follow up: shopping lists
The last time I had a "shopping list" for the perfect guy I was in seventh grade. I wanted a guy with long, curly blond hair, rippling muscles and piercing blue eyes. Sadly, Roger Daltrey turned down my marriage proposal and I was forced at an early age to lower my standards.
Rock star infatuations aside, I think your expectations of what a partner should be like - physically, mentally and fiscally - are formed at an earlier age than when you actually start dating. Society forced ideals upon you and you build off those ideals, mixing them up with the traditional norms of your family structure; what your parents see in each other and how they treat each other will have some bearing on what you look for in a mate later in life.
But there's another facet that comes into play - you know what your standards are, but are you reasonably excepted to attract that kind of person? I think most of us, when looking for a relationship as opposed to looking to build on our collection of fantasy partners for future masturbation sessions, will lower our standards to meet reality. Or, maybe that's just me, judging from some of the previous comments.
Let's go back to high school. Having not moved in the cheerleader/beautiful people crowd, I realized right away that setting my sights on a hunky, gorgeous football player was out of the question (I never went for the jock type, anyhow). Added to that was the attractiveness factor - my attractiveness. I think I set my standards in such a way that I wouldn't be let down time and time again. Shooting for the unattainable is a sure fire exercise in self esteem beatdown.
I didn't date much in high school, mostly because I didn't meet the criteria of the guys: I wasn't hot and I didn't put out. And that's probably where I learned to believe that most guys were only looking for two things in a girl; a pretty face and an easy lay.
In my early 20's I had a serious relationship with a man who caused me to rethink my priorities. Basically, all I wanted now was a guy who wasn't psychotic. Oh, he was a charmer. Good looking. Nice body. Good job, lots of money in the bank. And, as I would realize about three months before our scheduled wedding date, completely off his rocker.
After that fiasco, I met an average guy with an average bank account and the personality of a wet mop. And here I'll be completely honest - the most attractive thing about him is that he was attracted to me. After a long bout with self image demons, that was the only criteria I needed in a guy. Never mind that he was a compulsive gambler prone to wild mood swings and he was emotionally distant for long stretches of time. I married him.
After the inevitable divorce, I ventured out into the dating world again. I met one guy who, on the surface, was a shopping-list woman's dream - tall, charming, good looking, six figure bank account, great smile, good sense of humor, etc. However, upon the peeling of the veneer after he visited me several times at the restaurant I was managing at the time, I realized that this man had his own shopping list and there were just two words written on it: Italian whore. The Italian part was to please his mother. As for the whore part, he wanted a woman who would respond to wads of cash being thrown at her by spending half her time on her back and the other half in the kitchen baking him some pies. Interestingly enough, this man, like the man I almost married, was a prison guard. After I ditched him and reviewed my past mistakes, my anti-shopping list looked like this:
Not a prison guard.
You would be surprised at how many men qualify on all three counts.
So is it any better to have an anti-shopping list than to have a list of specific, narrow things you want in a partner? Or am I just as shallow as the person who says they'll only date a 6'5 Norwegian lawyer?
Fortunately, I don't have to look anymore. I'm married to a great guy - and trust me on this one, I did not have a list that said "half my age, starving artist" or anything like that, but that's what I ended up with. Love comes in strange forms, sometimes. I think people who are too specific about what they want are missing out on opportunities for love. Then again, I think that some of these people aren't looking for love so much as they are looking for (as mentioned several time in the other post) someone to bear their children, provide financial stability and look good on their arm. Me, I'd much rather spend the rest of my life with a guy whose company I enjoy the same in bed and out. If I was looking for money or stability, I would have chosen the psychotic prison guard a long, long time ago. Instead, I ended up - years and lessons learned later - with a marriage that may not be overflowing my checking account, but is rich in laughter, fun and love. It's just icing on the cake that my husband happens to be one sexy man.
So I'm just wondering, for those of you who won't stray from their shopping lists - why confine yourself? Actually, I'm really wondering if the people with the specific non-negotiable lists really want a partner at all or if they are commitment phobic and set up this ideal, perfect mate checklist knowing full well that they'll never find it. Just a thought.
[And I apologize for the disjointed, rambling nature of this post - the not smoking thing is really playing havoc with my mind. My inability to concentrate or form a coherent sentence is in full effect today]