List 1: Positive Things Which Have Been Said About Me And To Me During My Life – As Near Exact Quotations As Memory Will Allow. [And without permitting my mind to dwell on the negative things said to me over the same period because that would entirely defeat the damn object of the exercise.]
* N.B. Also, I’m not counting any instances of women telling me I’m beautiful, because women always think their friends are beautiful. It just means “I like you and I want to make you happy, and since our society values beauty above every other virtue this is the highest compliment I can pay you.” *
“You have poise.” – Headmaster of the college I attended age 16-18, during my admission interview.
“You have beautiful eyes.” and “Wow! Where did you learn to do that?!” First boyfriend, age 18. Heh heh.
“You have a brain the size of a planet.” Colleague at a charity I worked for in London, ca. 1998.
“You were always her favourite.” My Grandmother’s oldest friend, at her funeral in Ireland, 1997.
“My talented big sister painted the flowers on the invitations and orders of service and menus and everything. I’m very proud of her.” My brother, during his wedding speech, September 2005.
“Your French is excellent, Miss. One would believe you were French.” Taxi driver, Paris, May 2006.
“You’re a good friend.” Piereth, Claire, Fugitive Pieces, Barbara, Jasmine. 🙂
“You’re like a ray of sunshine in the office.” A male colleague at our Christmas party, 2007.
“You’re like Dr Doolittle. I keep expecting birds to perch on your shoulder.” The husband of a friend, out on a bushwalk in Spring 2008, as I apparently greeted every animal I came across.
“You have a gift with children”. Just about everybody who has ever seen me with a small child, but particularly the young couple whose 8 month old son would not stop crying at a friend’s birthday dinner 2 months ago until I picked him up and sang him to sleep.
“You write well.” A reader of this blog. You know who you are. Thank you 🙂
List 2: Positive Things Which Have Been Said About Me And To Me During The Past Month. [Again, not so much with the crippling negatives. I mean, yes, I’ve taken it all on board and I will continue to endeavour to correct any faults, but no dwelling, lurking or otherwise self-flagellating. Moving right along]
“Your hair looks nice.” Friend (male), weekend before last.
“Wow, you look great. I almost didn’t recognise you!” Girls from the hen weekend at the wedding, weekend before last. Not sure if this is entirely complimentary, but I’m determined to take it that way.
“Actually you are very fit.” Friend (male), last week.
“You’re easy to talk to.” ‘You’re a good active listener.” As above.
“You have good taste in music.” As above.
“You look very relaxed and well. You’re radiating calm and contentment.” Friend at the MCA Experimental Drawing Course, Sunday.
“Your skin is unusually soft.” Physiotherapist/Accupuncturist, Tuesday morning.
“I reckon you’ll be a really happy earth-mother type Mum. But with old fashioned British discipline. Like Mary Poppins.” Ex-flatmate, Monday night. And no, before you ask, I’m not pregnant, unless the Archangel Gabriel has been doing the rounds again…
“You have a real talent.” Mother of boy I sketched – at his request, nay, demand – at dinner last night.
“You’re a techie but when you explain it I get it.” Sales Administrator in the office, lunchtime today. (She’s buying an iPhone. I should get a commission from Apple; that’s at least three I can chalk up to my patter).
List 3: Non-negotiable Deal-breakers When It Comes To A Partner.
i) Male. Seriously, it would undoubtedly make life easier if I were a lesbian since I can read other women like open books most of the time, whereas men are inscrutable like Injuns, but I’m not.
ii) Taller than me in heels, i.e. at least 6′ tall.
iii) A reader. Don’t much mind of what, just so long as he gets how important books and the ideas they contain are for me. And understands the sacrosanctity of reading as an activity.
iv) Earnest or Intense or Introspective or Geeky, whatever you prefer to call it. Passionate about life and the particular things which fascinate him. I’m not bothered if he’s not as interested in history, anthropology and wildlife as I am, just as long as he doesn’t actively loathe them.
v) Emotional and affectionate. No more repressed and overly self-contained British ex-Public School boys for me. Also, he should be kind, considerate and thoughtful.
vi) Clean. I could explain precisely why, but I won’t. *shudder*
vii) Reasonably outdoorsy and active without being an extreme adventure freak. If he would prefer to sit indoors watching telly than get out for a long walk in the country when its raining a bit, then its not going to work. Unless he has a really good book – that’s a Get Out Of Going Out Free card. See point iii.
viii) A sense of the ridiculous. Nonsense is a big part of my life. Mostly the top-left, green, lightly feathered, bouncy and waggy-tailed part.
ix) He can’t be a Night Owl because I am emphatically not. Its dark outside? Right, time for sleep.
x) Similar taste in music to me – not the same because I do want to try new stuff. But similar, otherwise sharing a house or long car journeys are going to be impossible. There’s nothing that drives me to ranting hysteria faster than having to listen to someone else’s crap music.
xi) Someone I can really talk to. He needs to ‘get’ me. Which is rare, to be honest.
xii) Wants a family. Not just a baby – they don’t stay babies for long and children need a father more the older they get, I think. Also, someone with the same values in terms of bringing up children: i.e. with love, affection and discipline. Naughtiness is natural and healthy but I will not tolerate rude or mean children.
xiii) Good with money. Because I’m not. Although I am being very good at the moment – largely thanks to my iPhone’s monthly budgeting app.
xiv) Someone who smiles a lot. Possibly its my simian brain’s influence, but I find it reassuring.
xv) Into gardening – not obsessively, but plants are therapeutic, as well as necessary to my vision of the future…
xvi) … where we will live in a sustainable manner, in the country somewhere near water and hills (South West of UK, West of Scotland, East Anglia, County Meath, Northern or Western France, Northern Spain, Italy, Coastal NSW, etc etc), surrounded by friends and family. Plus ducks, hens, bees, possibly goats, an orchard and a decent veggie patch.
xvii) Sexually compatible. Vital. With a strong sex drive.
xviii) Mostly unmotivated by material wealth and indifferent to consumer crap like massive flat screen TVs, clothes with trendy labels and shiny new cars.
xix) Into film, especially at the cinema. Although – this one is a ‘desirable’ rather than a ‘necessary’ since I can always go to the cinema with friends instead.
xx) Someone who understands that relationships are about the ongoing balance of power, with control as a shifting focus depending on individual strengths and ‘fitness for purpose’. And a regard for human frailty without compromising one’s principles.
xxi) An understanding of Depression and mental health generally, and not knee-jerk dismissive of useful therapies and coping strategies. Just in case it ever happens again…
xxii) A man who will love me and cherish me and honour me with the same passionate integrity with which I will love, cherish and honour him. Even through the bad times and the bored times.