Saturday, June 20, 2009

Perfection, or Lack Thereof

[“It’s not my fault…if I know it’s out there, I’m going to go after it. I’ve never been good about not giving into temptation,” the small girl said, biting her lip guiltily. From the kitchen, her roommate leveled a ladle at her like a sword. “Maybe that’s why you never made it as a Christian.”]

I have, admittedly, a few bad habits. Maybe even some downright nasty ones. On the nervous tick side, I chew on the insides of my cheeks when I’m nervous or thinking particularly hard, and I picked up split-end pulling as a side-effect of having OCD. On the more destructive side, I’ve already had a brush with alcoholism in high school that has made me extremely wary of vodka, and a small-time pot-smoking habit, mainly for escapist reasons. I casually smoke clove cigarettes, but mostly when I’m stressed or nervous, not as a real habit, and it can take me a month or more to smoke a pack of twenty. I do swear like a sailor or seasoned barmaid, and, if you haven’t picked up on it, am downright casual and outgoing about sex and sexual things.

It’s no wonder one of my high school’s boyfriends’ Roman Catholic mother absolutely despised me.

I’m not perfect.

I’ve been in three real relationships, but had three or four more “things” that defy any sort of definition, mostly because I hate titles and somehow missed out on getting the female gene responsible for making me want to talk about “what’s going on”. My longest (by far) relationship lasted six months. The rest of them, one. I somehow have perfected the art of entrapping, loving, and making one of us in the relationship (or whatever it is we’re doing) check out after four weeks. Despite this, by the tender age of nineteen, I’d already collected two marriage proposals, both of which I’d turned down.

(The first was my seriously older serious boyfriend in my seriously-in-over-my-head six monther. The second came from one of my cousin’s seriously drunk friends at a wedding. That’s my favorite proposal. He was a young heir to a very wealthy New Jersey mafia family and had a last name you would probably recognize. After thirty minutes of conversation with him, he looked at me and said, “Wow, I could marry a girl like you. What do you say? Will you marry me?” I thought for a moment about the repercussions of saying “no” to someone whose family owned a waste-removal business that did inexplicably well and decided that all the Dior in the world wouldn’t make up for having to look over my shoulder for baseball bats, guns with silencers, or piano wire for the rest of my life. I let him down gently, pleading the too-many-gin-and-tonics excuse. He sighed, and told me he hoped I’d reconsider someday because I’d be “a valuable asset to The Family”. I was charmed.)

Although I have been in love with a man, I have never said “I love you” out-loud. Neither have any of my various men ever uttered those words to me. Generally, I tend to consider myself unlovable. At first, I may deceive people into thinking I’m easily loved, but once you discover all my bad habits (see above), spend some quality time with me (read: extended periods of time, like all weekend; special functions; experience me hungry, tired, or really pissed off), or start to see my odd quirks (won’t even go into those), I can even see why most men would rather run for the hills than spend another week with me, let alone tell me they love me.

My mother has always said that that man I end up with…

(Note she says “end up with.” Despite the marriage proposals, I have no intents on ever getting married. I feel it’s a dying institution and find the idea of waking up next to the same person every morning for over thirty-five years of my life like my parents have to be utterly demoralizing)

…Will be someone incredibly interesting who will give me a good run for my money.

Because if he’s not, I’ll certainly manage to get rid of him.

I am loud, bawdy, cocky, have a tendency to have to put my foot in my mouth, saccharinely sweet when dealing with people who I don’t want to have to deal with that they can sense, two-faced in dealing with my personal and professional lives that I see no problem with, have never had to meet the parents and so am terrified to for the above reasons, and generally a very good example of the term “a hot mess.”

But what does this all have to do with anything, you ask? Well, I’ve just met Mr. Perfect, you see. Maybe not my Mr. Perfect, as he’s lacking the blue eyes and criminal record and subsequent nefarious mind that I seem to find so appealing, but I think the rest of the world would agree on the fact that he is Perfection. Hence, the moniker. In fact, I think he was actually behind me the day we met when I ran to my bedroom to Tweet to the rest of the Twitter world that I had “met the perfect man, and in fact, I think he’s standing right behind me as I write this.” If so, he was perfect enough not to mention my zeal and indisgression.

He is six-foot-three, and a solid two-hundred and four pounds of “I work out at the gym for two hours every day and did track and field in high school” muscle. Make that, “I have the state record for a discus throw, too,” muscle. He has soft and floppy brown hair, and bright and mischievous hazel eyes. He has a quick and bright white smile, with teeth that either boast a few thou worth of orthodontia work, or some of the finest genes Mother Nature ever handed out. He dresses nicely, wears size fifteen shoes, and has hands that are so big his fingers bend down mid-knuckle over the top of mine. (And yes, if you’re wondering…he is proportional.) He’s out-going, and makes friends quickly and conversation easily. (I refer to his disposition as the Labrador of people. Big, charmingly goofy and attractive, and has never met a person that hasn’t liked him. Except for maybe one of my exes.) He has a beautiful tenor singing voice, writes his own music which he performs, and plays the bass. He spent two months in Costa Rica with a few friends this past spring on a whim, and while there learned how to both salsa dance and surf. He, in fact, likes to dance. And used to ride horses. (His family has two.) He is, surprise surprise, just as casual and into sex and sex-related stuff as I am.

And of course, I am not the only one who has realized he is perfect. Of course. But I always did like a good fight, and I never play fair.

We actually met on a fix-up. My short-term roommate Cait just happened to be one of his closest friends, and one Friday afternoon called me into her room to show me pictures of her friend who was going to come and visit. “I think you’ll really like him,” she told me. “You two are a lot alike and I think you’ll click.” His pictures didn’t really do him justice, even after Cait gave me the “track and field, state records, works out, really tall and attractive” spiel. I was indifferent.

“If I’m around, sure, I’ll meet him,” I told her.

I happened to be around when Cait brought him back to the apartment, and went to go let them in from the parking garage. As I held the door open for them and watched him walk toward me, I had only one thought:


Needless to say, we did click, as Cait had predicted. By the time he left that first night, and Cait asked what he thought about me, he told her he thought I was cute and fun and would love to hook up, if possible. I considered it very, very possible.

Four days, a few texts, a collective eight vodka shots, four beers, a half-and-half clove and marijuana cigarette, a drunken invitation to share my bed for the night, some quick meeting of my friends (and an ex), over two hours of soul-searching and past-enlightening conversation, and a cute come-on later, I slept with him. The second time I met him. Though this officially made me a slut, and not, as my best friend protested, “horny and opportunistic,” it was the right move. We both wanted to, so why not? I’ve never held much stock in that whole wait-for-the-thrill-of-the-chase thing.

Since then, Mr. Perfect remains an on-going experience. We’ll see how long it takes him to figure out that under the big blue eyes and quick wit, I am anything but perfect.


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