I recommend reading Part One first.
In high school, I refused to date. This might have been just as well, because I don’t know if I could have had I tried—I was just really weird in the there-aren’t-a-bunch-of-other-weirdos-just-like-me kind of way. For inspiration in my commitment to singleness, I relied heavily on Beatrice from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, fully equipped with witticisms and snarky quips. However, as is the case with Beatrice, this was all posturing and had little to do with how I actually felt. I liked boys just fine and definitely wanted to get married some day.
However, there is a kind of power in being flippant and biting. You insert yourself into the human hierarchy this way. Those less equipped at wit must take their place lower than you and remain quiet onlookers to your verbal sparring, during art class when the teacher leaves the room for more than twenty minutes at a time. Anyone who ventures into this foray had best be well prepared, lest she be forced to creep back into sedges and tend her wounds.
Unlike other people who just have a mental list of desirable qualities, I actually wrote mine down and would refer to it if there was a boy who struck my fancy. And contrary to Beatrice’s catch 22, my impossibly long list of essential qualities that a man must possess in order to be worthy of me was made in complete sincerity. Most of the things that made the list were in the interests category: Shakespeare, fashion, poetry, language, dancing. Then there were other things regarding values and the number of children he’d prefer. This list took up pages.
Of course, in the process of growing up and discovering how to be human along with experiencing disappointed expectations, I realized that ideally, it boils down to something pretty simple:
Find someone kind.