May 27, 2009

What do men want?

I keep thinking about this fascinating comment, written by rhhardin in last Friday's post "Women are unhappier than ever":
[Women are unhappy] from doing stuff women are not interested in, encouraged by the idea that women ought obsess on the same stuff as men, as if what was satisfying ought to be the same across the sexes.

Unhappiness is aided by a tendency to find stuff for men to fix, whose survival value is testing of potential mates for reliability and fondness. Finding stuff for men to do requires finding something that's wrong.

In a perfect world, that's followed by showing the man who was out on the quest that you're satisfied with him, which makes him happy.

This story is told over and over in Get Smart, wildly popular with males in the 60s.

I think being in touch with feelings is really just looking for stuff that needs fixing, the initial move in the dialog.

To help you think about that:

40 comments:

Treacle said...

an endless supply of more men

ricpic said...

Well, it's an effort to get the stench of Treacle's comment out of my nostrils, but the answer to the question is: men want to protect.

Palladian said...

Well, it's an effort to get the stench of ricpic's comment out of my nostrils, so let's go back to Treacle idea: an endless supply of more men. More hot men!

traditionalguy said...

Men want rewarding work and a wife and family. All three are under attack as the culture tries to adjust its values to live in an era of abundance and selfishness with little work needed.

NKVD said...

Agent 99 works for me.

Sofa King said...

Purpose.

Treacle said...

rewarding work? I prefer the lottery.
wife? I prefer the above-mentioned endless supply of more men.
family? sure - kids will be nice when I'm 80 and need someone who would feel guilty about not coming over and changing my diaper.

NKVD said...

Agent 99 - she is teh hotz! Never saw that episode before - hoowee - she sure looked good.

Anyway, if we are in a replay of the malaise 70s, then the 90s must have been the 60s to whatever we call the oughts, and if so, then the question becomes, who was the Agent 99 of the 90s?

rhhardin said...

Actually that was the first episode where Max kissed 99, I even pulled off the photo here.

The Lie Pills were a defense against the KAOS rock'n'roll music. He kissed her under the influence of lie pills, claiming he didn't want to. The logic wasn't perfect, but it gave the audience the moment they'd been waiting for.

Her showing up Max with superior intellect happened from time to time but was a mistake in the drama for a quick joke. They had other detours, like some single-episode I-love-Lucy marriage screwups, when the writers lost their way in the last couple of years.

The overarching series had some important crisis in each episode that needed fixing, and Max the shining knight in attitude if not competence going off to fix it, and screwing up as men do (being average on the average); and 99 showing Max that she was satisfied with him anyway.

The jokes weren't really funny as jokes but in what they stood for; the jokes stood for the guy being a normal guy and screwing up. Every man is thinking where can I get a 99.

Feldon's gloss of the part of 99 was that her role was to show Max that Max loved her. But that came out as 99 always showing Max that she was satisfied with him, and that in turn made the series a hit.

So in short this particular clip isn't representitive of what usually happened (99 showing up Max), but more of a writer's screwup for a quick joke.

Sofa King said...

who was the Agent 99 of the 90s?
Dana Scully?

Treacle said...

Correction, Sofa King. Agent 99 was the Agent Scully of the 60's.

Beth said...

Agent 99 was an early crush for me, so I suppose that's an answer to "what do [some] women want?"

Beth said...

I mean really, at five, I could see the clear appeal of 99 over Maxwell. We figure this out very early on.

rhhardin said...

Feldon says that she was an early feminist (in some sense) role model for little girls, to judge from her mail.

It may be.

The guys though wanted the showing of satisfaction in spite of screwups.

RR Ryan said...

I thought Max was hot. And I was five.

k*thy said...

For women with higher expectations, it means they will be easier to disappoint.

“Finding stuff for men to do requires finding something that's wrong.” There’s always something wrong, isn’t there? The reliability of your mate to take care of those things that are “most wrong” is important. At a basic level, the unit has to survive. Sharing the burden, taking roles, is the safest way to make it.

Meade said...

I was eight. All I wanted was Max's shoe phone.

bagoh20 said...

Different men want different things as demonstrated by Treacle and Palladian. What many men want, I'm afraid, is only available in stories from a bigger planet of the past. Our modern world is painfully devoid of real adventure, risk that pays in discovery and opportunity for the lone wolf or lone pack thereof. We are trapped fighting the politics of morsels in a pantry with too many idle eyes upon us, snickering and touching themselves.

muddimo said...

"We are trapped fighting the politics of morsels in a pantry with too many idle eyes upon us, snickering and touching themselves."

That's some fine writing. So true too.

muddimo said...

FYI,

When women ask "What do men want?" they don't mean gay men. "Moar c*ck" isn't exactly a relevant insight for their purposes.

Pogo said...

I'm just here for the food.

Salamandyr said...

When women ask "What do men want?" they don't mean gay men. "Moar c*ck" isn't exactly a relevant insight for their purposes.I think most men wish this to be the answer to "What do women want?"

muddimo said...

Yes, Salamandyr, but the real answer is more $$$!

muddimo said...

In answer to the question: to be loved, needed and considered competent.

But see my immediately preceding comment.

Pogo said...

Rhhardin is onto something, to be sure. Deborah Tannen often wrote about men's attempt to fix something, and how this would interfere with male-female conversations when she was just venting.

The anxiety of an unfulfillable demand for service makes certain discussions with my wife or my daughter impossible for me.

I cannot fix it, they don't want me to fix it, but I have to fix it. I feel like the computers on Star Trek that explode because of illogic.

Probably just me, though.

jdeeripper said...

...last Friday's post "Women are unhappier than ever".

Adam Carolla complains about women

Dad Bones said...

The more you can fix, the less you have to buy. Hard times ahead? The fixers will help get us through.

dbp said...

Pogo said...

"Probably just me, though".

No. Not just you. They want us to listen patiently and somehow show concern. Then offer no suggestions, just give them a hug.

Learn how to do this and at least half of your disputes won't happen. It feels manipulative but seems to be what they want from us.

A leaky faucet--they want action NOW!

dbp said...

The trick is to figure out how to tell the difference between "a leaky faucet" and a "problem" requiring, or rather demanding no action.

BJM said...

Men want not to be asked what they want.

bagoh20 said...

"The trick is to figure out how to tell the difference between "a leaky faucet" and a "problem" requiring, or rather demanding no action."I'm not sure they want you to know which is which. As long as you are confused, they can enjoy your peril.

Methadras said...

Men are complicated but in subtle ways that baffle most modern women. Men want all sorts of things, but they want them in the simplest ways possible. Women are the inverse. Thank you.

bagoh20 said...

"Men want all sorts of things, but they want them in the simplest ways possible. Women are the inverse. "This seems very true to me. Which explains the extreme simplicity of this entire post and comments. Nuance is a feminine value.

Ofc. Krupke said...

What I got from that clip is that women want a man who can punch an evil hippie in the face.

Consider it done, milady! :)

Bruce Hayden said...

Deborah Tannen often wrote about men's attempt to fix something, and how this would interfere with male-female conversations when she was just venting.

I don't think that is quite it. Yes, men typically want to fix things, and that is part of the language barrier. But it is more that we use language to communicate information, whereas women also use it for other purposes, such as bonding and venting. So, to some extent, female-speak is wasteful from a male point of view, since a lot of it is spent on other things than communicating facts.

Another thing though that men want from women is a chance to be the hero. This ties in with the other point on Dr. Tannen. The result of this is that if a woman tells a man to do something, he often resents it, whereas if she says please, he can be her hero, and does it willingly.

Heck, a lot of women don't even tell the guy what they want him to do. Rather, they just hint at it, and figure that a woman would do it so that that it would make them happy. I remember that my motherwould tell me that it would be nice if something were to happen. I would reply that, yes it would, and then not do it, since she hadn't actually asked me to do it (at which point, my father would say "Do It!"). Men typically don't respond well to this sort of hinting around, since we don't get a chance to really be the hero (unless, of course, the woman makes up for her lack of tact in not actually asking for what she wanted by thanking us profusely).

blake said...

I, for one, am shocked Althouse lacks a "Larry Storch" tag.

Eric said...

All this reminds me of the "I'm thirsty" scene from White Men Can't Jump.

Revenant said...

What do men want?

Jeff Foxworthy said it best:

I have found that because women are complicated they like to think men are complicated too. You ever hear a group of women talking to each other? "Oh I wish I knew what he was really thinking!". Ladies, I'll tell you what were really thinking. We're really thinking "I'd like a beer and I'd like to see something naked"

Issob Morocco said...

Two veterans of Tennessee Tuxedo in a great episode of Get Smart.

Larry Storch as Groovy Guru, also was the voice of Phineas J. Whoopee, while Don Adams, Get Smart, was Tennessee tuxedo.

Nice vid.

tariely said...

цензовый электрошокер для подруги.