My search for the perfect woman ended in May of 2005 when I wrecked my car as I was driving my ex-girlfriend back from her grandfather’s funeral. Standing by my wrecked Camry watching her hands shake, I came upon the realization that I was not the sort of man that deserved anyone even approximating perfection.
This ended a quest for the perfect girl that began in 1998 with my crush on Erin Anderson, the most popular girl at Hobby Middle School. In the years between, I had many close flirtations with perfection. Perfect was different every time she walked into the room. One, I fell in love with because she wrote and directed a hit play. Another, I became infatuated with when I discovered she could shoot a shotgun while riding a horse. I nearly married one for her hat and record collection.
There have been those who were logically perfect for me. I could see the two of us happily married and steadily paying off a 30 year mortgage on a nice farm house. And others who were so irrationally wrong for me that I only loved them in spite of my better judgment. These were great fun, but they often resulted in me maxing out my credit cards in strange places.
In each and every case, perfect was not what it seemed. Flaws crept in from the cracks, annoying ticks developed. Republican tendencies emerged. More frightening, I found that however perfect they seemed, I could already see myself getting bored one day. I’m certain by my number of failed relationships that the feeling’s mutual.
I didn’t qualify the criteria for perfection until one summer when I talked to my best friend Kate about it. I knew at that time that there was probably no such thing as the perfect woman, but I still believed there was someone out there who was perfect for me. Somewhere a girl existed between 5'3" and 5'8". Smart. Good with animals. Could sing. Unfailingly loyal. Pretty, but not so pretty that I had to worry about Antoine, the French exchange student, stealing her away.
I hoped this girl could tolerate my many imperfections. And I hoped her imperfections were of the cute variety. Drinking milk straight from the carton, accidentally cursing in public. These things I could handle. Other imperfections? Well hopefully I could learn to live with them over time. There was really only one deal breaker: she could not like the Rolling Stones more than the Beatles.
I did not think these requirements were too stiff. I did not know at the time anyone who fit the bill, but I was sure that someone was out there for me. What I failed to realize more than anything was that I had described not the perfect woman, but the perfect woman for me at that moment, and only at that moment.
I know now that my ideal of perfection changes, it varies, and at times it is downright trivial. At a week at the Cape this summer, perfect was any girl within 1 standard deviation of normal who looked nice in a linen skirt. Every year from January to March, my perfect girl morphs into someone who loves Duke Basketball and accepts that I will love Duke Basketball more than her. I am not even kidding.
With criteria like that, why allow me to define perfection, more than that, why even bother? Like I said, I am not to be trusted with perfection.