OK, so I recently stopped dating a guy (pretty much the story of my life), and while I’m not going to go into him here – so not worth the time – it did get me thinking. I am now officially in my late 20s (sucks). I have dated a good number of men in my life. And I have had both short relationships and long ones. I’ve had a ton of fun in some and have been annoyed as hell in others. But not one man has ever inspired me to stick around. I’ve never cried after a break up. I’ve never wondered whether I made the wrong decision. And I've never really blamed myself for how things turned out. Yet lately I’ve started to wonder. Am I being too picky? Does everyone have to settle at least a little bit? I mean, no guy is going to be everything, right?
Now don’t get the wrong idea here, I've never been unrealistic in my expectations. I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of roses. I do like chocolate, but I’m fully capable of buying it for myself. If a guy buys me lingerie, I don’t get offended; I put the damn things on and thank him properly for the gift (hey, I didn’t pay for them). And I’m the one who wants to watch a baseball or football game instead of going shopping; if he wants to join me, that’s just fine, if not, that’s fine too.
I like going out and I like staying home, so whatever he’s into doesn’t really matter to me. And I like my alone time, so nights out without me are encouraged. I won’t even get jealous over stupid stuff – I trust my man until he gives me reason not to…and then I dump him.
Outgoing or shy, I don’t really care - I can talk to anyone. And while I do like my men tall (I’m 5’8 and like to wear heels), as long as they have confidence and don’t bitch about it, I’ll date a guy a who's little shorter than I am.
However, being me, I do have a list of things I don’t want – hey, I'm not a saint. And maybe I am being unrealistic, but I'm also not ready to settle. Most of these things are fixable; they're things the men I'm with do that annoy me (and yes, I'm easily annoyed). Anyway, here are the guidelines I'm laying down (even though I would probably never give this to a guy I was dating) - by no means a definitive list, this is what guys should steer clear of with me:
• No cuddling. I don’t want to cuddle all night. I’m fine with doing it for a little while, but when it's time to sleep I like to spread out and not be touching. So if he’s staying, he’d better give me room.
• No camping. I don’t want to go camping. My idea of a fun weekend trip is NOT camping. And while I’m not normally high-maintenance, I tend to draw the line at peeing outside. I don't know why, but for some reason it’s not my idea of a good time. Maybe it has to do with the 'awkward crouch while trying to steady myself on a tree and not pee on myself' thing, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.
You're right - there may be a story here. OK, the cliff-notes version of my one and only time camping: Many years ago, an ex (who was a current at the time) insisted on taking me camping. Only he was a moron. He didn’t realize until we got to the middle of nowhere that he had forgotten the freaking tent. So once we finished sitting by the fire drinking beer (not a bad way to spend an evening), and had fooled around under the stars (pretty enjoyable too), we were stuck outside with no semblance of shelter. And it was cold. The ground was hard. His arms were wrapped around me for warmth (see above compaint of "no cuddling"). And yes, I had to pee for half the night but refused to go until the sun came up (so I could see what was around me). Needless to say, I didn't sleep. My back hurt for days afterward. And I haven't agreed to another camping trip since. So I leave the camping trips to the guys. No big deal, right? Well for some reason, my past two boyfriends have been bothered by my refusal to go 'rough it' with them. Losers.
• No waiting. I don’t wait. If a guy says he’s going to show up at a specific time, he’d better show up at that time. I don’t want to get to a place on time only to find out he’s running late. I don't want to be waiting at home for him getting pissed. Now running late once or twice is fine, shit happens, but if it becomes a habit, I stop showing up/answering my door. Because my time is just as valuable as his.
• No paying. I don’t pay on the first date - call me old fashioned. I’ll always make the courtesy reach of course, but if he lets me pay on the first date, there won’t be a second. As for after the first date, I - of course - am willing to pay some of the time.
• No ex-files. Yes, I know this term was coined on Sex and the City, but it is a good rule. I don’t want to talk about my ex-boyfriends or my sexual history in terms of numbers. These conversations never go well. I don’t want to know about his past (beyond being assured that he has a clean bill of health), and he doesn’t want to know about mine. Trust me.
• No freebies. I don’t give massages unless I’m getting one in return.
• No smothering. I don’t want to see my man every day. I kind of touched on this before, but I need my alone time. And I don’t like anyone, ANYONE, enough to see them every day. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. So if he wants to move in together or anything like that, I tend to run. Basically, my thoughts on this are that I’m not going to live with anyone until I’m legally required to do so.
• No messing with my cat. I don’t like any man more than my cat. (Yes, I have a cat, and she’s freaking awesome – I’ve convinced her she’s a dog.) So while he may not love cats, he’d better be nice to mine. She’s cuter than he is.
• No nagging. I don’t date any man who bitches at me to clean my apartment. I realize I’m messy (massive understatement here), but there’s a difference between messy and dirty. And I’m messy. Everything piled on that chair is clean. The dishes are clean. The sheets on that unmade bed are clean. And you know what? Even if they weren’t it wouldn’t matter, because it’s my apartment. If he wants it cleaned so badly, he should feel free to clean it himself.
• No Red Sox fans. I don’t date Red Sox fans. I’d probably kill him within 24 hours.