On The Futility of Status Romance

I wonder if it's a sign of my aging,
This growing sense of mine
That grace and sweetness of disposition
Would make for me better company
Than ravishing beauty,
Quenchless desire,
Youth of the flesh,
Or dazzling intellect or achievement.

Don't get me wrong:
These things are indeed attractions in a woman,
But after a time they must surely become
Mere trophies,
Like pictures you hang in your living room to show off
How wealthy and sophisticated you are.
For a week you admire them, maybe;
Their appeal fades too soon,
And unlike the pictures, these demand attention,
Money and entertainment,
Obligations and responsibility.

No, these things alone are not enough
To make the toil and vexation worth it,
And if she's of mean temper,
If she's a spendthrift whose life-purpose is to milk you,
If she's a drama-queen addicted to turmoil,
Or if she's faithful as a sailor in a foreign port
Look out! Buddy, you're in big trouble!

Call me a coward, but I want someone
Who won't make me regret the day I met them.
Certainly looks are a part of the equation,
But she doesn't have to be a D-cup and turn every head when she passes.
Intellect is nice, certainly,
But sensibility is better if it's an either-or choice.
Sexiness would be a plus certainly,
But graciousness and sincerity
Are probably better bedfellows in the long-haul.
Little differences and occasional disputes may be expected.
Insufferable habits and character traits, however, are things to avoid altogether.
(If she's chronically dishonest, vicious, or psycho, you can do better!)
The long-term assets must more than offset the deficits.

It is best that she be remarkable in some way, perhaps,
A way that at least you can admire,
But perhaps this is more important in the early stages.
What's more important in the long run is whether she'll be good for you,
Whether she'll be good to you,
Then whether you enjoy her company,
Then whether you can like and respect her as a person,
Then all the other stuff.

It's strange.
These seem like such simple criteria,
So humble and unexacting.
They are, in fact,
Mostly the same qualities I seek in friendship,
And yet so few I've met have satisfied them.
What is the point in loving a woman
Whom I could never be friends with?
(And why do people often separate romance and friendship?)
What more than grief could ultimately come of this?

George Chadderdon © 2002