Women who run with the responsible, appropriately aged and relatively mentally stable wolves...
Anytime I would hear it roll out of my mom's mouth, it would make me cringe, "well that's the problem, Christine, you shouldn't be dealing with boys, you should be dealing with men." The scenario would usually be me talking about this guy or that guy and how it was frustrating or confusing to deal with them on whatever bullshit level. The thing is, I now see her point is solid advice and a standard I won't budge on in my search forward to find my partner. OK, I will say it, at least as to this matter, mom, you were right.
The dating world is a million miles from what my mom experienced in the late 60s and, in some ways, that makes me kind of sad. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely thankful for the freedom and choices I have as a modern woman. I probably would have been stoned to death in another time. I am happy I have had opportunity to mold myself into a whole person with a respectable career. I know who I am and I can handle my life and will always be able to support myself emotionally and financially. I believe every woman should make this a priority for herself. It gives you greater choices.
While I love being an independent, fully realized woman with a well-rounded scope of skills any guy would be proud to have in his own knowledge bank, I also see I wouldn't mind an old fashioned mode of being romantically wooed. I will never be a damsel in distress who needs to be saved, but I do desire spaces in a relationship where I can be the lady and he can be the man. I want to be pursued. I want effort made and to feel valued, instead of this lax, passive world of "chill" people. To me, the word chill just means she is compliant and doesn't have any standards I need to uphold. I hate it. I want exclusivity and commitment. I wouldnt mind the ring, but I'm not so sure about the marriage part. And it isn't only about what the guy can give me, as I bring a ton to the table to offer in kind. I know the feminists out there are rolling their eyes, puking in the bushes and burning their bras, but this is my experience. I run my entire show when it comes to work and running my own household and have for years, so leave me alone. I have a right to be a badass and also desire to be treated like a lady. The problem is, does this even exist anymore? Can an independent, yet romantic lady dinosaur exist in a modern world? I see it as the best of all worlds for my future partner, but I am starting to wonder if any male counterparts feel as I do.
The funny thing is, while my mom is dealing out advice to me, I have to remind myself of my parents' love story. While I get her advice that dealing with men should be easier than it seems in this day and age, her own story wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. My mom's dating experience was limited, as my dad popped into the picture when she was in high school and by the time my mom was 17, she was walking down the halls of her high school with an engagement ring on her finger. This idea blows loose brain matter around inside my skull. Clearly, I was not meant for that quick of a timeline to find my partner and thank god!
My mom first met my dad because he dated someone she knew. She states that when she first met him she did not care for him at all. He was 3 years her senior and had already graduated. Somehow, the story evolves from that initial dislike to his asking her on a date. This date begins with my dad picking her up at her house wearing sunglasses to hide a fresh black eye from a recent fight in which he had been involved. You see any red flags here?! As it turns out, fighting was a regular past time of my dad's at that time and my grandmother kept a jar of money on top of her fridge to bail my father out of jail from time to time. All that went to the wayside when he got married and started raising a family. As to the fighting, in his words, he never started any fights, he would just finish them. Classic LeRoy.
My father had a reputation around town. After meeting him, my mom went to a dance at her school. She said she just sat there and sat there and no one would ask her to dance. You can see from her high school year book picture attached to this story that she was a looker. She didn't understand why no guys would dance with her and it made her sad. Then a guy finally approaches her to dance. Shortly into the song, his friend taps him on the shoulder and advises, "that's LeRoy's girl," and the guy quickly stops dancing with my mom and leaves. Of course, this pissed my mom off to no end because she says she wasn't serious with my dad nor his property beyond that.
Even in light of the school dance issue, my parents continued to go out and one day a girl came up to my mom and told her she really liked that guy with the beard - she was referring to my dad. My mom just said whatever and took note. That same girl had also called my mom's house one night while she was out with my dad. The girl asked for my mom and my grandmother advised she was out, then the girl asked if she was out with LeRoy (my dad). Around this time, my mother's friends told her my dad had picked the other girl up from their school one day. My mom mentioned this information to my dad. I asked her what he said when she confronted him and she said he was silent. We all know what silence means, ole LeRoy was caught in his own game.
As my mom tells it, she says she was just as happy playing cards at home with her family and not dealing with his bullshit so she went on living her life. As seems to be the scenario when all men grow tired of the game and have found that special lady they don't want to lose, my mom's indifference to my dad and his bullshit was the thing that pushed it to the next level. She showed she could live without him, which made him feel he couldn't live without her. Age old story.
Considering my parents story, I do laugh a bit when my mom tells me how it should be easier for me than what it seems to be. On some levels I can see it - the levels of never dealing with foolish and juvenile bullshit. She is right about that. Don't tolerate it. But as to this story it just falls in your lap with little or no effort, I don't believe that is ever the case. How many red flags were there for my mom when it came to my dad and they have been married 50 years at this point.
As my friend, Kristine, reminds me, "no great love story is easy." I do believe each relationship will have it's own unique set of obstacles and issues. The crucial thing is having two adults on each side who value each other enough to stick together and deal with things head on and grow beyond the hurdles. I am still seeking a fun, youthful, dynamic, adventurous partner like when I first started this dating journey, but now I see there are more descriptors that follow. Monogamous, committed, adult, emotionally intelligent, mentally stable, solvent (as to their own monetary obligations), devoted, dependable... and the list goes on. Essentially, I want someone who has done and continues to do the work because I have and continue to do the same. Settling is for suckers.