For the record, I am a man. I was at lunch the other day, politely minding my own business. But not too far away, two guys were having a conversation. One of them asked the other one, “What do women want?” Then they discussed it. One said, “lot’s of stuff, like jewelry”. The other one said “Yeah, it doesn’t make much difference as long as you spend money on her”. It went on like that for a few more minutes until they changed the subject.
I got to thinking about all that they said, and I just think they were totally wrong.
It seems to me that women don’t really want “stuff”. I believe that, first and foremost, they would really rather be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Plus they should NOT be treated as though they were some kind of an object or a conquest. I also believe that they should be treated as if they actually had a brain and were capable of using it.
Gifts are perfectly fine and appropriate once in awhile. I don’t have a problem giving gifts to a woman, but I don’t believe they should be used as a way to her heart.
I think there are a lot of women who do really value gifts, but I don’t think it’s as simple as greed. For some people, gifts are the form of affection that seems most real to them–words seem trite or awkward, physical affection doesn’t do it for them, and they may have control issues that make people doing favors/kind acts for them uncomfortable or weird. For them, a person giving them something–especially something carefully tailored to their personality–makes them feel cherished and valued.
I’m not really wired that way myself, but I don’t think it’s any less healthy than any other set up. It’s a problem if someone needs more gifts than the other person can provide, or if the other person can’t get past the idea that the behavior is rooted in greed, but under normal circumstances, getting gooey inside because your man bought you flowers at the grocery store or a new CD is no better or worse than getting gooey inside because he cleaned the kitchen when it was your turn, or wrote you a love note.
On a serious note, I love getting presents from my boyfriend, but mostly because his presents show that he knows me and knows what makes me happy - a guitar, games for the Wii, a Kindle, that sort of stuff.
In my opinion, you are not wrong. What you describe is what I want. However, I do know women who want men to spend money on them–the more the better. What you describe–respect and dignity, along with kindness, humor, companionship, and sex–are what I would like from a man. Gifts are appreciated but not required.
I do realize that people, ALL people, like to receive gifts at certain times. I wasn’t trying to imply in the OP that giving gifts was wrong in any way. I was merely asking, although probably not very clearly, which was more important to a woman.
Some women do indeed want stuff. Flowers, candy, jewelry, fur coats, home furnishings, a million dollars and a pony…the specifics vary by interest, but the core of STUFF=LOVE remains. Because a guy wouldn’t buy you things if he didn’t care about you and have you on his mind, right?
Complicating the issue is the fact that a guy who cares about you and has you on his mind does tend to pick up stuff you enjoy just because you enjoy it. My husband does this all the time. He goes to the grocery and comes home with some cheese or chocolate or ginger ale or sushi rice or some other little something he happened past and thought I’d like. He mows the yard and comes back in with some flowers he cut for me because he was walking past and thought they were pretty. I open my email and he’s sent me a link to some sort of craft he thinks I’d enjoy making, or some bit of equipment that would be useful.
Cartoonist J.B. Handelsman, in one of his modern fable parodies, has a man going in search of What Women Want. The answer, ulytimately, turns out to be that
They Want Their Backs Scratched
Although, in my personal experience
They Want Their Feet Rubbed. In fact, sometimes they want this more than sex. YMMV, and all people are different, and everything, but, again, in my experience, if you don’t know what they want at any given time, this is a pretty good bet. Even if they really want something else, this will do until that comes along.
I have been utterly delighted because my daughter gave me a deck of playing cards with owls on the back. This gift cost her less than five bucks, but it showed that she thought of me. My husband will bring me a candy bar when he goes to the c store to get his lottery ticket. And I will pick up a small bag of roasted, salted peanuts in the shell for him if I see them.
I enjoy getting gifts, but it’s not the cost of the gifts that gives me the most enjoyment, but the amount of thought.
It took me a long time to figure this out, so pay attention guys, and I’ll save you all a lot of pain, heartache and frustration:
What women want is to be left alone. They don’t want you to buy them a drink. They don’t want you to give them a call sometime. They don’t want to date you, sleep with you, marry you, or have your babies. They want you to mind your own business and stop bothering them.
Heed these words, my brothers, and you will never make a woman unhappy.
I think one thing you can say is that people of whatever gender who value gifts as a symbol of love of fidelity have been taught that connection, via both a culture that says “every kiss begins with K” and so on and personal experience, I’m going to posit in the family atmosphere during their upbringing.
I am not a woman who expects presents, especially not “just because” presents. If someone gets me something, I vastly prefer something that I need/can use/reflects my interests to random pretty things (like flowers) and definitely to random jewelry. (And anyone who knows me well enough to buy me something pricey should know that.) But I was very decidedly not raised in a home where material goods were seen as a means of expressing emotions. The behavior that was my model while growing up was that you showed love for people by doing things, not giving things. You helped them with tasks, you shared tasks, you shared their burdens. You listen when they talk, you talk to them (about important things) in return.
Any shlub can go into any grocery store and buy a bunch of cut flowers that’ll die in a week. Anyone with the cash (or credit card) can go buy the mass-produced heart-shaped pendant with a conflict gemstone set in it that 150,000 other women are going to be wearing. Not anyone can offer me their insights to a problem I’m having this week with the club I used to be an officer in, or will take notice when I’m stopping every few minutes to flex my arthritic hand and say “I’ll take care of cutting up those vegetables for dinner” to spare me the pain.
If you value “getting stuff” over acts of substance, that’s your lookout. To me, it’s shallow as a teaspoon, and not evidence of caring.