This is my lengthy list of demands.  Don’t worry, this isn’t part of my online dating profile — this is just for me to refer to privately, because it’s good to have some standards. If you don’t already have a list like this, then you probably should make one, because it’s hard to approach dating without a clear idea of who you’re looking for.  (WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A LIST YET?)

I can’t pretend to speak for all women, because all men and women are separate individuals with different needs.  This is my own list, and it’s the result of a great deal of thought and soul-searching.

A note — I’m not ranking these points in order of importance.  They’re all important.  The biggest and most important point, “He Must Be a Good Human Being” is going last because it’s also the lengthiest point.  That one is sort of a huge philosophical question — how do you define human goodness? I’ve tried to tackle that in this post, so read on!

  1. He must be physically attractive.

    Yeah, I really said it – No, it isn’t shallow, because this is a person I intend to have sex with.  If I feel no desire to see him naked, then it’s all a no-go.  Luckily, I’m not too picky in this regard.  If he’s suitably masculine, healthy, and under the age of 40, then I’ll probably find him suitably attractive.  I see sexually attractive men everywhere I look. The overwhelming majority of men in their thirties (even, occasionally, men in their very early forties) are sexually attractive to me.  I’m looking for “Mr. Average Typical Male.”  I am not looking for “Brad Pitt.”

  2. He must like me, and value me, and truly be attracted to me.

    This is massively important.  Yeah, I’ve definitely dated men who’ve settled for me because they felt like they weren’t worthy of the kind of woman they *really* wanted.  It hurts to be the person someone had to “settle for.”   Because I’m obese, I told myself “It’s okay if he doesn’t really want me,” but now I realize how entirely destructive it was to date guys like that (I hid out like a hermit for years because of it).  If a guy doesn’t truly think I’m the absolute woman of his dreams, then I need to let him go so he can find greener pastures elsewhere.  If he fundamentally doesn’t like me and value me and respect me, then the love relationship doesn’t exist.  If he’s unattracted to me, then the love relationship also doesn’t exist.

  3. He must be reasonably intelligent.

    Notice how I didn’t say “he must be well-educated.”  He doesn’t need to have a formal education, but he really needs to be able to function at a certain level.  Most of my keenest interests and favorite conversations topics are things that Smart People are interested in.  I’ve been one of the Smart Kids all my life, and it’s an important part of my identity.  I want people to recognize that, appreciate me for it, and not be intimidated or resentful over it.  My fear is that a less-intelligent man would either say “Oh, you’re always trying to challenge me and compete with me!”every time I try to hold an interesting conversation with him, or else he wouldn’t get me at all.  I want to be able to talk about astronomy and physics and philosophy and religion and music and art history and all the things I care about with a partner.

    • I want a man who values education and knowledge.
    • I want a man who’s curious about the world he lives in, who wants to learn and grow.
    • I want a man with a basic understanding of things everyone should know. I find it intensely difficult to respect people who lack basic knowledge, because I always kind of wonder “What’s wrong with them that they weren’t able to learn the things that everyone else learned in high school?”
    • I want a man who values reason and logic.
    • I want a man who’s open to new ideas.
    • I want a man with solid mastery of basic thinking skills.
    • I want a man who knows how to form a well-constructed, logically-sound idea.
    • I want a man who’ll give me new, interesting ideas to think about.
    • I want us to never run out of interesting new things to talk about.

    Brains turn me on!  Luckily, most of the men I meet in my daily wanderings are smart enough.  I’m not looking for that PhD Candidate with a Mensa membership (the biggest moron I know is a member of Mensa).  I’m just looking for Reasonable Intelligence.  I wouldn’t be comfortable in a relationship where I’m my partner’s  intellectual superior by many leaps and bounds.   Luckily, intelligence is really easy to suss on a first date.

  4. The “hangability factor” has to be there.

    If I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, then I wouldn’t choose him as a boyfriend either.  Do I feel good and happy when I’m with him? Do I have a good time when we’re together?  If not, then it’s a no-go.  I can’t quite explain what makes a man “hangable.”  It’s an indescribable thing, but I certainly know it when I see it.  The purpose of a first date is to gauge this elusive “hangability factor” where I determine how much I enjoy hanging out with him.  It’s not a dealbreaker, but ideally we’d have many common interests and we’d enjoy doing many of the same things.  I KNOW that I will never find someone who shares *all of my interests*, but a few commonalities are an important foundation for any friendship.  I want him  to be my #1 best friend.

    • Is not freaked out by my sense of humor.  The sense of humor thing is kind of important. If you don’t like my sense of humor, then you’ll probably find me an appalling and tiresome person to spend time with.   Also, if I find your sense of humor obnoxious or crude, then I’ll probably get pretty annoyed pretty quickly.  This is true with female, platonic friends, too!  I’ve had men “try to make me laugh,” and I don’t think this approach works. A compatible sense of humor is either there, or it’s not, and “trying to be funny” kind of defeats the entire point.  As with hangability, a compatible sense of humor is hard to define, but you definitely know it when you see it.
  5. He must share my worldview. 

    “Worldview” encompasses many topics, but religion in particular is really important, particularly because I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with dating missionaries in the past.  This is a huge, huge, huge compatibility issue because I’m staunchly agnostic.  I’ve spent years thinking very deeply about why I am agnostic (as far as the Judeo-Christian God is concerned, I am an atheist.)  I have rejected Christianity only after considering every aspect very deeply. It’s really insulting when people assume that I’m not a Christian because I’m ignorant, because they’re completely disregarding the immense thought and effort I’ve put into sorting out my belief system.  It’s cool if you want to be Christian, as long as you’re willing to accept the reality that Christianity is not the One True Religion.  Shared worldview is tremendously important.

  6. He must be around my own age

    Not more than 5 years younger or 10 years older, at the very maximum.  I really want someone who’s at a similar stage in life – which is someone who’s old enough to have learned from his youthful indiscretions, mature enough to carry on like a responsible adult,  mature enough to be ready to settle down and start a family, but still young enough to have his entire life still ahead of him.   I’m not looking for a dad-replacement, because I have a very good father already, and I’m very happy with him.  What I’m looking for in a boyfriend is a peer, a guy my own age.  Also, I am simply not sexually attracted to men who are much over 40. I might go for an extremely, extremely youthful 41, but I couldn’t see myself going for anyone much older than that.  Additionally, I want him to have many fond memories of his Eighties Childhood.  I love Eighties kids’ stuff – I want him to remember the Eighties in the same way I remember the Eighties!  I want him to nod his head in recognition when I talk about things like Thundercats, and Masters of the Universe, and The Real Ghostbusters.

  7. He must have similar goals and want the same kind of future that I want. 

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a lifelong bachelor with a harem of females!  Cool if it works for him, but if he doesn’t see marriage and kids and a house with a white picket fence in his future, then that’s going to be a compatibility problem.  I wouldn’t ever expect a man to abandon and sacrifice his most sacred lifelong dreams just for my sake.  But, at the same time, I shouldn’t have to abandon my most sacred lifelong dream for a man, either.  Compatible partners share the same sacred dream, and they come together to support each other in the realization of that dream.  So, yeah, he must want kids and marriage.  We have to both be on the same track, heading in the same direction, and wanting the same things out of life.

  8. He must not have debilitating psychiatric problems.

    Having a terrible psychological disorder such as bipolar disease doesn’t make someone a bad person who is unworthy of love, but I don’t have the resources to cope with an issue like thatSound mental-health is an absolutely non-negotiable must-have.

    • He must also not have any debilitating addictions such as drug addictions, alcohol addictions, or gambling addictions.
  9. He must be a good human being.  A good person.  A good man. 

    Notice that I didn’t say “I want a nice guy”  – although, yes, good men ARE nice.  In my experience, the men who classify themselves as “nice guys” are, all too often, not “good men.”   I will explain exactly what I think being “a good man” entails.  This is a standard that I hold myself to, this is the type of person that I aim to be every day of my life.  I wouldn’t want to date a man who didn’t also hold himself to the same standard I hold myself to.  Although I’m placing it last, this is actually the single most important quality that I look for in a man.

    • Good men are guided by a sound moral compass. They have a strong sense of ethics, and their behavior and choices abide to the moral code they’ve set down to themselves. It’s very important that we agree on matters of what’s right, and what’s wrong. If a man and I have entirely different ideas about what morality is, then that’s a massive compatibility problem.
    • Good men have integrity.  Their actions match their words. They’re honest, and they’re trustworthy.  They can be counted on to keep their promises.
    • Good men have respect for other people.  They have a healthy regard for the personhood of other human beings, and this encompasses so many things.
      • They truly realize that all people are sentient creatures with minds and hearts and souls of their own.  And they treat other people accordingly.
      • They aren’t just polite and respectful to women they hope to have sex with.  They’re polite and respectful to everyone they meet.  They know that everyone they meet is inherently valuable and deserves to be treated with  love and respect.
      • Good men do not sexually objectify women because they know that women are human beings.
      • Good men like and respect women.  They don’t hate another human being because they have different genitalia.
      • Good men really try to avoid stereotyping any group of people.
      • Good men don’t hang on to resentment.
      • Good men are interested in other people — they aren’t endlessly fascinated with themselves only!
      • Good men are compassionate – able to step into someone else’s shoes, and feel what that person is feeling.
      • Good men know that live doesn’t revolve around themselves and their own feelings.
      • They don’t always put themselves first – a good man is able to put the interests of others ahead of his own sometimes.  Self-absorption is an unappealing trait that shows an utter lack of regard for others.
      • Good men are kind to other people — they aren’t kind only to the women they wish to have sex with; they’re kind to everyone  because they generally believe that human beings are worthy of their kindness.
      • Good men are not mean to other people.
      • Good men do not use others for selfish ends.
      • Good men trust others and give other people the benefit of the doubt.
      • Good men always strive to see the good in others.
      • Good men know that the weak and the powerless are especially deserving of our kindness and compassion.  Good men don’t take pleasure in the misfortunes of others.
      • A good man never picks on someone who’s weaker than he is.
      • Good men are never cruel or intentionally hurtful.  And when they unintentionally hurt someone, they feel awful about it.
      • They respect the agency and personhood of other people and therefore don’t attempt to forcibly impose their will and values on others.  They are also not overly judgemental when other people’s values and choices differ from their own.  When other people think differently than they do, they’re okay with that.
    • Good men take responsibility for themselves. Good men understand that they, and they alone, are in charge of their own lives.  Good men understand that their circumstances are largely a result of their own choices.  This is also where the “having a good job” aspect comes into play.
      • Good men don’t think of themselves as helpless, powerless victims. They know that, ultimately, each person is in control of their own destiny.
      • When something goes wrong in a good man’s life, he doesn’t try to blame everyone but himself for his circumstances. He instead takes a long and honest look at himself to identify his own flaws and shortcomings which are causing his troubles, and then he starts doing things differently.
      • There are few male traits more off-putting than anger; it’s a very unattractive trait. Good men know how to deal with their anger in constructive ways; they don’t allow it to fester. Anger is kind of a symptom of a victimhood mentality. Let anger spur to you action, but don’t let anger be an excuse to wallow in inaction and self-pity.
      • A good man is able to manage his own life in a responsible, grownup manner. For example, he’s able to manage his finances like a responsible grownup. He’s able to manage conflicts with others like a responsible grownup. He’s able to manage his diet like a responsible grownup. Etc, etc.
      • Hey, the economy is in the tank right now! I’ve been laid off twice since this awful recession began, so I definitely can’t hold it against a guy for being unemployed or having a shitty job. HOWEVER, a good man knows that the current economic hellhole we’re in isn’t an excuse to sit on the couch and allow his life to waste away as he feels so sorry for himself. A good man responds to economic misfortune and career setbacks like a responsible adult —  by devoting every moment of every day to finding another job. I was laid off twice, and I managed to find new employment quite quickly both times, and  I have continued to remain suitably employed throughout the recession.  Therefore, I have very little sympathy for people who use “The Recession!” as an excuse to avoid putting forth a massive effort to obtain suitable employment.  Good men take responsibility for themselves, and they do what they need to do in order to live the kind of life they want.
      • A good man understands that he needs to put forth considerable effort in order to lead a good life. He accepts this without anger and resentment.
      • A good man doesn’t expect  to have anything that he didn’t work for.
      • A good man sometimes sucks it up and does things that are less-than-totally-enjoyable in the short term to make his life better in the long term.  For example, when I was unemployed, it was a lot more fun to sit at home watching TV and collecting unemployment.  Hunting for a job was definitely not fun, but I forced myself to go out and do it, because that’s what grownups do.
      • A good man knows how to delay gratification – and that’s not code language for  “holds out patiently for sex.”  No, I mean, good men can delay gratification in all areas of life. Good men don’t run out and buy big-screen TVs if they don’t already have the money for that. Good men don’t rely on credit to live beyond their means.  Good men know that they can reap life’s rewards only after they’ve put forth the hard work and effort to get the good things in life.  The ability to delay gratification is a huge part of being a responsible grownup.
      • A good man knows how to regulate and control his emotions.  He’s able to deal with feelings like anger, frustration and disappointment in a constructive and mature fashion.
      • A good man takes responsibility for his own body and his own health.
      • A good man is quite self-aware, and he’s also able to be honest with himself.  When his own self-defeating attitudes, his own laziness, or his own inaction are causing problems in his life, he’s able to see that, and take responsibility for it.
      • A good man knows that he, alone, is 100% responsible for 100% of his happiness and  100% of his misery.
    • Good men live purpose-driven lives.
      • Good men have something important going on in their lives – ambitions, goals, something important that they’re working for.  This ambition doesn’t need to be about earning a shitton of money, although it could be.  Ambition could be about curing childhood AIDs in Africa or saving the rainforests or composing an opera, or any number of other things that will not make a person rich.  The amount of money you earn isn’t particularly important, but ambition is certainly a very attractive trait.  It’s important to have something you’re passionate about, something that truly makes you come alive and gives you that “zest for living.”   If you’re just an empty vessel with an empty life who’s waiting for a woman to come along and give your life meaning, then not too many women are going to be attracted to that.
      • A good man has some kind of spiritual inner life.  No, he certainly doesn’t need to be religious, but there needs to be something going on internally.
      • A good man has some level of altruism, of wanting to make a positive impact in other peoples’ lives.  He wants to help and change the world for the better.
      • A good man can give you a bunch of reasons why he loves his life and loves being alive.
      • A good man has goals and hopes and dreams to talk about.
      • Good men have stuff going on in their lives — careers, hobbies, friends, family.
      • Good men are always trying to learn and grow and improve themselves as people.  A good man is always making an effort to become an even better man.
    • Good men are at peace with themselves and the world.
      • Good men genuinely like themselves.  It’s very true that nobody will ever love you more than you love yourself.
      • Good men are genuinely happy, and they’re proud of their lives – whether they’re with a woman, or not.
      • Good men aren’t burdened with mountains of insecurity.
      • Insecurity sometimes leads to jealousy.  Good men are not jealous people, because they think highly of themselves and trust that their partner will be faithful.
      • Good men possess a healthy sense of self-regard.
      • This, generally, is the single biggest takeaway from any sort of “Game”-related or PUA dating advice.  Holding yourself in high regard is indeed a very attractive trait.  “Holding yourself in high regard” doesn’t mean “being an asshole,” however, because having a healthy sense of regard for other people is just as important as having regard for yourself. But, liking yourself, and being happy and secure in who you are is very important when trying to attract women.  That sense of okay-ness makes people want to get to know you.
      • Good men see the world as a good place. They aren’t constantly on guard for the next person who’s going to hurt them.  Good men don’t approach the world from a place of bitterness and jadedness.
      • Good men accept their own quirks and shortcomings.  They also accept everybody else’s quirks and shortcomings, too.  An “I’m okay, and you’re okay” approach to life is extremely attractive.
      • Good men are optimistic and hopeful.
      • Good men try to cultivate joy, positivity, happiness in their lives.
      • Good men do not wallow in negativity.
      • A good man is his own best friend – he treats himself with love, care, and respect.
      • A good man can stand up for himself.  When other people shit on him or disregard his rights and feelings, he puts those people in their place.  He knows his value, and he knows he’s entitled to be treated with a certain level of respect.  He doesn’t apologize for his thoughts and feelings, ever. He knows that he deserves a woman who will unconditionally respect his thoughts and feelings.
      • See, I think, sometimes men get confused about this — like either you have to be a complete and utter doormat, or else you need to be a complete and utter asshole.  IMO, the man who’s most attractive is neither a doormat, nor an asshole.  He’s the man who loves himself, holds himself in high regard, and also has just as much love and respect for everyone else around him.
    • Good men want to take care of women.
      • No, this isn’t code for saying “Need to have money.”    I mean, I want to be taken care of emotionally.  I want to feel safe, protected, cherished.
      • Good men don’t make women feel like they have to be on their guard all the time.
      • Of course I’ll tidy the house and make sandwiches, but I don’t want my boyfriend to be like “Bitch, tidy my house and make me sandwiches. Know your place!”  I want to feel genuinely loved.  Good men are genuinely loving and supportive people.
      • I don’t want to be talked down to and made to feel stupid. A good man would not belittle the woman he’s with.
      • “Gaslighting” is absolutely unacceptable behavior.
      • I want a man to legitimately want the best for me.  Sometimes, he’ll put my best interest ahead of his own, and I’ll do the same for him.  He’ll really support me and he’ll want me to be the best woman I can possibly be.
      • He loves me for being who I am and doesn’t continually criticize me and make me feel awful.
      • I want to feel safe.  I want to feel like I can confide in him, share all my secrets, tell him anything.
      • I want to feel happy and good about myself when I’m with him.

    So, it boils down to 9 basic points here:  I want a man who’s a good human being, likes me and feels attracted to me,  is sexually attractive, is near to my own age, is mentally-healthy, wants to be married and have a family, shares my worldview, is  fun to hang out with, and is reasonably intelligent.

    He also needs to be 
    – Single and available.  Not married to someone else, or in a serious relationship already.
    – Heterosexual.
    – Living within a reasonable radius (50 miles or so) of my town.

    So, here’s the Cliff Notes Version of my List of Demands:

    • A single man who’s uncommitted and available for a relationship
    • He must be heterosexual
    • He must live within a reasonable radius (50 miles or so) of my town.
    • He must be pretty close to my own age.
    • He must be a good human being.
    • I need to find him physically attractive.
    • He must be attracted to me.
    • He must be fairly mentally healthy and free of major addictions and debilitating disorders.
    • He must share my worldview.
    • He must share my goals and hopes and dreams.
    • He must be reasonably intelligent.
    • I have to enjoy myself and have a good time when I hang out with him.
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