This post is largely for myself, to make a list and throw a handful of coins into a wishing fountain...
First I want to tell a story that may or may not have ever happened. If you ask my mother, it's truth. However, I honestly don't remember this (and I remember a ton of weird random things from my childhood)
When I was a kid, walking through some shopping mall with mom and my siblings, mom handed me a few coins to toss into the mall fountain.
Back then, fountains were for "wishing", and if you tossed a coin or two into one you might just see your wish come true.
I tossed in the coin, and wished as hard as I could (most likely a wish to be pretty, popular, or to meet some favorite pro baseball player I had a crush on). Mom asked me what I wished for. According to her, my response was "I wished for all the money in the fountain".
She claims that this is why I've never achieved wealth.
I disagree, because I don't recall a time in my childhood when I was ever obsessed with money. Maybe it was my sister who wished that wish - she's the one who turned out to be financially successful (because she was not the lazy ass student slacker that I was)
What's to follow is sentimental romantic nonsense, throwing a few metaphorical coins into the cosmic fountain
I believe when I fall in love this time it will be forever.. (yes. I borrowed that from a Stevie Wonder song)
In the back of my mind I keep getting this feeling that someday I might actually get the relationship thing right.
To that end, I'll write down a list of qualities I would like to find in a potential mate, whenever he happens to show up in my life.
A smile that makes everyone around him feel comfortable because he's comfortable, happy in his own skin. A warm and approachable persona, someone who wears his "geek" or "nerd" pride well, whether that nerdiness is from a love of books, history, music, science, cooking, science fiction, or art. He's figured out who he is for the most part and is okay with it. He's had his midlife crisis, sown his wild oats, and is now ready to deal with settling down in one form or another.
A love of learning.
Someone who is passionate about something other than just professional sports or reality television.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching football, hockey, and baseball but not to the point of obsession. There are plenty of women who love sports to that level of obsession, but I'm just not that woman. I hate reality tv, there's just no free pass on that.
Ideally this guy would be into something I find interesting, and that they would find some of the random crap that I'm into interesting. It would be really fun to find someone who was a huge Star Trek fan, loves 20th century pop culture, classic muscle cars, cooking, politics, maybe into genealogy research or can name every album ever recorded by the band "Sparks" (and Sparks isn't even my favorite band, it's just something random and geeky).
Again, doesn't really matter what it is - just be into something that is fuel for conversation.
A true love of conversation.
Someone who enjoys real conversation, and not just what you would think women want to talk about. I'm not one of those women who wants to sit around talking about "feelings". In fact, I would probably start to get a bit squirmy if that's all he ever wanted to talk about. I want to talk about random stuff, current events, funny stories about our families, our life experience, stuff we're passionate about. I just happen to enjoy talking with friends, and having someone that I can actually connect with on an intellectual level is the greatest turn-on I can think of.
It would also be wonderful if my mate is into something I enjoy learning about. See above ("love of learning")
Self-sufficient, both financially and psychologically. Someone who manages to keep a roof over his head, food in the fridge, and can do a pretty good job of taking care of himself and keeping himself and where he lives in decent condition. He's kicked whatever demons haunted him years ago and does not need a woman to look after him. Someone who is not in a constant state of crisis or upheaval, has settled stuff with the ex wife, ex girlfriends, kids, etc.
In other words, someone who is fairly drama-free and lives a rather ordinary life. Profession isn't important, as long as what he does makes him reasonably happy.
Looks are not as important as how he carries himself, and the "vibe" he gives off. I realize this is a really vague statement, but I've dated men who were 5'4" (ie. just a hair taller than me) and weighed less than me, and I've dated men who were almost a foot taller and more than 100 lbs. heavier. I've dated men with hair longer than mine, guys with buzz cuts, and guys who would be bald by 35 (one of the guys I dated ages ago is still rockin his David Crosby style ponytail - gotta love it).
What I notice first about a man is his eyes and his smile. Does he look AT me or do his eyes dart around the room. When he smiles, laughs, does it look like he's trying hard not to fart in public, or does he genuinely seem to be having a good time? Does he look comfortable in what he's wearing and/or are his clothes at least clean and not full of holes? I am not a fashion whore, but I'm tired of dating guys who cannot bear to throw out their favorite t-shirt with the beer slogan, riddled with stains and holes. THAT shirt is for working on the car, building something in the garage, or hanging around the house on a Sunday afternoon, you don't wear that shirt when you're going out for dinner. I will admit to having a weakness for men with blue eyes and at least some hair left. He also has to be within 5-10 years of my age. I'm really not going to be happy with a man approaching 60 unless he looks like Brian May (who is actually IN his 60s, yes I know).
Must be able to put up with an independent, passionate, stubborn, eccentric, slightly scatterbrained 46 year old woman who looks younger than her years, often dresses like she just stepped out of 1978, and carries 30 lbs. more on her petite frame than she should. Someone who can deal with a little dog or cat hair on their clothing, isn't bothered by the fact that their female companion is mostly vegetarian, puffs away on an e-cigarette (gave up the cancer sticks years ago), and is a certified beer snob.
My ideal mate also must be able to challenge me on occasion to think outside my own cranium, to help me pry my mind open when I am stubborn and stuck. Someone who encourages me to be a better person (which means he's going to have to be one patient dude).
I clean up well, and know how to behave around suits, but I prefer not to (behave, that is). Obviously, I'm not the type of woman for a man who is looking for arm candy, or a younger mate who can still produce offspring. That bus left the depot years ago.
Chemistry is important, in fact it's critical. However, in my strange little world, chemistry is one of those intangible things that just sort of happens. Like spontaneous combustion, or the zombie apocalypse. Sometimes people just explode. Right, scatterbrained. Got it.
Seriously, some of the most magical chemistry I've experienced in my life has happened under really ordinary circumstances. I remember listening to the Love album "Forever Changes" for the first time, with the guy who introduced me to that album. Listening to those amazing songs, with that guy, in his tiny basement apartment, looking at him looking at me, was brilliant. I fell head over heels in love with him. On a different day, different guy, I remember standing outside of a very ordinary neighborhood bar, at twilight, looking into the eyes of someone I had previously only seen as a "friend". I noticed the flecks of gold in the blue of his eyes, staring at me as if I were made of light. At that moment in time, I knew that something would happen between us (and it did, and it was wonderful while it lasted).
Chemistry is random, but when it happens, when I feel that spark with someone, it's like being given a dose of the absolute best drug in the world. The only catch is, you're Alice in Wonderland and are not quite sure if what you're taking is going to make you feel taller, smaller, or send you on some mad chase after a white rabbit only to wind up at a tea party with Johnny Depp in crazy makeup. Sometimes you get lucky, and what you get with the dose of chemistry is a lovely gentle high that lifts your spirits and just makes you feel good. Well, there's good sex as well.
I'm not looking for a husband to support me, a father figure, or a caretaker. I don't need a man to buy me expensive gifts, pay for everything, or feel that he is anything more or less than equal to me. What I do demand is honesty, kindness, and respect. When I say "respect" I mean, respecting boundaries, respecting "no", respecting differences in opinion, remembering that even in a couple, there are 2 unique individuals who must be able to maintain some sense of themselves in order to preserve their sanity.
This brings up an interesting point, and it's something that brings out my inner cynical girl.
I'm wondering where, how, when I might actually meet a compatible companion without having to resort to one of those hideous online dating sites. Do I really need to pay $45 a month to feel the same sort of rejection I can get for free by hanging out in a crowded hipster bar on a Saturday night?
I know that if I get too caught up in that whole crazy carnival of circuitous thought I'm just going to wind up feeling bitter and foolish.
Someday it will happen, I can feel it. I believe it. If there is one thing in this world that I still have faith in, aside from the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, is that love can and does happen to anyone.
Random, strange, beautiful, crazy love.
This is my wish.