Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Smokers Need Not Apply

See IT. Speak IT. “You gotta know what you want, K.”
What do I want?
So…this can go in a number of directions…what I want for my birthday (one of those indoor gardens) what I want for my home (neighbors to watch Lost with) what I want for breakfast (cereal! Duh!). But in this situation, she meant what I want in a relationship.
When it comes to that direction, well, my clarity gets a little blurred.
I have conflicting feelings about stipulating a list of qualities…And this apparent hesitation flows laughs in contrast with my PhD in list-making and objective defining and a masters of going after goals. Why is that?
I believe that when a woman spouts a list, it quickly alters into a list of qualifications. And when push comes to shove, I can’t accept applications for a position I don’t think any of us are ever truly qualified for (I hold a similar view of the presidency if that tells you something.).
The fear is that such a “envisioning” about a partner isn’t a fear of failing to find “the one” that somehow materializes during a book store hunt and magically matches all my visions. In my bones, I like to plan and control for most things, but when it comes to people, such planning blocks experiencing the totality of a person. I project some vision onto him or her…and then compare to preconceived standards. If I articulate—must be educated---what dilemma might fester when I meet a hardworking wine shop owner with a stable income and a strong work ethic? So the standard becomes more general---from education to “good work ethic” and eventually watered down. Why make a list of qualities as well: caring, generous, flexible, when with the hormones surging my attraction will quickly confirm their presence and rationalize their presence.
Not to mention that the validity of a relationship takes time to manifest itself.
So nope…lists don’t make sense to me.
“But you have to know what you want, k!” See it Believes it and it will come (Shout out to Field of Dreams and The Secret groupies out there).
But I think for me, it’s better to name my rule-breakers. What I don’t want. Features that if demonstrated as a pattern will lead me to bail. Not red flags…but parachutes, or even write offs. I won’t become involved with smokers (I’ll try to get you to quit)
estranged children (I’ll spend time compensating by sending Hallmark cards to your mom myself) the leisureless (I’ll enroll you in community hiking groups) the builders (I’ll drag you around with all my traveling and ambition) and the friendless (I’ll arrange for you to hang out with Y’s husband). See? These features make me want to change you. And that’s a job I happen to be qualified for, but isn’t conducive to good heart health.
I’d like to add those that are insecure, arrogant, competitive, abusive, emotionally or rationally bereft, but realize that I become all those things when standing in certain lighting. And when you are in a relationship where you are truly engaging with another human being, you’ll eventually drive your mate to display all these things to varying extents (if the relationship is healthy, on the less destructive end of the dimension).
What I don’t want is dramatic conflicts, a lack of shared interests, always feeling responsible for investing in emotional capital or to feel smothered.
Now that you know what I don’t want…do you know any available person that you can set me up with on a blind date (it’s on my list people!)…ummm? Ooops. Guess I just proved your point: I’ve got a list after all. A list that is not a list but is actually a list….
That’s amore.


  1. Definitely with you on the smoker thing.

    I also agree it's hard to write a list of "I want X and Y and Z in a man." I read a book called "Write it down, make it happen" wherein the idea is to write lists of things you want, and they will come to you. I guess that's why I'm single--I can't write the list. I figure a suitable partner (by which I mean, one giving my fine single life) is like pornography--I'll know it when I see it.


  2. lmao @ like porn, Christina.

    It's intersting, Terry, has a book How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams, and discusses that technique. Now, she's had women from all over the world write and tell her they followed her advice (which includes overall improvement) and found the man they wanted.

    I say all this to say, I've never tried it.

    *okay retraction* I did try it a little bit, but think i did something wrong, because I put down all these great qualities for a guy, and met someone who i thought had all the qualities. But apparently I forgot to put down "washes ass."*

    Anyhoo, I think I'm less afraid of being disappointed if a list doesn't work, but more afraid of what happens if it does?



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PhD in clinical psychology. Single. Pushing 30. Suffering Whiplash from the Roaming 20s...Who am I? What do I want? Where do I belong? Welcome to my self-induced treatment, a testament that we can all be a little crazy in our search for significance.