What Women Really Want.

Via Andrea Balt
on Dec 14, 2011
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A pocket dictionary.

Don’t you sometimes wish you found a magical book containing all the dos and the don’ts to understanding your ladyship; a simple best-seller with a beginning and an end? Better yet, a Christmas present to your other with a love note that says: “Here darling, I’ve finally been translated into 47 languages.”

A user guide to every expression, every sigh, every possible double, triple and quadruple meaning of a woman’s witty, painful, sarcastic, dramatic, original, joyful remarks. Every eyelash on every cheek, every square in every hole, every you in every me.

Here’s an excerpt from A Very Easy Guide to Understanding Women For Good – an imaginary book I just started writing with invisible ink. I would upload the rest, but I don’t want to make the website crash.

I suggest you print this out (on recycled paper, mind you) and keep in your wallet (or purse) at all times. You never know when you might need it.

Because we’re everywhere!

And we can charm your life in every way, if you’ll just get us.


It’s really not that complicated…

1. We don’t want to be told what to do. And yet, we do want to be told, just a little bit of implied and soft truth, just enough so it doesn’t seem like you’re telling us.

Don’t be fooled by the “What should I do”, we’re not actually asking you. We need you to listen – be an active wall – so we can figure it out on our own. But don’t be too active and don’t be too wall. Find the right spot and don’t move.


2. We don’t really like shopping. We like how shopping makes us feel: a new outfit is just another chance to recycle our beauty, rephrase ourselves, to look at the old through newer glasses. We recreate the world by redressing.

Of course, we’d recreate it even better if we found another, more sustainable outlet for our creativity. (And no, as much as we like you, we don’t want you coming along. You’ll ruin our day with your questionable patience or impatient remarks.)


3. We don’t want to talk about sex if it was great. Stop asking. We may only tell if you if it’s sunny outside and you insist in having a mature conversation on the anatomy of pleasure over brunch.

Though you’ll notice it by the way we look at you throughout the day, or crawl into your chest at night or if we unexpectedly turn and kiss you like it’s 2012 and the world is ending and what-are-we-going-to-do-with-the-cat?

But if it wasn’t great, we won’t say it either, unless we’d like it to become so, with you.


4. It doesn’t matter how beautiful we could or may be. We’re never 100% happy with our bodies. We’re never perfectly OK with mirrors.

We may be generally OK, but real life has cellulite, dear. So when we ask you how we look, we want detail. Don’t say, fine or hot or sexy or not.

Say: Well, you definitely have that Audrey Hepburnish elegant innocence tonight that goes hand in hand with your usual, intelligent allure; but that doesn’t cancel the irresistible Marilyn Monroeism vividly present in the prudent, yet undomesticated way in which you carry yourself. The only thing that suits you even more perfectly than your beautiful wit is your dress, did-I-pay-for-those-shoes?

But if you say that, we’ll know you just memorized this paragraph. Don’t be sticky, take a poetry class.


5. We can be goddesses and we can be ants. Increasing your daily meditation will help you figure out which day we’re which, so you can lift us up or lift us higher. And when we get too mystical, don’t laugh. But if you get too serious, you’ll make us laugh.

If you can’t breathe us in, just pray for wisdom. And if, goodness forbid, we hit our head against a spiritual wall and start speaking in tongues, adopt a neutral, Mona Lisa smile and call a yoga ambulance.


6. Sometimes we eat because we’re hungry. Others, to quiet the Emotional Creature. Don’t bring us chocolate, you’re not doing our hips any favor. Unless it’s fair-trade and at least 70% cacao, in which case go ahead, we might be temporarily sweetened.

And when you see us cry:  let us, don’t leave us. When we say “Go,” don’t go, unless we say it twice, louder and louder. Third time comes with a glass. And if you go, wait by the door a little longer. Try coming back inside after two minutes.


7. We’re naturally undomesticated, adventurous and wild – unless it’s that time of the month (to be sure, you should keep your own calendar). We like the outdoors, even on heels. Hey, isn’t Earth also a Sexy Gaia?

Our make-up is anti-mosquito, that’s why we wear it on camping trips. Please understand that when we scream at spiders, it’s not because we’re scared, but concerned about the wellbeing of their children, after they’re orphaned by your foot. Be gentle.


8. And when the night comes, we are not afraid. We don’t need muscles to survive, we have our words. We don’t need lamps, because to pass the womanhood exam you have to memorize the darkness.

But if you do come in and light the candles with your fingers, we’ll happily exchange survival for revival.


9. So, let me put it this way: Marry us and you will regret it. Don’t marry us and you will regret it. Whatever you do, you will regret it.




10. You forget all the above and only remember to love us. 

Like the rock loves to roll; like it’s 2012 and the world is ending and the cat is nowhere to be found; like one sock needs the other; like when you have someone call your cell phone because you think you lost it and you’re so happy when it starts ringing in your pocket; or when you catch the last train by two seconds.

Love us more than you love work, money or sex. But don’t love us too tightly or we might suffocate. Don’t do it too generally, we might believe you and fly away.

Love us in that exact amount that can’t be measured; in that foreign language nobody can pronounce; in that serene, dark place of daylight between your heart and you; no more or less than you first love yourself.


[Photos: Audrey Hepburn / Brigitte Bardot / Robert Dosineau]



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About Andrea Balt

Co-Founder / Editor in Chief of Rebelle Society, Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness & Creativity Curator at Creative Rehab. Unfinished book with a love for greens, bikes and poetry; raised by wolves & adopted by people; not trying to make art but to Be Art. Holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication, an MFA in Creative Writing & a Holistic Health Coach degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. In her work she tries to reflect the wholeness of the human experience by combining Art & Health + Brains & Beauty + Darkness & Brilliance into a more alive, unabridged and unlimited edition of ourselves. She is also on a quest to reinstate Creativity as one of our essential Human Rights to (hopefully and soon) be included in the UN Declaration. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and sign up for her Monthly Stroke of Renaissance.


68 Responses to “What Women Really Want.”

  1. Oh. my. god. Instant classic, magnifica;) This is flawless and should be required reading for all straight men everywhere. Love you!! Get some sleep!

  2. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks Kate! Sleeping is complicated these days. 🙂

  3. Pour moi aussi… Maybe my new aspiration should be more sleep?

  4. Andréa Balt says:

    Mindful discussion on Facebook:

    #Vikram Pande – I kinda gave up on what women want a few years ago, when I realized that women want everything! I just a man. I can't keep up with competing with everything :-).

    #Matt Zytkoskee – They want their cake and to be able to eat it to. very true. I've been trying to master the art of being sweet and sensitive and yet, still a badass mofo who will pull a mad max if necessary for years!

    #Andrew Spicer – If you cannot be happy while alone, being in a relationship is probably the worst idea. There is much in society to force us to believe in fairy tale endings of princes and princesses, but in reality, you don't need a significant other to have a great and fulfilling life. It's the belief that you must have this that causes so much pain. If it happens, it happens.

    #Vikram Pande – Couldn't agree with you more, Andrew. If you can't be happy alone, how can you possibly be happy with someone else? A good relationship with a woman can definitely enhance your life, but if your life sucks as it is, then no relationship will save you.

    #Andrew Spicer – Not only that, but if your life is based around running yourself dry just to keep someone else interested and pacified, catering to very specific and uncompromising needs, that's a pretty terrible way to live. They probably don't care about you personally if they can't exercise a little bit of unconditional love when you're not delivering 100% of the time. That would be encouraging the spoiled children of the world.

    #Vikram Pande Again. – I couldn't agree with you more. If you spend your life appeasing others, you end up living the life of a sycophant. Like you said, not a good life!

    #Andréa Balt – I too have exchanged myself for love at some point. And then I understood that real love requires no self-sacrfice. In fact, it demands a nurtured and balanced self, otherwise, who's gonna do all the lovin'?

    #Matt Zytkoskee – My wife has loved me when I'm thin, fat, a university professor, and an unemployed, psychotic in the midst of a mental breakdown. I couldn't handle the stress of having to pretend to be something I'm not all the time. I agree that a relationship is not the answer to life; it can sure make it interesting though 😀

  5. It's like you looked into my soul and extracted everything my boyfriend needs to survive his life with me!!! I second Kate — an instant classic. Thanks for the wonderful read over my coffee this morning.

    fellow elephant,

  6. Andréa Balt says:

    AWW. Happy! Women & coffee = an explosive deal

    Your boyfriend is a lucky man. And now that he has a manual, even luckier. 🙂

    I'm a fan of your "Elephantitis"! 🙂

  7. Andréa Balt says:

    More Facebook juice:

    #Christopher L. Janney – An honest forecast of the unperfect storm called woman. Beautiful mystery that can never be unriddled… and only adored

    #Beth Respess -… you made me cry again. thank you so much. i read this and it seems so true and so impossible and so absolutely worth every moment spent in pursuit of it. i don't want it to be impossible. i only know how to keep trying to live up to my end of the bargain, which is to show up, be real, be open to the mystery that is every single one of us, and cross my fingers.

    ♥ you for bringing this into the world…

    #Andréa Balt – Thanks Beth. You inspire me in return. We're only impossible insofar as we are also possible. It's the beauty of it. It's the only place where we can fully co-exist with ourselves. Life is both simple and intrinsically complicated. Ahhhh, somebody kill me now, or kill language. 🙂

  8. skavinger1984 says:

    Excellent cheat-sheet. I'm gonna tattoo these to the palm of my hand … permanent cheat sheet, know what I mean? Shhhhhh.

  9. Andréa Balt says:

    A palm tattoo!!! That way when you rub your nose… Excellent idea! I've had my wrists tattooed for a less serious kind of dyslexia. LOL but seriously. Now I only wish I knew what (the hell) men want, so I don't keep on making the same mistakes w/all of them. 🙂

  10. Andréa Balt says:

    WOW. You're something else! Funny in extreme. 🙂 I've actually done some of these things – marmalade jar included. And lingerie? Seriously? But it's itchy and uncomfortable! Thanks for clearing things up a little. And by this, of course, I mean just the opposite. Or not. 🙂

  11. skavinger1984 says:

    I guess I'll never know the truth, ;P. Funnier still is that I intended to be mostly satirical of the alpha male stereotype, and, ex post facto, realized that these were coming from a real place, ;). The lingerie is optional and was mostly added for comedic effect. No really. Seriously. I'm telling the truth. Right guys? Guys? Ladies? ……. hello? ……. <tumbleweed> ….

  12. Ben_Ralston says:

    Ah, Andrea. You are all heart, aren't you?
    L O V E

  13. Martin says:

    Q. What do women want?
    A. Toasted ice cubes.

  14. Andréa Balt says:

    You know I love you back. And take all your advice to heart.

  15. Andréa Balt says:

    I actually agree with you Elizabeth. I think a better communication is the first step to understanding each other. In this article I tried to be incongruent and unreasonable on purpose. I'm not offering a solution or a real answer (if you don’t count love – N 10) but only pointing out the unnecessary and contradictory "complications" in a more humorous way. It’s how I often find myself and other women to be. I think men could also improve their communication skills, because they can also be complicated and hard to get.

    So let's add good communication to love and we're all set! 🙂

  16. Andréa Balt says:

    LOL. Soooo true. 🙂

  17. Madelain Burgoyne says:

    This was funny to read… I enjoyed that. Light hearted and awesome. i like how you ended it by saying that all the above doesn't matter, all we really want is to be loved for who we are!
    Cleche, but it's the truth!

  18. Andréa Balt says:

    Thank you, Madelain! I also got some mean comments from people who misunderstood the tone, silliness and irony. It is cliché, even the title is an overused topic, but some clichés are fun to readdress with that bit of truth at the core. 🙂

  19. Chopperpapa says:

    I offer kudos for a valiant attempt. Unfortunately it gets us little father than we already are. For as sentimental, uncomplicated, and effortless as you make it sound – to "just love us for who we are" – those areas that we are to pay no attention to seem to keep getting in the way from loving a woman or anyone for that matter for who they are.

    And though regrettable, the majority of women don't love themselves for themselves, so how can men be expected to?

  20. Yogatchr says:

    "the majority of women don't love themselves for themselves, so how can men be expected to?" Wow. Misogynistic much? Un-frickin-believable.

  21. Andréa Balt says:

    This is satire. It's not to be mistaken as a piece on women's rights or a serious essay, as a "unfeminist" manifesto or a limited set of rules that define all women. Hence the irony in the title and displayed pretty much in every paragraph. Unless you would also take seriously any of Colbert's shows, or the Onion’s fake news.

    Of course, in my opinion there is no better disguise for truth than irony and if this implied truth is not evident to you in any of the first 9 points, it does become more obvious in the last point, which, as it states, it is the only thing that matters – whether you can relate to the rest or not.

    Thanks for your input though. I appreciate the difference.

  22. Andréa Balt says:

    I understand where you're coming from.

    And I agree in that we don’t love ourselves enough, but it goes both ways. Neither men nor women (straight or gay) generally love themselves enough. We are too hard on ourselves in many ways and most of us suffer from low self-esteem.

    So that’s why the last point kind of sums it all. Love yourself. It’s the only way to be able to love somebody else and be truly loved in return. It goes both ways, but since I’m only speaking to men – or the more masculine figure in the relationship, I said it to them – implying/hoping (of course) that we as women would not demand of you something that we wouldn’t practice ourselves first: self-love.

    So whether you are a man or woman, get out of here and go love yourself a little more. That’s the whole point. 🙂

  23. Andréa Balt says:

    I don't think he meant it like that. Self-love should go both ways. Check out my answer above. 🙂

  24. Yogatchr says:

    Obviously you are a very optimistic person and that's nice. However, all this wallowing in low self esteem stuff, talking about the majority of people (men, women, whatever) failing to love themselves enough, and all the BS that is projected on to women specifically makes me think that folks need to get out and volunteer more or something. I mean seriously, there are meaningful pursuits in life in which we can choose to be engaged. Work, family, community. How about if we go forth and love some else who really needs it right now (so many people are hurting) rather than focusing on ourselves so much? Just sayin'.

  25. Yogatchr says:

    And I do think his generalization is offensive.

  26. Andréa Balt says:

    Yogatchr, I don't think we're wallowing in low self esteem here. He pointed out one thing, I pointed out another. Noticing something and stating it out so we can get a better idea of what could be stopping us from enjoying life to its fullest, is not wallowing but merely diagnosing, point out a problem.

    In order to heal, you need to know what you have in the first place (or what you don't). Of course this is not the case with everyone, but most people do fail to love themselves, and as such, love others the way they deserve and need to be loved.

    I completely agree with you that we should serve others more. It goes together with taking care of oneself, you can't separate yourself from others in any way. The way you love yourself is the way you'll love others (and vice versa).

    So let's all help in any way that we see fit (whether it’s through volunteering, work, family community, inspiration, art, etc.). There are plenty of causes to help us love better.

    Thanks for your input and I'm sorry if you've been offended in any way.

  27. Dace says:

    This is relaxing article. It is not complicated when both genders stop playing unnecessary games and understand that the soul needs another soul to stay connected to own life and the universe.

  28. Deborah says:

    Thumbs down

  29. Deborah says:


  30. Andrea…Awesome article…..WOW!!!!!…….I am currently enrolled at IIN and enjoying the journey….continue on your path where ever it may lead……and most of all Enjoy and continue to IINspire!!!!…THANKS!!!!!!

  31. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks Kim. IIN rocks. I just finished. Best decision of my life… after being a woman, of course 🙂

  32. Bjorno says:

    Are all woman really this insecure, this attached, this confused, and this complicated? I doubt it. This article does more harm than good, justifying irrational behavior. I know, sometime we work in irrational ways, but rather than explaining it through "this is just the way I am", we should find out what is really bothering us. Dig a little deeper! Why do you do what you do?

  33. Andréa Balt says:

    Maybe you've read it with insecure, attached, confused and complicated eyes. An equally valid point to consider…

    Copying and pasting a reply I wrote for one of the previous comments because it's the same I'd respond to you:

    "This is satire. It's not to be mistaken as a piece on women's rights or a serious essay, as a "unfeminist" manifesto or a limited set of rules that define all women. Hence the irony in the title and displayed pretty much in every paragraph. Unless you would also take seriously any of Colbert's shows, or the Onion’s fake news.

    Of course, in my opinion there is no better disguise for truth than irony and if this implied truth is not evident to you in any of the first 9 points, it does become more obvious in the last point, which, as it states, it is the only thing that matters – whether you can relate to the rest or not.

    Thanks for your input though. I appreciate the difference."

  34. Eric Shaw says:

    One thought, however, for women's own happiness: perhaps they should focus on what they can give, rather than on what they want.

  35. Stig says:

    Excellent! I was preparing a scathing response until I got to #10. That says it all… about women, life, and enlightenment! Great piece!

  36. Andréa Balt says:

    Well said Eric. This was meant to be a cliché topic. But in real life, it's better to give than to demand.

  37. […] been repressing your girl cell lately? Hiding your femininity in a closet, fearing that it may be misunderstood, taken advantage of, ridiculed or […]

  38. Andréa Balt says:

    Well Stig, it was all satirized cliché – including the title – (of course, for those of us who are a little cliché, most of it was also true at times), except for #10, the only point that stands. Thanks for your non-scathing response. 🙂

  39. Andréa Balt says:

    Except that I didn't "insult" the reader and I wasn't "rude", that's only how you perceived it. If you read again, I'm only pointing out that maybe the reason why a piece of writing seems negative to you is because you're reading it with negative eyes (meaning, attitude), and in saying that I’m actually “quoting” the previous reader’s “impressions” – which you didn't consider rude, not adding my own. And making clear, in the same sentence that it’s just a thought to consider.

    21st century, postmodern readers are usually passive readers (not everyone, just in general). But a piece of writing is not "sealed" by the writer. After it's written, it's "finished" by each individual reader. It can only take you half way at the most, you add the other half.

    Readers are quick to judge a writing and attach all the positive or negative feelings to the piece (or the writer). They don't usually stop to consider their current mood or their own context before making a critique.

    I'm sorry that you feel you had to scroll through the comments to understand the piece or if the irony was too confusing and not clear enough for you. Other +4000 people who read the same text found it enjoyable and clear enough to share it. So there goes the irony again.

    Is it fully the writer's responsibility to make him/herself 100% understood by everyone who reads their piece, or is it a 50/50 – meaning that some people will love it and others won't? I think it's the second.

  40. catnipkiss says:

    I like the satire in this piece, and I like the truth in it, too. Women are complicated – most of us! We can't really help that, but at least we do know it. And men sometimes tell us "we're simple!" and we don't believe it. We try to dig deeper. Maybe we need to believe them, after all. Or perhaps some nice man should write the pocket dictionary for men, too.

    I'm totally finding your Facebook page and friending you!!! – Alexa Maxwell

  41. Stig says:

    Thank you Andrea. Unfortunately, in my experience, far too many people are living the cliches, and the satire would probably be lost on them. It would be a wonderful universe if we could all just get past that stuff and focus on love!

  42. Andréa Balt says:

    I appreciate your opinion and you have some valid points in general, but I don't see how your advice relates to the text or to the way I'm reacting. I don't understand why you're making such a big deal about it, as if I'd sent a letter to congress or decided the fate of women. It's not even meant to be "intellectual" or a literary piece, it's just an easy, lighthearted, fun read to which some may relate and others not.

    I am answering some comments to interact with the readers and because I appreciate them and I want to do my best to clear out whatever misperceptions they may have had regarding the genre: in this case, I maintain it’s satire, but if you don’t find it satirical, then that’s ok – others do, not everyone thinks the same, that’s not solipsism, it’s reality. I’m not saying I did a perfect job, I’m just saying that not everyone feels the same way you do.

    If you find my writing and reactions so wrong and immature, please send Elephant a complaint letter. If you see flaring grammar errors in the piece please point them out so I can fix them, don't just generalize.

    You initially say that the piece didn’t bother you so much, but the way I responded to a reader, and now you’re giving me a lecture on solipsism. Again, I was quoting the reader and suggesting “perception” as just another factor, equally important in reading and interpreting a text. To me this is the opposite of solipsism.

    And since you seem to know me so well to point out "my heart's desire", here's my last word – it should have been my first:

  43. Warriorsaint says:

    "Love us more than you love work, money or sex" Brilliant.

  44. charles hurd says:

    You are Beautiful

  45. Jeff says:

    Its taken me 44 years to learn the half of what you said… thanks for the other have of the puzzle…

  46. lola says:

    Thank God while scrolling down I discovered I was not the only person who did not or could not relate to the piece

  47. Yogatchr says:

    Brilliant responses tulasipriya.

  48. chris mayhew says:

    What a load of dribble, this kind of rubbish is perpetuating the scary girlfriend type behavior of they go mental when " I get one text message from one girl and they have 33 guys texting them. Don't perpetuate that women are some kind of different species who must require absolute love and are biologically programmed to jump when a mouse runs past. This type of article belittles all women ( same as barbie dolls, fashion clothing etc) Once again you have put your own self in to a box! take a spoon full of "get real" .

  49. yogijulian says:

    this is a spectacular piece of writing.

  50. Lisa says:

    Wow. This article is a great example of how to live and write from the heart. When I first read it I also thought, these are generalizations, there are contradictions here, etc, but then I realized that letting thoughts pour out of your brain and onto a page is a beautiful and critical process and does not define who you are and what you believe. I am a fellow IIN student and long-time writer of thoughts and have been wanting to write more publicly, but reading some of these criticisms made me feel really self-conscious about doing so. I honor and respect you Andrea for putting yourself out there in this way and really enjoyed your article. Thanks!