Lessons in Love and the Desires of Women

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About Andy Bodle

Andy Bodle is a journalist, scriptwriter and blogger who has written for the Guardian, the Times, the BBC, and ABC. He lives in mortal fear that his greatest achievement will remain winning Channel 4's Countdown in 1993. You can read more on his blog, Womanology, and follow him on Twitter: @_Womanology_.


  1. Hi Andy
    You say:
    ✺”And if you can find love once, you can find it again. Right?”✺
    And you are right .
    Never give up on love.

    I enjoyed reading your article. Last weekend I did like you, tried to figure out want men want. I read hundreds of men’s profiles on Soulmates without looking at the photos. The impression I got was that many men want a funny woman,one that laughs a lot. (preferably a slim lady with a good sense of humor). That was a surprise to me,but I confess like them I
    do not look for a depressed partner.

    Maybe we look for the same,somebody that lifts us up and makes us feel good ,and not one that drags us down.

    Why you are single is a mystery to me.

    • Andy,

      “The New Man and the metrosexual seem to have been failed experiments. For all the cries of “I’ve had it with bastards”, most women are still gaga for swagger.”

      Now you get it. What women say and what they actually do are very different.

  2. OirishM says:

    Nice article Andy.

    Yes, women can be shallow too. But I found this passage interesting.

    But as a female friend pointed out, magazines, chick lit and Sex and the City are the female equivalent of pornography: the stuff of fantasy rather than reality.

    It is funny how female pornography and shallowness is condemned less than male pornography and shallowness, it would seem.

    • Female pornography as described above may be equally as shallow, set unrealistic expectations on the opposite sex and sometimes insult the male demographic as a whole. Unlike male porn it isn’t physically/psychologically addictive, it doesn’t depict men as vacuous childlike creatures only good for sex, not does it contain a potentially slippery slope leading to increasingly hardcore material such as staged/’consensual’ rape and torture, real rape and torture or, if one goes down that path, child rape and torture.

      • OirishM says:

        Of course it can be addictive. Anything can be, potentially. As for depictions, I think you might need to reread Andy’s précis of chick lit, where the men are basically wallets to have sex with, which is scarcely any better.

        The slippery slope is entirely of your own imposition. And you should have a dig around online for some of the really creepy fanfic/fetish writing written. Many of the writers and consumers are female. Visual porn for the most part stays within its limits as do the consumers of it. Written pornography is not bound by those same limits.

        I get that not everyone is wild about depiction of certain male fantasies, but arguments against it will actually need to be consistent with other forms of erotica that aren’t crusaded against in the same way. We’ll have our fantasies, you have yours. That said, even calling it “male pornography” is a bit of a misnomer. Many women enjoy that sort of pornography too.

  3. I enjoyed this article. And hey, you really rock the bald look so for some women this could be a plus.

    As a social worker, I understand the income issue – but I love what I do. It’s interesting that women such as Maureen Dowd at the New York Times complain men won’t date women who earn more, but of course we know we’ll be rejected so we don’t bother asking?

    Women today have more flexible gender roles because they’ve demanded it. Men in the aggregate have not. So the question for me is what we as men can do to create more male gender role flexibility.

    • “So the question for me is what we as men can do to create more male gender role flexibility.”

      Men have to develop the same mind set as women: become serial daters and serial monogamists. Neither is for me. But, I think this would work best for men, in the aggregate.

  4. PursuitAce says:

    Andy I applaud your attempts at understanding. As someone who has had a similar curiosity I’ve come to the conclusion that I should have stayed with astrophysics in college. That way I could have been working on something simpler, like unified field theory.
    My only conclusion about the whole question of what do women want is this. They want security camouflaged as danger and excitement.
    And to tag on to what Jules posted. My experience is that a man who’s an alpha or who can come across as an alpha can write his own ticket. Of course in so doing he often condemns the rest of us to a lifetime of living in an apologetic state for his behavior. Here’s a couple of scoops on alphas. First off you can’t tell them anything unless you’re another alpha. They just don’t give a @#$%. Which is part of their attraction and also leads to the damage that follows. And secondly the rest of us dislike them quite a bit, for reasons that are both pure and impure. So if you could, keep this in mind and give the rest of us a break when the inevitable “all men suck” conversation gets rolling. How about some men suck and we already know who they are.

  5. Megan Sailsbury says:

    Seems to me that you, as well as most of the people commenting so far, ignore your own caveat: “It’s nonsensical, some of you are thinking, to ask, “What do women want?”, as if all women want the same thing. Of course it is. People are individuals.”

    As you say, people are individuals, and women are actually people. Do women report popularity for certain traits? Of course. But that only matters if you want to end up married to “most women” instead of a woman. Furthermore, I guarantee you that a gamer chick isn’t attracted to the same traits as a New York socialite.

    What I’m getting at is that there are no rules of attraction. Just because something polls well doesn’t mean the woman you actually want gives a shit about it.

  6. James Stanuszek says:

    I am coming out of a marriage (only just a year) primarily due to a partner who couldn’t decide what she wanted from our relationship… at the base was her want to have security and companionship. But that turned out to not be enough.

    Being our second marriage each, we still had lots of baggage to resolve from our previous relationships. An unwillingness to express her wants and needs in a sharing manner vs a demanding manner set a tone of discord that she was resigned to “get over” rather than bond over…

    That being said, what women want is going to be as diverse as there are women. Just as men have varied interested and desires as to whom they find to be a perfect woman…

    Perhaps we need to ask different questions… as were really need to get different answers…

    Hmmm. might consider determining the Zen aspects of playing Chinese checkers.

  7. Fun essay!

    I think Cynthia Nixon (the actress who play Miranda) has voiced the same disenchantment with the in-your-face materialism and shoes/clothes obsession depicted on SATC…on a closer watching, the spiffy eye candy is often a symbol of something else much deeper….I have to confess: I loved the show (and Cynthia Nixon!)

  8. “And if you can find love once, you can find it again. Right?”

    Yes, yes, and yes!

  9. As a man who used the Alpha male qualities women were attracted to much to my benefit for years in obtaining the attention and desire of women I have found it increasingly difficult becoming the Shepherd type man I have always wanted to be. As opposed to more of a Wolf personality, which seems far more attractive to women.
    One of us needs to write a book on this issue I believe

  10. Donald Dysart says:

    I agree with you Chris. Alpha qualities are like a drug to women and vulnerability is like poison. I learned this after a breakup and I didn’t even want to talk to women, and they were very attracted to that attitude. Women can’t handle a man being vulnerable and men are most afraid of being perceived as weak. so being strong and manly is rewarded and reinforced. Brene Brown sums it up well in her interview with Krista Tippet http://www.onbeing.org you can listen to the show or read the transcript there. Here’s a quote that describes what she says.
    “You know, and so, I’ve come to this belief that, if you show me a woman who can sit with a man in real vulnerability, in deep fear, and be with him in it, I will show you a woman who, A, has done her work and, B, does not derive her power from that man.”

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