When my friends and I were still single, and not swinging as much as we’d like to, we often talked about two things:

1. How do we know if a guy is The One; and

2. Should we have kids right away after we get married.

I’ve always sort of had a plan. Get married by 28 (it never occured to me that I might’ve NOT been able to find a man when I turned 28, so it was a very good thing I did or else I might’ve had to, who knows, go on one of those supposed soul-searching trips to India or Cambodia or something, when I would’ve really been shopping for a subservient husband).

Next on the list was to get pregnant right away, mostly due to my exceedingly function over compliance mindset. Why get married if not to have legitimate children? I’m not so hip as to do the pregnant thing first before making sure the sperm supply is, at the very least, free (not least important that they are 1. visually and medically accountable; and 2. are readily accessible!), should my eggs suddenly decide to play hard to get.

Both things were quite on schedule, I must say. I got married one month shy of turning 29. Got pregnant one month AFTER turning 29. Cut a little close but on track nonetheless.

To answer the first question I’ve so often been asked since most of my single friends seem to think I’ve found the perfect man, a question I’ve long evaded simply because I never knew the answer to, and I still don’t, but after seven years and two kids with the same man, I think I might have an inkling, a little idea, as to how I identified the correct man with whom I’d decided to spend the rest of my life with.

Firstly, it’s not as simple as finding someone who makes you laugh or is independently financially sound (as opposed to being born into money, with all due respect to you poor rich bastards) because it’s not so much as to provide for you but it at the very least hints of a person who’s grounded, at the very least speaks of a mind that’s anchored by beads of responsibility and duty and practical thinking, a mind that does not take flights of fancy until he’s at least in his 50s, by which he should be able to afford his flights of fancy without dipping anywhere.

I think, mostly, it is about finding someone who weathers nicely with you. Not just the fights you have, be it with regard to one’s financial ups and downs, or even racial/religious persecution, but someone who, at the end of the day, after the tears and the rough words and perhaps even a night spent at a hotel or two, comes back, and feels, or perhaps even clings on to, the very need to make it work. Someone who still sees the good in you even when you can only see the worst in yourself. Someone who will ultimately, seriously, realistically, look at all the silver linings and good memories and lights at the end of tunnels of any given situation, and say, “there is a way to solve this.”

A man who never gives up on you. On the us, no matter how fat you’ve become, how horrid, how disillusioned, how…changed. And you see – you CAN see, even without looking very hard – that he never even comes close to giving up. Not even as close as how you’ve THOUGHT you’ve come to the end of the line, feeling unworthy and undeserving.

The determination in his face, manifested in his set jaw. The fire in his eyes. His unyielding grasp. And after so many years still, for you, for the us, he fights. And will continue to fight.

And that is the man you want to find. The guy who never gives up, on anything.

Now he may be the same man who is loathe to change. The man who fights against you asking him to tuck in his shirt or put the toilet seat down, against having to ask for a promotion because he thinks he deserves one without having to ask, the man whose ego gets in the way, because that’s his fighting spirit. A spirit that will not break, not even for you.

Is such a man worth loving?

I do very much think so.

Now if only they’d wear some sort of bright orange vest with blinking lights. Like, you know, a fire fighter. That’d be helpful.

 

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