“Imperfection is beauty”
– Norma Jeane Mortenson.
My close friend and I have both encountered a strange phenomenon in our love lives this year and because I like my alliteration I have decided to name this occurrence “Perfect on Paper”.
Huh? Let me explain.
Imagine you just meet a guy (or girl) who is everything that you’ve been looking for. WHAT?! Stop the press! They tick off all of the essential boxes on your List: they have their sh!% together, they have a heart of gold AND they place a lot of importance upon dental hygiene. What’s more, they have lots of ‘non-essential added bonuses’, like sharing your love of skydiving and sashimi as well as your burning desire to learn modern Greek. You’ve got to be kidding me!
“It’s a bloody miracle!” we cry. Hells, yes, it is.
So, you’re pretty pumped about going on dates with them and hey, your imagination might even get a wee bit overactive as you envisage how flipping wonderful you’re going to be together, because you two are evidently Meant To Be.
BUT! Try as you may, you just don’t have a genuine connection. Initially, you put it down to first date nerves. Then you maintain the denial, because THIS SHOULD WORK, dammit. But soon you realise that, for some reason beyond comprehension, it’s just never going to work between you. It looked so very good in theory, but in reality it was a bit lifeless…
Let me illustrate with some real-life examples:
My gorgeous friend has a particular soft spot for gents who are ridiculously smart… and who are tall, lanky and fair-skinned with dark hair and a wicked sense of humour. Yes, that’s right: my mega babe friend is very openly attracted to ‘nerds’ (her words, not mine). Bonus points for studying robotics or astrophysics.
So, a guy came onto the scene who was well, all of these things. Boom! Their first date went very well, which can be partly attributed to alcohol-assisted flirtation and their mutual appreciation of each other’s sophisticated use of the English language. Hopes were high, but gradually she found herself feeling that she should go on dates with him. That she should probably let him kiss her. Which turned into an ambivalence about him akin to one’s relationship with Vita Weats. It’s not that he wasn’t lovely, it’s just that they didn’t click. And coming to grips with that was made harder by the fact that it looked so very promising from the outset.
In the case of yours truly, I went on some dates with a gent whom I can only describe as gorgeous. Here’s what the Alex Brain had to say about him: He is an absolute sweetheart! He’s well-travelled! He likes art! He works in marketing! He’s attractive! He’s entrepreneurial! He’s mature! He has his $#!* together! Ehrmagerd!! And the list went on.*
However, despite being so very lovely there weren’t any fireworks between us. None. Whatsoever. In fact, rather than feeling like the Sydney Harbour Bridge on New Years Eve it felt like we had already reached a point of comfortable, happy stagnation – the kind of feeling that I was expecting to encounter in about 50 years time…
So, why did it not work out with these men whom I thought had so much promise?
Well, it has occurred to me that maybe I don’t really know what I’m specifically looking for in a man, nor what kind of gent would be well-suited to me (and myself to him)… which makes the whole ‘Perfect on Paper’ thing interesting if my idea of what is ‘perfect’ for me is actually quite different to the reality. That was confusing.
It has also reminded me once again that, rather than thinking that I know what’s best for me and being snobby and prejudiced, I need to be more open to lots of different types of gents. For if I train myself to prefer the guys who fit the mental cookie-cutter I’ve formulated then I’m just going to be limiting myself, aren’t I? Looking back on that sentence I guess you could say that I myself am a mental cookie-cutter. Freudian slip?
I also think that my (sky high) expectations don’t help. See, when I realise or decide upon the fact that a gent is ‘Perfect on Paper’, my expectations of him and where the relationship could/will go shoot through the roof. “OMG. He’s, like, everything that I’ve, like, always wanted. Like, a Disney Prince on steroids with, like, a Porsche. OMG our babies are going to be, like, so ridiculously attractive. Like, OMG.” I do in fact talk like that in real life. Totes.
I’m not really sure what kind of guy I’ll end up with long-term… although, in saying that, my mum has placed her bet on the gent I marry being a Scotsman.** (If I ever leave the Kingdom of Singledom, that is.) But if I’ve learnt anything over the past four years it’s that perfection is overrated and, what’s more, its jolly boring.
Imperfection, on the other hand, I have come to love very much indeed.. Perhaps I should keep that in mind the next time the ‘Perfect on Paper’ alarm bells go off in my head. Yes, I think that’d be a good idea. Good one, you mental cookie-cutter.
* I would just like to take this opportunity to say that those things are not The Essentials of My List of qualities/traits/characteristics I look for in a gent. Well, some of them are, but some of them really aren’t important. For example, if the next gent in my life doesn’t have much of an interest in art it’s not a deal breaker. Ok, my clarification spiel is over.
** No complaints.