Dating 101: What Does A Girl Want?

When I was in junior high, all I wanted was a boyfriend who had his lip pierced. And dyed black hair. And possibly a tattoo…or two. Those were my only stipulations. I didn't care whether the little weasel was charming (at the time, charming was writing me a note that started with "Hey Babe") or if he flirted with other girls. Hell, I don't think I even really knew what "flirting" was.

In high school, I set a few standards. I wanted the boy to be able to carry on a coherent conversation, I wanted him to be able to drive a car and I wanted him to be able to afford to buy me the quarter pounder with cheese meal at McDonald's. But it didn't matter if he was super-smart or concerned about his future – I cared about the here and now.

Then, my freshman year of college, I wanted the boy to be able to do all of the above, plus be able to charm not only my closest girl friends but also my family. I wanted him to spend equal time on me and his Geology textbook. Basically, as the years have passed, I have raised my standards, little by little. However, no matter what little "thing" I decide I need next in a boy – I always find myself with one that reminds me of the previous. And I always end up broken hearted.

Now that I'm 21, thinking about graduating in the next year and am finally single, I find myself…utterly confused about relationships. The things that were once so important to me – like that damn lip ring – aren't. At all. Even the ability to pay for the McDonald's combo meal has escalated to me asking questions like: Can this guy afford to live on his own? Can we ever afford to live together? Is that degree he's earning gonna make him enough money to support little bite-sized Erica's one day? (Don't act like you don't ask yourself the same question!)

It seems like it has become harder and harder to find a suitable guy. Maybe I'm just picky – but it's like there is absolutely no one out there that can live up to my standards anymore! Actually, it seems like I don't even know what my standards are. And sadly, I honestly have no idea what I can do to stop hooking up with the same jerky, womanizing guys I always find myself obsessed with.

I want to hear from you girls – what do you look for in a guy? Has your taste changed dramatically over the years? Do you find yourself falling for the same types of guys? What should be important to a strong, sexy female anyway?

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