Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My Opinion on Perfection

When you ask a man to describe his “perfect woman,” you usually wind up with a glorified golden retriever, or Mother Teresa in a thong. Women don’t fare much better, as they usually talk about a square-jawed plastic action figure who loves to do the dishes. As with anything romantic, the clichés are pervasive and suffocating. There is too little room for quirks, flaws, or surprises.

Nobody will ever be perfect, which is a blessing. We can’t heap all of our love, needs, and passion onto one person. Soulmates are for suckers. Life is about building many, many connections, until they add up to something perfect.

But we all have times when we’re our best selves. And I'm on the record as saying that men are pretty cool. So here are a few of the “perfect” men I’ve known (mostly friends, as that’s where I’ve been the luckiest):

The man who remembered how much I love Gerber daisies, researched them on Wikipedia, and brought them to me for Valentine’s Day.

The man who talked me into bagging work for the afternoon to go play on some waterslides.

The man who could derail any staff meeting by weighing in on Asian hookers, or by washing down PopRocks with Dr. Pepper.

The man who walked around DC with me until seven in the morning, just because I was at loose ends and had worn flats that night.

The man who, despite the tough-guy sarcasm and home tattoo, sent me soup when I was sick and will always have the bail money ready.

The man who kept a SuperSoaker in the gun rack of his truck.

The man who decided to join the girls’ team, because life is just more fun that way.

The man who has spent eight years of his life listening to the same stupid story about bartering for hamburgers at Tysons Corner.

The man who flunked me for misspelling Albuquerque, because that’s where I learned that details matter.

The man whose album collection could eat Texas, and still have room for dessert.

The man who showed up at the airport with a cooler of root beer.

The man who knows everything, from GPS autodrives to why I decided to climb a tree in a dominatrix outfit, but isn't afraid to admit when he’s wrong.

All the men who have let me take care of them when they’re sick, lonely, or afraid.

The men who were everything I didn’t need: the players, the providers, the psychos, the stalkers. And the men who were exactly what I needed at the time: fun, encouraging, solid, brave, rebellious or silly.

I could go on forever, because I’ve met so many amazing men. All of my “perfect” guys are flawed, none of them will grace the cover of Vanity Fair, and I bet none of them dream of washing the dishes while massaging my feet.

Perfection has nothing to do with arbitrary ideals or conventional romance. Instead, the “Perfect Man” is one who inspires you. He makes you want to be your best self. You want to be kinder, sweeter, smarter, wiser and braver. The “perfect man” makes you wish that you could be perfect yourself.

"Perfection” comes from within. Seek out the people who turn you into your best self, and the rest will work itself out.


Washington Cube said...

Beautifully written. I think men never understand the differences in what grabs our minds, hearts and eyes. The men you described are the desirable ones. They are real, and they inspire.

Jo said...

You did a much better job than I did! Beautiful post. And this cracked me up: The man who kept a SuperSoaker in the gun rack of his truck.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

WAshington Cube couldn't have said it any better............

Shannon said...

Thanks! When I read about perfect people, I often think those ideals sound crushingly boring.

These are my guys, and even if I'm not naming them, I want them to know how much they're appreciated. (And, yes, some of them are single.) Why would anyone want Mr. Perfect when you can meet guys who crack you up, who don't mind getting lost in their own neighborhoods, and who challenge you?

Ibid said...

My big ones are that she doesn't want kids, we can feed off of each other's jokes, and she understands that just because I'm not immediately trying to maneuver her into bed doesn't mean I'm not interested.

virgle kent said...

No problem, I do what I can, VK luves the kids

Shannon said...

Ibid, compatible values, similar dispositions, and communication - sounds perfect.

VK, thought somebody from the girls' team ought to weigh in.

lemmonex said...

'The “perfect man” makes you wish that you could be perfect yourself.'

I love that--so true in so many ways.

Congrats on the Express mention, btw.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex, thanks! The funny part is that my friends can now spot my Express mentions without even looking at my url..."Mother Teresa in a thong? Must be Shannon again..."

johnny five said...

Soulmates are for suckers. Life is about building many, many connections, until they add up to something perfect.

hear hear; i just may appropriate this quote for my own use.

as i once told a clingy girlfriend: you can be my girl, or you can be the one i chill with when i want to get away from my girl, but you can't be both. (i was fifteen at the time, and, apparently, at the zenith of my wisdom.)

Shannon said...

J5, just so long as you send me royalties, go right ahead. I believe in committed, loving relationships, I just don't believe it's fair to make that person be your everything. You gotta have balance - friends or family or hobbies or a career. Something that keeps you from heaping all of your needs onto one person.