By Marcy Clark
A few years ago a friend, who has happily been in a long term relationship for nearly ten years, was listening to me complain about not understanding the man I was dating, not feeling that things were moving forward and feeling overall confused about how to proceed. She told me straight: you need to take this class called “Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women.” She then proceeded to tell me some of the surprising things she had learned from the course – such as that shiny hair is one of the most attractive things about women to men (really?!?) or that men who are ready for a serious commitment can tell just by looking at a woman, literally, if she has most of the qualities that would make her a good mate and partner (don’t worry, you can learn to embody them more often!). I have been eager to take her first course ever since then, and finally signed up for it this May 26th and 27th in Tarrytown.
To prep for the course I interviewed the industrious, brilliant and insightful Alison Armstrong about some of the insights she has gained in her 20 years of researching men and women. Enjoy and sign up for a class or buy one of her books today! I read Making Sense of Men: A Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Love, Care and Attention from All Men in one sitting and my life will never be the same.
Women’s Mafia: A lot of New York women are always complaining that the men here don’t want to commit, they seem to be interminable bachelors. What can women look for to spot the non-phobic ones, or the ones that have zeroed-in on them?
Alison Armstrong: The thing they need to know is there are times when a man’s willingness to commit is not personal. There are stages in a man’s life when a marriage commitment is not a possibility. It is like trying to load the Halo video game program without enough memory on your computer. Marriage is the biggest commitment a man can make next to fatherhood. His life has to be in a particular place before he is going to be able to make a commitment. That is regardless of how much he loves a woman. Women think: “If he loved me more he would marry me.” That is a mistake.
There is another side where a man’s willingness to commit is personal. When I have asked men “Do you want to be married?” almost all say yes. It is always followed by “When I meet the right person,” “If I meet the right person,” or “Hopefully, I’ll meet the right person.” There are things that women do all the time that convince men that they are the wrong person – such as emasculating men all the time without even knowing it.
Women just dive in and hope that things will work, our desire is that strong. The idea that men don’t want to get married is a myth. It is just that what it takes for men to get married is different. Men are much more realistic about marriage and what it takes to be happy in the long term. If a man doesn’t want to marry you, then he is paying attention to something that is probably important: do you share the same values, do you give each other what you most need, and can you make each other happy?
Men have this idea that if two people can’t give each other what they need, they shouldn’t be together. This idea is strange to women who go without what they need someone who can’t give them what they need. Men actually honor what they need.
WM: There is a lot of debate in the post-feminist era about who should be picking up the check at the end of dinner, and how to handle it – how can a modern woman best handle this without emasculating her date? What should the expectations be in the 21st century?