A few years ago, I sat in a pub with a male friend while he explained to me his strategy when it came to securing the affections of a girl he was into. It was a long play, quite intricate. Nowhere in there was the poor women given much of an opportunity to actually get know what he was really like though. I’ve often wondered if that was why his relationships didn’t tend to last.
A few weeks ago, I was mindlessly scrolling, like you do, when I came across a title that piqued my curiosity. Curiosity compels me far more often than is probably wise. It was ‘Feminine Architypes that men just can’t resist’. I didn’t watch all of it, I can say though that I completely embody at least two of them and rather regarded that as a character flaw. Whether this has in any way effected my luck with men I can’t tell you. I always thought it was the boobs. I’m pretty sure my husband would tell you it’s the boobs. Otherwise, I am, apparently, ‘unintimidatingly attractive’, whatever that means. Ever since then my Facebook feed has been awash with coaching services geared at helping women to secure a man. Text responses to make you cool and sexy, rather then needy and crazy obviously, although a bit crazy kind of fits with one of the archetypes so who knows? What a man will always say to a woman he loves but to no one else (I am actually desperately curious about that one but I’m not paying for the privilege) and how to get him to lean in. Flirting and eye contact (and probably being a bit too tactile) always worked for me (and I’ve kissed a lot of guys (should I have admitted to that?)) but maybe I’m over simplifying.
I couldn’t help but think that all this artifice, while it might help you get romance and passion, probably won’t help you find the love of your life. If you’re going to be with someone, long term, if you want that kind of connection. They really have to want you for who are, not for who you’d like to be. If you’re clumsy, absent minded and a bit neurotic, they kind of need to know that. It’s not something that you can hide forever, my friend.
We live in an age where we’re taught to respect our mental health and love ourselves in one breath and informed about all the ways in which we are failing in the next. We’re told that before we can love or be loved, we must first be whole, hale and hearty. I challenge that, we are all broken and we are all lovable. We are all learning and growing and no one is perfect. Truth be told I don’t think you can really love a perfect thing. You can adore it, you can worship it but love, real love, is found in the imperfections.
I must admit I’ve always been a bit suspicious of anyone who seems too perfect, anyone who seems to have everything altogether is hiding something. They’re keeping their cards close their chest. No one has it altogether. I remember when I met my husband. He drove two hours to be with me on the spur of the moment after just one date and he had this whole knight in shining armour thing going on. He stopped to help someone fix their car by the side of the road in the pouring rain. I remember hypothesising that he might be a serial killer. Several years on I can tell you that he is rather like the girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead. When he is good he is very, very good but when he is bad he is horrid. Living with him is not a cakewalk, but there are, to the best of my knowledge, no bodies buried in the garden.
I think we need to start being a bit more tolerant of our own and other people’s imperfections. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve come across women questioning where all the good men have gone. They are everywhere darling, you can literally fall over them in the street, but they don’t come dressed up like prince charming. ‘Good’ and ‘Perfect’ are not the same thing. To be honest, if you have one that puts his laundry in the damned basket, cooks every now again and isn’t sleeping with anyone else, you’ve got two out of three better than I have. Count yourself lucky. And don’t worry too much about what to do and how to behave (beyond normal human codes of conduct, you know, be nice and polite and stuff), if they are the right one, they will like you anyway. If they don’t like you when you’re being a bit irritating, god help them after ten years of marriage. If you can’t love him when he’s having a weird, psycho road rage episode on the way to your grandfather’s funeral (this has happened to me), or you can’t love her when she’s violently throwing up into a towel because the bathroom was too far and the morning sickness was too urgent (I have done this), then do you really love them at all?
If you want real love, you have to be prepared to be open. You have to be prepared to show all of who you are because all of who you are is lovable. I promise you. I am absent minded, forgetful, infuriating, overwhelming, needy and neglectful (depending on my mood), emotional, disorganised and really rubbish at housework but I am lovable. We are all lovable. We just need to find the right person to love us because love is found in the imperfections.
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