What Women Want
I think I need to email this article to Airport Guy with a few more dos and don’ts added.
London Sunday Times
March 04 2007
What she really really wants
Should you call her all the time or play it cool? Flirt with her friends or her mother? When it comes to keeping your woman happy, the rules change as she gets older. Shane Watson gives a decade-by-decade guide.
Fashion magazines have developed a habit of pigeonholing women by decade (what to wear in your twenties, the clothes that work in your thirties, blah blah blah). It’s maddening. But when it comes to handling the women in their lives, a decade-by-decade guide could be just what men have been looking for. Maybe the reason that the question “What do women really want?” has never been satisfactorily answered is because what they look for in their twenties is very different from what they want in their thirties and what they need in their forties. Just when men think they’ve got the hang of it (don’t be too available), age kicks in and the goalposts are moved (be very available and contactable at all times).
So, for the benefit of all the confused men out there — and the women still waiting to be understood — here’s our guide.
IN HER TWENTIES
– Be a bad boy — up to a point (NB That point is sleeping with her girlfriends). All twentysomethings love a rascal; it’s only later in life that the self-preservation gene starts to kick in.
– Tidy your bedroom before inviting her round. No matter how laid-back her vibe, she won’t be impressed if your flat looks like something off the set of Skins — check under the bed for takeaways.
– Make an effort to understand what she’s trying to tell you. When she says, “I’d just like to do something quiet next Wednesday,” she is probably thinking about that romantic little French place round the corner, not an evening watching Chelsea on the flat-screen telly at that pub nobody ever goes to.
– Remember to call her — two text messages in 10 days do not a relationship make.
– Buy her stuff you like the look of. At this stage, she will be touched that you have made the effort — later on, you won’t dare choose so much as a hair slide without consulting her, or her best friend.
– Compliment her a lot, particularly if she has had a slightly dodgy haircut. And never make the mistake of stating a preference. That apparently innocent question, “Did you like it more when it was longer?” is a trap and will come back to haunt you.
– Go clothes shopping with her — it will make her feel sexy.
– Be polite to her parents, but hope they disapprove — when is she going to rebel a bit if not now?
– Be a flirt — it will drive her mad, but she’ll lose interest if nobody else likes you.
– Be too available — she will think you are a loser. Instead, make sure you tell her you’re busy with self-improving projects such as writing a screenplay, as opposed to spending hours with your Xbox.
– Abandon your mates; she won’t respect you for it — never mind that if she was 20 years older, she would expect you to drop everyone you ever knew.
– Talk about the distant future. Women in their thirties and forties take it as a sign of maturity that you can discuss Easter in January, but twentysomethings find this claustrophobic.
– Be too possessive — it’s a definite turn-off. Women in their twenties expect to be able to flirt at parties and do exactly as they please without their boyfriend sulking. (By their forties, however, they are grateful for a bit of a reaction.)
IN HER THIRTIES
– Get in the adventure holidays. In a few years’ time, all she’ll want is a sun lounger on a beach in Mauritius, but for now, she’ll admire your intrepid spirit.
– Buy her some jewellery — it can be silver.
– Always pick her up from the station/Tube. In her twenties, she wanted to prove her independence, but that’s no longer an issue. Ditto open doors, carry suitcases, and so on.
– Be silly and occasionally reckless — she wants security, but secretly fears the prospect of trouser presses and Sunday barbecues.
– Allow her a separate, secret office life, including parties.
– Think it’s okay to hang out in large groups all the time.
– Be good friends with your ex — she may feel she has to indulge this or risk looking like a control freak, but you’re storing up trouble.
– Avoid conversations about marriage and babies. This is the decade when women are expected to tie the knot/get pregnant, so it’s important to be aware of this. A flirtatious “wait and see” is the attitude, not paralysis.
– Go clothes shopping with her — she’s become too good at it, and you’ll only get in the way.
– Believe her when she says she’s okay going home on her own. She isn’t.
– Play it cool — men who are too cool to dance start losing out now.
– Initiate reading in bed — if she picks up a book first, that’s okay — otherwise, you are insulting her in a way that you wouldn’t have been in her twenties.
– Be openly impressed by her closest female peers — she will take it as criticism.
– Notice someone else’s appearance and say, “Couldn’t you look like that?”
– Tease her about her cooking — it didn’t matter six years ago, but it does now.
IN HER FORTIES
– Give in to the continuing home- improvements project — even if you are forced to look at swatches for several hours every week.
– Anticipate violent mood swings and know that she is as taken aback by them as you are.
– Be preoccupied with work — women want as much of your attention as they can get until their forties, after which they have a sneaking respect for the man who has other priorities.
– Be available — not knowing where you are will irritate her rather than fan her ardour.
– Take care about when and whom you flirt with — if she is having a grey-hair day, then it could misfire.
– Indulge the incredibly high wedge-shoe moment and enjoy the fact that she is 6ft 3in.
– Accept her drunkenness as a charming aberration and never mention it the morning after.
– Be an adorer — women are happy to adore in their twenties and thirties, but tend to be ready for a rapid role reversal by the time they hit 40.
– Be nice to her girlfriends — she will love you for it.
– Get caught staring at her frown lines or crepy cleavage, and refuse to engage in conversations about the possible advantages of Botox/short skirts on older women — you can’t win. If necessary, pretend to black out.
– Expect to go dutch — she may have forgiven this in her thirties, but not now.
– Buy her presents you might both enjoy.
– Assume that the baby conversations are over, or the weight conversations — despite the half-stone loss.
– Underestimate juggling guilt, and be prepared to talk through the issues once a month — including reiterating your firm belief that the children really don’t love the nanny more than you. On no account ever say anything along the lines of, “Well, what you earn only just covers Magda, so maybe . . .”
– Mess up her hair/make-up before a party — in her thirties it was a joke, now it probably won’t be.
– Never, ever refer to her period, unless it’s definitely over.