I picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine in Dr. Rudnick's office the other day. Leafing through, I started to form a picture that somewhere in there -- between the Bedside Astrologer and a story titled "The Seven Dreams You Must Not Ignore" -- was the answer to the question: What do women want? The question vexed Freud into the grave. It is the subject of perhaps more analysis than any other except, "Why are we here?" I'm here to find out what women want.
Men who read Playboy have defined what they want: a new, naked 21-year-old every month. Women who read Cosmo have another ideal in mind: The same girl with a cute, new little dress every month and a starring role on a TV series. The one thing both sides of the magazine stand can agree on: You can get a better woman.
Evidently, the key to understanding the mystery of women has something to do with the word "moisture." Every product they buy adds a measure of moisture they were missing. Hydrating, oxygen-rich, luscious, luxurious, energizing moisturizer. One part of the moisturizing routine involves drinking water, and lots of it -- 800 gallons per day. If a woman drinks that amount, she'll cure everything that ails her, except possibly water-weight retention. For that they can always take a pill, but believe me, these people don't like anything to do with weight except losing it. They hate getting fat, being fat, looking fat, staying fat or thinking they're fat. For those of you keeping score at home: Fat = bad.
"Light," on the other hand, is good. Lightweight formula, light as air, super light. Oil must be heavy because everything must be oil absorbing, oil-free, non-oily, won't clog pores. Pores are bad. Trust me, smaller pores are in the national interest. "Clean" is another biggy, right up there with moisture. Clean, glowing skin. Deep cleaning, all-day clean. You really can't beat the lightly moisturized feeling of clean.
Women can get a little confusing at times. Shiny hair is good, but shiny skin is bad. In addition, every cosmetic product has to conceal and condition, yet simultaneously create a natural look that makes her feel smooth, refreshed, powerfully protected, even-toned, fabulous! Got that? If they really wanted to look natural, what do they need to buy all this stuff for?
Then she wants to get dressed: be an erotic goddess; wear exotic patterns; foxy, fun fashions; and flirty skirts with the freedom of cotton. Panties that move with you.
New shoes. After conquering the moisture issue, shoes are what make women tick, preferably really uncomfortable ones that are hard to walk in. That's the kind my girlfriend, Alison, likes. They have a whole section of painful, difficult shoes over at Saks. Mention her name if you go there. She wears open-toed shoes at night and then complains that she's cold, but assures me that beauty knows no pain.
My research indicates that women think about their bodies almost as much as men think about women's bodies. They want to have a nibble-worthy neck, a lust-worthy bust, gorgeous gams, a pretty posterior, a tempting tummy, exciting armpits. (I didn't even know that armpits could be exciting.) She would like to have a combination of J-Lo's abs, Sarah Jessica Parker's back, Cameron Diaz's tuchas, Lara Flynn Boyle's eyebrows, Jennifer Aniston's husband and anything belonging to Julia Roberts -- except her husband.
She wants orgasms, understanding and fidelity -- and, if I'm reading this right, she wants it from the same guy. More sleep. A win-win strategy. A hot bath. Confident guys. Flowers. A sense of humor.
Then she wants to put it all together. Strut her stuff with oodles of attitude. Be alluring. Make eye contact. Unleash her inner sex kitten. Give off a sexy vibe. Set his gaze ablaze. Seduce him with an irresistible fragrance. Play rough. Add sizzle to red-hot romance. Fire him up with her fingertips and electrify his senses with man-baiting moves to blast his romantic defense system to smithereens. (Yikes! They're out to get us.)
It seems what she really wants is alliteration. She wants to be a fun, fearless, flirtatious female, free from food fears. Or subtle, sassy, simple, sexy and seductive in slick, skin-tight styles to snag that sexy stallion with her sinful, shameful secrets.
This is what they're selling to each other in the magazines we Y-chromosome people don't read. I don't know what it says about the cultural zeitgeist, but the editor is a woman -- so don't blame me. Guys aren't even invited to this coffee klatch. I had to steal my research copy from Dr. Rudnick's office under my coat.
So the next time a woman tells me that men have put this impossible standard of centerfolds out there to measure up against, I'll tell them what I learned in Cosmo: You can have it all.
That's about it. Next time I'm going to read Redbook.