Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Love Him But You Hate Him: Houston, We Have A Pattern

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

One of the greatest philosophers of modern time once asked, "Do we date the same man over and over again?"

And damn it, Carrie Bradshaw was correct. We do. (Question her cultural significance if you want to. Her laptop is behind glass at the Smithsonian.)

Seriously, though, for some reason, the things that turn us on about the people we choose to get romantically involved with are probably linked hand-in-hand with the things that we can't stand about them.

I have something that I call, "Nina's Theory of Traits We Love and Hate." For each personality trait, there's two sides to the coin.

For instance, there were some recurring character traits that about 90 percent of the men I've dated and/or actually claimed as my man had. I'm going to give you my top two:

Confidence/Arrogance. Every man I've seriously attached myself to had a ridiculous air of confidence and swagger that either gained the admiration of others, or just turned folks off completely. In some cases, people just misunderstood the man, yet in others, they were dead on.

Some guys I dated were indeed jerks. Period.

Usually the men that I dated had something about them that gave them a reason to feel confident or arrogant. They were all very smart. They were all quick witted, and spoke well but could switch to slang with ease. They traveled, were well-read, had interesting jobs and were attractive. In some cases, maybe it washateration on other people's part, but in other cases, maybe my men were showing off just a little bit.

But when confidence curdles like old milk, it turns to arrogance, and that's usually that's tinged with the self belief that you are indeed better and smarter than everyone else. And that, my friends, is not attractive. But it can lurk on the other side of the confidence coin.

Back to confidence, confident men are happy for you when you are doing well, even if he's not at the moment. Confident men don't have to know where you are and who you are with all the time (but they'd like to know every now and then, only to make sure you got home safely). Confident men don't even mind if other men respectfully admire their women (they kind of think it's cool). 

Creativity. A dear friend once told me, if a man has a talent, I am on him like white on rice. So, OK, yes, I tend to have a thing for writers, painters, musicians (that actually play instruments, not making beats or raps, FYI), and guys with a sharp sense of humor.

Boy are these men passionate, and when you watch them do their thing, it almost makes you want to quit your job and pursue your dreams deferred, like being a dolphin-watching tour guide or something. And when they are flourishing, they are on top of the world. Nothing can stop them, and you both are enjoying the ride.

Unfortunately, these creative types are often broke in pursuit of these dreams, and oftentimes they lose touch with reality (i.e. student loans, steady employment). Sometimes they get so wrapped up in their dream, and the fact that they are so talented that they tend to get particularly moody when others "with far less talent" are all up in what should be their spotlight. Hence, they take their crap out on you. It's even worse if you are successful.

So here are some other examples of when good traits go bad. Let it marinate:

Good: He loves his mamma.
Bad: He's a mamma's boy.

Good: He has drive/goals and works hard.
Bad: He doesn't make time for a personal life, and that includes you. He also thinks the only thing better than having money is having more money.

Good: He is honest.
Bad: He lacks tact (can't tell the difference between being honest and being rude or mean).

Good: He "ain't no punk."
Bad: He picks fights and is unnecessarily confrontational.

TALK BACK: What is on your list of "dimmer" characteristics (things that simultaneously turn you "on" and "off" in the people you date)? What are the good/bad common threads among the people you've dated in the past?

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