Sunday, May 9, 2010

Imperfect Perfection

Think of someone you think the world of, someone you adore. Maybe your mother. Or your father. Your sister ... or brother. Or perhaps your closest friend. Now think of that person’s flaws – surely, he or she has some. Really take a moment to think. You love your mom, but perhaps she can be a bit naggy on occasion. Maybe your best friend can be a stubborn [you know what] from time to time, but he’s still your best bud and you’d do anything for him.

In most aspects of our lives, we can accept that the people we love are flawed human beings but naturally we still love them anyway. Despite those flaws, we recognize the qualities that make them the unique, wonderful people they are and we cherish having them in our lives.

But for some reason, when it comes to dating, the minute we see that a new love interest is less than perfect we rush to judgment. And often that judgment is equivalent to the Spanish Inquisition – no one stands a chance from thereon in.

As I have said time and time again in this blog, in this city, the cognoscenti demand the best – if just one thing is not perfect at a restaurant, clothing store, salon, etc., Manhattanites can easily find a replacement within the proverbial New York minute. And no where is this mentality manifested more than in dating. This person has a flaw - well, I really don’t think I see myself ending up with this flawed person. Clearly, it’s time to move on as there is another seemingly flawless person who I met yesterday at a friend’s cocktail party and I have a very good feeling this person does not have any flaws.

Logic right out of Catch 22.

News flash to Everyone: the quest for the perfect person will result in about as much success as finding an apartment close enough to jog to and through Central Park, with more closet space than you could possibly use, but also walking distance to Pastis and under $1,000 a month. My point: it doesn’t exist.

To be clear, I’m not talking about giving a pass to someone who is rude or dismissive to you on a first date, there’s no need to excuse that type of behavior. Nor am I am talking about settling (and should you be inclined to see it that way, consider that someone is also then “settling” for you.) What I am referring to is the scenario where, after a handful of great dates, you notice a person’s flaws such as his slight impatience when you’re running late or her mild moodiness when you forget to introduce her to a girl you are chatting with at a party. All of a sudden you see for the first time this person is less than perfect and quickly you are not sure you’re interested anymore. We’ve all been there – we REALLY liked someone but he or she showed his or her imperfections too soon and now that person has the equivalent level of interest to you as yesterday’s newspaper.

Now, Reader, I have no doubt that you’re pretty fantastic but I am sure you have your flaws too. Think for a second. Guys, the fact that you sometimes forget to put the toilet seat down is not what I'm talking about here. Or girls, your occasional insecurity about how you look naked requiring lots of compliments doesn’t count. You can’t think of any of consequence? I bet your exes might volunteer a few. But those aren’t fair, you’re thinking. Ok, how about we poll even those who love you dearly and see what they say. Even though they would likely succeed in listing a few less than ideal qualities, they certainly wouldn’t want anyone writing off their wonderful Timmy or Stacey because of them. If someone did, it would most certainly be that person’s loss! Thanks, Mom.

Unfortunately, our loved ones and best friends aren’t always around to vouch for us – hey, I know Stacey just acted like a diva but don’t write her off - she’s really a fantastic girl she just has her moments. No, people only know what they see so everyone needs to be oh so cautious. It’s like that priceless Chris Rock skit where he jokes that no one meets the real person when you first start dating – instead you meet the other person’s representative (who is the best possible version of that person and would never admit that he hates his job, or that he can be a bit self-centered in relationships, or that he follows the 10 second rule when he drops food on the floor, and so on ...). Indeed, if you swap the representative for the real you too soon, chances are you and the representative are both fired. Oh, such a delicate balance - you want people to see and fall in love with the real you, but the real you might not withstand the merciless New York scrutiny.

If people could just forgive each other for being flawed, but still wonderful beings, we might actually find ourselves falling not only for someone’s representative, but also for his or her real, imperfect self -- who could still be just perfect for you.

With the warm weather upon us, now is truly the best time of year to join Sunday at Noon and meet that special someone!