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Kathleen Kinmont Headshot

The 'Do I Really Need A Man?' Checklist

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It's been six months since my third husband moved out. After noting all of the feelings and the extra workload, I've decided to make a personal checklist of things I need from a man and things I don't. It seems like the right thing to do at the end of an era like mine.

I'm certainly not going to be staggering down another aisle in an off-white gown. At this point, I'd have to buy gifts for my family and friends, just to have them show up. "Please, come to another one of my weddings, mom and dad, there's a salad bowl in it for you from my second marriage, or is that one from the first?" So, I can check "marriage" off my list. Besides the fact that I also feel that marriage equals compromise, which also equals expectations, which equals disappointment. I pretty much see the end before it even starts. The one good thing about marriage is the tax break. Thanks government, for making something so archaic have a price tag.

A few days after the ex moved out, I was so filled with anxiety thinking, "How am I going to manage taking care of the back and front yard by myself?" Thankfully, I was driving by a gardener when this heart palpitation started. I gasped, flagged him down, got his card and gave him my address. The next day he and his partner showed up, and what took my ex all weekend, every weekend, took them half an hour on a Thursday morning. They mowed and blowed all my worry into the "yard waste only" can and I was able to sleep like a baby again. Check off "I need a man to take care of the yard." The reality is, having two men for that job rocks!

So what about sex? I love it, I think it's really important, I just don't feel like I need a partner to help me pull it off. Certainly with all of the STDs out there, I'm not interested in getting anything else I don't already have. It's more than creepy to think of bringing anyone home that hasn't earned the right to my body or my emotions. I believe in sleeping in the center of my bed, and enjoying the entire space of me. I believe in the safety of numbers, but when it comes to sex, nothing is safer than being by yourself. Check off "I need a man for sex." Just keep the electricity bill paid and all is good.

Speaking of bills... do I really need a man to help me pay for them? No. I need a job to help me pay my bills. I've actually become more motivated than ever to make that happen. Having a dude around, with his job and paycheck, is actually an enabler to keep the wife under a false sense of security, without means to support herself if "he just didn't feel like being married anymore" or "he died." Both of which I find to be very much the same thing. So to all you women out there in a good marriage or a bad one, get a paying job. It will help if things go awry. As soon as I get one, I'll check it off the list.

I guess the last thing would be companionship. Can I just say that I'm chock full of it? I am on hyper overload with relationships. I have a wonderful family and great close friends that I barely have enough time for. I have more "friends," thanks to facebook, than I know what to do with. I thought I left all you people in high school!! Now, I have to make plans with close friends a month or two in advance.

I'm a single mom with a full life and a dismantled train wreck of a career that I'm working diligently on getting back on track. Where's the time for companionship? I'm thinking when I slow down (somewhere in my seventies, probably eighties) I won't care as much about the compromise or the yard or sex or bills. I mean, it might be fun to listen to some old codger's life story in a rocking chair, or not.

The wonderful thing about love is that it is all around us, all the time. It's not locked in one person or one thing, it's everywhere. I know it's a rich, wonderful world and I've been in love quite a few times. I have the divorce decrees and a beautiful child to prove it. I will not put myself under the cloud of failure, for I have given all of myself to love, several times. I know that now is the time to fall in love with me, and remind myself that I was a whole person before I met "my other halves or quarters." I just have to fill in my fear with trust, and have the faith that exclaims, "Yes, I am enough, and I can do this without a man as my guide or as my barometer of success."

Just because I realize that I personally don't need a man doesn't mean I hate men. I will always pray for them and things like peace on earth, and for hunger and disease to be a nightmare of the past. I try to read at least one sentence of The Desiderata every day, and I thoroughly desire a healthy life for myself and all those men (and women) around me.

So, to be clear, I love men. I think they are wild and crazy, industrious and whimsical, predictable and mysterious -- oh wait, that's women. Although, really, it's men too. They are the unicorn to our pegasus, and though I will never quite understand their way of thinking, they may never quite get mine, either. We are different, but of the same herd. Besides, I don't need to figure them out, it's not my job. What I do know, is that they can survive on their own, just as well as I can. For me, that's enough.