Recently, my husband and I have been in deep conversations about diving into the real world of electronics and buying smart phones. Why? Certainly, we do not need smart phones. Neither of us talk on the phone much at all, and neither of us know how to text, and neither of us need all the extra things that come with the phone. How can we justify the cost of the phones when they are only a trinket to play with?
This topic came up often when our children were growing up. "Mom, I want a new dress for this weekend." "No, you can't have a new dress. You have plenty of nice ones."
"But I ne-e-e-d one!"Okay, so now we're down to the nitty-gritty.
When I was looking for a new vehicle, one that would be mine, nice and a little upscale, but not too much...I sat in one that was very pretty and had every gadget known to mankind. The salesman stood inside the open door while I sat in the driver's seat, checking out all the amenities. "So, how do you like this one, Mrs. Yeary?" "Oh, I like it very much. It's just that I don't need all these extra gadgets." He leaned closer, and I swear...almost whispered in my ear, "Oh, but we want all those extras, don't we?"
Ah, the seductiveness of wanting...things...stuff...love? Well, why not?
We need air to breathe; we need water; we need food; and we need a roof over our heads.
We want many things, and yes, most are useful and desirable, but probably our lives don't depend on them.
That's it. The word need denotes neediness--a support system, a dependency, a weakness we cannot overcome without it.
Want denotes desire, a feeling that if we have this thing we will be very, very happy, indeed. In fact, we might very well be happier with something we want than something we need. You need a new washing machine. Yes, you need one to keep clothes and towels and other such things in the house clean. Without it, your life would begin to...well...smell. So, you buy a new washing machine. Good. Now, you feel satisfied and very happy. Why? Because the salesman talked you into one of those enormous machines they're making now that does everything except bake bread, and you are soooo happy with your new machine. I understand--you look at your new fantastic red washing machine and feel like you've fallen in love. You love your machine, the very one you wanted!
How does this apply to human emotions toward one another? A man and woman in love do use all sorts of phrases and terms in wooing the other. (Wooing?) Anyway, we might overlook some stray thoughts that might not seem desirable and proper.
I'm working on a novel I wrote some time ago, titled Lily Marie. It's complete but needs much editing and rewriting. The heroine is a somewhat prim and sophisticated English professor at the university. The hero is the new football coach whom she just met. However, the heroine has a friend, a nerdy professor who thinks she belongs to him. When he learns of her interest in the new coach, he blows up. "How can you think about him, when I need you?"
He needs her? Does he love her? Does he want her? No, he said, "need." A wise woman once said to beware a man who "desperately needs" the woman he's involved with. She said "need" never equates with love and sharing, but instead says, "weak, selfish, and well...needy." She always said.."Do not marry a needy man."Excerpt from WIP Lily Marie:
“Please, Edward, talk to me about your feelings. If your research paper is not accepted, I want to know how you’ll cope with it.”
“Well, Lily,” he began, in a carefully moderated voice, “you may have a point about a support person, a friend. So, I suggest we decide on a wedding date and go ahead and be married. The sooner, the better. That way, you’ll be there to help me through any rough time that may come along.”
Lily almost gasped. “Wh-what! Edward, we have never even talked about marriage! No, no, I don’t think this is the time.”
“And why is that?”
She waved her hands in the air. “You’re going about this all wrong. Two people get married when they fall in love, and want a home together, and children. Not for a support system.”
“As I see it, you’ve got it all wrong. Supporting each other is what a marriage is. It’ll work, Lily, I’m certain of it. I need you.”
Lily crossed her arms over her waist. “It won't work,” she said as she shook her head back and forth. “I can’t give you an answer. At least, we should think this through and examine our real feelings for each other.”
“Real feelings? I thought you loved me.”
“I’ve never said so, and neither have you.”
“Oh, I’m beginning to see the obstacle. Mark Majors, again.”
Edward stood and shoved his hands into his pockets, removed them to smooth his hair, walked to the window and peered across the street, and finally turned back to her. He pointed his index finger at her face once again and walked very close to her, all the while pointing.
“You’re holding out for that football jock.”
Lily jumped to her feet, mainly to get away from the finger in her face, but also to fume. She paced back and forth a couple of times. When she could speak coherently, she told him, “That...is...obnoxious. That statement is beneath you, Edward, and it’s demeaning of me. What’s wrong with you?”
“You should answer that!” he shouted. “I’m not good enough for you! Obviously, you want a big, muscled man! You want a handsome one with all his hair! Right, Lily? Am I right? Compare the two of us. How can I compare to him? Huh?”
Stunned, Lily blinked and stared. Edward never raised his voice. He never cared about his appearance, and he certainly never looked at other men to see how he compared physically.
After a few awkward moments of silence, Edward spoke. His voice was soft and slow. He shook his head back and forth, as he looked into her face. “Oh, Lily, Lily. I’m so sorry. I...I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I...I can’t believe I yelled at you and said those horrible things. Please, Lily, can you forgive me? I don’t want to lose you. Don’t you see? You’re my girl. Mine, Lily. We belong together; we’re alike; we need each other. Don’t we?”
Ahhh, Edward. Such a needy, clueless man. Ewww. Will Lily succumb to Edward's pleas, or will she continue her new relationship with big, confident, fun, handsome Mark Majors?
The difference between Need and Want is very clear.
What do you think? Suppose a man begs and says he "needs" you instead of, I "want" you? Which is best? Suppose a little of both is good?
What kind of heroes do you write? Needy like Edward, or Wanting like Mark? Or is there a common ground between the two?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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