I’ve been asked to describe the “perfect woman” — at least, for me. Here goes … if any of my gentle readers match this profile, feel free to drop me a line!
[EDIT, 11 June 2008 — Modifying to include characteristics of men, as well. No point for a bisexual to discriminate against the guys.]
- Aged roughly 21-35 and located in the Grand Rapids metro area. Sorry; it’s just too difficult to maintain a normal relationship with someone who lives far away, and potential relationship partners who are past their mid-30s tend to have a very different set of needs that aren’t necessarily compatible with my life goals.
- In excellent physical health. Yes, that means not overweight, no matter how much the person says that he or she wants to get healthy “at some point.” It’d be great to have someone to run with, or who would join me at the dojo or yoga studio or on a dive. But as long as there’s reasonable slenderness and an absence of chronic disease, we’re good. Bonus points for being up to training for an adventure race!
- Educated, culturally sophisticated, and insanely curious about the world. That means … discussion. Openness to learning and culture. Ethnic restaurants, museums, visits to the symphony. Foreign travel. Sailing around the world in 800 days. That sort of thing. People think I’m joking when I say that I want to sail to Antarctica and have lunch on the beach, but I’m not. The prospect of seeing the big blue marble in all its glory, unmediated, should appeal to my perfect partner, and he or she should be equally eager to tour the Louvre as to kayak up a poorly charted tributary of the Amazon or to hike across the Outback.
- Emotionally stable. Honestly — women with some sort of latent emotional trauma, deep-seated trust/bonding issues, or psychological disorder … should move along slowly. As should gay men who act like circuit boys in WeHo (if you merely look like them, though … ). My darling should be OK about beginning to share lives: meeting friends/family, doing things without having to plan and negotiate everything, touching … you get the picture. Dating is not an interview process, and there needs to be an openness to letting a relationship develop over time without finding nit-picky reasons to part company, while nevertheless still moving forward as a committed couple. The right person will know the truth behind the aphorism that the perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good, and understand that “instant chemistry” or “love at first sight” are experiences usually confined to romance novels and specials on the Lifetime channel.
- Socially confident. A person who is well-grounded is more attractive than the person who is too reclusive, or who has so little self-esteem that he or she pushes to the front of every group.
- Great sense of humor. I tend to have a pun-centric, dry wit, often filled with obscure cultural or intellectual references. Also, it’s been my family custom to express affection through good-natured ribbing and wild sarcasm. Pardon the understatement, but it’d be enormously helpful for the perfect partner to accept humor as humor without reading hidden meanings into a casual joke or editorial aside. Sometimes, a joke is just a joke.
- No kids. I used to think I would be OK with pre-existing kids. If there’s one or two, I think I probably am — but there needs to be the very real possibility of more. I have absolutely no desire to raise another man’s offspring without adding some of my own to the mix. That said, I’m OK with never having kids, too.
- Single. Divorced is OK; “gonna get divorced soon” is not — it’s just dishonest. As is turning to me to be the rebound guy.
- Open to dating a Catholic. I’m quite happy with my faith life, and I’m not going to convert to some obscure, uber-strict protestant sect to appease someone’s bigoted father. Believe it or not, I’ve had exactly that idea pitched in some form no fewer than three times over the last two years. I’m a practicing Catholic, and if I have kids, I intend for my children to be baptized into and to practice the Catholic faith. Not negotiable. That said, the perfect partner need not be Catholic; he or she merely needs to be OK with my own religious practice. And no, I don’t try to convert people — so atheists, agnostics, and others who act in good faith are certainly welcome.
- Ambitious. I’m not eager to settle down with a used minivan in the suburbs, living in a condo and working middle management until retirement. Fundamentally, I refuse to bow my head in humble submission to the mediocrity of the average American life. My special person should likewise demand excellence and achievement, even if doing so involves personal risk and a deviation from the path of security advocated by friends and family.
- Flexible. I’m not assertive when it comes to mere preference. When I say, “I don’t care,” when asked about where I want to eat, I actually mean it. I don’t care. When I do care, I’ll say so. Accordingly, a person who is flexible and can deal with a laid-back person who doesn’t get too attached to his own preferences — and who can actually verbalize an opinion or preference of her own every now and then — is helpful.
Unrealistic? I’m not sure. But it is what it is, and I suppose I’d rather die alone as an old man, than to resent a compromise choice for life partner at the sunset of my days on this earth.