Knowing what we don’t want is good, but it isn’t enough. We also have to know what we do want in a relationship (friendship or otherwise), and that’s often more difficult. Georgia thought a list of criteria might help. Here is what she came up with:
1. The relationship must be somewhat equal (one person is not always choosing what to do on the date, for example). In my case, it meant suppressing my natural instinct to be gracious and actually suggesting events instead of always waiting to be asked. It’s important for a man to agree to do something he might not like just because he wants to please me. If I discover that he never will do anything I suggest, it’s bye-bye.
In the case of a dominant person, it means suppressing the natural instinct to take over (and not notice that the man doesn’t seem to make any suggestions—ever). Ideally, there should be some give and take (you might agree to watch a football game at a bar with him, and he might go antique shopping with you).
You’ll notice I said “somewhat” equal. I don’t believe there is any relationship that is truly equal. Plus, it isn’t possible or desirable for us to change our personalities completely. I think most women would feel comfortable with a strong man who is also considerate. We just want to stay away from serious dominators and submissives. There are various degrees of both, which is why we need to have rules that reflect an optimum level of inequality for us personally. That’s called compatibility.
2. The man must be on my level or above when it comes to things that are very important. For me, these are:
Intellect. This doesn’t necessarily mean the same level of education, but he has to keep up with me in a conversation, have a good sense of humor and not be intimidated by my intellect.
Finances. I have a check book, credit card and savings account and he should too, plus a job or stable income. Your expectations might be higher.
Sociability. He should feel comfortable dealing with people of all classes and races, not be boorish, bigoted or introverted, and have at least one nice suit, even if he doesn’t wear one to work.
Health. Realistically, at our age it would be rare to find someone who is in perfect health, but I don’t want to hook up with someone who is looking for a nurse. Don’t get me wrong — I know of people who met while having cancer treatment, but they were on the same level at that point, n’est pas?
Energy level. A marathon runner probably wouldn’t choose me, but if he did, he shouldn’t expect me to become one — ditto for an early riser or complete couch potato).
3. The man should have interests. (Please don’t confuse this with having “common” interests, which is something else entirely.) Basically, a man who doesn’t like to do anything is either deadly dull or some kind of chameleon man who is just waiting for some woman to mold him. Neither of these is very desirable.
4. I’d like for us to have the interests we are passionate about in common. I’ve never believed that two people have to like all the same things to be compatible. If you like each other and are considerate, you will try to learn about and enjoy some of the things you don’t have in common. It’s also an unrealistic expectation that will severely limit your choices. Think about it. Most of us singles have more than one friend. One reason for this is that we do different things with different friends: one likes to travel, one likes to go to jazz clubs, one likes to go to plays, one likes to shop, etc. If we're lucky, we find one friend who likes several of these things and will be up for new things occasionally (but if she/he really hates something, you ask a different person who might enjoy it — no recriminations, no need to be joined at the hip).
This latter type of friend is the kind of man I want to find. Now, let’s get to the “passionate” part. If you are passionate about traveling, it wouldn’t be wise to end up with someone who never likes to leave home. If you both are passionate about music, and you like classical and he likes jazz, that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem (heavy metal might be a different story). If he is passionate about sports and you can’t stand them, how much time are you willing to spend feigning interest: Go to one game a month, host a Super Bowl party or watch every game on every network and sports channel with him? And how important is it to him for you to share this interest? He might not care if he can watch his games every night in another room and attend games with his friends, but will there be any time left for a relationship with you that way? These are things we should think about in advance.