making a list, checking it twice.

Tonight I’m on Facebook, and an ad for HaveTheRelationshipYouWant.com pops up. And I think, sure, easy enough. Might as well redirect me to EatCheese&Lose5Pounds.net or OhLook!ThatHolyGrailThingIsRightOverThere.org while we’re at it.

Yes, folks, tonight we’re going to talk about boys. Why have a blog if I’m not going to get all Carrie Bradshaw on it every once in a while, right?
Yikes, though. I can already sense that you are squirming. I am squirming. Don’t worry–this will hurt me much more than it hurts you.

I believe without doubt that an fMRI scan of my brain at any moment would reveal activity in at least one of the following thought regions:
writing the perfect joke; planning my next meal; analyzing the last episode of my most recent TV-on-DVD obsession; boys. boys boys boys boys. and boys.

Here’s a curious case, friends: right now I find myself with no particular boy to fret over…for the first time in 10 years.

See it was 10 years ago, when I was a junior in high school, that I experienced a lot of things for the first time: first “real” boyfriend, first kiss, first staying-out-too-late, first (of many, so many) DTRs. Ever since then, I’ve been hovering somewhere on the [ going after ] < —- > [ getting over ] scale. And if I’m honest, I can expand the pathology back to my first non-“real” boyfriend in 1st grade. Twenty years ago.

Yikes.

Twenty years of thinking about boys and finding myself back at square one:  it’s enough to make me wonder when, exactly, is the jig up?

Get this: “My desire for love this time it is not directed toward a certain person, and not even toward any ideal, but toward something true. A “true” love–that works and means something and changes the world. It may come tomorrow, it may come 5 years from now, but nothing, nothing, nothing less is worth wasting my time.”

I wrote that in my composition notebook from summer 2005. (Yep, you guessed it. More math: FIVE years ago.) Something else I did that summer: crafted a 100+ item “What I Want in A Man List”…and you better believe I’m treating you to some gems. Unedited and in no particular order, commentary in red:

1) Talented writer/avid reader. Want to date yourself, self?
2) Enjoys copious amounts of pop culture and worthless knowledge thereof.
3) TALL  (yes, in all caps.)
4) Understands me. That’s a huge one. That alone should be, like, five. !!!
5) Doesn’t swear or spit in public.
6) Believes in male/female equality but will still come to my rescue on occasion. I have faith this paradox must exist. In Disney films.
7) Thinks Dave is funnier than Jay, and Conan is funnier than anyone. Prophecy.
8) Allows me to complain but also tries to cheer me up–in perfect balance. See also: nonexistent fantasy.
9) Empathizes with the horrors of leg-shaving. :)
10) Would look away from a sporting event if I was on fire.
11) Gives thoughtful gifts.
12) Believes in my dreams. (come on!)
13) Loves my writing & thinks I’m hilariously witty. (duh.)

Cute, right? Not so bad, five-years-ago me. But today I know one thing I don’t think I knew five years ago: There’s no such thing as a perfect partner.

The more appropriate list to make, then, is “What I Want in a ME.” Real happiness has got to come from myself. But what does that mean? I’m sure that’s a question I’ll still be asking five years from now.
And if I happen to be asking it alongside a Paul Rudd-ish fellow who asks the same of himself, and is good at hugs and vegetarian cooking…well. Life’s not a Cole Porter song or Jane Austen novel, but a girl can still dream…
(See #12)

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6 thoughts on “making a list, checking it twice.

  1. Well written! I tend to agree: I’ve been in a similar situation for (not quit as long) awhile now. I will say that for me, it doesn’t change much when I make the transition from [going after] -> [have] though…I still freak/worry/behave irrationally…and that brings me to your most important point: What do I want in ME. You hit that one on the nail.

    Kudos!

  2. Ok ok this is awesome! When you said at the end “(See #12)” I thought you were refereing to, not the obvious above list about dreams but to the 12th post on your blog. Funny enough it was about Tim Allen, and your boyfriend named Gary in the fourth grade. Now in that post you talked about a gift he was going to give you and mentioned that it might have been a kiss but you never said what it was he actually gave you!?!?! Anyways just want you to know that I was putting a lot of thought in your blog trying to decode some hidden message about seeing 12, but I was just rewarded with unanswered questions about presents. What was the gift?

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