Do women really want a guy who looks like Brad Pitt?
Do men really only want 'one thing' from a girl?
What exactly are both looking for in a relationship?
We decided to talk to young people and find out.
Different strokes for different folks
First, the lowdown on what the new-age man finds attractive in a women.
It is easy to think all men are attracted to some sort of universal ideal woman -- that one perfect model all women should strive to emulate.
Marketing executive Junaid Karachiwala, 31, tells us, "I'd like to believe the ideal woman for every man is different."
Our conversations with different men proved this theory right. The younger guys were fairly easy-going in their requirements from women. "Chilled out" was a constant refrain.
Eighteen-year-old student Nikhil Ved covered looks, personality and availability when he put it his requirements, "She should be hot, she should be cool and she should be free."
The older guys had a slightly more elaborate criteria -- good looks and an engaging personality rated high here as well with an additional need, companionship.
Twenty-six-year-old Vivek Bhanot, a software engineer, tells us, "I know that, most of the time, I just want a friend. Of course, it is a bonus if she is good-looking but mostly I just want my woman to understand me."
Beauty: Keep it real
Good looks clearly rated high on the list. However what the guys define as good-looking might take you by surprise.
Nikhil sends out this message on behalf of the teens, "That whole Pamela Anderson ideal is outdated. We have different standards now and Keira Knightley might be just as hot as some Playboy Playmate." Now, could someone please tell that to the new lot of item girls and models spilling out of their ridiculous outfits?
If you think the media promoted ideal of beauty is the one men hold dear, think again. Ashish Varghese, 32, a graphic designer, feels "the beauty ideal is suffering from a mixture of lowered standards and too much messing with Nature. Seriously, how many real people think some one like Paris Hilton is truly hot?"
None of the guys we spoke to actually.
A more laidback, natural approach to beauty is what both the older and younger guys appreciated. "Real" looks won hands down over cosmetic surgery enhanced "perfection".
But guys will guys, as it seen by this cheeky statement from student Hitesh Kalia, 20. He tells us, "Good shoes are important. They'll even make an ugly girl look better." Okay then !
Talk to me
Clarity in communication rated high on both older and younger men's requirements. Cryptic clues and subtle hints were the biggest complaints from the guys.
Graduate student Nihal Bharadwaj, 22, tells us, "I can't deal with mixed messages and all of that nonsense. If she wants me to understand what she's saying, she should just say exactly what she means."
Steer clear of this fatal flaw
A major massive turn-off was: N-A-G-G-I-N-G.
Students Vikas Patil and Joel Rodrigues, both 20, made it more than clear when they unhesitatingly stated, "We hate girls who nag! It is a huge huge turn-off."
Okay, got the message.
Just to be sure, Joel added, "It will even make a super-hot girl undesirable to us if you sense that a nag lies under that hotness."
It's chivalry not chauvinism
Guys do like playing the knight in shining armour -- just not all the time. So drop the damsel in distress act because most of the guys we spoke to said they much preferred being with a woman who was independent.
Clingy, needy women who couldn't do anything themselves were a major turn off.
On the other hand, men said they actually enjoyed opening doors for women, occasionally fixing appliances, helping out with heavy bags, etc. Says Nihal, "No, we don't think you're weak if you let us open a door for you!"
What women want
The girls, it seems, had more issues in the area of communication than the guys. Some of their most common complaints were:
"Don't play video games when I'm talking to you on the phone."
"Don't get that glazed look in your eyes when the conversation moves up one level of seriousness."
"I wish guys wouldn't talk down to us about topics they think are guy things. Who made technology and sports exclusively their domain?"
Fully aware of their reputation as endless talkers who must over-analyse every little detail, it turns out women actually don't want heart-to-hearts on the hour, every hour!
As student Smita Coelho, 21, says, "It sometimes ends up being like that because he just won't tell you what he's feeling or thinking! We have to keep asking what's wrong and then they say we're hassling them!"
Someone to talk to
Sometimes, good communication doesn't even have to be about what you say. As student Anna Philip, 20, puts it, "I think girls just want a guy who is willing to listen."
Consistency in behaviour
The Dr Jekyll-Mr Hyde tendency was a big turn-off, and it seemed to be a problem especially for the younger girls.
As student Rima Desai, 17, shared with us, "I liked this guy and we used to have great conversations. Then I went out with him and his friends a couple of times and it was like he had turned into this complete fool around them. He talked utter rubbish and agreed with whatever they said even though to me he had said the opposite. I didn't know what to think after that!"
No need to preen, just be well groomed
When it comes to looks, you don't have to be a movie star, just don't be a slob.
Says Smita, "Grooming is important. Wear your favourite comfy tee shirt if you want but don't have dirty nails."
The over made-up look is also a turn-off for the girls. Rima and all her friends insist, "We hate tight tee shirts and guys who wear more jewellery than us!"
They say you can tell when a guy is trying too hard.
Ditch the 'how to' books
The women unanimously asked for guys to ditch the 'how to get with a girl' books.
Says PR consultant Anjali Goel, 21, "All these tricks that they suggest you should use to impress a girl are quite pointless. As if we can't tell that you're pretending to ignore us in the hope that we'll be intrigued and try to then win you over."
Girlfriend or just good friends? Please clarify
If you don't want to have periodic talks about the status of your relationship, let your girlfriend know exactly where she stands with you.
"It can be confusing," says interior designer Mrunal Vasudev, 23. "If he sometimes acts like he's serious and then suddenly behaves like you're just in a casual relationship, how else will you know but to ask?"
Banish the green-eyed monster
Jealousy was another topic that a lot of the younger girls brought up.
Rima and her friend Natasha D'Costa, 17, tell us, "They can't handle it after some time if we talk to our other guy friends. That is really not cool."
And if, in some twisted way, being jealous is meant to indicate how intense your love for her is, you really need to get your act in order.
It's only love
Anjali sums it up by saying, "It's not so complicated -- at the end of the day both guys and girls both want the same thing -- someone they love being with."
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
What do YOU expect from your man or woman?
What issues do you and your current beau wrestle over?
What do you hate most about the opposite sex when it comes to relationships?
Spill the bouquets and the brickbats, we want to hear it all.