Dating Scene: What Your “Must-Have” List is Missing

by Editorial

What you should be looking for in a guy, and why so many women don’t have it on their list.

By Jess McCann


Whenever I sit down with a new client, I ask them the same question.  I always first inquire about what they are looking for. The answer comes easy at first. “A guy,” they tell me. “Sure,” I reply. “But get specific about what you want,” I tell them. After all the only way to get what you want is to know what you’re after. They usually start by rattling off their list of must-haves; A college degree, a good steady job, a keen sense of humor, an attractive physique. Some will dive into more specifics than others; A love for animals, a spiritual upbringing, a sexy smile, a good dancer.

For every woman the list is different. Some will trade a “love of dogs” for a “decent dresser.” But never the less, the list is there. It exists in all of us.  I, myself, had one too.

But my list mentality was forever changed one day as I was sitting and chatting with my best friend over a summer cocktail.  She and I had been best friends for fifteen years.  I didn’t go looking for her of course, but if I had, the chances of finding her would have been almost nil.  We come from completely different backgrounds. Me from a Catholic upbringing, her family devout Muslims. Her parents, married for over thirty years. Mine twice divorced. She loves music and dancing, I love movies and books. I’m the tall blonde, and she the petite brunette. To outsiders it may seem that we are a simple case of opposites attracting.  But she and I know we are much more alike than we are different.

What dawned on me that day was why she and I became friends. It wasn’t because she had the look I wanted in a best friend. Or because she had the same political beliefs.  It wasn’t because she was a good dancer, held a high paying job, or had her master’s degree.  She became my best friend because when we are together, we have the best time. We laugh our faces off. She can read me like a book and I can do the same. We put each other first. I know I can call her even if it’s two in the morning and she knows she can do the same. It’s the dynamic between us that makes our relationship great. It’s not because of any quality I could put on a list.

After this realization I threw my must-haves away. Sure, I still wanted someone smart, funny and handsome, but now I was looking for the connection I wanted rather than the resume. And when I found my fiance, I felt that connection instantly and it’s been there ever since.

When I ask my clients what they are looking for, I don’t want them to describe the guy’s hair color and taste in music. I want to hear about the connection they want. I want them to identify who they click with. I want them to realize the dynamic that works for them. Do they need a total goofball to joke around with for the rest of their lives, or do they need a sweet and sentimental gentleman? I don’t want them to think about the degree he got ten years ago. I want to hear about the conversations they will have today. Looking good on paper is just not as important as being good in real life.

So my advice to all of you is, throw out your list of must-haves too. Forget looking for someone over six feet tall. Don’t pigeon hole yourself to only considering that doctor or lawyer. Telling people you married a surgeon isn’t nearly as cool as telling people you’re madly in love. You don’t know what your future looks like, and if you try to imagine it too hard, you may miss it when you see it.  Keep your “deal breakers” just dump the “must-haves.”


Jess McCann is an author, speaker, and dating coach who knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence. Before finding love and writing, You Lost Him at Hello: a saleswoman’s secrets to closing the deal, she was confused, self-conscious and alone. Since then, she has coached women all over the globe on how to kick their love life into high gear and get the relationship they have always wanted. She’s appeared on national television shows, such as Good Morning America, The Fox Morning show with Mike & Juliet and speaks frequently at women’s rallies, college campuses and lifestyle events.

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