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What do men want? I don’t know. Love, sex, a corn beef sandwich on rye perhaps?

We see article after article about what men really want in a relationship. And I’m personally like, who cares? Call me jaded but whenever I used to be concerned about what the opposite sex wanted or ways of thinking is when I would find myself in the most undesirable of situations.

He was tall, brown skinned with dreads down his back. A former college basketball player now turned after-school youth counselor and very much sought after by ladies between the ages of 16 to 60. Yeah, he was that fine and on one cloudy summer day, I had caught his eye.

We were at a community festival, working the table for some playground committee we both served on. I was new to the committee. Therefore I was solely on duty to hand out information about our activities and program. He came later on, saw me, walked over and whispered in this deep baritone voice, “So when are you going to let me have your number?” Ooh Wee. My co-committee member had told me that Mr. Tall & Handsome had his eyes on me, but warned that he was a lady killer. Naw, that ain’t going to happen to me, I’ve been celibate and reading books about the ways to a man’s heart. I was smarter and thanks to all my reading, prepared.  I played it cool because that’s what my book told me to do.

Everything I read said that it is best to keep a man waiting and guessing, never showing him your hand and most importantly, never seem eager. But as the sun began to set on the festival, my admirer became more persistent.  So after the fifth time of asking me for my number, which by advice of the relationship expert was two more times needed, I decided that I would not give him my number – instead I asked him for his number, since men like it when a woman takes charge – this again, according to the relationship experts.

Later on that evening, we were on the phone. The relationship experts said it is important to maintain an air of mystery, because men like mysterious women, so when Mr. Tall & Handsome asked me about myself, I kept it cool and mostly hushed.  And when he told me about what he was into, which was mostly basketball, I feigned interest even though I was into football and my only knowledge of the game started and ended at the team colors. But the experts said that men liked women who shared in their interest.

I went through so many changes based upon what I thought he wanted.  I would listen closely, picking up hints and changing myself appropriately. He said that he was partial to the color purple, so I found ways of incorporating that color scheme into my wardrobe. He said that for health reasons, he didn’t eat red meat, so I got rid of all the hamburger meat, beef sausage and bacon in the freezer.  He said that he was really into metaphysics, whatever that is, so I went to the library and sat for hours, pondering the ambiguity of Schrödinger’s cat. And he said that he was partial to women with dreadlocks. And that’s the story about how I ended up locking my hair.

Anyway, Mr. Tall & Handsome would get tired of me eventually and move on. Besides not being ready for anything permanent (which I promptly ignored because all the relationship advice I’d read said that every man can change and it was our duty as women to convince them), he also said that he was hoping I would change his mind. However, I didn’t seem to have a mind of my own. Ouch that stung.  But he was right. I was so occupied with trying to fit his ideal image of the kind of woman that I thought he wanted, I forgot to really listen. I hated basketball and the only purple I liked was the movie. So was there anything about him, besides being tall and handsome, which met my list of wants and needs? And more importantly, what were my wants and needs?

Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden and a slew of other prominent relationship experts have made very fruitful careers explaining to women the ins and outs of what is on a man’s mind. And although Harvey and the rest are indeed men, they are only a few men and can’t represent fully the thinking of all men.  Therefore, the only kind of man that you will likely attract with Harvey’s advice is someone like Harvey. Now, if you are into high top fades and colorful suits with 52 buttons on the inside sleeve alone, then perhaps you will find some value in what they have to say. However, for the rest of us, with more varied tastes in men, their advice is a little unhelpful.

Plus, it is simply a waste of time to even try to think about all the different things on a man’s mind. For one, men don’t really go around begging to know what women want.  If they did, it would be a slew of female relationship experts exploiting that question for fame as well. Most men I know think they already know what women want. Matter of fact, if you were to ask a dude what women want, he is likely to say, his package. Okay I jest – sort of. I actually had a male friend, who said that to me before. “For real though, it’s not like we don’t care what women think, it is just we just don’t think about it much. We think about ourselves.”

As I have matured some in my relationships with the opposite sex, I have come to realize that most men will tell you what they are looking for. And as such, it is our jobs to not only believe them but also to be as honest and upfront in our dating as well. Forget about wanting to know what they think, I need to know how a potential partner could satisfy my needs. Can he be loyal and trustworthy? Can he make me laugh?  Is he smart and cultured? Does he like football and beef sausages? It is about you as much as it is about them. And if what he tells you sounds like exactly what you need–go for it. But if not, well in the words of Jay-Z, on to the next one. It’s really that simple.

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