The other night, completely unaware of being profiled for field research, the guy I’m seeing brought up an interesting topic. He pointed out that, when you meet somebody, they have the most potential they ever will to you. You are able to project almost any image upon them, envision them however best suits your ideals. Then, as you get to know them better, you begin discovering that they are a real person, with a life, a formed identity, and a myriad of personality traits that you may not be prepared for, a realization that can inadvertently lead to a certain level of disappointment. (Ahem, should I be taking this personally?! Am I not the flaxen-haired, carefree goddess he met in on one drunken night in Williamsburg?)
The truth is, he’s right. (He seems to be right on quite a few things. La di da..) After all, how many times did you meet a handsome stranger and then spend two magical hours “connecting” on that deep, possibly wine-boosted level, concluding with the fact that he is, indeed, the man of your dreams, complete with a penchant for exotic travel and a sense of humor to rival Louis CK? You savor and internally embellish this image until the next time you see him, at which point he may proliferate it further by presenting a perfected version of himself. Then, slowly, as more time is spent together, you begin discovering that he is actually a rather basic dude who is more interested in spending Sunday nights watching football that researching South Korea, tends to repeat the same lame joke over and over again, and cannot clean the bathroom to save his life. Also, he thundersnores. In short, his list of flaws real life attributes grows with each passing day, simultaneously pushing him further down on Dream Man criteria list.
The other problem here is, the older we get, the more particular we become, and with that, so does our List. After all, by the time we reach thirty, we all know ourselves pretty damn well, and hence have no trouble naming the attributes that would work cohesively with both our lifestyle and personality. This is precisely why they say that people should to get married when they are younger, when their personalities and senses of self are still not formed, giving them the space to grow together and adjust to one another. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option for many of us, and robot mates à la HER are not yet available as replacement.
And so, I propose that, instead of trying to make a person match some sort of idealistic image, we loosen up our Dream Man criteria , and instead start asking ourselves the following questions:
1. Does this person make you laugh? As in, frequently, and not just those rare moment that you then repeatedly quote to your friends to reaffirm his appeal?
2. Are you capable of having an interesting conversation? In fact, do you feel like you can spend a day together, the kind of day where you aren’t really looking at your phone?
3. Can you trust this person? As in, you can count on them still being there tomorrow and not bouncing on you without an explanation?
4. Are they a good human being? Would they save a puppy?
5. Do they like you? Like, do they really “like like” you?
6. Do sparks fly in le sack?
If you happen to answer “yes” to even 4 of these questions, I genuinely suggest that you ignore the dirty underwear on the floor, smile, and suck it up because YOU HAVE HIT JACKPOT. Nobody is perfect, and, trust me, your PMS bloat and Hanky Pankies hanging on the radiator ain’t no God’s gift either.
And, you’re welcome. I can come do a speech at your wedding, but only if it’s a destination one! Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc is my favorite!