Friday, November 14, 2008

Non-Negotiable

The last guy I sort-of dated was not kind. I don't mean that he was cruel, because he wasn't, at least not until the end, which is understandable, but, still, "kind" was still not a word that I would use to describe him. Distant, yes. Aloof, sure. Kind, no.

Here I am wandering the vast wasteland of dating, and you can wander here for a long, long time, and sometimes I wonder if maybe I should have just found a spot in the wasteland, and set up shelter, and settled in, and made myself at home. What am I looking for, after all? And would I recognize it if I found it? And have I already missed it? And am I too picky?

So, I decided to make a list of the non-negotiables, the things I need from a guy to have in order to set up my tent. Here it is:

1. Kindness.
2. Brains.
3. Happiness.

Oh, it's not a long list, but it's triple the length of the list I had at the beginning of this journey. I used to think I could be happy with a man who was as smart as I am. Isn't that shallow? All I wanted was a giant walking, talking brain. I wanted him to understand me when I said crap like: "This is the winter of my discontent," so that I wouldn't have to explain myself to him all the time, because funny is so much less funny when you have to use the glossary to get to the punchline.

Somewhere along the rocky path of dating, kindness slipped onto my list ahead of brains. The thing about dating really smart people is that sometimes they come with a little bit of scorn. Sometimes they are too busy intellectualizing to remember to be decent. Sometimes, they think that because they carry the enormous burden of having too much going on in their heads, they are excused from the task of remembering to be good to the people around them.

Finally, after stumbling one too many times over the paralyzing rock of depression, I also added happiness to the list. It's a tall order, being smart enough to know about all of the shit that happens in the world, being kind enough to care about it, and being stubborn enough to maintain a core of happiness anyway. I didn't realize that I wanted so much until I wrote it down. No wonder I wander.

4 comments:

Chris H. said...

That's a good list. Relationships demand some compromise, but when there's either too little or too much of it, you can't be truly happy. Easier said than done, no doubt!

Lisa said...

I think this is a very good list. Like you, it took me a long time to realize how important kindness is. Flexible in terms of so many things - looks, job, etc etc, but those three are a great core.

Peace Turkey said...

I came across your blog when reading comments on LemonGloria.

Your list parallels mine these days. And as someone who always thought, "Oh I need to be with an academic like myself!" who is currently with a complete non academic (but still smart) man, I can definitely agree with kindness being ahead of brains.

:-)
-PT

Alex said...

Lisa,
Yeah. I come up with new requirements all the time (e.g. no more crack addicts), but in the big picture, they usually whittle down to those three.

Peace Turkey,
Thanks for finding me and commenting. Some of the smartest people I know are completely non-academic.