Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Every woman has one--you know, the one where you list the qualities that you want in a man. Don't deny it--you know you do! Or at least the single women do--and that's where we ladies get in trouble I think. Recently, there's been a big brouhaha about "Settling" for a man. I think it's been triggered by a new book by Lori Gottlieb entitled Marry Him: The Case for Settling For Mr. Good Enough. Anyone who's been reading this blog knows I have a problem with that in a very fundamental way. I always have said that I refuse to settle and I don't think I have but, and here's where I think Ms. Gottlieb has been misunderstood--even by yours truly. She says the following:
"The majority of single women who responded to a survey I sent out said that getting 80% of what they wanted in a mate would be settling. The majority of single men said finding a woman with 80% of what they wanted would be a catch. For these women, it seemed, "settling" meant not much less than everything." --Washington Post
Last night I pulled out my list--yup, I have 100 things listed--I made it a few years ago when I started dating in earnest. I think I may have been incited by the book The Secret in which you're supposed to ask the universe for what you want & you will receive it--the mere act of creating the list is supposed to help facilitate it or something...hmmmm....not too sure about that but I did it anyway cuz I was curious what I'd put down. Soooo, upon reflection I think even then that I didn't think it was necessary to have 100% of what was on my list & in my reality, 80% wasn't settling but was great. I think in my mind I am more similar to the guys here--in the world of Special Education--80% is the target--I'd say I'd have a catch with 80% of my list & no I don't feel that I'm lowering my standards or "settling" at all.
I think most single 40 y o women need to rethink their lists. That 80% really is a catch & is certainly not settling. Case in point--after all this reading I've been doing recently--the Atlantic Review article & Slate as well as this excerpt from the Post, I do believe that getting most of what's on your list is fine--if not actually pretty awesome. Additionally, I was reading an article in Glamour magazine a week ago about redefining what a woman is looking for. Instead of "having a sense of humor like Tracy Morgan", a guy should make me laugh. Maybe no one else gets his humor but if I do, then that's all that counts, really.
Perfection does not exist--ok, so maybe he's a couple inches shorter than your ideal, or the receding hairline is REALLY receding, but what about the 80 other things on the list? Does he make you laugh? Can you talk until 4 AM & still know that you haven't finished? Does he treat you with respect? In the words of Steve Harvey, does he treat you like you are a "Keeper" fish or a "Sport" fish? See where I'm going with this? I can still be head over heels with 80% and that ain't settling! Time to re-frame your thinking, ladies!
I came to this conclusion because I was curious myself about my BF--where does he fit compared to my list? So yes, I pulled it out & let him look at it. Nope, he doesn't have everything--but the important qualities, the ones at the top of my list--the ones that you put down from your gut as opposed to having to really think hard about it, well he does have those & frankly, those are the most important anyway. It was a deeply personal thing to share with him, but it certainly aligns with why we get each other--we seem to be more alike than different, & I knew that ultimately he'd appreciate & respect my goofy little list.