What a Girl Wants…Really

Boiling down to the essence of a good man.


It’s a question on par with the meaning of life, the existence of god and the reality of time: What do women want in men?

When I asked my son, “What do you think a woman wants in a man?” he responded, “Someone who owns a chainsaw; who doesn’t drink out of a straw; and who is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent .”

Polling my girlfriends, I determined he’s mostly correct.

We confuse you. We confound you. Yet with one kiss you have the power to fluster us with teenaged butterflies and make our hearts soar. So we keep coming back, searching and hoping … and you keep wondering what in the world we want.

We want a tree.

At the age of 13, I knew exactly what I wanted in a man. I made a list in my Jan Brady diary, whilst lolling on my bed, radio tuned to KIIS FM. I knew the color of your hair, your eyes, the sort of music you played on your Gibson guitar, your preferred surfboard and the exact make of your car: shallow, schoolgirl ideas as frivolous as the leaves on a tree that flit to the ground each autumn.

In college, my list shifted to your career goals, hobbies, friends, political affiliation, the movies you liked, the books you read, common interests … These were your branches; the trunk that held you up, that would hold me as well. But trunks can split and crack and be cut down. Branches are just that—mere offshoots that sprout and grow from who you really are. I’d yet to determine who that was; what I really wanted.

In the life of a tree, leaves die and blow away, trunks sway, bend and even break, but it’s the roots that dig deep and grow where they are planted. It is the roots that hold up the tree that will shelter me from storms, shade me from sun, hold a swing for our children and give me flowers in the spring. (I’m a girl. I like flowers.)

Humor trumps possessions.
Ambition trumps wealth.
Honor trumps success.
Authenticity trumps fame.
Integrity and kindness trump all else.
And a gentleman is a gentleman is a gentleman.

Meet me at my level through the chaos of a day. Sit with me on the porch at twilight. Connect. Be there. Then be brave and stay there—because women want a strong man, not a tough man. Revere us. Cherish us. Love us. Don’t steal our hearts. Win our hearts.

Be the man I can respect and I will be a better person.
Be the better person, so I can look up to you.
And I will rise up to meet you.
Up at the top of that tree …
with butterflies.

Kathleen Laccinole is a freelance writer who pens a column about dating as a single mom under the pseudonym P. Charlotte Lindsay. It runs on several websites including esme.com.