Brenda’s Revised List

In her persistent search for Mr. Right Brenda recklessly clipped her long list of criteria until she was left with only three items. Three was Brenda’s lucky number. She thought of all the things that came in threes. Three wise men, three rings in a binder, three little piggies and three blind mice.

With this lucky charm attached to her spirit she narrowed down her list to wanting a man who was reliable, capable of commitment and loyal.

Armed with this newly discovered openness of hers she felt equipped to meet the kinds of men whom never before would she have considered.

Enter Shaun. Just when she had let go of her list here appeared before her a man who had much of what was on it. He was handsome, fit her age range, was the correct height, had a full head of hair and had most of the qualities which Brenda had chipped off her list. And, as added bonus, he was a doctor. A heart surgeon. How cool was that.

Brenda had heard stories from other women who the moment they stopped looking for Mr. Right he appeared before them like in Aladdin’s lamp. Maybe this was what was happening to her. Her pickiness had been an obstacle as hard as a fossil keeping Mr. Right away.

Shaun shone like a glow-worm in Brenda’s discontented heart. But in spite of this she tried to keep an even keel. Still in the early stages of her withdrawal from all the other criteria, she kept reminding herself that what was important were her three chosen traits.

She was tired of men who she couldn’t count on. Men who told her they’d call and never did. Men who called at the last minute to cancel a date with no consideration of many hours Brenda had spent getting ready. Tired also of men who posted on their profile that they wanted a long term relationship and when the subject of commitment arose they flew like a rooster whose behind had been lit with a firecracker. After Max and his affairs with other woman Brenda no longer wanted to have to endure the humiliation and pain his salacious behaviors had hatched. And so she had not only underlined loyal but had highlighted it in pink.

Yet, these were not traits easily measured or seen. Brenda was well aware that it would take time before the truth seeped out. But she was willing to give it a shot. What more could she lose?

When she first spoke to Shaun over the phone she took his hogging the conversation as nerves. But when it happened a second and third time she knew that she had to re-evaluate her list. How could she be with someone who gluttonized ninety five percent of the communicative space? Or was it ninety-eight?

Even when Brenda had tried to cut him off in the middle of his dissertation on the comparison between the valves of the heart and the underground piping system of the city of Boston from where he had been conceived she found herself in the uncomfortable position of having to raise her voice. Briefly he stopped, perhaps from shock, to listen to her.

I myself was conceived in an elevator, she said.

The word elevator lit up an idea in Shaun’s sizzling brain with its phenomenal memory. He’d once sat on a plane next to an elevator constructor. For the next ten minutes Brenda (she’d timed him) listened to his insipid ramblings about the layout of cylinders, electrical connections, counterweights and guide rails none of which held the slightest interest for her. As Shaun got deeper and deeper into his little one man stage Brenda had disconnected and was thinking that choosing only three criteria had been unrealistic, after all.


About Carol Balawyder

Hi- I am the author of Mourning Has Broken-A Memoir on Grief, Getting To Mr. Right, Missi's Dating Adventures and Suzy Paradise. You can follow me on my web site I look forward to reading your comments and getting to know what you are involved in.
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2 Responses to Brenda’s Revised List

  1. Geralyne says:

    Carol Ann!
    How do you come up with these topics? Like “underground piping system of the city of Boston from where he had been conceived”. This had me cracking up! Good thing I’m on my lunch-hour.
    And now back to the drawing board, how many criteria does one need? Anyway, my lucky number is 7, so maybe I can be a little more picky – so that I can a few things to reliability, commitment, and loyalty..
    Can’t wait to see you and to hear your latest real-life stories!
    X0X, Geralyne

  2. Thelma Mariano says:

    I have heard that we should have a list of ten qualities we want in a partner and be satisfied if we get seven.

    Or we can compile a list of 15 and separate our list into: “must-haves,” “preferences” and “luxury items” (5 items each):

    My Must-Haves:
    – warm and caring
    – health and fitness-conscious
    – articulate, communicative, good listener
    – reliable and trustworthy (has integrity)
    – stable on all levels (mentally, emotionally, financially, physically)

    It’s good to know what our basic needs are; then we can walk away when someone doesn’t meet them, even if he meets our other criteria. Because what is the sense of partnering with someone who loves what we do but who cannot be there for us in the ways that matter?

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