As a young lady, my list of standards was terribly unrealistic and ridiculously long. Nowadays my list is shorter; some would argue that it is still unrealistic.
Frankly, I don't care if the list is perceived as unrealistic. I don't ask for a lot from the guys I date. The guy's alternative qualities can often replace those on the list.
For example, I'd prefer that the guy I date is tall-- only because I am tall. Sometimes, though, if I meet a guy who is eye-to-eye or shorter and he's also intelligent or funny or wise or smells good, I'll toss out the "tall" requirement. Same thing for "well-educated". I'd certainly like it if the guy has an advanced degree, but if he's a high-school dropout and happens to also have a lust for books like I do, is curious about the world around him and isn't a mouth-breathing eedjit, I'll cross "well-educated" off the list. It's a weighing of qualities, you see.
There are things, though, that are deal-breakers. This is a short list, but it is carved in stone.
If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have a "thing" for feet. It's not a fetish; it's a "thing".
By their very nature, feet are gross. Feet have a way of going wild without one noticing. If one doesn't wash one's feet properly they're gonna stink like corn chips or-- at the very worst-- nasty cheese. Toenails start getting funky as one ages and one must fight that. Thick toenails? Run a file over the top of them. Stained? Lots of products to take care of that problem. Fungus-y nails? Drugs, man! Dirty toenails? Grab a small, sharp implement and clean under the nail. Just take care of your feet, for God's sake.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who think no one notices their feet. They let dirt build up under the toenails and around the cuticles. They have patches of thick, yellow flakes on their heels. Most sickening of all-- they don't clip their toenails. They let their toenails grow unimpeded. Lupine. Curved. Ridged. Yellowish-orange with age.
Pardon me. I'm running to the ladies' to have a puke. Be right back.
So anyway, I was at The Hovel with a new friend. He asked if he could take off his shoes. "Of course," I said, pleased he'd feel so comfortable in my house to ask such a thing. He took off his shoes and socks and sat down next to me, his legs stretched out in front of us.
Reader, I nearly shit my pants."Uh, your toenails are really long," I mumbled.
"Yeah, they are. I guess they need to be clipped, huh?" he answered.
"Do your feet hurt when you have your shoes on?" I asked, honestly curious. I couldn't imagine stuffing those Raptor-like claws inside an unforgiving shoe.
"Nooo... they really don't," he said innocently, completely missing my facial expression, which I'm pretty darned sure registered complete repulsion.
For days following this episode, I ruminated about this guy. I thought and thought and thought about him. I listed his good qualities. I listed his bad qualities. The recall of his disgusting toenails always tipped the scale over to RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! I could not work through the toenails.
This disturbed me. Am I really this shallow? Am I such a horrible person that I won't date someone because his toenails make me want to barf?
So I talked to Rebecca.
"I have a question for you, Becca."
"Okay. What is it?" I told her about the toenails. I told her all the other aspects of this guy too-- good, bad, indifferent. I said, "Why am I voting this guy off my island? Is it really his toenails? What on earth is wrong with me?"
She rolled her eyes upward and put her finger on her chin. After a moment, she said, "Tell me about his grooming otherwise."
"Well, he's fine. He shaves, he flosses, he combs his hair-- he cares about how he looks," I said.
"What are his fingernails like?" she said.
Hm! I thought. "This is really weird, but I actually noticed his fingernails. And that's not something I usually notice, either. But his fingernails are so nice, I couldn't help but notice them. He files them, and they're actually buffed," I said, more confused than ever.
Becca said, "Innnnnnteressssssting. And everyone can see his fingernails, right?"
"You're right. Oh my God! And no one can see his toenails," I breathed, all Watson-y to her Holmes.
Other things about this guy ran through my mind-- primarily several shady items he explained away, with which I was having difficulty. He only takes good care of the stuff people can see, I thought to myself. The stuff that he thinks no one can see are the things he lets go, even though these things should be taken care of too.
"Becca, thanks. I really needed that."
"No problem. So you gonna see him again?"
"I don't think so. The foot thing is a deal-breaker for me."
"Yeah," said Becca, "We all have our little yardsticks, don't we?"