Saturday, April 20, 2013

Funny and Handsome

As a young woman, this was my list of qualifications for a perspective boyfriend. Funny and handsome. That was it. That was all I felt was necessary in a suitable companion. He just had to be funny and handsome.

Oh my how times have changed.

I suppose as young women we should be allowed to be so carefree and simple when it comes to matters of the heart. Eventually we learn. And learn. And then learn again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a sucker for the funny and handsome boy. But, now that I find myself as a forty something single mom back in the dating game, I recognize that funny and handsome will only go so far. My list has evolved thanks to personal experience and the sage wisdom of friends and family.

1. Funny is still important.

This is still a top priority. It's just the type of funny is different. For example, when you're young and dating a boy and he farts, you laugh, because farts are funny. When you're dating in your forties and the man farts it's funny because you know that he has no control over it. These things happen. And it's funny. I mean, you have to laugh about the side effects of aging, so that you don't cry. And, frankly, there's nothing more attractive than a man who can laugh at his own expense.

A boy in his twenties works hard at being funny. He seeks approval for his shenanigans and story telling. He will slap his buddy on the back and give him the universal "that was some funny shit, right?" hand signal. Whereas a well seasoned funny man is completely confident in his finely honed humor. Basically, he's funny, he knows it, but he doesn't flaunt it. He is pure sexiness. Stick a fork in me.

2. He must be age appropriate.

When we are young we date our age. Because, well, we can. The older we get, the more challenging that becomes. So, you have to set parameters; an age range if you will. And this requires a tad bit of "research".

I recently had a conversation with a friend of a friend who is a professional singleton. She has a thick Chicago accent, a permanent smile and invaluable wit and wisdom.

"So, you're having a fling with a young one, huh?"
"Yep. That I am."
"Good for you! You know, younger men are like puppies. They're cute, fun to play with and they're eager to please. But you gotta let someone else train them. Have your fun and move on."

Wise woman that one.

I had a near miss encounter with a man 14 years my senior. My brother in law allowed as how I didn't want to date someone that much older than me. When I asked why he pointed out that I'd end up being his care taker some day. This coming from a man 13 years older than my sister.

Live and learn. And then set your age range accordingly.

3. He needs a healthy bulge.

To quote a very dear friend, "The bulge in the back pocket is more important than the one in the front."

Uh huh. Okay. Yeah I see that. But, I have to say that experience has taught me that a healthy bulge in the front pocket is an equally charming quality in a man. If not a novelty. If you happen to come across this mystic being who has healthy bulges in both the front and back pockets, then marry him. NOW, sister!

I guess the point is that at this stage of the game, a little financial security goes a long way. So does a healthy front bulge, but, okay, fine, beggars can't be choosers.

4. His background has to be clean.

This is important. Ladies, lets face it, you just can't be too safe. There's this little thing called Google. Use it, preferably before you sleep with him. Again, we live and learn.

And, do as much local research as you can on him. I live in a very small town, and the dating pool is very, very small. Tiny, in fact. And, as a friend ever so gently put it, everyone has peed in it. You can find out a lot about a man just by knowing who your predecessors were. Though, another good friend very earnestly said to me, "I don't care who came first, but I do have to ask why they left." Another point well taken.

5. Handsome still helps.

Though as my dear mother, and most all dear mothers, pointed out, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, when we're young that's pretty much all we see, the beauty before us. The poor schlepp underdog boy struggles to let you know how awesome he is. He has a graduate degree from MIT, his mother raised him to treat women with respect and to have good manners, he can carry on a conversation without once having to say "uuuhh, I dunno" and someday his front bulge will likely be substantial. But, we just can't seem to take our eyes off the dim witted chiseled Neanderthal who keeps saying "uuuhh, I dunno" to us. Again, we do eventually learn.

Pretty really is as pretty does. As we get older we do figure out that sometimes it just takes a little time to get to know a guy before you can ascertain whether or not you find him attractive. We still have qualities we are drawn to. I still am mesmerized by a set of beautiful eyes. And I turn full idiot in the presence of tall, dark and handsome. But, if a short, gray haired, relatively attractive man with brown eyes came along and was funny, nice and polite and took me out for a steak dinner I'm certain I'd find him attractive.

It's still okay to be a bit particular in the advanced dating game, however. My friend with the bulge requirement also deems teeth necessary. Real or not, they just have to have a set of teeth.

6. He's got to move slowly.

Lesson nĂºmero uno in dating post divorce: do not move in on your first relationship after your divorce like a rat on a Cheeto. This is your rebound relationship. It is your gateway drug. You still have a significant amount of baggage to unpack. Do not let him convince you that he's the one. Maybe he is, but not yet. Take your time. My very good friend told me as much. "You make sure you like him. I'm sure you love him. But he may never leave, and then you're stuck with someone you don't like that much."

To be completely honest with you, I hate dating at this stage of the game. I really, really hate it. I avoid it at all possible costs. But, I greatly appreciate the valuable lessons and advice I have gotten. It makes it a little more tolerable. And humorous. Funny really is the way to go!

I owe a special thanks to a lot of people for this one: Sue Brosmith, Linda Standley, Stephanie Griffitts, Kim Mitchell, Mike Molyneaux, Joe Racey, Kelly Miles, Diane Turilli, my beautiful mom and of course my single sisters in crime, Gigi Patterson and Christine Grojean, because we are living it. Like it or not.

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