A Quick Note to B.

Two posts down, someone identified only as B left a comment:

“Would you marry a man under 5’6″?”
I shared this comment with my lunch crew, and it was enough of a conversation piece that I thought I’d respond with a whole post instead of just a comment.
So, B, here’s a long answer to your question.
Over time, I’ve had a list of things I really didn’t want in a partner. Some superficial, some a bit more complicated.
At first, it was baldness. I didn’t want to marry someone who was already bald. Until one night, I went out with a man who was bald, and he was so sweet and I had such a wonderful time that I actually contemplated not moving away, as I was scheduled to within a month of our date. At the end of the night when he asked for a second date, it killed me to be honest and tell him I was moving. I only thought it was fair, to both of us really. Since then, hair quality hasn’t been an issue.
Next, I couldn’t imagine marrying a man who’d been divorced. Until I met a man who’d been divorced, and he was funny and clever and so smart and I loved talking to him to the point that I drove to Colorado to meet him in person. While he never talked to me again after meeting me in person, I no longer found divorce to be a stumbling block in dating.
As accepting as I was of divorced men at that point, I still wasn’t wild about marrying a man with children. Until I met a divorced man with children and fell in love with him. The breakup was devastating, but I had spent months picturing myself building a life as a stepmom, and it no longer bothered me. I’m thisclose to being okay with marrying a man who has grandchildren…but I’m not anywhere close to a point where I’m ready to be called Grandma. Nope nope nope nope.
All this is to build a case for the height question. I’ve only ever dated two men who were my exact height or shorter than me. I’m 5’3″. The first man was my height exactly, and he was quite nice and really cute, and we played racquetball for our date (which I loved) but I was an immature BYU freshman, and the timing just wasn’t right for anything to materialize. 
The second man, shorter than me, was a jerk.
So, B, I suppose the answer to your question is this: I’m sure I could marry a man who was 5’6″ or shorter, if he was kind and funny and treated me well and could love my flaws just as much as he loved my strengths.
Were you asking for a friend?

Why I’m Not Married, Part III

Only four traits remain in analyzing the Wall Street Journal’s report of what men want in a wife. But only one is significant.

7. Homemaker
According to the report, 14% of the men surveyed want their wives to be homemakers, as opposed to only 5% wishing the same for their daughters. I’m not even sure why “homemaker” is on the list, or what it means. Does that mean not working outside the home? Does it mean knowing how to get hairspray stickiness off the bathroom floor? Does it mean regularly baking a variety of cheesecakes? 
Verdict: Homemaking skills are NOT the reason I’m not married.
8. Breadwinner
These numbers are close for both wives and daughters–men do not want either role to be breadwinners. I suppose this mentality is all about the primordial instinct above all else; since the dawn of time (or so we’ve been told) men are the providers. So I’m not surprised by this. And I suppose my ability to provide for myself is a liability for some men. But I’ve never been outright told that my job is to blame for why different men haven’t wanted to be with me. In fact, the last two men I dated said (and I believed them) that my career was impressive and they fully supported how hard I work.
Verdict: Being a breadwinner is NOT the reason I’m not married.

9. Deferential
I find this one most interesting, that only 2% of men want this trait in both a wife and a daughter. And I’ll admit that most of the men I’ve dated in my life wanted me to make choices. Where to eat, what movie to see, which character to be in Mortal Kombat. They also didn’t mind a good occasional sparring. And while I tend to not care where I eat, I am picky on movies. I know how to make decisions, and I’m not all that keen on being deferential.
Verdict: Deference is NOT the reason I’m not married.

10. Attractive
Yes, I saved this one for last, because I am fairly certain this is reason I’m not married. Why? Because three men I’ve dated told me so. And I’d be willing to bet that if I put the screws to a couple others, they would agree. And this rankles me quite a bit because so often, men will praise every other aspect of my being…and then stop dating me anyway. So what else could it be? If all these other traits aren’t seen as negatives, then it has to be I’m just not attractive.
I don’t write that last phrase to evoke any pity–I think it’s much more a product of unrealistic cultural standards than anything else. And Amy Schumer has my back with this gem. 
Because we tell men all the time that they shouldn’t focus so much on beauty and appearance, and some men buy in on a superficial level. But when push comes to shove, they want (and oftentimes expect) a trophy wife. I know this doesn’t apply to every single man on the planet. Just the ones who date me. 
All told, of those ten traits, only three are possible explanations for why I’m not married. Then again, the more likely explanation is that I’ve dated a parade of jackholes, and at the end of the day, I don’t really owe anyone an explanation anyway.
So I promise to get back to more interesting topics later this week.

Why I’m Not Married, Part II.

The first installment in this series can be found here.

In our previous episode, we left off with two possible reasons why I’m not married: independence and strength. Let’s look at three more today.
4. Principled.
Do I have principles? Indeed. When my students beg me to bend rules or violate copyright, they say, “We won’t tell! Who’s gonna know?” I always respond, “I will know.” I try not to shop at Walmart because I disagree with how they treat their employees. I favor CVS instead of Walgreens because CVS doesn’t sell tobacco products. I stopped watching the NFL this year because of management’s laissez-faire approach to domestic violence. So yes, I am principled.

Verdict: Principled is NOT the reason I’m not married.

5. Sweet.
I’m pretty sure my dad wants me to be sweet, even though the article suggests only 19% of fathers really wants their daughters to be sweet. More interesting is that sweetness in wives was only important to 34% of men. I’m not sure what that suggests…do men just expect women to be shrews? I think I’m less sweet now than I was 20 years ago. Too much heartbreak and an acute awareness of my own mortality has made me cynical in my old age. But I know I can be sweet when needed.

Verdict: Sweetness is NOT the reason I’m not married.

6. Nurturing
I’m certain I have this trait nailed. As an adviser, coach, and teacher, I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t know how to be nurturing. I know how to take care of people. I’ve cared for nieces and nephews, my siblings, and my parents at different points in their lives. And when I think back to all my relationships, I’m positive I was nurturing. Whether it was encouraging this one that he could get certification for career advancement or helping this one manage some incredibly difficult life events, I have always known how to support and care for people.

Verdict: Nurturing ability is NOT the reason I’m not married.

To sum up, of six characteristics listed, still only two are possible reasons why I’m not married. The four remaining characteristics just might tip the balance…

Finally! I Know Why I’m Not Married!

Today I read this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Now, the article cites a survey into which I did not investigate any pertinent information such as sample size or region of respondents or anything like that. Also, Rupert Murdoch owns the WSJ so can I really trust anything I read there? But the article makes for good blog fodder, so I’m just gonna run with it.
The snapshot (and lead) of the survey is that there seems to be a disconnect with how men see what they want in a wife versus what they want in a daughter. So in the next several blog posts, I’m going to analyze each criterion listed and evaluate where I rank, based on the past 22 years of dating.
1.  Intelligent
This is a trait I am 90% sure I possess. I’m smart. I always have been. And while I wish the percentages were more equal between daughter and wife, at least they are both above 50%. One man I was in a relationship with frequently told me that my intelligence was one of my most attractive qualities. So I know there was at least one man that could’ve tolerated my smarts. All other men I’ve dated fall into the 28% of men who aren’t all that keen on having an intelligent wife. 
At least the next time I’m told I’m “too smart” to marry, I can pull out this survey and say, “Well the Wall Street Journal says you actually DO want a smart wife.”
Verdict (imagine Maury Povich reading this): Intelligence is NOT the reason I’m not married.
2. Independent
This one is a bit of a catch-22. Was I supposed to work at Barnes and Noble for the rest of my life, live at home, and wait for a man to rescue me from my parents’ home? 66% of men would say yes. But my father is most definitely in the camp of appreciating and encouraging my independence. So…my dad wants me on my own, but no men want me now that I am on my own. 
See the pickle I’m in here? At least one man I’ve dated told me we could no longer date because he didn’t feel like I needed him enough. At least one man I’ve dated told me we could no longer date because I was too needy. So I don’t really know what to do with this one.
Verdict: Independence MIGHT be the reason I’m not married.
3. Strong
I’m guessing this is emotionally strong and not physically strong. The article doesn’t say, and I’ve already said I’m being lazy and not going to the source text. The 20% difference between this desired trait as a daughter or as a wife boggles my mind. My dad definitely wants me to be emotionally strong. We Rowses are pretty much all about doing everything on our own and never asking for help unless we are literally dying. And even then, we feel guilty about it. 
As I think back on my relationships, this may be my downfall. Only 28% of men want an emotionally strong wife. I tend to pride myself on my stone cold heart and ability to avoid crying in front of people, especially men. I remember losing it once (ONCE!) in front of the man I was dating while my dad was fighting cancer. And once I composed myself, I apologized for the emotional showing. Plus, as I’ve spent most of my life battling depression and getting dumped time after time after time after time, I’ve built up some pretty impressive emotional muscles. 
Strength has become a necessity for living a life entirely alone. Another catch-22; is the alternative flitting from guy to guy to be with someone just so I can say I’m not alone? Unacceptable alternative. My dad would say so; the guys I’ve dated must disagree.
Verdict: Strength MIGHT be the reason I’m not married.

So the initial tally–of the ten traits listed, so far two are possible reasons why I’m not married. If I’m asked that question anytime soon, I’ll be sure to respond, “I’m too independent and too strong.” 
And then I’ll probably stomp on their foot for asking such an asinine question in the first place.
Stay tuned for the next three traits…

Just One More Dating Rant…

Today I took a survey about the state of singles in the LDS church.

Many of the questions were decent and I could tell whoever developed the survey is seeking to truly understand how the church can better minister to those who aren’t married and breeding.
And then at the end, this question:
“Why do you think you aren’t married?”
That has to be a joke, right? But they asked, so I answered:

If I’m to believe at least four of the men I’ve dated, I’m not married because God told them to stop dating me. (Interesting article about that excuse here.)

If I believe my inner demons, I am not married because I do not now, nor have I ever, meet a physical ideal that many Mormon men think they deserve. 

The real reason? Maybe ask every man I’ve dated in the past 25 years why I wasn’t worth marrying.  

This question is offensive and ridiculous. 

Hey. “We believe in being honest…” (see #13 here.) So I was.