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Pauline Lerner

Butterflies have it easy

September 30, 2005 at 2:40 AM

Monarchs mating

Butterflies have it easy when it comes to mating. Almost anyone of the same species but a different gender will do. It's so much harder for humans. After my divorce, I was seeing a counselor, and I asked him for insights. He said, "Maybe you’re being too fussy about who you want. What traits are really important to you?" I told him that the hardest things to find in a man are intellect and culture. He replied, "You're down to 2% of the population." "That can't be," I protested. "This is the Washington DC metropolitan area. People here are supposed to be affluent and educated.” “OK. 4% of the population,” he said. “My wife and I have trouble finding couples to socialize with. Most of our friends are Jewish.” I’ve thought about it a lot since then. I keep narrowing my requirements. Of course, I’d like someone who is interesting to talk to, who reads and thinks. I’m not sure about music. I wonder if I could feel close to someone who doesn’t love music. Of course, values are important, and we should have similar values, things like caring, responsibility, and helping others. However, when I really get down to the basics, one thing stands out: He’s got to be nice to me. Why has that been so hard to find? He doesn’t have to be a high achiever, like a trophy. One fellow I met recently on the Internet told me that he was impressed with my resume. (Say what? I didn’t even send him my resume.) He proceeded to tell me that he was interviewing me before deciding how to proceed. I suggested that it might be good to forget about theory for a while, just get together, and see how we feel. He went back to interviewing me. Where do I want to be five years from now? What areas of the country would I be willing to live in? Don’t I agree with him that only people in their 20s and 30s (we’re older) can be creative? He wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t rely on him financially. He was disappointed that I love playing and teaching music because these activities don’t pay much. I was astounded and wondered how to get rid of himASAP. He told (commanded?) me what I must do next. I’m supposed to write and send him a document which would be either a proposal (like a grant proposal, not a proposal of marriage) or an exit interview. This is for real! I didn’t make this up! I couldn’t make up such a crazy thing. I feel like I’m searching in the darkness for that extraordinary man who is humble, kind, and interesting, and, most important, who would be nice to me.

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