July 3, 2008
With this list, I thee wed
I recently read an essay in Oprah -- the only woman's magazine I can tolerate because it's not filled with messages about how lacking women are -- about a woman who went to a psychic to find out whether she'd ever meet the love of her life.
The psychic told her to write down a list of 100 qualities she wanted in a man, even down to his socks, and to put that list away somewhere. Lo and behold, some years later, the woman checked the man she was dating according to her list, and he fulfilled 98 of the items! They married and lived happily ever after (until he passed away from cancer).
This list idea -- every other self-help dating book talks about making one. Even my acupuncturist tells me to make a list.
"Every night, write down what you are looking for," he said, drawing a stick figure man with a list beneath him.
"For example, maybe he doesn't have a job," he said, scarily naming one quality of a guy I was dating.
"Or maybe he is homeless," he wrote on No. 2 , making me think that this doctor had a really low opinion of me.
"Or maybe he hates Jews," he wrote down on No. 3 , making me think he had a really low opinion of my people, as well.
"If someone doesn't meet your criteria," he said drawing a line through -- and offing -- my stick figure partner, "let him go!"
But I never listen to these listsayers. The critic in me asks: "Aren't lists superficial? Unrealistic? Overly demanding?" (Think of the short, balding George Costanza saying he wants someone with "rosy cheeks.") Won't a list set me up for disappointment -- or worse -- for being called the dreaded "too picky" ?
"But Amy, you have never had a list, so how would you know?" the un-critic in me says. Besides, maybe lists weren't necessary from the olden days -- you know, a decade ago, before Internet dating, when the only way to meet someone was mostly by chance (and through yenta matchmakers). Today it seems like all people do is make lists of what they're looking for, what their perfect first date would be, what they would like to have for dinner for the next 50 years. I've never been very organized, though; maybe that's been my problem.
So at the risk of sounding completely superficial and picky and unrealistic and any other names people like to throw at those of us of a certain age who haven't found their mates yet (yeah, like it was so easy for you?), I am going to share 25 items on my list, in no particular order. Having never put a list down on paper before, I'm sure I'd be willing to forgo one or two of the items if I got a 98 percent match (or felt really desperate). But the bottom line is, who knows?