Romance, Male Dominance, and the Quest for Investment
The great question . . . which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?
-- Sigmund Freud
Without an office, you have no power, and I love power because it attracts women.
-- Henry Kissinger
SIGMUND FREUD WAS CONFIDENT of his ability to unravel the deepest secrets of the unconscious mind and to explain the fundamental processes of psychological development and gender identity. Yet in his often-quoted statement, he admitted he was at a loss when it came to understanding what women want. Freud is not alone: a great many men are perplexed by women's behavior. They often find it contradictory, frustrating, and incomprehensible. One of the reasons for men's confusion is their failure to recognize the distinction between emotional and material investment. Most women want men who are loving and tender with them but they also want men who are winners. This desire for both types of investment often causes them to behave in ways that men find baffling. For example, women tend to want more cuddling and tender shows of affection than men do, and women's complaints about men in this respect are perennial. But at times many women also want their male partners to act passionately, lustfully, and masterfully. A woman can alternate between wanting to cuddle and nurture the man, wanting the man to cuddle and nurture her, and wanting him to act as though he were ravishing her. And all of these alternations can occur in one encounter. The same alternations can occur in verbal transactions. Sometimes a woman wants a man to be sensitive, considerate, and compliant. Other times she may want him to take a stand and argue with her. In the early stages of a relationship, some contemporary women are adamant about their independence and