What I Wanted in a Man


Many years ago, my younger and more naive self thought he only needed three things in a partner. They were silly, but sacred, so I kept them secret, waiting for the one to come along who instinctively did all three – that person, I maintained, would be The One. A few guys came close, and eventually I’m sure a few more would have been able to deliver (so simple were the requirements), but it seemed for a while that no one would be quite that compatible with me.

What were these three fairy-tale like wishes? What trio of actions or objects would unlock the key to my heart? As I mentioned, they were silly and simple:

1)    I wanted someone to take a shower while I waited for him in bed. I just wanted the feeling of knowing that someone was there, that someone was the next room down, going about his daily life, but still a part of mine. I wanted the comfort of a day-to-day life together. So yes, the first item was easy enough – he just had to step into the shower.

2)    The second was also easily achieved: I wanted someone who was passionate about something. It could be anything – stamp collecting, rare mushrooms, Buddhist art, orchid cultivation, or cars. He needed to have a passion and an excitement for something, because if you have at least one obsession, you have a passion for life. I didn’t need to share in it – you didn’t have to love gardening, or fashion, or Tom Ford cologne, but if you had your own interests, that mattered.

3)    The third thing was a bit trickier, but no more complicated: I wanted someone to bring me the Sunday New York Times newspaper without me asking. That last part was key: I was good at asking for things, and good at bugging people until I got them, but I didn’t want to have to do that. I guess I just wanted someone who knew me well-enough that I didn’t have to ask.

Over the years, those simple needs expanded to include all sorts of demands and nonsense, and I lost sight of what was truly important, what really mattered. It’s not the grand gestures ~ the Louis Vuitton bag, the Tom Ford cologne, the surprise extended birthday trip in Maine ~ it’s the simple, consistent act of getting a Sunday paper, no matter how far and wide you have to search. It’s the simple touch of someone’s arm as they drop you off at work. It’s the shared smile when you see something on TV that reminds you both of the same thing, the same memory.

It turns out in my younger years I may have been a lot wiser than I am today. Those three things I wished for came true, and I never realized how lucky I was until now.

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