Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Setting My Minimum Dating Requirements
A Guy's Gotta Have...?

I've been in the very odd position of writing erotic love scenes while being sworn off men.  (Not that I haven't had offers, but... I've been decompressing.)

I have female friends who are on the dating scene, while I cheer and spectate from the sidelines.  Problem: While there may be plenty of fish in the sea, it seems like too many of them, at least in the ponds my friends are fishing, are those toxic-chemical-deformed fish that seem to be swimming sideways.

In all fairness, I understand many of the women in DatingLand make Alex (Glenn Close) from Fatal Attraction look like Girlfriend of the Year.  But I'm not looking to date a hot-but-crazy lady, however thrilling I've heard it can be.

I've heard so many dating horror stories, that I feel skittish about getting back into it in a few months.  Because online (and even in person), people are not always the way they represent themselves.

Am I too picky?  Another accusation that floats around, that "women are so picky."  As I re-enter DatingLand, am I looking for a Brad Paisley, while I could be perfectly happy with a tubby little tuba player?  (Not that I would kick BP out of bed for playing country music.)

Here's what's on my list of Minimum Dating Requirements, so far:

Liars Need Not Apply.  Everybody bends the truth a little, maybe wants to believe that with the right partner, they could be thinner/wealthier/healthier/smarter/better-looking.  But what I get from my girlfriends (and some of my own past experiences) is that the truth isn't simply being stretched a little, it's getting murdered, stuffed in a trunk and left in a ditch.  Lies will be found out - so why waste the time?

Actually Single.  Not somebody who just broke up with his ex, like, last week, and thinks they're probably not going to get back together.  Not "I've been separated for XX many years, but we haven't filed for divorce yet because of the insurance," nor "Yeah, she used to be my girlfriend and we're still sharing a house but we're more roommates than anything else," nor "I've been seeing this woman and she thinks she's my girlfriend, and she wants me to move in with her and I don't want to but I'm trying to let her down easy because she seems to be mentally unstable."  Oh, yeah, like I want a piece of that situation.

Actually.  Single.  Why do I hear this eliminates 70% of the men doing online dating?

Kids - been there, done that, got the team baseball jerseys.  While I would not totally rule out dating a (single!) man with young children, I am not seeking to raise more kids.   As far as starting one from scratch - oh, hells no!  Look elsewhere for your baby mama.

Not Currently Incarcerated, or on Parole.  I'm even willing to consider somebody who's done time in the Gray Bar Hotel, provided: 1) It was not for a violent crime against another human being such as rape, murder, or assault, and 2) See Liars, above.  I don't want to hear that he spent time in jail for protesting the Iraq War, for example, if it turns out that his form of "protest" was going into a mini-mart with a gun to rip off some terrified Middle Eastern night clerk.

Not Currently Bat-shit Crazy.  I have the deepest respect and admiration for the courageous souls who battle mental illness, from Schizophrenia to BiPolar Disorder to PTSD to clinical depression.  That said, I've been there, done that, got the NAMI T-shirt.  Unless a man is actively combating whatever his diagnosed mental disorder might be, with every possible tool at his disposal, including ongoing therapy, exercise, and medication if recommended - not gonna go there.  And no BS about how "I used to have XX, but I don't need treatment for it anymore."  

Actually Has a Decent Job and/or is Financially Comfortable  I know there's a recession, but come on.  Decent Job = not someone who cleans the restrooms at McDonald's or Walmart with pipe dreams of getting promoted to cashier, someday.  Financially Comfortable =  A nest egg of one's own, from savings and investments and royalties, not "My mom lets me use her credit card and live in her basement" or "when I finish designing this video game/write this script it's gonna make me a zillion bucks" fantasies.

I considered the "Would I date somebody who is laid off?" scenario, what with there being a recession and all.  I've decided, not.  If a man (or woman) is laid off, I think 100% of their energy should be invested in getting a new job.  If he has his own business and it's slow, he should be focused on building it up.  Not trolling DatingLand and looking to start a new romantic relationship.

Speaking of pipe dreams - No alkies, no potheads, no coke fiends, no prescription junkies.  I'm not willing to take the #2 slot, after the next drink/hit/score.

About the Money, Honey - I want a reasonable attitude about money.  I don't want to see a $20 tip left for two coffees, nor do I want to date a man who agonizes over each quarter as if he's sacrificing a piece of his very soul.  Cheaters - people who glory in cheating on their taxes, racing out of a store when a clerk mistakenly undercharges them, or who bail on their child support obligations by getting paid under the table - you people are a$$holes.  There's a huge difference between between being frugal and responsible, and being a thief.

Reasonable Age.  I'd prefer a man around my own age, but realize most of them are currently chasing 20-somethings.  No more than 15 years older than me, or more than 15 years younger (unless he's really hot).  "Baby" should be a term of endearment, not a biological possibility.

Height:  I am tall (5'9") for a woman.  While I prefer men my height or taller, I don't mind dating a man who's a little shorter than me. (Provided he doesn't have a 'tude about it.  Sadly, many guys do.)  But if a guy has proclaimed on his dating profile he is my height or taller, I'm in flats, and I have to look down to meet his eyes - trust me, I'm gonna notice.  (See Liars.)

Shape: Some of the best lovers I've ever had were on the pudgy side, and I'm no slender reed, myself.  I've also met some incredible men with serious health issues or who were differently-abled.  I wouldn't rule out dating such a person.  However - no lies.  If a man can't walk across a room because of MS or a gimpy knee, I don't want to hear that he loves to hike. Really?  In his imagination?  Because I picture hikes taking place... outside.  

Health: I see my doctors regularly for a lube & oil change and screening for STD's.  Even the nicest, cleanest people can pick up an STD, but if a guy isn't willing to get himself tested, condoms or no condoms, the risk isn't worth it to me.

Politics.  We need to be at least in the same book, if not on the same page.  If a man truly thinks Sarah Palin was the best qualified person to be POTUS, and he's disappointed she's not running because he wanted to vote for her; he's violating my standards for either Intelligence or Not Currently Bat-Shit Crazy.  Or both.

Religion - If a man is sure he knows what The Truth is, and is eager and ready to convert the world - never mind.  Bill Maher or Billy Graham, same difference; I need an open mind.  Somebody who considers himself on a spiritual path, open to learning and growing.

Add to  list: breath better than ammonia
Literate & Intelligent.  A writer would be a plus, a good writer would be huge, but at the very least, somebody who knows the difference between you're and your, there their and they're.  Somebody who actually reads books.  Someone who just doesn't think he's intelligent (and endlessly pontificates to demonstrate it), but actually is.  

Sense of Humor -  Men who Take Themselves and the World Too Seriously, bore me.   Like they say, if you can't laugh at yourself, you leave the job to others.  Playfulness, joy, fun...

Chemistry, aka, sexual attraction.  Yes, this is important to me, too.  If I'm not going to get me some good kissin' (and what may follow it), what's the point of dating?  Believe it or not, there are men out there who treat sex like going to the bathroom: do it when you must, clean yourself thoroughly afterwards, and get on with your day as quickly as possible.  Not appealing to me.

What else am I missing?  Am I truly setting the bar unreasonably high?  Or, too low?

What kind of dating horror stories have you heard (or experienced)?
Any recommendations for services or places to meet nice guys who might fit my "picky" standards?