What does a man look for in a woman?
This is not a question answered simply. I’m sure the answer is different for any man asked. As a relatively recently divorced guy, I’m going to have a few opinions that would vary from those of a young guy just dipping a toe in those waters. What I look for in a woman has changed over the years.
I’m 55 (not quite sure how the hell that happened). I was married at 25. I met my former wife in St. Croix where she was vacationing. I had been living in the islands for a few years and my friends, both male and female, worked tourist patrol (TP). In essence, it was pretty much handled from the airport. We all knew when the next crop was coming in as we dropped off the last. We had “Cruzan Air Force” dog tags made. On one side was an aircraft. The fuselage was a joint with smoke pouring from the end. “We fly higher” was embossed below. The flipside had our names stamped and directly below, the tourist patrol designation. We would get together and have “Blue Monday” parties and talk about the previous week’s activities. Good times.
We all worked several jobs to support our lifestyle. I worked tending bar for breakfast at the Ritz Café. I was whipping up a Ritz Cocktail and looked up. There at a table was a woman who stopped my heart. She was stunning. Long honey-colored hair, beautiful brown eyes, and a smile that lit up the room. We met that morning and spent the next 2 weeks together. She went back to the States to get her stuff and moved to St. Croix 2 weeks later. Two months later we moved in together.
Four months later, her parents came for a visit from Connecticut, ostensibly for a vacation, but in reality, to check me out. Her father was on the board of directors of the biggest oil company in the world. Before I had this bit of info, I invited him to barhop, and we took off in my ‘72 VW Bug. After a few hours, things became a little festive and I asked him how he would feel about my marrying his daughter. His reply proved to be prophetic. He said that if I decide that’s what I want to do, he would welcome me to the family. BUT that she and her mother were both a pain in the ass and when they’re together, its worse. He did say that the upside would be getting her off of his payroll. We opened a great little restaurant, catering business, and gourmet shop/seafood market shortly after the wedding. We were quite happy with an incredible quality of life for 15 years. But things went south when the appetite for the best of everything exceeded the desire to work for those very things.
The moral of that story is: Never marry a rich girl who doesn’t have her own dough.
My priorities now are quite different. I was advised by my 2 best friends—both women from back in St. Croix days—to spend time by myself. They said that in order to have another relationship (someday), I should get to know myself through my own eyes and not someone else’s. To be comfortable in my own skin. Laugh at my own jokes. Learn to be emotionally self-sufficient, and learn to not need anyone else. So, I’ve learned that it’s okay to want someone else, but I do not have to need them.
So, I picked up and moved to Costa Rica and opened a boutique lodge on the southern Pacific Coast. I had lots of guests, but business is very seasonal. There were times when I was in complete solitude for weeks at a time and learned to enjoy it. Just me, my dogs, my horse, the cats, and a nutty neighbor or two for an occasional visit. It was a pivotal and enlightening time. I met wonderful people and had an incredible quality of life.
What this has done is remove the necessity to define my own self-worth and happiness through someone else. Now, this is going to sound maybe a little crass, but as far as relationships go, for the most part, I’ve become lazy. I’m not adverse to a long-term wonderful and fulfilling relationship, I’m just not shaking the bushes looking for one. I make friends pretty easily, and I am just fine with the surprise friends-with-benefits thing. Instead of pursuing the dream woman, I need to have a friendship first.
Sexually, desire and ability are still there, but I’m to the point where the patience for the nonsense sometimes required to get there outweighs the benefits. I’ve also found that with few exceptions, I don’t have anything in common with women of my own age. In my mind, I’m stuck between the ages of 25 and 30. That’s the way it is and it’s not going to change. Some may call this immaturity. I call it joie de vivre and being young at heart. I run into people—men and women I grew up with and … wow.
The ideal woman in my mind is self-sufficient and independent, physically active, successful, aesthetically pleasing, and connects her quality of life to happiness, serenity, and things that really matter. Not stuff. Rabid consumption is a huge turn-off for me, largely from living in other cultures where I’ve seen absolute happiness in abject poverty. I can’t stand whining and the me-me-me stuff. I’m to the point where I wish I had some sort of super power to banish people who whine—about waiting for a hair appointment, or a few extra minutes for their table in a ridiculously expensive restaurant—to a village of indigenous people in the Mosquito Islands of Nicaragua. My ideal woman can’t define herself based on me. She must have her own sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
Well … there you have it.