Friday, January 2, 2009

The List (As inspired by Lola)

My cousin Lola is amazing. Lola (not her real name, but her alter ego name) and I found each other on Facebook last spring and thanks to modern technology, were able to pick up from the moment we last saw each other (which would be when I was 8 and she was 3).

Lola is an incredibly attractive 30-something single who truly enjoys life. She's just the influence my sometimes frumpy, slowly-pushing-40, trying-to-reclaim-my-life persona needs. I love hearing of her dating trials, work encounters and get this...she leads a low carb lifestyle, for real!

A couple of months ago, Lola posted her "list" on facebook. This list is a list of all the qualities she is looking for in a man. I read her list, laughed, cried, and thought, "She is definitely a woman who knows what she wants."

Fast forward to this past weekend. I read Angela Thomas' "My Single Mom Life." It is an inspiring story of one mom's life with 4 kids after her divorce. Guess what Angela Thomas had in her book? Her list! As a matter of fact, she had a whole chapter dedicated to her list. AND, she said every woman, EVERY WOMAN, married or single should have such a list.

Well what did I do after I read that? I wrote my list, of course! So here it is...

1. Speaks my love language of words and affection. If he doesn't, he's interested in googling "The Five Love Languages" to at least see what I'm talking about.

2. Has a relationship with God and acknowledges it. He also needs to know that I believe in guardian angels and will talk openly about mine if given the chance.

3. Is family-oriented. Sounds basic, but also interacts with his extended family. I come from a family that wears matching shirts on Christmas (men and women). He doesn't need to go to those extremes, but he does need to see his family, stay in touch with them, and attend family events. And yes -- if he comes around my family at Christmas, he will be expected to wear the shirt...we have extras.

4. Respects children as individuals. I teach my children to be independent thinkers who aren't afraid to ask questions. As long as they don't offend me or are disrespectful, they can honestly tell or ask me anything. No matter what comes out of their mouths, he needs to understand that it's okay that they felt/asked/said that.

5. Enjoys laughter.

6. Lives healthily.

7. Cooks. Eats my cooking. Wants us to cook together.

8. Demonstrates career ambition.

9. Likes to travel. Doesn't mind family road trips.

10. Makes me want to be a better person. Holds me accountable when I make silly choices.

11. Committed to public service. Gives blood, has a favorite charity, worked on a political campaign...something....anything. (See Mark 9:35)

12. Values education. I work in education. I research schools and educational programs as a hobby. While I admit I am fanatical, I need someone who believes in the importance of a good education.

13. Enjoys being a role model. I have a son who is going to be a man and two daughters who will probably date men. My partner needs to be the kind of man they will want to be and be with.

14. Loves to touch. (And loves to do other things, but it is only appropriate to mention touching here.)

15. Understands that Mr. X is an important part of my family. Unfortunately, I have to check with Mr. X on how we spend holidays, birthdays, and other special events. I may not get a timely response from him, and that may alter our planning, but I have to check with him. Not only is it the law (as stated in the divorce decree), it's what right. BTW, I don't expect anything less from his Mrs. X if there is one. Blended families are so in this year.

16. Respect the big 4. At present, there were 4 great loves in my life. While I'm hoping that I will stop at 5, you never know. So, here's the deal. I will tell him anything he wants to know about the big 4, but I will not say anything against them. I suggest that he do the same. We only stick to the facts. The lessons I learned from those 4 relationships are priceless and helped me become the woman I am today.

17. Be intelligent. He needs to use correct subject/ verb agreement. He needs to be able to sit and discuss politics and social causes by saying more than, "Obama is my boy."

18. Has self-discipline. Doesn't over-indulge. This is big...I falter in this department so it is critical that he be my rock when I say, "I just have to have ___________."

19. Lives on a budget. I don't care what the budget is, or how much he makes. I need to know that he tries to live a financially responsible life.

20. 3 weeks on, 1 week off. He needs to accept the fact that I will do sexy 3 weeks out of the month, but for one week I need to wear my flannel pjs, granny panties, eat large quantities of sugary treats, and cry at Hallmark commercials. It's one week...he can survive.

21. Be sociable. I am a social bee. My children are social bees. Any given weekend, we are attending birthday parties, soccer games, basketball practices or school events. He is not expected to attend everything, but he needs to show support when it matters. And guess what? A lot matters. I promise to still rub his back every night and let him have daily visits with "Roxie" but he needs to understand that I thrive on social interaction with others. I'll be a happier partner if I have seen/ visited/ or talked to whoever it is I want to see/visit/ or talk to.

22. Know who I am. I am energetic, fun-loving, and yes...OVER-THE-TOP. I get excited easily, my hands start shaking, I will jump up and down, and I want to "HEAR ALL ABOUT IT!" I wake the kids up each morning by singing, I will start dancing at the mention of a hot song, and I don't always use my "inside" voice. Yes, I am the parent that will volunteer to keep the class pet over winter break. In past years, we've cared for a guinea pig and 2 lizards. Right now, I am contemplating getting CJ a snake. I just want a man who loves me for my energy.

23. Answer the questions. I used to be a news reporter. I am nosy as all get out. I have a list of several questions that I will ask him in the beginning IF I LIKE HIM. Answering the questions is a prerequisite to moving to first base with me. From those answers, I decide if we go to second base. "I never think about that," or "Why do you want to know?" are not acceptable responses. He can also feel free to ask me questions as well...and if our answers don't mesh, no harm, no foul. It's better for us to know sooner than later.

24. Be willing to do the dirty work. Maintaining a fulfilling interpersonal relationship takes a lot of work. We have to make the relationship a priority and do the hard, honest work of talking, dating, giving, reading, loving unconditionally, and forgiving. If we need counseling, we get it; if we need to go to church more regularly, we go; if we need to write a journal together, we do it. We make the relationship our priority -- no matter what parts of life try to get in the way.

25. Be willing to acknowledge the special days. I love holidays and birthdays. I also believe that it does not take a lot of money to show me that you care. I will do the same as well. Valentine's Day, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and anniversaries exist for a reason, and I intent to celebrate them with the person I love.

I know this was a long post, but do you have a list? Will you share it?