Memoirville

SMITH Loves Lists

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

By Elizabeth Minkel

When I was asked to write a memoir for our new six-word book, I made a list of a few dozen of my romantic mishaps and pared each of them down to six words. The result was a sad summation of the past decade of my life, a reminder that I dated people like “His pants were tighter than mine” and “Compulsive liar boyfriend full of compliments,” all in an orderly, easy-to-read format. I wound up sending “Silently suffered his facial hair experiments” to the publishers, but the one I’ve been revisiting recently is a remnant of a well-meaning  high school boyfriend: “His love letters had bullet points.” At age sixteen, a list with the heading “Why We Should Continue Dating” was decidedly unromantic.

Do love and lists mix well? Everyone seems to have lists on the mind these days—the old twenty-five things meme that made the blog rounds last year has taken Facebook by storm, prompting snarky responses from blogs and major news outlets (TIME, the New York Times) alike. We’ve got our own in-house list maker: Stacy Abramson, whose endearingly neurotic inventories of her life—recounted in list form—sparked a lot excitement here last week. From her love life to her family to all her little hang-ups, Stacy gives us a better portrait of her life than 25 random things ever could.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so Stacy and SMITH want your love-themed lists. Unrequited crushes, romantic regrets, things you like—or don’t like—about your significant other, the pros and cons of staying with him or her, and all those things you wished you realized sooner—or wished you’d known ten years ago.

Looking for a little inspiration? Here’s Stacy’s list of bad and good boyfriend traits—true-to-form, a few numbered points paint a clearer picture of her ex than pages of descriptions ever could. We would all benefit from writing one of these, so get listing!

Date: February, 2003
Age: 32
Place:
Surf Camp with Heather, San Diego, C.A.
What You Need to Know
: Heather said the only way to get over five-year relationship was to make a list of what I wanted to find in the next person.
List: What I Want In My Next Boyfriend
What I Want
1. Someone who I can get stuck with on the train.
2. Someone who will run off to Cuba for a long weekend, or to Tel Aviv, but who has a grown-up life to come home to.
3. Someone who’s bear-like.
4. Someone who asks lots of questions.

What I Don’t Want
1. Someone who wears black turtlenecks.
2. Someone who likes British teashops.
3. Or anyone British really.
4. A vegan.
5. Someone who backtracks.
6. Someone with cats.

Want more love lists?

1. Create a playlist with the top 100 love songs of all time.
2. Write a list for your partner this weekend.
3. Quote someone famous in your love letters.
4. Browse this list of lists for everything romantic.

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8 responses

  1. Jonah says:

    My current romantic entanglement believes–and I tend to agree–that a relationship is only workable between individuals who agree on three things: religion, politics, and food. By “agree,” I don’t mean they have the exact same opinions (that gets boring), but rather that they take similar approaches to these issues.

    That said, here’s my list of deal-or-no-deal qualities in a mate, based on those three categories.

    Religion:

    -Does not take religion, spirituality, or (godforbid) astrology too seriously.
    -Has a theosophical approach to religion and is knowledgeable about different philosophies.
    -Is not slavishly devoted to any doctrine.
    -Is not a militant Zionist.

    Politics:

    -Never had anything particularly good to say about George Bush.
    -Thinks independently and critically about political issues and doesn’t follow any party line.
    -Is willing to take Marx seriously.
    -Likes (and knows how) to talk about politics.
    -Is not a militant Zionist.

    Food:

    -Has a sophisticated palate.
    -Likes to try new things.
    -Is not opposed to culinary extravagance, but doesn’t demand it either.
    -Likes to cook.
    -Is not a total control freak in the kitchen.
    -Is not a militant vegan.

  2. Tracy says:

    Things I plan to do this V-Day weekend:

    1. Attend a dessert wine tasting
    2. Get a 90 minutes couples massage
    3. Eat dinner at the bar at Olive Garden
    4. Go to a Build-a-Bear workshop and build a bear
    5. Spend time in the bedroom

  3. Marina says:

    I am in a long distance relationship.

    Things I plan to do this Valentine’s day weekend:

    1. DJ an English dept. party at the university where I teach
    2. Apt. hunting in hopes that my signficantly distant other will come live here
    3. Attend two goodbye parties
    4. Hope that my terrible blistering sunburn heals
    5. Attempt not to feel sick when looking at my sunburn
    6. Eat light as sunburn forestalls exercise, rapid movement
    7.Extensive video chatting, avoid talking about blisters
    8. Attempt not to obsess about hideous blisters/skin damage
    9. Catch up on grading my students’ essays
    10. Resolve to be more of a hardass as a professor, again.
    11. Edit recent poems and/or write an imitation of Lerner
    12. Spend some intimate time with my blog
    13. Finish The Crying of Lot 49
    14. Write poignant yet un-maudlin note to dead friend’s parents
    14. Get sleep so i can be bright eyed at work at 7 on Monday.

  4. Kyle says:

    What I would love about you, if you existed:
    -that you listen to Celine Dion
    -that you have a pit bull
    -that you’re almost intellectual enough to be labelled pretentious
    -that you’re an artist
    -that you hate coffee
    -that you love wine
    -that you don’t wear sweater vests
    -that you are just as honest as I
    -that I’m not terrified of your mother
    -that you’re not terrified of my father
    -that you’re not as funny as I am
    -that you understand
    -that you would leave your art for me
    -that you would let me leave my art for you

  5. Abby says:

    Why I love Valentine’s day even though I’m not in a relationship:

    1. my mom was always my valentine (and my brother’s and sister’s valentine)
    2. it reminds me to tell my friends and family how much i love them
    3. i can wear red and pink together
    4. people are nicer on valentine’s day (it’s true!)
    5. hearts are a lovely shape

  6. Aparna says:

    Surefire Signs that Your Boyfriend Is Also Your Secret Admirer:

    - You have a boyfriend.
    - Your boyfriend delivers you the anonymous notes by hand.
    - The handwriting on the note matches your boyfriend’s handwriting.
    - He cites events and details in said notes from past dates and shared experiences.
    - He loves you.
    - He told you he so.

  7. Aparna says:

    (strike he from last line. ugh. typos.)

  8. Becky says:

    Preemptive Valentine’s Celebrations:

    1. Was gifted Jacques Torres chocolates (enormous dark-dipped cloud of caramel corn, truffle-bestooned dark choc. heart, and peanut brittle milk). Mom is my valentine #1, as per always (Sunday).

    2. Double-datesque dinner with my Boy and my Parents (Monday).

    3. Began Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. Disregarded the recommendation of my lender-friend to skip to part III, “Desire: Intoxication/ Plant: Marijuana” (Tuesday).

    4. Helped to cook a garlic-heavy Bad Dates themed dinner. Made conversation heart shaped spice cookies (”I HOPE” “WHY NOT”…) (Wednesday).

    So far my Thursday is a piercing stomach ache and lots of forward Valentine’s momentum.

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