Posted by: deerharas | February 17, 2009

In Search of the STOF Man

I liked my last boyfriend for three reasons.  He was older, taller, and smarter than me.  Granted, he was only older by a few months, taller by a few inches, and smarter by, well, I didn’t ever ask his SAT scores, but I am fairly certain they were better than mine.  (He never did beat me at Connect 4, though.)  Obviously I valued more than those three characteristics, but it was a running joke I shared with friends at the time … my three “non-negotiables.”

Anyway, I was pretty amused to happen upon a similar list in the book I’ve been reading the past couple days.  Rachel Toor dedicates a chapter of her memoir, “Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running,” to her search for the ideal man who in her opinion is STYF: Smarter, Taller, Younger, and Faster.  She acknowledges the difficulty of defining smarter, but goes on to explain, “I need to be with someone whose mind zigs and zags in ways that enchant me, whether by listening to him talk about Penrose tiles or by watching him pack a moving truck.  Likewise, I want someone who wants me because he likes the sounds my sentences make on those rare occasions when they sing.”  I could not have said it better myself.

Taller is pretty self explanatory, but younger was a surprise.  Being in her 40s, Toor feels younger men are more comfortable around strong women.  She muses, “Show me a fellow who can articulate why he hates everything Hilary Clinton stands for but would never think to call her ‘opinionated’ and that’s a guy I’d like to date.”  Younger men for her aren’t patronizing.  Being that I’m nowhere near 40, and most of the guys she’s referring to as younger than her are still older than me, I’m sticking with my initial desire … older is better.  Bring on the maturity!

The title of the chapter in which this STYF discussion occurs is “Speed Goggles.”  As opposed to beer goggles.  For Toor, this one attribute has the potential to override the previous three.  “I find out that someone who seemed stupid, old, and short can still run a 2:30 marathon?  Come on over, big boy.”  Considering I am nowhere near the runner Toor is, I don’t think it should be very hard to find a guy faster than me!  And while I wouldn’t rank this trait at the top of the list, I’m happy to tag it on at the end.  I would love a running partner, someone better than me willing to condescend to my level, making me better.

Toor conludes the chapter by writing, “I’ve given up on trying to find a STYF man; he’s proved as elusive as an ivory-billed woodpecker.  Plus, I’ve come to accept that I’m not everyone’s cup of decaf skim chai: I don’t cook, and I’m kind of mean.  At this point I’d settle for an interesting running partner who pushes me to keep up and never calls me ‘opinionated’; someone who teaches me new things and knows the value of a semicolon.  If that’s still too much to ask, maybe what I really need is a dog.”

Well, I’m not dog shopping yet.  I don’t really cook either, but I’m not mean.  And I’m too young to give up on the dream of, in my case, a STOF man.

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