In a day and age when romance seems hopeless, it's a difficult thing to be a hopeless romantic. I would like to think that over the course of the past few years, that "je me suis debarassee" of the intoxicating falsities we learn as little girls from Disney movies and become more of a "romantic pragmatist," as much as that might be an oxymoron.
Why am I bothering with a seemingly fluffy entry about romance, love, and the whole shebang? Simply put, I'm trifling with it because it's undeniable that this is all wrapped up in my grandiose question of "what now?"
In college, I dated here and there casually, but never met anyone who either felt I was worthwhile enough to invest some time in (and not to be cocky, but I have enough self confidence to say that this was their loss) or anyone I likewise wanted to invest time in. I feel that this was a good decision at the time, because I was able to focus on my school work, but also to figure out more of what I need in someone, what works and what doesn't, and why. Now that my strings are cut lose and fate has decided to let me run rampant on the world, I know that I am free to go meet interesting people--for purposes of friendship, or otherwise.
The other thing I will not deny is that I've been burned, but who hasn't? I've also been through a divorce as a child, and really would prefer not to go through another one if possible, so I'm extremely picky and guarded. It takes a lot for me to let me walls down and let someone in, but the paradox of this is that sometimes, I end up feeling rather lonely. Especially when I see cute couples walking along the Seine hand in hand, in none other than one of the most romantic cities on this planet. Oh Paris, I love and hate you all at once.
I, however, refuse to settle. I'm not going to just jump the next attractive guy I see because I feel lonely, I'm not going to find a boyfriend tomorrow because I feel like it's better to have the wrong one than to have none. That's not who I am, and it's not what I do. And I struggle with that because so much of my generation, or at least it seemed in college, is happy to comply with hook-up culture. I refuse to agree with the popular consensus that sex means nothing. Call me old fashioned, but if you want to get to me, you have to have my mind, then my heart, then my body.
So what now?
The conclusion that I've come to is this:
I want the things that money can't buy, the things like respect, friendship, trust, compromise, sincerity, thoughtfulness.
I want someone to be my best friend, someone with whom to laugh so hard I could cry and cry so hard I have to laugh.
I want someone who will challenge me, broaden my horizons, make me consider things I normally wouldn't consider.
I want someone in the end who will be ok leaving the kids with the sitter on a Friday night so we can go on a date and flirt shamelessly like we did when we first started dating.
The more I see of the world, the more I'm convinced I want someone who will want to see the world with me, and that's a priority. Hell, let's take the family to Ireland or Morocco or China and have a rockin' good time.
I want someone who will be ok with the fact that I'm a complete and total nerd, that sometimes I'm just a touch bizarre.
He doesn't have to be perfect, and in fact, I'll probably find all his little flaws endearing when it's right. I have no preference for eye color or hair color, or skin color, but speaking a language I speak would be a plus. I don't have a checklist of traits someone has to have, with the exception of what I've listed above.
So what now? At 22, I feel like I know who I am, and I know what I want. I'm in no way looking to find 'Mr. Right' right now. Instead, I'm ready to go on the crazy journey that I know finding that person is going to involve.
But such is the plight of the hopeless romantics. We think, we mull, we dream, but until dreams seemingly become reality, we remain ever hopeless. In fact, part of me remains partially terrified I will never find anyone, which is both neurotic and irrational, but no one ever guaranteed that this love deal was rational.
And so I toast again to the journey, and to all the hopeless romantics out there.