Saturday, May 10, 2008

Do I

"guess what I did today/those were the words i said to you/it was last may/don't know the exact date/in my hand there was a ring/then you told me/that you loved me/more than anything in your life/so i asked you/would you do me/the honor of being my wife..."--Case

Last year, an email chain was circulated detailing an Atlanta man's elaborate proposal to his girlfriend. He moved in with his sister for almost a year to save money for this event in which he rented out ten suites in downtown ATL's Ritz-Carlton and gathered their friends and families to have a whole "Proposal Night". He took her to all ten suites, a different group of family members/friends in each one, and had one person in each room read a special letter to her. He had organized candles and gold-dipped roses in each suite, and the floor of every room was sprinkled with rose petals. After the letter was read in each room, the group prayed over the girl and her impending nuptials. It was sweet. A little much for me, but sweet nonetheless. I wonder if, when she was a child, she ever envisioned or hoped for a marriage proposal like the one she received. Maybe it fell short of the dreams she had...or maybe it exceeded any vision she'd ever experienced.

Romantic little girls always have a scenario in mind about how they would like to one day be proposed to. Me, personally, I was fast--I always dreamed that my boyfriend would do it in our apartment with candles everywhere. Friends of mine dreamed of helicopter messages, baseball games with messages on the scoreboard, expensive restaurants. There are a million little romantic ways to do it, and each girl's own idea of her future proposal speaks volumes to who she is . The one thing they never think about, though, is that when somebody asks to marry them, they might not want to.

One thing little girls can't grasp that grown women are all too aware of is the fact that there is far more to life than unbridled passion and romance. Normally, I'm speaking from the other side of this arugment--that people don't pay enough attention to finding that ridiculous, breath-taking love that makes your arms break out in goosebumps and your legs cross. But there are areas of fulfillment to cover when considering the "perfect" partner, and love, while a huge portion of the pie chart, is still just a portion.

Two years ago, I briefly dated a man who was older and had been married twice before. He already had two children, one from each of the marriages, and was looking to have two more in his third and final (so he said) marriage. He was kind, spiritual*, talented, smart, successful, was incredibly financially secure, attractive and he liked the things I liked. He was also crazy as a gooney bird. He stayed strapped and had an over-the-top paranoia complex. Even though I had no worries when I was with him, I was always slightly on edge. He constantly tried to test me on the marriage question: "so...if I proposed like, next month, would you say yes then?" and "okay, well, what if you just came and lived with me for awhile, do you think you'd be ready in like six months?". After a particularly terrifying incident involving a pistol and a random passerby he was certain was "trying to test him", I was forced to end all talk of marriage by breaking up with him. Our whirlwind relationship ended in a series of voicemails on my service all starting with "Baby, please pick up the phone...". Never in my little lady fantasies did I think I'd ever look a man with his list of pros in the face and decline a life with someone who adored me and offered every little bit of security I could possibly imagine. But as a child, I never thought the first person to ask me to marry him would be a psychopath, either.

I have three friends getting married this year, one from childhood, one from high school and one from college. So, the idea of marriage has been on my mind. It's not something that I'm looking to do right now, but it occurs to me that at this juncture in life we have to be a little more seriously evaulating these men. Seriously evaluting their station in life, their potential, how much and how well they love us, what kind of parents they'll make and how well they can manage our respective brands of BIC. Even though most of us are still a ways from any broom-jumping, I do wonder, both for myself and my friends, about the next time I'll get the opportunity to answer the big question...and especially about the time I get to say "yes".

I realized relatively recently that I'm actually aging (for years I thought it was impossible!). Not that I don't feel young. But I realize that that little furnace in the bottom of my biological clock has a few embers burning. So, it got me thinking that I need to be preparing myself for a relationship again--a seriously serious one this time. I also realized that I needed to figure out what kind of man I really want and what I have to offer him. This led me to, at the beginning of last year, sit down and craft a 52-point list of what I'm looking for and a 50-point list of what I have to offer. I recently posed the question to some of my homeboys via text "what kind of love from a woman makes you want to be a better man?" I got some interesting responses. One said a lot: "a focused, confident woman with a good upbringing, thinks outside the box...someone that makes me feel that if I don't stay on my A game, I'll get left behind" and another said simply "faith and trust". I got "someone who never makes me feel weird even if she thinks I'm independent" and another just said "cool, fine".

Since this topic interests me so right now, I pose a question now to you ladies...what is your ideal man like, and if you see yourself getting married in the future, how would that ideal man ask? Be honest!


Court said...

I made this list awhile back...its kind of long tho...

1. Smells good (makes me want to be up on a guy...even when he looks like
2. Honesty/Loyalty/Dedicated
3. Supportive/Sacrificing
4. Nice Feet (a must...I have the weirdest foot fettish)
5. Intelligent/Ambitious (can't have anyone working at Mickey D's and this is a way to tell if they want the most out of life)
6. Individual
7. Open-minded
8. Spontaneous/Adventurous (this is a BIG deal, and I don't mean to dis the brothers but it's hard to find this in a black man)
9. Sincere/Genuine
10. Creative
11. Deep Thinker
12. Sexually Aggressive/Open
13. Protective
14. Physically Active (active in general...I like someone who stays busy)
15. Athletic Built (basically someone with broad shoulders and chest and has a tiny waste)
16. Exotic Looking
17. Passionate (this is also a BIG deal...and I don't mean this neccessarily in a romantic sense as long as he's passionate about something)
18. Free-Spirited (no uptightness...ewww...yuck)
19. Good Communicator
20. Well Groomed
21. Slightly Arrogant (idk why but it's a turn-on...and I do emphasize slightly)
22. A Jokester (basically someone who likes to laugh and isn't overly serious all the time)
23. Worldly
24. An "Us First" Attitude (as opposed to a "You First" (push-overs) or a "Me First" (selfish) attitude)
25. Good/Common Values (family/friends, money, education/knowlege, social change, individualism, living life to the fullest, freedom, art)

26. I should have put this as number 1 but I believe that one of the problems with our generation is that we tend not to bring GOD into our relationships. And because of that our relationships are destined to fail. It's a given. So I guess for now on, I'm making my number one requirement for any friend I have to be someone who puts the man upstairs first.

27. A good Rapport of me, love is a solid foundation of unwavering friendship that happens naturally (this actually should have been number two)

I'm not the sentimental type b/c I find it a lil embarrassing and elaborate displays makes me want to go run and hide... but I am rebellious so my ideal proposal would go something like this:

bf: what do u want to do today.
me: idk, let's do something stupid.
bf: want to get married?
me: okay

then we go elope in Vegas drive down to L.A. ink and get matching tattos.

Court said...

just to add....I'm not big on celebrating proposals or the beginning of marriage...

being together for 5 years+ is something to celebrate...I'm the type who would be low-key for my wedding but go all out for my halmark anniversaries.