I don’t remember being the little girl that dreamed of growing up, getting married, having children, living in a house with a white picket fence. I don’t remember daydreaming about what “he” would be or look or act like. I don’t even remember my first kiss, but I do remember who he was.

Since then, though, I can remember every guy I’ve been interested in. So, by way of both a walk down some-better-than-others memory lane and you-better-be-laughing-with-me avenue, here’s a brief description of the evolution of [my] man. Uh, men.

First, there was Doug (I think it was Doug). He was the aforementioned first kiss when I was about 10 or 11. He had no facial hair, probably had a bicycle, and the romance ended when dinner was over and my parents took me home.

That was followed by a dry spell … until I was 17. Mark was the other half of a makeout session on the band bus coming home from a band competition in southern Colorado late in the evening. Little did I know then just how lousy a kisser he was. Blech!

A couple years later I ran into a guy I had known most of my life. He had a great mustache and beard, was a motorcycle guy, was a pretty good kisser and treated me well. Sadly, it just wasn’t “our time.”

After another shorter dry spell came a fiance’ who turned out to be an ex-con (and burglarized my parent’s house) followed by a guy that was straight out of a romance novel. The ex-con had a mustache, but it was scraggly and he was a mediocre kisser. The novel guy was clean-shaven and a sloppy kisser (but his apartment was on a high floor and had a killer view off the balcony). No motorcycle between them.

Skipping over the stupid crushes and limited dates with guys that were SO not the right one, I met “him.” I knew when I met him that I was going to date him. Long hair, full beard, mustache and a great kisser. He was great in almost every way. At first. He was a motorcycle guy (just didn’t have one at the time, nor ever bought one) and liked camping (but we never went). One wedding, eight years of marriage, one divorce and another 10 or so years together (sort of), we parted ways.

After a couple of years getting beyond that there was the boyfriend with wonderfully long hair, full beard, mustache, motorcycle, camper, a love of the outdoors, visions of traveling the country in an RV after I retired … it was grand. All too soon, though, it ran its course and we each moved on.

And, so, here we are. Now tell me. Do you see the evolution there? Do you see the connections? Funny now so much has changed in what I look for in a guy and yet, so much has stayed the same. I bear absolutely no ill will toward any of these men. Thanks to them, I have been able to figure out what – beyond facial hair, motorcycles, RVs and being a good kisser – is truly important in the man I spend the rest of my life with. It isn’t about the wedding (money better spent elsewhere) or the children (ask anyone, I’m not good with children!) or the white picket fence (although I would like a small home of my/our own). It’s about his character, his integrity, his trustworthiness, his interest in me and in us, the way he treats me on a daily basis.

And, of course, it’s about the fact that I really like a man with facial hair and a motorcycle.

For that … I thank each of you men.