A husband list
I don't know why people say filling out online dating profiles is hard. I put up a pic of my ex and said ‘not this', and that was that.
I turned 46 a few months ago on August 23rd, and realize now that I am middle-aged and have been for the past 5 years. Apparently, it kicked off at 40 and I completely missed the memo.
I wonder why.
Being single past 45 is like playing hide and seek except no one’s looking for you. Don’t count me out yet though.
Fast forward to today, a greyish wintery Wednesday in Zoetermeer (yeah, look it up), and here I am sexting/texting with an array of international men at least a decade younger than I am. I feel cougarish and unapologetic and it’s kinda nice.
So, you guys know I’m single right? Well, I figured out why. This ongoing influx of interested and interesting men got me thinking about my dating tactics and I want to run something by you. Something very intimate.
Drum roll please.
I… have… a husband list. And, it’s long. Two hundred and eighty-one items long to be exact.
My now infamous list, lovingly referred to by an enthusiastic few as The H-list is by no means a secret, but when I started sharing my personal wants with others, it became quite clear that this list of mine was striking a few nerves here and there.
But, before I tell you all about my annoyance with people’s stricken nerves, let me explain what the list is about and why I made it in the first place.
A few years ago, when I was desperately seeking deep convulsing love, a friend suggested that I write down the traits and characteristics of the soulmate I wished to see manifested. Apparently, such an exercise would diminish the despondency wailing inside my body and allow for a bit more serenity to enter it, and hopefully at some point, a hot husband. Now, as I was indeed in want of inner calm more so than a man, the idea of a meditative essay-like endeavour really appealed to my (at that time) overwrought self.
It was truly a very exciting little project and provided me, quite unexpectedly with a fresh dose of frothing energy. Seriously. It was making me foam at the mouth.
Sculpting my imaginary husband into existence was rather diverting and I realized a dozen or so items into The H-list that I goddammit wanted it all, that I deserved the best of the best, and that I’d been selling myself short.
I decided to mine my heart and soul for deep-seated desires, use my writing talent and ‘epistle’ The H-list into existence. The mere thought of a stranger, already walking the earth, who would one day become my hope for Heaven (and sex on a regular basis) was making me tingly all over.
I was ready. ‘Fork him over God’, I exclaimed in heralding staccato. ‘Give. Him. To. Me. Now.’
With my hair blowing in the wind and overt bulging abandon, it took me about a week to draw up my list in immoderate detail. And when I was finished, it felt like I actually made a man. Weird Science* like. Creation was fizzing in the air and I could feel the Universe working Its wonders to deliver me everything that I had hoped for my entire life.
This wondrous exercise, passed down from manifestor to manifestor, for all womankind and Tiffany’s annual turnover, to bring forth from the ether a man to have and to hold and do immoral things with, was now, at long last, at my disposal.
However, a few seconds after finalizing my list I found myself staring at the computer screen thinking, “and now what?” I mean, I had the darn list, but do I now send it out as a weekly newsletter, expecting my bae to be ‘read-slapped’ into recognition of our predestined romance? Should I create a reel and advertise true love on Instagram? A Facebook live perhaps?
I was in utter dubio, but eventually concluded that it’d be best to take the easiest route and make full use of the Law of Attraction (LOA). You see, for the past couple of years I had been doing some serious vibrational work; my spiritual beacon was pulsating solidly, I was emanating good girl vibes, and as it befits an overachieving yogini, I ‘Ohm-ed’ my way through my days. And now, as the next most logical step, I was about to put my H-list to the ultimate LOA test.
It was time.
Every morning when I woke up, and every night before I went to sleep, I would have the most glorious conversations with my nebulous husband. I’d lift off to Lala land and envision marital get-togethers that were anywhere from sweet and tender, to peppery and nasty AF. Playing the husband & wife-game felt so good, so thrillingly real and satisfying, that after a while I started making him double lattes in the morning.
I kid you not.
He’d ask me about my day and if I missed him at all. I in return would tell him that I thought about him every second of every minute of the time we were apart. Our eyes would lock, our fingers would intertwine and he’d determinedly pin me against the wall, grab the back of my neck, graze his nose against the right corner of my mouth and almost kiss me. He wouldn’t say anything but simply linger there with quivering lips that confessed in silence. And then he’d smell me. Breathe me in with leonine composure and reintroduce his skin to my skin. It was the perfect primal dance.
My husband and I would laugh and love as much as those few moments would allow. I envisioned sunrise breakfasts in bed, evening strolls on the beach, and midnight kitchen counter rendez-vous with a 6’ 2” brown-haired muscular man that looked ‘buttpinchingly’ fine in raggedy grey sweats. He and I were idyllic. I was totally basking in an invented reality and this quantum field business was rocking my premenopausal boat. I got it down to a tee.
So I thought. Unfortunately, my relentless praying didn’t put any rings on my fingers.
I had waited patiently. Eagerly expectant at first, but after 3 years of intentional LOA-ing, I now had to take a step back and reassess my promotional tactics. The Universe obviously wasn’t complying, so I asked myself what else, besides the stuff I was already doing, was going to really shift things for me?
I tried dating apps for a while, because I foolishly figured that if my sister can find true love on Tinder, so can I. I tossed aside all of my cringing past experiences and fell into the trap of optimism with each new swipe.
For 2 months I put my back into it, but my ad hoc approach didn’t pay out either. After thrashing about with a couple of cute men I sorta kinda really couldn’t take it any longer. Each time a guy would enter the stage I would wonder, ‘Is it you? Is it you? Is it you?’ But then they’d open their mouths and speak.
‘Is your name WI-FI? Because I’m really feeling the connection.’ Wait. What?!
Or they’d ask me the same lame questions. ‘What are you looking for in a relationship?’ Ugh.
A way out at that point.
It was exhausting. And apparently in the world of online dating, grammar and manners don’t matter. Call me old fashioned, call me old, but when you know how to correctly use ‘there, their and they’re’, I think you might be the one to buy me that emerald ring. (I thought I’d slip that in)
I remember one particular crappy day where I would’ve settled for anything with a pulsing wallet. I need to fall in love so I can split rent was the most ‘golddiggerish’ thought I had that afternoon. Don’t judge me for it.
In all honesty, the majority of my dates weren’t all a total waste of makeup, but men, y’all have to try harder than ‘Monique you’re so pretty.’ I know I am. The 26-year-old Arab men in my DM’s have already written me 6 poems and promised me all their assets.
It’s the little things fellas, and of course, there’s that one big thing, but let’s not digress.
Where was I? Ah yes, my third attempt at getting hitched.
I went over The H-list again to see if my methods were perhaps a bit on the manic side. Maybe it was me? Could I be too picky? Was my communication not clear enough and was God having a hard time at dissecting my messaging?
I knew it couldn’t be the list. My list was perfect. Asking for a billionaire light-eyed muscular sex God, a sort of mashup between David Gandy and Daniel Craig, wasn’t asking for too much.
Does he have a great ass? Does that ass look good in jeans? And even hotter in a suit? Is he rich? Etiquette savvy? Funny? Is his voice deep enough? His abs chiselled enough? His dick thick enough? My list was profound.
And even though the pickings were substantial, in hindsight it made sense that Thor didn’t show up. Checking if someone ticks 281 boxes, or at least 2/3 of them, had me focussing more on what I didn’t want than looking at the wonderful things they might have to offer. Those poor men didn’t stand a chance.
And it said more about me than it did them. It hit me one day that finding fault in others was the result of looking at what was missing in myself. Loving yourself, however cliché this sounds must come first. But I didn’t fully know what self-love looked like until I started discarding one man after another in an automated fashion. All because of The H-list.
It takes a special kind of man to win my heart. I am selective and there’s nothing wrong with that, but sabotaging your own chances of recognizing love, by comparing the hot chef from Amsterdam to King Aragorn of Rohan didn’t do my love life any good. According to my mom I’m high maintenance and I should stop being so annoying and pick one already.
She’s absolutely right, but there’s a fine line between picking one versus settling for one.
My list is endless, but if you take a deeper look, it was more about defining what I valued most, than about shamelessly belting my hysterical wanting. When I ask for a hot guy, I’m craving tantalizing physical attraction. When I ask for a man with a sixpack, I am voicing what I personally find attractive. When I ask for a rich man, I am validating my wish for security. When I ask for someone that only has eyes for me, I am explaining my desire to feel adored as a woman. My list is my vulnerability on display. It is very personal and seems excessive to many.
But to me it is a story. It’s the story of a sincere heart and my longing for true connection with a man. Dating is not a game to me. I do not play with people’s hearts. I just want to show mine and hold space for his.
I am not perfect and I do not expect a man to be perfect. God said that his flaws will be tailored to the growth I need, and I will trust myself to recognize him when the time comes. It’s not about what he looks, feels, smells and sounds like. It’s about what I feel when I see, touch, smell and hear him.
The H-list was an exercise in self-reflection and understanding who I want to be as a woman.
My well-meaning mom still subjects me to a barrage of questions, wondering why her beautiful girl doesn’t find someone to spend her life with, and I gently tell her that they all have little dicks.
Just jokes. Just. Jokes.
I know too much to slip back into the complacency of mass texting multiple men. You can have chemistry with a million guys and have a 1000 that check all your belligerent boxes, but if God’s not in it, he’s not the one.
Over the years I’ve been dissecting my own paradigms regarding romantic love because I had to. Being hurt and lonely was perhaps the onset for my spiritual journey, but today being happy is my sole motivation.
Let it be known where I stand. I don’t need all men to grab my ass. Just the one. I want to have big big feelings and big big love, and in the mean time, I got rid of the big big list. It served its purpose.
The moral of the story; not all relationships will lead to marriage, but some will help you discover new restaurants. Yum.
Sending you a bucket full of swipes to the right, all the way from here to wherever you are.
P.S. Upon request, 1/3 of the list is available for viewing and inspiration. Call me.
* Weird Science; a 1985 American Teen Science Fiction film that gave me my first girl crush in Kelly leBrock.