05/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Idea of an Ideal Wife

Over the past twenty-something years of marriage, I have thought a lot about what makes an ideal wife. As a teenager, I always had more male friends than female. I think this is because I can relate to men better than women. I think more like a man. I was a tomboy as a child. I had road-racing sets and Lincoln Logs. I loved arguing with and competing against boys because I liked beating them. Beating a girl at anything did not thrill me. I recently learned how to trap-shoot with a twenty gauge shotgun. I loved it. When I was in my forties, I got my black belt in Karate. I loved sparring with twenty-something men. I watch so much football that my husband quips, "Haven't you watched enough football this weekend, Margot?" I would rather go out or order in than cook. I don't really like long walks on the beach. I don't really like long walks. I drink. I swear.

I am far from being "the ideal wife", but I wonder who is. What characteristics do men consider to be important? What can they simply not tolerate? How much do these answers vary from man to man? In my quest to find out, I emailed fifty of my male friends from all over the world. Some of the respondents are married, some divorced, some re-married, and some are bachelors. Instead of doing a boring chart with the answers compiled neatly, I am publishing some of the more amusing answers I received, but for the most part, men want intelligent, beautiful, sexy, humorous, uncomplaining, even-tempered, low-maintenance, non-spending, low-drama, high-libido wives. A few even specified political preference! So ladies, if you are reading this...go get your nails done, and try not to die laughing.

Here are six of my favorite responses...

1) "Aside from the obvious that she's got to be attractive to the beholder, as I run headlong into middle age I'm more preoccupied with the idea that she stays that way for as long as possible. It's no good marrying some gorgeous girl if her mother's the size of a zeppelin because genetics dictate that she's going that way eventually. So Rule 1: Marry an attractive girl with a mother who's kept her shape. Intelligence is an absolute must - I just can't bear the stupid ones, no matter how pretty. I hate it when a partner doesn't get my jokes and I want them to give as good as they get in any verbal sparring. Also, being on the small side I think this relates to my need to use my brain to avoid getting beaten up in the playground. I know my kids will require the same hence my wife must be smart. Complementary Skills and Interests - I've found that as a partnership and particularly when bringing up children, things work best if you and your wife have complementary skills rather than both being good at the same things and having no idea about others. It's the best way of ensuring that your kids have a well rounded up-bringing. On the simplest level if your wife can't teach you anything you won't stay interested for very long. Sexual Appetite - It's GOT to be compatible!"

2) "I am happy to help you in any way I can (no kidding!). Since I am incredibly shallow, here's my list: tall, smart, similar values (this is a really big category), someone who 'gets' me and is charmed by that -- this one works both ways, of course. Things I could not care less about: cooking, cleaning, child-rearing, blow jobs, status"

3) "You must be mad! Easy and glib answer is the "sort of woman who can get me to answer questions like this!" (He did answer!)

4) "Uh gee... 1. As hot as . . .Margot 2. as fun as . . . .Margot 3. as smart as . . . .Margot 4. as good a mother as . . . . .Margot 5. as willing to work hard, participate and be a supportive partner in her husband's life and their combined life as . .. . .Margot. So, now, are we done?"

5) "Ideal Wife 1) Beautiful in my eyes 2) Funny as hell 3) Loyal beyond reproach 4) Smart - kinda gets what I do for a living even though I have no idea 5) Good Mommy (just in case)
Bad Wife - These are actually more difficult for me since I am usually with women that I would never marry"


"To accurately complete this survey, I need to contact Margot's husband to get a list of his wife's top 5 characteristics."

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