I was recently asked, “What sort of man are you looking for?” The question irritated me. Who said I was looking? Yes, I am single. I am not, however, desperately searching for a mate. If someone comes along that fits the bill, well, great. If not, well, that’s
The inquiry did, however, elicit some hardcore thinking. I have never considered listing those traits that I find attracts me, but it is amazing how quickly an index of sorts began to form in my brain once the concept was planted. What do I look for in a man?
I have been involved in a few relationships, a failed marriage, and a whole lot of first date-type scenario things … whatever. What, if anything, did these guys have in common? I think it is high time that I actually create a few laws of attraction for myself. The list must, of course, be malleable … subject to change. I am far too random and I have far too many people left to meet in my life to attempt following some crazy concrete set of rules. We learn from individuals who cross our paths in life. We learn the good. We learn the bad. The more I learn the more this list will shuffle and shift and change and blend together like the colors of a kaleidoscope.
At this point I need to enter a wee bit of a disclaimer since there are men who read this blog that I have dated or been involved with in some way. To those guys, I say this: It is possible you will read something that you think is obviously gleaned from our time (or lack of time) together. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Either way … you are probably the only one in the world who will pick up on it. Don’t make a stink and no one will know! How about that? You could also stop reading right now. Crisis aversion. It’s a good thing.
Scuba Diving (aka: Deep & Meaningful)
These are the important traits … the things that, right now, I am finding are indispensable in a man I might consider dating.
- Confidence. I don’t want to have anything to do with a weak man … a pushover. I man should be confident in himself. A man should be manly. When it comes to the male species, however, there appears to be an incredibly fine (almost invisible) line between confidence and narcissism. There have been men who I found lived on the wrong side of that line. I can see you now … the narcissistic ones … and I know when to walk away.
- Truth. I don’t do bullshit. I need honesty. There have been far too many lies in my life. “It’s possible to talk to someone without any lies. With no sarcasms, no deceptions, no exaggerations, or any of the other things people use to confuse the truth.” ~Powder, Film (1995)
- Provision. It may seem old-fashioned. No, I know it is old fashioned. But, it is what it is. Any man that wants a part of my life better be able to provide for a family. He better have good employment (a career) and make a decent living. I would say “reliable employment” as well but, in this economy, nothing is stable right now. Alas. Still, I was raised with the belief that it is a man’s duty to provide for his family. Part of me still subscribes to that ideal. The other part of me is worn out and tired after being forced to step into that provider role and stay there for the last fifteen years.
- Openness. I want to know everything about my man. Everything. I don’t want him to hold back. I don’t want him to be reserved. I certainly won’t be. “There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.” ~Jane Austen
- Patience. This is important. I happen to know a very important fact about myself: I am not easy to live with. One word: Bipolar. Second word: Impetuous. Ask my kids. Hell, ask my ex-husband. My father and my brother once told my ex (before we got married) that he had “picked a tough row to hoe.” It offended me at the time. But, I am woman enough now to admit my shortcomings. I am much more open and realistic then I was at the age of twenty. My penchant for the melancholy and cantankerous will come as no surprise to any man involved in my life for even the smallest length of time. I will know quickly enough if he can handle it and, more importantly, have the ability to defuse my tangents.
- Domesticity. I will cook. I will clean. But, I’m not doing it all.
- Humor. I need a man who can make me laugh. A sense of humor, I find, is one of the sexiest and most irresistible traits a man can possess. It’s odd because I am drawn to the dark and brooding type man as well. It is possible for one man to possess both an aptitude for great humor and still be deep and contemplative. I know. I have met them and, yes, I was deeply attracted.
- Worldly. Experience is vital. Any man who has never traveled out of his own hometown need not apply. I could write an entire blog on this one subject alone. I won’t. Just know that there is so much more encompassed in this concept.
- Space. This is for me, not him. I need space. I absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt, sure as hell can not deal with being smothered. Don’t smother me. Do. Not. Smother. Me. Point made? Good. This is not one sided. I can give space too (which most men seem to crave) simply because I need it as well and fully understand how unbearable it is to feel suffocated by the insecurities and overbearing nature of another human. “Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.” ~Leo Buscaglia
- Faith. I need a man of faith. This does not mean that he must be a minister of some sort. For that matter, I can’t picture myself with a man who has a position in a church. But, he must be a believer. He must have faith … strong, abiding, deep faith.
- X-Factor. I don’t know what this is. I can not define it. In all likelihood this is a different trait in every man. I know it when I see it.
Wading (aka: Shallow & Frivolous)
These are those items that, let’s face it, would be nice but are not required. Most of them refer to appearance and stature. Items on this list will not make nor break my decision to become involved with a particular man. Well, maybe not.
- Physique. Sure, it is an amazing eye-candy bonus if a guy is incredibly fit. Not to mention, I have a serious weakness for guys with really well defined arms … great biceps in particular. It’s a thing. I can’t explain it. But, this isn’t a requirement. Example: I went to see the movie ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ with the boys a few weeks ago and I think Kevin James is absolutely adorable. I always have. I would go out with him in a heartbeat (although I think his wife would object) and his physique is far from looking like it was chiseled out of marble. Perhaps it is that “humor is sexy” thing I mentioned earlier. Of course, there is the fact that I, myself, am not fit. I used to be. I am no longer. This fact saddens me every single day.
- Hands. They should be larger than mine. Is that weird? I don’t think so.
- Height. I have habitually dated men who ranged between 5’8” and 5’11”. There have been (maybe) two guys that were at six foot or perhaps a teensy bit over that. I don’t know why I have never dated a “tall” man. I am 5’6” which creeps me barely into the “tall” range for women (average female height being 5’4”). I guess I just like a guy to be closer to my height. I will likely never date a man who is shorter than me. He has to be able to, at the very least, look me in the eye.
- Intimacy. I’m just sayin’ … “Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience.” ~From Russia With Love, Film (1963)
- Looks. I prefer dark hair. I prefer dark (almost black) eyes. I prefer olive skin. But, again, this is just a preference. It really doesn’t matter, but somehow, historically, most (but not all) guys to whom I was attracted have possessed at least two out of the three characteristics. I dated a guy once who had all three. Pretty groovy, that was. I would get absolutely lost in his eyes.
- Voice. I’m a sucker for an accent. I think this is because I was raised outside of the United States. I’m also a sucker for a guy that can sing really, really, really well. The term “weak in the knees” comes to mind.
- Shoulders. They have to be broader than mine. This seems like a simple request. It’s not. I have met men who are an inch or two taller than me but who are very slight of build. I was once nicknamed ‘The Amazon’ due to my athletic build. I simply have difficulties going out with someone I might be able to beat up.
But, when it comes down to it (whatever "it" is), I subscribe whole-heartedly to the concept that looks are not everything. A man can be breathtakingly gorgeous and, if the inside doesn’t match the outside, hideously ugly at the same time.
“When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome... and then, of course, you spoke...” ~As Good As It Gets, Film (1997)
For all my cynicism, I find that I am still a bit of a romantic at heart. Well, I am a realistic romantic.
I do not believe finding the right person is a matter of chance. I do not believe each person has only one perfect match. Soul mates come in all forms … romantic and purely platonic. People can change. Some relationships may need to be revisited. Others were never meant to be from the very beginning. Love is a verb. Romance is overrated. Respect is essential. Instantaneous attraction exists. Love at first sight is total crap. Instincts are to be trusted. Life is not a movie. Storybook romance is not all that it seems. Cinderella, Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White all had to go through a vast amount of trials and tribulations before their respective Prince Charming(s) came along. Happy endings do exist, but not for everyone.
I feel a little like the following quote: often lonely, incomplete, yet refusing to settle and, perhaps, a little bit resigned to the fact that maybe the best has come and gone.
“Sometimes I feel like there's a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean … I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing... I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don't know. Maybe I had my happiness.” ~Practical Magic, Film (1998)