by Frank Morgan
A recent conversation I had stuck with me. I was in a chat room listening to people discussing their ideal woman. I don’t really buy into this stuff, as I’m pretty sure the ideal woman doesn’t exist. If she did, she’d look like a physical impossibility, be filthy rich and probably have a jetpack. Of course, if we’re going to play this game, I’d have to be her ideal man. So, my favorite things would be listening and boutique fashion, my biceps would be the size of my thighs, I’d be a Prince Harry and I’d never wear Motörhead shirts. That’ll never happen. There is no “ideal me,” and there sure as hell ain’t no “ideal her.” So, when I hear someone tell me he only likes a certain ethnicity, she has to be thin yet curvaceous and have his sense of style, I call his bluff. Then I start to wonder why he wanted all that in the first place. So, let’s take a step back so I have a little more room to rant.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (random poet dude, don’t worry) described a photograph as “a mirror with a memory.” He was of the opinion that a photograph would take a true image and preserve it for all time. He also thought that picture would be the most honest, unbiased method of capturing that memory. A lot of people disagree with that, myself included. Civil war photographers posed bodies to make better, more gut-wrenching pictures. Soviet officials airbrushed dead people out of state portraits. Heck, you think settlers and cowboys never smiled? Not according to their pictures.
Fast forward to today. Not a single goddamn picture in a magazine is without some form of photoshopping. It’s so rare to see an un-doctored image, people freak out when it happens. Remember that Kim Kardashian thing a while back? The magazine she posed in screwed up and ran a picture of her without touch-ups. When people noticed Kim had cellulite there was a huge media sensation. Kim said that she didn’t care what people saw, but that little mistake brought all this airbrushing and fixing back into the public’s eye. As a society, we see what the media shows us. We get our perceptions of what is supposed to be beautiful from magazines, movies and celebrities, so what are we supposed to do when nothing we’re shown is real? If that’s all we see, how do we reconcile the ideal with reality?
Something I’ve noticed among people, guys and girls, is that we tend to have an expectation of what we want. Guy must be tall, have huge shoulders, white teeth and loads of money. Or that dangerous tattooed look. Women are supposed to have Jessica Rabbit figures, and do that whole maiden/slut thing. Any deviation and the person is brushed away as not good enough, or out of their league. As much as I hate to say it, nobody’s ever going to be perfect. Human nature being what it is, look for something wrong and you’ll find it. Ten bucks says you’ll never even say hello. So why start with negatives all the time?
If my last rambling paragraph described you, try something a little different. Rather than looking for reasons why someone isn’t good enough, start with the positive. Is he a blast to hang out with? Sweet. Does she make you laugh harder than anyone you know? Awesome. Now that you have something interesting to work with, then maybe look into those negatives, like that Elmer Fudd laugh or his love of Wrestlemania. If there are too many negatives, at least you tried. If the positives outweigh the negatives, where’s the problem?
Don’t expect people to ever look like they do in movies, TV or magazines. They have entire departments whose sole purpose is to lie to us, and they get fired if it’s not believable. Besides, unless you hang out in one of four locations on the globe, you’re not going to be around movie stars, so get used to disappointment. Rather than having a checklist of requirements, try to find something fun about the person. That way, you’ll actually want to find out more, rather than brushing off Mr. Potentially Right ten seconds before he tells you about his job rescuing baby seals from killer whales during blizzards. Or whatever interesting thing you’re looking for. Don’t tie yourself down to what you think you deserve, better or worse. Some of the best relationships I had were with pretty much the polar opposite of who I was looking for. I have no regrets.
And the people who are waiting for that perfect someone, checklist in hand? That one-in-a-million, everything’s perfect someone? They’re still waiting and it’s gonna be a while.
If you have questions or disagree with the author, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Frank welcomes all differing opinions, no matter how wrong they might be.