We’ve been friends for *cough* more than twenty years, so naturally we have a lot of things in common. We went to the same high school, same college and joined the same sorority. We even kissed the same guy once–but don’t worry, it was NOT at the same time! We even have similar names. But we’re rarely called by our own. Lisa is often Liz, Liz is often Lisa. And our personal favorite is Liza. So, it’s not surprising that after all the So Cal surfer boys we dated (many of whom thought their big board gave them game) that we’ve both ended up with Midwestern Men. And with Lisa’s recent “shmove” to an Illinois suburb, we thought it would be the perfect time to write about what happens when a Cali girl falls for a Midwest boy.
I love my corn-fed man. For years I searched, dating men from all around the country and never quite finding what I was looking for. Little did I know that my knight in shining armor would be a brawny blonde who wears Cubs t-shirts and had never tried sushi.
As a native of Southern California, I had always thought I’d end up with a cool surfer dude that drives a BMW and had better fashion sense than me. That’s just how the guys are out here. In fact, I had not even stepped foot onto Midwestern soil when I met my husband. I had no idea about the stockpile of nice, collared-shirt wearing men that were being hidden from the rest of the country!
And I had worn the rest of the 50 Continental states out! I dated an insecure coffee drinker from Seattle, a wannabe Goodfella from the East Coast and had even made out with a muscle head from Miami. So when I met my Midwestern knight in shining armor I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! A sweet, secure man who always opened my door and loved his mom? I could deal with the fact that he thought carrots and corn were the only vegetables that existed and had never heard of guacamole because this guy was the most genuine person I’d dated in years. So I closed the deal with my heartland hunk and we were married two years after our first date. And ten years and two kids later, I still smile to myself like I have a little secret when I think of how lucky I am to have landed a man from the middle. (of America that is.)
I was thirty-four. Recently dumped. And wondering when I was finally going to meet a man I could laugh with, who shared the same values and wanted the same things out of life. I felt like Charlotte from Sex and The City when she screamed, “I’m tired of dating. I just want to find him. WHERE is he?”
Suddenly, it occurred to me that I didn’t really care where he was, I just wanted to find him. He could be the literal boy next door, (well, not my actual neighbor, a short, married 65-year-old balding guy, but maybe the one on the other side?) or he could live in the next state. I’d never crossed the border for love before. Well, unless you count that fling with the Vegas guy…which ended abruptly after we discovered that *shockingly* we only had a love of vodka red bulls and black jack in common!
Cut to six months later when my friend announced she had the perfect guy. But…
“He lives in Chicago!” she said apprehensively. “I know what you said about being open to dating someone long distance. But this isn’t San Diego, Lisa. This is a four-hour flight! Maybe longer with head winds!”
A sly smile crept across my face. Aside from the lack of legroom, recycled air and $10 pre-packaged deli sandwich, it sounded perfect to me. I’d fly the friendly skies for a chance at romance with a Midwestern Man. I’d always heard they were great catches-good old-fashioned family values, corn-fed and most importantly, hot!
Well it’s a good thing I didn’t let a little thing like 2,000 miles deter me….because two years later, it turns out that this West coast girl is quite smitten with her clean cut, orange Illini shirt wearing Midwestern Man. In fact, he and his perfectly grilled steaks are the best thing that’s ever happened to her. (And yes, even though she comes from year-round 75 degree sunny weather, she’s fine with six inches of snow falling in MARCH. Really, she is.)
So, in honor of our Cub and Bear loving men we heart from the heartland, here’s what two Long Beach girls consider to be the top ten greatest things about our Midwestern men:
1. They think girls from California are exotic! (At least that’s what we tell ourselves!)
2. You can cook them meat and potatoes every night of the week for the rest of their lives and they’ll be happy! (Although their personal trainer won’t be!)
3. They love animals, really they do. Just have to be Cubs or Bears! (Sorry Sox fans!)
4. They’ve never even heard of a metrosexual. A huge benefit because they let you buy all their clothes and do all the decorating! It’s like having your very own Ken doll!
5. They’re fiercely loyal to their friends and Big 10 sports teams. We highly reccomend you don’t get in the way of them spending time with either!
6. They can spend hours snow blowing, snow plowing and snow shoveling and never get tired of it-If only we could get them to apply that energy to some of the INDOOR chores!
7. They like to take walks with you whenever it’s nice out. And by nice, we mean ten degrees, a hint of light behind a cloud and no wind!
8. If you give them a grill and a beer, they’ll say yes to anything! (This is how Liz secured her Louis Vuitton purse, guinea pigs and tickets to Barry Manilow!)
9. With the exception of a mullet here and there, they’re clean cut. Taking a walk on the wild side for them is not shaving for a day or wearing a baseball hat that’s not broken in!
10. If you need them to run an errand, just tell them you also want Whitey’s Ice Cream. It’s amazing how fast they’ll run out the door!