A Response to Jezebel Readers
By Lauren Iannotti
Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Jupiter Images
Well, when I first moved out here from Tucson I wanted a guy with looks,
security, caring. Someone with their own place. Someone who said Bless
you or Gesundheit when I sneezed. Someone who liked the same things
as me, but not exactly. And someone who loves me.
Janet Livermore (Bridget Fonda) in Singles
After Marie Claire ran a Q&A with Lori Gottlieb, polemicizing author of the new book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, Jezebel did a rehash that inspired a lively debate among hundreds of commenters about whether women actually have checklists of the qualities theyre looking for in a man. Far be it from me (the writer of the original Q&A) to bow out of some good banter, so heres what I think, having read the book, spoken to Lori for an hour, read the comments on the Jezebel story, and taken an informal office poll at Marie Claire.
Do women carry unattainable lists that prevent them from finding a real human person to love? Or, as a male friend of mine likes to say, Is there anything you women dont have a checklist for?
Um, yes. Love.
Because its not really a list. Its a series of scars, reminders of past romances from which wed escaped by the skin of our teeth. Janets quote in Singles nails it. (Remember when Cameron Crowe was an oracle?) She doesnt specify a salary range. She doesnt say he has to look precisely like a taller, younger Elvis Costello. He doesnt even have to own his own place rentings fine. Shes vague, open, because shes simply learning from her own past misadventures, as we all do. Any inkling of a familiar flaw in the guy across the table, we pay our half and scram.
So, yes, the longer we go without settling down, the longer our so-called list, as Gottlieb argues. But I dont agree that it means were less likely to find love. Maybe Im a fool (not to mention a 35-year-old divorcée), but I think its a crapshoot at any age. Its undoubtedly a compromise. And it should be, unless youre looking for a Stepford husband, who meets your every requirement. (Yawn.)
Gottlieb does make a good point about our misplaced pickiness. Plenty of us go for the qualities that make a guy perfect for a spontaneous, sex-filled long weekend at Bonnaroo, when what most of us really want is someone wholl help with the recycling, pay half the rent, stab our ass with a hormone-filled syringe, be a bath-to-bedtime hero, and, eventually, remind us to take our dentures out. (For those of you out there not looking to have a family, good for you. But youre outnumbered.)
But no matter what your list looks like, shorter is better. Even Singles Janet Livermore, after a few years of dating in Seattle, narrowed hers to just one quality: Someone who says Gesundheit. Although I prefer Bless you. It's nicer.