Denominators

I've been asked on separate occasions randomly through the years what it is I'm looking for in someone.  Most of the time, typical of my silent nature, I am dumbfounded.  It seems so cliche to seek all the niceties one would want in someone.  Kind, generous, respectful, etc.  And it seems tired to say tall, dark, and handsome, a nice pair of legs, toned body, with a high-enough EQ to match his IQ.  They all seem like a checklist of an idea of a perfect partner.  Something that I've never really given much thought of.  Though it appears to me that people do have a sort of mental checklist of who they would want to be with.

Consider a friend, who in fits of dateless nights, would chat me up talking about the guys he had gone out with and why none of them worked out.  Most of the time, none of them had fit with his idea of THE One.  And the ones he had been interested with were, at most, only mildly interested in him.  It becomes a matter of what's wrong with me and what's wrong with them.  As if each one's checklist is compared to see how many differences come out versus the similarities.  Sometimes, it's even subtler.  The varying degree of interests on certain passions.  Oh, he doesn't like my type of music.  Or I'm not so fond of the movies he likes.  He's too artsy; I'm too techie.  He likes climbing mountains; I'd rather climb beds.

Those are not exactly deal-breakers, I'd point out to my friend.  Still, he would argue, aren't our differences so pronounced that it's going to be a problem some time?

It may or may not be.  While the similarities would initially have you something to talk about; the differences would be the things each of you would bring to the table as you learn more about each other.

I've learned a lot from previous relationships and those I've exclusively gone out with.  Things I've had no interest before like sculptures and statues and paintings; operas and musicals and stage plays, I've come to understand and appreciate in their own merits.  Simply because the ones I've been with were passionately interested in them.

Previously, I read fiction exclusively.  My last relationship, however, read non-fiction exclusively.  Except, he said, those that had been required in school.  By the time we were killing each other, I had read non-fiction books, some of them historical ones; and he had read a few fiction and found them not quite bad.  It wasn't something we forced one another to like.  It was something that happened simply because we were interested in each other.

And our differences gave us the space we needed away from us.  Although looking back, I realized that giving him too much space sent him out of my orbit and into a whole other solar system.  But that's another story. He has no interest whatsoever in technology; more interested in clothes and power-dressing for work.  So on occasions that he wanted to shop, I'd wait for him in a coffeeshop with my laptop or a book in hand, while he burned his credit card.  He would return exhausted and I'd be the most relaxed person on Earth at the end of a shopping day.

There were others, where our similarities and differences were even more muddled and vague; where it seems the only common interest we had were guys.  And we're poles apart on everything.  But we never ran out of things to say or things to argue about.

At least for me, there is one common denominator among the guys I've genuinely liked: they were all good with people, conversant, and at most, extroverts.  Everything else is secondary, though not unimportant.

Someone once said: My friends were asking me if you don't get tired of me.  I'm talkative, I know, I can be a bit loud and perversely hyper.  Almost everywhere we go, I know someone that I simply have to say hi and talk to.  You know, those kinds of stuff.

Well, I said, you should've told them how we're the antithesis of each other.  Your never-ending stories compensate for my silence.  Besides, you talk with sense and on rare times I talk, I talk mostly nonsense.  So, see?  Even on that, we complement each other.

I do not know, really.  Until now when someone would ask me what I want in someone, I still don't know what to say.  I never choose the person I fall in love with.  Love happens, maybe not in the strangest circumstances, but when you least expect it and with the person you least expect to fall for.  It's not being able to point out why you're in love in the first place.  Love comes with no reasons needed.  It doesn't explain why you love this guy whose qualities do not make him any better or worse than the rest.  There may be one or two things you find endearing about him, but those don't necessarily explain love in all its profundity.  Checklists, least common denominators, or greatest common factors are good only insofar as it builds your interest on someone.  Like the little prince and his rose, the one he had watered and killed caterpillars for.  It becomes special and unique because it is the one he loves among the other roses he saw on Earth.  It tamed him as much as he tamed it.

On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

Comments

  1. I remember being asked what I like about this guy I dated.

    "I don't set standards. I don't have a checklist. Even if I do, I end up breaking them anyway," I answered.

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