Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 8 | August 13, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Slice of Life
   Human Rights
   Photo Feature
   Straight Talk
   Time Out
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks

   SWM Home


Straight Talk

What Women Want (and Don't Want) in a Man

Nadia Kabir Barb

"I'm sure he is a very nice person, but how can you expect me to like someone with overpowering body odour?" This comment and numerous other similar remarks made by friends and acquaintances made me realise something very simple. There seems to be a popular but not necessarily correct belief that women have a long list of requirements about the opposite sex. But in reality we only have a few basic necessities that take priority for most of us. Before you read on, I would request my male readers not to take the following observations personally or take affront but rather think of it as a glimpse into the female psyche. To put it bluntly here a few tips on what women want and don't want in a man. I know I am going to be treading on dangerous territory but I seem to be from the "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" school of thought. So here goes.

Let me get straight to the crux of the problem. Most women will tell you that personal hygiene is of the utmost importance. You've heard of the saying "cleanliness is next to godliness" but what you should know is that it is also at the top of the so-called list for women. No matter how good you look or how nice you are, bad breath and body odour will work like an anti charm. In other words, "you have to smell good to look good". Women are really not smell impervious and holding their breath and trying to converse is a skill we have not acquired yet. Smokers beware as you must be conscious of the fact that the smell of cigarettes clings to everything and "Eau de Cigarette Smoke" is a far cry from the endless number of after-shaves available these days. Dirty fingernails, spitting in public places amongst other things are also an anathema to the female contingency. I was also asked if I could mention the slightly delicate topic of visible nose and ear hairs. So here I am conveying the simple request that in the same way that people shave, if you could kindly take the time for a little snip here and a snip there you would be amazed at the difference it can make.

Something that many of my friends have commented about is the behaviour of their male colleagues. The consensus seems to be that either they ignore you completely despite having seen you in the workplace year after year, or go to the other extreme and behave in an over familiar manner and come out with crass remarks that can be both awkward and embarrassing. A balance of the two would be a good starting point.

How a man dresses is not something that weighs too heavily on our minds. Yes, it is always a bonus when a man is well dressed but it does not mean that designer clothes make a better impression. Although most women feel that net vests should be banned altogether! Once again we get back to the matter of hygiene and cleanliness freshly washed clean clothes are a must. So those of you who believe that jeans don't need to be washed and look better the more disheveled they are let me disabuse you of this notion. Washed and yes, even ironed jeans get the thumbs up. I won't go on about attire but one last thing, we've heard of women wearing hipsters but men wearing "chest-sters" i.e. wearing trousers above the waist is really not a good look!

Lets move away from the physical aspect of things and get to characteristics and personality. Kind, generous, funny are attributes that we all love but we would settle for one in every three. So many women complain about the fact that the men they know are either commitment phobic or uncommunicative. To understand a woman, you have to be able to communicate with her about things that may seem inconsequential to you but may matter to her. Whatever happens try to remember birthdays and anniversaries. If necessary put it in your diary, Palm pilot, Blackberry etc. in other words do whatever it takes but DO NOT FORGET. This will show her how considerate and caring you are. Insensitivity in a man is like a red flag to a bull. Nothing makes a woman more indignant than a man who is emotionally challenged and thoughtless. Double standards are also something that will make you extremely unpopular with the opposite sex. We like to be treated as equals and behaviour that borders on Neanderthal man does not create a great impression either. But then again we do like to be made special without being made to feel that our feminist sensibilities are being encroached upon.

Now we get to the so-called Metrosexual men of today who actually appear to embody some of the qualities that we seem to be looking for. They are well groomed, cleanliness is obviously important to them, seem to be sensitive to the needs of others, don't find it beneath them to be able to cook and are wonderfully domesticated. Although going too far and being too effeminate can also become a drawback. We still like a man to be a man but with many of the qualities found in women! There you go that's not so hard is it? Whoever said women were the more complex of the two sexes?


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004