Ten little insights into what men really want
As his new book, From Frazzled to Fabulous is launched, popular tweeter @manwhohasitall makes a modest proposal about the male of the species
!A man is like a beautiful rose, treat him well and he will blossom.”
Despite what evolutionary biologists claim, men do not want only to reproduce and care for others. Men want to be supported to take a full and active part in life outside the home. Male evolutionary biologists are carrying out their own “research” showing our needs can be understood by studying the moon. Early findings indicate that men’s needs are contradictory and complex with much more research needed. If only our needs were as simple as women’s!
Despite the lack of scientific progress in this area, my work has given me a deep anecdotal understanding of what men really want. Our needs might not be quite as unreasonable and mysterious as you think.
Here are 10 little insights into what men really want.
1. To be respected
First and foremost, men want to be treated as if they are people. They want to be respected for who they are on the inside, as well as what’s on the outside. Men are more than a reproductive system comprising of a penis and testicles. Men are more than their waist size and inside leg measurement. Men are more than a heart-shaped, long or oval face. Men are more than their body shape, skin type or hair colour. It might seem like a radical notion, but men are people too.
2. To be heard
We want to be heard. Men’s voices should make up at least a third of the conversation in government, business and the media. Our stories matter. Our rich emotional lives, daily experiences and feisty opinions count. How can we give other wonderful, inspirational men more airtime? The answer is inside us. We hold ourselves back and we hold each other back. Men should get together and agree. If we argue among ourselves about the best way to have a voice, who is going to take us seriously?
We must convince women to make space for men’s valuable contributions, without being strident, deep-voiced or loud. We should appeal to women by explaining how hearing more men’s voices is a good thing for them too. After all, most women have a dad, brother or son who would benefit if men were allowed to make a bigger contribution. Imagine what would happen if they let men take over a newspaper, TV show or radio station for the day!
3. To have more help
Just because you have a penis, it doesn’t automatically make you good at housework! In fact, studies show that when given instructions, women can operate the washing machine and learn how to dry and fold clothes. In reality of course, whatever the rights and wrongs of it, men do the majority of the housework and that’s life. Smart men do as much as they can the night before and get up an hour before their wife and kids.
Men are also wonderful carers, making them naturally gifted at looking after children for long periods of time with little or no thanks. It’s just what men do. But it would be nice to have a bit of help! Women can get involved in their children’s upbringing by changing nappies, babysitting for an hour, or simply taking an interest in their children’s lives. If you struggle to get your wife to do her fair share of the housework or childcare, lower your standards, stop criticising her or try changing your tone of voice.
5. To have more time
What men really want, more than any expensive aftershave, inspirational quotation, scented candle or fridge magnet, is what I call “me time”. That’s time away from the housework and kids. Men need time for themselves to relax and unwind. Dads especially need this time to reclaim their own child-free selves. Ask any busy dad what he wants for Christmas and he will say “a little time just for me”. It doesn’t have to be hours: just five minutes a day is enough for men to breathe deeply and let go of the day’s stress.
6. To be cherished
Whatever they might say, all men secretly like to be cherished. They like to be admired in the street, in a meeting or on public transport. A man is like a beautiful rose, treat him well and he will blossom. This means pampering him with gifts to make him more handsome, taking him out for romantic candlelit meals and buying him expensive jewellery. Spending money on a man proves above all else that you love, cherish and respect him.
7. To be protected
Men want to be protected from the difficult things, for example, opening doors, being cold, playing sport, making big decisions or having a brilliant career. We want to know that someone else is taking care of these matters, to free us up to write to-do lists, organise the freezer, plan family meals and try on trousers and socks. We also need protection from the cut-and-thrust world of business and politics. My wife tells me not to worry my handsome head about politics and I think she’s right. I always vote the way she tells me. We make a good team.
8. To be educated
All men secretly like to feel a bit silly in the company of women. While we might pretend to be annoyed when a woman steps in to explain something we already know, we actually quite like it! Hundreds of women correct my spelling on Twitter and Facebook every week and do you know what? I’m grateful to them. I’m hoping more will come forward to point out silly little mistakes in my book. I do my best but my wife is right: I don’t have any natural talent, I have to work at it.
9. To be admired
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman likes an attractive man on her arm. It’s just human nature. Looking good boosts our self-esteem and reminds us we are more than just our reproductive system. Men are objects of great beauty. Whether you are a school-run dad, a career man, a working dad, tiger dad or granddad, you want to look fabulous.
Women should never be afraid to pass judgment on men’s looks. After all, if men didn’t want to be judged they wouldn’t wear clothes and shoes, would they? A woman’s admiration can be expressed as a lingering look up and down a man’s body, a whistle, a mark out of 10, one word – such as “beef” – or some helpful advice, such as: “You’d be handsome if you lost the weight.”
10. To be inspired
Finally, what men need most of all is the permission to be themselves. We also need to stop being afraid to ask for help. That’s where I come in. For over a year now I have been giving men supportive, sanity-saving and intelligent tips on Facebook and Twitter.
The feedback I have received from other wonderful men has been inspirational. It has been a rollercoaster, with many ups and downs. Some would describe it as a journey. I am truly blessed to be able to help men find the inner confidence they need to look good, feel good and achieve that elusive balance. I give every man what he really wants: the permission to shine like a star. You go, boys!
The Man Who Has It All has a crazy-busy life juggling low-fat yoghurt, glowing skin, a career and healthy snacks. He spends his precious “me time” on Twitter and Facebook, giving other busy dads sanity-saving tips. His first book, From Frazzled to Fabulous, is out now.