Gentlemen? I have some good news. What women want is a whole lot cheaper than flowers. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard married women mention that their husband brings them tea in the morning. These women tend to be in the main part, happy in their relationships and they’re not divorced so that’s revealing. A cup of tea is a little thing but also huge and it inspired this column from author, columnist and beauty blogger, Zoe Foster.
Anyway I digress (because I often do). Zoe has her own blog (click here to read and follow it) where this article first appeared, after making a little stop at Cosmo. I asked her if we could republish it because in essence she has actually almost solved any relationship issue by getting to the crux of what women really want. See if you agree…
All women really want is a cup of fu*king tea.
Sorry for the profanity, but not really, because I meant it.
In a survey I performed on 1000 fictional women, 99% of them said the one thing they really wanted in their relationship was for their boyfriend or husband to offer to make them a cup of tea*. And amazingly, these men didn’t even need to make the stinkin’ tea, the offer itself was what was what was important.
At first this might not make sense. But at second it does. You see, no matter the guy, no matter how long we’ve been with him, whether that’s two weeks or two decades, and no matter the state of our relationship, we women will always, always want to feel like our man cares about us enough to offer us that most simple of gestures: a cup of tea.
Why, is manifold.
First of all, we all know a cup of tea is the Universal Symbol of Comfort. What do you offer a girlfriend who has just been dumped (provided you are out of Tequila)? A grieving friend? And upset flatmate? A teary workmate? A sick boyfriend? A tired and frazzled mum? A cup of tea. It’s nothing more than some hot water, a mug and some tea leaves (and milk and sugar if they’re being really fancy) but it does so much for the soul to be offered a comforting, soothing drink when you feel like shit (or even when you feel terrific).
A cup of tea is made with generous, nurturing intentions and it is presented with care; it’s the liquid equivalent of a hug.
Then there’s the thoughtfulness element. This is a huge factor; almost big as my love for Haigh’s chocolate when I am pre-menstrual or breathing. It saddens me that thoughtfulness is so spectacularly underrated in relationships, when it is absolutely crucial. Sure, trust, love and a mutual interest in kites are important too, but if you have a strong foundation of authentic thoughtfulness, your relationship has an infinitely better chance of lasting. It does! It does.
Think about it: how much more affection, adoration, gratitude and love (all terribly necessary and marvelously positive in a relationship) are you likely to feel towards your guy if he leaves a little note on your pillow for you to find after spending the night at your place? Or whips up some spag bol when you’ll be getting home late from a murderous day? Or buys you Cosmo at the service station because he knows you love it? Or offers to help your mum figure out why her Internet isn’t working when you’re over there for dinner?
Any man can buy you dinner at a fancy restaurant or present you with impressive foliage on your birthday. It’s the man who hands you a muesli bar as you’re racing out the door without having eaten breakfast or who sends you a beautiful pep-up text just before you walk into a scary meeting who’s special. Thoughtfulness is worth its weight in platinum and if we all put a little more of it into our relationships, chances are we’d all be a lot happier, and probably having more sex too, if I may be so crude.
And this is why that little cup of tea is so special. It demonstrates that he’s thought about your wellbeing, that he cares for you and that he understands that with women it is always, ALWAYS, the little things that make the big difference. And when the cup of tea is not presented? Well, things can get terribly unsavoury.
Case in point: A girlfriend was fluey. After not being offered any form of compassion or concern from her live-in boyfriend for two days, she snapped and asked if he could make her a cup of tea. He silently went to the kitchen to do his task but 30 seconds later she heard, ‘Where’s the tea kept?’. At which point she decided he was a selfish a-hole and consequently instigated a separation. (Yes, she inspired this article.) It wasn’t just the tea that inspired her to end it of course, but in her mind, his failure to offer a cup of tea (let alone fresh orange juice or chicken noodle soup) was symbolic of how little he cared for and about her.
Of course, it needn’t be specifically a cup of tea. It can be anything, but the common theme is that it’s done without obligation or being requested, and it’s done with love. I have a friend, for example, whose boyfriend makes them both an excessively virtuous smoothie each morning. And another whose boyfriend makes little movies on his phone of their 6-month old daughter and emails them to her at work when she’s missing her baby ferociously. To me, these are enormously romantic gestures. And you can bet they’re appreciated. And if you’re the betting type, you can also bet that they’re reciprocated. Because thoughtfulness has a funny way of being contagious, which you will quickly discover should a batch of it find its way into your relationship.
We women are traditionally the nurturing sex, the ones who ensure everyone and everything is happy and okay. We like to care for our lovers, family and friends; it brings us a sense of joy and satisfaction. So when that role is temporarily, gorgeously thieved by our Twinings-wielding boyfriends, and we get to be the one being looked after with a warm cup of The Universal Symbol of Comfort, it feels pretty great. (Just make sure he knows how you like your tea though, because if he puts in too much milk you should obviously dump him immediately.)
*The other 1% preferred Milo.
Do you agree with Zoe, is a cup of tea better than flowers? And do you get resentful if you are not being looked after?