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what began as an open letter to the boy who followed just behind me in the park yesterday.

{disclaimer: this whole thing only makes half-sense to me, so expect confusion.}

i knew immediately i wasn't attracted to you.

call it female intuition.

but i was impressed.

impressed that you asked for directions (a lie, no?) and then proceeded to follow two paces behind me as we crossed to the west side.

and then annoyed. annoyed that the guys who follow girls home in the parks are never the guys you'd like to interrupt your meditative walk.

you kept the conversation going (difficult since i gave you one to two word answers), you in your floppy hat and me in my black, below-the-knee boots.

and still i wasn't interested.

and you asked what i did, and i said writer. and you asked if i self-published and i said no (known lie #2) and you wondered why not, after all, you had a blog (discernible turn-off #2 {ironic, no?} the first being the hat). you went on to talk about grad school and working in a restaurant (turn off, again).

and i felt bad judging you harshly for those things that i myself did. but then you did it. you said you were off to the Met with a friend where you'd smoke pot and wander around the galleries marveling at all the artwork.

and there it was.

i have passed the point of finding such cliche's attractive (though i'm quite sure that was never a line that impressed me).

but bottom line is this: you're a boy. you're still a boy.

it's funny how taste changes over time.

but it does.

quickly, sometimes.

and you wake to find you want something else entirely. because the things that used to draw you in now serve as warning signs. index-finger-ring? keep walking. silver pocket chain? not for me. the brain has evolved into a multi-layered thinking device. step one: tatoos, heavy scruff, no nine-to-five job? immediate interest (and this is where it used to end), but now, the mind continues on to step two: that interest muted by other more pressing matters. like the knowledge that in the past, men with those things never provided any kind of meaningful relationship.

and believe it or not i do learn from mistakes.

yes, i want adventure. and yes, the bad-boy will always hold a certain lure, but i want so much more than that.

i had a conversation with a male-friend a few months back where i spoke of a changing set of attractions--one where stability ranked much higher than a proclivity for the grunge-band look.

and said friend said i was settling.

and instinctively (female intuition once more) i knew he was wrong.

this biological clock thing isn't just about wanting children. it's about needing to provide for those children. about choosing the right partner to bear children with. and as a woman you start preparing for the final step (children) years before you've ever even met the man.

(i think.)

because it's biology. evolution, even. it comes down to a working science that we don't even realize is in operation until long after the plates have shifted.

my friends used to joke about what high standards i have. and i would balk and say no. take me to a ballgame, feed me a hot dog and call it a day. i'm easy in that sense. but you know what? maybe they were right. take me to a ballgame, yes. but the guy sure as hell has to be worth it.

no floppy hats here, please.


Micaela said...

love love love love this. It means so much...

sometimes people use that ugly word "settling" for something much more beautiful... like finally realizing what is good for you and said future.

that lust (bad boys) is not a foundation enough to build a future on. because when you take a step back and really look at it... really look at what your heart truly knows it wants (sometimes before you even realize)...

a man who wants to bear children with you but doesn't necessarily do the heavy scruff quite right... is even sexier than anything else that was in your past.

this comment doesn't make sense either but i have a feeling you will get it ;)

love love love this.

Mariah said...

I've found that pretty much everything you've said here sums up my recent attitude toward guys. I'm sick of boys... Boys who think it's okay to spend the rest of their lives changing majors in Uni, boys who mooch off their parents because they're too lazy to get a job, boys who think it's weird that you like to read (and like to act like a smart, educated individual), boys who say they want one thing, but really all they want is another... Where are the men? The men who can still laugh and be silly and play instruments, but have drive and passion and the desire to love me for me...

Rhianna said...

I love this post. It makes perfect sense. I have been pondering these same exact things the past couple of days.

Melissa said...

Hi...just stumbled upon your blog and think you're such a fabulous, insightful writer.

I think a lot about the term settling and what it really means and I've decided I know what I want. It's not unrealistic or too high of an expectation. If it doesn't exist and men aren't going to live up to the challenge of being real men then I guess I'm not interested.

Anyway, love your blog!

Carrie said...

Meg dear, I think you make a marvelous point. While boys can be charming, they're just that: boys. And there comes a day when a girl is done with boys and ready to move on to the ever illusive men. Kudos to you for pegging it so well. ;)

Anonymous said...

I love this too! I was always the same way... I had a set "type," and whether that type was good for me or not, didn't matter. Hot guys were hot guys! But I realized that really good people come along when you throw out your "type" all-together. When you don't worry or over-analyze things, and just open yourself up to meeting new and unique people. That's always when the best ones come along, regardless of whether or not they have scruff or what music they listen to.

Kimberly said...

You're too wonderful to just "settle".
Keep your standards high, you deserve it.
Any man would be lucky to have you love him.

jenna said...

Girl, I feel your pain.
High standards vs settling.
How do you know when you've struck the proper and beautiful balance?
I just hope the guy that comes along and tries to win my heart makes it easy for me by being awesome.

Ashley Taylor said...

This is a great post and I felt the same way before meeting my husband... who is, coincidently 8.5 years older than me. Our maturity is definitely in sync (because I was mature for my age and he was a youth pastor and had to stay up with being relevant and he just doesn't ever want to be the old, clueless man), but he had a strong set of principles and something he called "The Man Code." It was a set of laws men should abide by. Like opening doors and being a finanical provider and loving rock and roll but knowing that you shouldn't be in a band if you want to be a good husband and father. I respect my husband immensely and love him deeply for his humor, maturity (and lack thereof), and for how he provides. He was worth the wait. I hope you find the same. :)

elliebird said...

on a much larger scale, i took that same walk with a guy(...no, a boy) this past summer. the "bad boy" will always have allure, but i can't settle for that. cute doesn't make Godly. but then, Godly doesn't necessarily make babies. marriage is hard, but i want to fight for it with someone who will fight with me, not just be by my side.

my plates are shifting, and it's scary. i just hope i end up in the right place.

J. said...

oh, that "s" word!! settling... it sends shivers down my spine.
My problem is this: I am a free spirit. I choose to live a fairly uncoventional life. And my idea of 'settling' is me being with a man who doesn't posess both the 'bad boy' traits and the promise of a secure future. Tattoos? yes. Scruff? yes. A stable job? yes.
What can I say? I want it all.

Jessica Tingey said...

Doesn't it take a special kind of confidence to be selective like this? A confidence that maybe we could only gain from opening those kinds of mistakes you mentioned. But it really is a freeing feeling to accept the mantle that comes with being in charge of your own selection process. Love this!

Amanda said...

The age-old biological clock conundrum.

I find myself in an opposite predicament, where I used to be attracted to the "alpha-male" type guys that I knew could provide... and I know that I should be attracted to them, still. But over the course of the last year I've learned that stability and provisions might come in different forms other than financial status, and I'm becoming more and more drawn to the artsy types.

But I'm with you on the baseball thing- take me to a game, give me a dog and a beer, and I'm yours! :)

erin elder said...

LOVE this post.

there is something to be said about knowing exactly what you want. and i don't believe it should be considered settling, or high standards -- it's knowing what you want, plain and simple. and kudos to you for that.

this post made perfect sense to me, and i loved every word of it.

The Rookie said...

YES! Biological clock or not, I think we all grow to a point where stability is essential. I call it The Goodness Factor. Goodness connoting stability and similar goals and maturity and an ethically, deliberately lived life. THAT so completely outshadows scruffy sexiness. Goodness IS sexy.

Ruth said...

LOVE this post, and totally get it. You put it perfectly.

We won't settle!

olivia rae said...

loved reading this post and all the comments. i can't wait till you write a book meg.

Sarah said...

This is completely spot-on.

Ross & Amanda Goodman said...

Meg, you are so lovely. This described in almost perfect terms what I went through in finding my husband. He sure as Hell was not the kind of guy I EVER thought I would 'settle' for, and yet, he is the best thing to have ever happened to me. It seems that all the appearance based things I had been looking for didn't quite mesh with the standards I had set as far as morality, life goals, and devotion went.

If my choice is considered by anyone as settling, then I reccommend it to all women!

Sara said...

Perhaps I misread this post, but if I got it right...

...isn't it super fantastic when you know yourself well enough that you can look at someone and say, "No. It's not you" ?

I'm getting so much better at that. When I first started doing it, at first I reprimanded myself for being too picky or exclusive or judging a book by its cover.

I don't care about that anymore because what's the point in telling yourself you could learn to like croakies (which are VERY big in the south... blech) if you haven't even met the guy yet?

Brittany said...


i know this.
i love wanting something worth it.

m. estelle said...

amen to miss olivia's comment.
THAT would be a book with "dog ears and coffee stains"

i love this.
really and truly.

Belen said...

you are fantastic.

i've never had a boyfriend, yet my "crushes" have changed drastically over the years in personality. i'm not just interested in them because they're cute or handsome, but then i start forming that idea that they'd make a wonderful husband and father.

whoa. just whoa.
you summed it up perfectly.

Brittan said...

go with this. it will save you from confusing, heartbreaking, time wasting relationships with the wrong boy. there is no doubt in my mind that you will waltz right into the arms of a wonderful man who will make a strong, loving husband and father.

Karls said...

Totally! I believe 3 important things that help you to find your soul mate are:
1. Knowing yourself
2. Knowing what you don't want
3. Knowing what you do want

Looks like the first 2 are in the bag love!

Nothing wrong with standards honey! My husband had had one girlfriend (when he was 19) before he met me at 30. He says he wasn't interested in spending time with people he wasn't truly and utterly in love with... it saved him so much of the heartache I went through. Having said that... he is a much more stable and evolved character than I and I needed to go through the shit in order to learn those 3 things in order to send him my way.

Signorina Svizzera said...

Hear hear!!! I am always made fun of for my high standards, but I keep them for a reason.
I'm glad I'm not the only one :)

Anna said...

i think finding your blog was the highlight of my day. scratch that, week!!
i adore everything about it & you.

Taylor Norris said...

you have your head on right. that's why i appreciate your comments so much, thanks for lending me your brains!

I hope your Advent season is treating you well!

iheartkiwi said...

don't you worry miss meg, relationships come in all shapes and sizes. there is no mold for the perfect man.

who knows, maybe there is a stable, loving, scruffy, tattooed man out there just for you!

*donna* said...

i love this post - this is me 2 years ago when my friends said i was settling for my now fiance.

he's kind, stable and most importantly, loves me immensely.

i was never settling. i was learning from terrible mistakes i had made in the past. i had identified traits i wanted to exist in my future husband (and those i definitely did not!).

this boy wasn't arrogant, captain of the football team or the loudest boy in the crowd. instead, he was all mine.

i wasn't settling. i had merely grown up - don't be afraid of that :0)

Camilla Salem said...

what an interesting and thought provoking post...its funny for me, one day, it just hit me that the type of man i thought i wanted wasn't what i wanted at all. taste does change and so do values and interests.

i tell my current boyfriend and probably future husband all the time that its not simply that i love him or that i'm attracted to him but i actually feel a biological, evolutionary need to have children with him. i actually want his children to be my children. weird huh? maybe even borderline crazy. i chalk it up to the fact that i think we're incredibly compatible genetically.
who knows?

all i know is that as soon as i really re-evaluated what i wanted in life and figured out what kind of man could give me what i wanted, i found him.

and definitely no floppy hats here either.
again, i loved your post. you're brilliant

angelina la dawn said...

yeah, to guys who still smoke pot i always want to say- go back to 8th grade!

HillTopStar said...

Amen! You totally get it. Some women never do, but you, you are lucky. You get it.

Boys who stake a claim on manhood seem to miss the mark. Boys who have to chemically alter their state of mind and being in order to "enjoy" life or find the "courage" to be bold are just not attractive either.

You are not settling, but you already know that. Please refuse to settle for anything less than that feeling of security and rightness that will be when HE enters your life.

Much love, the hopeful romantic with impossibly high ideals very similar to yours

p.s. I love what *Donna* said in her post and echo it wholeheartedly.

Courtney said...

You know, I originally wrote some long drawn out comment, about how I agree and how I love and relate to the ballgame/worth paragraph.

But you know what? All I really have to say is


Anonymous said...
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~*"*Dia*"*~ said...

:) My best friend and me joke sometimes about how our 'high standards' will keep us unmarried forever...*sigh*

Sofya said...

I love your posts.
I love this post!
you put things in such good perspective. i wish i can verbalize some of my thoughts as well as you do.

but anyway i agree with you - maybe our biological clock sees beyond what we do. my first thought when i meet a guy is "Where is he going with his life?"


Marisa said...

I like this post...however, being married to a man who was once a boy like the one you describe above...I would like to note that sometimes there are those boys who love a woman enough to out grow boyish behavior in order to provide and receive her love....but thats just my experience :)

Elizabeth said...

The guy definitely has to be worth it... especially for the kids. Well put.