Every month magazines have new tease lines revealing what men really want, and we turn the pages to find out.  We sit with our girlfriends at lunch and sift through the details of our relationships to find out what the guys in our lives are actually thinking.  Will he stay, will he go, is he into you, is it serious, are we moving forward, did we step back, does he love you, is he seeing someone else?  It’s exhausting, really.  Inevitably it does us no good either.  Even if someone were so inclined to change herself for the wants of the general male population,  it wouldn’t change their attitudes.

The truth is, they don’t have any idea what they want.  They are just like us.  They have ideas of what they’re after, but half the time they wouldn’t recognize it if it hit them right between the eyes.  We don’t need to think so hard simply because they don’t think so hard.

“You, sir, seem to want me to be my man.”

I asked guys from all different walks of life how they distinguished between a girl they wanted to date and a girl they would just hook up with, the answers were all over the map.  Their conclusions were uncertain to say the least.  “Uh… I dunno. If they just don’t want a hook up…” was one guy’s response to that question.  Another described a somewhat convoluted matrix of hotness and bad to great personality rankings, but when pressed he summed up with a nervous laugh “I don’t know… It’s kinda complicated.”

We are basically the same. Why do you date some guys and leave others by the curb?  Well, you get something out of the relationship. You get along, he takes care of you, he makes you feel good about yourself, you have someone you like to hang out with all to yourself.  The biggest difference is the predictable one.  They are more heavily influenced by sex than we are.  Some description of sex came up in nearly all their descriptions of the girls that would go into either the love them or leave them category.

“One is not right to generalize about so many people all at once, but you may be sure that men know nothing about their hearts, whether they be six and twenty or six and eighty.” -Emma

Just like we have our types, they have theirs.  Each man is different in his preference and criterion for girlfriends and flings.  Each guy is different, but there is one constant.  The approach and attitude of a girl being pursued determines the direction a relationship will take.  Girls always make the first move, believe it or not.  Guys only think they do.  When we use those subliminal signals to show a guy we’re interested, he gets the encouragement to come over and make a move.  If the girl wants a relationship, he’ll probably go along with it, at least in the beginning.  If you don’t seem to want anything serious, odds are he won’t either.

Our responsibility is to decide what we want and then help him realize that he needs to pursue it.  If you have chemistry with someone, if you get along and are attracted to one another, then choose to move forward with it.  If he is available, he’ll follow your lead.  Now, on the flip side, if there isn’t much chemistry between you, this won’t work.  The benefit is not there for either of you. Pursuing a relationship in this instance is what you call forcing it.  It’s like riding a bike up a hill against the wind.  You’re going for a ride, but it’s all work and you won’t go anywhere.

If a man is worth having, he is not dumb enough to let his love get away.  If he values his girl, he’ll do things to make sure she stays.  He’ll bring home flowers so she knows he’s thinking of her, take out the trash so he’s an asset to her, and stay by her side so no one else will snatch her up.   If he doesn’t care, he won’t think of investing so much time, money and energy in to keeping her.

I once had a friend whose boyfriend described a girl he dated as “nothing serious” and gave the example that she wasn’t a girl he would take to see a show.  When after a year of dating he still wouldn’t take my friend to a show, she told him she thought it wasn’t going anywhere.  Of course there were other signs that he wasn’t too invested in her like his inattention at parties and missing phone calls.  So when she was having the break-up talk with him she said it was because she didn’t see anything long term with him.  He responded with something along the lines of, “So… you want to get married?”

In all likelihood, if my friend had wanted to get married, they would have.  If she had said, text me 3 times a day, bring me flowers on Fridays, and don’t look at other girls at parties, he would have complied with those particular requirements too.  Some girls do this.  Maybe it’s because these ladies believe that guys have to have this, that it doesn’t ever come natural to men to show their feelings no matter how in love they are with a girl.  If you ever wonder why some girls always have boyfriends one right after another, this is it.  They tell guys that they are going to be their boyfriends.  The rest of us wait for Prince Charming to fall in love with us immediately and swoop us up into eternal bliss.  We wonder what the hell is going on that he’s taking so dang long to find us.  Neither of us is completely right or wrong.

Yes, guys are stupid in matters of the heart.  Women lead the men.  If not it’s like the blind leading the seeing.  Embrace the responsibility.  Look at the man in front of you and ask yourself, “do we like each other, do we have chemistry, do we work well together, do I want him?” If (and only if) your objective answers are yes, yes, yes, and yes, then let him know he’s staying.  Make plans, bat those innocent looking eyelashes, hold him tight, and tell him he’s not going anywhere.

Yes, guys can be those lovable sweethearts we imagined, but they need guidance.  Give them some help, lady!  They have no idea what they (or you) want until they see it.  Don’t think you can be that smitten girl hiding behind books, a bun, and librarian glasses that captures the attention of some handsome playboy.  He won’t see past your shyness, inattention, or coldness, and he sure as heck won’t fight for it.  There’s nothing there that’s going to give him a clue to what he wants.   I don’t know how those movies got so popular anyway.  Instead of waiting to be found, let him realize that he’s found you.    Let him know that you think he’s special and that what you have together is special.  Chances are he’ll follow suit and realize the same.