I Don't

It's just not how I ever imagined being proposed to. I always thought I'd be holding a bouquet of wildflowersnot my own ankles.

-Will and Grace

I probably make as many mistakes as anybody does in dating (ok, more), but I do make a very specific effort not to marry all of them. I'm never gonna give Drew Barrymore or Lisa Marie Presley, or even Shannon Doherty, a run for their money.

In discussing the exhaustive nature of relationships with my wingman, Satish, the other night-after another recent spate of weddings-we had a long talk about marriage.

At his age, I was engaged. Then I got over it.

I guess I just don't have that "you had me at hello/you complete me" kinda gene.

I'm complete enough.

At one New Year's gathering the evening's primary option was a young Alec Baldwin-esque kinda guy (before Alec gained the weight). And yet, I willingly chose to go home alone.

When one of my buddies observed later, "damn you are picky," I just said the Baldwins were never really my type.

But I think his choice of words, "picky," implies an assumption that I have some intrinsic, deep-down goal of hooking up. When, in fact, I don't.

I can afford to be as selective as I want, because I'm not that invested in the outcome.

As I told Satish, "I'm gonna date a lot of men. I probably won't marry hardly any of them."

And since that's fine by me, I enjoy the luxury of ridiculously outrageous standards-some of which are admittedly shallow.

As all regular readers know, for example, I won't compromise on Tall. (At least this helps keep the Tom Cruises away, and obviously, that's a problem we all deal with on a daily basis.)

Basically, I'm looking for a combo of Sam Shepard and Steve Martin, wrapped up in the physical frame of character actor Brett Cullen (he's a little obscure, but you might've seen him as one of the engineers in Apollo 13. I say any Texan who can pull off a powder blue twin set and still look like a cowboy is my kinda man.)

I figure if it's all going to boil down to the usual inevitable firestorm of recrimination, hurt, hate, and regret (and odds are: it is)...I might as well enjoy the view along the way.

I also won't compromise on smart and funny, which I think you'll agree, make me at least seem less shallow.

And as bigoted as this is, frankly, I prefer to date Catholics. Not necessarily because I possess any deep reserves of spirituality (though for all you know, I could), but because I have fond memories of de-railing many an altar boy in high school, and hey, I like what I know.

And any guy who already knows the value of how and when to kneel, well, that's only gonna come in handy over the course of a relationship.

Sure I'm tolerant and open-minded to all religions, of course, but in a personal relationship, I prefer familiarity, if given the opportunity. So if somebody's gonna ask me to "take up a serpent" on a date, I wanna know the two of us agree as to what that means.

It's entirely possible that my views on marriage are skewed by spending more of my social time with men than I do with women.

Don't get me wrong, I have girlfriends too-I'm not one of those women. It's just that most of my girlfriends are married, and/or have kids. Mostly, I interact with their families now.

Bitter Aunt Rhonda is that extra place setting-to be counted on to inject that occasional note of cynicism or sarcasm or simply inappropriate language into any otherwise happy family gathering, celebration, or birthday party.

A guy friend asked me if real life is Sex and the City. I said the sex part's reasonably accurate-but generally, women in their 30s and 40s have a hard time putting together a foursome. (Not that kinda foursome.)

In real life, if your girlfriends marry guys you don't like, and/or have kids that you don't like, and guess what? You're not friends anymore. (Forget about presenting gift certificates for an exorcism at the christening. No one will think that's funny.)

So your friends go on to date other couples. And you are left with wingmen.

They have endless time to go to movies; sit around; watch tv; eat out; and have extremely meaningful conversations about why Windex doesn't come in a handy pop-up wipes container (like Clorox), because, really, why should we have to use both paper towels AND Windex every time we want to clean a mirror or window (which is, admittedly, seldom)?

It was the wingmen, for example, who decided that the Swiffer Sweeper really is multi-surface cleaner, as I discovered when I found them using it on the dining room table prior to a party.

Granted, I do not live their life. I don't order pizza. I don't drink beer. I don't live in filth, andI only visit when provided with the latest in Haz-Mat wear by Dolce & Gabbana.

But I am like these guys in that I just don't have time, energy, or motivation for confrontation. Probably another reason my relationships tend to expire right at the four-month mark.

Because as my wingman's wingman, the Lon, said to me the other night, by way of validation, "hey, if there's somethin' to fight about, there's somethin' to leave about."

He and I were (somewhat smugly) discoursing about people's obsessive need to be married, which neither of us profess to understand.

As he put it, "Step outside your door and look at all the freaks who married each other. It is NOT that hard to get married. Marrying the right person? That's hard."

Or, as I constantly reassure my single girlfriends who are matrimony-minded, "oh you can have a husband any time you want... OK.sure, he may not be your husband, but if a husband is what you want..."