I am not a settler.
I can’t settle for Hershey’s when I am craving Godiva. I won’t settle for black sneakers, when I want hot pink ones. I won’t settle for a man who does meet my requirements either. Unfortunately, it’s easier to find Godiva and hot pink sneakers than it is to find my hypothetical Prince Charming.
Recently, I wrote an article where I confessed that I have been on so many dates, I’ve lost track and can’t remember them all. There were a lot of comments made, but let me paraphrase the gist of several.
“How does she not remember someone she once went out with?”
“How could she date so many guys that she can’t keep track of them?”
“WTF is wrong with this girl and her expectations?”
Yes, I’ve dated so many men I couldn’t identify most of them in a police lineup. I’m not a slut, I’m just picky. There are two very specific reasons for this. The first reason is “daddy issues,” but probably not the kind you are imagining.
Honestly, I’ve never met a man a great as my father. He is handsome, funny, old fashioned, a gentleman, is beyond giving of himself to others, and is just fun to hang out with. I’m not going to say he’s perfect all time (in fact, my mom and I like to make fun of him and call him Mr. Perfect), but who is?
My parents are completely in love with each other and have a pretty mutual relationship. I want the kind of relationship they have. And I’ve reached the point where I’m convinced that men like my Dad don’t really exist anymore.
Every time I get involved with someone, I compare him to my Dad. Does he have that je ne sais quoi charm, class and heart my father has? Or is he just another douche who can’t even be bothered to open a car door for me?
This is how I look after most dates.
The second reason why I won’t settle is because the only and last time I decided to settle, I ended up in the relationship from Hell. At that time I was emotionally in a very different place than I am right now. I went against everything I had always believed about relationships and tried to settle for someone who was way less than I deserved because I was deathly afraid of being alone.
I thought a boyfriend was the answer to my problems. Not shockingly, it made everything worse.
At the time, my life was a colossal mess for so many reasons. I had recently stopped taking Adderall after years of being prescription stimulants. I had a landlord who was trying to sell the building I lived in and illegally forced me to move out. I ended up living with a psycho roommate who was the kind of person I can only use a certain “c word,” to describe.
While I wasn’t drinking or abusing drugs, I was so out of my mind from stress, grief and drama, I might as well have been popping pills like tic tacs. Needless to say, my self esteem couldn’t have possibly been any lower. Who wants to date a sober trainwreck? Well, I found the one guy who did and started dating him.
Someone wants to hit this hot mess, right?
Zander (not his real name) and I met through mutual friends. Physically, he was very good looking and of course, he had that charming, bad boy personality that would have made anyone with a modicum of self esteem, run, not walk, away from him.
Sure he was hot, but past the surface, he was everything I never wanted in a man. He was separated from his wife and didn’t have a really have a stable job. He was a talented artist, but lacked ambition. His only goal was simply coast through life, putting in as little effort as possible.
He did, however, have a really nice house (with a roommate at age 39) that had a backyard with a great hot tub that I liked to have sex in. Dating guys for sex, houses and hot tubs is never a good idea.
My entire relationship with him warrants its own IHTM, but long story short, I settled and moved in with someone who ended up being abusive because I thought he was the best I could do. It was better to settle and completely compromise my priorities, values and essentially myself, than to be alone, right? Wrong.
This was less painful than my relationship with Zander.
Now I completely refuse to settle, even when it comes to short-term dating. My time is very limited. I have a day job and I am an actress and obviously a writer. I used to think it wasn’t nice or it was just bad karma to reject a guy based on one thing. However, I only have 24 hours in a day, so I don't bother to meet someone for a drink or dinner when there is something about him that is a deal breaker for me in the long term.
For example, I am not attracted to bald men. There is nothing inherently wrong with bald men, but I really like a guy with hair I can pull. Even if I meet a really nice bald guy, I can’t sacrifice my time for someone who has a quality that ultimately turns me off, even if he has several that turn me on.
My auto-rejection policy also applies to men who are not established in their careers. I am not very established in mine and it’s hard for two people to work on both their careers and a relationship simultaneously. Now, this isn’t to say I won’t date someone who is getting their MD, JD, PHD, MBA, etc. That is not settling. Ambition is key for me.
Another deal breaker is guys who want to live in the suburbs. There is nothing suburban about me. I hate the suburbs. I will never ever live in the suburbs. For me, living in the suburbs would be the epitome of settling.
All of these bad dates, boring conversations, never ending cycle of mediocre meals and overly salty margaritas gave me the gift of learning what is really important to me. I won’t settle for anything but a fabulous date, or at least one I think has the potential to be.