So my last post, The Mouths of Babes, got me thinking about men and dating. Being unemployed and all I have time to think about stuff like that — really mull it over and come to all kinds of interesting and fascinating conclusions. Such as what I want in a relationship and what I want in a man. What traits are important to me? What are the deal breakers and what can I overlook? What about leaving the seat up on the toilet? Is that okay? Then I imagine my usual middle-of-the-night-stumble to the bathroom, planting myself on the toilet without turning on the light, and that a cold wake-up splash on my backside might not be acceptable. Hmmm.
I think about all the guys I have dated over the years. I’ve dated A LOT. I’m no Carrie Bradshaw and certainly not Samantha Jones but I have explored dating relationships with different types of males. I was actually a late bloomer and really didn’t start dating until my senior year in high school — my peers had been “going steady” since grade school.
College was where I really got the opportunity to meet a lot of different types of guys: the preppies and fraternity boys, which were the boys I typically dated; the “GDI’s” or Goddamned Independents — guys who were “too cool” to be in fraternities or involved on campus; the hipsters and new wave looking guys; and the jocks. Yeah, lots of stereotyping went on in college. Just like The Breakfast Club.
I had a “Stalker Boyfriend” in college who was clean-cut, preppie, wealthy, and intelligent. He also regularly showed up at my waitressing job at the favorite “21 bar” and would get quietly drunk. Then he’d lean against the wall and stare at me, eyes boring into me, watching every move I made, flinching and glaring if any guy smiled or spoke to me. The other waitresses thought it was hysterical and the bartenders regularly offered to throw him out. I just ignored him.
What was really endearing is that he would periodically BREAK INTO MY CAR and leave roses and romantic notes on the front seat. I broke up with him over the phone. I guess I’m lucky that he wasn’t really insane or pathological, just borderline nuts. He’s now married, with two children and lives in Europe. I assume he’s happy and regularly breaking into his wife’s Fiat.
So when I think of traits that are important in a mate, I dutifully cross of “stalking”. That didn’t seem to work out so well for me.
My “serious” college relationship was with the BMOC — Big Man on Campus. Everything about him was golden: blond, beautiful, gorgeous smile, athletically-gifted, funny, smart and popular. We were quite the item. We dated for over a year. Then, on one of our last nights together, I excused myself from his bed to freshen myself up in the bathroom. When I returned, he was wearing my sheer black pantyhose…sigh.
Strike out cross-dressing.
I did give online dating a whirl a couple of years ago. Here is how I described the Man of My Dreams on my profile: You are self-assured, successful, a head-turner, on top of your game, magnetic, balanced, fit and like strong women. I’m not looking for any hotheads, not that I’m one but I am a firecracker (in an appealing way
That description still resonates with me today but I realize that I left out something very important: Character. If you can’t trust a man’s character, his integrity, and know that he has your back, then he isn’t good enough for you.
It goes without saying that I bring integrity and character to the relationship, that I have his back. I won’t resort to lies just because they’re easier than talking about what’s on my mind or what concerns me. If you have that inherent trust, and the love, and the chemistry, then everything else sort of falls into place. It really is that organic and all the movable parts fit together.
Do I sound like a hopeless romantic? I smile because in many ways I still have the awe and wonder of my childhood when it comes to romance, and hope, and the future. However, I don’t want to see that future sporting my black pantyhose…
I was working in my yard the other day when a little girl from our neighborhood, Maddie, wandered over to say hello. Maddie is a sweet and inquisitive six-year old and eagerly pounces on any opportunity to chat me up. She is terribly curious about me for some reason and follows me around the yard, pelting me with questions and cheerful chatter. I adore her.
I noticed her watching me intently, actually staring openly at my stomach. I stopped weeding and asked her what was on her mind. Maddie bluntly asked, “Are you going to have a baby?”
Ok. I tried not to take offense and assume I looked pregnant. So I responded, carefully, “Why do you ask, Maddie?”
She said, “Well, I think you should have a baby because you would be a great mom!”
“Besides, this house needs a baby and I need a babysitting job!”
I cracked up. She was savvy, I’ll give her that! I explained that there was no baby in the cards for me, not now, not ever. She fell silent. I could tell that wasn’t going to last long and that another question was brewing within her busy brain.
“Are you married?”
“Of course not, Maddie, you know I’m not married!”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
This was getting dicey.
“Um, not really.”
“Why not, don’t you see anyone you like?”
Oh, if only it was that easy.
“Why, yes, I see lots of boys that look nice.”
“Well, then just ask one!”
Dating advice from a six-year old. Apparently, hooking up was a fairly easy endeavor. At this rate, I’d have a date and probably be laid by week’s end. I had to admit, I liked her positive spin on the whole process.
“Honey, I’m kind of old-fashioned. I like the guy to pursue me. I don’t want to walk up to just anyone and ask them out. It’s called having standards. You need to have them, too.”
Again, silence. I could sense her thinking, “and how’s that working out for you?” I silently responded, “Mixed results, honey, mixed results!”
Then she asked, “What about the man in the blue shirt? He looked nice!”
I frantically searched my memory for a guy in recent memory who came to my door wearing a blue shirt. Came up blank. Surely she didn’t mean…the mailman?
“He didn’t have flowers though. If he brings you flowers next time, you should have a baby with him. That means he’s a nice one.”
I was speechless in the face of this seemingly reasonable advice. I had never quite fathomed the relevance of a bouquet of flowers before.
So I lamely said, “Don’t you worry about me, I’m just fine in the boys department and you have plenty of time before you need to be concerned about it.”
Maddie shook her head as she walked away and muttered, “I really needed that babysitting job!”