I'm being more selective the second time around.
Twenty-two years ago, I married the first guy who came along. There were several warning signs that it probably wasn't the best plan I've ever had. My friends and family all tried to talk me out of it. I didn't listen.
What can I say? I was young, stubborn, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Fast forward. I've been divorced about 5 years now. Sometimes I think about getting remarried but then the thought of sharing a bathroom with someone again makes me a little twitchy.
One thing's for sure, though: If I ever DO get remarried, I will be much more picky, er, um, selective this time around. Any possible future husband of mine will need to be able to answer these 10 questions if he wants to put a ring on my finger.
Yes, I'm fully aware this may mean I spend the rest of my days alone and that's okay because I have a back-up plan for such a scenario: I'll adopt cats, many, many cats to keep me company and I'll spend my days in my bathrobe, eating Ben & Jerry's from the carton and washing it down with rum. I call it my Cat Plan. But I digress. Let's get to the questions my future husband needs to answer:
1. What is the difference between "your" and "you're?"
He has to be able to converse using grammar, punctuation and spelling that exceeds that of a basic 10-year-old. I'm pretty sure I don't want to spend the rest of my life with someone whose lack of proper grammar makes my eyes twitch. (Although, I suppose if he's amazing enough I could let a little poor grammar slide.)
2. What are your beliefs?
He has to have a strong faith. My friends can believe in whatever they want; I'm not discriminatory, but my partner has to share similar beliefs. All manner of problems can arise when a couple does not hold the same core beliefs.
3. Can you finish this quote: Bears, Beets ……?
He has to be able to speak in random sitcom and movie quotes. If he doesn’t know what I'm talking about when I throw out quotes from Friends, The Office, Seinfeld, or any chick flick ever made, he isn't for me. I must have a partner whose head is filled with as much useless sitcom trivia as mine. You know, so I don't feel like an idea when I yell, "PIVOT!" while moving furniture.
4. Do you like kids?
He absolutely must answer this one with a resounding "YES!" because I just happen to have given birth to 6 kiddos I'm rather fond of (even when they're running around the house screeching like gibbons on crack.) He must like to play and laugh and hang out with kids because that's my life right now.
He must also earn the love of all 6 of my kids before I'd even consider marrying him and he needs to understand that they'll always be my biggest priority.
5. Do you have all your teeth?
I know this one sounds superficial but seriously, do you have all your teeth? Do you at least have most of your teeth? This is actually about more than mere teeth; it's about taking care of oneself. My future husband needs to take care of himself physically, including brushing his teeth and going to the dentist more often than every 5 years.
6. Are you financially stable?
The man I marry doesn’t need to be a millionaire. I don't need clothes and cars and vacations to Bora Bora (although when my kids are running through the house like gibbons on crack, I'd happily accept a vacation to even Sheboygan, Wisconsin.) But he does need to be able to support himself and help out some. This 'being financially responsible for 6 kids' thing is not an easy job and I don’t need one more person to support.
7. Can you fix stuff?
As a single mom with limited resources I've learned, out of pure necessity, how to fix a washing machine, a dryer, a toilet, and a garbage disposal. I hate doing it. The guys at Ace Hardware laugh when they see me walk through their door, wondering what crazy mess I've gotten myself into this time.
I get dirt in my hair, break nails, and end up with grease smudges on my face. Once, my kids flipped quarters down my pants as I was sporting an impressive plumber's crack while bent over my washing machine (curse you, low-rise jeans!) There is nothing, nothing I tell you, hotter than a guy who can fix stuff.
8. How are you with bugs?
Can you squish (or at least relocate) creepy crawlies? Because the job of screaming like a little girl while flapping one's hands and running around in circles is taken. By me. The man I marry needs to be able to run to my rescue when I see a moth the size of a bat about to dive-bomb me and eat my face. Seriously. I live in Florida. We have bugs the size of Buicks down here.
9. Do you think I’m hilarious?
Because I think I'm hilarious and I have tens of fans who think I'm hilarious. I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh at my jokes. I realize that may have eliminated 90% of potential partners but that's okay. I need someone with a sense of humor who can laugh at himself and who doesn't take things too seriously.
And let me repeat: who thinks I'm hilarious (and not just when I trip over air, get lost 2 blocks from my house, or do the 'bug freak-out' dance.)
10. Do you have integrity?
A couple years ago my daughter dated a boy. At a water polo tournament, I saw him take an apple from a table of snacks that was set up for the team. The apple fell to the ground. He looked at it but instead of picking it up, he left it lying there and grabbed another apple from the table. It was no big deal.
It was only an apple, but I told my daughter he wasn't good enough for her because he lacked integrity. The man I marry has to do the right thing even when nobody's watching, simply because it's the right thing.