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I’ve been thinking a lot about the blog post I wrote last week about lists. You know, the one about the mental lists I’ve kept over the years detailing everything I need want in a future husband. Long after I clicked publish on that post, the comments continued to pour in (thank you!) and it led to several restless nights (no thank you!). But lack of sleep aside, it’s a good thing. It got me thinking about the woman I am and the woman I want to be. No, I haven’t figured all that out yet, but I have let my mind wander to other related topics, one of which started yet another journey into the land of the great unknown — the man’s brain.

Here I’ve been writing lists and checking off little boxes and erasing said checkmarks during various relationships along the way — for years. And I wonder if all the while the men I’ve been pining after have been keeping lists of their own. And if they have, what are on these top secret, encoded, CIA-level lists? And how do I get access to that information?

I’ve got a few members of the male species in my life, in the form of a father, brothers, cousins, friends, co-workers. I catch little glimpses of what they look for in women, whether or not they go public with these desires. And what I see ain’t pretty. (Pun intended.)

Men want women that are:

        • Hot
        • Successful, but not more successful than them
        • Sexy
        • Smart, but not smarter than them
        • Pretty
        • Fond of the idea of having children and being mothers
        • Good cooks in the kitchen
        • Gorgeous
        • Reliable housekeepers
        • Sweet
        • Funny, but not funnier than they are
        • Did I mention hot?

Funny, as I type this, I am so annoyed with myself. And with men in general. This list is 48-percent fictitious, yet I’m still annoyed by it. Because nearly half of it is based on real-life observations I’ve made with my own two green eyes.

        • The foodie cousin that comments (with his mouth full), “I need a wife that can cook me a steak.”
        • The co-worker who stares every girl up and down as she walks by. (Barf.)
        • The brother who lives in a disaster zone of dirty laundry and unwashed dishes and says, “When I get married it’ll stay clean.”
        • The friend who claims he likes smart girls, but has broken up with three that were highly successful because “it just didn’t work out.”

Is this what it takes, boys? Do you really want a hot housekeeping chef that keeps her mouth shut just enough to let you stay in the spotlight? Because I can be that woman. I can be your trophy wife. Heck, just tonight I made a delicious baked salmon with a raspberry almond salad.

I’m also realizing a natural gifting I may have in food photography and am thinking of starting my own business. But don’t worry! I’ll be sure to never make more money than you, sweetheart. After all, being your wife and the mother of your children is really all I ever hope to be.

Sarcasm, folks. It gets us nowhere in life, but sometimes it just makes me feel good. (Don’t worry, babe, I’ll get rid of this nasty habit as soon as you get that ring on my finger. No one wants a snarky wife!)

But then there are moments in life when even a know-it-all blogger gets put in her place. The moments when:

        • A brother comments that he’s so proud of his wife for her career success, and he’s lucky to be with her
        • A friend comments that when his wife cares for him it shows how kind her heart is… and makes him want to be more like her
        • A cousin mentions — completely out of earshot of his wife of many years — that she is an amazing mother to their kids
        • My dad calls my mom beautiful

The pattern I’m noticing — and correct me if I’m wrong — is that men do care about the deeper sides of relationships and women. It just takes them longer to get there. Their initial lists are topped with hot, sexy, and pretty. But, from the moments I’ve witnessed, those factors slowly fall, notch by notch, as other factors take precedence — factors that matter in the long haul.

You may have heard it said that a woman is like an onion. I believe this, and not just because I’m Slavic and eat onions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I believe it because we women do have many, many layers. And as those layers are revealed, men see the true beauty of their counterparts — our soft hearts, our kind souls, our inherent beauty as daughters of the Most High.

And, oddly enough, I’m learning that men are a lot like onions, too. Eventually, after many tears are shed trying to reach their insides, they show their true colors. And it turns out they can be beautiful, too.

Here’s searching for a good apple… er, onion… that’s got me on the top of his list.