What Men Like And Dislike
( Originally Published 1892 )
In spite of the fact that"many men have" many minds," and that individual tastes differ as greatly as features and tints, yet there are certain tastes which are essentially masculine the world over.
We have all often heard the expression, "Oh,she is just the sort of woman men like!" and we all feel an immediate, if secret interest in the woman so referred to.
Men are the rulers of the world, and to please them is our aim and desire. Often, however, their tastes are so paradoxical that it would require a seven headed Medusa to respond to all their varied and contradictory ideas.
That a man likes beauty goes without saying, as that a bee likes flowers. But as the bee only flutters about a flower which contains no honey-yielding property, so man only hovers a brief time about the beauty without wit or charm.
A man likes a woman to be capable of talking well at times, but he does not care for the garrulous girl. He likes to be listened to himself, and objects to the girl who monopolizes the conversation almost as much as to the one who does not talk at all.
A man likes modesty, but he is disgusted with mock prudery.
He secretly likes a slightly unconventional girl, but he is so sensitive to public comment that he is afraid to openly show his liking for her unless she is well grounded socially. And he is quick to censure if she defies the proprieties or violates absolute good form.
A man is utterly lacking in independance regarding these matters, and far more sensitive to public opinion than the weaker sex. However much he might enjoy the society of a woman who defied conventional rules of dress or deportment, he would not be seen in public with her if he could avoid it. And a lapse from good morals does not offend him as quickly as a lapse from good manners. A man likes discretion, but he invites indiscretion from women. In order to please him in the matter of conduct and morals, we must do exactly the opposite to his either bold or subtle suggestions. He will advise you to be discreet with others, but tempt you to folly himself merely to flatter his own vanity. But he is disappointed and disillusioned if you yield. There are no exceptions to this rule. All men are alike in this instinct to destroy virtue, and in their secret heart hope that virtue will withstand temptation. A man likes an enthusiastic woman but he abhors gush. The girl who enjoys herself thoroughly, and is not afraid to show her enjoyment, always wins more admirers than the languid beauty who is forever "bored."
He likes a girl who understands masculine sports. and can appreciate skilful games; but he does not like to have her appreciation extend to playing base ball herself.
A man likes a woman who does not scold him for smoking, and he is never reformed by one who foes.
He likes a spice of coquetry in a woman, but he does not like the absolute flirt. He may pursue her, but it is for amusement, not from admiration.
He is afraid of the woman who boasts of her conquests. The woman who tells a man how many pro posals she has received and rejected from his disappointed fellow-men destroys his respect for and confidence in her discretion, and he is very sure not to add one more proposal to her list.
He likes a hint of daring flashing through a woman's nature, but he wants it hidden and controlled. Then he enjoys thinking how he can develop this dangerous trait, and congratulates himself on being an excellent fellow when he does not attempt it.
But he is repelled by bold dash and venturesomeness in a woman, for that he believes has been developed by some other man, and it is not therefore to his taste.
The French maiden is told to never lift her eyes above the second shirt stud of the gentleman to whom she is listening. This sort of shyness entertains a man for one or two occasions; after that—or alter he has compelled her eyes to meet his--it bores him. He likes better the frank, honest, di rect gaze of the American girl; but the unblushing stare of the flirtation-inviting belle is not to his liking, although he may respond to it for the sake of adventure.
A man likes a woman of sympathetic feeling and affectionate nature, but he is afraid of the intensely emotional one. She tires and fatigues him, and is liable to be exacting in her demands, or at least he fears that she might be. The highly emotional woman needs to wear an armor of control and repose, no matter what it costs her to do so, if she would be pleasing to man. Let her nature be suspected, and it fascinates; let it be discovered, and it ennuies.
A man likes a cheerful and optimistic woman, though he may strive with all his might to convert her to pessimism. Yet the ready-made cynic in woman's form shocks him. However erroneous the idea, man regards woman as the sunlight of life, and expects her to drive away malarial mists from his mind and shadows from his heart by her warmth and light.
Though she be accomplished, beautiful, and talented, she will lose ground with the opposite sex if she is cynical or sad. Every man likes to create his own pessimist. He does not wish to find one.
Men like an accomplished and bright woman rather than a talented one, and entertaining and amusing qualities rather than markedly intellectual ones.
A wise and tactful woman who desires to be popular with mankind (and she is not wise if she does not) will keep her intellect subservient to her graces and charms when in the presence of men.
A man likes a woman's intellect to shine brilliantly in its full force only when great occasions demand it. At other times he wants it veiled by her beauty and modesty. He would rather it should gleam like star shine on his path, or suddenly glow forth in shadowed places like a powerful dark lantern, than to glare always about him like an electric light, which blinds the eyes of his egotism and offends his pride.
A man likes a woman of independent and strong character, but he is not attached to her unless she possesses some feminine weaknesses. He may admire her as a good comrade, and even seek her advice, but he is more likely to love and marry the weak, clinging vine ; and after the honeymoon is over he not infrequently wastes his life secretly longing for or openly seeking the companionship of the strong character he passed by. Here, again, let the discreet woman take warning, and veil the full extent of her self-reliance and strength from the sight of man till occasion demands revealing it.
She must keep it to surprise him ever and anon, instead of flaunting it forever in his eyes.
A man likes a neat woman, and admires a stylish one. He always knows, but can never describe what he likes in the matter of feminine attire, and it is for the woman who listens to his comments on her sisters to discover his tastes. He likes trim boots, neat gloves, a snug-fitting waist and a well-hung skirt, plain draperies, good material, quiet colors. He does not like elaborate trimmings, and is sensitive about pronounced styles or odd fashions, unless they are very artistic, or worn by an exceptionally pretty women. He likes jaunty (but not dashing) hats and bonnets, not overweighed down with ornaments.
A man censures extravagance in women, but invariably admires expensive garments. He likes a girl of strong vitality, great endurance, and excellent spirits, but the mannish girl has more comrades than admirers. Although the girl who can sew, embroider, and play the piano possesses eminently domestic accomplishments, he admires the girl more who can ride, row and swim. Yet he prefers plumpness to muscle. He is annoyed or disappointed in the girl who tires easily, and perhaps this is why he enjoys the athletically inclined young woman rather than the honsehold deity, with her fancy work and her side ache.
A man may consider children a great bore himself, but he shrinks from a woman who openly declares her dislike for them. He expects the maternal instinct in women, and is disappointed if he does not find it, and when it strongly exists this feeling will draw him back to her often when her personal charms no longer influence him. He may prove a bad father, and an unloving husband, yet through her love for his children he often returns to her.
A man prefers temper to sulks, a storm of tears to a fit of melancholy. He is flattered by a touch of jealousy occasionally in a woman's attitude toward him, but he is weaned and alienated from her if it becomes a quality of her nature.
An occasional thunder-storm clears the air, but constant cyclones and cloud-bursts destroy life and vegetation. A man likes girls who speak well of one another, and he is repelled by those who de-declare "they hate women."
Men like women with ideas of their own, but they are afraid of women with theories or hobbies. A woman with a hobby needs to carefully blanket and stable it away from the eyes of a man whom she desires to please.