Man with a plan…

You meet one night at the grocery store when he leans over and asks you what exactly a persimmon is actually for. He’s lovely- attractive, intelligent, funny and confident as all hell. That he has a very nice ass doesn’t go astray either.

He seems adequately shy and charming enough not to be scary when he asks for your number. You give him your spare one, the one you don’t use, just in case. He calls. The next day, in the afternoon, not to seem desperate and all that. (Dating. Kinda like fishing in dark, piranha-infested waters. Blindfolded.)

You meet for dinner. He picks you up. In his age-appropriate, suitably un-embarrassing car. He smells good. He looks good. Your conversation is easy, comfortable and engaging. You’ve just had your first dinner date. Then second, then fifth. Oh, you can almost smell the promise in the air, can’t you?

You meet his parents, you go for long walks on the beach at sunset, you talk about your fantasy wall paint colour for your fantasy house together.

I hate to gatecrash, but, blah blah fishpaste.

I have had a lightbulb-moment that has been 15 years in the making, and I’ve worked flippin hard to get here, so girls, I am going to share it with you:

Have you asked him yet?

You know, the THREE QUESTIONS you have to ask a man before you even consider that second dinner.

  • Who is he? (his label, his badge, his “I am a fireman and I wear that with pride” speech)
  • What does he do? (“I fight fires better than any other goddamn fireman on God’s green earth”)
  • What does he want, and what is he doing to get there? (“I want to be the best fireman in the history of mankind”)

If a man answers “I have no idea where I am going, I hate my job, I studied horticulture but I think I want to be a plumber, I don’t want a serious relationship, and I hate children”… BELIEVE HIM. 

Fucking hell, if only I had known this 10 years ago. I always thought it was up to me to make a man want to be a man, for lack of a better description. The eternal optimist, the martyr, the nurse. “Aww, that’s okay, he’s depressed, that’s why he hasn’t stepped up and asked for that raise he deserved 7 years ago”, “The reason why we haven’t talked about our future is because he just hasn’t had the time”, “He’s just started working there, he’s feeling it out”. No, no and no. Men are simple creatures that we insist on psychologising. It doesn’t matter if he’s a talented but yet undiscovered radio jingle composer, that he’s a brilliant but yet unpublished obituary author, or that he’s an ornithologist who lost his binoculars. When he is not getting credit when it’s due, he will be sad and feeling valueless. And until he is getting kudos for the amazing man that you know he is, he will not be able to give your relationship the time, effort, attention and respect it deserves. 27, 36, 45, 62 years old, it has no bearing on this elusive compass (although, if you’re dating a man who’s 62 and wandering around aimlessly through life, there’s a good chance he’s homeless and smells like meths).

I hate to admit it, but this is where men’s electrical wiring makes sense. How on earth can you be Mr Right when you don’t know who you are?

By giving the Man Without A Map (or woman, for that matter) the benefit of the doubt, continuously, when your gut is whispering “we’re heading off into the ditch here, and I don’t seem to be driving this vehicle” is doing BOTH of you a disservice. You’ll seem like the pressurising, nagging ball-and-chain and his balls will shrink to the size of raisins in no time (approximately 8 months, if anyone’s asking).

I realise by stating my brutal, cut-and-dried opinion I am sidelining out about 98% of all potential suitors out there. But this opinion goes for me as much as them. You cannot be happy with someone else until you know what makes you tick; what propels you to inhale and exhale every day.

You could be Gisele bloody Bündchen, but if he is wandering around aimlessly through life, he still will be, except that he has an attractive accoutrément as company.

So I might have to tattoo this new-found wisdom to my palm so as to remember not to make excuses on his behalf when my next date mentions that he still lives with his parents.

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