My friend Mo recently mentioned how she wouldn’t date a guy who wasn’t into the same type of music as her, and so it got me thinking about our standards for the persons we want to date, and/or fall in love with, and/or spend the rest of our lives with. Sometimes I feel like my standards for a girl are incredibly – no, insanely – high. And we all know some people who pretty much have no standards. But the vast, vast majority fall in between those extremes – we know ourselves, and we have an idea of what we are looking for based on certain preferences – but those preferences are sometimes colored by social expectations and even cultural caricatures in the media.
I can’t speak for every guy, but I personally want to be spellbound when I look at her face. I want there always to be the potential of all of my thoughts falling completely out of my head when I look at her face, even if we’ve been together for months or years.
Near the top of the list belonging to pretty much every guy I know is the requirement that the girl be physically attractive to them. We must remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what you think is hot or cute or pretty may not be what another person thinks is hot or cute or pretty. I can’t speak for every guy, but I personally want to be spellbound when I look at her face. I want there always to be the potential of all of my thoughts falling completely out of my head when I look at her face, even if we’ve been together for months or years. There is this great scene from one of my favorite movies “The Family Man” involving my favorite actor, Nicolas Cage. He and his wife are together at night when the kids are asleep, and he seems to just rediscover her face, her features. And he can’t help but marvel at her, and be completely floored by her, and realize how lucky he is to be with her.
Jack: Oh, God, you’re beautiful.
Annie: Thanks, Jack.
Jack: No, I’m serious. You’re really stunning.
Annie: This is good stuff. I want you to keep this up.
Jack: You were always a very pretty girl in college. There’s no question about that. But this…You’ve really grown into a beautiful woman.
Annie: How can you do that?
Annie: Look at me like you haven’t seen me every day for the last 13 years.
I know what that’s like. I have felt that way – without it letting up even slightly. It is so wonderful, and I don’t think it has to necessarily fade with time. It is out there, and when you have it, you realize what a complete gift it is. To feel that way about someone.
Okay. Like my friend Mo, commonalities in music preferences definitely, definitely matters. Music helps me through my days. I think of A Day To Remember singing “I’m always screaming my lungs out, till my head stops spinning…playing my songs is the way I cope with life” – and it is so raw but so true sometimes. Actually, much of the time, at least in my life. And with music and certain songs and artists mattering so much to me, energizing me, consoling me, providing company to the emotions of my solitary heart through poetic metaphors and descriptions, I really need her to not only just understand, but largely feel the same way. Not that I am going to love every song or band she loves – I want us to be different in some respects so we can introduce each other to new music and keep things fresh…. But yeah, if there is an artist who regularly does something to me with the music they create and lyrics they write, I really, really, really want her to like them too. Because I will want to talk about it. I will want to rock out to it on road trips with her. With or without the windows down, but definitely at the top of our lungs! I will want to listen to it in the background while we kiss softly before falling asleep together. I will want to go see them live, and take her with me, and have her as excited as me about the show, the event, the experience. And I will want to text her lyrics that remind me of her and that steal my breath because they are so freaking perfectly written and sung. Or write them on the bathroom mirror to start her day off with a smile. If there is no real connection over music, it’s a dealbreaker for me.
I will want to text her lyrics that remind me of her and that steal my breath because they are so freaking perfectly written and sung. Or write them on the bathroom mirror to start her day off with a smile.
Particular shared interests. This actually matters a ton to me as well. I want us to be able to enjoy quality time together doing things that we both love. Because of course then we get to enjoy the activity, which brings us individual joy, and we get to enjoy each other, which brings us corporate joy and strengthens our bond. For me, I really, really need her to be into fitness through adventure. Some girls are into fitness, and go to the gym six times a week. Some girls are into adventure, and have wanderlust, and just want to get out there to see all that the world has to offer. I need someone with whom I can rock climb random cliffs in Yosemite, or hike up to basecamp at Everest, or snowboard the Alps with me, or carry a 40lb overnight pack three miles down a trail to set up camp under the stars for a meteor shower. This is my life, in part. This is how I experience God most powerfully and most viscerally, and it is in these environments that He speaks most clearly to me. And girls who are into this sort of thing tend to have another quality which I find incredibly attractive – they are low-maintenance! They can just throw something on, pull their hair back into a ponytail, and go. Gaaahhhhh. That right there is just perfection. Seriously. Girls like this would also do well on the missions trips I love to take every year, where you are often living out of a backpack and don’t have a lot of creature comforts around at all. Because the trip isn’t about you, it’s about pouring yourself out to help and bless and serve those around you. Doing missions is my heartbeat, and I need someone who can thrive with me in those situations, and not struggle mightily missing home and what home has to offer.
A love for kids. This is actually very important to me, because I hang out with kids all the time. Children, teenagers…mostly known through church or church-related activities. We have pool parties, we play sports, we go to the beach, we watch movies, we give the parents date nights out. We just have fun. I have unlimited energy around kids, and just love to love on them and invest in them and show them that a life after God can be full of awe and wonder and excitement and adventure. And I just need for a girl to feel the exact same way – so we can make a difference in the lives of young people who desperately need and benefit from solid role models. I am going to keep doing this the rest of my life, regardless of whether I have kids of my own. It matters so much. It changes them, and it changes me. So, yeah, if she’s not into hanging out with kids sometimes, it’s another dealbreaker.
I have unlimited energy around kids, and just love to love on them and invest in them and show them that a life after God can be full of awe and wonder and excitement and adventure.
Finally, a shared faith is essential. I will go over this extensively in a future blog entry – and try to convey it in a fresh, unique, and gripping way – but basically, if she is not headed spiritually in the direction I am headed, and if she does not earnestly try to live her life with integrity in ALL areas, there is no chance for anything romantic to develop. Even if she is the most beautiful girl around, who loves kids, and is into the same type of music as me, and we share a ton of interests. Again, I’ll flesh this out much further in the near future.
These are just some of my standards; I definitely have more that are quite important to me. But I wouldn’t even consider being with a girl unless these four were met. You might think that they are too specific. Or even too general. Or just right. I would just say that these have always, always mattered to me – since my early teenage years. Think about what you specifically hoped for when you first started dating. Have your standards changed? Have they become narrower or broader? How have your dating experiences affected those changes? And what have you learned? Are standards even a good idea, or do they unnecessarily decrease the possibilities and lead to a myopic view and value of guys/girls? Or, do they keep a person on track so they don’t waste time with or give away their heart over and over again to the wrong person? I really would like to hear your thoughts.