You want a man who can make you laugh when you’re down and who laughs with you when you’re up, a man who listens and asks questions and responds. A man who rubs your feet to put you to sleep and who goes out for cafe mochas when you have to stay up and who knows that on those working all-nighters the answer to any question involving whipped cream is yes. You want a man who’ll wash your hair, who’ll cook you dinner, who’ll talk to your father on the phone when you can’t bear to, who’ll read to you on trips, and who’s happy when you read (or sing or dance) for him.You want a man who when he finds out that there are $199 fares to Kona suggests you go with your best girlfriend while he stays home and takes care of your dog. You want a man who will drive that same dog around all night when he is hallucinating and howling after the vet gave him too much postsurgical morphine, because you are up for promotion and have an interview with the dean at 8 a.m. You want a man who loves many things: his work, his landscape, a sports team, his friends. You want a man who knows that love is not a pie, that sex is not a sport, that faith (in the world, in each other) is a little like a full-time job. You want a man who knows that women have a secret, and even though he can’t know what it is, he is smart enough to want to live in its light. Most important, you want a man who can continue to surprise you, for a week, a month, a year, a lifetime, which is to say a man who has a big imagination, and who is willing to use it to win your heart.
-“And Then There’s the Good Guy,” by Pam Houston
*Pam Houston is a novelist and didn’t meet Mr. Right until she was 39.