EA and MG and I have been swapping emails over the last couple weeks, discussing our usual topic - men.
The exchange started with a description - "he looks good on paper." That led to a multitude of emails detailing the traits we consider "non-negotiable."
I'm still happily on my man fast, but this is an intellectual exercise which never grows old.
A guy who:
1. has the dark, brooding good looks of Clive Owen
2. the talent and quirkiness of Johnny Depp
3. can correctly spell and punctuate his sentences
4. can hum or play Bach
EA's list of non-negotiables was much more reasonable. But nonetheless, we decided that the only men who actually possess all the desired traits are gay - which violates the only TRULY non-negotiable trait: heterosexuality.
So it's really a matter of prioritizing and compromising - because at some point, you have to accept that one's expectations might be unrealistically high.
That said, I had a conversation the other day with a guy that I have no interest in romantically or sexually, but it was a good conversation - he was smart, thoughtful, capable of engaging in a lively conversation on a wide variety of topics and showed insight into how others think, and demonstrated interest in my opinions. This isn't such a remarkable thing, well, at least it SHOULDN'T be so remarkable, but given that such conversations with straight men have proven to be quite rare, I found it a shockingly new experience and thought him more attractive for it. Is this an example of expectations being too low?
A friend of mine wanted to uncover the specific reasons behind my man fast:
Friend: "Is it that you are just too picky?"
Me: "Well, think of some of the guys I have been with. Clearly, I'm not picky at all."
Friend: "You've got a point there."
The man fast is in place because I can't really spare the energy right now to take a man seriously.
However, despite the fast, I still keep my hand in the dating scene because there is something that would trump the reasoning behind the fast, something that would even trump any and all of the "non-negotiables": the tingles.
And the tingles happen inexplicably, unpredictably - and might not be necessarily inspired by washboard abs or broad shoulders, although, of course, those attributes don't hurt.
I have great respect for the tingles. And I have rarely ignored that siren call. Even with my self-imposed man fast, I would break that fast in a blink of an eye, if I heard the call strongly enough.
But in the meantime, I flirt with boys, usually those far younger than I am, whom I do not have to take seriously. It's just play, with all the control in my hands, no demands for more than I want to give, no compromise necessary on my part.
I find it rather amusing that I started this post by discussing standards and expectations vis-a-vis men, and I have ended it by realizing that I have not only somehow become a man, I've become the asshole version of one.
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