WHAT OTHER WOMEN WANT
by Sigrun Christianson
I am often asked, "What do women want?" I've talked and written on this
subject, both in private and in public, more than I ever wanted to or thought I
needed to. I don't assume for even one minute that I can write on behalf of all
women, everywhere, but I can and will write on behalf of women like me. I've
been accused of joyfully wallowing in female escapism and writing what I think
men want to read, but I assure you that these are the true desires of women like
I'm going to attempt to tell you, no holds barred, what women like me want
from men: we want to be owned and possessed by intelligent, dynamic, strong, and
dignified men with a mission; we want to be submissive to him and to be his
pleasure, entertainment, amusement, and muse; we want to feel safe, protected,
secure; we want to be useful and needed; we need to be able to respect you, and
fear you. We are capable of thinking and acting independently. We are educated
and fierce, but we want men who are more educated and more fierce, men who can
With respect to Miss Carraway's list, here's mine:
- Ask about our concerns and opinions, and then do what you think is right.
We like to have a voice, but we don't require a vote and in most cases, we
don't want a vote. We want you to make the decision and allow us to be your
cheerleaders. Since we already know that you value us and see us as important,
feel free to compliment our breasts and backsides often. We are happy and
pleased that you find us attractive and we want to know that you desire us.
- How we feel changes by the minute, so don't bother trying to understand.
By the time you think you've figured out what we're feeling, chances are we
aren't feeling it anymore. We are emotional and irrational and we suspect that
many of you secretly like this about us.
- Ask for our opinions, but don't be surprised if we change our opinions
from one day to the next. And then, of course, do what you will anyway. We
want you to be the leader, hero, conqueror, etc. (Notice a pattern here?)
- Surprise us with arbitrary unilateral decisions. We like it that you have
the ability to make decisions for us. We want to be able to trust you and your
judgment, and depend on you to be strong where we are weak.
- Give us frequent hugs, kisses, pinches, and squeezes. We need to know that
we are wanted and desired. We want to feel sexy. Deny us our erotic nature and
you deny us our nature. Go ahead and lecture us on occasion, but only when
it's really necessary and when you're in the right. We like that you take the
time to explain your thoughts to us and tell us how we can better be the woman
- Tell us how you spent your day. We like to know what you are doing and
thinking. Talk to us about your job, your politics, and your friends. Let it
out and let us comfort you and rejuvenate your spirit. However, taking care of
our home and family is our job, so don't interfere. Leave the cleaning and
decorating to us. If we ask for your opinion on a color for the wall or
pattern for the sofa, indulge us. It's such a small request and it makes us
happy. And no, we didn't sit around all day watching TV or talking on the
phone. Women like us take our jobs seriously and take a lot of pride in giving
you a nice home and in raising good children. The house is clean, the kids are
clean, and there is food in the fridge.
- If you really dislike something about us, tell us, and tell us how you
think we can improve, but be respectful and polite about it. You owe us
honesty and courtesy. We are strong, we have a good sense of ourselves and we
don't take suggestions for improvement as criticism. We want to improve! We
will give you the same honesty and consideration because we know that you can
- Annoying habits are just part of being human. You leave the toilet seat up
and don't put the cap back on the toothpaste. I throw my clothes on the floor
and talk while you're watching TV. Big deal. It's not the end of the world. If
these are the worst things going on in our house, then we are blessed. We are
not going to make everything into a battle for power and control. We have no
doubt that you hold the majority of the power and we like it that way.
- Help around the house and we'll tell you that we really appreciate all
that you do for us. We know that you work hard and want to come home and
relax, so when you do something extra at home, we really do appreciate it,
even if we forget to tell you. We are also guilty of taking things for
- Let us now that you are proud of us. Sincere praise and compliments go a
long way with us and it doesn't cost you anything so don't be cheap with them.
Your praise motivates us to do more and better. Let others know that you are
proud of us and brag a bit about how well we treat you. We brag to our friends
and family about you.
- Flowers and chocolate are really great and we love to tell our friends
that you got them for us. Jewelry is also great. I think you know that
Tip: You can never, ever go wrong with stud earrings, a single-stone
necklace, a tennis bracelet, or pearls. Those items are appropriate for every
Don't forget the card. We really like cards with a personal message.
We freak out when you forget our birthdays, anniversaries, and special
holidays because we think it means that you don't care. That's just the way we
are. That won't change. Use the "Hallmark Holiday" argument all you want, but
it still won't change. It's not logical, rational, or reasonable to despair
over you forgetting our birthdays, but we do anyway. Accept this about us.
- We need to vent our frustrations sometimes and we want to do it with you
because we feel that you are our best friend and we trust you, not because we
are bitching at you. We are not bitching at you. We are not asking you fix us,
just to listen — I really can't emphasize that enough. We know that you have
stress and frustrations, too. Please tell us about them and let us take care
of you. It makes us feel needed. We are innately maternal and want to baby the
people we love. We need to know that we can offer you some comfort and heal
some of your wounds. Let us. You don't have to be 'tough guy' with us all of
- We like new appliances. Electric can-openers, the type that mount under
the cabinet freeing up counter space, are great. Heavy, cast-iron skillets,
crock-pots, and glass mixing bowls are especially useful, too. Don't
underestimate the importance of high-quality appliances and cookware.
Some of us are completely lost when it comes to auto mechanics and
plumbing. Help us and we will help you. We're a team.
The Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat
us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and
gratify every one of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and
forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and
always mean much more than he says. — Oscar Wilde
Realities of Race and Discrimination]