into the Delhi fog through the glass with misty eyes. There were no marriageable men around. The joke was on women, she said: “We thought we were advancing ourselves, wanting it all, when actually it’s turned out to be a choice between a career or an early marriage. Men are scared of women who are too independent.”

She surrounded herself with gay men for company to take her to events.  This was deja vu. Just two weeks back on a treadmill in a gym in Port-of-Spain, a pretty woman in her mid-30s went on for an agonising 50 minutes about her series of failed relationships because the men were “too immature, unfaithful, afraid to commit, easily intimidated by women.”

With Valentine’s Day flurry just behind us, with heartache rather than roses around, I rang up an eligible bachelor (just the type the Port-of-Spain and Delhi girl would go for) for a perspective on this universal problem.

Joshua (not his real name) just turned 40, seemed economically stable, was passionate about his work, and a great communicator.  He gave me his take on what a man like him wants in a woman.  “There are two types of people: the type in long committed relationships with short breaks in between; and the opposite— the sorts who have short relationships with long breaks of solitude in between. I’m the latter. I think people choose their own relationship status. It depends on how much of a concession we are willing to make to our partners and ourselves. Maybe these women weren’t willing to give up much and neither are potential partners.

"The issues may be the same across the continents, but it is different dating in small societies.  I’m 40, unmarried, still dating and wondering about my own commitment phobia. Maybe I am selfish in wanting to have what I truly want versus what society wants.

“I lived in Europe—Holland—for 18 years. There you get one chance: a telephone number; and if doesn’t work out, you never see them again. In T&T, it’s a slow courtship ritual. Rather than a direct approach, you tend to go through friends or family.  If it doesn’t work out, then your life gets awkward. It’s got to do with emotional risk. Too many people are involved. Which could explain why women may not be asked out on too many dates.

“I have a date before and after Valentine’s Day. At age 30, feeling lonely and left out as couples celebrated long term relationships, I might have invited a girl out on Valentine’s Day, and the message that sent out—of a certain type of commitment— was not in sync with my intentions.  When I was younger, it was their fault when things didn’t work out. It was all about playing mind games, power struggles.

“At 40, I feel much more able to get into a lasting worthwhile relationship than I was at 30. I am more confident, driven and direct.

“If I look at my direct circle of friends, most women are achievers, educated, curious. I was raised in a female household by a single mother. I am comfortable around women. I have a huge attraction to the female energy, both grounded and playful.  I don’t know what most men want, but this is what I like.

“For me, education is a huge attraction, and by this I don’t mean everyone has to have a PhD. People’s choices might not include getting a degree.

“Neediness has no place between a man and woman. You will take your own issues and problems and introduce that to relationship. In the first few months the rush of a new relationship is amazing. It’s like a shot of cocaine as our bodies produce love drugs like oxytocin, dopamine, norepinephrine; when we are not functioning properly, it’s amazing. Psychologists call it ‘love sickness.’ It subsides with reality. That’s when, if its founded on solid friendship, your partners’ true self comes out and relationships falter.

“I have met many lovely, eligible, available, worldly women in Trinidad; but too many are content simply to be beautiful, and fail to develop their intellect in a way I find appealing, or base their own self-worth on their man’s position and wealth.

“Many men are looking for women who have developed themselves, with a huge personality; women who want to be the best they can be, and not depend on a man for happiness.

“Whatever anyone, man or woman, chooses to do that allows them to be all they can be...purpose and fulfillment in their own lives is what makes them attractive. ”

Thanks, Joshua.

I realised then that the biggest relationship women can have is with ourselves, with constant questioning which may preclude absolutes or peace but comes with huge rewards of insight into this wondrous world.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur