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A party guest nudged in to the sink tonight to rinse his wine glass, and I wished him happy anniversary on this, his 45th wedding anniversary.  He willingly and joyfully shared his story with me:  He’d been a fireman.  His apartment had a bar.  Hers did not.  So, she began frequenting his apartment complex’s bar.  The first night she walked in he turned to his friend and said, “See that girl?  The girl standing in the doorway?  I could marry her.”  It took him eleven months to get the guts to introduce himself.  He walked up to her at almost 9 o’clock on December 28 and asked her to dinner.  She said yes, and they hurried to the nicest steak house in town.  They let them in though it was nearly closing time, and they had the place to themselves.  He proposed a month later, and they were married two months after that, three months to the day that he had introduced himself.  The rest…..is history.

I told him my best friend and her mother-in-law both said they would “marry that man” the first time they laid eyes on their husbands.  He said that he has friends who also have experienced that and lived happily til death.  He said, “When it’s right, you know it.  You just know it.”

He then asked how long I’ve been married.  When I told him I’m divorced, he immediately asked if I’d like a good man in my life.  Of course!  I explained, “I’m very happy.  I’m content.  I have UH-MAZING friends, beautiful children and grandchildren; I really love what I do for a living; and I feel fulfilled writing my blog.  I’m not desperate.  I don’t feel like I need a man.  It would just be nice……”

He told me that anyone I meet will have to pass muster with all of the people who are a part of this group I was hostessing for, and he let me know he’s on the search to find me a good man.

That’s why I’ve been on one date, if you can call it that, in the almost four years since my ex-husband left.  I’m holding out for a good man.

And, I do have a “safety” list.  This one list that I look at nearly every day lately.  I wrote it shortly after R left.  I wrote it while the pain and fear were fresh, when I didn’t think I could recover from the mess of my life.  I wrote it when the memories of his cruelty were FRESH.

These are the required attributes of the next man:

  1. All consuming faith
  2. Transparent and honest
  3. Dependable
  4. Strong and independent
  5. Gentle
  6. Supportive
  7. Financially healthy
  8. Brave
  9. Patient
  10. Confident
  11. Thoughtful
  12. A COURAGEOUS MAN (like the movie)

Each of the bachelors I’ve met online have been put to this litmus test, and nearly all have failed miserably.

Bachelor #2 speaks clear and fluent Christianese.  But, it all seems a little smarmy.  There’s an uneasy feeling in my gut.  Something just isn’t right, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I just know it.  However, on our weird date-not-a-date it all became crystal clear when I assessed him according to THE LIST.

He asked what I wanted to eat, and I told him, having just got off work, I really just wanted water.  He feigned being upset that the waiter hadn’t brought my water because he’d asked for it before I arrived.   I told him it was okay.  I was sure the waiter would be around shortly.  He said, “No!”  and got up to go tell the waiter to bring me water.  Kinda seems chivalrous, right?  He’s taking care of my needs, right?  Not really.  He didn’t respect my no.  He expected the waiter to stop waiting on other customers to bring me, Princess, my water.  That just doesn’t seem very gentle or patient, does it?

Over dinner he told me how he’d had a successful business but let it go after his first divorce because he was just too upset to handle it.  His house was auctioned off last week because he couldn’t deal with everything after his second divorce…..FIVE FRICKEN YEARS AGO!   [Insert sound of screeching brakes or needle scratching across a record.]   He allows his business to just fail because his little feelers are hurt?!  In five years’ time he can’t get his shit together enough to pay his house payment because he got dumped a second time?!   Doesn’t sound dependable, strong and independent, brave, or financially healthy, does he?

Then, there’s Bachelor #3.  He constantly baited me, letting me know that he really doesn’t think much of women in general.  We’re apparently all greedy and bossy.  At least he was transparent and honest!  But, he’d have never been gentle, supportive, patient, thoughtful, or courageous.  And, I knew it.

Bachelor #4 recently sent me an email telling me how angry he was that I had not returned his email, and it had been over a week.  He’s feeling like our communication is very one-sided.   Oh, boo hoo.  Seems like someone has forgotten that he doesn’t own me and isn’t entitled to my response or my time after exchanging a mere four or five emails.  His little verbal temper tantrum screamed that he will never be independent or patient.  He wants it and he wants it now, and he needs my attention!

Bachelors #3, 5, and 7 all follow soft core porn pages on Facebook, so that whole Courageous thing???   Not gonna happen.  Guy #5 even went so far as to ask for a picture of me in my swimsuit and then asked for me to tell him what I would do to him if he were here.  When I refused, he said that our “relationship/friendship” couldn’t continue unless we could tell each other everything.  Hmmm…….manipulative much?

Bachelor #6 does not view those types of pages.  He professes a sincere and deep love for Christ.  But, he believes that if a woman like me marries, I’ll be forcing the man to commit adultery every day of his life because I’m divorced.  There is no freedom from the sins of my ex, no redemption of the years the locusts ate, no hope in Christ for a new life.  Not for me.  I’m divorced.  Apparently that is the unpardonable sin.  I’m still confused as to why he was on a dating site, looking for a partner, when he is also divorced.  He doesn’t believe he has the “right” to remarry either.  But, he moved a woman into his house for several months.  Apparently willful fornication is forgivable.  Divorce, for any reason, is not.  Sorry, I’m standing on I Corinthians 7:15 and Matthew 5:22.   My unbelieving ex-husband committed adultery and abandoned me.  God says I’m no longer bound.  Bachelor #6’s all-consuming faith seems to be in his own cafeteria style theology.

And, I suspected, on our very first communications, that Bachelors 2 through 7 weren’t “it.”  There was something amiss.  Something just didn’t feel right.   I knew it before I looked at THE LIST that there was something wrong with them.

When I attend functions, like tonight, even though it was work, and everyone else is a happy couple, I could get to feeling like I should excuse some things.  After all, everyone is human.  We’re all sinful.  We all make mistakes.  I can’t be too particular.  I’m not perfect; I certainly can’t expect perfection out of anyone else.

But, then, there’s THE LIST.  Whether or not my elderly friend at the party tonight really examines any potential suitor or not, they must pass the muster of THE LIST, my list.  And, it is condemning.

The bottom line is, I’d rather be alone than with the wrong man.  Again.  I’d rather wait until it’s right for me.  And, I’ll know it when it is.  I’ll know because I have THE LIST and also because I’ve learned to trust my own gut instincts.