the opportunities for heartbreak and humiliation are legion. Under these harsh conditions, young men are looking for a new framework for understanding what (or, as they might put it, WTF) women want.
Here's what I'm looking to understand: why do you care? Seriously now. Maybe it is just the fact that most of the men I am friends with are in happy, committed relationships (at least, I assume from the smiles and the moving in together that they're happy...), but there is a total disconnect for me in this idea that a guy needs to know what women want. First, there is this idea that a guy could ever know what "women" want, as if we are some monolithic group that holds monthly meetings meant to decide what expectations and desires to harbor. We don't; what I want out of life is different from what the married femmes want. And those married women don't all want the same things either. That is life. But the real question shouldn't be What Women Want. Even if there was a monolithic, monthly meeting, that should never really be a guy's concern - just as What Men Want shouldn't be a single woman's concern.
The real question is "What do I want?" Because without that question being answered, even for the moment, there is no way a person will be satisfied in a relationship. If a man (or woman) tailors his (or her) responses to the opposite (or same) sex companion in order to not be alone, or in order to get some sex, or in order to have a dinner companion, then that man (or woman) will not have their own needs met (unless those needs were simply to not be alone, to get some sex, or to have a dinner with someone). That brings me to this gem of a line:
The woman may be hoping for a hookup, but she may also be looking for a husband, a co-parent, a sperm donor, a relationship, a threesome, or a temporary place to live. She may want one thing in November and another by Christmas.
And if the guy (or girl) in question doesn't know what he (or she) wants, this could be a problem. Not knowing if the girl across the room is looking for a hookup, a husband, a co-parent, a sperm donor, a relationship, a threesome, or just a place to crash is very much a problem if the guy in question is looking to change his response depending upon what the girl wants. But if the guy knows all he wants that night is a one night stand and is upfront about it, half of the hard part is over. Because now, he doesn't have to tailor his responses to what That Woman Wants. He can come to the table saying, "This is what I want", and that is a good thing. And maybe he'll find a woman who wants that same thing that night, and maybe he won't. Maybe he'll find that woman the next night.
The thing is, everyone is going to have bad dating experiences. On a planet with 6 billion people and change, not everyone is going to be compatible, and not everyone is going to want the same thing at exactly the same time. The problem with some of the guys who wrote into Hymowitz to complain about those horrible women is that they seem to be missing the synapse that tells them that. They are missing that bit of common sense that would tell them even if they are looking for a relationship and they find a woman who also would like to pursue a relationship, they may not be compatible. That he may want a housewife, and she's on the fast track to being a high powered lawyer. Or that he's looking for someone with similar aspirations, and her greatest aspiration is to head the local PTA. That's just how life goes.
I think Jeff Fecke says it best when he says,
"The older I get, the more I believe that women and men are a mystery to each other only because we are constantly told from birth that women and men are a mystery to each other, who speak different languages and are unable to actually communicate. It turns out that men and women are a lot alike. There may be minor differences, but nothing that can't be figured out by asking questions. Indeed, much of the trouble in relationships could be solved by teaching our children that if they have questions about that boy or girl they're interested in dating, the best thing to do is just bite the bullet and go ask them. And that if they get asked an honest question, then give an honest answer. Instead, we teach boys and girls that they have to deal with girls and boys through an elaborate system of games and deception. It's a wonder any relationships work at all."I can't help but agree. And I can't help but think that many of the men who are bent out of shape over the lack of concrete and inalienable Rules would have been bent out of shape over the state of women for one reason or another anyway. Because any group of people who believes that there should be concrete and inalienable rules for dealing with another (incredibly large) group of people obviously doesn't think very much of that second group. Because if that first group acknowledged that women were humans and humans are complex, they would know that there is no single rulebook for figuring them out.