Jose Antonio Cangco

The title of this piece should have been “Girls, Turn Conservative and Get Your Man”, but this might be asking too much from you when what is needed is just for you to have a different take from a man’s perspective.

It is a fact that in our society more women than men prefer the traditional road to family—marriage —no matter if the elements making for a good relationship are already there: love, devotion and surrender. It is not a trivial thing but of serious consequences for ladies in their mid-twenties and beyond to understand what goes on inside the minds of men, and to find out if they will make good marriage-material.

Asking your parents the kinds of traits or qualities to look for in your future partner is okay if their expectations are realistic and not on the five-star side. Asking your grandparents may prove helpful, too, if they have a bit of modern touch; otherwise, be wary of any advice which might set you a century back. Then, discussing the qualities you want in your future mate with your classmates, office mates and friends may give away your secrets, while approaching teachers and counselors may result in synopses and clinical analyses of your problems. You find the internet is too impersonal for your taste. Are there any other reliable sources of information close to the issue you can ferret out?

Asking a man himself is the best way, of course. There loom the probabilities, nonetheless, that he may not completely be honest with you or he may just dilly-dally about these qualities; if such were the case, the next best option is to get inside his mind—to learn his type of girl when he is seriously eyeing one.

Most men prefer girls who are a little on the conservative side. Your being a tad conservative is not exactly bad news and does not certainly mean you should step back in time for most things because you can still be fashionably attractive, speak the current lingo (expletives excluded), listen to hit music, watch the latest movies, attend trendy gatherings, and yet manage to project the classy aura of a well-bred girl.

In the Philippines, we do not practice arranged marriages the way they do in India or China where a matchmaker compares the emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, and psychological qualities (even the horoscopes) of the boy and girl if they will make a good pair, leaving us Filipinos prone to “love-marriages” to rely on our own feelings and reason when choosing our future partners. Like my friend, Yasser, wrote in a card to his cousin who was getting married after he was successfully matched with a girl he had known for only one month: “Dear Couple, I wish you a happy married life.” I am sure there was a picture-perfect wedding somewhere on that day.

In Filipino culture where we practice “love-marriages”, one is quite free to project his or her personality in any outward manifestations he or she may choose subject to a degree of moderation, class, and sophistication. This freedom will help mask or disguise the conservative qualities the girl is trying to create to attract the opposite sex for a meaningful and hopefully a permanent relationship.

You may or may not agree with the following; on the contrary, these “no-no’s” will let the conservative part of you show through for the guy who is getting serious and ready for a commitment, to pick up. You see, girl, you may attract the guy with your dress, your speech, even the kinds of friends and groups you go out with, and a lot of other things besides, but until you yourself show you are a good wife-and-mother material, you may not go beyond flings and Friday night dates.

I did not interview my parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends directly about these “no-no’s”; I have observed, learned, inquired, and circulated. If you want to have the best, or next best, and have your own say about your future relationships, trying these will give lots of benefits, maybe even get a nice guy to notice and fall seriously in love with you.

Don’t get drunk. Nothing turns off a man faster than watching his girlfriend get drunk. Girls taking a swig of liquor may be cool for hip hop guys though when it comes to serious, meaningful and permanent relationships, I have yet to come across a man younger, older, or of my age who would look favorably upon seeing their wives and the future-mother of their kids get drunk.

Do not presume that men are afraid of competition because they are not. They just want their partners to be exemplary parents to their kids. Guys are practical and realistic, they do not want to bring into their marriage a girl clutching a mug of beer or a bottle of rum. The issue here is no longer about you but about marriage, the kids, the home, and the future.

Don’t chain smoke. A lot of young females will not like this because smoking gives them something to do, it calms their nerves while engaging in a pretentious habit. I worked in a call center where there were many young people and I could count on my fingers the girls who did not smoke. Many guys accept girls who smoke but are they happy? “If she is happy then I’m happy” is the most response guys give when asked about their girlfriends’ smoking habit.

If he were given his way, he would prefer his wife or girlfriend not to smoke. Why? For a hundred and one reasons: the kids, cut costs, bad breath, health hazard, fire hazard, wrinkles, etc. It is also because men instinctively know the wife’s duty is to look after the kids’ best interests and that no parent ever encourages or wants his or her children to take up smoking or come home reeling drunk.

Don’t fool around. Some rules may be broken although definitely not this one. Avoid doing a Francesca Johnson. The majority of Filipino families can remain intact if the husband strays but not so when the woman goes awry. Couples are aware of the devastating effects and this is the reason why staying faithful is strictly followed in our society.

“There’s double standard in our society!” a pretty classmate defiantly said to me during class back in college as if she was recruiting me to her cause. So it was, it is, and, unfortunately, will continue to be; however, jumping from the frying pan into the fire will not solve anything. The role of women in the past and today’s cultures has always been as the homemaker, and so far, no substitute has been known to be better than she is. This is the reason why to strengthen the family, we have laws to protect and help women and children.

The love between man and woman and between parents and children is not a modern discovery or a generational trend; it stems from our conservative values running deep in us. Do not fool yourself by declaring you are the most modern gal or guy in the group; if you accept gender roles, there is a conservative streak flowing inside you.

These are the three basic rules to follow to get into the mind of a man. They increase the odds in your favor of getting him to notice you with an affirmative eye. By themselves alone, they are already beneficial for your body and mind; and there is no one in a better position to look after your own health 24/7 except yourself. Certainly, your mother can offer more advices I am sure are good for you but remember it is always you the guy will want to notice as conservative.

Then, dear couple, I wish you a happy married life.

Copyright by the Author
(Published in the Philippine Panorama, January 16, 2011)

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