The List

Speaking of the 90s (which I was, in last week’s post) one of my favorite movies was (and is) Singles, the story of a group of twenty-somethings searching for love in Seattle. Singles was released in 1992. I was 13 years old, and very impressionable. I remember watching it and thinking that this is what adult relationships were like: tumultuous, confused, with grand romantic gestures from men that look like Matt Dillon.

In the movie, Steve (Campbell Scott) asks his completely platonic friend Janet (Bridget Fonda) what she wants from a guy. Her answer: “When I first moved out here […] I wanted a guy with looks, security, caring, someone with their own place, someone who said bless you or gasundteit when I sneezed, and someone who liked the same things as me – but not exactly, and someone who loves me.” She then says that she has since scaled it down a little to, “someone who says gasundheit when I sneeze.” 

When I was in my late teens I (not unlike Bridget Fonda) made a list of qualities I wanted in a guy. He had to be nice, loyal, supportive, he had to want to travel the world, he had to be funny (but not too funny because I don’t like competition), he had to be good looking (but not too good looking because that can be annoying to look at), he had to be able to beat me at Trivial Pursuit (a game of general knowledge and popular culture trivia), and he definitely had to say “bless you” when I sneezed.

I also thought that I wanted a tumultuous, confused adult relationship full of grand romantic gestures from a man that looks like Matt Dillon (with a soundtrack by Pearl Jam and Soundgarden playing in the background).

When I started dating (or, more specifically… French-kissing boys 18 years + on beaches, in cars, on picnic tables, in bars, and on church lawns) I always referred back to my list. If they did not possess certain qualities on the list, they would not make it to the next round (Quarterfinals).

Around the age of 25, I started to lose hope. I would make out with a guy and then find out he did not want to travel the world, or he had never played Trivial Pursuit, or he’d make a pun (pun = dealbreaker). I was starting to think I might have to scale my list down a little.

But then… I met the Lloydster.

I had just been dumped by a boy (masquerading as a man) and I was out for drinks with friends, telling them how much I hated men and how they are all a bunch of jerks, and how I was going to spend the next few months “finding myself” (which sounds dirty… but really just means thinking about your life, and what you want, and maybe traveling to a foreign country). My friend Sophie said, “Oh, that’s too bad, because there is this friend of ours I wanted to introduce you to.”

I think it must have been the cocktails, but somehow I agreed to an email exchange with this “friend of theirs”. Within a few days, we had our banter on, and we set up a real date (with food and drink, not just tongues).

So I went to a movie with this “friend of theirs” and then we went to a pub and had a few drinks. We talked, we laughed, we agreed to a second date.

In the weeks and months that followed I determined that he was funny (but not too funny), and he was good looking (his facial features were in proportion). I learned that he was indeed nice, and loyal and supportive. He wanted to travel the world, he could beat me at Trivial Pursuit (Canadian edition) and he said “bless you” when I sneezed. He was everything on my list, and a little bit more.

I also realized that I didn’t really want a tumultuous, confused adult relationship with a man that looked a lot like Matt Dillon. I just wanted to be with a guy that cared about me, and us.

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