Why can’t we have both? Here’s an email I got recently:
“I wanted to thank you also for your story about "presence" that you told at your talk at Open Secret Book Store in San Rafael. I had an important experience of that this weekend. I have been contemplating dating a man I met recently who is a financially successful lobbyist, and we have many other interests aside from politics. The wining and dining is great, but when we're together, it is odd: he is always distracted by his cell, a meeting, not enough time, etc.
This weekend, another man, a very old friend, came to town...we've known each other 35 years (college). He came to my studio and asked about my work, and he was incredibly "present" with me. And you are right, it was a total and complete turn-on. Whoa!
The next day, I had dinner with the other man (the lobbyist) and he spent most of the time talking about how his recent ex-girlfriend is using a popular dating site and how her profile is full of lies, and that he ought to get his own profile on the site so he could compete in attracting new women (so what am I, chopped liver?). Not present at all. Big turn-off! We were supposed to go on a date this Saturday, to the ballet, but I cancelled it because I decided I would rather have my own precious company, than his....
So I just wanted to echo what you said, that presence is really "IT"! and my back-to-back experience of it, with these two men, absolutely convinced me of what I want, and do not want, in a relationship with a man. Thank you for your teachings, Maryanne!”
A few days later…
“Hi Maryanne, so interesting what happens when I choose me. I came home to find a huge box of flowers from my college friend. I'm sure that saying goodbye to that lobbyist was the best decision I've ever made.
Thank you...” J..Alder, Nor Cal
Bottom line, ladies and gentlemen: when we don’t know who we are, what we want or have our priorities intact, we fall into the default loop that was programmed into our subconscious long ago. “I want someone handsome, tall, and strong; someone rich, who will take care of me, someone sexy who is great in le sac, etc.” At some point we start to realize these aren’t things that make a great relationship. Someone we thought was hot becomes really unattractive when their real character starts to show.
I have met too many people who, time and again, confess that the things they thought they wanted weren’t essential at all—or, at minimum, fell lower on the priority list than they once realized.
Perhaps rather than “hot and successful” being at the top of the list, you could alter it some and require that certain other qualities be immediately apparent:
· Sensual, etc.
So, yes, make that list, but check it twice before, during, and after the holidays. Do you really want someone naughty or do you want someone one who’s mostly nice (and maybe a little naughty only on special occasions)?