The Rule of Ten


Thirty years is a long time to be married, it’s especially significant when it’s your second time around. I look around at those younger than I am, watching them struggle with finding the right person and with maintaining a relationship. I am not so egotistical to say I haven’t walked the same miserable path myself but then I came up with a system. Perhaps it was from desperation, or that I simply had a stroke of genius, however, it is most likely born of trial and error. Allow me to save you some time and heartache. Let me teach you what I learned as a single woman in the nineties and my system: The Rule of Ten.

I remember as if it was yesterday, sitting in the crowded bar with my friends near the dance floor. This was important since we loved dancing. Oh, and I didn’t care about meeting a guy. At this time in my life, I was a single man’s nightmare because, after two years, I was finally divorced. Furthermore, I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t make that mistake again, ever-never-again. I had a system for weeding out men and thereby guaranteeing this. I called it The Rule of Ten.

Understand that during this period, time was precious; I was working full time, going to school and caring for my children. I only had one night free every two weeks and generally spent that time with my friends. It was a waste of time waiting for a man to finally call or decide to ask me out.

Similar to shopping for the best washing machine, car or perfect job I had to know what, or rather whom, I was looking for. In short, I considered all the possibilities to define my perfect man. I started by itemizing qualities that a man had to have in order to be worthy of my time. Of course looking like my favorite male celebrity was on there, so was being a billionaire. Since I listed everything, I may have included owning the Batmobile. Creating the list was fun; I actually looked forward to working on my list each evening! Next, I trimmed it down, reducing it to a top ten list. Sadly, the celebrity in the Batmobile didn’t make the cut.

What made the list, were qualities such as being respectful.  I dislike being sized up as an entree on a menu. Also on the list was a sense of humor, and a love for music; furthermore, he had to dance. The list was not without the important things, being a great kisser made the list.  Sadly, it’s an underrated skill once you leave your teenage years and become an adult. In addition, confidence was important; I detest insecurity, which often morphs into jealousy. I remember adding that I hoped that he would have nice eyes; I am sappy and believe eyes are the windows to your soul.  It didn’t matter what he did for a living; however, I believed a good work ethic was important. Of course, if my Fairy Godmother was listening, I wasn’t averse to my future love being wealthy.  In case the Batmobile became available.

I memorized the list until I could recite it by memory.  When a man approached me, appearing as though he walked off the cover of GQ, but he only conversed with my breasts: he didn’t make the list. Furthermore, I’d likely snap my fingers and request that he refocused his attention to, at the very least, my face if not my eyes. It’s true, my friends would howl with laughter. I suspect sometimes they set me up for their own amusement.

It was at this time I met Nora; she loved hearing about my antics when I would go clubbing. I regaled her with tales of men too drunk to keep my name straight, and those that talked to me while checking out the women behind me. One man got too ‘handsy’ when walking by; I made it clear his actions and hands were unappreciated. Nora made the same remark after I gave her the weekend update.

“I have to introduce you to my brother; he has the same sarcastic sense of humor.”

As intriguing as that was, I deliberated, how could this possibly be good?

She was serious about her plan to introduce the two of us. It made me wonder if she liked her brother, after all, I wouldn’t introduce me to anyone. But, I liked her; she was caring and hard working. She had a great sense of humor and was confident and adventuresome. Maybe there was something to the brother. I asked for more data. She stated that he loved old country music, primitive camping and was a tooling engineer. The things she told me made me wonder if, in fact, she knew me!  At this time, I had never listened to country music, tooling engineering sounded like this required math, and then there was the matter of camping.  Primitive camping to me was going to the Holiday Inn and not turning on the cable TV in the room. I remained perplexed as to why Nora thought that we would hit it off.

Again, during this time, I led a busy life between school and work; in general, time marched on. The crew and I went to dance clubs and live band gigs. As before, I kept my list of ten handy in my head, the bar scene seldom had a man that survived the countdown. To be truthful I never expected that anyone would.  At the end of the night, as we enjoyed an early hour breakfast, again, Nora renewed her matchmaking campaign.

“I mean it, you should meet my brother.”

Finally, I conceded stating, “Ok Nora let’s see what the man is made of.”

In my class regarding business correspondence, we worked on perfecting a resume. The first rule is to aim your resume to fit the company’s vision. In this instance, my target audience was a brainy guy that liked old country music and freezing his butt off on the ground. Grabbing a piece of paper, I jotted a few notes then handed it to her.

“Give this to him, my number is on it.”

The next evening, my phone rang, a pleasant voice asked for me by name. When I identified myself, he chuckled. It had a nice manly sound to it.

“Your note made me laugh!”

He had hit an item from the list, a good sense of humor.

He went on to tackle my other inquiries. I had addressed the majors right off the bat. I asked him had he ever listened to Aerosmith, he stated that, yes he had. He assured me that his favorite country star wasn’t deceased. Then he got to the camping part and laughed again. He confessed with enough beer, you forget you were sleeping on the hard ground. I responded to him that I was doubtful.  We talked for a while, I laughed and he laughed. He indicated that his sister didn’t know him well but that she was sincere. Another hit on the list; respect.

We made plans to meet for dinner and afterward take in a comedy show. My friends gave me grief about going out a blind date. I reminded them that on any given Friday, I knew where to find them if my date was a bust. When their nights didn’t turn out as planned, they went to our favorite pub. They were there most Friday nights.

The evening arrived and we had our date. I recall thinking that he had nice eyes and possessed impeccable manners. He spoke more about his family, showing admiration for the women in his life; his Mom and sister.  This impressed me. We talked until our meal was cold and we nearly missed the comedy show. He was confident; he talked about his love of music and explained more about his job.

Oh, and he kissed great!

That blind date was over thirty years ago, we married less than a year after meeting. For our second date, he assailed any fear about his love for old country music by bringing his guitar and playing songs by James Taylor. I was over the moon, singing James Taylor songs should’ve been on my list!

Moreover, he is wealthy, prosperous in character and romance. He is rich in his sense of humor. He has a wealth of knowledge and a vault of skills. Above all else, he thinks what we have is priceless.

In closing, if you are looking for love, then I recommend that you make a list. Cut it down to your top ten then memorize it, adopt it as your creed. This will help you outline your ideal mate. That person is out there waiting for someone who knows this definition.

Just as he was waiting for me.


By Caroline Walken


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