At the start of my 20s I thought that any toad could be magically turned into Prince Charming. I would date the dumb jocks for months at a time, thinking I could teach them into becoming smart. I would then dabble with the thug, thinking that with the tap of my “maybe-we-should-try-out-Banana-Republic” wand he would instantly transform into a bring-home-to-my-overcritical-Mom type of fellow.
And then there were the assholes.
Oh, the assholes.
(*looks up, inhales, then shakes her head)
The assholes were long-time love affairs for me in my 20s. I truly believed I could single-handedly change any asshole. Every single one. I would passive-aggressively huff, sigh, and cry into my pillow in hope that he would magically pull a Ryan Gosling and ask me what I was feeling, come running after me in the rain, or at least turn over and spoon me! I’d anxiously wait it out, pining for the day that he’d turn to me and profess his love while a Vanessa Carlton song played, whip out a bouquet of fresh-cut roses, and proceed to wholeheartedly listen to my feelings. That day never came.
The only day that did come was the one carrying my realization that I could change NO ONE. See, towards the end of my 20s I learned that I had to be the change I wished to see in the world (cc: Ghandi).
But what I did learn was what is fixable, and what is NOT, in a significant other:
Can be fixed with some communication and a lot of love
1. Wardrobe– Not every guy walks out of an Abercrombie & Fitch magazine. Some guys need some hand-holding, or a shopping date with their pal who has some fashion sense, or a personal stylist. But just like we don’t judge books by their covers, a man or woman’s fashion sense can also be deceiving. And it can certainly morph with time and care.
2. Old Fashion– Opening the door and/or crossing to the other side of the sidewalk to gentlemanly block his lady from oncoming traffic may not have been imparted to your boo at birth. This can be taught by suggesting or asking for it. Or as I like to do, sarcastically joking about the absence thereof : “This door isn’t gonna open itself” as I hold my purse with both hands. (Not to mention the purchase of flowers & semi-sweet chocolates can be suggested — if this dude wants to get laid ever again).
3. Facebook Activity – Sometimes out of boredom men OVERpost, and that can be curbed with a gentle elbow nudge. Or for the guy that’s borderline “I’m canceling my FB” you can sexily coo how happy it makes you that he likes your posts, and he’ll probably do it a whole lot more in order to impress and satisfy you. (Tip: significant others, of both sides, essentially want to please, they just need some guidance and clear directions).
4. Diet– Food habits are just that, habits. And most any habit can be changed. I’ve found that oftentimes poor food choices come from a lack of knowledge about GMOs, or simply because Mr. Boytoy never had a lady to cook for him. Bottom line, diet (and exercise, at that) are changeable.
5. Feng Shui – Dust, a poor mattress choice, outdated Ikea side-tables, and weird wall-art are all changeable. It is, however, interesting and somewhat important to note how your significant other cleans, arranges, and chooses his/her art or furniture as it will give you some hints as to his/her taste and future housekeeping abilities.
Cannot be fixed – these have to come from within, and it’s up to you if you wanna wait around for that day!
1. Generosity | RELAX, I am not solely referring to money and expensive dinners, that’s just a sweet cherry on that Sunday funday. I am referring to that guy that you can tell is just a generous soul — with their time, their energy, their communication, with sharing, and yes, of course, with either taking care of the other person’s bar tab. You can sense whether a person is generous or not. THAT!
2. Empathy | A person who is truly present and cares is a gem. But you can’t FORCE or change a guy into really caring. That has to come from within, and often times takes being less self-centered. Also can’t buy that.
3. Stupid | Listen, you can’t change stupid. You can’t. Next.
4. Anger | Anger is an extension of the ego (cc: my Spirituality 101 book). And like a sword, if misused, it can slice off heads. A person with an untamed anger is not changeable by YOU. Leave that to an anger-management pro.
5. Height | I’m 5’9”. Only so much I can do about it.
There are many more items on the list, but I wanted a balance-in-numbers to both sides, as I am OCD (also a non-negotiable for any guy on the receiving end of THIS lady).
There are obviously many more to both lists.
For example: A guy can really hate babies at the onset of the relationship, but with some trips to your family’s toddler birthdays and a simple bottle feed or two, he may just find himself becoming Brad Pitt. On the flip side: Addictive personalities are a NON-changeable thing for the opposite party — even if he is in AA, that dependency is likely to creep up elsewhere, like an addiction to work, control, or Call of Duty. This is not something in your control, only in theirs.
My good friend quoted his Mom who quoted a sage when saying “A guy marries a girl hoping she will never change, and a girl marries a guy hoping she can change him.” So let’s just get really clear about something — girls just need a little more help in this department, but we all need the 411.
Best of luck, would love to hear how sh*t goes!