August 09, 2010
Jilly and I occasionally have these very heartfelt conversations about relationships. I usually feel lighter afterwards, like I’ve shaken off a few hundred pounds of expectations and ideals and other such annoying things. We talk about the men we’ve dated, the men we’ve wanted to date, and the men we see ourselves eventually ending up with when it’s all said and done.
I think the reason I love these conversations so much is that we’re both in the same place in our lives – we’re both on dating breaks and assessing what we want from relationships and I can say crazy things and know that she won’t judge me for it or tell me I need to settle down because I’m not getting any younger. It’s just two women venting into the ether of an apartment and usually, if it’s been a particularly interesting week, we have glasses of something decidedly alcoholic and wonderful in front of us.
In complete opposition to these conversations, I had someone at my office tell me a year or so ago that I needed to settle down, that I was quickly approaching thirty and therefore becoming less desirable. After I pulled my pencil out of his eye (I kid, I swear), I explained to him in terms that I knew even a five year old could understand that if my love life was any of his business, I’d ask for his opinion and that he should probably keep his antiquated thoughts to himself.
I may or may not have punctuated my sentence with “jackass”.
To be honest, I haven’t “settled” because I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet (you’re singing that U2 song now, aren’t you?). I wouldn’t settle for a pair of shoes or an apartment or a career, so why should I settle for a boyfriend or husband? What kind of sense does that make? If you settle for a pair of shoes and they’re not actually what you’re looking for, you’ll continue to look and you’ll eventually give those other shoes away to Goodwill because you don’t wear them because they’re not what you wanted in the first place.
And yes, that metaphor just happened. Shoes and men go hand-in-hand, or at least they do for the purposes of this post.
So why settle, only to find myself miserable a few years down the road and instead of enjoying that time, I would feel as though I’d wasted it with the wrong person? I know that by not “settling” I may end up alone, but would that really be so wrong? Would I be a terrible person if I chose to live alone rather than with the wrong person?
There are certain members of my extended family who, quite possibly, would call me a terrible person…or at least a crazy one. I don’t get along with them anyway, so meh.
So Jilly and I, a few weeks ago, started talking about our ideal guys – the guys we could see ourselves ending up with, respectively. I’ve dated a range of men – from a bartender to a fireman, from a musician to a scientist – and I’ve come to realize via those experiences that I date opposite my type.
See, I like funny, intelligent, rugged men. Well-read fishermen or carpenters. Men who are good with their hands and who wouldn’t leave me to my own devices in a bar fight, even if I had been the one to start it (by accident, because with my track record that would probably happen).
I’m a simple girl from a mountain town – fancy cars, expensive suits, and ivy league degrees do not impress me or make me swoon. I like old pickup trucks from the 1950s, jeans and t-shirts, intelligence that isn’t just from a book. I drink scotch and bourbon and good beer and I can hold my own on all of them.
I’d say I can even fix my own car, but it would be a lie and a boldfaced one at that. I can barely change the windshield wipers.
So in these last three months, while I’ve been thinking and ruminating and spending a few hours a week on this six month project of mine, I’ve managed to come up with this: what I want from my next relationship is for it to last longer than a day, for it to be healthy and warm, for it to be monogamous, and for the guy I date to actually like me.
That last one is probably key.
And, to be honest, it would be nice if he knew how to fly fish. But that might be pushing it…