Before I get into that, let me give you some background. In times of extreme loneliness or heartbreak, I have made list after list detailing what I want in a partner. I list everything from personality to beliefs, morals, employment and even looks. While the list at times is pretty un-realistic (think: Peter Baca), it is helpful in figuring out what it is important in a partner and while I can't expect to find every single quality in one person, it gives me enough of a framework to weed out the men that aren't necessarily a good fit for me. For example, I want a man who believes in social justice, has progressive politics and has a good sense of humor. A non-funny conservative capitalist isn't necessarily going to be a match.
As I have been working my way through the nine circles of Break-Up Hell, I have had the usual thought processes:
- "I'm never getting into another relationship - EVER,"
- "I'm never trusting anyone ever again"
- "Screw him, he didn't have good taste in music anyway"
- "It wouldn't hurt to call him just this once..."
The tantrum bubbled out from a few places. Obviously, being dumped by someone who seemed to really like me is one of the places, but a conversation with a male friend (who happens to be a conservative capitalist but a great conversationalist nonetheless) also sent me over the edge. He told me about a woman he took on a date to a nice restaurant because he wanted to impress her. I asked him why guys I date don't plan dates to fancy places and instead ask me to meet up for drinks or take me to shoot pool or to the movies, and his answer was this: I'm too cool and easy-going.
Are you kidding me?
Granted, I've written in the past about being one of the guys and the fact that I make a really good friend, but I've never had anyone say I'm too easy-going. He went on - he said that when a guy doesn't feel like he has to impress a woman, he won't. Being that I'm cool, easy-going and basically, accepting then I don't get the guy who wants to impress me. I contemplated this for a few days and then I got really angry and declared that I want to be impressed, and dammit, he better meet all the criteria on my list. I stomped around, pissed off that I don't get the guy who wants to impress me and I really got angry thinking about all the times I've said "sure, meeting up for a beer is fine." I went back to my lists and added (in big letters) MUST IMPRESS ME. I want to be taken to the nice places, I want a man to be on pins and needles figuring out how to keep from boring me. I want Peter Baca and then some.
Here's the thing with the lists and the desire to be impressed: it's all a load of crap.
I've said this before - there is no such person as Peter Baca. There is no one person who will meet all the criteria on my list and there isn't someone who is going to impress me the way I want to be impressed because he doesn't live inside my head. If I build up this ridiculous notion of what impressive is and what he's supposed to do for me, then I am setting myself up to be disappointed and I am setting him up to fail.
When I finally let myself sit and think about what it means to be impressed, I realized that I don't want someone to be on pins and needles around me. I don't want someone to spend a crazy amount of money on dinner and I don't want someone who isn't going to be himself around me. No, I want someone who is going to take the time to plan a really nice date. Someone who is going to be himself but still work really hard to make sure we have a really nice time. I want to be respected but beyond that, I want someone to be really thoughtful in planning a date with me. I don't want to be taken for granted.
I'm not high maintenance nor am I demanding. If being impressed means I'd have to be those things, then I'd rather not be impressed. I figure the tantrum is part of the healing process and the lists - well, they are helpful in reminding me that I have a choice in who I date. If he wants to meet up for beers, that's fine. As long as he takes the time to figure out what my favorite beer is and understands that great music has to be involved, then we'll be just fine...
Oh, and flowers would be nice.
Next time: Eat, Pray, Love