When I was 16 my best friend and I made a checklist of what we each wanted in our ideal man. There were about 75 items: 25 physical and 50 emotional/mental/spiritual. It was incredibly comprehensive, especially for teenagers. About 10 years later I edited the list and added point values. It may sound silly, but it kept me grounded. Being Jewish was worth so many points that if a man wasn’t Jewish then he wouldn’t earn an “A” (90%) and therefore wasn’t for me no matter how many other categories he fulfilled. Many other items were either deleted or edited including increasing or decreasing their point value as the item gained or lost priority in my mind. You may not need a 75 item list but it is worth your time to write down what you want in a mate and ranking the items. When falling in love we tend to become blind to their faults… or we see bad signs and choose to ignore them… but if you have a comprehensive list to measure the prospect against then you can keep on the right path.
Hint: the physical traits should NOT be ranked high on your priority list.
under Date Night
I’m scared of everything. I’m scared I will fail. I’m scared I won’t wake up on time tomorrow. I’m scared that even though I got an oil change last week, the mechanic only pretended to change my oil because I told him I didn’t want the extra $50 thing that he explained I “needed.” but didn’t get because it wasn’t oil.
Fear is what drives people to do great things. It is also what leads people to self-destruct. It has caused me to do both. You can’t live with constant fear (unless you’re that woman who was trapped in that dungeon in the Netherlands… or somebody is chasing you with a buzz saw). If you live in the suburbs, which many of you reading this probably do, there is really nothing to be afraid of, short of death or serious illness of yourself or a loved one. Of course, that is a lot easier said than done. If you lose your job, you will recover. If your car gets stolen, you will recover. If your NFL team loses, there’s always beer. Relationships are somewhat different. I think losing a significant other can really affect your life in the long term.
This is why, outside of maintaining the health of yourself and your loved ones, you should focus a great deal of energy and concern on y0ur partner. If you don’t have one, she/he will come. Okay, I realize this is a completely different topic now… However, I’ve been pretty consistently single for most of my life. For the past ten years, my life has been completely out of control, and everyone always told me that ‘she will come’ very much in the style of Field of Dreams. She did not come until I got my s*** together. You don’t have to actively seek someone out. You just have to get your s*** together.
I realized very recently you don’t increase your odds of meeting someone great by going out on as many dates as possible. You do so by going on a few dates, but putting your all into each one. Don’t make it seem that you go out on one a week, even if you don’t. Get in a mindset where this thing is the only thing you’ve been thinking about for like a week. My dad always told me to get the girl a gift on the first. I never really did that, as it can seem a little much, but the sentiment is certainly there. If you are not sure whether or not you should wear a tie, then you should definitely wear a tie. Let this fear somewhat guide you. If you’re not a little scared, then it’s not going to work out well. If you half-a** it, she will know. And if that happens,you will go home alone — as I almost always did.
Take a pad of post-it notes. Write down all of the things you want in a mate on the notes; one item per note. Stick the notes on a mirror, stare at them, think about them. As soon as you realize there is a trait you can live without, take the post-it note off the mirror and throw it away. Keep crumbling up post-it notes and tossing them in the trash like a basketball drill. Take satisfaction from making a basket. OK, now focus back on the mirror. Now that you’ve gotten the post-it notes down to single digits, try to put them in order as to what is most important to you. It may not be 1 thru 9, it could be three-tiered, but prioritize. What traits are you willing to negotiate and compromise on? Pare the notes down as far as possible and then go back and edit your JDate profile to reflect the exercise you just did.
I talk about figuring out what is important to you in a mate often and that’s because it’s not only important, but it’s also an incredibly difficult task. My list had 75 items on it, but once I put it on a spreadsheet and gave the items a numerical value, the few that ended up being worth the maximum of 10 points were the only ones that mattered. You probably aren’t willing to give up chemistry right? Of course not. But at the end of the day, does it really matter if someone is 37 when you didn’t want someone over 35? Nope!
under Single Life
A few of my parents’ friends are now divorced or widowed, with kids out of the house, and they’re looking to meet someone new. Some want to fall in love and hope to have a romance in the second part of their lives, others are just looking for companionship and someone to enjoy life with. One of the women I know commented on how “old” the men her age are and how tough it is to meet someone. Reminded me of every other single I know in their 20s and 30s. Except different. You see, when you’re 60 and dating you have baggage, as in a house, kids, grandkids, a former spouse — but the good thing is that both of you are probably coming to the table with the same baggage, so that’s not something you should get hung up on. Your preferences have changed when you’re not looking to start a family with someone, but you will be grandparent-ing together so you still want someone with the same values as you. The woman also said that the physical aspect wasn’t as important anymore, and I admit that was good to hear. Sure you want to be attracted to your mate, but it’s more important to find someone you want to spend time with at this point.
under Date Night
I answered the IM but was in the midst of talking to another girl with whom I really felt a connection. Without realizing what I was doing, I think I set a date and time for a meetup with some girl I didn’t even realize I was talking to. When you subconsciously set up an entire evening with someone, and you just think you’re watching TV, it’s time to reevaluate your life. I did not evaluate anything, except for the fact that I knew that the man on the television could in no way eat a three pound cheeseburger.
The date that I planned thankfully didn’t materialize. I was still completely in love with the other girl I was talking to. When the girl I was ignoring texted me asking if I wanted to catch a movie, I accepted because I didn’t want to spend another Friday night watching TV in bed. We decided to meet at the movie theater lobby. I got there a little early, but surprisingly was not nervous at all. I really didn’t give much, if any, thought to this girl who was currently secondary to that other girl. Oh the other girl, I’m glad I eventually never met you.
The theater lobby was crowded. I suddenly looked to my left. She was standing right in front of me. All of my anxiousness and insecurities came flooding back in an instant when I saw her. I didn’t know what to say, and I had no idea why. Usually when I get nervous on a date, I start talking loud and fast. She was not what I had expected at all, and we were both yet still to speak.
I really did not expect to see what I saw. She was beautiful. Not in the sense that her prettiness made me feel giddy or even that I was sexually attracted to her. It was more in the sense that I just felt comfortable and safe. She ultimately didn’t want to go out on another date. That is probably good, because I probably would have eventually ruined something great and obsessed about it for the next ten years.
Wow, that story is extremely sad. It’s probably best to bury the experience into the back of my mind. That, global warming, and my parents’ divorce will all get resolved sometime in the distant future. That is, if there is a future.
What are you looking for when you’re perusing JDate? Looks? Age? Education? Success? And how strict are you about those ideals? I’ll tell you that the more flexible you are about what’s important to you the faster and easier you’ll be impressed.
My friend Julie cares about where a guy went to college and how many years he graduated in and what he majored in. If I were a guy I wouldn’t meet Julie’s standards because it took me five years to graduate from UCLA and I majored in Women’s Studies. She admitted that she wouldn’t even have dated Steven Spielberg because he never did graduate from Long Beach State (okay, okay, he eventually received an honorary degree). At a certain point all these silly ideals need to disappear. I guess Julie isn’t desperate enough to meet someone yet because when you are truly ready to meet your Beshert you’ll put your superficial wants aside and focus on the truly important stuff. Intelligence is important, but level of education maybe shouldn’t be.
Am I attracted to my husband and do I think he’s dashingly handsome? Sure. But that alone wasn’t going to get us this far. He had to have other, more important traits to get us to where we are today. He respects me, loves his parents, is nice to strangers on the street, is smart, is hysterically funny and we have a lot in common. In addition, we have a lot that we don’t have in common which makes life a lot more interesting. We enjoy watching American Idol together but I’ve had to learn to love the Dallas Mavericks. And to top it all off we have great conversations. Looks fade but you’re going to have to talk to your spouse for the rest of your life!
So make your list – goodness knows I had mine! – but be able to adjust and appreciate what’s right in front of you.