It’s a Man’s World . . . Really?

How realistic are the ideals of perfection for those seeking commitment?

If I had met the man of my dreams last Wednesday I suspect he’d have turned away and run for dear life. I mean, I must’ve reminded of the worst nightmare as I pranced around like an injured deer trying to make it on foot from my office to my house. As luck would have it, my ever-faithful heels had given up on me when I most needed them. At least, one of them had called it a day, leaving me no choice but to complete the not very long journey in my bare feet, via angry back roads that seemed especially hungry for my flesh and blood.

If I say so, I am no Cinderella. But somewhere in the back of my desperate mind I hoped my Prince Charming would materialize out of the shrubbery, or from behind some building, lift me in his buff arms and deposit me at my front door. No such luck, of course. Out of a need to distance myself from my own reality, I let my mind drift. In my moment of desperation I contemplated how much the perfect woman I appeared. I’d been thinking about that a lot lately . . . the perfect woman. I’d been making every effort to remodel myself into society’s notion of refinement, poise and beauty while, at the same time, being unconvinced there was any group on earth that knew precisely what the perfect woman should look like, and how she should behave and think.

I continued walking with the hot asphalt doing horrible things to my soles; I pursued my mission impossible of trying to, well, walk like a lady. I quickly hobbled past a car repair shop. Usually I would stop for a second or more to exchange pleasantries with the young guys who hang out there. Fortunately, they seemed too busy to notice me. Or maybe they just didn’t recognize the some kind of witchy me.

Being newly single, I thought immediately about how similar their line of work was to what passes in this day and age for courtship. Men seemed to want only their respective ideas of perfection. Which was ridiculous. But that did not deter me from attempting to reboot myself to suit. How many times had I been told by well-intentioned friends to give a particularly cute (but not my idea of Prince Charming) guy “time to grow into the man you need”? Obviously no one ever advised men similarly about great, but not quite perfect, ladies.

I mean, really! How many women have actually settled for a guy who obviously did not have it all together, while waiting for him to grow into their dream man – which demanded that they conveniently turn a blind eye to his shortcomings, and be as patient as Job?

As I stepped gingerly over razor-sharp rocks I convinced myself there had to be men who suffered this ridiculous ‘give her time’ routine, that it wasn’t reserved for women only. But then I reminded myself that from all I’d learned through experience, not to mention the movies and some favourite classics, men have always been the ones with the power to choose, to “make an honest woman” out of some lucky female. No one ever talks about a woman making an honest man out of some not so perfect guy.

Just before I reached my apartment something came back to me that I had always known: that there has never been a model of perfection that existed outside one’s head; that perfection was a state of mind, and absolutely variable. My idea of perfection is unlikely to look one bit like your idea of perfection. A construction worker’s whistle from across the street seemed to underscore the point. As sweaty as I felt, as bedraggled as was the image of me in my head, to the stud across the street I was whistle bait. Who could say, for certain, that what he just whistled at wasn’t his idea of perfection? And you know what? From where I stood he didn’t look too bad either!

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