21 Things I Look For In A Mate
In relationships, everyone has the qualities that they are looking for in any potential partner, the dealbreakers and essentials that allow them to spend even a modicum of time with someone. My benchmark for “dating material” tends to be: “Would I disapprove if my best friend dated them?” and I look for people who understand my weird sense of humor and want to learn and grow. Open minds are sexy.
But although these sound great on an OKCupid profile (is anyone ever looking for a bad communicator?), not everything our heart not-so-secretly wants is so grounded. When I was a teenager, I wanted to date a woman who only drank clear liquids (because that meant they were health conscious) and looked exactly like Jennifer Love Hewitt. If she wasn’t available, I would gladly settle for Jennifer Love Hewitt herself. What did Carson Daly have that I didn’t, other than an oversized head? (And what was he doing hanging out with all those preteens at, like, 30? Red flags all over the place.)
Sure, we all want someone who gets us and wants the same things we want (like children, etc.), but our hearts are not always so rational. Is everything I want realistic or totally essential to my forever happiness? No, because who even knows who’ll they’ll end up with? But that doesn’t stop me from looking. I won’t get all of these things in this lifetime, but I dare to dream. (However, a couple would be good.)
1. Someone who can reach the top shelf — because without them, I’ll never be able to get the cereal from the top of my fridge, and I need my morning Lucky Charms. (Which I still eat, thank you!) I also like a good height differential in a relationship, so that when we kiss, the other person has to work for it. Otherwise, you might take it for granted.
2. Who has good taste in clothing. This is especially true in same gender relationships. My last manfriend had choice taste in undergarments, which was great because I never have enough clean underwear. Did I keep a couple pairs for the road? You bet I did. They looked better on me, anyway.
3. Who enjoys doing laundry. RE: #2, I hate doing laundry with almost every fiber of my being, and I would love to find someone with a (non-fetish-y) passion for monotonously folding my clothing. What do I bring to the relationship, you might ask? A deep burning love for washing dishes, especially if you just throw on a little Rolling Stones in the background and make it sexy.
4. Who can eat just as much as I do. Could I date a picky eater, one of those people who goes to a restaurant and just orders a salad? I’m sure I could learn to love them anyway, but there’s nothing sexier to me than a night in where you order half of the Chinese takeout menu. Overeating is the quickest way to my heart.
5. Who likes the Gilmore Girls — which is close to a dealbreaker, I’m not gonna lie. It sounds silly on the surface, but I feel like anyone who doesn’t like Rory and Lorelai Gilmore (aka my soul twin) isn’t going to get me. I once dated a Gilmore hater, and I spent half of our relationship asking him what he has against fast-talking couch potatoes who watch too much television. Never again.
6. Who gets up earlier than I do, one of those “morning people.” The only thing I hate more than I hate laundry is mornings, which I think makes me a punchline from a Cathy cartoon. I will do anything it takes not to wake up, and one day, I want to invent a retractable bed that disappears into the floor after my alarm goes off. That way, I’ll have no choice. Because I’m not smart enough for that, I’ll just date a drill sergeant instead.
7. Who will always let me have the last bite of the pizza or the ice cream and is okay with me putting both of my hands in the popcorn. This person will also know that the kettle corn seasoning is the best kind and to always stay away from the jalapeno cheese. That shit is deadly.
8. Who is better at eating spicy things than I am, so that way when we go into an Indian restaurant, I won’t be kicked out for ordering a “zero.” (Once I asked for “negative spicy.” The waitress didn’t know what I was talking about.) I need someone to vouch for me, to show I can get down and can hang.
9. Who actually likes hamburger pickles, so when I forget to have them left off my burger (because I forget pickles are still allowed to exist), they won’t have to go to waste. I hate throwing out food, ever, and am one of those people that always offers to finish someone else’s meal at a restaurant if they’re planning on trashing it. But eating the leftover pickles? That’s too much to ask, Mother Gaia. I need a mate around to take one for the eco team.
10. Who is good at lying — for when my mother calls and I need to be “in the shower” or “mysteriously eaten by a mutant landshark.” My lies are less believable than Hugh Jackman’s marriage and John Travolta’s hair (WHAT IS THAT THING ON HIS HEAD?) and I need to outsource my fibbing. If not, I’m doomed to have the same three conversations with my mother every day, which are about a) the exploits of my increasingly fertile step-sister b) what major illness she’s contracted today or c) the dog. The dog licks its own butt; it’s not that interesting.
11. Who is saner than I am and doesn’t try to microwave all their laundry to save on dryer coins and remembers that time zones exist. (Fact: I always forget about them, always.)
12. Who is less forgetful than I am but is willing to let my ditziness slide. When I can’t find the pen I’ve been writing with ANYWHERE, they’ll pull it out from behind my ear with love.
13. Who knows unexplainable things like science and math and all of the subjects I never cared about enough to get good at during undergrad — because I was too busy sneaking Gore Vidal and F. Scott Fitzgerald into Pre-Calc. I think it’s sexy when someone can solve maxtrixes and quadratic equations and shit and knows what a limit is, so they can tell me whether it exists or not.
14. Who is humble enough to let me win sometimes — even when I’m SO wrong. Because I’m usually wrong about things (unless it’s Oscar trivia or weird box-office statistics) and sometimes, I just want to know something, dammit. I want someone who is willing to let me live in a happy bubble when necessary.
15. Who will never, ever try to make me watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo with them — because they know that TLC means no sex. TLC programming is the opposite of a panty dropper. It’s a chastity belt buckler.
16. Who does nerdy things like actually read all the Game of Thrones books or go see The Hobbit at midnight — even though it wasn’t supposed to be that good. Sure, it’s not as important as, say, building a home together, but it would be nice to date someone who says “frak” instead of “fuck,” thinks that Tina Fey is the sexiest woman alive and knows Buffy Summers is the greatest person who has ever lived. I want someone to sing-a-long to Dr. Horrible with.
17. Who can quote Mean Girls and Arrested Development in their sleep — but not actually in their sleep. Pop culture somnambulance sounds terrifying.
18. Who knows never to buy the Campbell’s Soup for a sick person, because they skimp on the good stuff. Always go with Chunky or Progresso. I want someone who knows how to take care of me and has the right priorities.
19. Who still makes mix CDs and mixtapes so we can share our music. Sure, we can always just swap iPods for the day and I can discover their excellent taste the easy way. Or you can see what someone else created for you and find out that either they knew your favorite Patti Smith song is “Kimberly” or that theirs is, too. Patti always gets me.
20. Who is way, way into cuddling and will let me wrap my arms around them like a gentle boa constrictor for hours on end, someone who is willing to just shut up for a while and be.
21. Who I can just be disgusting with — someone I can hang out in my pajamas and talk about pooping and farting and felching with, someone who is a total space cadet, just like me. I think more than anything I just want someone to be weird with.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”