What Men Want

James Michael Sama has a popular blog and calls himself the leader of the “New Chivalry Movement.” It’s a neat bit of branding, I suppose. I’m sure I’d agree with Sama on pretty much everything; I’d just feel uncomfortable putting myself at the forefront of a “movement.” I mean, I’m not Martin Luther King. I’m just a dude with a keyboard and an opinion, you know? Anyway, in this listicle, which has already been shared over 8000 times, Sama says the same things that I’ve been saying for a decade. To his credit, he’s spot on. Let me count the ways:

We really aren’t that complicated.

Which is why I’m always surprised I run a website that says “Understand Men.” Usually, we do what we want, say what we mean, and are baffled when you look for alternate interpretations.

We want to protect you.

Yes, even if you technically don’t need protecting. It’s important for us to feel needed and that’s why smart, strong, successful women, who, technically don’t “need” men have a particularly hard time connecting with them.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

Sometimes we really don’t know what we want.

Of course, neither do you. It just seems so much more nefarious when a guy says it. That doesn’t mean he’s “playing games.” It means he has an existential question that he literally does NOT know the answer to – like, “do I want to marry this woman and spend the rest of my life with her?”

We want you to appreciate us. That is our reward for everything.

We’re not going to cheat on you.

Much has been written in this space on this topic, but if your debate is whether any given man is going to cheat on you, the numbers say that 6% will cheat in a given year, and 20-25% over the course of a lifetime. Therefore, 75-94% of men are NOT going to cheat on you. The fact that you’ve chosen cheaters says more about your taste in men and ability to judge character than it does about “men” overall.

We want to make you happy (and for you to tell us how).

This is one of my favorites. Women are perpetually disappointed in their boyfriends and are constantly aggrieved at all the things he’s not doing right or that he should be doing better. But usually that criticism comes out in the form of after-the-fact complaining and nagging, as opposed to being explicit up front about how the man who WANTS to please you can BETTER please you. Example: every client I have complains that men text too much. Virtually none of them have ever explicitly told the guy that it would make her happy to talk on the phone at the end of the night. As a result, they get frustrated that men aren’t making them happy, but they never actually told him HOW to make them happy. They think men should just figure it out on their own.

We seriously “didn’t mean it that way.”

A wonderful addendum to the “we want to make you happy” idea. My wife is excellent at giving me “mulligans” for my big mouth and wrote about how she does so in my bestselling book, “Why He Disappeared”. In other words, if he’s signed on as your boyfriend, and you take offense to something he said, I can assure you, he had no desire to offend you. You should always consider his intent, instead of reacting solely to your perceptions of what he meant.

If your first reaction to this is: “but men DO suck,” I have only one answer for you: choose different men.


You are good enough.

You don’t need to lose weight. You don’t need to get younger. You don’t need to make more money. You don’t need to develop more interesting hobbies. If   anything, you have to do the things on this list: don’t overthink, make us feel needed, trust us, accept the fact that we’re human and confused, believe it when we tell you we didn’t mean to hurt you, forgive him for such minor transgressions, and finally…

We want to know you appreciate us.

Why do we help you move apartments? Why do we pick up the check? Why do we buy you nice birthday gifts? Why do we fix your computer? Why do we try so hard to please you in bed? One reason: we want you to appreciate us. That is our reward for everything. Appreciate us consistently and we will continue to give you the world. Tell us how much we suck and are disappointing you, and very few men are gonna want to stick around.

And if your first reaction to that is: “but men DO suck,” I have only one answer for you: choose different men.

They’re out there, and not just the ones who write these kinds of blogs.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.