What Men Want at 20, 30 and 40

30: Stability -- and Sanity

Jim, a comic, recalls, "When I was seven I wanted a girl who could make a good sand castle. At 17, she just had to be stacked. At 27, she couldn't want to be my wife. Now that I'm 30 I want somebody sane and stable. The bottom line: While a cute tush still makes my head turn, it's the gray matter that keeps me interested."

As he enters his thirties, a man's taste in women definitely changes. After the initial experimental stage where he dates a lot of people, he looks for a woman to fill certain roles, like wife and mother. Another way to put it: He's refining his taste. He knows he can't spend all his time in bed. The mid-to-late thirties are often the period when men give in to their urge to settle down. At 39, Paul, a computer consultant, is no longer looking to date, but to mate. "I want someone who looks like a good baby-maker, not an anorexic who's afraid to put a cookie in her mouth."

40: Companionship

Men in this age range still think a roll in the hay is nice, but now they're more eager for substance. They want to be nurtured. If you're up for the job, the 40s man may be yours for the taking. Many of them are burnt out, making tons of money and lonely as hell because they have no one to share their success. Still not convinced? Listen to 41-year-old Stuart, a computer systems VP. "Now that I'm in my wise forties, I'm more interested in the character of the person than the package it comes in. Is she caring? Is she as giving as she is taking? Those are the questions I ask myself about the women I meet."

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