4.2 Boyfriend material is the new black.

“Yeah but he’s not boyfriend material” I’ve heard myself say countless times over the cotton twill wilderness of the last few single years. What does make up this elusive, oh so sexy and shiny boyfriend material? Or for the other half of the population out there – shiny Barbie, busted, blonde – cough – sorry getting carried away – girlfriend material?

For me when looking for the ultimate boyfriend-fabric it’s the fairly obvious things; They need a job, (a good job) you know something that would hold up so I didn’t have to breast feed on lunch break. Sorry TMI? I’m not on the baby-thought-train just yet – but a girl’s got to think of these things. So he’d need that job, a driver’s license, some nice non-weed smoking friends and well, HECK, he’d just have to treat me right. As I get older this is a fairly black and white world for me. Oh he didn’t text back or cancelled our date with a shit-town excuse like he had to go to the gym? Equals = Shit bloke. Move on, plank and find another. Any guy who’s a student (sorry guys) or living at the parents – no matter how entrepreneurial the-next-Facebooking he thinks he is, is going in the non-fabricated boyfriend basket for me.

I’ve heard from guy friends it’s an immediate decision upon that first up, down, sentence out the mouth look. She’s ‘girlfriend material.’  Or she’s the ‘lycra with long, bendy legs’ material instead. To put it nicely that leggy one is never meeting the parents so-to-spandex-speak. This slightly annoys me because I can clearly remember every guy that has seen me as ‘girlfriend’ material because they’ve very obviously treated me that way or in a slightly stalkerish, cutesey bought me roses to brunch type way. Then there’s alllll the rest. And sure I got sucked in. ‘Oh he’s texting me at 10pm because he must have had a busy day.’ Re-read: that girl he likes more than you fell through so now he’s texting you.

And as we get older I’ve heard myself say things like “Take that photo down off Facebook! It’s not wife material”. As hot and leggy as it was – I’m sick of being the party girl and would prefer a social media persona of ‘She’s a keeper slash she looks responsible and nice enough to raise our kids’. Nevermind she can sink two bottles of red at home on a quiet Saturday night. We just leave that off the demure photo caption below.

Most of us have an idea of ‘boy/ girlfriend material’ even though we won’t say it out loud. It’s in our unwritten rules, it’s in our silent bullet point boyfriend lists, it’s stealing a superficial glance at those brown shoes and thinking ‘Oh honey no.’ Before we decide on that piece of material we may have to wear for the rest of our lives.

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3.8 In the name of the father, the son and the grown up conversations we need to have.

I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there are like me – skipping along in the blissful world of in-love without a flicker of grown up thoughts entering your mind. I mean I’m thirty TWO – No need to worry about babies or any of that business right now. But what if you have some strong beliefs in the way you want your children raised? If you don’t want them smacked? If you don’t want them baptised? If you don’t want them going to a public school? If you’re dating someone and you’re in your thirties and you want children – you should probably have some of these discussions now. Yes now. Not in five years when you realise you live on opposite-parental-polar sides of the world.

But you both like each other so much, so surely you’ll just agree on everything, right? You don’t want to be seven months pregnant, fighting about baptism and public schooling while your undelivered foetus can listen and keep score. By then those conversations might be a little too late. I’m not getting all Gandhi on you – I’m not the wise, well-thought-out one here. I’ve never thought about any of this stuff in my life, likely because I’ve never dated anyone and thought ‘Ooh I’d like to have half your DNA inside me to create something that can’t speak or do the dishes for the first seven years of its life.’

Realising some of these tough questions need to be answered, my first port of head-breaking call is my “nope, not baptised, I’m going to hell and why are you asking?” friends. A temple-tonne of my friends have been raised strict Catholic and I was aghast to hear the straight-down-the-baptism-barrel answers I was getting – clearly these guys had thought about it? Or hated something enough to know they didn’t want it all over again.

I had a Catholic upbringing and I haven’t come out the other ordained end hating on all things churchy and yes, I want my children baptised. But how far am I going to take that? Would I break up with someone over this? It’s a little odd how your brain, head and heart all start to feel a bit twisted about this. I’ve found someone who meets every requirement, ticks every boy box – but if we can’t agree on this, is that it? Should I start only dating men at local churches who won’t have 99% of the things I really want? Do *I* need to compromise a little more and take down my church-o-meter a notch?

If my partner was from a different religion (cripes don’t tell the parents) that had a very different baptism-esque ceremony would I dare let him bathe the child in it? Of course I would. Because isn’t this more about respecting each others’ own faiths, upbringings and finding that middle ground of compromise to raise your children on? I’d like to think so. So I need to get my partner across the line on this one too. “Shiraz wine please and all the kids baptised to go”.

I don’t think this is one conversation to be had and ended. No-one knows how you’re going to feel once you have a little version of your mixed selves sitting there and you need to decide what water and blessings you’re going to douse it with. But I do know I don’t want to be all wishy washy about it now and not stand up for what I want and years on simply hope my partner will want the same. I’m not stupid enough to think someone will forget or change their mind over years of wearing down. You’d have to have Jesus rocks in your head. (Jesus rocks aren’t a thing, I just made that up. I imagine they’d be heavy though and open doors at Easter time.)

So my basic baptismal thoughts for you are: keep on skipping, keep on being in love, but speak about these things and have these uncomfortable conversations now. Make sure you’re on the same psalm, Buddha belly or Bible page before you get those keys cut, open that joint bank account and spend a small fortune down the aisle to say, “I do”.

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