1. No fear of feminism.
We have gotten over the point where it’s okay to think that feminism is for hairy lesbians, or the errant straight woman who has yet to pull that magical penis out of the stone that will teach her the error of her man-hating ways. Not every man has to actively identify as a feminist (actions speak louder than words, see: Hugo Schwyzer), but every man has to be aware that feminism is simply a belief in equality. Any exasperated eye-roll that accompanies a woman pointing something out when it’s sexist should be immediately met with a hair flip that gets all in his eyes and makes them all itchy and watery. And definitely not with a relationship.
2. No bigotry of any kind.
While we’re at it, it’s time we stop having sex with/loving the dudes who are letting slip all manner of racist joke or referring to everything that isn’t The Deadliest Catch as “gay.” It is high time that their Daniel Tosh-meets-4Chan sense of humor is met with a dry spell of Biblical, desert-journey proportions. Only once they have learned that they don’t have to put everything else down in order to prove themselves the Alpha Male shall their bottomless thirst be quenched.
3. Oral sex.
Giiiiiiiiiiirl, only a man who embraces the vag with one of those bibs they give you when you order lobster at a restaurant deserves to be blessed with your love. If you are showering his weenie with wet kisses at every turn and somehow have yet to receive even the most fleeting smooch upon your blessed cooter, it is time that you high-tail it out of that relationship, and into something where you might actually stumble across an orgasm occasionally.
4. Comfort with body hair.
There is a big difference between having a sit-down with your partner in which you debate the respective merits of manscaping, the landing strip, or hacking your way to the good bits with a machete, and decreeing from Mount Olympus that you believe women should not have any hair down there because it’s “gross.” We are letting way too many men run around saying this kind of nonsense, insisting that the only women worthy of receiving their Super Mario-level pipe are the ones who are follicle twins with Barbie. Soon, they’ll be demanding that the rest of it looks like Barbie, too, and we’ll be smooth, plastic humanoids who collect their nutrients through photosynthesis so as to never have to use the bathroom. We must put a stop to it before it gets too far.
5. No fear of femininity.
Any man who can’t sport a nice pink button down, or who turns his nose up at any film with a love story, or makes fun of “girly shit” with his friends for sport, does not need to be putting his genes out there. Do not help him in such an endeavor.
Everyone deserves romance. Everyone deserves to feel special, and cared for, and deeply appreciated. Everyone deserves to be surprised occasionally, to have someone who remembers what their favorite movie is or how they take their tea. Everyone deserves to be danced with, even in the comfort of their own kitchen. And so many women — myself included, for a long time — go without in relationships because we feel that butterflies or a little bit of magic is too much to ask for. But life is simply too short to give up on the dream of feeling like a Princess in your relationship, and there will be someone out there who also wants all of the wonderful things that come with romantic love.
7. Emotional maturity.
Our fathers had houses, and wives, and businesses, and respect for humanity in their mid-to-late 20s. There is no rule that says a relationship needs all of these things today, but the part about “having a sense of responsibility and treating others with dignity and compassion” should not magically evaporate. The manchild phenomenon is a real-ass thing, and if your dude is on Twitter getting into fights with other grown men, or saying nasty things about people, or getting into petty disputes, or treating you like you are disposable — cut that dead weight loose.
8. Taking the initiative.
No one is allergic to proposing a place to go for a spontaneous dinner date. That shit is not peanuts, or gluten. Don’t let anyone convince you that it is beyond their abilities.
9. Effusive, unconditional love.
If there is one thing we need to be more demanding on, even if we have been browbeaten into thinking that it’s too much to ask for, is that feeling of being truly loved. We don’t need to be playing Mr. Big-does-he-or-doesn’t-he-actually-care-about-me adolescent games. Confusion, anxiety, and degradation aren’t something that anyone should be putting themselves through just to hold onto someone because they have been taught that love has to be a constantly-moving target. Regardless of fights, regardless of ups and downs, there should always be the baseline knowledge that this person is fighting in your corner, and loves you for who you are. Because if you don’t have that, let’s be honest, you don’t have anything at all.