Monday, February 14, 2011

Wish List: The Best Partners

Admittedly I've become pretty oblivious to Valentine's Day. But that doesn't mean I don't have dreams...

In one daydream, I have a fabulous boyfriend who is an electrician, so he can fix the fixtures that need to be replaced.

Last fall, I had an ultimate handyman for awhile. He was diligent and took great pride in his work. But after I mentally counted up hours, then asked for a preliminary bill, it went downhill quickly. He didn't take credit cards, and didn't like the idea of installments. So he stopped showing up, leaving many projects undone before I wanted to get the house on the market. Ah, financial woes drove us apart.

My daughter recently uncovered an essay I wrote years ago, after a backpacking trip through Europe, where a male friend and I -- to pass the time -- discussed what was on my ultimate wish list for a partner. My daughter was amused, and slightly appalled, at what I had written. It was a pretty tall list. Even my 11-year-old could see that. He would be a drummer with a ponytail AND a former corporate executive who had left that world for freedom. He dressed a certain way, fancied particular foods, read specific books and even had a slightly pretentious drink of choice (brandy -- that was supposed to be a flaw).

Granted, it was a laundry list created in humor. But once upon a time, weren't we all a bit lofty in imagining our ideal mates?

When I was in high school, I had an even stranger list. I've written about this before. I would pick 10 particular boys I knew and rank them in three specific criteria, in a highly complex mathematical equation that was going to tell me which one I should date.

Of course, I dated none of them. In fact, talked to very few of them. There were a few who were always on the list -- so I probably should have made the effort more. But as a fairly aloof person who didn't date even then, I spent much more time with my gay best friend than anyone else. (And the "Seven Dwarves" pack who were largely my four-wheeling and poker-playing buddies.)

Sense of humor has always been on the list. The rest varied considerably, depending on mood and age and stage.

As many Choice Moms discuss at our networking events, another characteristic that automatically goes on -- and stays on -- after we get on this path is "good with my kids." We are surprised, in fact, when we realize how many wrong people we could have avoided had we simply had our kids as a kind of litmus test. "Doesn't play well with youngsters" is a real turn-off. And in tandem, "plays well" often brings people into focus who never would have been there before.

I joked with a Choice Mom friend yesterday that I had the perfect partner suggestion for her: the build she likes, and good with his kids. "Isn't that all you need?"

What about you? No matter what stage you are in on this journey, do you still have a wish list? Does it look anything like the one you had when you were 25?

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