Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Man For Me

What type of man do I really want?

That's the question I've been pondering since my most recent date last night. I seem to be of two minds on this question. On the one hand, I want a man who is not superficial, not materialistic, sensitive, socially aware, intelligent, a bit of an intellectual, and someone who appreciates books. I'd also like him to be progressive, liberal, and a bit artsy (by "artsy" I mean something other than a lawyer with no outside interests). Stereotypical traditional men need not apply.

Or, so I was thinking until last night.

My date was a 34-year old European-American with a background in theater and film. Good age, check. Interesting background, check. Cultured, check. Decent job, check. We had good conversation about law, America's obsession with designer handbags, travelling, music, the challenges of supporting oneself through public interest work, and the dark underbelly of non-profits. He's tall (6'4"), blond, and relatively good-looking (with the exception of one errant tooth - but the Europeans aren't as into braces as Americans so you kind of have to let that slide) . He also seemed considerate, like a good listener, and over all like a decent, interesting guy.

The problem?

No chemistry. Not a flicker.

Instead, while he was talking about fashion, I was musing to myself that he might be gay (which didn't make sense because no gay man in New York would have been caught dead in his multi-colored shirt). I decided he wasn't gay, and that he was just European and artsy, but then we started talking about sports.

He, like me, hates sports. Readers of this blog have heard me express my disdain of sports on numerous occasions. You've heard me talk about how my EXBF inflicted Michigan Football upon me against my will (and also chose it over me on many occasions), and you've heard me complain how wretched it is to come home to my apartment to find Sven glued to the TV watching one sports show after another, day after day. In light of this history, one would think that my date's dislike of sports would have been a plus in his favor, right?

Wrong. Instead - and I swear this is true - when he said he hated sports and never watched football, I viscerally became less attracted to him than I had been up to that point in the evening. What's wrong with me? His comments struck me as effeminate and slightly suspicious. Did I just call a guy effeminate? That is not the type of reaction an ardent feminist who vehemently believes in the abolishment of traditional gender roles should have. I say again, what's wrong with me??

It's true that as a general rule I'm not a fan of sports. But, I'll admit (just to you) that I've enjoyed, on occasion, curling up with a boy while he's watching sports, even if that sport was Michigan Football (there's a lot I'll do as long as I'm being continuously petted). I've enjoyed the back and forth that comes with having different interests and bargaining over what he'll do for me if I do something nice for him, like snuggle with him while he watches a game. I think boys are kind of cute when they get all riled up about a team, as long as they're not choosing sports over you or planning their activities around sports every minute of the day. I also really appreciate getting an occasional dose of this and this.

The idea of a man not liking sports at all strikes me as a little strange. Or not even strange, per se. It's actually worse than that. It strikes me as ... not sexy. Right, because beer guts and Superbowl parties are so sexy. Clearly, I have a lot of ambivalence about this and need to process.

But, getting back to my date. I definitely had a negative reaction in response to learning that he did not like sports. It was the last straw that made my body (or my gut?) say, "Oh, we can't like this type of man." This happened despite actually enjoying this male's company.

And that's the thing that's got me atwitter. If on the one hand I'm actively looking for men that are atypical men, but on the other hand turned off by qualities shared by those same men, we're going to have a problem. I'm going to be single for life!

In actuality, both my body and my mind know what they want. They want a man who is traditionally masculine on the outside but sensitive on the inside. That man does not have to like sports. But, he does have to know how to pet me...

...along with being socially aware, sensitive, a bit of an intellectual, progressive, cultured, considerate and emotionally available.

Is that so much to ask?


Gypsy said...

It's kind of a jolt to realize what you thought you wanted isn't attractive, eh? I always thought I liked 'em tall. I've only ever fallen in love with short men. Go figure.

I think that in order to find this elusive man who is masculine but sensitive, you might have to look really closely or wait a while for the sensitivity to show up. Sometimes it's covered by beer nuts and bluster.

Pas said...

No! Not too much to ask. They exist, they do! You'll find your red-blooded American hunk of a progressive reader. Few and far between, is the only problem. Patience...

InterstellarLass said...

I don't care if a guy likes or doesn't like a sport. I just don't want him to be OBSESSED with sports. I think we all want the big, strong protector, but we still want him to read us poetry under a tree in a park.

wordnerd said...

Think this really has to do with sports....or do you think it has to do with Chemistry and that certain "je ne sais quoi" general.

I'm sure you know that on paper...(and in person for that matter) a guy who has all the right attributes can still be wrong for you.

On the flip side...a guy who has NOTHING of what you were looking for...can still be a great match....who would have ever thought I'd marry the ONLY guy I've ever dated under 6 ft tall....?

I know that sounds ridiculous...but seriously....if you told me that I'd marry that obnoxious (kilt-wearing loud-mouthed, generally ANNOYING) class president that I met on the first day of law school....I'd have asked you where you got your drugs....

PS - He was also the first guy I ever went out with who didn't watch sports regularly....coincidence?

Miss S said...

Everyone else's comments have been right on. The only thing I can add is that this is why I love blogging, and reading other's blogs: you get to learn about yourself and learn about other things, but you also get to watch others learn about themselves.

yAs of right now, I have been dating the same guy for almost four years now and we've had a pretty steady relationship. He surprised me too: I was a bit like you, thinking I didn't want someone who sat on the couch watching football all day, etc. Well, he doesn't do that, but he is different. He is a wrestler (we met when I was on the wrestling team), but is extremely sophisticated, and most importantly, funny, giving, smart, and sensitive. Those guys actually exist. I'm amazed, but it's true.

Miss S

hb said...

They exist. Yes, guys who like sports are macho but oh so protective!! Love it....Maybe something reasonable would be a guy who loves sports with a sensitive communicative side who reads maybe 2 books a year! lol Can we really have everything?

I don't know anything about sports but last weekend, I spent all of Sunday night listening to the intricacies of Fantasy Football and ooh and aahing at his picks on IM with his boys and learning how to smack talk the other boys' picks. In between his picks, we would make out. I think that was a good night for him. I got my cuddles too. WIN-WIN!!!

Buttercup said...

Votes of confidence across the board! Nice. And better yet, and I just realized this, ALL of you are in relationships... and good ones too (although I know less about Miss S's and HB's). Are you all reading this blog to sympathize from a far with the plight of this single girl? Tell the truth my wise relationship gurus.

Wordnerd - OK, you're right. I can't picture myself with a guy who's obsessed with sports, and if there was chemistry I'm sure the last thing that would be on my mind was sports. You're right, it was jus that this guy and me had NO CHEMISTRY and then when he didn't have certain characteristics (stereotypically masculine) they served as confirmations of the lack of chemistry.

But, you're right. I haven't gone off the deep end. I want Chemistry, not sports. (But a little bit of sports would be fine, as long as he snuggles while he watches, or occasionally nuzzles my neck...).

HB said...

I read to sympathize and also enjoy your writing! My relationship is new, less than a month. I think when you are ready and open to it, you'll meet a good guy. A lot of fiddling around with expectations and knowing what you require and what you don't really need.