What Men Don’t Want:

Exploring What Characteristics in Women Turn You Off—and How to Deal
By: Roshni Mulchandani and Maya Champaneri

If only you had powers like Mel Gibson and could hear the intimate details inside women’s heads, you’d be able to better cater to their emotions and meet their every need. Maybe then you’d be able to better communicate to your girlfriend or love interest just which of her qualities drive you absolutely nuts without totally offending her. And as much as you’d like to tell her about the certain things that really make your skin boil, you’re not sure how to break it to her. Minor pet peeves—if not discussed openly and allowed to get to the extreme—can destroy an existing relationship or damage the potential for a new one, so before you decide to call it quits, take a look at a few common pet peeves in women that drive men nuts and how to deal.

The picky eater
If there’s one thing guys love, it’s food. So when you plan to take a girl to your favorite joint to eat and she decides to only order a green salad with a side of low-fat dressing from the elaborate menu, you can’t help but ask the question: What the….? When the waiter arrives with her salad and your triple-decker burger topped with the works, she pulls out her fork and picks at the cherry tomatoes and lettuce leaves. Turned off yet? Men cannot stand the sight of girls who do not and will not eat. In men’s minds, it makes no logical sense. In fact, men prefer gals who will enjoy their food, get dirty and even step up to order. Some of the reasons women feel the need to eat less in front of their men are so they 1) don’t look like pigs; 2) are on particular diets to lose weight and become a size zero; or 3) because they think that’s what you want. Women love to eat as much as men do—some (more so than others) just need a sense of assurance that it’s perfectly okay to thoroughly enjoy some hearty grub.
If you find your girl is eating like a mouse and you want her to get a little more assertive with her meal, you’re not alone. There are simple and effective tactics to make her feel more comfortable with food and her body. Next time you’re watching the TV together and you see a nearly anorexic celeb, let her know that you prefer girls with more meat (more meat=more to love, after all). While often times women are responsible for their own body-size insecurities, part of the reason that they feel super self-conscious about eating “too much” at the dinner table is because many guys gawk with lust and admiration at unrealistic images of stick-thin women with gigantic boobs. This leaves many women resorting to desperate measures to look like what they think you want them to look like. The next time you decide to eat out, take the initiative and order for the both of you. Let her know you want her to taste your choice of dishes and opt to share the meal. To really get your point across, order a great dessert to end the meal and let her know the dining experience was complete because of her company—and because you both enjoyed wholesome meals …together. She may never be the food-enthusiast you want her to be, but at least you can go out and eat your tummies full simultaneously.

Cry babies

So you only cry when you really need to, like when your favorite basketball team loses the championship and at the very least when you break a bone. But your girl cries at the sight of a broken nail to the romantic chick flick on TV! The problem is that many women think that it makes them feel better, which is actually true. While we definitely can’t call them the weaker sex, they are the more emotional and crying can sometimes be an outlet to express their feelings. However, women that cry at the drop of a hat seem like they’re constantly crying wolf, and men see this as an attempt to give them a guilt trip, a way to manipulate a situation or a trap that makes them commit to something they don’t want to. Emotional blackmail is really the pits! All men react differently to crying women. If you’re the kind of guy who is patient and will lend a shoulder to cry on, kudos to you. If you can’t stand tears, your best bet is to comfort her and let her see the larger picture—let her know life is too short for unhappiness and tears, and that you need her to toughen up. While she may not like it in the beginning (and this may land up in more tears), she will eventually see that your intentions are in the right place, and think twice before crying over a lost pair of stilettos.

Less is more: keeping things simple
Men have the hardest time shopping for women, but that doesn’t mean they have no idea what they want their ideal woman to look like. Despite stereotypes of indifferent men portrayed on television, most know exactly what they want and don’t want to see on women. Starting with what may adorn the body, most men find piercings acceptable when they are tasteful and only in a few places—ears and nose being the only two, and for the sake of fashion, maybe a belly button piercing as long is it’s not flashed excessively. Anywhere else (like the tongue, eyebrow or nipples) and men feel like they are walking around with a girl who’s probably been around the block one too many times. Another accessory that should also complement the skin and not overwhelm it is make-up. Excessive make-up, especially foundation, lipstick and eyeliner, can make any girl look like she works the street corner, is trying to side something mysterious and/or has low self-esteem. Men want to see what women really look like—and if they don’t, than they’re probably weirdoes more appropriately suited for blow-up dolls. There’s nothing worse than leaning in to make a move and seeing nothing but cake on a woman’s face. Appearance is a sensitive topic to discuss with your woman but not impossible. The best way to deal with the situation is to pull a Tony Parker (to his wife Eva Longoria): Tell her that she looks best in the morning when she wakes up, au naturel with no make-up on, and that you want to see the real her.

It’s better to talk about the problems as they arise in dialogue format as opposed to starting things off with accusatory statements or saying, “I hate when you…” Letting pet peeves linger without being confronted can later lead to an argument that gets blown out of proportion and could potentially endanger the start, continuation or longevity of a relationship. If you’re going to talk to any woman about what really annoys you (which is perfectly healthy and recommended), make sure you emphasize even more what you love about her, and that you’re so into her that you’re willing to look past her flaws. Show support instead of accusation, commitment instead of condescendence, and compromise instead of hard-headedness— it will show that although you both have flaws, you know the value of working through them together…and going at it as a team will allow your relationship to endure even bigger battles.

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