by Erika Townsend
If you want to ruffle some feathers, just ask a man how they like to be catered to by their woman. “Are you sure this is not a sting operation by some feminist organization?” one of the men jokingly questioned.
For the record, I want to assure both men and women that it was not my intention to set the women’s movement back. By definition, to cater means provide what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance. On the contrary, the definition of serve is to comply with the commands or demands of. The fundamental difference between the two terms is catering is meeting needs and desires, whereas serving is meeting the expectations of commands or demands.
“I don’t want a slave to wait on me hand and foot. I would rather have her get joy from giving me the same, with confidence that’s hers,” proclaims Jason, age 30. Doug, age 37 agrees, “I never want my woman to cater to me, but she does a great job of taking care of me when I need it. We approach everything as a team.” As one of the respondents eloquently put it, “Different men want different things in a relationship. What a man wants in a relationship says something about the man.”
But does it really?
“I am basic. I want what I want,” admits Joe, age 42. At first, I thought he was trying to pacify me with an off-the-cuff reply. But upon further thought, I realized his comment truly cut to the heart of the matter. Men were no different from women in regards to having needs that have to be met. According to Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” a well-respected psychological theory first put forth in 1943, all humans have basic needs that have to be met for survival.
The most basic of those needs are physiological, and encompass breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. The next level addresses safety needs: security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, and of property. “In the mode I’m in, I need my lady to be honest,” reveals Jason, 28. Floyd, 29, expresses the levels of trust a woman must exhibit before entering a relationship with him, “One, she must be loyal. Two, she must be a team player. Three, she must be understanding and able to communicate on all levels. Four, she must be able to hold her own. Five, she must love God.”
Once the basic physiological and safety needs are met, the concentration focuses on love and belonging: friendship, family, and sexual intimacy. “I like a woman that has old school values – a woman who can appreciate a good man and that knows how to carry herself in public, but is really a woman that has no inhibitions with her man,” says Rodney, 34.
“Make me feel like I am superman. I want a woman to treat me like I am irreplaceable, and uniquely singular in every aspect. That means stature, style, emotions, and yes, most definitely in the bed,” professes Oliver, age 29. Some of Oliver’s remarks allude to the next set of needs mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy, esteem. People in general need to possess a sense of self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others and respect by others. “It’s the small things, the little things,” as one man points out, that make a person feel appreciated.
Mutual respect seemed very high on the list for most of the men I spoke with. I think 28 year old Tim put it best, “She allows me to cater to her and I think that’s a way of catering to me.”
Ultimately, I think both men and women are looking for a mate that is uniquely in tune with their needs. Although we all have the same basic needs, the way that we would like to have them met varies by the individual. If you are fortunate enough to have found someone that meets most of your needs in a relationship, you have found something priceless that no one can put a value on, not even Maslow.