I was having a conversation with a male friend a while back, and he got onto the dreaded subject of “the difference between men and women.” More specifically, it was something of a semi-tipsy, circumstance-biased indictment of the female gender and our use of mental checklists when selecting mates. In fairness, I should mention that my friend was having a rough day and is not actually a woman hater. Or maybe he secretly IS a woman hater and just hides it really well. Not the point.
The point, friends, is the way he spat the word checklist at me in the same way that one would spit “dispicable,” or “pedantic.” Something staccato…and reviled.
“Guys just go along and see how it works out, but women, oh women all have some kind of checklist.”
Now, I suspect that guys also have checklists that are just more abstract than ours, but that’s not the point. The point is that this was roughly the 8 millionth time that a man spat the word “checklist” at me.
I defend the concept of the checklist. I’m not suggesting that we ladies actually write the list down and literally check things off. I’m just suggesting that we should know what we want and not get all hyper to settle just because what we’re looking for has proven difficult to find. I joke about all the things on mine, right down to the impossible and comical “…and he and I will start a dark cabaret band.” I’m kidding, guys. (Unless you want to start a dark cabaret band.)
There are things on my checklist that are damn near as hard to find, not said in jest and non-negotiable. The big two are “smart” and “funny.” Those two things are hard enough to find. Couple that with the third non-negotiable (“I have to want to eat his face”) and what you get is a whole lot of accusations of being “too picky.” It’s not picky. It’s “if you don’t have these things, I really would rather just be alone.” And by “alone,” I mean “busy with work, busy with hobbies, hanging out with my friends, getting a decent night’s sleep and not having to consult anyone before making plans for the weekend.”
Maybe guys hate the checklist because they feel like sometimes they never even get a chance. Like we ladies are going to look at them and go, “hmmm, dog person? wrong answer!” and send them down the bad egg chute like Veruca Salt. All we ladies are trying to do is not waste time, and that checklist is much more flexible than you think. The checklist is our way of policing ourselves, making sure that we at least make some attempt to find the guy we need and want rather than the guy with a good head of hair. The checklist is our way of clearly stating our expectations to ourselves.
Guys, all I’m saying is that it might serve you well to embrace the checklist. Start asking your female friends to write down their checklists solely for the purpose of letting you collect them. Read through 20 or 30, and you’re going to find a pattern of all of us pretty much looking for a lot of the same stuff.
I was beginning to feel guilty about my checklist, like maybe it really was the impossible dream, but then I realized that the important things on my checklist are based in values I was taught growing up. It’s my dad’s fault, because he was all of the stuff I’m looking for…but props also go to mom for making him man up and BE those things.