What Women Want.

I was approached yesterday via email by the producer of the SBS TV program, Insight for my ideas and thoughts on What Women Want.

Which reminds me to correct the great number of typos I have in this blog now that you know, a lot more people are reading it.

So I’ve spent a great deal of time since reading that emailing trying to think of a response.

I thought of Woody Allen’s feature film ‘Vicky, Cristina Barcelona,’ and Cristina’s character, played by Scarlett Johansson, who only seems to be able to articulate what she doesn’t want.

I then thought of what I have wanted in the past, and tried to draw some parallels between then and now. See what’s shifted.

I then realised that I was only really thinking about what I wanted, which was hardly the question posed.

So what do women want?

I thought a big, obvious one might be monogamy.

I’ve always wanted monogamy. But then I thought of my single, celebate and seemingly happy polyamorous friends and decided that ultimately we can’t all want the same thing.

I don’t actually think polyamory works. I’ve seen it in motion amongst my own friends and amongst an older generation of family friends. And it seems pretty fucking complicated and ugly if you ask me. I think it takes a great deal of courage and creativity to make a relationship work with just the one person. The kind of courage and creativity I really admire. Plus, this was how I was raised.

My parents have been together for 30 years. They’ve shared a bed, a business, they’ve raised three children and three dogs. And they still like each other. And I have, from a few recent encounters, learned that they’re still quite sexually active.

But not everyone wants what their parents had. We all know that for certain.

So what do all women want?

I had the rousing misfortunate of having to walk through Kings Cross to Elizabeth Bay on Saturday night to meet up with a friend.

Now there is a place where there are indeed plenty of women, most of whom, I thought at the time, were probably still very much in the throws of figuring out what they wanted. Not yet quite sure.

The Cross has always struck me as a pretty ugly place. Not quite as ugly, however, as Tokyo’s red light district, Roppongi.

Roppongi is really ugly. Really dark. Really sordid. I worked there for 10 days once upon a time. I’d answered an ad in Drum Media for a cocktail chef position in a western bar. Aware at the time that the job may have been bogas I had a plan b in the likely event that things turned pear-shaped. And they did.

Women don’t make drinks in Japan. They hostess. You can make drinks but you’ll never make any money out of it and no one ever tips.

I’d finish my shift at this bar around 5am every morning. I’d walk to the train station through the streets lined with gommi, watching these masssive black crows rummaging through the rubbish for feed. They’d squark loudly in a tongue I was certain was English. It often sounded like they were saying, “Death, death, death…”

After 100 hours in this evil, evil place I announced to the owner that I didn’t really think Roppongi was a place for women. Or at least, I didn’t really think it was the place for me.

He laughed at me.

He said Roppongi was full of women, and made for men. That women could capitalise on this. That this was how the system worked.

I highlighted the fact that that was precisely my point. That I hadn’t moved to Japan to capitalise in on being a girl. I’d moved there to write.

Again, he laughed at me.

And then refused to pay me.

I was chasing that money for weeks and weeks and weeks.

I eventually, under the instruction of my gorgeous flat mate and new found friend, Shun, approached the Labor Administration Board in Shibuya and filed a complaint against the establishment. A letter was sent to my charming British manager within 24 hours instructing him to pay what I was owed or face libel as I was, at the time, only 19, a minor in Japan.

The legal drinking age in Japan is 20 and they knew that they could get in to a lot of strife as they were breaking all number of laws operating that establishment the way they were.

There were loads of ugly happenings going down in that particular part of town which I will detail further in my book, not here.

So anyway, the owner eventually agreed to meet me late one night to hand me the 100,000 yen he owed me. Some $AUD1,500. at the time.

I insisted we meet somewhere neutral in broad day light thank you very fucking much.

A Ghanian man pulled up outside Almond Cafe, a rather famous meeting spot at Roppongi crossing, late one afternoon in a big black van with tinted windows. He wound down the window and called out my name. I walked over to the van, stared at this guy, hoping this would surely be the end of this particular saga. He handed me an envelope and said, “Count it.” I did. He then said something that kind of took me be surprise. He said, chewing his tongue, as Ghanians in Roppongi tend to do, “I have a sister. About your age. I wouldn’t let her work here either.” And with that he wound up the window and drove off.

I was young at the time, but the experience really did start me thinking about what I actually wanted out of life. And how things were different in Japan for women. How things were actually probably different for women all over the world.

Really different.

I still think you’re better off being a homosexual black man in that country than a Caucasian western woman, but again, a story for another time.

My boss actually stalked for a bit which was weird. I think he was a bit besotted by Australian women, and he did do a lot of cocaine, something I knew very little about at the time.

He’d phone me late in the night and tell me that I’d never find what I was looking for. Never get what I wanted. I found this kind of behavior odd because he was married, and because he’d never really asked me what I wanted.

So back to the question.

And perhaps let me attempt to answer it with another proposition of sorts.

Let’s forget that men are supposedly from mars and women, each and every last one of us, supposededly from venus and consider this for a moment…

I think what women want is actually what men want.

I started this blog this afternoon following a light lunch and a morning yoga session. A good friend of mine, gawd bless her little cotton socks, has been driving down from Newcastle to try this Mystery Wonder Thang and has, in the past week, made the sojourn down the F3 to get all hot and sweaty with me in The Torture Chamber on three separate occasions. Impressive. I know.

I had to make up a session today by doing a double (as I’m doing 30 classes in 30 days as part of this 30 Day Challenge)and I skipped yesterday due to a rather banging hangover… so… today I went twice.

This friend and I came back to my place following this afternoons class, sat down to a pot of macha and some how got on to the topic of dissociative behavior.

She’s currently reading my favorite book of all time– Oliver James’ ‘They Fuck You Up.’


James starts the book by relaying an anecdote about a friend and colleague of his, Rufus May who developed schizophrenia in his late teens– as most schizophrenics due– and consequently managed to complete a degree in psychology, keeping his illness a secret– and reversed his own schizophrenia.

Since the publication of James’ book May has written and published a memoir of his experiences with schizophrenia, which I am yet to read.

James begins the story by writing about May’s ultimate dissatisfaction with his life, which he, May, believes lead to his creation of a Fantasy World.

Initially, he writes that the fantasy was born of boredom. Boredom at work, boredom at school, boredom in life.

Out of this boredom he, May, created a dissociative reality to cope.

He didn’t work in a factory, he worked in a detectives office. He wasn’t sent out to collect parcels and milk, he was sent on very serious and important secret missions. The fantasy, he writes, escalated as the boredom continued, ultimately reaching a point whereby he was convinced the fantasy world was in fact his Reality.

Street signs were secret messages, written just for him. A stranger scratching his nose on the tube was another secret message, intended just for him.

I’m sure you get the picture.

I’ve experienced very similar states of boredom myself and when ever I’m asked why I chose– at the ripe old age of 19 to relocate my entire life to Tokyo without knowing a soul– my answer is simply– I didn’t want to be bored anymore.

Which is true. I didn’t. And I was. Very much so.

I’ve also been acutely aware of my own Fantasy World and the dangers this kind of fiction can perpetrate in my own Reality.

Just prior to resigning from my full time job recently I was establishing all number of wild fantasies– and I knew why– and I knew where this kind of behavior would lead me.

I don’t want to spend my life imagining.

I don’t care to spend my days fantasising.

I don’t want to walk through the city with my iPod on, imagining I’m a published author, imagining a life in Europe, imagining a dream partner and a nice garden full of beautiful, living things.

I’d actually like to live it.

And I actually think that that is what both men and women want. An exciting Reality.

My old man emailed me today about my blog. Said perhaps it was time to go find Leonard Cohen.

I have just now got off the phone to my chuffed 6ft2 girlfriend. She asked me what tonights blog was about. I told her. To which she said, “Speaking of fantasies, my friend… I think you’re old man might be right… Go get Leonard Cohen.”


NB: Can someone remind me to write about fantasy and music tomorrow?

oyusami. x.

7 Responses to “What Women Want.”
  1. Hedley Galt says:

    Go get him!

  2. Papa says:

    A slight correction if I may…I actually asked …maybe you should ask what Leonard thinks about his music being used.
    But ‘Go find him’ will suffice.
    Or even be much better.
    Keep writing…

    (does 2 sessions a day really make up for 1 day lost?…it would never do for a Novena…look it up)

    • In order to ask Leonard what he thinks of his music being used for this vile campaign I would in fact have to… you know… find him… right?

      As for making a missed day of Bikram with a double– of course it counts! Some people are doing triples to make up for Easter still!

      And as for the whole a novena thing, (which, mind you, I think sounds more like a contraceptive device than) a city in Singapore OR a Catholic devotion consisting of a prayer repeated on nine successive days… The POINT of a 30 Day Bikram Challenge is to change your life… not follow a set of orders determined by another. Leave that to the Catholics. x.

  3. Simon Cordery says:

    Hey Alex,

    I love the blog today!! Truely insightful… I am going to have to find a way to watch insight tonight!

  4. Uncle says:

    The whole boredom theme is kinda interesting. Speaking from experience 🙂 boredom is a key component, but um how should i say this??? Let me make up a term “non-recognition” can be a major factor that can lead to boredom (relationship wise). Boredom can be a very wide ranging term that can cover a LOT a short comings in a relationship. I never claimed boredom as part of my issue however I have gone 180 degress in terms on “non recognition”. So my point here – in your search for what women want, and I TOTALLY agree – it is what we ALL want – is recognition. To go from never getting a pat on the back (relationship wise again) to getting consistently patted on the back is a sure way to eliminate boredom. I’m Kent Brockman and that’s my 2 cents worth ;). Oh and while I am at it….your words at Mum’s funeral in reference to what Mum said about her kids is very true – about how “Kevin married well” – but so did your Mom. The thing is I married very well – it is just that it took me a second effort to get it right – BUT what I learnt from the first time has made me a better husband this time. The fact that my wife has shown me what women want has made me realise that I want all that too – together it makes the ultimate goal easier.

  5. I must apologise, dear ‘Uncle,’ for not having responded to this sooner. I did, you see, write a response the night after you posted your comment, but my computer has been doing strange things of late, and then my Internet connection died, my response along with it.

    I wanted to say a few things in reply to your post.

    The first of which being, to be honest, I’d all but forgotten that part of the eulogy I read at nans funeral. At the time, my motivation was largely to leave the ‘congregation’ with something tangible, an essence of nan. She was blunt. She was honest. She was Irish. What she said was often unpalatable. I think I inherited this from her. But what she said was often true. I knew in writing that eulogy that by highlighting the points of some, I would also be highlighting the seeming fallibilities of others. I understand this now as I also understood at the time. That was not, however, my objective. I’m lucky in a lot of respects. Lucky because I buried my best friend when I was seven. Lucky because I attended my first funeral when I was three. Lucky because death was not some kind of victory march for me–ever– like it seems to have been for so many people I know. That’s why I put my hand up right away to speak at her funeral. I wanted that gig. I’m comfortable with death. What I’m not comfortable with is people living their lives in a narcissistic fashion, as though fame or beauty were some kind of final prize. Even if it sits uncomfortably with the reader, or the ear, I implore myself to listen up, to pay heed, to digest. I tend to expect the same of others, which I know can be a mistake. Because there are, after all, things much more valuable in experience than fun.

    I would also, in response to your post, encourage to read my prior entry titled ‘Court Cases & Coitis.’ Not as a mode of confrontation, but to further highlight your point that what women want, what men want, is recognition. I agree in entirety. And I commend you on finding someone you feel wholly compelled to spend your life with. I’m yet to tolerate much more than my plants and my guitar. x.

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