Do You Have a Love List?

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Black women are often criticized for having a laundry list of qualifications that a man must meet in order to date him, but a love list can be a useful thing when it comes to dating, if you use it the right way.

I remember the cover of the February 2008 issue of O Magazine had a teaser for “The Love List,” and inside was a story about a woman who had made a list of 100 qualities she wanted in a partner, tucked it away, and five years later the man of her dreams (list) appeared. They got married, and shockingly, her new husband met 98 of those criteria.

I got right on that and made my own list of things I wanted, though I didn’t quite make it to 100. I still have the list, and I’m still waiting for whatever concoction of a man I tried to describe on a piece of paper to appear, although it probably needs a little refreshing at this point.

Luckily, there’s a less labor-intensive way of finding “the one” without trying to create him from scratch. This list is more like a screening tool for the guys you already come in contact with. Jill Di Donato, an Adjunct English Professor at F.I.T, calls it the list of 10 things to ask yourself before you begin dating someone:

  1.     Is he age appropriate?
  2.     Is he smart?
  3.     Is he sensitive towards my feelings?
  4.     Is he trustworthy?
  5.     Does he have a stable job/career that offers steady income?
  6.     Have we been intoxicated every time we’ve hung out?
  7.     Have I caught him in a lie?
  8.     Has he shown signs of meanness?
  9.     Does he have a good relationship with his family?
  10.     Does he make an effort to contact me, or is he literally unavailable?

I love the intoxication question but sometimes it’s necessary to ask. I feel like this list should be made into an app so you can keep track of these qualities for different men in case you conveniently forget that ol’ boy lied to you about having a job or he constantly has an excuse for why he can’t see you. A notification should go off when a man has two red flags—Professor Di Donato’s rule—and then you know it’s time to go in the other direction—ASAP.

What I like about these qualities is that they are mostly focused on character. In the O story, the woman listed character traits but she also wrote down things such as “he likes gardening, fishing, and wears dark gray socks.” Sure, it would be cool to have the same hobbies as a couple, but those things have little to do with whether someone is good for you or will treat you well.

There’s one thing I might add to the list like, is our relationship strictly physical, because we all know the chances of that escalating to something more meaningful are slim to none. I could swap that in for “age appropriate” to keep the list to 10 items, but other than that I think these qualities are pretty dead on. They point out the subtle things that tend to get overlooked but are huge warning signs that you’re on the road to nowhere. There may be more fundamental things that you’re looking for in a partner, but I think these are a good starting point to keep you from pulling a Vivica and falling in love with a six pack and a smile.

What do you think about this list, does it cover the most important things you should look out for when you’re thinking about dating someone? Is there anything you would add or remove from the list?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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