Dating Advice from John Waters

A fair warning to my readers, this post may be a little R-rated.

I’m slowly coming to the realization that I am single. Yes, it’s been a couple of months, but sometimes these things can take a while to sink in, and besides, denial is a pretty effective coping strategy. At any rate, in a further attempt to put off grading that stack of papers staring at me menacingly from the kitchen counter, I started organizing my computer files and I came across this image that I had saved ages ago. Sage words from a wise man, and certainly something to bear in mind when I re-enter the world of dating.

Aside from a good laugh, this also got me thinking about what exactly it is that attracts us to someone, what it is that we look for. I spoke to someone the other day that said that it we are attracted to people who reflect us back to ourselves, but is it as simple as that? Would I really want to date a male version of myself?

I remember when as a teenager, I used to sit with my journal, creating list after list of the qualities that my “perfect mate” would possess. Although I’m happy to say that it was never as superficial to include things like “tall” or “dark hair,” it was incredibly specific. Over the decades, it certainly has evolved, and in fact, what I want really has become much more difficult to pin down. We all want someone who shares our basic values, but unless we are aware of what those are, truly, we may find ourselves consistently down the wrong paths. We all want someone who loves us, but is that enough? And then there’s what no one ever wants to admit is important but we all know that it really is… the sex.

I suppose that the things that matter, the “deal-breakers,” are as individual as each one of us, and even then, they’re immensely flexible, aren’t they? I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot lately, more so now that I have friends trying to set me up on dates to get me back “out there.” What do I want? What should I want? Maybe its time to revisit and revise my old lists.

And if nothing else, at least John Waters has given me a good place to start πŸ˜‰


16 thoughts on “Dating Advice from John Waters

  1. Funny enough, my man does not fit the mental list of features I had for my supposedly “perfect” partner. He is better than many of those things but, at the same time, so different and so incredible, that I was unaware someone could be like him and I’d like it so much. So, my advice is to destroy that list and start from scratch: let yourself be surprised.

    P.S This is the naΓ―ve account on love and dating of a 23-year old. Do not take anything into account if you don’t feel like it πŸ™‚

    • And the above is the naive account of a nearly 40 year old πŸ˜‰ I don’t think we ever become experts at this love thing. It seems that we regress back into our adolescence as soon as we feel those first stirrings of attraction.

      And you’re right, it is ultimately about finding someone who is just “fits” with you, isn’t it, whatever that may mean. Maybe it is ultimately something thats ineffable, something experienced rather than expressed in any kind of list or formulation.

      • You don’t look like a nearly 40 year old, Kristen. By your pic with your wonderful girl, I thought you were in your late 20’s.

        And it is about finding someone that “clicks” more or less, it’s so hard to define!

  2. Kris!

    What happens when one of your students comes across this post?

    I’m not talking about the f-bomb but the gratuitous use of the singular “they.” “Somebody” cannot match “they” and “them.” (Yes, I know that one can find examples of the singular “they” in Shakespeare and Jane Austen. That is hardly convincing, since one can find numerous grammatical errors in both Shakespeare and Austen.)

    I know John Waters slightly and chatted with him once, so I’m sure he won’t mind my pointing out that his criterion sets far too low a bar. A single example will suffice to prove my case:

    Consider Newt Gingrich. He reads books.

    I hope you find someone better than Newt.

    (Postscript: This interview mentions Waters’s tastes in books — which appear rather different than the works you analyze in this blog.)

    • Ha, you know, the “they” bothered me, too. But I’ve been reading so many bad papers this weekend that its a grammatical transgression that I’m more than willing to overlook.

      That being said, although it may be a good place to start, its certainly not the only criteria. Your example spoke volumes. Newt. Ugh.

      Read the article, and about his literary proclivities… Regarding the books with the word “chicken” in the title, okay, a bit odd, but then again, it is Waters we’re talking about. I wouldn’t expect anything less really. And about the gay pulp porn collection… why not? I mean, I did write that post a while back about how sex (and pornography) can be good for thinking.

      But Newt… now that’s a terrible thought.

  3. If I made a list of things I want in a man, my husband of 26 years wouldn’t be allowed in the door. I don’t think love and attraction cares about lists πŸ™‚ He’s a great husband, btw; but he doesn’t read books 😦

  4. Each new relationship teaches you something, which can mean wonderful and challenging at the same time. Being open and having compassion are the things that would be on my list.

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