Head over heart… works every single time.
Four years ago, my best friend and I consumed two bottles of cheap white wine and agreed on a fact that had been glaringly obvious for years: I had truly, laughably, disturbingly bad taste in men.
From an athlete who insisted on calculating my body fat percentage to a cocaine-obsessed man-bun wearer, the dudes I brought home as a teenager were either dreamy artist types or Alpha Males with Outrageous Egos.
The one thing they all had in common? They were always met with tight, polite smiles and tactful “she’ll-grow-out-of-it” eye-rolls over my head at the family dinner table.
My shocking taste in men didn’t particularly matter while I was busy being young and ridiculous. But, as I grew to full-time-work age, I got serious. I didn’t want to waste my emotional energy dating a handsome architect only to discover he’d been a member of the Young Liberals, or invest three weeks into a guy before realising he was a misogynist who’d always insist on ordering (salad) for me on a date. I had a career and some travels to get started with.
And hell, call me a tragic, old-fashioned cliche but I just wanted an awesome, well-matched male human to do those things with — wich meant I had to try to resist my emotional pull towards loud-mouthed deadbeats and start listening to my brain, which knew my bad taste in men wasn’t doing me any favours.
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So, two bottles of cleanskin wine down, my friend and I wrote a checklist for our future life partners — and I vowed to only date men who ticked off every item.
Relationship-wise, it was the best thing I ever did.
Before you shout me down as an unromantic spontaneity-hater with a cold dead robot heart, this wasn’t one of those insane checklists covering everything from hairstyle to jocks-or-boxers preference. This was a bare-essentials, non-negotiable list of qualities without which I knew (from experience) I’d end up miserable.
Top of the list: kindness. The other nine items ranged from honesty, to similar political alignment, to a love of travel.
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My list worked like magic. Not immediately, because I soon started dating a sweet, skinny guy called Noel. He was funny and considerate, but I could tell he was nervous: in fact, he grew so awkward around me he would only kiss me on the cheek for a month.
The whole thing clearly wasn’t going to work out — he was worried I wouldn’t like what he had planned, so he’d always leave the plan-making for our dates to me — and eventually I called time, conceding my checklist hadn’t worked out the first time around.