Back in February, I posted a silly little application for interested parties. You know, men who might want to date me. It was done in jest, of course, sort of in response to a series of dates I went on where the men were either still married, in love with someone else but taking me out as "practice", unemployed, car-less or living with their parents, or a combination of all of those things. So, I made a joke about it. It WAS a funny application. I still think it's funny (and I'll repost it below). Still, there was an element of truth to it.
I wanted to date someone who was emotionally well-adjusted, working hard, had a good job, maybe a house. Essentially, I wanted to date someone who was pretty similar to me, without the boobs and severe PMS. I also wanted someone who appreciated that I write, who likes interesting and diverse food, who's healthy. When I type out all my wants it seems like a big list, almost unattainable. And when I returned to dating and met a wonderful man, I tucked that check list away.
If you really connect with someone, if there's a possibility for love, how important is something like a checklist? What if they have a very good reason for starting over? What if they're trying desperately to get on their feet? What if they don't have a car because they moved home from a big city? What if they just need a little time to start over and find a good job?
What if the really important things are there: What if they love you? What if they love who you are at the very core of you? What if they love that you write? How important is it that they like things like baked goat cheese in a homemade marinara sauce? There's a simplicity to a man who prefers turkey sandwiches.
Should I even be talking about any of this? Probably not, but I don't know what else to do.
In the movies, the Perfect Man is easy for the female lead to spot: he's the one that's super cute. Maybe he's awkward, but their connection is real. But movies don't touch on real life. What if that female lead is a single mom and spends every moment of her day either parenting, teaching, narrating or prepping to narrate, promoting her work, or writing in the hopes of building a stable life for her and her children?
Here's the big question I'm leading to: When is love not enough? Is it wrong to have a checklist? To want a partner who is secure in more than his affection for you?
There are more questions too. Questions I talk about with my girlfriends. Why do we so often justify relationships or behavior in relationships that makes us feel awful. One of my girlfriends went out on a date with a guy. She had a great time. When the bill came, he said "We'll have to split it because I can't afford to get yours. I'm kinda in transition right now and don't have a job, and I wasn't sure if this was a date or not." She likes him. She wants to see him again. And we tried to figure out if it's okay for a guy not to pay on the first date. Of course it's okay. Then again, what if it's not okay for YOU? What if, for you, that Bill Paying Issue is a sign of respect, of a man who wants to treat you well and like a woman. Then again, are these old-fashioned gender roles?
See what I'm saying? It's fucking complicated. I don't usually swear too much, but there are time when only a good 'fucking' will do.
Pause. Pause. Pause.
I'm at a point in my relationship where I feel like that Gilbert lady in "Eat Pray Love". You know the part where she's praying and says "God, just tell me what to do and I'll do it." I wish there were the Voice of God to tell me what to do, but not like in Monty Python. I've always found their 60's show annoying and uncomfortably tripped out. I just want someone to tell me what to do.
I want Alec Guiness to talk to me like he did in Star Wars to Luke. "Tanya, you must feel the Force within you. The Force will tell you what to do." And then he tells me that A) either my list IS important and valid and I need to honor that or B) Love supersedes any list of expectations.
My boyfriend is having struggles. I want to be there for him, but I'm also terrified. Am I terrified of love? Yes. It's very hard to trust. But it's doubly hard to trust when your partner can't find a job. I always look a few feet down the road. This is a writer thing, a neurotic thing, and a single-mom thing. If he can't find a job, what happens in a month. What happens in two? What happens if I fall in love so deeply that I marry him? Can I be the sole provider for my family? Do I want to be?
For now, I'm re-reading my checklist. If I were updating it, I'd also add Do You Like To Take Walks and Do You Smoke? But I'm not updating it. I'm re-reading it to see what I really need. Do I need all of these things? Or do I just need a man who loves me with his whole being...because honestly I have that. Maybe I should just be grateful for that and hope the other things work themselves out.
Here's the old application:
Application to Date Tanya
Please fill out this application to the best of your ability. You must fill it out yourself. If you need someone else to fill this out for you, then I’m sorry, you cannot date Tanya.