Ever since I was 18 years old—I had a list. Most women know about the list. For some of us, it’s tucked away in our dresser drawers or between the pages of journals. Others, have little notes stuck to their brain. We use the list as a blueprint in hopes of identifying the man of our dreams or weeding out the duds.
My grandmother turned me on to writing down everything I wanted in a husband. “Make it plain,” she said. So, I composed a long list of physical and personal attributes.
Scrawled across the top of the page was tall. Like, seven feet tall. Next, rich. I think ‘ a Christian’ was somewhere waaaayy at the bottom. But then, I felt guilty and put it second. I thought if I put it first, God would make me marry a pastor. Still not what I want but for completely different reasons besides having the most boring life ever.
What did I know about anything at 18? I just discovered my identity over a year ago. I will admit the list changed as I got older—it got longer.
Yes, as superficial as it seems, I’m still at it. I updated my list several months ago. It’s now four pages. I paid close attention to detail this time around. Guess what was at the top? Tall. Some things I can’t bend on. I’m sorry, I have a warped sense of height. I grew up a gym rat. Most of the guys playing basketball were tall. It’s a trait I came to admire and love. Obviously, he doesn’t need to be seven feet tall. But there’s a reason I build my list around that trait.
Men have asked “What kind of guys do you like?” To which I gently reply, “I don’t talk about what I’m looking for in a guy.” He usually responds “Well, how is he supposed to know?”
Exactly, he’s not.
I NEVER, ever, tell a man what I like, especially to a guy I think might like me and the feelings aren’t mutual. I can’t have you running around making a false attempt at becoming my list. A man will try and become whatever you say just to get next to you. What he can’t become is tall, if he’s not already.
When I told a mature male friend about my list, he suggested I lower my expectations. Nope. How about have expectations of yourself? For yourself? But, for the heck of it, I’ll entertain his response.
When I created my original list, I wasn’t half of the things I sought in a significant other. There were some shared attributes, for example—giving. I had many admirable traits, but they were obscured by depression, insecurity, and anger. It didn’t seem fair to ask someone to be my idea of perfection with all my issues.
I began to question the purpose of the list, realizing it shouldn’t be one of demands. Maybe, it carried some other significance. Every so often, I’d go down trait-by-trait to see where I lined up with my future husband. I couldn’t have him be all these wonderful things, and I have nothing to offer. I began to see the list differently. I didn’t just want to have a list. I wanted to become my list, in preparation, for the great gift of marriage. I also didn’t want my list to be an act of desperation but one of growth and self-discovery. It grew to four pages because that’s how much I’ve grown on my journey.
At some point, in our future relationship, he will need to be everything on my list. Times when I’m sad, he’ll need to be funny. Or, when I’m sick, he’ll need to be compassionate. He won’t have to embody everything all the time. And, whatever he lacks, I should fill the void. So really, the list is for both of us.
When I shared my list with Julie, she said funny should be at the top. You want someone with a sense of humor that doesn’t take himself too seriously. I absolutely agree with her on that because she’s that way. No one can stay mad around her, she is always making people laugh. Noticing that I was having some doubts that I’d ever find someone, she offered some “sound” advice. “Find a nerd, she suggested, clean him up, make him cool and get married. He’ll be so freakin’ happy to have you that he’ll let you do whatever you want.”
Excuse me, as I roll on the ground in laughter. Bless Julie’s heart, but I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, I am for real. Nobody wants to marry a
nerd. Um, hello? That’s like, well…marrying myself, which is actually looking more promising each day.
I’m starting to feel like there’s something freakishly wrong with me. Even though, I know it’s not—it feels that way. I see the strangest people together. People, who clearly have given up being the best version of themselves. It makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong?
I mean, I don’t wave the list around like a flag. Maybe I should, and surrender all my hopes and dreams. Was Julie right? Should I roll-up to the nearest library and throw myself at the first guy I see with his shirt tucked into his socks?
To be continued…
In the meantime, Live. Bless. Prosper.