13 Reasons Why You Could Be My Boyfriend

1. You Have Compassion.
Compassion is in serious danger of becoming the next “liberal.” Conservatives turned the word “liberal” into something bad simply by lying about what it means and by attaching unfounded fears to those of us who consider ourselves liberal, namely that we are unpatriotic and will cause the downfall of the American way of life, which apparently involves SUVs and the right to personally own enough guns and ammo to kill the population of Idaho several times over. Lately, they’ve latched onto the term “Compassionate Conservativism,” which to me means that Conservatives are not normally compassionate, and since they said it themselves, who am I to argue? Anyway, to be compassionate means to feel for the other guy, to try to understand where they are, who they are, and so on. Can you feel their passions, even though they may not be yours?

2. You Really Listen.
It’s very difficult, as one gets older, to be open-minded. I am about some things (or so I like to tell myself) but I’ve made up my mind on a lot of what life is about and you’d have to try very hard to convince me otherwise. That said, I like having conversations where the other person is willing, for a period of time, to suspend their own prejudices and beliefs and really listen to another point of view. I try to do that, and sometimes it’s hard. Because you have to really listen to the other person. You have to put your opinions aside and not interrupt them and let them complete a thought, and wait until they allow you to have your turn. You don’t run over their words and you don’t keep a point in the back of your mind until it’s your time to talk. You’re supposed to be listening. It’s an art.

3. You’re Romantic, But Not Maudlin.
I didn’t consider myself romantic for a long time until someone pointed out that I have a few habits that clearly place me in the Romantic Man category. I think I didn’t want to be a romantic because I thought that meant that I romanticize things unnecessarily, which I detest. I don’t like false romance. I don’t like forced romance. But I love romance. You must be willing to hold my hand in the movies and on the street. You must be able to kiss me without preamble. You must be able to accept compliments because I mean them when I say them, I’m not doing it to make you or me feel better, and you must be able to accept gifts for no reason without wondering what you have to do in return. You don’t have to do anything. I don’t want a relationship of weights and balances. I want spontaneity and surprise and romance.

4. You Push Me. Hard.
I tend to get stuck in ruts. I like the Comfort Zone. I can, if left alone, achieve a Zen-like ability to remain inert. But I don’t actually like that, it’s just my habit. I think it’s because I have a lot of fears, and the main one is a fear of failure. I don’t like to appear anything less than perfect. I know that’s entirely silly and stupid, but there it is. So I need you to push me. Hard. Push me out of my boundaries. Challenge me and enlighten me and show me your world. And keep doing it. I’ll love you for that, even though I’ll whine and bitch about it, too. I have my limits, but I think some of them are false and based on that fear, again. I’ve done very little of consequence in life. My main regret is that I have so few regrets.

5. The Kissing Thing.
You must kiss me when we’re alone and you must do it often and fully and with passion and ardor. I love kissing. I love to be kissed. Whether we’re naked or not, whether we’re watching TV or standing at the stove making dinner, whether we’re moving around each other at the bathroom door or standing next to each other in the shower, you must kiss me. If you are not a good kisser, and by that I mean you’re tentative and sort of peck my lips or your tongue becomes this hard rod you want to shove in my mouth or you’re staring off into space as if you’re waiting for this to be over, we will definitely have a problem. A big one.

6. You Have Passion.
No, I don’t mean that you own a bootleg copy of that dreadful Mel Gibson bloodfest, I mean that you are ardently involved in things. Or maybe just one thing. Or maybe just me. But you cannot always be on medium heat, I need you on fire about something and I don’t care what it is. Passion means you’re alive, you’re excited and exciting, you’re living in the moment rather than waiting for something to happen. Love 60’s British spy TV? Collect every episode of The Avengers and The Prisoner? Fabulous. Great. Amazing. Tell me all about it. What is your passion, baby? Share it with me.

7. You Are Out of the Closet.
All the way out of it. The door is closed behind and you’re standing in the living room naked and everyone is looking at you and you don’t give a flying bloody fuck what they think. You’re you. You’re so you, there’s no one else like you. You’re confident and self-possessed and you like men, dammit. You fucking love them. Your family knows, your friends know, everyone at work knows. If someone asks, you definitely tell. Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. I am not going to your family’s Christmas gathering and be introduced as your good friend. I am not going to spend the night in a separate bedroom. I am going to accompany you to the Academy Awards and when the camera goes looking for the one who’s crying tears of happiness, it ain’t gonna be your Mommy in the audience, it’ll be me. And, by the way, I’ll look fabulous.

8. You Have a Sense of Humor About Yourself.
Oh my God, if you can’t laugh at yourself and how stupid, weird, lazy, ugly, awkward and useless you are, we are so over.

9. You Enjoy, Though Do Not Necessarily Understand, Art.
Museums and galleries serve two purposes. First, the display the works of artists who are trying to illustrate their take on the world, its beauty and ugliness, the intellectual processes involved in that creative work, and the history of art to date. Second, you get to go listen to dolts say things like “My child could have painted that,” or “I don’t get what the artist is doing with that canvas of babies eating crows while the Madonna floats above them handing out Valentines made of helium balloons and meat. I mean, how does this relate to the proletariat struggle for freedom in East Germany during and slightly after 1953?” Art is entirely subjective and not subjective at all. It’s easy to look at two pieces and love one and hate the other and they are, essentially, identical. But it’s important that you’re clear in your love/hate of art and jump in with both feet.

10. You Are an Open Communicator.
I am not an open communicator, but I am learning to be one. Going back to that irrational fear of failure and need to be perfect, again, we can see that there will be situations where I will be unwilling or unable to articulate what I am feeling, or what I want, or why something is uncomfortable, or why a particular fetish appeals to me. But what I want from you is what I want from me: Open Communication. Whether it has to do with what happens in bed, or our choice of friends, or a preference to be alone on any given Sunday as opposed to sharing every fucking minute of our lives, I want you to be able to tell me anything and know that I will listen and try my damnedest not to judge, and that if I need to tell you something that is potentially a land mine in our relationship, you’ll be able to step around it or defuse it or do something other than step directly on it intentionally. If you promise to talk to me about anything, I promise to talk to you about anything, too.

11. You Can Go to a Nude Beach. And Be Nude.
Oh, I’ve got body issues. Oh, hells, yes. But I like being naked. I’m not a nudist, I’m not going to spend my vacations at some farm in Northern California romping through the forests in the all together trying to protect my nether regions from the occasional inconvenient outcropping of pine needles. But when in Rome, I want to make like the Palm Springers. This is more about your comfort with yourself (and mine with myself) and less about exposing yourself in public for your jollies. I like a comfortable, self-confident, mature guy. And for me, part of that is being comfortable and self-confident with your body.

12. You Turn Me On.
You know where my buttons are and you know how and when to press them. And vice versa. You can touch me and get my motor humming. You can look at me and I know what you’re thinking, you filthy man. When you smile, I know what it’s time for. You pull me out of my reverie and spin my world around. You make me hard just thinking about you. It is nothing specific, and it is everything about you. You’re sexy and you make me feel sexy and whether we’re making the sweaty humpback or lounging on a balcony watching a sunset or sitting at a table on the sidewalk sharing coffees, you can look at me and I am gone. My heart speeds up, my body heats up, and I can’t think of anything but you.

13. You Get Me.
When I was at the wedding of my friends Lane and Courtney, there was a time when they had to tell each other why they wanted to marry. I honestly can’t remember what Courtney said, it was a very full room and I was standing behind her and she wasn’t mic’d, but I was facing Lane and could see his face and hear his words and what he said was, quite simply, he loved Courtney because she understood him completely. No one had ever done that before. She understood his drives and fears and ambitions and failures. She understood what made him happy and sad, what drove him to distraction, how he felt about his life and work and family, what he wanted and what he didn’t want. She understood him, and she accepted him. What more could anyone ask?

See also: 13 Reasons Why You Are Not My Boyfriend

March 26, 2004

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