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All this talk about electing the perfect man to run the country has gotten me thinking. Is there a perfect man? Not a leader, not a commander-in-chief, but a man. A real man. A man who could be a husband, friend, confidante, lover, and comedian all in one. What would that man be like?

Well, he wouldn’t be like John McCain. But that’s beside the point.

First, he would have to be smart. Not only smart, but fascinating and witty. Someone whose every word packs so much punch that you think you might just melt and die every time he speaks (or writes). Not a lot of men have this quality. There have been very few in history (so far I only count Benjamin Franklin, Oscar Wilde, and a couple of others). The perfect man would be so funny that women could never stay mad at him. He would know women and hold their laughs in the palm of his hand.

A true man would also have to understand the female psyche. When it comes to love, women don’t think in black and white like men. We analyze and think and plan and fret. And sometimes (more like a lot of the time), there is a bit of a difference between what we say and what we mean. The perfect man would speak woman. Fluently.

He would have to be brave. I’m not saying that women should be weaker than men. I think both sexes should be brave, and we’re in an era in which both men and women can be powerful and stand up for things. But there’s something about Clive Owen running through bullets to protect Kee and her baby in Children of Men that is both sentimental and powerful at the same time. Or James Bond — the way he just throws on a collared shirt and fights evil with valor — he’s so gallant.

Finally, the perfect man would be a soul mate, though that’s something that isn’t immediately apparent. It’s something that has to be discovered over time.

But of course this man doesn’t exist. I learned this during my junior year of high school. There was a boy — a popular boy — who I thought was perfect. He was the only person in our grade who was smarter than me. He was sensitive and cute. And he made me laugh. I thought he was a demigod. But then I dated him and realized that though he had all of those qualities, he wasn’t perfect, because he didn’t get me. I know he didn’t get me, because he broke up with me and then later told my twin sister it was because I had no soul. (I checked with God, and he confirms that I do have one.)

As I get older, I often find that the most beautiful things arise out of nature’s imperfections and rarities, like sunsets after a volcano eruption or four-leaf clovers. As I have dated more people, I have found that imperfections are what make them more perfect. The birthmarks, the uneven lips, the moments when I am the brave one in the relationship are all, in a way, things of perfection. People say that if you are mixing colors, it is nearly impossible to create the same exact color twice. I like to think of people this way: someone’s tiny flaws and idiosyncrasies blend to form someone who is wholly unique. A real, verifiable, perfect person.