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Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake

My Teenage Version of The List

I’ve never shared The list of 20-some odd traits I wrote when I was 17 and searching for my Prince Charming. Well, I drudged that old list out from my diary.... Turns out it was 12 traits, not 20, and they're pretty boring. I was actually a little disappointed. I was hoping for something more, something a bit fresher from my younger self, something at least a little insightful and revealing about my personality and the woman I would grow up to be.

As the list stands, it looks like it was written, well, by a 17-year-old girl.

1. Attractive: I know it’s bad, but the first thing I look for in a guy is looks.

2. Intelligent: This quality is right up there with attractiveness.

3. Caring: He does gave to make it a big production to show how much he cares, just a big hug and kiss every now and then.

4. Sensitive: I don’t want him to be Mr. Macho all the time. He shouldn’t be afraid to show me his sensitive side.

5. Loyal: I would always be there for him, and he must also be there for me. We would stick by each other through thick and thin.

6. Supportive: This is in both my personal life and my career. I wouldn’t want any guy to hold me back – this is the ‘90s and I want a ‘90s man.

7. Sense of humor: Laughter is the best medicine. I would like him to have a wacky sense of humor much like that of Chandler Bing. A humor much like that of Ryan Daly [note: Ryan is the guy I was hopelessly in love with my junior and senior year of high school. We worked on the newspaper together, and let’s just say I never liked writing more!] is also a must.

8. Romantic: This is a major quality I look for. Romantic gestures such as flowers for no reason, a card just to say “I love you”, a poem written just for me, or a romantic walk on the beach, just the two of us, would mean so much to me and make me love him even more.

9. Self-Confident: I need a man who believes in himself, but he must not be overly confident because that could border on being conceited.

10. Honesty: A relationship is unhealthy if either person is dishonest. My spouse must tell me the truth even if it could damage our relationship. If you really love someone, you’ll tell them the truth.

11. Trustworthy: A relationship needs to be built upon trust. I need to be able to trust my boyfriend and have confidence in him because if I don’t, there’s no relationship to be had.

12. Happy and Good-Spirited: One’s state of mind can make all the difference in the world. I need someone who is happy and jolly – a person who is unhappy can really drag you down.

It sort of makes me want to go back to that age of innocence, where the world is your oyster and full of endless possibilities. You have your whole life to do anything and be anyone you want. And there’s no doubt in your mind that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in that other person. So you write out your own list – maybe yours had more traits than mine did – for your very own Ken doll. The beauty of being that age – and that innocent – is that you actually, 100 percent believe that you’ll find him someday. You’ll go right down your list, and magically, he’ll fit the list perfectly. Because, in your eyes, love really is just that perfect. It’s your fantasy. Your fairy tale spun into real life.

And then you enter real life. But the saving grace? At least I still have that list to remind me that maybe, just maybe, I will find my Ken someday. Until then, who says I can’t add, subtract and revise this list ‘til my heart’s content? And who knows…maybe 5 or 10 years in the future, technology will have perfected itself enough that I can order my very own genetically made-your-way Ken doll.

What traits are on your list? Are there some traits you simply will never add to your list?

P.S. Do you know anyone who fits my criteria? I dare you to set me up with The Guy! :)


Dating with Disabilities is published every Tuesday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Melissa Blake. Melissa is a freelance writer and columnist. Her work has been featured in Redbook, Pregnancy magazine and the Chicago Tribune. She can be reached at

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