This post is directed at Searching Single women, for I don't know if the thesis can be adapted for Searching Single men. The thesis is that the more stellar the men you hang around with, the more likely you are to end up with a stellar man.
My evidence for this is, as usual, based in my own long and chequered experience. My social fortunes improved quite a bit when I dated a very nice, courageous, ambitious, disabled guy who was very fond of me. However, there were two crucial problems, the first being that Mr. Almost Right was a Protestant and, it turned out, a unitarian, and the second being that Mr. Almost Right was (understandably) primarily looking for someone to lean on if his disability worsened. Neither of these factors would have been problems had I been deeply in love with Mr. Almost Right, but I wasn't, so that was the end of that relationship, although today I am grateful to have dated a great guy like him.
Next I went to theology school, where I met dozens of stellar men. Dozens! Sadly, they were mostly in religious life and working towards the priesthood. And if they weren't priests or religious, they were married or much too old for me or definitely not interested. However, this did not diminish their starlight, and I broke up with Mr. Almost Right because I knew I wanted a man who was as devout a Catholic as my stellar untouchable classmates.
Then there was a blip, when I fell into the clutches of a very scary man for a couple of months. I'd love to rush by that bit, but since it flies in the face of my thesis, it might be dishonest to do so. So I will caution that hanging out only with men in religious life, going to a school founded by and for them, mooching around alone all summer when they jet off to exotic locales to do refugee work or learn modern languages, can make a girl feel incredibly lonely and second-rate. Fortunately, I was rescued from very scary man by my spiritual director, who is himself incredibly stellar.
After two years or so, I embarked on a new romance, about which you can read in my book. And I have to say that I do think that it was this romance that made the way straight to falling in love with the most stellar guy of all. Why? Because finally I was dating the right kind of man for me: Catholic, kind, intellectual, strongly moral and interested in many pursuits. And I decided that I would never again date anyone who did not reach his level of stellar.
I have a friend who says she is attracted to any man who is not crazy and doesn't use drugs. This is because she has spent too much time with men who were crazy and used drugs. I call this the Dating of Low Expectations. Whereas in general, I don't think women should have a detailed list of what The Perfect Man should be like (e.g. "over six feet tall, a university professor, vegetarian, loves cats"), I think "not crazy" and "doesn't use drugs" such givens, they simply go without saying. Instead of dating according to a Lowest Common Denominator ("no drugs"), women should date according to certain ideals ("makes them laugh uproarously").
If I were to choose two characteristics for a man for my friend, beyond his being a thoroughly decent, mature human being (no craziness, crime or drugs; has a job) her own age (not looking for a nurse), I would choose Must Make Her Laugh Uproarously and Must Seriously Love Art.
Of course, I am not infallible. My own ideals had long been Must Be Catholic and Must Be Brilliant.
"What about Must Be Kind?" sniped one of my best pals. "I think Kind is much more important than Brilliant."
"Oh, well," I said, waving away Kind, "Kind goes without saying."
But, do you know, Benedict Ambrose is one of the kindest, most amiable men I know. And although he is (like me) in the Ph.D. dropout class of braininess as opposed to the heights of rocket science, extraordinary kindness now seems much more important than jaw-dropping brilliance. Watson and Crick were (such jerks) anyway.
Update: I read (this) and when I got to May, I have a theory as to what this woman's problem is. Do you?