EDIT: this was begun some days ago, so the timelines might get wonky halfway through.

Yesterday, when I was having the perfect Sunday evening involving me and a friend curled up on the couch watching a movie with G-Jams stalking about and then finding a spot where he could be in contact with both of us to settle down and watch for a bit before falling asleep, I had a click moment–which is how I define the moment when you actually realize something you’ve been building up to for a while. The while here was about a year, and the what was, of course, boys and girls and relationships and expectations.

So, in Up in the Air, which is the movie we were watching, there is a point where Natalie (Anna Kendrick, the young woman) has just been dumped by text message. She and Alex (delectable Vera Farmiga) talk about men and what they want from the men they hope to date. Gods bless teh interwebs cos I googled and the whole transcript turned up!

Natalie: I thought I’d be engaged by now. I thought by 23, I’d be married, maybe have a kid, corner office by day, entertaining at night. I was supposed to be driving a Grand Cherokee by now.  

Alex: Well, life can underwhelm you that way.  

Natalie: Where did you think you’d be by now?  

Alex: It doesn’t work that way. At a certain point, you stop with the deadlines. It can be a little counter-productive.  

Natalie: I don’t want to say anything that is anti-feminist. I really appreciate everything that your generation did for me.  

Alex: It was our pleasure.  

Natalie: Sometimes it feels like, no matter how much success I have, it’s not gonna matter until I find the right guy. I could have made it work. He really fit the bill, you know. White collar, 6’1, college grad, loves dogs, likes funny movies, brown hair, kind eyes, works in finance but is outdoorsy. I always imagined he’d have a single syllable name like Matt or John or Dave. In a perfect world, he drives a 4-Runner and the only thing he loves more than me is his golden lab. And a nice smile. What about you?  

Alex: You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window. You secretly pray that he’ll be taller than you, not an asshole would be nice. Just someone who enjoys my company, comes from a good family. You don’t think about that when you’re younger. Someone who wants kids. Healthy enough to play with his kids. Please let him earn more money than I do, you might not understand that now but believe me, you will one day. Otherwise that’s a recipe for disaster. And hopefully, some hair on his head. I mean, that’s not even a deal breaker these days. A nice smile. Yeah, a nice smile just might do it.  

Natalie: Wow. That was depressing.I should just start dating women  

Alex: Tried it.We’re no picnic either

So apart from the all kinds of awesome of delivery and deadpan wisecracks, I found myself nodding frantically at everything Alex said. “You secretly hope that he’ll be taller than you, not an asshole would be nice.” “Healthy enough to play with his kids.” “Please let him earn more money than I do.” (This is not really an issue for me with my income!)

Of course this made me think back to all the man ideas I have built in my life. I remember in high school a then dear friend and I made lists, involving 6 feet tall and green eyes that we then exchanged and promised to show up at each other’s weddings to check off the checklist. Then one went off to college and whatnot and realized one was falling in love with bizarre boys, like OOF, who were most nondescript on paper and had nothing to do with the men one dreamed of. So I recalibrated. I went for things like, has to get how my brain works in this weird way–ref the monkey ballet, which I never finished sorry. Reads books, likes the same music, is, you know, ‘cool’. Well time passed and that went out the window. BSW was balding, the next guy barely spoke English and was hardly cultured, though a lovely man–but in his case I wasn’t in love with him so maybe he doesn’t count. All sorts and shapes and sized came and went in my life.

Then we came to BBot. He GOT me. Like I GOT him. Like no one ever had for either of us–though in my case my family did GET me like that. He was not ‘hot’, but I had never been worried about that–the first things to go from the list were indeed 6ft tall and green eyes =D But that brain. So intelligent. SO. FUCKING. INTELLIGENT. I was in love with his brain. Everything about him gave my brain a hard-on. And he was funny. So funny. All the time with him was great. But you know, emotionally, it didn’t work. We didn’t communicate the same way; our insecurities fed off each other. He didn’t need me enough.

Then there was the Architect. Who needed me so much I distinctly remember at one point thinking OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD GET IT OFF MY ARM and having to resist the urge to flail the arm he was clinging to to dislodge him. So then I recalibrated again. Intelligent and curious, I said. Someone who isn’t intimidated by my brain and could also handle how social I am.

And now, I’ll settle for someone who’s interested.

I find myself giving my friends and cousins aged 24-28 advice that goes like this: Take a long hard look at him and make up your mind because now is the time it can happen. You won’t meet the perfect guy. Some people might, but they’re exceptions. And if you are so set on the perfect match, goals, tastes, families, expectations, etc–you might find yourself waiting forever. So prepare for that. Otherwise one morning you’ll wake up like me, thirty and with a vast desert of no-hopers your only way forward.

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