In which I need to make my life more interesting – Part I turned out to be like the Japanese short story “The Lady Who Loved Insects,” in that there is no second chapter. I sent a prospective blog post to four of my male friends whose opinions I value and decided to scrap it. In the words of one of my wise friends: “Even bad dates with lunatics are interesting. Your date search isn’t just for interesting, it’s for a compatible partner. That means you’ll meet people that match you in very different ways while not matching in many others. At that point, I’m more interested in how all these experiences have changed you or reinforced aspects of your personality/values.”
It would take too long to detail how all my dating experiences have changed me or made me more true to myself. Instead, I’ll focus on the qualities that my long-term partners and some of my other favorite men have and the qualities I’ll be seeking when I undertake my search in earnest.
My first serious boyfriend in my adult life is reliable, calm, and creative. He’s a fine cook and can repair anything: cars, computers, furniture. He’s no slouch at building things, either. He grows organic vegetables and keeps bees and chickens.
My second serious boyfriend is fun, outgoing, playful, and enthusiastic. He’s a talented musician and has good taste in music. He’s honest about enjoying “guilty pleasures” and introduced me to some new things, e.g., graphic novels, karaoke. He’s fiercely loyal to his friends and family.
Love of My Life So Far was witty, funny (these are two different qualities) and ridiculously smart. He read almost as much as I do, and probably more, given his career path. He appreciated good food and music, although he was bemused when I presented him with a mix CD for his birthday. (I don’t think he’d heard of half the artists. But I digress.) He made terrific puns and baked wonderful bread and cookies. My cats liked him, and he had three of his own whom he respected as the intelligent beings they are. Most of all, he made me feel like the most beautiful, most intelligent, wittiest woman on the planet when I was with him.
One of my best male friends is optimistic, reliable, honest and intelligent. He tells good stories, and he’s also a great listener. He’s tough; he’s survived a serious accident and an illness that could have killed him. He’s always willing to learn or try something new. He’s a gifted writer, and he’s a good photographer, too. He has a perspective on life that I often need.
Another best male friend is curious about almost everything. He’s very perceptive about people and their needs and emotions. He’s spiritual and respects my faith. He’s a bodyworker and terrific at reading people’s energies. He’s not afraid to be silly or to express fear or sadness. He’s the kind of person you can easily talk to until 3 a.m. and not know how much time has passed. (We’ve done this several times.)
My third best male friend is extremely knowledgeable about human nature. He sees right through any b.s. I try to slip past him. He’s definitely male, but comfortable with women and with his own feminine aspects. He’s a gifted photographer and can solve any computer problem. He’s gotten me through frustrating work days and dark nights of the soul.
My Dad . . . well, where to start? He’s not perfect, but he’s the best man I’ve had the privilege to meet. All my female friends (and male friends, for that matter) deserve a father like him. He tells funny stories, occasionally prefaced with the caveat, “It’s not a lie if you’re not supposed to believe it.” He has a great balance of book smarts and common sense. He’s calm in a crisis and focuses on solutions rather than problems. He’s willing to do “women’s work.” He’s a veteran who loves his country but isn’t always impressed with the government. He’s an excellent son, husband, brother, uncle, father, grandfather, boss, colleague, employee, church member, neighbor, and friend.
So if you ask me what I’m looking for in a partner, it’s safe to say, “All of the above.” Well, musical, green-thumbed, and talented at massage would be bonuses. What I’m really seeking is someone who’s interested in people, places, things, animals and ideas. Someone who does more than one thing well and/or with joy. Someone who takes life seriously but not always himself. Someone who knows there’s more in heaven and Earth than can be dreamt of in his philosophy.
More importantly, I want to be the partner I seek.