Three One-Thousand, Four One-Thousand

I’m picky.

There—I’ve said it.

After seven years of denial in the face of repeated accusation, I admit it: I have high standards. I don’t just want a nice guy with a job. I want a heckuva lot more for a lifelong commitment.

Once your 24 months of hormonal giddiness are over, you’re left with someone you’ve agreed to spend the rest of your life with, in union. Someone you’ve decided to partner with on this matter known as “life” til death do you part. Mortgages. Colicky babies. Influenza. Teenagers. Every Shabbos for the rest of your life. Who do you want to be there?

Examining my protests over the years, my reasons for ditching, dumping, and breaking up, I find the complaints fall into two major categories. “He’s boring” and “he’s a dead weight.” And I can readily invert those negatives to two positives that I think are the most important aspects of a marriage. That is, I think the spouse falls into two main roles:

The Companion.  Friends are people who you want to spend time with even when the mystery is gone. People whose opinions you trust, whose company you enjoy, whose views you want to hear even when you don’t agree with them. Someone whose company you seek out when the going is glum, because you know they can cheer you up or at least commiserate right. And it seems to me that this should describe someone you plan to hang out with for forever.

And The Partner.  A partner is someone you want at your side because you trust them to do their part and catch what you miss. Someone who makes you feel safe, knowing they have your back. Someone you don’t have to check on because you know they’ve got it covered. And this should describe someone with whom you plan to face the rest of your life.

The miracle of feminism tells me that I don’t have to compromise when I pick a mate. And, okay: that means I don’t get to a whole lot of seventh dates. But when I do, it means that it’s someone I like, respect, and trust.

Maybe I’m demanding. I’ve been told that I am. That I have unrealistic standards. Maybe I do. But somehow, I can’t help but think there may be someone out there who fits this description for me. That I can find someone to marry who doesn’t make me feel like I’m settling. To quote another Jewish girl from a less liberated time, “Why shouldn’t I want the best?” And why shouldn’t that guy I eventually choose know that I think he’s the best?

He should know that he’s someone whose views I respect, whose judgment I value, whose company I cherish, who abilities I respect, whose partnership I trust, and whose presence makes me feel safe. Not someone I settled for so I could call myself married, but someone I look forward to sharing the rest of my life with.

And if I’ve got to be picky to get that message across, well, so be it.

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Dear Bad4: What’s Progress?

I’m not a dating guru. If I knew so much about dating, I’d probably be married by now.

Which is not to say that married people know lots about dating. Some of them seem to just fall into it accidentally. Going out with three people and getting married does not, actually, qualify you to give dating advice. Then again, neither does going out 100 times and never getting past the first “where do we stand” conversation. In fact, the only person I’d trust to give me dating advice is someone who’s been married multiple times. And obviously, they’re doing something wrong too.

Still, we all need dating advice at times, and really, who else is there to turn to except our fellow daters? So I’m going to crowdsource this one. Here’s the question – tell me your answers. I’ll save mine for whenever I get the chance to write it.

Dear Bad4,

I just broke up with a guy I really liked. In a long, late-night conversation he said he wasn’t sure where he stood in life and where he wanted to go and he just didn’t think we were making progress. What does that mean? Because all the guys I break up with say the same thing. We go out for months and then they say that we’re just not making progress. What kind of progress are we supposed to be making when we can’t progress to second base?

Sincerely,

Golden Gal

 

Thursday Link: Dating Detox

Sorry TJG, but your post made me laugh. Ten whole days without dating! Withdrawal symptoms, keep back!

I think my longest dateless streak was 11 months. It was a lovely 11 months spent with girlfriends in an exotic location known as Too-OOT, and overall, it was terrifyingly pleasant. We didn’t judge each other because there was no need; we simply did stuff and ate stuff, listened to stuff and talked about stuff in each others company. Yes, TJG, not dating is really quite nice.

Sometimes I wish I could not-date someone until I marry him.

 

A Tale of Two DOA Dates

Not a promising date, but at least the food was good. My date, at least, was an honest, straightforward guy. He knew this was a waste of time, and he was going to put in the bare minimum in terms of time. He didn’t linger over his sandwich, polishing it off and all but licking his fingers as he stared at my half-eaten bagel, daintily nibbled because it was stuffed too much to eat politely on a date.

A silly hang-up, I can’t help but consider in retrospect. I could have stuffed the entire thing down my throat in one go without affecting the outcome of the date (and nor did I want to), so why bother with manners? Breeding, I suppose. (Score one, Mother Dearest.)

“Dessert?” he looked at the questioning waiter, somewhat puzzled. “Oh, no. You don’t want dessert, do you?” he turned to me.

Well, when you put it that way…

Okay, fine. It would not be very nice of me to cadge dessert off a OnD date. But why do I always have to be nice?! The chocolate cake looked really gooey and creamy. I could totally have gone for it.

He got out of the car and walked me to the front walk, gave a shrug, and went to back his car. Mentally dusting off his hands and thinking, “Well, that’s done with.”

“At least I got a bagel out of it,” I summarized to my parents. “No chocolate cake, though. Could really use that chocolate cake now…”

 **************

Not a promising date, but at least the company was good. He was entirely engaged in the conversation, apparently interested in the exchange of ideas. He lingered over his bagel, finishing long after I did. “Are you sure you don’t want anything else? Dessert?” he asked several times. “Let me know if you want anything.” And I was terribly impressed by how naturally he took to gallantry. He didn’t leap forward to grab the door as if recently primed by his mother. He just managed to be in the right place at the right time, and if he wasn’t he let it slide.

“It was very nice meeting you,” he assured me gravely as he dropped me off. “Same here,” I told him quite honestly. Neither of us mentioned meeting again, because we knew it wouldn’t happen.

…but I did sort of wish I knew someone who might work for him. Really, such a decent guy.

Where I’ve Been & What I’ve Learned

It’s been busy the past couple of weeks, and that wasn’t helped by the power outages. Although, to be fair, I wasn’t in a position to appreciate their magnitude, since I was camping. Headlamp light and water from a mountain spring. Civilization is crumbling? How fascinating. Tell me about it.

Now, I am under no illusions that I am entirely unique. Therefore, I’d like to pass on words of wisdom for anyone who might have thought to try what I just did today: drive directly from a wilderness jaunt to some light dating. My advice: don’t do it. You will discover too late that all those bottles and jars in your bathroom that you figured you could live without for a week are actually profoundly essential.  Assuming you can wash the eau de campfire out of your hair, you still face a dire situation. You may find, for the first time in your life, that you wish that a bathroom had hot-air blowing hand dryers instead of paper towels. But if you surmount that hurdle, there’s yet another, greater obstacle to overcome. And no, my friends. Your car mirror is no substitute for a bathroom mirror when it comes to putting on makeup, even when you have 200 lumens of Coleman’s brightest to help out. And seriously, who thought that a mirror in a compact was going to be any help whatsoever? It’s just shtick.

Anyway, greetings from Starbucks, a bastion of wi-fi and other mainstays of civilization. I’ll see you again when the grid goes back up.