When you meet a potential love interest, what are the first 3 -5 things you immediately want to know about him/her? For me, if it was a guy a friend or acquaintance was trying to sell me on, the number ONE thing I wanted to know about was his height. A minimum of six feet was my benchmark, though if the guy had enough other desirable attributes I could be persuaded to consider someone who was 5’10”. All through life I said I couldn’t/wouldn’t marry a short man, and what did I do? Marry one who was about 5’6”!
Sidebar: [I eventually learned where my preoccupation with height originated. I’m probably the biggest Daddy’s girl in the world, but my beloved Father is only about what, 5’4”? At some point in life I realized that my fascination with height stemmed from the fact that my Dad’s height was the only thing about him I didn’t like. How tall am I, you ask? About 5’1” – and yes, good things do come in small packages!]
E.L.M.O. . . . . .
Anyway, height was number one for me, followed very closely by intelligence level, teeth, religion, and political affiliation . . . and probably pretty much in that order. As I grew older, some of the variables shifted and religion moved a little higher on my list – maybe right before teeth – but those have always been my rock-solid five. As for my Swirl Man . . . Height: check. (6’3”). Intelligence level: check. (He’s the math/numbers/engineering person that I always admired, but could never be because I’m a letters person and I loathe numbers and detest anything that smacks of being more complicated than 1 + 1 = 2). Teeth: check. (Beautiful and straight and perfect). Religion: Check. (Not just “check,” but Great. My Mother will accept him).
Political party: CHECK. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF. CHECK. AND CHECK AGAIN. (Whew. No issues. THANK GOD). Not just “check,” but GREAT. My Dad will accept him).
You see, fortunately for my Swirl Man and me, we don’t have any issues with religion, and belong to the same political party. I say “fortunately” because having no theological issues and the same party affiliation means having two fewer hurdles to face. And yes, whereas one would think being of different ethnicities was enough of a hurdle, not so. I certainly admire the power couples in Washington who are able to enjoy successful relationships in spite of being at polar ends of the political spectrum. While I’d like to think that I’m broad-minded, erudite, and cosmopolitan enough to handle it, I’m not sure I’d want to. Besides, having different political parties may have been a deal breaker, especially when it came to dear old Dad.
Me (hands on the steering wheel, trying to give off a cool, calm, and collected vibe): “Daddy, I have something I need to talk to you about . . . .”
Daddy (looking at me sideways, eyes narrowing): “Oh, Lawd, Girl . . . what?”
(Now, he already knows what I’m going to say, mind you, because I told my Mother first – and of course she spilled the beans to him just as soon as I was out of her sight)
Me: (still cool and calm and breezy, playing the I-have-parents-who-have-been-married-so-long-I-know-they-tell-each-other-everything game) “I met this wonderful guy that I really, really love and care about, and I want you to meet him. I’m pretty sure he’s ‘The One.’”
Daddy (deciding he’s gonna cut to the chase and get it over with since he already knows and at the moment has something more important he wants to know): “Uh huh . . . I already know what you’re gonna say, Little Girl, because your Mother already told me.” (he already knows that I know her well enough to know that she’s already told him – so he knows she’s not under the bus).
Me (thinking about stringing my Dad along and getting all indignant, but I want to get it over with, too. After all, I’m my Father’s daughter): Ok; then you know SM is White.”
Daddy (shrugs; gives me the cool and calm and breezy vibe right back): “Yeah, I know. Look: (here it comes) What I wanna know is this: Is he a ______________, or a ______________?” (I can always count on Daddy to be concerned about the important stuff)
Me (trying to decide if I’m gonna make his blood pressure go up by stringing him along, then looking at him and deciding that this is not the time to fall into my old habit of playing too much so I decide to get indignant): “Now Daddy, you know he’s a ________________, because there’s no way I could be with a ______________________!”
Daddy (looking younger by 100 years): “Then you have my blessing, Little Girl. I know you wouldn’t pick somebody who wasn’t a good man. All I want is for you to be happy. When do I get to meet my future son-in-law? Uh, what’s his name????”
I stifled my laughter, and then started telling him about my wonderful man.
Should I be ashamed of what appears to be a certain degree of closed-mindedness, political intolerance, apparent shallowness, yada, yada, yada? Um, maybe. But I’m not. I’m just happy that my party of five was able to get a table.