One of my best friends from high school – she who shall not be named – who I happen to be living with in New York City this summer, constantly worries if the reason why she has never had a boyfriend is because her expectations are too high. I asked her to imagine her fantasy boyfriend, and compile a list of his top ten – which quickly turned into top twelve – must-have qualities. If she could paint a picture of this epic boyfriend and have him walk straight out of the painting and into her arms, these would be her brushstrokes:
- Very funny, and must like the humor of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld (my favorite TV shows)
- Driven, passionate about what they do, and very good at it (not disillusioned with his abilities and knows what he can realistically accomplish)
- Intelligent and witty, be quick at conversation and impress me with his ideas
- Well put-together, preppy (a more dressed-up “bro”), and confident
- The clichéd tall, dark, and handsome. Preferably over 6-feet, brown hair
- Athletic and physically fit, enjoys competition and playing sports
- Influential amongst his friends, a leader, and powerful*
- Smooth talker, flirts with me without me realizing it (no pick-up lines)
- Distinct personality, doesn’t blend in with his friends
- Knows how to play the game (I am attracted to what I think I can’t have), but also knows at what point the game should end (won’t string me along)
- Likes to watch baseball, preferably supports the Red Sox
- Good at skiing (or snowboarding) and can keep up with me on black diamonds
*When I asked her what she meant by “powerful,” (specifically if that meant he would dominate her in the bedroom, which she casually laughed off) she explained he would have an air of mystery without being overtly pretentious; basically “like Mr. Big from Sex and the City.”
Painting of her unknown fantasy boyfriend. Too bad that apple is in the way or we would really have a lead.
These characteristics ultimately outline her perfect man: he would know how to tactfully reel her in and attract her, and she would still be able to do the things that she loved when she was single, like watch Rex Sox games and reruns of Seinfeld, and then go skiing with her family at her condo in Park City, Utah.
Which when you think about it, shouldn’t be too much to ask. But realistically, the possibility that a man exists who has all of these qualities is extremely slim. And this possibility becomes ever slimmer if you factor in that he should probably be in a reasonable age group (college student or recent graduate) and would live in or frequent the tri-state area so they could one day run into each other and fall madly in love. So is the problem here that her expectations are too high, or just too specific?
When it comes to the qualifications a guy needs in order to be a boyfriend, I couldn’t help but wonder if our expectations are too specific.
To help all of the HC readers out there who are worried they may be in my friend’s situation, we have compiled a list of common expectations that college women have for potential boyfriends and then labeled them realistically. Remember ladies: this is not about settling for less than what you think you deserve, but more about widening your dating periphery. Try searching for men like Goldilocks tries porridge: are your expectations too specific, too inadequate, or just right?
- Must be above 6'3"
- Must go to an Ivy League school
- Must support your favorite sports team
- Must be on a powerful career path, like investment banking or politics
- Must look like David Beckham with a little beardless-Brad Pitt mixed in
- Must always wear ironed shirts and boat shoes
- Must give me gifts like flowers and jewelry weekly
- Must enjoy watching Glee and eating grilled cheese simultaneously
- Must not be a legal midget
- Must have graduated high school
- Must support your favorite N64 character
- Must have dreams of being promoted from the busboy at Papa John's
- Must look like Jared from the Subway commercials (before or after, either way)
- Must look like he has showered in the past three or four days
- Must say "Happy Birthday" during the right month
- Must enjoy watching Jersey Shore and doing GTL (gym tan laundry)
- Must be taller than you
- Must go to college
- Must enjoy watching and/or playing sports
- Must be serious about his professional life after college
- Must have the basic features you consider "your type": hair and eye color
- Must (almost) always be put-together and know when to dress to impress (irons his clothes when he meets your grandparents)
- Must show his affection through special acts at appropriate times (holidays)
- Must let me watch my guilty pleasure shows without giving me a hard time
Are your expectations too specific, too inadequate, or just right? To make sure your own top ten (or top twelve) list doesn’t point towards toxic men, check out Mariel’s article on the five types of guys to avoid dating!
She who shall not be named
The Son of Man by René Magritte: http://site.overstockart.com/images/magritte.gif
Mr. Big from Sex and the City: http://www.accesshollywood.com/content/images/61/originals/61610_video-163723-mr-big-on-the-sex-and-the-city-spoilers.jpg