Real Talk From Real Men


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It only took a smoky, dimly lit lounge and a few glasses of adult beverages after work for a group of otherwise professionally conservative corporate folks to drop their inhibitions and launch into the mother of all discussions. A discussion about the age old question that seems to always come up when men and women are hanging out together, “what do men really want from women?”

It seems no matter how many times this question gets asked and answered in magazine after magazine, including this month’s Essence, it continues to be one that never fails to strike up a spirited conversation. This time was no different. In true blogger fashion I took the opportunity to jot down a few responses from this diverse group of men. Just to be clear, the men ranged in age from early 30’s to mid 40’s, majority African American with one Caucasian American, and all had different marital statuses including married with children, divorced with children and single without children.

So when asked the question, “what do men really want from women?” here’s what these real men had to say:

  • It’s All in the Details – Men like a woman who cares enough to pay attention to the details when it comes to her appearance. Do the best with what you have to work with. Translation…heels, toes and nails done ladies. They went on and on about the appeal of a woman with a mean shoe game and were ready to stage a collective beat down on whoever it was that invented the ballet flat. (Side note: All the women in the group were wearing heels but had a pair of ballet flats in our bags!)
  • Break from the Group – Apparently (in my sarcastic voice) a group of more than three of us is intimidating for men to approach. So they suggested we should break from the group during the night to give a guy a fighting chance to get to know us away from our girls.
  • Carry-on Sized Baggage – No man wants to pay the price for your past hurts. So ladies, do the work to unpack that baggage and get it down to carry-on size.
  • Let Us Know We Matter – A man wants to feel like they matter, like you’re happy to be with “them” in particular. Little gestures like a hand on the knee, rubbing their head, or laughing at their jokes are how we can demonstrate that they matter to us.
  • Professional but Keep it Real – This group of men took a page out of rapper Ludacris’s book. They say every man wants a “lady in the street but a …” you finish the rest. They also want a woman they can basically take anywhere, whether its out with friends or to a business function.
  • Don’t Try to Fix Us – How many times have we heard this one? Stop trying to “fix” a man. No more projects ladies. They are who they are and while maturity and experiences may prove to change them over time, we should put a period to trying to actively be the catalyst for that change.
  • Profess, Protect, Provide – They all unanimously agreed with Steve Harvey’s statement from his “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” best selling book. The statement being that if a man really loves and cares about you, he will profess it outwardly and unabashedly when asked about you, he will do all he can to protect you (including things like taking care of your car, etc.) and he will want and try to provide for you.

As I was writing this article, I had an “a-ha” moment. My “a-ha” moment was this, while all of these answers came from men, the reality is they could have very well come from women too. I don’t know any woman who doesn’t want these same things. A man who cares about the details of his appearance, who is confident enough to break from his gaggle of guys, whose baggage doesn’t crowd his relationship with us, who let’s us know we matter, who can rock a Brooks Brothers suit or a pair of Timberlands, who will let us be who we are without trying to fix us and who will show his love by professing, protecting and providing for us.

So the question becomes, if we all want basically the same thing, why is it so difficult for us to give it to one another? Vyne readers, let us know what you think!



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7 responses to “Real Talk From Real Men

  1. DeAndra

    I think its funny that men don’t want us to try to change them but they sure try to do the same to us.

    • LB

      I second that one! They try and try and try, you need to wear this, you need to style your hair like that, you should do this instead of other…I’ve even had my mother-in-law try to make suggestions on what I need to change…I am 35 years old, I haven’t tried to change my husband ever, nor have I tried to change his 70 year old mother.

  2. Audrey

    I think ego gets in the way of men and women giving each other what they need…its like everyone wants their needs met first before they meet the other persons needs…

  3. Lorri

    Men and Women “say” that’s what they want but if the package that holds the intangibles isn’t what they want, then they don’t want that either 🙂 Also, I think people spend too much time trying to see what they can get out of their mate to benefit themselves without first offering up the things the mate needs from them. Perhaps if they do the latter first, folks may actually find what they’re looking for.

    Great Article Ladies!!

  4. Lauren

    It’s so interesting how men expect women to pack light, but in my experience, men carry WAY more baggage than women. I feel like most women can recover or actively trying to recover from past heartbreak because we really want to love again, but men hold on to what happened in the past much tighter. Like dudes well into their thirties are still using failed relationships from college to justify their mistrust of women now…DUDE that was like a decade and half ago and totally different season of life!!! *blankstare*

    • LB

      I totally agree with that one as well. If I can let go of past hurts when I was a young adult, you can let go of one that did you wrong in college!

  5. JB

    I think many brothers do feel like women want them to change, and I think that brothers often times want women to stay the same. Neither position is particularly good for a healthy, sustainable relationship. I believe that in our “fast food” type of culture we want it all now; most of us aren’t willing to work on developing a true partnership and we are often times looking for others to make us happy while also looking for ways to sabotage what may be a good thing because we’re afraid. In truth, no one else can make us happy, we have to own that for ourselves and when we do take the time to truly know ourselves, and love ourselves for who we are, maybe then we can accept someone else for who they are and build something worth having together. Most people don’t want to do the hard work of self-reflection.

    I’m currently reading “The 5 Love Languages” and rereading “The Mastery of Love.” I’m just beginning to realize how I give and receive love. I just realized that in past relationships I was not giving love in a way that my significant other needed to receive it and vice versa. I’m learning to think about the covenant part of love more instead of placing so much emphasis on the short term euphoria of the passionate love. Most brothers and sistas aren’t willing to put in that type of work on themselves.

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