What Women Mean When We Say We Want A “Real Man”

When women say we want “a real man” we’re not saying we want a guy who pays for everything, comes home with fresh roses every day or softly places us on a plush throne while he perfects his cut physique through physical labor and home repairs. All that we want from a “real man” is a decent human being, who treats us with the same love and respect we give to ourselves. What we really want is:

  1. A man who loves us at our worst, not just at our best. Of course you’re going to love us when we look our best. Who wouldn’t? A real man sees past the flawless makeup and incredible wardrobe to the real person underneath. So when we roll out of bed with messy hair, morning breath, and mismatched PJs, a real man would still think we’re the most beautiful creature on the planet.
  2. A man who understands and accepts basic human needs.We may be different genders, but we’re both human beings. So if you take regular poops, guess what? We do too. A real man wouldn’t be stupid enough to assume that we, as humans, do not do human things. And since we’re women, we also get periods. Crazy, right? Not to a real man, because a real man knows it’s completely natural and is zero percent grossed out by it.
  3. A man who will love our pets like children. Until we’re ready to push out our own kiddos, our cats and dogs are our children. If you don’t make an effort to get in good with our pets, you’re not a real man. How do we know? Because a real man would easily see how important these little ball of fluff are to us and would naturally want to bond with them.
  4. A man who knows we don’t need protection but offers it anyway.A real man gets that we don’t need to be rescued. We’re not helpless damsels in distress and we can take care of ourselves. A real man knows that, respects that and is happy to offer protection anyway, just in case.
  5. A man who admires our strength, in all situations. When you’re strong, you’re also independent, and vice versa. These two qualities terrify boys because boys are afraid of feeling useless. A real man admires a woman’s strength and independence because he knows it will make him better, not worse.
  6. A man who is doesn’t see us as just one thing. Most of us have been given a singular label at some point – the goth girl, the promiscuous girl, the girl next door, the bookworm, etc. A real man knows women are never simply one thing. We are all things, and that rich variety that we possess is breathtaking.
  7. A man who’s a feminist. A real man knows that the definition of feminism is simply a person who believes in gender equality. We don’t want guys who go around burning bras and screaming “GIRL POWER” in the faces of their male friends, but a real man will be reasonably pissed off to learn that women earn less money for doing the same damn job. Because DUH.
  8. A man who respects people in the service industry. When we see a guy treating his server or barista with kindness and respect, we know he’s a real man. We also know that he treats everyone with the basic decency that every human being deserves.
  9. A man who has an open mind. A man who’s close-minded will probably never change, has trouble adapting to new situations, and is probably miserable in general. When you have an open mind, you learn things. You experience things. You enjoy things. You truly live. A real man wants to do all of that.
  10. A man who would never want to change us. A real man finds our souls as gorgeous as the body it comes in, so when our bodies start to change (as will his) with age, parenthood, etc., he loves us just the same.
  11. A man who never gets intimidated by the presence of others. A real man doesn’t feel uncomfortable in his sexuality or masculinity in the presence of gay people, for example. Differences in others have no effect on him whatsoever because he is his own person and he knows diversity is important for our growth as people.
is a freelance writer for Bustle and Petcha, and editor for Wise Bread. She suffers from separation anxiety, and can't bear to be away from her dog for more than 20 minutes. Her dog doesn't seem to care either way. Sweater season is her favorite season.