What Women Want?

I often hear men say that this question baffles them. There have been bawdy, irritating jokes that periodically make rounds on WhatsApp groups. The emojis in response are irritating but also an interesting peek into social psyche. Men ‘nudge knowingly’, ‘wink’ or ‘laugh’ openly while women ‘smile’ politely, some squirm and a few ignore. The eternal question however remains unanswered partly because men often don’t ask or if they do, they don’t listen.

Contrary to what the commercials show or the social media dictates, I think the answers are much simpler. For those of you who struggle with the question and truly want to know what women want, here’s a snappy list (just in time for V-day).

Sense of humour

Before you roll your eyes and ask what’s new, hear me out. A funny bone is an asset but what one should also be capable of laughing at oneself.

Comfortable in your skin

Social media trends can push us into trying to be what we are not. You might be able to carry it off for a while but unless you aren’t secure in who you are, sooner or later it will show. If someone cannot accept you in your gore and glory then you are going after the wrong person.


Not of the Sunny Deolsque kind but one that helps you admit when you are wrong; one that lets you utter a sincere apology when needed. If that doesn’t win a heart, nothing can.

Saying I don’t know

The ability to admit you don’t know something does not make you a lesser human; it makes you… well… human. Men need to understand that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary often it is endearing.

Love is in the little things

Sweeping romantic gestures may be nice but it’s the little gestures that matter. Getting her rickety chair fixed might get you the sought-after brownie points — consider the possibility seriously.

It’s the thought that matters

This isn’t a cliched line from Hallmark but a simple truth that many often overlook. Putting thought behind the gift rather than its size or the price tag is the secret sauce.

Gives us space and enjoy yours

Hindi movies (or for that matter some mushy English ones too) seem to have drilled in this concept that once you are together, you have to do everything together. They often project it as a warning that you will be giving up your freedom when you commit to someone. I disagree and so would most women. Before you met each other, both of you had a life. You have to move things around a bit not toss them away altogether.

Respect us and our work

Respect is the easiest word that we can roll of our tongue but the hardest one to practise and I strongly believe that for women it is the most important one. Centuries of patriarchy has scarred us and the only antidote is the respect that we deserve.

These pointers are in no specific order and the list isn’t complete but if you can check them off, you’ll be well on your way. To repeat some of what I have said in an earlier post, the operative words are sincerity, respect, patience, growth, equality, humour, communication and the commitment to build a life togetherI hope that these pointers may spare you a lot of heartache, and time, and energy if you choose to put them into action.

Wishing everyone a very happy Valentine’s day.

Dr. Shivani Salil

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