An opinion piece by Peter du Preez
“What do women want?” I asked in desperate frustration. I was in Grade 10, had spent the last three years in the happy and uncomplicated oblivion of an all-boys school and had suddenly been thrust crudely into a co-ed school that was so Afrikaans that English was treated like a foreign language. Over and above that the boys school had been a very liberal environment with 7 nationalities (I kid you not) in a single grade while the culture I was in now was, well, not.
The kids were nice but I was completely out of my depth. Within a month or two of being exposed to girls I’d had my first crush and had been very quickly and very cruelly rejected. I didn’t get it – clearly. I tried again, this time with a different strategy but again I was turned down… this time less gently. I eventually gave up and decided to quietly observe girls in their natural social surroundings with the hope of figuring them out. You can guess how that went.
In utter frustration I asked this question one day to a really nice and very quiet girl who took history with me. She was one of those pretty and smart girls who didn’t have any money and was therefore not in with the crowd – her dad had been in a really serious work-related accident and they were living on his disability allocation. She didn’t seem to mind not being popular, possibly because she was too real and didn’t have time for 16- year old shenanigans. “What do girls want? What sort of guys are most of them interested in, you know, to marry?” I asked (secretly hoping to become that guy). Her answer blew me away and has stuck with me ever since.
“Every girl has two guys in her head. The one is a gentleman who treats her like a princess and opens doors for her and takes her flowers unexpectedly at work and dresses well and so on, you know? (I nodded dumbly – I was 16). The other is the wild guy with long hair and a motorbike and no routine who goes on adventures when he wants as he wants and you, as his girl, are welcome to tag along, should you want. He is rough and tough and a little dirty and totally unpredictable.” She looked me straight in the eye as she spoke and then she stopped.
“Okay”, I prompted “so which one does she marry?”
“The one that’s most like her dad.”
I had nothing…
It is this conversation that got me talking to and listening to the wisdom of older men from a young age. It was this conversation that got me to befriend my father in law before I married my wife. It is the thought of this that has me really worried most days because I know me and I wish my daughter would choose, well, better. I try and live well for many reasons but chief among them is this – I want to be the type of guy I want my daughter to marry one day.