What Men Really Want: Straight Swarthmore Singles Tell All

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Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This week, in Swarthmore Cosmopolitan Magazine

I’ve recently reentered the dating game, and I’ve got to say: I feel good. I feel confident. Luckily for me, I happen to embody almost all of the attributes single men are looking for in women.

I hear it all the time in Sharples: “I want a girl who makes me watch documentaries and doesn’t let us fool around until after the credits.” That, and “I just want someone who has to take her retainer out to eat” are the top two dream scenarios I’ve overheard, so I figure I’m in good shape. Just to be sure, I hit up some campus hotspots to talk to available men about what kind of lover drives them wild.

Right off the bat, I started sensing a pattern: guys are always on the lookout for some hardcore neuroticism. “I’m talking Woody Allen-level fucked-up,” one male student told me. He was wearing a Red Sox cap and had the physique of a midlevel executive at one of those companies that market mysterious juices.

“I mean, I’m looking for sexual hang-ups. Overly-emotional is a must. Morbid. I’m looking for a fast-talking, female romantic partner with a taste for over-the-counter stimulants. Basically, all the things male protagonists are allowed to embody while they successfully pursue the girl who’s ‘got it together.’” I think of Allen and his protégées, nervous and disheveled and always surprised when they win the girl. Add some prescription medication and you’ve almost described me! I was already feeling good.

The next guy I talked to furthered my sense of confidence even more. “Some guys are into that ‘pretty,’ waif-like thing where everything’s shaved and taut and smells good,” my next interviewee told me. “Not me. I actively seek out women who are overly vocal about their political reasons for not shaving.”

This student, whose name was, predictably, Chad, went on to reaffirm all of my assumptions about male desire. “I want her to correct my grammar,” he told me, running one hand over his crew cut. “All the time. I want less women who giggle all over you at the bar, and more who–”

“Fewer,” I said, running my tongue over my bottom lip.

“Fewer,” Chad said, and wrote his number on the inside flap of my copy of The Bell Jar (which I always carry in my knapsack, next to the two-ply roll of toilet paper I use as tissues).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Up next was Todd, whose main priority with women is their lack of stereotypically “feminine” features.

“A gender-nonconforming presentation is really important,” he said, giving my loafers a suggestive once-over. “I want a girl who can wear my button-downs better than I can.” Jim, who I pulled into the conversation as he was jogging by, agreed. “When I’m at a restaurant with my lady, I want the waiter to think we’re totally gay. And you know what? I want him to hand her the bill.”

Todd nodded vigorously. “I want a girl who doesn’t let me pay for the both of us, and then quotes The Second Sex while she splits the bill exactly in two. That shit turns me on.”

“Feminism, man,” Jim said. “I’m talking Gen Sex majors. Home-brewed kombucha. I don’t want either of us to wear the pants in the relationship. Or any pants. If you know what I mean,” he said.

By this point, Jim and my eyes were locked together. It was magical. We both swooned at exactly the same moment and fell into an embrace of complete equanimity. We ended up at Essie’s, and after a few root beers, I wrote my number on the back of a cocktail napkin with a tube of Burt’s Bees mango chapstick that we were already sharing as a couple.

I ended up staying at Essie’s and conducting a few more interviews over brewskies (Baked Lays ™) with the boys. First up was Sean, who seeks women solely if they refer to coffee, amusement park rides, and most food items as “better than sex.”

Thad agreed, and added that if a woman doesn’t have glasses, he’s not interested. In fact, during the course of my interviews, almost every eligible bachelor expressed a (kinky?) desire for sight-impaired ladies.

“I never date girls below 60/20,” Thad said. “I mean, sometimes I’ll get desperate and bang a 20/20, but only if she wears some funky lens-less frames.”

By this point, it was late, and I had had more than a few bags of reduced-sugar gummies. That’s when Kyle sauntered up to my booth. I decided to let him give the final word on the eternal question of what men are really after.

Kyle leaned an elbow on the table and took a slug of 1% Fat Chocolate Milk. He wiped his manly hand across his mouth.

“I’m just looking for a woman who forgets to brush her hair for days on end,” he told me. We leaned in. Until his watch got stuck in the snarl of my ponytail, it was smooth sailing.

After that, it only got better.

Featured image courtesy of msw.usc.edu.

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