I like to be outdoors, pick on people my size, and read books. I'm a patent lawyer, and relatively good-looking for a nerd. I love Ironman triathlons, but usually come in near last in my age group. I can fly a single-engine plane.

I like a man with a big brain (not head) and strong legs. Ideally, someone who understands "the road less traveled," and the value of a patent. If you also happen to have a fast bicycle (not the motorized kind), dabble in swordfighting, or have mastered cartography, then you are my man.

In the second paragraph what does she mean by saying that she likes a man who understands "the road less traveled" and the value of a patent ?

2 Answers 2


"The road less traveled" is a quote from The Road Not Taken, a poem by Robert Frost. The poem is about someone who is out walking. The narrator sees two ways to go, both alike; they pick the one which looks a bit nicer, and think that in the future, when they come to tell this story, they will claim that they took the one which looked like fewer people had been down it. The poem is on the theme of people always wanting to seem individual and different, but actually not really being individual at all.

However, the quote is often taken out of context to mean just what it seems to say: as demonstrating the virtue of doing things which are not common. The poem itself is about the opposite of the quote, but the quote is often used just as-is.

Therefore, your writer may be talking about one of the following:

  1. wanting a man who understands the surface meaning of the quote - that is, that it is good to be individual. By implication, wanting a man who isn't completely ordinary: who doesn't have a 9-til-5 job, and so on.
  2. wanting a man who understands what the quote "really means" - that is, what the quote actually refers to, namely how people want to seem individual but never really do individual things. By implication, wanting a man who is well aware of common misconceptions and pitfalls, and knows how to avoid them.

It's unclear from context which of those is meant.

"One who understands the value of a patent" could simply refer to wanting someone who knows a bit about patent law, to make sure they have common interests. Or it could be a metaphor for wanting someone who understands the value of property more generally, although that seems a bit less likely.


"a man who understands the road less traveled"

She just seems to mean that she doesn't want an ordinary guy that has an ordinary career (like a banker or insurance salesman) in which that's what defines him in that he doesn't do much anything else noteworthy besides work an ordinary job, relax, eat and sleep.

She wants a man that does stuff that ordinary people don't do. For example, participate in triathlons (like she does), go skydiving, and/or build a unique business that hasn't been done hundreds of times before (like a restaurant).

With that said, there is a cliche that people don't know what they really want, especially when it comes to what they really want in a partner.

So I think she wants a man like what I stated, although because she used the term

understands the road less traveled

instead of

takes the road less traveled

she may be fine with an ordinary guy, but just wants him to understand other paths that people may want/choose to take.

Or maybe she has already tried searching for a man that is out of the ordinary, but since she hasn't found him yet, she is willing to settle for a man that at least understands the concept of doing things the non-ordinary way even if he chooses to do ordinary things all the time.

"a man who understands the value of a patent"

She is a patent attorney, so this seems like a pun at the very least. Patents are definitely important if you have an invention and want to reap the money and credit for it. Without getting a patent, someone else could steal your invention and claim it as their own. So patents can definitely be very valuable.

  • I think she uses the word understands because the phrase is taken out of context from the poem. The "road less traveled" was actually not: "And both that morning equally lay - In leaves no step had trodden black". enotes sparknotes
    – John B
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 16:14
  • I think "the value of a patent" is more metaphorical than the literal "patents can be valuable" interpretation. A patent lawyer presumably thinks the idea or concept of patents is a valuable one, in the same way that an art-lover thinks art is "valuable," independent of any monetary value the patent or the art might have. But some people (maybe the speaker thinks they are in the majority?) take the view that patents are an evil concept intended mainly to limit human progress for the benefit of a small minority of "patent trolls".
    – alephzero
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 19:35

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