the deal-breaker

My friend Lala has a guy-pal, Christopher, who has very high standards when it comes to the women he dates. “If he opens her fridge and it’s a mess inside, that’s a deal-breaker,” she explained to a somewhat puzzled blogger. “He won't ask her for a second date.” Thinking about the state of my own fridge, I realized that a relationship between Christopher and I can never happen. We are not "kitchen-compatible." Too bad.

But it got me thinking. About deal-breakers, and the high standards we put on each other- and ourselves- when trying to find love.

I’ve known women who actually had lists of what they wanted from a man. I mean real lists, on paper. Things like “opens doors for me” and “is nice to his mom.” That slays me. Because if there were a genie who could produce my perfect mate, don’t you think I would have rubbed his lamp a long time ago?

And men, like Lala’s friend, are also susceptible to their own pre-conceived notions about love. Though in my experience, their lists often run to the more superficial aspects of the female physique (sorry, guys).

Like my friend Charles, who recently got very buzzed on g & t’s and described his perfect woman to me. “I like blonde hair, long legs and really full breasts,” he told me, using his hands to illustrate what appeared to be an EEE cup-size. “Well, and she should have a good sense of humor.” Nice save, Chuck.

Looks are important, I guess. But are they a deal-breaker?

There’s no getting around it. Someone can be the nicest person in the world but you might miss them if they don’t catch your eye. That isn’t to say that good looks can sustain a relationship. It isn’t to say that admiring the one you’re with will make you happy over the long-term, either.

I don't know that I'm any more or less immune to the trappings of physical attraction than anyone else. I have dated Really Good Looking Guy, and really, watching someone watch themselves in every window you pass, or waiting around to go somewhere while really good looking guy gets ready to go out always made me feel impatient- and kind of embarrassed for him.

I say this all the time and I’ve written about it a lot, too: There will never be a time when any of us is the smartest, sexiest or best looking person around. The best you can hope for is some kind of inner peace. Some self acceptance. And it sounds silly, probably, but when you start to accept yourself, it changes the perceptions that other people have of you. You become better looking. Smarter. Sexier.

I’ve come a long way down the path of self acceptance. And I know, I still have moments where I am really, really hard on myself. But most of the time, I feel pretty good about me.

That’s the unbreakable deal that I made- with myself.