A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Once upon a time (on the heels of a mistake turn on my romantic journey), Karen Anderson issued a challenge to me:
I want you to write a post about the man of your dreams. I want you to write every detail about this guy. I want you to write about the good men out there...the ones that don't come with any warnings. Don't hold back...write as if your life depended on it. The only catch is, it all has to be written in glowingly positive terms and phrases.

Do you accept??
I will start my answer by roughly quoting my friend Jorge, who said "All women are like ticking time bombs, it's just a matter of finding what sets them off. "

So the simple answer, using Jorge's metaphor, would be that the right man for me (or any woman) is the one that can disarm me.

Rather, he is not a charmer (same as what one does to snakes) but rather the enzyme to my substrate, the key to my lock, the MacGuyver to my sticks of dynamite mounted to a clock. The right man will allow me to let down my defenses and will not dishonor that trust.

But Karen wanted specifics, right? I will use Patti Stanger's help with this. In her book "Become Your Own Matchmaker" she suggests making a few lists, but in particular (on page 140 of the paperback), (1) Ten Must Haves; and (2) Five Non-Negotiables. The five non-negotiables are the first five entries on the ten must haves list. I figured that is a good a place as any to start (and i will try my best to put it in positive terms):

1. He must live with integrity. For me, this means a man who values honesty, treats all people with kindness and respect, values his reputation as a good and kind man (a gentleman), and who lives by a deeply-engrained moral compass of his own formation. He sees himself as the sum of all his thoughts and actions, not just his best ones. He honors his commitments and stands by his word.

2. He must be healthy. For me, this means someone who takes care of himself in all aspects of his life. He might not be perfect all the time (none of us are), or "in progress," but he seeks to be: balanced psychologically; curious intellectually/mentally; active physically; and, responsible fiscally. If these are the case, he seeks no woman to be his cure, but be his bounty. He also knows grass fed steaks are better than corn fed. He is a non-smoker and has no substance addictions. (And I promise to never view him as a "fixer upper" if he can see my progress in return.)

3. He must see the joy and possibilities of life with humor in his heart and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. For me, this means someone who defines himself not by what he does to make money, but by the friends he makes, the lives he enriches, the wonders he sees. He is more of an optimist and sees brick walls as challenges, not boundaries. He sees the world as his playground and I his willing playmate.

4. He is strong enough to protect me and vulnerable enough to let me protect him. Physically I would like to find my big spoon (someone taller and stronger than me), but emotionally/mentally I would like someone who can be my fortress, my comfort, my relief, my counterbalance, and my hero. I will be those things to him in return. This depends entirely on honesty, trust, compassion, friendship, and fidelity.

5. He must love animals. Hopefully I don't need to explain this one.

6. He is romantic. I don't mean the cheesy/predictable type. And I don't expect him to be a mindreader. I just mean the kind of guy that pays attention/notices. He sees romance not as a means to get sex, but as the outward expression of his feelings. He is also communicative and flirty with me. He smiles when he sees me walk in a room.

7. He is generous. Not in terms of money or gifts, but in terms of time and thought. He will debate, but rarely argue or fight. He volunteers somewhere that means a great deal to him. He is the guy his friends know they can call in the middle of the night. He is driven more by the common good than personal enrichment. He thinks the best of people until they prove otherwise, and still can forgive.

8. He doesn't sweat the small stuff. Sometimes details are important, sometimes they are not. He knows the difference. When they are important, he is deliberate and thoughtful. When they are not, he knows when to let go.

9. He knows how to be silly. He knows how to laugh at himself. He knows how to get others to laugh. He is not a punchline or a buffoon, but someone whose pride is not fragile.

10. He knows how to cook, is handy with tools, and/or enjoys cleaning. I am not looking for a slave or to be one either. Nesting is best when done as a collaborative effort. He is interested in trying new recipes, learning how things work, etc.

Reading back on what I wrote, my list is mainly about my perfect man's character and his outlook on life. However, Karen asked for a comprehensive description, so I assume that means also describing my "type." I must admit that any time I have dreamed about my perfect man, the above list never came with a face or body. To that extent, I hope that means I am flexible regarding the superficial traits below:

Nathan Fillion is dreamy.

My dream guy ....
--is over 5'10 (the taller the better), and between 175 and 230lbs, with a generally fit physique, but not rock solid or on the juice.
--smells good (combination of laundry detergent, soap and/or cologne)
--practices good oral hygiene (yes, he flosses)
--can equally appreciate a well-tailored suit/tux, the right pair of jeans, as well as dry-fit technology (he also has disdain for all things Ed Hardy-esque, and would never be confused for a hipster)
--maybe has dark hair and light blue/green/grey eyes, full lips, and a nice tush
--is cool with me eating meat even if he doesn't
--is educated, but not an insufferable snob about it
--has full command of the English language and its grammar, and he opts to use it
--is someone my dad would to be proud to call "son" without wanting to run a criminal background check on him
--knows that the way to my heart is winning over my cats and respecting my teddy bear's place on my bed
--can draw a solid line between work and life
--can socialize sober
--is as happy living in the city as he is vacationing on the beach or in the middle of nowhere
--has musical talent and/or an appreciation for music
--is willing to dance badly with me, or well for me
--is a voracious reader of more than just cereal boxes
--has diverse interests and unlimited curiosity
--is witty (humor + smarts + timing)
--would rather play outside than on a gaming system, and is maybe on a sports team
--is atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, quasi buddhist
--likes to travel and is as comfortable camping as he is in a hotel
--is experienced sexually, but not a manslut, has no STDs or dangerous fetishes
--is a generous, creative, and patient lover and loves kissing
--doesn't steal all the covers or snore loudly
--either wants kids or is indecisive
--never calls an ex-girlfriend a bitch
--can see himself in a monogamous/committed relationship
--will never throw the kitchen sink at me (dredge up the past)
--is not violent/controlling to me, kids, animals, etc., and does not have a temper
--risks hurting me with the truth, rather than hurting me with lies

(okay... Gonna stop as i see the list is long and veering towards negative traits)
so I'll end with what I want above all else...

My dream guy says he loves me (sincerely without cause or prompting), acts like he loves me (in public and in private, and never makes me doubt that he loves me (even if we are fighting). He disarms me and lets me be the best version of myself while loving him.

Disney's Cinderella told her little bird and mouse friends that she wasn't going to tell them her dreams for fear they wouldn't come true (that telling would jinx her). I am a little nervous about hitting "post" for the same reason. But in the same scene, she sings "no matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true." I know that is Karen's intent, for me to announce my intentions to the universe.

Who knows... Maybe the next dating post I write will be simply to tell you this worked and I am madly in love.

Here goes...


Twin yes, clone no :P
Gotta draw the line somewhere.


This prince charming could be some combination of Jesus, Buddha & Gandhi and your father will most likely still want to run a criminal background check on him.


Probably.... he is very protective :P


I love that you made this list! I too made a list a couple of years ago. And exactly a year after the list was made B-Fry and I got together. (http://brookenotonadiet.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/some-things-are-just-meant-to-be/) So I'm a firm believer in throwing it out in the universe! :)


he needs to be part of triplets since Misty already called dibs on his twin..and I want one too!


GOOD JOB GIRLFRIEND!!!! I love it...now, print out a copy of this, fold it up, and stick in the back of a bureau drawer or at the back of the top shelf in a closet and forget about.

Oh, and it just so happens I married a guy just like this!! :-)


It is such a comfort to know (1) that this guy exists (at least in your experience); and (2) that my list isnt unreasonable.

Oprah once quoted/paraphrased someone who said "fate is the intersection of opportunity and preparedness" -- karen's exercise (and by printing it out and keeping it on my mind) makes me prepared. Just need the opportunities to meet him.

Thanks all!


sorry I'm already taken...

on a serious note: This is a beautiful post.

On a more serious note: you are a beautiful woman.


Gawwwwwww Tara... Thank you on all accounts.


In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray asks Andie McDowell to describe her perfect man and her list is far less comprehensive, but Bill keeps saying, "Me, me, me..." Until she says something and he responds, "I'm really close on this," or something to that effect.

I'm not going anywhere with that; your list just reminded me of hers. :)

It's a good list.


I do hope you realize that the more exact you paint a picture of the guy your looking for, the more frustrated you will be when one that is close doesn't live up to such expectations.

As the Gin Blossoms said "If you don't expect too much from me, you might not be let down." So I would suggest not sticking to all of the hard and fast rules on here. That's my motto, anyway, and as of Monday I will be married almost two years.

Although I do make up about 90% of the things on here (so I think you're on the right track ;) ), another huge piece of advice: numbers. Date and go out A LOT! Date two, THREE, FOUR at the same time! The more potential candidates you find, the more likely one of them is bound to be the right one. If one isn't working, know so, move on, and keep moving. Don't get stuck with someone who won't be right. Happiness is the primary goal, and if you're not happy, keep moving. Also, don't give second chances if it doesn't work out the first time. The chances of a relationship being compatible after it's failed the first time are slim to none.

Anyway, and always: good luck! :)

- Ocho


Paul: You know, I've never seen that movie? Maybe I should??

Ocho: I am not treating the list as a checklist of must-haves. Karen wanted me to meditate on what really matters most to me in a mate and what it boiled down to was having someone who is genuine, affectionate, and joyful. That comes in many packages, eh? As far as aesthetic things, the only things i'm adamant about is being a non-smoker and being taller than I am. I can even be happy with "as tall as I am" -- but tall men do something to my heartrate and my ladyparts.


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