It’s a Man’s World . . . Re­ally?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - THE LIGHT SIDE -

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!

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

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