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October 02, 2008

Oh Why Not

I wasn't going to do this, but I thought it might be fun after all the serious stuff that's been going on lately. Discussion question of the day: what is your idea of the ideal woman? (ladies, you may, if you wish, expound upon your vision of the ideal man)

Update: to put some bounds around this, let's say define the ideal woman using between three and five characteristics. Otherwise, the definitions will be too hard to compare. And please list them at the beginning of your comment, then you can elaborate upon the reasons you chose them if you wish.

Posted by Cassandra at October 2, 2008 08:55 AM

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what is your idea of the idea woman?

I think she needs to dump the proofreader...

Posted by: BillT at October 2, 2008 11:02 AM

Characteristics of an ideal woman:

- Wisdom;
- Warmth and kindness;
- Charm;
- A strong will; and
- A sense of humor.

And, to be clear, wisdom does not require a college degree.

I sometimes meet women who think they have to be hardasses to prove their intelligence and strength. But they just wind up putting people off.

I aim for these qualities and when I find myself in a situation where I don't know what to think or do, I try to fall back on warmth and kindness (although I'd be the first to admit that I fail at that sometimes). It's the right thing to do and honestly, I think they are our secret weapon.

Deana

Posted by: Deana at October 2, 2008 11:22 AM

Wait... ideal or what you look for?
Ideal:
- Physical beauty
- Inner beauty
- Standards low enough to want me
- Independently wealthy
- Tigress in the bedroom

Hey, if you can have your cake and eat it too... why not? That's what ideal is. But ideal is never realistic.
Realistic:
- Compassion
- Self confidence
- Strong will
- Sense of responsibility
- Adventurous

So, if you're asking me to design a fictional goddess, go with the first one. If you're asking for a woman that would actually be believable, go with the second.

Posted by: MikeD at October 2, 2008 11:52 AM

What might be a more interesting exercise is to have women tell us what the ideal woman is, and vice versa.

I expect the results would be somewhat like the case where Humphrey Bogart was a huge sex symbol in the 1940s, because men thought he seemed like he ought to be -- though women, really, weren't quite sure why he was given all these romantic roles.

Hollywood has that straight now. Orlando Bloom gets the romantic roles, women swoon. Men think to themselves, "Who is this prancing little #@$@?"

Posted by: Grim at October 2, 2008 12:00 PM

I love the way MikeD did it :p Because I think that's the way most of us think - there's what we want in the abstract and what we want when it comes down to making decisions in the real world and they're not really the same thing.

Grim - I'm happy to have people do either one. Just let me know (especially if your moniker isn't obviously male/female) because I'm going to try and compile a composite profile from the answers.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 12:08 PM

Sorry Bill :p

I'm not firing on all cylinders this week.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 12:09 PM

Deana has about the perfect list in my opinion.

- Wisdom;
- Warmth and kindness;
- Charm;
- A strong will; and
- A sense of humor.

I think honesty has to be on the list though - maybe Wisdom and honesty?

I think the ideal woman would treat women and men with kindness. This is the way I was raised, and I was shocked to find out (in my early adulthood) that women are often vicious to men, and catty and nasty to other women. I think it makes the world a worse place when women behave in that way. It would be better just to punch a person in the nose and be done with it than all the passive-aggressive, "Oh, it's so nice that they are finally putting some style into the larger sizes" sort of nastiness.

Posted by: MathMom at October 2, 2008 12:50 PM

Perhaps it was in that 'interview' you did with me long ago, but I remember saying that I thought "forgiveness" was the most important quality. There have been some interesting reports on the subject, though, of how men and women forgive.

One can't read too much into the studies, as they were conducted by psychologists, and suffer from the normal problems of that methodology. For example, the article argues both that women are more forgiving because they have 'been taught from childhood to put themselves in other's shoes'; but also that whereas men become more forgiving of a wrongdoer when they think on their own past wrongdoing, women become more vengeful when asked to consider whether they haven't done similar wrongs in the past.

That sounds like an argument that "women are more forgiving because they've been taught to put themselves in others' shoes, which studies show makes them less forgiving."

Still, though the methodology is bad, some of the anecdotes are interesting. It's certainly true for me that reflecting on where I've done wrong myself makes me more forgiving of others. I think a man who has a personal appreciation of his own capacity for sin and wrongdoing will be a better man -- and a better mate -- than one who is self-righteous.

However, the study suggests that the opposite would be true for women: that they should best be unlikely to reflect on their own wrongdoing. In that model, it is not humility but confidence that is desirable (because it makes women more forgiving, and the capacity to forgive is the quality that matters).

I doubt you'll find a man anywhere who won't tell you that confident women are better -- far more desirable companions than women who are troubled by constant self-doubt. By the same token, I think women will say that a man whose confidence is tempered by a good bit of honest humility are better than those who do not have that quality.

Perhaps this is the underlying reason.

Posted by: Grim at October 2, 2008 01:20 PM

That said, if I had one suggestion for women looking for a mate besides "Find a man who forgives you when you hurt him," it would be this:

Find a man that other men respect.

There are three reasons why this matters.

1) The qualities that cause men to step aside for another man are also good markers for success. These include honesty, integrity, courage, a capacity for violence coupled with a strong sense of justice, and a readiness to sacrifice for those he loves.

2) A man respected by other men will prosper, because others will always be eager to do business with him. The capacity to earn and hold respect is the single greatest marker for success in life.

3) A man respected by other men will not be trifled with by vicious men, and men are disproportionately likely to be violently criminal. Likewise, the same qualities that make him respected will mean that the trouble he has with non-vicious men will be resolved honorably and with justice.

Thus, you will get a man who is strong, loyal, a good provider, and a good defender of the things you love.

Posted by: Grim at October 2, 2008 01:32 PM

I am going to attempt one for men:

1. Integrity
2. Perceptiveness/empathy (not quite sure what quality I'm going for here). Maybe the masculine equivalent of "sensitive", but that's not the right word because men do it differently :p
3. Sense of humor
4. A lively mind
5. Strength

I'll explain later.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 01:42 PM

I think you're right, Grim. In general, women tend to have more issues in the area of self-doubt (or feeling uncomfortable asserting/protecting their own interests) while men often have more issues with humility and/or remembering that other people's interests/feelings are just as important as their own :p

I think this is why marriage is so great - hopefully over time you learn from your partner. I admire the way my husband and my male friends assert themselves and solve problems tremendously.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 02:01 PM

Grim: "Hollywood has that straight now."

Is that a Freudian slip?

One problem with my defining the Ideal Woman is that she wouldn't have anything to do with me.

MikeD also recognizes the difficulty.

Whatever happened to the old maxim "rich, owns a liquor store, and has big estates in the country"?

I have to wonder about the lead photo on the Times online. Are they trying to make it a leading question?

Whoever Dom Joly is (come to think of it, who are any of them), he didn't miss an opportunity to tow the party line (tow, toe, either one works for me) with "I loathe everything about [Palin] politically, but ..."

I guess, then, that there is something to be said for good looks, intelligence, talent, drive, character, ...


Posted by: ZZMike at October 2, 2008 02:12 PM

...or as that guy says on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 'She has huuuuuuuuuuge ......

[wait for it]

.... tracts of land' :p

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 02:26 PM

1)Intelligence & sense of humor
2)Interests in things beyond herself
3)Warmth & kindness
4)Emotional stability
5)Intensity, excitement about life
6)Financial responsibility
7)Not a control freak or a blamer
8)Obviously, physical attraction has to be there

To expand on these:
1)Intelligence & sense of humor go together 80% of the time; also, smart women tend to be more sexual
2)Needs to have interest other than thinking/talking about herself, and at least some of these interests should be things other than the traditional houses, clothing, & decoration.
3)Genuinely kind; also likes physical contact in nonsexual as well as sexual ways
4)Deal with crises without hysteria
5)Unfortunately, probably correlates inversely with (4)
6)This is a big one--lots of relationships destroyed by one partner's financial greed and unwillingness to face reality.
7)Another big one--for example, should be able to deal with husband's career setback without immediately launching into a tirade as to what a loser he is. Also, should not consciously or unconsciously try to establish control over relationship decisions that should be mutual.

Posted by: paul at October 2, 2008 02:28 PM

ZZMike:

More a play on words. Hollywood is now letting women choose their fantasy men.

That said, is it a coincidence that the current generation of leading men are also far less impressive across the board than those current a generation ago? Consider the leading men of the 1950s-1970s against those of the 1980s-2000s. You can compare John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, etc., with anyone out there now. I guess you can figure something like: Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, the aforementioned Bloom, George Clooney, etc.

Posted by: Grim at October 2, 2008 02:32 PM

I think it's interesting that Deana mentioned a strong will and MikeD mentioned confidence.

Those are both qualities women are taught to downplay in social situations, and yet I've both read and found in my personal life that men like a woman who knows her own mind and IS self-confident.

Women are often very confused by what they perceive men want from us. I think this is because men actually want conflicting things :p

They want a strong, confident woman who needs and appreciates them... but not "too much".

The problem for us, when dealing with a species of human who isn't big on communication, is figuring out what "too much" is :p What we should be doing is simply being ourselves and letting the chips fall where they may. But the truth of the matter is that in relationships, it usually falls to the woman to do most of the 'work'.

I think this is one reason so many marriages are failing these days: with women working full time, they no longer have the time or energy to manage a career, a home, AND a relationship and because they have more bargaining power they aren't as submissive as they were when they were homemakers. Men take this as rejection or an attempt to "change them" or "turn them into women" when in fact it is simply a reflection of changing social status and the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day - something has to give.

The fact is, no one can do it all, and many of the demands women make these days simply reflect the fact that they can't be responsible for everything. In many ways, the old fashioned division of labor with specialized roles was more efficient than having everybody do everything.

But that is water under the bridge and we have to figure out a way to make it work because our children are mostly 2 career couples.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 02:37 PM

Pure attributes can be dehumanizing -- or at least, intimidating. They need to be mellowed and melded and sprinkled with strength.

30% Cassandra
30% Cricket
10% each of DL Sly, HF6, SeFiWi and Mother Theresa.

Ummmmm -- in my case, you'd have to bump the percentage of Mother Theresa by an order of magnitude...

Posted by: BillT at October 2, 2008 02:44 PM

Oh my goodness, Bill.

If I started listing readers here I'd get into a world of trouble! I think I'm about halfway in love with most of you :p My poor husband must be the most self-confident man in the world - he has to listen to me go on about "so and so is the coolest ... today he said..." and he never bats an eyelash.

Of course he knows that I worship the ground he walks on. But most men would smash the PC, grab their wife by the hair and drag her off into the brush.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 02:50 PM

Great list, Paul.

#7 is another interesting one for women too. At least something I think about a lot.

This is something we women try to figure out about men, because we get mixed signals. I think it might be one of those areas where biology pushes humans in one direction for evolutionary reasons, but too much of that behavior causes conflict in relationships.

Men often accuse women of only wanting them for their money or what they can provide. They also accuse us of trading on our looks or playing hard to get. But we notice that men seem to prefer women who have high standards; i.e., if you aren't easy to please, men treat you better.

This is as annoying as all get out (it's the female side of nice guys finish last - if we treat guys the way we want to, they walk all over us and don't respect us). So, what I'm saying is that from an evolutionary standpoint you probably want the most competitive males mating with the high standards female - you get babies with great genes. But from a relationship standpoint, you are going to come home to a very ornery womyn after that high pressure, 12 hour work day and if you don't have a nice fat paycheck, she's going to trade you in on someone with a fatter wallet or give you the rough side of her tongue, and not in a *good* way :p

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 03:01 PM

They want a strong, confident woman who needs and appreciates them... but not "too much".

Too much of anything can be bad. But in this case I must disagree. While I like "strong, confident women" I'm not so keen on the "needs... them". I don't want a woman who needs me so much as wants me. Needy is not attractive, want is much better. I'm perfectly happy with a woman who is with me because she chooses to be, rather than one who HAS to be. A woman who can stand on her own with or without a man is so much more desirable than one who needs someone else (be it for moral support, financial, security). And I think that's because without that independence (on some level), you're setting that couple up for an unequal relationship.

My wife's happiness is of paramount importance to me. But I would still be capable of taking care of myself without her. Yes, it's easier to handle life with a caring partner, but if the chips were down, I'm still capable of making it on my own. I'd liken it to an alliance based upon friendship being superior to one based upon political needs. Great Britian is a much stronger ally to the US than France has ever been. Yes, we've fought more wars against the UK than France, but there's genuine respect between the US and UK. The French? Not so much, nor has there ever been. And honestly, I think that comes from the fact that the relationship between the French and Americans has been one of political convenience and dependancy (first our dependence on them for our Revolution, then theirs upon us in WWII).

We came to the aid of the UK in WWII as well, but as they were never conquered, they didn't NEED us in the same way.

Posted by: MikeD at October 2, 2008 03:14 PM

Well, I am glad to hear you say that, Mike. It may be an individual thing.

I just know that in talking to a lot of men, their role as a provider is pretty much central to who they are. So the "need" thing goes to the core of what makes them men. It's a thing that is very hard for me as a woman to understand. I struggle with it all the time.

The thing is, I am completely awed by men all the time. I am not kidding about this - I think men are just about the coolest thing on the planet.

You all have many qualities I lack as a human being. I am not putting myself down: I have a very healthy ego. But I am not a perfect person by any means.

I don't want to be a man. I like being female.

What you said, "want, but not need", is how I feel love should be. I would run like hell from any situation where I felt I "needed" someone, because that would make me dependent on them and that is not a healthy place to be - it stifles your own sense of who you are. I would feel smothered.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 03:24 PM

If I started listing readers here I'd get into a world of trouble!

You'd also generate a bunch of embarassed grins.

Of course, I have a different list for the Castle Denizennes (which will probably get me in trouble, anyway) -- but each list would mesh, although not necessarily in the ratios I listed here.

Posted by: BillT at October 2, 2008 03:47 PM

Oh, another myth I'd love to correct, "men want a woman who reminds them of their mother." HA! Don't get me wrong, I love my mom. I would never live under her roof again, but I do love her. I am afraid I could not marry a woman who was much like my mother. My father is an absolute saint.

Nor would I want a woman who would "mother" me. Mind you, being a good mother is a very attractive thing... as long as I'm not the child. Again, that whole unequal relationship thing. I want a partner, not a parent, not a child.

Posted by: MikeD at October 2, 2008 03:52 PM

You'd also generate a bunch of embarassed grins.

Very likely, Bill :p
Very likely.

...is it a coincidence that the current generation of leading men are also far less impressive across the board than those current a generation ago?

I think they are less in the heroic mold, Grim. Also they are less the "pure" masculine type. So while they are probably less admirable, they are also probably more true to life.

This is what my high school history teacher lamented once - we don't have heroes anymore. We have no idols, at least in the sense of society holding up a worthy role model and saying, "This is what you should emulate."

This is what a man/woman ought to be.

That is viewed as elitist and wrong/bad, and in a multicultural society, to place yourself above anyone else is the ultimate sin.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 04:59 PM

What a disappointment! ;) I started reading this thinking, "Now I'll finally understand what men want!"

Not. You guys confuse the hell out of me. :P

Posted by: FbL at October 2, 2008 05:06 PM

It is not possible to understand men, Fbl.

They are like storms. You just have to sit back and let them wash over you.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 05:20 PM

And use the caffeinated soap, too.

Ummm -- onne of those things where you had to be there...

Posted by: BillT at October 2, 2008 05:27 PM

You just have to sit back and let them wash over you.

*trying--and failing--to find a way to agree with that statement that wouldn't elicit inappropriate allusions from this crowd*

But as to men being storms, that makes me wonder how much of attraction/bonding between males and females is in spite of our differences, not because of them... LOL

Posted by: FbL at October 2, 2008 05:28 PM

Hmm... I didn't phrase that very well. What I'm trying to say is that so much separates and even actively drives us apart that I'm always amazed at the ways in which men and women still manage to develop such amazing bonds with the opposite sex.

Posted by: Fbl at October 2, 2008 05:31 PM

You have a definite point there, Fuzzy.

There are many times when I am tempted to give up entirely. But what fun would that be?

Posted by: Endangered Midwestern Corked Bat at October 2, 2008 05:36 PM

Discussion question of the day: what is your idea of the ideal woman?

Can I just put up a picture of my wife and be done with it?

Seriously, I might be able to put together a list, but I'm generally uncomfortable with that kind of thinking.

Anytime you set forth a 'Why do you love John/Jane Doe' you've set up a conditional love. If you love your spouse because of their sense of homor what happens if they becomed depressed and stop telling jokes? If it's kindness, what happens if they're having a bad day/week/month or just become complacent and "in a rut"? Do you stop loving them?

When my wife asks me "Why do you love me?" I have only one answer (It drives her nuts, but I do it anyway). Because I do, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. :-)

At the same time, if you aren't already in a relationship, I guess there are things one would look for to improve the odds of being able to fall in love.

But first, let me comment on the confidence thing. Confidence is more than knowing you can take care of yourself and hold your own in any situation. A confident woman can change her own tire and when asked by a guy if she needs help replies, "No. Thank you. I've got it taken care of." or "Yes. Thank you. I'd appreciate it". It's the insecure woman who can change her tire, but when a guy asks if she needs help responds with "WHAT THE HELL KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT! LAST TIME I CHECKED YOU LUGNUTS WEREN'T LOCKED WITH A P*N15 SHAPED KEY. I'M A FULLY ACTUALIZED PERSON PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF CHANGING MY OWN TIRE. THE LAST THING I NEED IS SOME MAN TO DO IT FOR ME!"

While both women are willing and able to take care of herself, the confident person doesn't need to be up-in-your-face about it. They just do it. If you have to inform people of your confidence, you aren't.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 2, 2008 05:48 PM

1. Integrity: More than anything else, I need to be able to trust a man because I am intensely loyal. It may take me a while to commit but once I do, I stick by my commitments through thick and thin. I want to be proud of him, but that kind of loyalty must be earned.

He doesn't always need to do what *I* think is right. But I think a man ought to try to do what *he* thinks is right, understanding of course that we are all fallible.

2. Perceptiveness/empathy: Nothing is more frustrating to me than being asked to read someone else's mind.

Men aren't women. It's bad enough that we women have to figure out what our kids want all the time when they're screaming bloody murder and being completely unreasonable.

We shouldn't have to do that with adults who can talk. I don't want a man to be my best girlfriend, listen to gossip, or help me shop for shoes - that is why I have female friends. I do want a man who is in touch with his emotions. If he can't or won't talk to me when there is a problem, I feel like a door just got slammed in my face and I am going to leave. Talking includes the right to set limits and say things like, "I'm not comfortable talking about this" or "Jeez, do we have to massage this to death, womyn???" :p

But *not* talking is not an option. At least for me it's not - because a relationship - any relationship, whether it be a marriage, a friendship, or a business partnership has to be a two-way street. Like Mike said, if there is no balance - no back and forth, it won't survive the inevitable problems that arise as imperfect people bumble through life.

3. Sense of humor: if a man can make me laugh, it's magic. Even if he can't make me laugh, if he laughs at my jokes or if he can see the funny side of it when things go wrong, that's enormously attractive b/c that means he's adaptable and smart. There is nothing sexier.

4. A lively mind: surprise me. I get bored easily.

I think this is my favorite thing about men: they are interested in things I don't find intrinsically interesting, and so they expand my horizons. Also, they see things so differently. It's like looking at life through a kaleidoscope - it shakes things up.

5. Strength: moral, physical, intellectual. The whole package. I admire a man who is in control of himself, who displays discipline.


Posted by: Endangered Midwestern Corked Bat at October 2, 2008 06:19 PM

Brilliant comment, Yu-Ain Gonnano! (And yes, it takes confidence to gracefully deny AND accept assistance).

At the same time, if you aren't already in a relationship, I guess there are things one would look for to improve the odds of being able to fall in love.

That seems so obvious, but I've never thought of it exactly that way before. I just know that I'm coming to the conclusion that love is completely irrational and random. In recent months I seem to be returning every now and then to the question of why I believe I've never really been in love--I've had intense emotional (platonic) relationships with male friends, but never really fallen for the romantic men in my life. I realize that despite lists of what I've thought I want in a man, none of those characteristics have magically translated into love.

Interesting.

I think I'm at the point of saying "If I meet him, I'll know. Until then, I've got other things to do than evaluate every man I encounter as to whether he's got 'potential'" Don't know if that's the right idea, but there it is.

Like I said, I don't understand you guys. ;) Maybe it's unfair to just sit back and wait for my thunderstorm to walk by, but like I said... it's where I am right now; I've got too much else that wants my time/attention these days. :)

Posted by: Fbl at October 2, 2008 06:26 PM

Well, I think you are right, Yu-Ain :p

But don't you find there are two kinds of love? There is what attracted you to your husband or wife and then there is that feeling that grows over the years (because you've invested in the relationship?)

I had to think about this when the unit deployed last year. We had a very long talk about how we would handle it if he got blown up by an IED and came back brain damaged - not himself anymore. It was a very disturbing talk and to this day, I can't think of it without getting choked up.

Let's just say that we did not agree on what should be done. I think that you are right. What are you going to do - stop loving them?

No. Never. Not on your life.

Posted by: Endangered Midwestern Corked Bat at October 2, 2008 06:28 PM

Grim, I don't know about most women, but given a choice between Humphrey Bogart and Orlando Bloom, HB wins hands down!

And as for your comment about choosing a man that other men respect, well, I think I'm getting a crush on you. (Not to worry; I'm happily married.)

Posted by: Texan99 at October 2, 2008 06:51 PM

I laughed at the sidebar on the linked page. Right beside "What makes an ideal woman?" is "Recipes"

Cool, let's just cook one up!

My idea of a perfect man has always been the Cartwrights. All of them.

Little Joe - excitement, enthusiasm, cute as the dickens.

Hoss - stable, kind, protective, cute in the big lug kind of way.

Adam - dark, mysterious, an element of danger and violence. Sexy as hell. Handsome.

Ben - Buttloads of money, land and security, the wisdom and patience of age, distinguised good looks.

Hopsing - practical, down-to-earth, common sense. Cutest when he's angry.

Posted by: Donna B. at October 2, 2008 07:26 PM

While I doubt as many men watched "Designing Women" as women watched "Bonanza" it would be interesting to take those characters and see how well they "make" a perfect woman. How would they be paired with the Cartwrights?

hmm... then you'd Meshach Taylor paired with Hop Sing.

ohnevermind.

Posted by: Donna B. at October 2, 2008 07:33 PM

Woman, that is some kind of messed up :p

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 07:35 PM

And as for your comment about choosing a man that other men respect, well, I think I'm getting a crush on you.

Grim: he's just a chick magnet!

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2008 07:39 PM

But will he stay on the refrigerator door?

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2008 03:07 AM

Intelligence (general -- wisdom and IQ)
Spontaneity (balance out my own tendency for ruts)
Tall (dunno why, always liked tall, leggy femmes)
Independent (not a big fan of clingy women)
Attractive (hey, what can i say... I'm a guy)

by "Independent", I mean I like to feel wanted and needed, but I don't like helpless women, either. It's a partnership, not a dependency.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at October 3, 2008 06:30 AM

> But will he stay on the refrigerator door?

Depends on how (and where) you apply the superglue.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at October 3, 2008 06:30 AM

> I started reading this thinking, "Now I'll finally understand what men want!" Not. You guys confuse the hell out of me.

Oh, my. Trust me, mam'selle -- The confusion is very mutual.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at October 3, 2008 06:34 AM

> That said, if I had one suggestion for women looking for a mate besides "Find a man who forgives you when you hurt him," it would be this: Find a man that other men respect.

1) If he's good at hitting on you, run. Run fast. Do not pass go, do not... well, you get the picture. Hitting on women is a *skill*. The more a guy practices, the better he gets. What does that tell you about any guy who is good at it? Second questions: Do you really, really imagine that, having made the literally YEARS of effort to be good at that, that he's going to suddenly stop when he meets *YOU*? Right. When women complain that men "screw around", the reply is, "Perhaps you ignore the guys who don't."
2) As a result of "1", above -- Don't make him do all the work. The more you expect him to do, the more likely the guy who doesn't do it well is to completely screw things up.
3) If you want another measure, find out (best if a guy checks it out for you) how he really thinks/feels about his mother. You don't want a guy who is overly attached to her (I swear: I know a guy who took his mother along on his honeymoon. What a party that had to have been.). OTOH, if he hates his mother, that's an almost sure sign that he hates women on a deep level (I suspect/assume that a similar extension can be made between women and fathers -- that dynamic tells you a lot about what a women is looking for in men). This connection seems obvious, but it doesn't seem to be applied very much, in my experience.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at October 3, 2008 06:46 AM

Cass wrote:
2. Perceptiveness/empathy: Nothing is more frustrating to me than being asked to read someone else's mind.

Men aren't women. It's bad enough that we women have to figure out what our kids want all the time when they're screaming bloody murder and being completely unreasonable.

I'm not going to disagree, but I do need to was the Finger of Shame here back at our female readers. This goes both ways and needs some understanding. When I notice that my wife is upset and ask "what's wrong?" the answer "nothing" is NOT communicating. Sure I immediately know it's something I did, but this garbage about "you should know" is NOT communication, it's spite. It doesn't happen much (hopefully because I don't upset her too often), but it's very passive aggressive. Men aren't mind readers either. Nor are we as good at reading non-verbal cues.

If you (women) want something, say it straight and honestly (don't hint, we're bad at hints). If we miss a hint or non-verbal cue, it's NOT that we don't care (generally speaking of course... there are guys who won't, I can't speak for them), it's that we didn't get it.

And another thing, if you ask a guy "what are you thinking" and he says "nothing", it IS possible that he's telling the truth. There are periods of the day where I actually let the big grey Delco power down. Apparently, mentally shifting into neutral looks a lot like deep thought. Now, I may be odd in that I'm not very good about hiding my feelings in private with my wife, and that I believe the best way to handle any hurt feelings are to talk about it rather than stoically bear it, but heck, I can't speak for an experience I don't know.

I've cried in front of my wife maybe five times in our twelve years of marriage. Each time she knew exactly why. That ratio is much different on the other side. Either she wouldn't tell me, I knew immediately, or I had to drag it out of her. But yet men are the ones with trouble communicating?

"I'm not comfortable talking about this" or "Jeez, do we have to massage this to death, womyn???" :p

The first has never crossed my lips. I've never felt uncomfortable discussing anything with my wife. Hell, if I can't trust her, who can I trust? As for the second, every single time I've said anything remotely similar, it's caused her feelings to get hurt. And here's the way that goes down:

She says something. I discuss it with her before making up my yes or no response. I give her that yes or no response. If that yes or no went to her preference, I'm pretty much done with the conversation, because I agreed with her. Then she continues to extol the virtues of her preference. And continues to. And continues to. I've already agreed with her, so I tell her "I understand, that's why I agreed, we don't have to talk about it more." Hurt feelings.

Now, if I disagreed with her and she continues to try and sell me on it, that's fine. I expect that. I'm not one to "put my foot down", as I think it's kind of childish to refuse to hear arguments (as long as they're logical) that might change my mind. When I've disagreed with her and made it stick, it's not because she didn't get a chance to explain her side sufficiently, and I'm ok (and actually feel good about it). If with a fair hearing, I am not convinced, then I'll go with my choice. But why keep talking about it after I agreed? At that point it comes across as taunting (I'm right and yes you've agreed, but now I'm going to give you five MORE reasons why I was right).

Posted by: MikeD at October 3, 2008 09:50 AM

I've really got to cut down on the walls of text here.

Posted by: MikeD at October 3, 2008 09:51 AM

You sound just like my husband :p

And to be honest, I do those things too at times.

Just because I say things here doesn't mean I am perfect :p But, I am trying to improve. And I am learning to let things go now. Sometimes now, we have disagreements and I can actually let_it_go_without_talking_about_it!!!!

You know why?

Because finally, I know enough about how he thinks. That is all I ever needed.

The talking is just so I know what not to do next time. I want - and need - to understand him. Not change him. But understand how he feels.

It is DEFINITELY true that sometimes I wish he were different. He wishes I were different sometimes. One way we are different, men and women, is that women can't easily put disagreements out of our minds.

Men can compartmentalize. But if I have a fight with my husband, I feel physically ill. I can't eat or sleep until it is resolved. So I will work, or exercise, or go for a long drive. But my life is disrupted. I need to resolve it. He can put it aside into a compartment of his mind and not process it, but my world isn't right until I fix whatever is wrong between us.

I think this is because men and women rank personal relationships so differently. To men they tend to be more peripheral and to women they are central to our lives.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 10:07 AM

Also, on the 'nothing' thing?

Sometimes, when women say 'nothing', it may be because they are trying not to cry.

Not always, but sometimes.

I have done that a few times. It bothers me that when I get angry, I tend to start crying. That puts me at a disadvantage, and also I'm aware that men can't stand it when a woman cries, but I can't help it. And lastly, I can control my emotions pretty well until someone starts feeling sorry for me, but as soon as a big pair of shoulders comes along, I start blubbering away like a big baby.

I swear to God, it must be something genetic :p

So if you get the "nothing" when you ask what's wrong, it may be because she is trying not to cry.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 10:14 AM

"...I do need to wa[g] the Finger of Shame here back at our female readers."

Um, Mike, I would respectfully request you not point that in MY direction, please. Seriously.


"When I notice that my wife is upset and ask "What's wrong?" the answer "Nothing" is NOT communicating. Sure I immediately know it's something I did,..."

So, "nothing" is communicating. If the answer to "what's wrong?" is anything other than something you did, ie. dented the car, bad day at work, traffic, etc., does your wife tell you so? If so, then "nothing", it seems to me, is the method your wife has developed for telling you specifically that it's something you have done. That is communication.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 12:11 PM

Well, I think Mike has a valid point. If you want behavior to continue, you reward it. If you want it to go away, you punish it or ignore it.

If you are upset and you want your husband to care/ask you what is wrong/talk to you and when he does, you respond with "nothing", what did you just do?

That's bullshit. The man is thinking, "OK. I just did what she SAID she wanted. NOW WTF am I supposed to do? She is playing games with me. Obviously something is wrong. I asked. She won't talk.

Me? I would walk away at that point because in my head there is this little voice saying, "Bitch...." :p

Sorry, but there it is. And I have been (sad to say) the person saying "Nothing", too. But I can see the other side of this, which I really hate.

The thing is, even when I have said, "nothing", I have also then come back and talked about it. Sometimes I just needed a moment to get myself under control so I didn't say something I would regret. So maybe I couldn't talk right that second, but if I waited a minute or two, I would be fine.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 12:19 PM

The thing about me is (and everyone is different) I don't want to argue when I'm really angry because I don't want to say something awful.

And we can all do that under duress.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 12:21 PM

Final thought: is the Finger of Shame one of those funny giant foam fingers? :)

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 12:22 PM

As I understand the concept, communication is the development of methods through which two (or more) people can understand each other -- whether that be through talking, music, sign (or sigh) language, whatever. From what Mike said, he and his wife have apparently come to understand that if she says, "Nothing." He knows it's something he's done. That is communication -- for them.
However, the same methods of communication do not necessarily transfer from person to person.
In our private conversations, were I to say, "Bitch, please", you would (I hope by now) understand that I wasn't calling YOU a bitch, but was simply making an exclamatory comment about whatever subject we were beating into the ground at the time. 0>;~} I would not even remotely consider making such a comment to my Mom (or many other people, for that matter) no matter what the subject was.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 12:55 PM

. . . let's say define the ideal woman using between three and five characteristics . . . .

I can do this with one characteristic:

--Be Mrs. KJ.

Posted by: KJ at October 3, 2008 01:10 PM

This is where I have to differ from you, my friend :p This is just my take, but this is how I see it.

This is what I'd have to call a tease: all that has been "communicated" is "You f----d up big time, but I'm not gonna tell you what you did. Now you need to play read my mind, and if you guess wrong, you'll be in the doghouse for the duration."

That is not how adults relate to each other. I would walk away from that kind of crap so fast it would make your head spin.

If I suspect I've hurt someone, I'll show concern. I will even apologize even though I don't think I was the one who did something wrong. A lot of times I'm clueless about this stuff b/c I tend to assume I don't play a very big role in other people's lives and have been surprised on more than one occasion to find that some small thing I said or did meant far more than I thought to someone, much to my discomfort. And I would never deliberately hurt anyone, so if I find out I have, I apologize immediately.

But the moment I start to think someone is manipulating me or pulling emotional blackmail I walk away, because I don't do games. Adults have to take responsibility for their own feelings. We can't expect other people to read our minds - it's just way too difficult and the chances of getting it wrong are too great.

When Mike's wife says, "Nothing", nothing additional is communicated b/c the reason he asked is that he ALREADY KNEW something was wrong! (that's why he asked). So now he is left with the crappy certainty that he is in the doghouse and he has no idea WTF he did. How is he supposed to fix that?

Not helpful.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 01:12 PM

I would like to think that my husband would say that about me, however I heartily suspect that he would not :p

Mrs. Yu-Ain and Mrs. KJ must be paragons of womanly virtue :) That is the ultimate compliment.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 01:16 PM

And as for your comment about choosing a man that other men respect, well, I think I'm getting a crush on you.

Grim: he's just a chick magnet!

You folks are funny. :)

Still, I meant the advice in all seriousness. Looking back on my misspent youth, O, how many of those wonderful young ladies I knew who did not understand this point. So they'd date people with drug addictions, or those who weren't just unemployed but had no interest in employment; sure fire heartbreak, that.

I'm not suggesting that women shouldn't have their own 'chemistry' reasons for dating a man or not. I am saying, though, that other men are a good indicator of what your man is worth. If you're thinking about long term prospects with a man, see what other men say about him, and more particularly, watch how they treat him.

I think they are less in the heroic mold, Grim. Also they are less the "pure" masculine type. So while they are probably less admirable, they are also probably more true to life.

That's putting the cart before the horse.

The thing that matters is the vision. The best kind of man, no matter where you go, has a vision of the Beautiful that he is following like a star.

My grandfather was exactly like every John Wayne movie ever made. You can't say that these actors today are more 'true to life' for his life than John Wayne: and the reason for that was, he modeled himself on the movies, on Zane Grey westerns, on an ideal of beauty that informed and transformed his daily life.

And if you wanted to see a man that other men would step aside for, this was him.

Art shouldn't chase after life, in order to make characters no more admirable than the people on the street. That's a race to the bottom: the people become less admirable when they have no vision to chase, and the art just follows them down.

The praiseworthy thing is not the actor who successfully emulates the world. It is the actor who successfully transforms the world. That is the power of the thing. It is the reason that art matters.

Posted by: Grim at October 3, 2008 01:45 PM

Grim, I am the last person in the world to say that's a good thing. I"m just saying that's the way it is.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 01:50 PM

I never expect you to agree with me. 0>;~}

However, one last point I would like to make:
If, for example, after being asked, "What's wrong?" you tell your husband you had a bad day at work, does that end the conversation completely? Or is there more after that -- "Well, what happened?" "Why?" etc.? My point being, if one knows that when that person says, "Nothing", it really is something they have done, then that, in my mind, is the same opening to a conversation as "I had a bad day at work." Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that every time someone says, "Nothing." that it means the same thing as it does to Mike and his wife. It does, however, seem to have a specific meaning in the method of communication that they have developed.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 01:57 PM

In that case, I tend to fall back on The Rule:

No Matter What The Man Says Or Does Next, He Will Be Not Just Wrong, But Wrong/Bad (And He Must Be Spanked)

Repeatedly.

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 02:07 PM

Pouting works, too.

I have an extremely cute pout. I don't use it very often because I can almost never whip it out without laughing in mid-pout.

It tends to ruin the dramatic effect :p

Posted by: Cass at October 3, 2008 02:08 PM

To a certain extent, you're right Sly... it is a form of communication to be told "nothing". But it's also untrue. If I'm unhappy and you ask me what's wrong, and I go on about how someone at work got on my nerves, but the actual reason I'm upset is because of something you did, is that helpful? In this case, I've learned that "nothing" means me. Twelve years have taught me much about the way she communicates. But that doesn't really make it any more helpful.

So I've narrowed down that I've done something wrong. Ok... but where to go from there? Did I forget to take out the garbage? Did I not do the dishes? Did I forget to take care of something else? Did I say something wrong fifteen minutes ago and just not realize it? How do I apologize for doing (or not doing) something with no frame of reference. Sometimes pressing for details brings it into the open. Sometimes it just gets me deeper in trouble. There's no telling until I try.

My current plan of attack is, "Clearly I've done something to upset you, I am not sure what it is, but I'm sorry. You know I don't try to intentionally hurt you." That generally gets a good response as I am letting her know her feelings are important to me. But really, if she told me up front, we could avoid possible miscommunication. In my case, it's not so bad. I've worked a lot of this out. But I am friends with a young married couple (coming up on their first anniversary). They still don't have a good grasp on this stuff. I try to help, and generally she goes "Exactly! If Mike understands this, why can't you." At which point I'll remind her that he's not been married for a decade. It's learned stuff. It doesn't come naturally to guys.

Posted by: MikeD at October 3, 2008 02:30 PM

Oh and something else. My wife is NOT a harridan. I don't want to give anyone any such impression. She's an imperfect person, and so am I. Were I perfect, I'd never tick her off, would I?

Cass, you mentioned compartmentalization. To an extent it's true. I can utterly shut out something I have no control over. I don't worry about things I can't do anything about. After I take a test, or finish a project, I have zero stress about it. It's done. Worrying does no good after the fact, so I don't. And so it is with an argument. If I press for the root cause of the problem and get rebuffed, then either the problem is not so bad as to make a federal case out of it, or she'll eventually tell me. But I can't let it eat me, because I can't fix something when I can't find out what's wrong.

Posted by: MikeD at October 3, 2008 02:35 PM

Must. Resist. Temptation.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 02:36 PM

Ok, I didn't try to resist at all.....
heh
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 02:40 PM

Lord, I just can't shut up, can I?

Crying. I don't HATE when women cry, I feel bad and want to make it better. Crying provokes compassion in me. I dunno. One of the earliest fights the bride and I had (forget what it was about), she went to the bedroom crying. I followed her in to talk about it. She was in shock! "You can't talk to me, I'm crying!" Apparently, in her parents' house, if she was crying she'd have to go to her room to calm down before talking about it. That didn't fly in my parents' house. You were upset, you talked about it. It was the only way to clear the air.

Now, I understand about not wanting to speak in anger Cass. I do it myself. But I've found that even angry I won't say something hurtful just to make myself feel better, and honesty always seems to be a better choice than a tactical retreat that leaves the other party confused about what just happened.

Posted by: MikeD at October 3, 2008 02:42 PM

Spanking Sly? I hope that's what you were referring to!

Posted by: MikeD at October 3, 2008 02:43 PM

"At which point I'll remind her that he's not been married for a decade. It's learned stuff."

You just said a mouthful.

"It doesn't come naturally to guys.
It doesn't come naturally to all women, either.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 02:47 PM

Actually, Mike, I was commenting to Cassandra.....I just took too long getting it up and your's got in ahead of mine.

0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 02:49 PM

I just took too long getting it up and your's got in ahead of mine.

Must. Resist. Multiple. Straight. Line. Trap...

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2008 03:05 PM

I didn't get a bad impression of your wife at all, Mike. You clearly love her very much and you seem to be very smart. You wouldn't pick someone who was like that. Like I said, I've done some of those things myself. Not all the time, but I've done them, too. People do all sorts of illogical things when they're upset :p Trust me - I could write a book on that subject.

I try not to cry during an argument for two reasons:

1. It only makes me angrier because I feel like I'm not in control of my emotions and the other person is, and

2. I worry that it will be perceived as being manipulative, which isn't fair because I genuinely have no control over it. I hate crying. It's embarrassing.

But it is a thing that women do every once in a while.

re: Mike's "current plan of attack" :p

That is pretty smart. That would go over well with me too.

Nine times out of ten when I'm upset, what I'm really mad about is the perception that the other person doesn't care about me. This is where guys get into so much trouble if they go all stubborn.

It they would just take a moment to be the big, loveable teddy bear (even though they don't feel like it in the middle of an argument) they would *so* get lucky, later on :p

Posted by: I am going to the bad place for this... at October 3, 2008 03:06 PM

"Must. Resist. Multiple. Straight. Line. Trap..."

Chicken

Heh
You should have seen what I edited from to get *there*.
0>:~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 03:27 PM

You should have seen what I edited from to get *there*.

I can imagine.

Ummmm -- 10% of it, anyway.

Heh...

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2008 04:10 PM

It bothers me that when I get angry, I tend to start crying. That puts me at a disadvantage, and also I'm aware that men can't stand it when a woman cries, but I can't help it. And lastly, I can control my emotions pretty well until someone starts feeling sorry for me, but as soon as a big pair of shoulders comes along, I start blubbering away like a big baby.

I swear to God, it must be something genetic :p

If it is, then me must be related. ;) And ditto on the game-playing aspects of the "nothing" response, too.

Posted by: FbL at October 3, 2008 06:22 PM

"...then me must be related..."
???
Well, ok,......if you must.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2008 08:19 PM

Oh, geez... I've been absolutely incompetent this week (amazing i didn't write "incontinent" instead, huh?). :P

Posted by: Fbl at October 3, 2008 11:27 PM

Well......, technically, you did.
*snicker*
heh
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 4, 2008 01:24 AM

Please direct all incontinent comments to the Hollywood Guilt-Tripping thread.

Thank you for your consideration. We now return you to our usual fare of innuendo and double-enten

*whap!*

Ow!

Posted by: BillT at October 4, 2008 05:59 AM

Actually, Mike, I was commenting to Cassandra.....I just took too long getting it up and your's got in ahead of mine.

Don't slow down, Sly. Slowing down would be dangerous.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 4, 2008 10:47 AM

I'm not firing on all cylinders this week.

That's cause you are saving on gasoline, right?

3-5 traits.

Support

Charisma

Determination

A Classical Liberal (not one of the fakes)

Support means that if I'm in a fight I expect her to pull her own weight and maybe even protect my back. Support financially means not spending all the money, hers or mine. Not a miser, but not Paris Hilton/Al Gore either, people.

Charisma may mean physical beauty but it also means verbal wit and the ability to communicate and convince. This is why I put support first, because those with charisma that just make you do things, because obviously you sacrificing for her while she sits around pretty and safe is such a wise thing in a relationship, are no better than politicians like Biden and Obama.

Determination is the single most important character trait I admire in both real and fictitious individuals. Admire is a weak word. It is actually love. It is the ideal.

A classical liberal in my view isn't someone who shares the same political views as me. It is someone who cares about injustice, equality, and fairness with her whole heart. Someone who loves justice but also hates injustice. She can even be an Obama supporter, so long as she supports Obama for the right reasons amidst the wrong facts and interpretations of facts. There is no limitation on where a classical liberal resides, for it is a matter more of heart and instinct than intellect or knowledge.

My definition of love is simple. Something I would be willingly and eager to kill or die for.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 4, 2008 10:59 AM

It would be better just to punch a person in the nose and be done with it than all the passive-aggressive, "Oh, it's so nice that they are finally putting some style into the larger sizes" sort of nastiness.

Reminds me when Kaylie went to a ball with the "Ton" in Firefly.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 4, 2008 11:03 AM

Short and sweet:
My ideal woman is someone who is able to live without me... but doesn't want to.

Sorta describes my wife of 42 years.

Posted by: bud at October 7, 2008 06:43 PM

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