|Hollywood's finest example|
I run the risk of gushing like "13-year-old girl with first crush" in describing how high above the water he walks. It's been a year-and-a half and he continues to be everything I haven't settled for in past relationships. But I must use caution in adding masculine presences into my own personal world — I've been third-degree burned more than once. Yet, thanks to this man — and a couple of really nice guys I dated before him — I know exactly what I want in a significant other. I'll even grant a worthy nod to my less-than-stellar exes for helping me confirm what I don't want. To this end, I present the following in no particular order:
17 Man Musts:
1. He must build me up, not tear me down. Tearing down doesn't necessarily refer to blatant bad behavior like intense physical or verbal abuse, although those things are certainly included. It's more day-to-day little jabs, often disguised in humor, where I am the butt of the joke. Not cool.
2. He must be honest with me. He understands I'm too intelligent to be told white lies to spare my feelings. He knows I need to be able to trust him completely.
3. He must be cool. Not trying to prove to the world that he's cool, but actually cool. And believe it himself.
4. He must be smart. I'm talking way above average intelligence. And although he might be angered by people who profess wisdom without the facts to back themselves up (narrow-mindedness) — he must never make me or anyone else feel they are of inferior intelligence.
5. He's gotta make me laugh. Intelligent humor edges out silliness, but both are welcomed. Ability to laugh at himself is a plus. He laughs with me, not at me.
6. He must be generous. He is a giver, not a taker. He gives generously to charities and puts others above himself, especially those less fortunate.
7. He must be passionate, creative, and inspired on a daily basis. He seeks new experiences to expand his passions. He must have an awesome iTunes library.
8. He must respect me completely and is kind to my friends and family.
9. He speaks well of me to his friends and family. He would never think to put me down.
10. He must be handsome and know he's attractive without being conceited. He takes good care of his mind and body without compulsion. As gorgeous as he is, he makes me feel I'm the pretty one in the relationship.
11. He lets me express my need for him without making me feel I'm needy.
12. He supports my plight and listens when I need to vent. He is always on my side, and seizes opportunities to assist when I'm in need.
13. He lets me know he appreciates the little things I do for him.
14. He is not afraid to admit his fears and insecurities. He trusts me enough to share them with me on a deeper level.
15. He works to maintain his friendships and is always there for his family.
16. He seeks ways to get closer to his God and make sense of his place in the world.
17. Like my own father, he must be a beautiful man. I don't really know how to describe this, but I know it when I see it.
Come to think of it, I've always possessed an internal man list similar to this one. But because of what really amounts to my own insecurities, I've settled for way less than the above ideal, hoping the man in my life would just somehow "evolve" into the man of my dreams. No, no one is perfect, but after 46 years of making the same mistake, I'm here to tell you: stick to your list. Add to it if you must. And if someone steps up to the plate lacking an item or two, don't let him play. You're better off solo. Life is too short to be with a guy who makes you curl up into a ball and cry on the bathroom floor.