When I was in my twenties, I had a list of attributes that I wanted in a guy that I thought might help to assure compatibility. Embarrassingly, the list consisted of things like he had to be taller than me, he had to have a job, he could not be skinnier than me, and, er, he had to be blonde children material. Nowadays, the list is down to “taller than me.”
Obviously, these are only attributes that will get you in the door. After the first or second date, you realize that you have more standards than you realized; they just weren’t on your list.
As an example, I met a guy for a coffee date a while ago and, although he met my list of requirements from my twenties, there were just some things that hinted to me that we were not a good long-term match.
Let’s start with the good qualities. His profile said he was 5’9″. Fortunately, that makes him taller than me. Unfortunately, we all know that guys round up, so that means he was actually 5’8″ and not taller than me.
Secondly, he had a job. It was actually a great job with the state that included benefits. That means I likely wouldn’t be asked to chip in for his child support or cable bill, so that was another plus.
Thirdly, it was close, but I don’t think he was skinnier than I was. Personally, I go for beefy, strong guys, but he looked like he was in pretty good shape.
Lastly, although this is probably a moot point by now, he was blonde children material.
As a bonus, he was actually a really nice guy and one of the few I’ve come across that had exceptional manners. I would add “nice” and “exceptional manners” to my current list; but, like saying “no hunters, please,” it might eliminate too many men from the dating pool in Michigan.
Now let’s look at the things that pop out that were not on my list. He sat through the whole coffee date looking at me like I might hit him at any time. I think he even flinched a couple of times when I lifted my coffee cup.
Another negative was that we had absolutely nothing in common. He enjoyed woodworking, I enjoyed eating chocolate. He enjoyed hunting, I was a card-holding member of PETA. He lived in the country, I lived in the city. He had grandchildren, I didn’t even have children. He didn’t know how to use the word “seen” properly in a sentence, and I did.
As the coffee date ended and we walked to our cars, he told me he had something for me and pulled a dozen roses out of his front seat and gave them to me. How sweet was that? Suddenly I didn’t care whether he knew how to use “seen” correctly in a sentence, I didn’t care if he would never be tall enough to qualify for the NBA, and I didn’t care if he could star in the next episode of “Beaten Housewives of Lansing” as one of the wives. That one, sweet gesture made all of the flaws momentarily melt away, and I decided to go on a second date with him.
When the day arrived, knowing I love theater and baking, Mr. Seen took me to a show at the Wharton Center that involved comedy and cooking. I was very impressed because this was obviously something he put a lot of thought into. When he picked me up, another dozen roses were on the car seat waiting for me when he opened the door. After years of dating, I’ve never had a guy be so sweet to me.
Sadly, the dinner before the show reminded me that this was not likely to be a good match. Having absolutely nothing in common, we quickly ran out of things to talk about, and there were long periods of silence. I really could not think of any more questions about wood, what activities his grandchildren were involved in, or what innocent animal he was currently hunting. Again, he sat across from me with the fearful look of a beaten wife on his face. I felt really badly but couldn’t think how to give him more confidence. Lastly, you would be surprised how often the word “seen” comes up in conversation…or shouldn’t.
As much as I wanted a relationship to work with a man who treated me so sweetly, could probably fix things around the house for me, and was just a great guy, I knew that not only did we not have enough in common to form any kind of relationship, but we just didn’t have that spark. And when I say “spark,” I mean that little magical moment when you see someone and feel tingles. We just didn’t have that.
Sadly, I had to tell him that I thought we’d be better off as friends. A little deeper inside of me I also knew that a guy that flinched every time I spoke would never have the courage to, er, rise onto his toes to try to kiss me.
Maybe I don’t have the same list of desired attributes that I had in my twenties; but, as I’ve aged and, hopefully, matured, so has my list. Needless to say, it’s now moved from “taller than me” to also include “sweet.” As my search continues, Mr. Right is yet to be seen.