PJ Bren­nan



Times are tough and I’m maybe get­ting a lit­tle des­per­ate, so I’m just go­ing to go full self-help book by cre­at­ing a check­list for my ideal man, OK? The fol­low­ing is in no way based in re­al­ity, but that’s OK be­cause, re­ally, why limit your other half’s po­ten­tial with things like grav­ity or bi­ol­ogy?

He will have suf­fered from some ver­sion of the ‘ugly duck­ling syn­drome’ – some­one who grew up nerdy or chubby, or a com­bi­na­tion of the two, mean­ing he learned to de­velop pos­i­tive traits like em­pa­thy for oth­ers. In his later teen years, he pulled him­self to the top of the at­trac­tive lad­der through sheer force of will, though his past has al­ways haunted him and he’s never quite lost the hu­mil­ity of a for­mer un­cool kid.

This man is rare, but if you find him it means you your­self can slip in and out of ac­tu­ally be­ing at­trac­tive sea­son­ally, and he’ll prob­a­bly stick around.

He’ll be funny. So help me, my man will make me laugh! And to be hon­est it’s not even that hard. Last night I watched Ba­bies Try­ing a Le­mon for the First Time on YouTube and, I’m not kid­ding, I was belly laugh­ing till my sides stitched up. And don’t even get me started on Ba­bies Scared of Their Own Farts. That was… amaz­ing.

He will be com­pas­sion­ate, but not con­de­scend­ing. My man will be aware of the cur­rent so­cial cli­mate and un­der­stand that times are dire at the mo­ment, but he’ll also roll his eyes as we read aloud sanc­ti­mo­nious Face­book sta­tuses from fel­low lib­er­als in a mock­ingly sar­cas­tic tone. We’ll groan to­gether as for­mer high school class­mates, now seem­ingly em­ployed as sim­ply ‘racists’, post links to right-wing blogs be­moan­ing the loss of ‘old Amer­i­can val­ues.’ My man will, how­ever, al­ways give five stars to Über driv­ers, re­gard­less of how bad they are, be­cause at the end of the day it’s their liveli­hood and he won’t want to be a prick about it. That would make me give him one of those spon­ta­neous ‘you’re so per­fect’ kisses on the cheek, like I’m a

He will have suf­fered from some ver­sion of the ‘ugly duck­ling syn­drome’ – some­one who grew up nerdy or chubby, or both, mean­ing he learned pos­i­tive traits like em­pa­thy for oth­ers

Natalie Port­man character.

He will en­joy the arts, but not too much. I’ve got some­thing to ad­mit: I don’t re­ally en­joy the­atre. Truth­fully. And if the play is more than two hours long, I’m sus­pi­cious that you’re not very good at telling a story. Most plays are ter­ri­ble; there I said it. My man won’t say he en­joyed a play just be­cause we’re con­stantly shamed into ‘sup­port­ing the arts.’ My man will like bal­let more than opera, just like me, but will only be able to name two bal­lets and two op­eras, again, just like me. He’ll en­joy go­ing to the Tate Mod­ern but he’ll hate gallery open­ings, apart from the free cham­pagne. And most im­por­tantly, he’ll en­joy – or at least tol­er­ate – the Real House­wives of What­ever fran­chises. And there’s no wig­gle room there. We’ll watch it after Ques­tion Time.

He will love me for me. Oh, this sounds sweet doesn’t it? Well I don’t mean it like that. I mean he will love me re­gard­less of the fact that I yell at him for things that are beyond his con­trol. If I’m frus­trated with the speed of our in­ter­net, say, and I take it out on him by telling him his gaz­pa­cho – that he made from or­ganic fresh in­gre­di­ents, by the way – is the ‘wrong kind of chilled,’ he’ll just smile and stir un­til I’m sat­is­fied. And when I apol­o­gise ten min­utes later for be­ing a brat, he’ll say it’s fine and that the gaz­pa­cho wasn’t his best.

We’ll go back and forth for a lit­tle while about this un­til he puts a dol­lop of crème fraîche on my nose and makes to kiss it off as we fade to black…

Sorry, that’s de­volv­ing into some­thing else. Any­way, I tell my­self that I need to have the tenac­ity of Kevin Cost­ner in Field of Dreams and that one day, my man will come. That’s what she said.

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