The Perfect Man
For this Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to create the ideal man. But this time, I’ve formed a composite not of Captain Wentworth, Robin Hood, and Freddie Prinze, Jr. in She’s All That. This man is cobbled together from real, live guys I’ve known, romances, blind dates I never saw again, friends. (By the way, see this film for an alternative take on a similar project. May’s creation requires needle and thread and a bit more effort than I’m willing to apply, though.)
Like most of the men my imagination has conjured over the years, I’m sure he’ll persist in existing only in my fever dreams. But it’s worth a shot to begin the prototype.
The perfect man will …
… say things like, “I just want to be with you” or, during football season, “I like you better than football.”
… pay attention. He will not appear to listen as I talk about teaching and then, a few days later, when I mention grading student papers, say, “Students?”
… admit, if he unintentionally describes me to myself as “on the dorky side” and “nothing special,” that it was because he was afraid of getting rejected; apologize earnestly; and wish to see me again.
… be brave. He will realize the futility of protecting oneself from being hurt.
… be a decent cook, because I am not and we have to eat. After I have been sick and am just getting my strength back, he will make me spaghetti with chicken, which will be delicious.
… do things, both practical and fanciful, for me – fix my computer, move my heavy furniture around, make me a flower out of twisty-ties. He will download movies I want to see and watch them with me. He will locate songs he knows I want and give them to me on CDs with cute titles.
… be funny, because I love to laugh. He will think I am funny, too.
… acknowledge that he used to be a much bigger asshole, and will employ that on occasion for my amusement or to defend me chivalrously against, for instance, a car that is backing into me.
… be creative but not obsessed with his art. He will invite me to his band practice and eye me with self-conscious nervousness as he plays guitar, but he will never say to anyone something like, “You just don’t get my music, man.” He will write me into stories that, later, I will recognize as containing whole conversations of ours in the dialogue and descriptions of me in the characters.
… never say to me, “I don’t want to put a label on it” or similar crap.
… not blow me off. But if he does and I phone him screaming – because this time is the last straw, and what am I supposed to do? go to the show alone? – he will not act like I am the nutty one and he is not being a 100% jerk. He will especially refrain from the Special Edition Blowoff (R), which consists of calling me to accuse me of something insane, making me cry, and then blowing me off.
(And months later, if he calls me out of the blue from across the Atlantic and is met with icy hostility, he will keep trying. In a few weeks, and then again soon after that, he will call again. He will always try harder until, over long-distance, I am warmed into something like friendliness, and later when he is home he will say, “Part of the reason was … guys like me never get girls like you.”)
… not bring me into the bathroom, if I unknowingly drop shampoo in the shower, to show me the spill. He will just wipe it up himself.
… continue to want to be with me, even as I set him up with friend after friend; and even as we see each other less and less (and rightly, because he is married now). He will have a daughter and her first name will be my first name.
… support me as I hop to the toilet, if on my birthday I drink too much, fall, and twist my ankle.
… understand the important distinction between changing for someone, and changing because of someone. He will not cross that line, so that one day I will never be sorry that he cut his hair, or gave up a special job, for me, even if at the time I thought I wanted it.
… make an effort with the people who are important to me. He will get along with my friends and chat about sports with my grandfather. He will not sit at the dining room table scribbling into his notebook while my family talks around him.
… not pine away for any ex-girlfriends, especially ones with New Jersey hair.
… not be afraid to stand up to me when I am mean and too demanding.
… be an exception to the rule that the guys you want to call, don’t; and the guys you don’t want to call, do.
… write to me. And one day he will pull out of his pocket something I had written him, and I will be touched because for months I never knew he carried it around. And when I give him a pithy piece torn from a magazine that I think he will find amusing, he will not, two weeks later, tell me he hasn’t read it because he’s “been busy.”
… like to take walks, while regaling me with made-up stories; drive through holiday lights in old towns; and eat frozen yogurt.
… surprise me. He will stop by to see me on his way home from work. He will sit at the kitchen table and work puzzles with my sister and me. He will tease me about unraveling the yarn in the afghan I am making.
… just get me, and know that I get him.