I’ve been struggling to write lately because I have this idea that anything I write here has to relate to my blog’s title. And the things I need to write about lately aren’t so spiritual. I’ve been struggling to understand myself better, which is always my goal, but specifically so I can figure out what I want in a partner.
I turned 37 yesterday, and while things like climate change and being enamored of my flat stomach have made me less certain of my desire to have a biological child, I still want the option to be on the table when I meet a man I love enough to potentially a) fuck up my body and b) develop faith that our legislature will prevent further damage to the earth before my future children die by climate catastrophe.
So, I’d like to meet someone soon.
When I want to meet someone, I usually just sit down and write a blog post about what I’m looking for, and then in a few months, he appears. I can’t seem to do that this time, possibly because I crushed the assignment last time, and there’s perhaps nothing more to say. And yet, I’ve changed so dramatically in the five years since I wrote that post (originally on Medium) that I can’t help but think it requires a 2019 version.
And that’s the thing. I’ve changed, and I’m going to keep changing. That’s the only thing I know for sure. I need to be with someone who is also changing and growing, but who has underlying values that are similar to mine and will keep us growing in the same direction.
I have this theory that in every functional relationship there needs to be a Mick Jagger and a Keith Richards. (It’s similar to Chaos Muppets vs. Order Muppets.) Mick is the showman, the magnetic one who gets the attention, but Keith is the one who keeps things running. Mick is a fresh coat of paint; Keith is the engine. When you have two Micks, there’s an issue of oneupmanship. When you have two Keiths, well, I have no idea, because the point I’m obviously getting to is that I am a Mick. I can’t be with another Mick, not because I can’t handle competing with my partner for airtime, but because men can’t. And I can’t be with a man who thinks I’m here to play a supporting role in the movie of his life. What I want is a partnership with someone who understands what that word means.
Despite what I believe to be my transparent self-centeredness, I repeatedly attract men who expect me to manage their lives. The kind of men who go for me tend to be dazzled by my Manic Pixie Dream Girl je ne sais quoi because they have an internal problem that needs fixing, and they’d rather project it onto an external solution than examine what’s actually wrong. Men who covet me do so because I’m whimsical and carefree, and then are strangely disappointed when I don’t want to mother them. I’m bored with this pattern and I’m going to end it now.
I like men who are emotionally stable, can keep their egos in check, and are grounded in reality. This is not who I’ve dated in the past. I want someone who can think big without delusions of grandeur (leave those to me), who has done the work to understand himself through therapy or some other means, and who can reel me back in without muzzling me. I like control freaks because they make me feel safe. I want someone who is Danny-Tanner-level fastidious, because I’m not, and I want to be inspired to pick up my floordrobe and dust the top of my bookshelf.
I like men who are standup-comedian-level funny but without the hackiness or substance-abuse issues. There is nothing hotter to me than a man who is smarter than I am in at least one way, who understands something I don’t and can explain it to me. I’m intellectually lazy about things like science and finance, and I want to be less so, but I’ll only be motivated to get there if someone hot talks to me about them, because I’m shallow.
Monogamy is non-negotiable for me. I’m much more interested in the challenge of keeping things interesting with one person than I am in having options. I want to say yes to one person, repeatedly, and no to everyone else, forever. I want the sexual freedom of a stable marriage with someone who is equally committed to its success.
I want to be the fun one. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy and I actively work on myself every day; still, please let me be the crazy one. I also want to be the wild one; your job is to give me a reason to stay home. I am not interested in a man who’s forever looking for reasons to be out of the house, the kind of guy who’s always out at happy hour complaining about the person who’s probably keeping him alive. Relationships don’t work if you’re never in the same room. I want to be Priority One; you will be, too.
Sex is very important to me, and seems to become more so every year. Education is also very important to me, not just my own or that of my future children, but improving access to education for everyone. (This is probably the most important thing to me.) I want to be with someone who thinks a lot about the direction the world is headed and is equally troubled by it.
I like when a man takes responsibility for his feelings. Please talk to me about them, just don’t make them mine to solve. Vulnerability is brave and bravery is hot. Not hot: bravado. I can see when you’re scared so you might as well tell me.
When I read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, I was struck by how great her marriage sounded: sitting in a room together working on projects independently. I want someone with projects and hobbies, who is five different things at any one given time, and forever adding to the list. I contain multitudes; so should you.
I want someone to travel with, see concerts and comedy shows with, and watch 80s actions movies on the couch with. I miss being with someone who always wants to do the same things I do. Please introduce me to new bands, stretch my imagination, and hold me accountable to pursue the things I say I want. In turn, I will cook you dinner, sex you up on the reg, make you laugh, and copy-edit your work emails. I will make you better even though I love you as you are. Do the same for me.
I need to be with someone growth minded. Resilience, flexibility, the ability to admit when you’re wrong: these are qualities I need in a long-term partner, and they’re best supported by a growth mindset.
Finally, I want someone who talks about me the way Tom Waits talks about Kathleen Brennan:
She has a remarkable imagination. And that’s the nation where I live. She’s bold, inventive and fearless. That’s who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you.