A few days ago I went back to my counselor. Yes, she did discharge me some three weeks ago. However, she gave me a standing invitation. After dealing with Bill I needed to go back. I told her about what had been going on and that I broke it off with him. She told me she was VERY proud of me. That was shocking. At first I thought it would be construed as shallow. Yet, all she told me was, “That is good that you go with your gut making choices. When something doesn’t feel right heed it.”
After that she gave me an assignment. My counselor asked me to write a list of all the qualities I would like in a man. That left me flabbergasted as I ALWAYS avoided doing something like that. I’ve always thought that people who made lists like that were shallow and narcissistic. My counselor reassured me that it wasn’t; because it allows you to conceptualize your likes and dislikes…
It was an epiphanal moment for me. It made so much sense. I now know the reason why I’ve had such fleeting and unsuccessful relationships in the past. While some people are too rigid (making laundry lists of what they hate) I was being too fluid. I never allowed myself to have ground rules going in.
That last session really sent me light years ahead in my evolution. I felt so empowered after I wrote my list. Because I realized my feelings of inadequacy came from me not asserting myself more, in terms of relationships. I now know that I have the right to want what I want.
Friends, I feel so great after learning that.
So, here is my list of things that I want in my ideal man…
1.) Nice physical appearance – This is an umbrella category. Anyway, this is the first time I feel completely comfortable admitting that I want a nice looking fella. It isn’t shallow. It’s just admitting that, to a certain degree, outward appearance does play a role in sex, love, and romance. My mate doesn’t have to be a matinee idol (when you think about it matinee idols aren’t even matinee idols. They have make up, lighting, and air brushing working for them). In fact, beauty–and what we as individuals perceive as beautiful–is totally subjective. I just want someone that will make me, Toddy English, giddy and lusty. I keep up with my appearance and I want a guy that does the same. Here are some traits that I would like…
A.) Height - While I’ve nothing but love for my fellow shorties the vertically blessed men do garner my undivided attention (most of the time). Maybe it’s because I’m challenged in that area (I’m 5’7…okay 5’6 and a half) that I seek to live vicariously through these real life giants? Ah screw it, I won’t try and psycho analyze my taste. Tall men make my knees quiver like jello. Even when tall men aren’t that cute they’re hot, to me. I love big hands, big feet, and big…I love the long legs, broad shoulders, and the fact that there is so much of him to love on (vertically not horizontally). I blame Audrey Hepburn movies for this. They make me feel safe and I like when they kiss me on the forehead. I won’t turn down a nice under six foot man. However, it would be nice to have a man well over six feet.
B.) Beautiful Smile (and teeth) - All right, this one is mandatory. A lovely smile is a true aphrodisiac for me. Moreover, it really says something about a guy who practices great oral hygiene. No grills please. Give me a warm set of pearly whites.
C.) Physically Fit - I go to the gym and partake in a very healthy diet. So I am happy with my body (which is toned and slender). True, there are many different body types (and everyone likes something different). However, I prefer something inbetween. He does not have to be Arnold Schwarzeneggar circa 1984 (the infamous booty scene in The Terminator), just someone in shape (so he can go to the gym with me) that looks nice in and out of his clothes. Admittedly, I do like a beefy body type (not flabby and not too muscular but firm and sturdy. That’s hot to me).
D.) Nice Face - Again, beauty is totally subjective. However, I want someone with a really warm and kind face. Nice eyes, lips, neatly groomed facial hair, and symmetrical facial features.
E.) Neat and presentable attire - I would like someone well groomed and well dressed. He doesn’t have to have the most expensive tastes; but if his clothes are neatly starched and iron that really says a lot about him. His clothes have to fit (no fall off the ass baggy pants please); and If he’s fashion savvy that is great too…Just so long as he isn’t flamboyant (bracelets, dyed hair, earrings, women’s clothing, and etc. Nothing against that…Just not my type). Preferably casual or conservative, or both.
2.) Sensitivity - I’m a sensitive person myself; and it doesn’t mean that I weep buckets watching Steel Magnolias on TBS either. It just signifies that I’m in tune with both the masculine and feminine aspects of my nature. While I’m strong and quite capable of going after what I want I’m also really sweet and seek to peace in my surroundings. I want my man to have that harmonious balance too. I see people talk about, “Oh I want someone super masculine! Nothing fem at all!”
That’s not my agenda. While I’m not attracted to someone like B. Scott or Chris Crocker I don’t find hyper masculinity appealing either.
For me someone who is aggressive while being caring and compassionate is beautiful. I need that Jungian balance in my life. I don’t want our relationship to be a faux heterosexual pairing. He has to be kind, loving, empathetic, gentle, as well as passionate and assertive (in the right situations).
I need a man who is in-between the spectrum…not either of the extremes. There has to be some balance.
3.) Humor - He has to make me laugh. Life is too short and no one gets out of it alive. Me, I have a rather acerbic wit. So I do like to crack little jokes, A LOT. Please be able to laugh and crack some yourself. I can’t be with someone that I can’t smile with. Laughing makes you feel good.
4.) Intelligent - Look, I’m not Albert Einstein; however, I cannot be with a man whose conversation consists solely of: hot guys, pop culture, and what gay pride celebration he wants to attend in Washington, DC. I read…a lot. I like to talk about issues ranging from: religion, evolutionary biology, animals (I love the Discovery channel and National Geographic), pop culture, time travel (yes, time travel), current events, films, and anything else that I’ve some working knowledge in. He doesn’t have to have an MBA from Harvard; however, please be able to engage me. I believe that sex is 50% mental and when a man is intelligent that intrigues me to no end. Just be able to enlighten me about something. It is great learning something new.
5.) 22 – 40 - After my experience dating a 50-year-old I think, for now, I would rather be more age appropriate. Don’t get it twisted if a 50-year-old takes care of himself, and maintains a fresh outlook on life, that is what’s up. However, I would prefer a man in range of me. I just want to feel like I can grow with someone. Again, if the right older man approached me I’d be with it. Until then I would prefer men in the 22-40 range.
6.) Employed - This goes without saying. I really don’t care if he’s a CEO or working at McDonald’s full-time…just as long as he’s working and not trying to leech off me. Granted, I hope that he’s ambitious (if he’s a Mcdonald’s worker); but if he works and its legal then that is all that matters.
7.) Compassionate towards Animals - I can’t express this enough. I love animals. I even donate money to PETA. Don’t even joke around with me about threatening to do ANY physical harm to an animal: be it an insect, dog, cat, rat, or anything else. To me people that are not compassionate towards animals are missing something…I fear such an individual, in all honesty. So it would be great if my guy had a dog or a cat (preferrably a cat). But he must show compassion to all animals.
8.) A moral person - There’s a saying that goes, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” I believe in that. You don’t have to be religious to be a moral person. I’m not religious, at all, yet I have values and respect, for myself and others. Whether he be a Christian or an Atheist I want him to have character. Even when you can’t do the right thing atleast try. I’m not expecting a saint, just a man doing what’s right.
9.) Family and Friends - Someone that is family oriented makes my radar. Naturally, as gay men, we’ve all come into familial conflict. However, it is a bonus if someone is close to his family and friends. That shows me he’ll be there for me, and love me, when I really and truly need him to. As I grow older I’m realizing how truly important this one is.
10.) Swagger - Gotta have some swagg Jack! Now, you definitely don’t have to be some pimp or thug struttin down the street. However, confidence is the ultimate afrodisiac. If you can hold your head up high; walk with some purpose; and be completely secure in your own skin then that is swagger…And that turns me on. ::devilish grin::
11.) Out and Proud - This is an extension of swagger. I need a man who, like me, is not ashamed of being who he is. To me that says that he truly wants to be with me for the long run. No, he does not have to ride the lead float in a Pride parade, nor does he have to have a rainbow bumper sticker. However, on the flip side, I don’t want anyone that operates under the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. This isn’t the army and I’m not Sgt. Toddy English (unless it’s in bed). Be real about your’s and be real about us. If I approach you in public have the audacity to introduce me to your friends and neighbors.
I was in a DL relationship and it left me emotionally drained and distraught. I know that is not what I want for us.
12.) Integrity - This coincides with number eleven and eight. Telling the truth is not optional. It is onething to lie about your age (that is a fib); but if you lie about being married; having children; or being an ex-felon then that seems a bit sociopathic. Being open and honest, I find, is perfect for building a strong foundation. So he has to be honest, if nothing else.
13.) Accept me for me, perceived flaws and all - Alot of times I like to be alone. I grew up as an only child; therefore, I have periods when I prefer quiet and solitude. If you are my man don’t feel as though I’m not in love with you…That is just a personality trait that I have. I will embrace your quirks and idiosyncrasies but you have to extend me the same courtesy. I do have flaws as well; and hopefully I can change them. Just give it time…
14.) A Top - Alright, time for a true confession.
I’m a big ole country bottom. I’ve always played coy about it; however, I confess that is what gets me loose (figuratively speaking), sexually. I tried being open to topping once but (while it gave me pleasure) I wasn’t any good at it. And my mother raised me to believe that if I wasn’t good at something I should find my niche’ elsewhere. Granted, for me, the sum of sex is not the top/bottom paradigm. However, every now and again, a brotha do like his back blown out…
So I would like him to be either a strict or versatile top. No “fully versatile” men because that is code for “bottom in training.”
15.) In or near my area code - I want a man that I can see regularly. I live in a huge city so commuting to see my beloved isn’t an option. So a long distance relationship wouldn’t be my thing either. I’d love for him to be on my side of town.
16.) Let’s Go To a Movie! - I love movies. My DVD cabinet is extensive. And I try and see a movie every two weeks. Granted, he doesn’t have to love them as much as I do, but I would love to go to the theatre and cuddle together.
17.) Light skinned or dark skinned - I prefer black men and white men. I’ve nothing against other groups; however, overwhelmingly, I am attracted to men of African descent (pure black or mixed), closely followed by caucasian men (particularly Italians, Greeks, or anyone with olive skin tone. I even like some blondes too). I’ve yet to meet a Mexican man I’m attracted to. But if we have chemistry I would be down for it.
Preference wise I do prefer my black men overall. Primarily because, culturally, we have that bond. I feel comfortable amongst people that share my experience. The same for whites too (well my mother is half white) simply because I grew up around tons of them.
Drop Dead Deal Breakers - The following are none negotiable. If any of these are broken I can’t even concieve of being with the person.
1.) Must Love Cats - I am serious. My cat is the joy of my life. The only person I love more than my cat is my mother. Moreover, eventually, I would like to adopt another cat (I’ll never have more than two or three at a time). So if you’re allergic to cats or you’ve made it up in your mind that you hate them (for whatever reason)then we can’t be together. I’m a total cat person.
2.) Alcoholic or Drug Abusers - get NO action. If you drink socially that is fine. But if you’re a lush I can’t do nothin for you mane. Get treatment and sober up…Then we can talk.
3.) Emotionally or Physically abusive behavior - No. Bottom line…No. You don’t have the right to touch me, or speak to me, in any manner that makes me feel humiliated, dejected, and low about myself. You don’t have the right to control or possess me either.
I’ll never put up with any abuse from a man, ever.
4.) Respect my sexual choices - If we sleep together we will practice safe sex, no discussion is required. I have a fear (as should everyone) of STD’s and premature death. I don’t want to be yet another statistic. So if he can’t deal with the fact that I always practice safe sex then he doesn’t truly care about me. Furthermore, if he approaches me about having unprotected oral or anal intercourse then he should have no problem taking an HIV test. I play safe all the time because my body is my temple. He should treat his life one too.
5.) Respect my beliefs - I’m not a christian. I’m still not certain if there is even a God at all. And I am open to all different beliefs and faiths. If he cannot respect that then I can’t be with him.
6.) HIV positive individuals - I’ve tried to open myself up to being apart of a magnet couple; however, I just can’t see it. I would be too afraid. And that would inhibit me emotionally and sexually; and it would be a disservice to both of us. I support HIV positive people; and I am all about the fight against AIDS. However, I don’t want to put myself at risk for contracting the virus. I’m sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings but I just can’t be with someone HIV positive.
And that’s about it…
Now, at the risk of sounding rude please spare me any comments about, “Oh you just want the perfect man that you’ll never find!” The main reason I never made a list like that is because of that. It isn’t about seeking the perfect man. There is no such thing as a perfect person. However, I do (we all do) deserve happiness in a relationship and I absolutely refuse to settle for anything less than that. Now that I know I don’t have to I won’t.
Anyway, this posting is the first in my trilogy, “The Evolution of Me: Toddy E’s Journey through the Labyrinth called Life.” These posts will deal with my ground breaking therapy session and what I learned. The next will deal with sexuality. The third and final will be my conclusive post about “God” and what it means to me.