So lately as things are turning the corner and then some in life for me in general, some have asked me what it would take for a guy to sweep me off my feet, or rather more importantly, what I’m looking for in a guy. A lot of this comes from my friends who are settling down or in the process of settling down, as understandably we’re on completely different pages of life. At the same time, I am meeting a number of different people in the groups/activities I’ve been involved as of late, so in that respect, I have had a few guys try and ask me out and such…
What do I look for? Like anyone else, or mostly anyone else, I’d like a gentleman, someone who is nice, warm and caring. But some of the other specifics, well let’s see…
1 Career and hobby (couple) focused. This to me, is the big one. There are loads of people that want to settle down and have kids ASAP. Not me. Well if I find someone during grad school, cool, but definitely NOT the kids part for awhile. The biggest reason is that I will have spent an inordinate amount of time in school, some of it combined with work. I have on average had very little time for fun, with the exception of the past 7 months. So far, I’m seven years deep and I’ll be doing another four starting next year. I’ll be somewhere between 31-33 years of age when I finish. To be frank, I would like to be able to have a good 5-6 years of living life, which I feel I deserve after nearly double that in school. Yeah I work hard, but I want to have the time to be able to play hard. I don’t mean partying every night, either, just explore the world around me. I want to just be able to drop everything on a weekend and go camping, hiking, planning for a weeklong trip to Europe or whatever without having to worry about being behind on schoolwork….or having a crying toddler to deal with or plan around. (Dating a runner is a bonus, but I will not limit myself to runners.) Doing so with a companion that craves these adventures and being able to focus all my attention on him will be the ideal way of enjoying myself and my partner.
2 Intelligence is sexy. Very. One strength I’ve been able to draw upon is that I feel that I can relate to lots of different types of people at least on a platonic/conversational level, and one thing I’d like in a partner is to be able to hold a conversation on a variety of topics. It doesn’t have to be all serious all the time, just showing me that he’s knowledgeable – or at least willing to learn – about the world and society around him. He does not have to agree with me on political view or whatever, just needs to hold a conversation quite well.
3 Someone who is not afraid to communicate and even more importantly be blunt at times. I’m at the point where given all my family drama, there is VERY little that can be said to me that will offend me. If I know the truth, especially if something’s wrong, I will do everything in my power in a relationship to fix it, especially if I was responsible for the mess, error, whatever. And with a long-term partner I feel they need to be very open with me, and not be afraid to tell me if something’s wrong. Hell I’ll be proactive and tell them “hey is there anything you think we need to work on?” I remember reading that in an article somewhere – not the most romantic thing in the world, but it does work. Shows him (hopefully) you care about the two of you and working on the relationship. Not to mention I tell people things all the time at work (clients) they don’t want to hear. When I did clinical research as an undergrad, I told adolescent cancer patients the ultimate bad news. If I can say that…I can take anything. Trust me, I can.
4 Willing and able to live in an urban area. This – to me – goes hand in hand with #1. The world’s in our backyard, I love how I can walk everywhere with everything on my doorstep. Given how any city changes in cycles, there are things that never get old and having lived in Philadelphia for nine years, I can definitely attest to this. Again, someone sharing my sense of adventure, defined as this. We aren’t in the city every weekend (see #1 for other suggestions), but when we are here, there’s something to do. First Fridays, new places in South Philly, random festivals/events, whatever. I can cuddle up and watch a movie, but strolling around the square and chatting about whatever whenever in the park is just as appealing. The “able” part comes from making enough money to support the relatively higher cost of living in a decent neighbourhood in the city, which is common sense. The Philadelphia suburbs are also priced obscenely high, so it’s not like there’s any benefit anyhow to living just outside the city in the big house with the white picket fence. We have to commute every freaking day to work. We have to spend (more) time maintaining our house/garden/whatever. (And whatever city taxes you escape by being in the burbs, those will crop up in property taxes to support the school districts. You can’t win in this metro area.) And I royally hate the work commute. Walking a few blocks to work or tops 5 minutes bus or subway ride. That’s my thing. I guess I’m quite the low-maintenance person, but hey, everyone’s different. My point is, all these things…well that’s a little additional time I could be spending with my partner in some way.
5 No smoking, no (illegal) drugs. Lifestyle issue with the smoking, and drugs should be a bit more obvious. I really hate cigarette smoke, and regardless, I feel there’s better things to spend money on. I might be blunt here, but I also don’t want to (potentially) support someone’s smoking habit or if they get sick (solely) due to smoking.
6 Finally, someone who takes care of themselves healthwise. He does not need to be Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, etc. Yes physical attraction is important for chemistry but that’s not what I’m getting at. Also just because I’m a runner – I don’t have to be dating one, though that would be interesting too. Just basic hygiene, eats reasonably well and enough exercise to keep themselves healthy.
Finally, one thing that does NOT matter to me as much as it may most people: religion and/or race. Race…I’ve seen attractive men from all sorts of race/ethnic backgrounds. I’ve met and dated individuals that are from all sorts of backgrounds and have had fun learning about them as much as I think they have learnt about me. And religion, I know more people that are more serious about their religion are going to be apprehensive about dating someone outside. As for me, my main focus is NOT the religion but the common values that define a person regardless of religion. I’m totally fine dating a Jewish person for example – at UPenn, I went to the Hillel to eat dinner with friends and have attended seders with them. I’ve also celebrated Eid with my Muslim friends as well and attended Diwali parties (Hindu culture) as well. With a partner, I’m fine with attending his services and hopefully we can compromise on what values, customs and services we find important and can celebrate together.
So there you have it. If I feel any of my “must-haves” limit me, I am willing to bet it is the delayed onset of family and probably the pro-city life though the latter I am finding it a bit easier to encounter. But I think I will be just fine in the end. I won’t sacrifice any of my must-haves as those are key to keeping me happy in life. Especially interacting with the GBC, there will be plenty of people there putting career well ahead of children especially.
I’ll be fine in the end, and patient if I need to be.