The infamous list. All single people have one. Sometimes it’s concrete and written down in purple ink (cause you were 12 when you first drafted it) and sometimes it exists solely in your head in “I’ll know it when I see it” form.

(You married people probably still have a list too –one that the person who shares your bed never quite measures up to – but that’s none of my business).

The List is exactly like the one you always forget to take to the grocery store – only this one is filled with characteristics that you’re looking for in a mate vice food.  I’ve found the grocery list version to be far more useful because you’re actually more likely to get what you’ve written down.

My own list has been remixed more times than a Mariah Carey song.

(and since we’re on the subject: my favorite Mariah Remix)

I have several hand-written lists in various boxes and drawers- that I rarely venture into – around my house .  I even managed to find a list in one of my billionty journals. It seems to be from a time when I may have been on hard drugs and before I believed in dating the page of my entries. Based solely on the sophomoric sketchiness of the stories – a particularly moving vignette about the Antichrist and a bizarre paragraph about fearing  black women – I would date this list to November 2008 ± 6 months.


I am spared from complete embarrassment of this list by the laughter that it generates.

  1. I actually wrote tall (+ bigger than me) as a requirement for a life partner. Like must be this tall to ride this ride.
  2.  And I wrote “likes sports”. Who wrote this list? Can someone introduce me to the author? It must have been the LSD because I don’t like any sports and I never watch them (not even the Superbowl).
  3.  I found this part particularly endearing: we have to be able to talk to one another.That underline just makes it so Pollyanna-like in its earnestness.
  4. Makes time for me throughout his day. Why is this a list-worthy item?? I must have been dating someone who ignored me a lot when I drafted this.
  5. Handsome (followed by a rambling note to God about really wanting to love his heart first but still please send me someone that is really handsome).

I would probably keep “God-lover” on my list and “likes to read” but the rest of the list makes me feel like this:


No wonder 28 year old me made such bad dating choices. This is an awful roadmap. One of its major flaws is that it focuses too much on externals.

I imagine that younger me wanted to feel safe and protected which is why she wrote “tall (+ bigger than me)”. But a man’s height has no bearing on whether or not you feel safe with him (my favorite ex-boyfriend (FEB) is exactly my height and the person who made me feel the most secure).The same  goes with “talking about things.” I can talk about all kinds of things with all kinds of people, but what I really long for is depth of conversation (which requires things like vulnerability and intellect). I don’t have the energy to talk about how looks don’t in any way equate to moral character, intestinal fortitude, or interesting personality. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you can stop reading and just watch the Mariah video above.

The other reason why this list is unreconizable is because I’m not anything like my 28-year-old self. I know what my purpose in life is and who I am. Which means that I know that no matter how handsome or tall a man is– or how much time he makes for me throughout his day–  if he doesn’t have a heart for social justice or understand systemic racism, it’s probably not going to work for us. My list has changed (dramatically) because I’ve changed.

Like I said, you probably have a list floating around somewhere and, like my list,  it’s probably due for a good scrubbing and a strong revision. I’ll share my updated list when I finish it. Until then, you can tell me the type of things that are on your list in the comments.

Until the morrow….






4 Comment on “The Infamous List

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