Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Must Love Dogs

Not too long ago, I got to talking about relationships with an esteemed colleague of mine. He conceded that reading my blog was one of his new guilty pleasures, mainly because I was so brutally honest, even to the point of self-deprecation. Well, what did he expect?.. I joked that after the heinous past few years of dating experiences; I was a mere few seconds away from joining Match.com or some other random dating site under an alias. Clearly, there had to be some way of wading through all the “getting to know someone” BS, and while I wasn’t sure a mathematical formula was the answer… well, it was better than taking blind stabs in the dark at it.

The true romantic in me always assumed that the right person would simply fall into my lap at the right time. After all, that’s how it happened for my parents.

Where the hell is MY Prince Charming?

That’s when I met.. the Survey. My buddy seemed to swear by it. The survey, while relatively simple asked all the important questions you should always ask yourself before pursuing someone. Writing it all down… really analyzing it all makes you realize what's really important to you in a relationship and a person. Thus, making it easier for you to make clear-headed decisions. You might be intoxicated by someone's good looks or the way they talk or their extensive knowledge of wines, sports, food.. whatever their niche… but if they don't fit your standards, then maybe it’s not worth chasing. After all, no one likes to feel they’ve wasted their heart or time on someone.

List six "musts". These are the absolute essentials you need in a partner
This part was relatively easy, and I felt like most were “givens.”

1) I want someone with a good head on their shoulders that that is decisive and can make sound decisions.

2) And while they may not come from a perfect family ( I mean.. who really has one of those these days??), they should definitely have a good sense of family values.

3) They should have some kind of faith (whether they be catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Taoist… whatever), and be relatively passionate and consistent about it. No one wants to date an absolute hypocrite.

4) I want a man who has solid career goals, and his own life ambitions… knows where he has been, where he’s going.. and appreciates every step of the journey to get there.

5) I want someone to see me as their equal. After all, relationships are all about partnerships. There shouldn’t be power struggles.

6) Make me laugh. I have a guilty pleasure for funny men. They aren’t necessarily the best looking man in the room, but they are the ones that keep a smile on my face the longest. Life it too short to not spend it smiling.. so why not find someone that keeps you in stitches all day long?.. I’m a nerd, and love to speak in movie quotes and references. I want my equal in that respect.

List 10 things that are important
These are qualities that you value, but aren't necessarily mandatory.

1) They should want to try new things, and never be satisfied with their knowledge of the world. I’ll try anything once, maybe twice if it doesn’t kill me.

2) They don’t have to be Emeril, but it would be nice if they could cook something other than a microwave dinner or boil a hotdog.

3) I really value physical fitness. So while they may not be an athlete, they should at least take care of themselves. This also means no smoking. I mean, part of having a life with someone means making sure that lasts as long as it can. Unless you’re Al Bundy..

4) Honor each other's past, but not live in it. I think it's crucial that you both understand where the other comes from, and where they have been. Our pasts are what make us who we are today. But they are just that, the past. Don’t dwell on them, don’t let them interfere with our future.. and move forward..

5) I want a man who can handle himself in public. One who knows you can’t talk like Kenny Powers in a nice restaurant. Someone who can handle himself at a cocktail party or any other social situation that presents itself. It’s not so much about manners as it is people skills. They don’t have to own the room, but they should be comfortable enough to stand on their own.

6) You may not like the same things I do, but at least look remotely interested in them. I don’t expect them to love sports or cars the way I do. But I better not have to explain to them who Deon Sanders or Joe Namath is either. If a guy thinks Babe Ruth is a candy bar.. guess what buddy???.. You just struck out.

7) Someone who knows how to have fun. Anyone that has been around me knows I am the biggest goofball ever. I have an affinity for knowing all the dance moves to music videos, and shamelessly admit to knowing all the words to pretty much any Britney Spears song ever recorded. If you are easily embarrassed, and won’t partake in dancing or having a good time, or have the party personality of a wet mop, need not apply. I don’t expect you to be Frank the Tank, but I do want someone that knows how to have a good time. After all, you shouldn’t take life too seriously, or you will never get out alive.

8) I love spontaneity. It keeps things fun and new. Try new things, go new places.

9) The Little Things principle. As gay as it sounds, even the coolest of girls likes it when her guy does something “just because.” There is no special occasion, no motivation behind it, he does it simply because he was thinking of you. An occasional text, flowers for no reason, or some random stupid trinket you saw and immediately thought of them. Even in a crappy economy we’re all still capable of doing something a little out of the way.. just to show we care. So why don’t you??

10) I want a guy that “tries” just as hard as I do. Let's face it, even the best relationships require a little bit of effort. I don’t think a girl should have to spend all of her free time chasing a boy, or vice versa. I think they should both chase each other. Meet the other in the middle… that’s how real relationships function even under the most strained conditions.

Five must-nots. Anything on this list is a deal-breaker
When I asked a few random women in my life this question, they came back with some blatantly obvious answers… must not cheat, beat.. etc. etc. Upon hearing these answers, I just cocked my head to the side as to kinda say.. “well, DUH.” I think that thing goes without saying. But maybe some of these are a little less obvious.

1) Don’t put down my beliefs or my opinions on things. We may not always agree, but we can agree to disagree. If a guy doesn’t want a woman with opinions, there are plenty of Barbies out there to give them the “smile and nod treatment.” I will not be a Stepford wife.

2) They can’t be overly vain. I once dated a guy that got in a hissy every time I left the house in a baseball cap and sweats. Apparently I am supposed to go to the grocery store, the diner, everywhere in 4 inch heels and full make up. Who the F@#$ do you think you are, Prince?.. Until you are cool enough to replace your name with a freaking' symbol, then you have no business telling me how to dress on my casual day to day life. It’s just shallow.

3) Laziness. I hate unmotivated people. A guy should have their own goals, their own ambitions, and I refuse to ride your ass or play your mother to get you to do them.

4) Do NOT compare me to your ex. Under any circumstances. That ship has sailed, and gone down like the Titanic my friend. You don’t want us doing it to you, so why even go there??? Don’t punish us for their mistakes or make us live up to their standards. Just because your ex used to go everywhere in full make up and hair doesn’t mean I have to. Judge me based on my standards and mine alone.

5) Do not betray my trust. Don’t go through my things, don’t go through my phone, my email.. whatever. It’s password protected for a reason. Even when two people share everything they should still be entitled to some privacy. If you don’t trust the other person enough to not go snooping you have no business in a relationship anyway.

6 Bonus Points
These are added bonuses. Not necessary, but it would enhance your life, make your time together more fun.

1) A man who knows how to fix things is sexy. I’m not saying you need to be the next Bob Villa. Hell, I will settle for Tim the Tool Man Taylor. But, know how to screw in a light bulb, or fix a toilet. And for God’s sakes… don’t be that metro pretty boy that doesn’t know what happens when you put rice down the drain. I wouldn’t say it if it hadn’t happened.

2) Compliments go a long way. And not the backhanded variety. Telling a girl her hair looks better than it did yesterday is not a compliment, it’s a putdown. She should look beautiful to you every day. That way when you’ve knocked her up, she’s 50 pounds heavier than when you met, she won’t be giving you the finger and cursing your existence come that day in the delivery room. She is beautiful all the time. No ifs ands or buts.

3) PDA is underrated. I’m not talking Paris Hilton-Doug Reinwhore make out sessions. I am talking about simple hand holding, a peck here, a hug there. If you are with a girl, be PROUD to be with her, and let her know it.

4) Take one for the team. A guy that is willing to see that chick flick just because I want to scores major points in my book. Because lord knows, I will be the first one to return the favor.

5) I’m a huge animal lover, and have been raised with big dogs all my life. A dog that resembles a bedroom slipper is not a dog, it is a fashion accessory. I have a place in my heart for every kind of animal though. And so while you may not fancy them, at least have compassion for the fact I do.

6) Create your own traditions. Make experiences for the two of you to share that are yours and yours alone.

Five scenarios
Five things you can imagine doing with the person you want to be with.

1) I am the biggest kid at heart. I love riding roller coasters, and rides, and going to Theme Parks. If you are too cool for the tea cups or Space Mountain, you are too cool for me.

2) I’ve grown much more appreciative of the outdoors in recent years. I really want to go white water rafting again, possibly down the Colorado. Men without balls, need not apply.

3) My dad and I have made it a point to visit as many ballparks as possible in our travels. You better plan on getting in on the action. I still haven’t been to Fenway and so many other great sports venues.

4) I am a huge supporter of charity events and volunteer work. Have a heart to help others, not for the publicity in it.. just because it makes you feel good at the end of the day. I would love to spend time with someone that has the same passion for helping others that I do.

5) My favorite date night.. is staying in. Making dinner, and watching a movie on the couch. After all, then you can just be yourself… talk.. and get to know what one another is really all about. I hate having to be “on” all the time, so this is when someone gets to know the real me.. the one behind the big hair.. the make up.. and all that nonsense.

After filling out the list, I went back through it, one article at a time. It wasn’t a list of likes and dislikes. It was a living breathing ideal person on paper. Comparing it against my past, all my failed relationships seemed to make so much more sense. It didn’t necessarily excuse their behaviors or the way they may have ended things, but it certainly explained why certain situations would have never come to fruition. The list was simply a way of saving me the time and agony of chasing something that wasn’t right for me anyway.

I wrote my colleague back and thanked him for sending the list to me. It really had a way of putting the past few years of my adult dating life in perspective. He reminded me that the list was not a be all end all, but it was certainly a great place to start searching. And as he so pointedly put it...

“The good thing for you is you have looooots of time.”

16 comments:

Doc Nielsen said...

Look no further - oh wait... i'm too far away. Darn it! :P

Coxymoney said...

This was seriously one of the most refreshing collection of thoughts putting pen to paper from female I've seen to date. This is by far and away the best summary given in a unfiltered way of who you are and what you are looking for. People have a hard time of giving their thoughts a purpose. Meaning that avoidance of confrontation is a daily goal. Personally, I feel that avoidance of confrontation begins with the inability to accept others thoughts, beliefs or desires. This is the line that stuck out to me:
"It didn’t necessarily excuse their behaviors or the way they may have ended things, but it certainly explained why certain situations would have never come to fruition. The list was simply a way of saving me the time and agony of chasing something that wasn’t right for me anyway."
Be real and be passionate. I've said since I was in high school to friends both female and male "why are you ignoring what you feel in order to believe what you say?"

Let me be very blunt:
If your picture wasn't attached to this, and one of my friends, one of my more mature 20-something friends read this, there isn't a one that wouldn't after reading it say, "Yes - I could f'n appreciate a girl like that."

When did we stop believing the lesson we learned from our parents when we were playing in sandbox's, "honesty is the best policy."

danny61 said...

Jenn, Sometimes the journey is as important as the destination. Cliche but true!

RevJason said...

Awesome list there is a guy out there for you even though he may live up to some of those creds. even though i am a Lay Buddhist I still follow the The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path anyway still a great list

JeremyJ said...

I agree with so many things from ur list...shouldnt be too hard for u! :)

anthony0358 said...

That was so sweet
Thanks so much for sharing this with us
I love what you wrote

SACK-U said...

Another excellent post. I have now become addicted to your blog. Thank you :)

Jeremy said...

I'm not going to lie... Number two on the "Five must-nots" made me laugh out loud. I wouldn't be so bold as to say consider this my application. But I would say let me know if you ever come to Ft. Lauderdale. This is too hilarious and awesome at the same time to not make some sort of comment on.

PCat said...

Interesting read and something I'm going to try as well. It is amazing to think about the things we want in life and the things we NEED in life. Ha, all logical sounding here! Anyways, I'm very pleasantly surprised to read this from you. Everyone is really human under all of it all. Even if you have a pretty face or a geeky person, people are people.

djt008 said...

Jenn,

I must admit I love reading your blog because of the fact that you are brutally honest yet your posts have a certain charm to them. When you wrote about not knowing who Babe Ruth was, I couldn't help but think of The Sandlot and Smalls. Ever see that movie?

Even though life isn't a fairy tale, I have no doubt that you WILL find your Prince Charming. Hopefully, you won't need to fall into a magical endless sleep or lose a glass slipper to find him, but you may have to go out with a few frogs along the way.

While I haven't had a serious relationship, I have come to realize that love is incredibly powerful, and it is the one thing that makes human beings instantly vulnerable. It is also one of the greatest gifts we have to give. As a high school student four years ago I volunteered and schools of Jamaica, and as a college junior this past January I volunteered in Nicaragua. The stories I was told and the things I observed were heartbreaking but I also saw things that were amazing. I will not share them here but if you want to know what they were send me a message.

To me as a guy it's the ultimate paradox. I don't like feeling vulnerable, but in order to truly love, you have to be. Perhaps that is why love and relationships are so difficult. It's like skydiving taking the plunge is hard (at least it was for me) but it was one of the most rewarding things I have done. (I went for charity) If you ever want to try skydiving, go for it, but make sure your shoes are tied tight because one might fall off, but if it does maybe Prince charming will bring it back to you.

Best of luck in the future.

M G said...

I wrote you a BIG comment but too big for these comments so check your email. :o]

Have a nice night.

Randy said...

I've noticed that in general women say a lot of things they want in a guy, but when the opportunity presents itself they do the opposite. Do you find that true?

roothog229 said...

Jenn,

Got caught up so much in writing this that I had to use your mail to fill in the commentary.

Great stuff though!

Drew said...

Wow Jenn...you actually just described me exactly. I don't mean it sarcastically or in the "hey, I love The Notebook" or "I'll say I'm whatever to date you" kinda way either...I mean I went through the list and nodded after every single one including the E.C. (except cooking...pasta works for me and I have a George Foreman Grill, but that about does it for my cooking abilities right now).

Veritas said...

For starters, it looks like a very good and reasonable list of things that in my view they aren’t that hard to accomplish.
But (yes there’s always a but) although the list itself is quite simple, and like the other guys that commented on this blog I too could say “Ah, nailed almost all the list. 99% is not bad” it just isn’t 100% because honestly saying that someone most have some kind of religion to me is stretching the line a little bit, after all I’m perfectly happy with my beliefs.
Yes, beliefs, if your looking for a guy that simply believes in something just because, then in that aspect I’m simply not your guy.
My beliefs are solid, logic and at the same time very spiritual enlightening; I believe in what I believe I don’t call it a religion because it simply isn’t, what I believe doesn’t need followers and if you couldn’t handle it Jenn then I’m most definitely not your kind of guy.
Now the list is like I said before, it’s reasonably good, but not perfect; believing in the list and use it on a daily basis might be a little tricky.
It’s almost like the 10 commandments, all good and reasonable but I bet that you, me and everyone in the world doesn’t complete a day without breaking one or more of those 10 commandments.
It is not like I’m saying you shouldn’t give the list a try, quite the contrary, if you feel that it may give you what you want then by all means go for it, after all it’s your life and no one rather than you can lead it to a safe harbor.
There is also one last thing I need to point out; the list is nothing more than what we all want to find in another person, so to me it isn’t that special but what life has thought me is that things are never that easy, and if you have any doubts that what I’m saying is true then I challenge anyone that commented on this blog to tell me I’m wrong and why I’m wrong, don’t give me any lame phrase like “Man it’s wrong because it simply is wrong” if anyone is going to say that than you better shut up and simply do not say anything.
Like you Jenn I too am looking for the right one, the only difference between the two of us is that I don’t longer have it in me to wait for someone to fulfill all those standards, life is too short for that.
Your mother and father have something special, and believe me that is not easy to find in this days, but if you ask your parents what was their expectations when they first started their relationship your going to find that what they have is something built with time, patience and trust; the way they love each other right now is not something that you, me or anyone is going to find out of thin air.
You wish to find true love Jenn?! Well me too, and one day I hope that both of us can find it but I’m also not expecting it to fall on my lap, I’ll just have to find someone that I can build the kind of love your parents have, because true love is something that is built with time it isn’t something that simply appears like magic.

Barb said...

Hey - what this attitude about???

"A dog that resembles a bedroom slipper is not a dog, it is a fashion accessory."