As a teacher, I use rubrics whenever I can to fairly assess student projects. Rubrics are great for both teachers and students. The teacher simply goes down through the rubric and grades the student on a set of pre-arranged criteria. Less work for the teacher is always a good thing. Rubrics are wonderful for students because they know exactly what they are supposed to do to earn a specific grade. The perfectionist students check and recheck the criteria to make sure they earn every single point possible. The slacker students check the rubric to see what they need to do to pass. Everyone knows what is expected of them.
I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for senior projects this week. Every student enrolled in English 4 at my high school chooses a project of interest and invests 15 hours of their time outside of school exploring the topic. Some students job shadow; others volunteer their time to make a difference in the world. There are clear guidelines about what the project must entail. They have deadlines. The students must find and work with a mentor who will guide them along. Finally, the students present their work to a panel of judges. The judges grade them on a scale of 1 to 4 in five different categories depending on the level of competence. The students shine during this process. Everyone knows exactly what is expected of them, so they do an amazing job.
What does this have to do with my dealing with the empty nest? Everything. I had dinner tonight with a good friend, and the conversation turned to dating. He wanted to know what age you had to be before it became acceptable to date someone significantly younger. Who would approve of say a 25 year old dating a 40 year old, for example? If you are attracted to someone, does age matter? The conversation moved on to other topics. It was just one of those great talks where both people have things to share and neither wants to stop talking. Banter should never be underestimated. As I was finally leaving, it came to me. There should be a rubric for relationships.
Somewhere down the line I may want to look around for some companionship that talks since Bella hasn't yet mastered human language. I am blessed in that I can support myself and my Talbots habit on my income and that I have great friends. I do not need a man, but maybe it would be nice to date one everyone once in a while. As my students would attest, I have high expectations. Throwing a project together at the last minute and with little forethought will not score well in my classroom. This is definitely how I am in my personal life as well, so the guy would need certain criteria to get a date based on my dating rubric. What is on my rubric for men?
At the very top is communication skills. The guy must be able to talk about a wide variety of subjects and have interesting things to say. Life experience works well here. I want to be friends with the man I date. I am a talker, so to score high on the rubric, you need to talk. Bantering is a skill that cannot be taught unfortunately. The man who has that skill is a find. Awkward silences would result in point reductions. Being dull as dirt or having an extremely limited vocabulary would as well.
The man has to be intelligent. I teach history. I read constantly. I am working on my doctorate. I want to be able to discuss all the new things I am discovering with the people around me. If you have no idea what I am talking about and that glazed over look appears in your eyes, you aren't going to score very high on my rubric. Pick up a book. Turn on NPR. Talk to me about your job - you should be the expert in what you spend your days doing so impress me with that knwledge. I'm a big enough nerd to be interested in absolutely any field that I do not know about. With that said, I don't want the guy to be uber intelligent in the way that Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory is. Those men who are soooo intelligent that they have lost touch with every day life will also lose points. I want the intelligent man who is normal. More Leonard than Sheldon.
A sense of humor is key. I laugh all the time over silly things, over puns, over articles, over life in general. Laugh with me and you get points. Make me laugh and you get bonus points. Send me funny things that you have to think about to understand and you get the top rating.
The top scoring men will be motivated, hard working, polite, and honest. I was simply going to put be a good man there but since this is a rubric, the qualities need to be more defined that a vague term like "a good man". You should always strive to better yourself and the situation around you. You should work hard to be the best in whatever career you have chosen, and you should have manners. I am southern afterall. You should never ever lie if it can be avoided at all. To say absolutely no lying is unrealistic; I mean if I ask if these jeans make my butt look big, lie. Otherwise, tell the truth. No relationship should be built on lies.
I think the rubric so far would work well for most people. I have a few specifics for my own personal rubric though. He couldn't be a drinker. I am not against alcohol. I have friends who drink that are perfectly responsible people. They would score well on most parts of this rubric, but I personally do not want to date anyone who identifies themself as a drinker. If they want a drink on a vacation or at a party, they could have a drink. I never want beer or wine hanging out in my refrigerator though. I've been there and done that. I didn't even want a t-shirt from that amusement park. He needs to like kids. I will never again have a child. I will, however, have grandchildren one day hopefully. I plan to spoil them rotten, and have them at my house as often as my future daughter-in-law will allow. Any man I date has to want them at the house as much as me. Finally, the perfect high scoring man on my rubric would be a manly man. I know that there are many, many great men in the world who would never be considered manly. Some other woman can date them. I want a manly guy who has calloused hands, looks right in flannel, can fix my car, and thinks mowing the lawn should always be his job and not mine.
Finally, on every rubric, there is always that one subjective item. Creativity. Preparation. Presentation. It is the wiggle room for teachers to judge the undefineable aspect of a project. With that in mind, my rubric would include chemistry. Without chemistry, no man is the perfect man. With it, lots of the other characteristics fall to the wayside.
Okay. I have my rubric. Now, where do I find this man?