I have two questions for you: 1. Are you female? 2. Do you have a neighbor living next to you? If you answered yes to these two questions, that means you are a girl next door. I am sure we have all heard that term before. Lately, for whatever reason, several men have indicated this is the kind of partner for whom they are looking. I was curious what that term means to most people, so I put that question out on my social media platforms. Below are some of the responses in point form.

• Low maintenance• Pure• She can bake a great apple pie• The one boys want to marry• The girl who is your friend growing up, then becomes your girlfriend.• Someone who isn’t putting on a show.• Unapologetically herself.• Someone to whom everyone can relate.• Wholesome.• Classic.• Very little drama.• No showboating.• Under the radar.• Dependable.• Easy to talk to.• Authentic.• Simple.• Approachable.• The Girl to take home to Mom.

When I Googled what this term means, I found this definition: “A term used to describe a female archetype and fashion aesthetic, which can range in terms of personal definition, but usually denotes a girl or woman who appeals to traditional or all-American gender norms, with the allure of purity, simplicity and charm, with a natural, modest or effortless beauty”

In other words, I think what other people said makes sense. They say a girl next door is Mary Anne, not Ginger. It is Betty, not Veronica. It is Gwendolyn ‘Winnie’ Cooper from the Wonder Years TV show. Winnie started out with pig tails and cat eyeglasses in the coming of age TV series and she was viewed as the prettiest girl in the world. Fans still bemoan the fact Winnie and Kevin Arnold didn’t live happily ever after. In reality, most people don’t end up with their 12-year-old school crush, but there are rare exceptions. If men want the girl next door, why don’t women ask for the boy next door? There certainly isn’t as much information out there about the boy next door, but I tend to think of him being Archie instead of Reggie. Then again, it seems lately that while women are done with the bad boy image of someone like Reggie, they seem to get a bit bored with a nice guy like Archie. I think some couples get so used to volatility and a rollercoaster of emotions that when they get a calm, nice, balanced guy like Archie, they just aren’t quite used to it. I guess another way to look at it is Johnny Depp vs. Tom Hanks.When it comes to the girl next door, I think there could be one of those inside everyone — even Ginger or Veronica.

The point is I hope all men and women get to the place in their life when they can release themselves of the mind games and constant ups and downs of anger, resentment, jealousy and passive aggressiveness. I would take Archie over Reggie in a heartbeat. I confess I have a thing for redheads. I never knew I liked redheads until I met and married one, so the most important thing to remember is you can’t judge a book by its cover — unless it’s an Archie comic book. If you would like to meet the girl or boy next door, contact me by email at holmes@wheretheheartis.ca and I will pop over to my neighbors and put my business card in their mailbox.