"My Ideal Man..." So I began a short blip on an online dating site. I figured, "hey, I might as well put it all out there. What do I have to lose?" So here's what I wrote...well, first let me preface this by stating a few facts. This was my second crack at the online dating scene. I have a marriage and divorce under my belt, I am over my early twenties lets-go-to-the-bar-get-wasted-and-hopefully-pick up-a-man phase. I have been on more than my fair share of bad dates. I figured putting a short but thoughtful (and witty) description in a neat little paragraph on a dating site would eliminate those would-be suitors not meant for me. I might as well start weeding out the ones that wouldn't fit, right? So the description was written as follows: "My ideal man would be at least 3 inches taller than me, have a great sense of humor, but know when to be serious. He would work out, but not obsessively. 6 pack abs are intimidating and should be admired from afar. He must be well read but not snobby. He can like sports but must not need to watch 18 hours of football every Sunday. I like someone who's a little cocky, but also sweet..."
Ok, so you get the gist. It was my man wish list. I've dated a very broad spectrum of men. I know what I like and I know what I don't like. Turns out my little MWL (man wish list) ruffled a some online gentleman's feathers. A common email response was "conceited bitch", "no wonder you're still single", and my favorite "Now I know why you're divorced". My little MWL seemed to have pissed off my would-be suitors! Long story short, after several (ok, many) more bad first and last dates, I gave up on the online dating scene. However, I started to wonder: We live in a world where the "ideal man" is much more than what I listed on my short MWL. As a society we are bombarded by media ideals outlining what the perfect relationship should be. Here I was, just putting my version on a website, hoping someone else (who knows, maybe even Joe Mauer), would see this little description and say "Hey! That sounds just like me!" We would fall madly in love, have an exotic wedding in Fiji. After our honeymoon in Ireland, we'd start our family of 2.5 children and a yellow lab. Instead, I got hate mail! Seriously?!
"Just the Way You Are" is a song by Bruno Mars that is blowing up the radio right now. Every time I hear it, I turn up my radio and imagine a soulful hot singer serenading me "...and when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile. Girl you're amazing, just the way you are." So freakin romantic! I turn on my tv, and there's a young (and delicious) Richard Gere, scaling a fire escape, roses in hand, professing his true feelings for Julia Roberts. Or how about the magazine ad? A gorgeous blonde is shyly touching her face with her left hand. A small skating rink of a diamond glitters on her finger. Beside her is her impossibly handsome fiance. He looks adoringly down at her (and her Louis Vuitton purse...it is an ad after all). Women see things and hear things like this all day. Every day! "Romance is still alive!" "Romeo is out there!" "Chivalry is not dead!"
I know that real men don't climb fire escapes and write love songs about my smile. And that's ok with me. If I saw someone crawling up my building professing his undying love, I wouldn't cry tears of joy, i'd call 911. So, why did my measly little man wish list create such a powerful responses from these men? Men who went out of their way to message me to tell me how conceited I was!
My theory is that women are not taking shit from men anymore. We are not settling for the first guy that proposes before the age of 25. We are realizing that it's better to be single, than with a man who doesn't respect us. We know that the world won't stop turning if we don't have kids before 30. We are coming to the conclusion that our lives are not incomplete just because we aren't in a relationship. And dammit, we can be picky about who we date! This terrifies men! "Women aren't settling?" *gasp* "I guess I'm going to have to actually work at dating!"
I was that girl who wanted a ring and babies before 30. And I did settle. And I have learned from my mistakes. Now, I intend on making the guy who "gets" me, work for it. I want to know that he truly wants a relationship and isn't just interested in the chase. I want to know that when he says "I love you", it's not to secure a spot in my bed that night, it's because he really means it. So I will keep my wish list. Granted, I'm aware that the "perfect" guy for me may not have several of the qualities I have listed. The point is, I have standards. And I will keep my standards, I will keep them into my 30s if I have to. I will keep them when I am a bridesmaid at another friend's wedding. I will keep them after I hold my best friend's new baby. I will keep them when I watch another Julia Roberts romantic comedy. Because in the end, I know that the payoff will be so worth the wait. And I don't think anyone should have to compromise who they are to be "happy" in a healthy relationship.
...however, If Joe Mauer does indeed decide to hit me up one of these days, I will concede my hate of televised baseball and at least watch a few of his away games. That's not compromising, that's just taking an interest in my future husband's career, right?!