What Do Women Want?

Note: This article is something I wrote over 13 years ago.   It was written in the context of dance and how the lessons we learn from dance can be applied to real life and what women want.  I have since updated it and am posting it here as I firmly believe these lessons should resonate with both young and old.  I

As men, we often ask ourselves what women want, which seems to be a mystery to many.   ….

Do women look for the same things in life as they look for in dance?

I repeatedly hear the following statement from dance instructors in one form or another.  “Guys, this is the one place you are in control.”   I wonder if this is true.

what do women want?

Societal Expectations

Today, we live in a society that takes something critical from men—our Masculinity and Authority.  The days of strong men are gone.

TV has an interesting way of portraying current social stigmas and stereotypes.  It used to be filled with strong male leads as fathers and husbands.  Men of strong conviction, character, and integrity, such as Charles Engels (Little House on the Prairie), are gone only to be replaced with men like Ray Ramono (Everybody Loves Raymond), incompetent man-children, barely leaving behind adolescence despite their age.

Commercials barrage us with scenes of the lost and ignorant husband unable to comprehend the simple fact that the wife just got wireless internet in their house, and she has to patiently explain to the moron of a husband that he no longer needs a cable to print his silly, worthless document.  And yeah,  I added the stupid, useless part.

How did we get to a point where our society’s view of men is a hapless, spineless, bumbling bunch of idiots, or is it?  Is this what women want?  I don’t think so.

Where am I going with this?   I promise this train of thought does have a caboose.

I won’t go into how we got here as that is a more prominent subject and could fill a book.  It’s already filled many books, so I doubt I have anything to add.  So let’s look at it from another angle.

What Do Women Want?

Ladies,  I ask you one honest, simple question.  Do you want to be the leader in your relationship, or would you prefer a strong, capable, confident, respectful, trusted man to take that role?   I ask it this way simply because if I asked if you would want to follow the leadership of Ray Ramono, the answer would be obvious….NO.

Now for the point.  I suspect that the traits women look for in a strong dance leader might also be the ones they would find appealing in a relationship.

Dance, as in Life

In life, just as in dance,  what women want  is for strong men to lead.  Not just on the dance floor but off as well.  Men, We have surrendered our leadership position by not living up to it.    I’ll illustrate with dance.

Partnership and connection are critical to dance.  I spend much time thinking about and discussing connection in dance, in the frame, to the music, and especially to your partner.  Men, If you do not maintain connection to your dance partner, they will be forced to lead themselves.   Here is a revelation for you.  She doesn’t want to lead.  She wants you to lead.

Before you get mad at me, did you read Traits of a Real Man?

I’m not talking about leadership, that is, “do what I say or else.”  I’m talking about servant leadership that is selfless, respectful, trusted, protective, and nurturing.

Qualities of a Good Leader

I will list some qualities of a good leader as they apply to the dance floor.   When I’m done, I have a question for the ladies.

A good leader:

  • Will have most or all of the 9 Traits of a Masculine Man
  • must be able to gain support from the follower.
  • Is be trusted by the follower
  • Leadership cannot be taken or forced, only granted.  Force does not equal leadership
  • must be firm but gentle.
  • Is always respectful, placing her in a position of high honor.
  • Will allow her freedom to express herself, be heard, and grow.
  • Is humble.  Never draw attention to your skill.  Let others do it for you.
  • Accepts the follower, not as an equal, but as one esteemed above himself and of greater importance

I like to sit and talk with the ladies at our local dances, and I listen to what women want from men, and let me tell you guys……they talk about us.   I don’t mean to imply that they gossip, but they comment on with whom they enjoy dancing and why.    The most talked about issue is consistently our ability, or lack thereof, to lead.  To illustrate, I have yet to hear one lady say, “That guy didn’t do enough patterns with me.”   To rephrase,  it is not uncommon to hear the following:

  • I could not follow his lead
  • he was too rough
  • He has too soft a lead
  • and so on and so on and so on


I can’t speak for the ladies but can only convey the message given to me repeatedly.  Here it is.

A simple dance executed well and led confidently is infinitely better than a complicated one that is led poorly.  Maybe there is a life lesson here.

So ladies….In dance, as in life, do you want to lead, or do you do it because you feel if you do not, then nobody will?  I’d like to hear your answer to this question.

what do women want