I wouldn’t say I’m given to fits of romanticism, really. In fact, I’ve been described as a realist, or, if you want to think of it that way, even a pessimist. So I never had really firm expectations about my boyfriends.
My list of nonnegotiables for a mate has always resembled something like this:
- Kind to animals
Everything else can pretty much go either way. I’ve dated guys with long hair and short hair, shy guys and outgoing guys, nerds and jocks, college-bound and not, funny guys and serious guys. It never seemed to me that any of that stuff was really a big deal, in the long run.
Still, certain things came along by chance, and they are memories I never want to give up.
- Joe’s great shoulder massages.
- Shane’s beautiful, eloquent letters in his fancy handwriting.
- Luke’s cartoon drawings of us as lions or fish or whatever creature he decided to make us that day.
- Matt’s made-up silly songs about every part of life imaginable.
None of those are things I could have put on a List of Things My Future Mate Must Do, but they were awfully nice.
In hindsight, I can see I might have needed a slightly longer list of requirements. Maybe should have added:
- Good relationship with preferably non-crazy family members
- Not too clingy or needy
- In close enough geographic proximity to actually, you know, see once in a while
- But not overbearing or controlling
- Totally into me (not into me as a curiosity, or into the me that he may someday be able to turn me into)
That’s probably really not too much to ask for, but I never thought to look for it. I never thought, “Hey, I deserve a guy who is totally into me,” or, “You know, I don’t think I can make this work if we’re never going to see each other.” These are valid thoughts. I just never had them.
And I can’t decide if I would have been able to come to a list like that on my own, or if I had to go through the crap first.