Recently I read an essay by one of my college students about how she hopes one day to meet her "soulmate," whom she then went on to describe in some detail.
It's refreshing to think that, even today, young women still long for that fairy-tale ending. Unfortunately, I'm not overly optimistic about their chances.
For one thing, let's face it: men are pigs. I know this by virtue of having been a man nearly all my adult life. In fact, there are really only two types of men: those who are pigs but are trying their best not to act like pigs, and those who aren't even trying.
That said, there are still plenty of the former, basically decent guys who are interested in marriage, family, mortgage -- the whole shebang. The real problem is that even women who say they're looking for a decent guy don't act like it. If that's what you want, you have to change your behavior.
First -- and I'm going to be very blunt -- stop giving it away. If you don't know what "it" is, then you're too young to be reading this column. Stop reading immediately and turn on "My Little Ponies."
It's true that all physically mature guys are obsessed with "it," even the decent ones. The difference is that decent guys have the motivation and self-discipline not to act on every impulse. That's what makes them decent. If you want a guy who is willing to wait on you, then you need to wait on him.
Second, even if you're not giving it away, stop dressing as though you are, or as though you want to. True, all normal, heterosexual men are attracted to the female body, and the more they can see, the better they like it. But that's exactly the problem: they'll like it --in this case, "it" means your body -- instead of actually liking you.
Because it's also true that no decent guy wants to marry a woman who looks like a hooker. If it's a decent guy you want, stop acting like you'll take whatever you can get.
Finally, start looking in the right places. I have to shake my head when I hear women say that they can't seem to meet a decent guy. Where are they looking? At bars and nightclubs? On the Internet? Wrong approach.
If you want to meet a decent guy, spend time at the kinds of places where decent guys hang out. Like, oh, I don't know -- church, maybe? Think about what interests you might share with decent guys, like outdoor sports, conservation, or working with children, and then join an organization that will enable you to pursue that activity while at the same time, perhaps, meeting your soulmate.
And look, ladies, he doesn't even have to be your soulmate. If he's just trying his best not to be a pig, that's a start.
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and college professor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org