Recently, I went on a date. Yep. I hate dating. Once a year or so, I have momentary amnesia about how awful it is, and try again. This date was probably in the top 10 list of most infuriating dates that I've ever had...probably right behind the guy from the Peace Corps a couple years back. I remember that I used to like dating in college...when it was easy to meet people...when there were dozens of guys in classes and hallways and buses and bars to choose from. Where you could chat with someone in the lobby while you were skipping class without all the fuss of planning an actual date, so you could actually decide if it was even worth HAVING an actual date. Now, I work...and work some more...and live by myself...in a town I'm unfamiliar with...and to be honest, I'm over it. Not that it wouldn't be nice to have a guy around...it would be nice. But I don't NEED to have a guy around...it just so happens that I'm pretty damn good at being single, so if the options are go on a million miserable first dates or stay home...at this point, I'm staying home. Here's the other problem...I've been single for a full four years now...and I LIKE not having to bite my tongue about someone leaving their dirty dishes laying around. I LIKE not having to ask before I make plans for the weekend. I LIKE doing what I want to do when I want to do it, no questions asked. I LIKE being as OCD as I want to at my apartment without getting an eye roll from anyone. So yeah. That said, I don't think my expectations are utterly unreasonable...and I feel like theoretically, the guy I'm looking for should exist, but who knows. And now, I'm going to provide you with my non-negotiables, for entertainment's sake, and also so I can look back on this with some perspective someday and see if I really AM being a demanding lunatic ;) lol. Here goes:
1) Must love dogs. Yes, that's the name of a movie, but it's also one of my biggest dealbreakers. I'm up to three little rescue monsters now, and I have significant time and money invested in their happiness. If you don't like my dogs, we're going to have a problem. If they don't like you, we're going to have a problem. Such is life.
2) Must have their shit together. I'm 31...it's fine to be a wreck when you're 22...I get it...but I'm not 22 anymore. I have my shit together, and you need to have it together too. There are probably a very few, highly unlikely scenarios that may earn you a get-out-of-jail-free card on the following list, but in general: I do not want to date someone who is "trying to find" himself. I do not want to date someone who lives with their parents. I do not want to date a career student or someone who can't manage to hold down a steady job. I do not want to date someone who doesn't have a car and/or cannot legally drive. Seriously...get it together.
3) Must not have a victim mentality. Bad stuff happens to everyone. Nobody is singling you out. How you handle the bad stuff is important to me. If I hear one more "nice guys finish last" sob story, I swear it'll end with a punch in the face. If you're unhappy where you are in life, with your circumstances, do something about it. Take a class, get some counseling, apply for a new job, get a new hobby, whatever...don't just sit on your butt and complain about it, hoping it'll magically change without any effort on your part. Nobody is going to help you if you don't help yourself first.
4) Must respect my career choice. I work retail. The hours suck sometimes...of this, I am well aware. But you know what doesn't help? Having a guy belittling my job and constantly complaining about me having to work on weekends. This scenario is my trifecta of irritation. First, you had to work on Tuesday when I was off, and I didn't complain about you going to work. Second, unless you're planning on paying all of my bills, you don't get a say in whether or not I go to work (you don't get a say anyway, but DEFINITELY not when I'm paying my own way). And third, and most importantly, I like my job...my job is important and I'm freaking good at it...so shut your trap!
5) Must NEVER use the word "allowed" in reference to something I may or may not be planning to do. Oh.My.God. This may be where years of singledom and not having to answer to anyone is working against me, but I swear...when I hear women say "I'm not allowed to go out without my boyfriend/husband," "I'm not allowed to cut my hair short," etc...I literally CANNOT suppress the cringe. I can understand that some people are cool with this "allowed" concept...if that's your thing, more power to you. However, in my case , there is absolutely no faster way to ensure that I WILL do something than to say I'm not allowed to do it. Which is weird, because I'm very much a rule-follower...I'm very good at following rules...at work...in society...in pretty much all places that have the right to make rules for me. You...my friend...do not have that right. We can talk about it, we may reach a compromise, you may certainly voice your opinion and/or preference...but please do not use THAT word...ever.
6) Must be ethical and have a strong belief in personal responsibility. That means no stealing office supplies from your work. That means not wasting peoples' time by being chronically late. That means doing it right the first time instead of taking the half-ass shortcut and hoping nobody notices. In a round-about and old-fashioned way, that means if a bear comes after us in the woods, you should not be thinking of a strategy to outrun me. That means, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. And that means doing what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it. Period.
7) Must realize that in an age of cell phones and instant gratification, I expect a response to a call or text in a timely manner...that means the same day, folks. I don't care if work was crazy. I don't care if you're tired. I don't care if your best bud from college dropped by unexpectedly. A text takes 30 seconds. If you can't set aside 30 seconds for me in an entire day, then we're going to have a problem.
8) Must not smoke. I don't like to smell like smoke. I don't like my car to smell like smoke. I don't like my things to smell like smoke. I don't like to freeze my butt off in the car while you roll down the window to smoke. I don't like to sit by myself at the table while you go outside to smoke. If you want to bum a cigarette once in a while when you're out drinking, fine. If you want to smoke a cigar with the boys while you're golfing, no problem. But if you HAVE to buy a pack...if you're going to be crabby if you DON'T smoke...that's not gonna work for me.
And that's it. It's a pretty reasonable list, I think. And even if it's not, it's my list...and it's not changing. The grass is pretty green on the single side of life right now...I don't need to be jumping the fence unless it's ACTUALLY greener on the other side. Man, I'm a pain in the butt, huh? :) Back to crafty stuff on the next post, friends...have a good one!