Little girls dream magical ponies and princes. Rarely do frogs come up. Their imaginings of happily ever afters unavoidably include the debonair types rescuing them from that ivory tower, high up in air…something I’ve now come to conceive as a possible metaphor for the female’s air of superiority, for… every girl’s fault of having too high standards, of the delusional dream of finding Mr. Perfect/Mr. Right.
While that tower still exists and while perhaps, every little (or big) girl still dreams of such, I find myself thinking it utter bullshit. If you must know, I never got the childhood boyfriend nor the high school love I admittedly and shamefully wanted, and much to my dismay, never got to win the bets I made with myself—
“Boyfriend at 12! Fine, at 14! Come on, 15! Sixteen? Anyone? Holy Shit, High School and nothing!”
Quite pathetic huh?
Want concrete proof of my cluelessness with the whole boy meets girl scenario?
At 5, I secretly wondered what it would be like to kiss a boy. (However, being sandwiched in between two boys in the family wasn’t any help. Once, my little brother kissed me and to this day, it provides the trauma to the drama queen in me. I was never quite the same. Ha-ha. Add to that, I was the guinea pig to all their experiments, the literal “butt” of their jokes. Playing “doctor doctor” wasn’t as fun as I thought.
At 11, I crushed on a playmate, who I knew was similarly interested in me. I remember at my pool party, he made not so subtle attempts to get close to me. But the confused and conservative child in me played coy and cold. I thought it would make me cooler and more interesting, that it would make him like me more, but it did quite the opposite. I never really saw him much after that.
At 13, I was itching to have a boyfriend…or at least a boy in my life that wasn’t my father, brother or cousin. I wanted the high school love affair. I wanted the chick flick romance, the stones thrown at your window, the flowers sent straight to your classroom, the intertwined hands and cheesy poetry. Yes, embarrassed as I am to admit, I wanted it. I wondered what it was like and what it could be like. My best friend and I would write in our shared journal, scribbling potential names of future lovers. We did this in private of course because we held the reputation of being independent, fun-loving, “We’re not the typical boy-crazy teens of our generation”. Who were we kidding? We were just like everyone else, at least in that sense…
At 15, I had the biggest crush on my younger brother’s best friend. This awakened my desire for the dusky-bronze soccer player types, which to this day, I must say, is my weak spot. I was a little frustrated with the lack of excitement and boy-related fun in my life. But I didn’t know what to do. I was a little chubby then, with an entire set of dental wear—the braces, the bands, the headgear and at one unfortunate point, the neck brace. (scream NERD and spell LOSER). I liked him a lot but I was too proud to want to change anything in myself for him. My mom raised me thinking Mr. Right would like me for me, and not for the way I looked or how much I weighed. But was Mom really right? In hindsight, maybe..yes. But at that point, I knew boys my age and boys at that stage were really only interested in getting the trophy girl friend—the package of a girl with boobs, skinny arms and legs and a pretty (well, decent) face. You can guess what happened with Mr. Soccer Dude. Nadah. I could taste frustration at this point. I was beginning to think badly of boys and badly of myself as well.
At 16, someone liked me. And now that I look back on it, I think I liked him too. But I was too afraid to open up, to allow myself to like him, to get past the turn-offs. I was too much of a bitch to give him the chance he deserved. I ended it with the slightest glitch I thought to be a reasonable way out. Months after, I wrote him a letter and this sparked a round two of sorts but again, I wasn’t prepared to take that leap yet. The arrogant person that I was, I thought I deserved someone better…better-looking, better-equipped with humor, wit and whatever else I was looking for. I broke him AGAIN. To this day, it’s something I wish I had done differently, something I wish I could have altered, not for the possibility of ending up with him, but for the possibility of taking chances and giving them in return.
At 17, I had a little experiment…if you get what I mean. It’s something I could have avoided but it’s not necessarily something I regret. Without that phase, I would not have realized who I was and what or who I wanted. It was a little malfunction, a setback in my little system. But it made me better. Although it makes me cringe with every flashback or memory, I comfort myself with the fact that we all have our growing pains, that confusion being mine.
At 18, I was the poster girl for the song that goes…torn between two lovers. Of course, that made me feel like quite the catch, and a part of me, didn’t want to choose because having two seemed better or at least more beneficial, in case one fell out or wouldn’t make the cut. I knew in my heart I really liked Mr. Romantic and that Mr. Amusing couldn’t amuse me for long. I took too long, too long in fact that both boys moved on, without me. Mr Amusing found someone else when I was vacationing in Europe and although I was secretly relieved I didn’t have to do the honors of cutting ties, I was a little embarrassed and annoyed that he did it. He “broke up” with me. Well, that did something for his ego! Mr. Romantic, on the other hand, disappeared slowly, with the thought that I had despised him. In retrospect, I think he really just feared the competition and wasn’t gutsy enough to ask me point blank and pursue me seriously. If he had, it might have made a difference. It may have spared us both of all those “What If” questions we had in the past.
At 19, I was madly in…fatuated. I was pathetically obsessed with a boy I knew from the beginning, was bad news. Bad boys… Don’t WE fall for that. The chase, the complicated love triangle or…square, the challenge of coming out victorious. Little did I know I’d get hurt so many times and in so many ways. This, I can say, I regret. I regret even going out on a limb for him, throwing myself at him so it’d be easier for him to do the same with me, playing the shoulder to cry on just so I could be inches nearer. I was mad, desperate, insane for even going that low. It was crazy. My gut was telling me he liked me and intuition was insisting the feelings were mutual. But all he did was destroy every living fantasy I had of THE boy. (Thanks and no thanks to him) He simply dropped me and went for the next kill. He never cleared it with me, never apologized for whatever pain he caused and never really gave me the confirmation that what I felt we had was even genuine. Only a year after (when I had already recovered and found someone else) did he admit to his feelings for me. It was weird. I felt relieved, vindicated, angry and happy, all at the same time.
Nearly 15 years of clueless navigation in the sea of men. The hapless and hopeless search for Mr. Right. And Nothing. Found nothing. No one.
So what does my tell-all tell me? Or you, for that matter?
It tells me that we, girls shouldn’t be so keen on finding Mr. Perfect/Mr. Right/Mr. Fits-the-Bill. My little tell-all reminds me of the bitter bite with reality that boys are no heroes. They’re not the impecably-crafted, magical beings we want them to be. They will NEVER be as perfect as we envision or hope them to be. More often that not, they will NOT meet the standard or expectation. (In rare cases, and lucky for you, they may exceed them. ) They can and will probably break your heart. They will make you bitter for a moment, then hoping the next. They will certainly not fit the mold of your imagination and delusion.
So, spare yourself the disappointment and see him…for what he really is.
Stop thinking you’re way more mature or smarter than he is (even if you are.) Hold yourself back when his quirks or imperfections bother you (because you have them too!). Realize that in order to be genuinely happy, chances have to be given and risks have to be taken. Cut back on the arrogance and avoid thinking that your strength lies in your ability to be independent of them. Experience your relationship for what it is and not for what you plan or want it to be. (Someone once told me not to treat it as a project.)
Open that cold, stubborn heart of yours and try to believe you can find Mr. _______.
I know I did.
He’s definitely not perfect, in the rigid sense and mold I used to hope for. True, he’s “broken” me a few times, disappointed the perfectionist in me, pained me in ways that made me stronger, challenged my pride and gone head to head with my stubborn personality. And true, a feminist would insist that I could live without him. But I’d rather not. I wouldn’t change a thing about my past as well, because in a way, it brought me to him and him to me.
He’s my Mr. _________. He’s something I refuse to put in a mold, a pedestal, a box or category. He fails some but exceeds other standards. He’s got his own thing going, his own kind of wit and charm flowing. And as far as I know, it worked on me.
Despite my tough exterior and the rather brute demeanor I had and still have, I still swoon at the sight and smell of romance. I’m no extreme girly-girl but I still have a little bit of that gene in me. I got swept off my big feet and still experience that shortness of breath and that undeniable glow when around this fellow.
Mr. ________ is an odd fit to the odd person that is me. It’s amazing that even when I want to be angry, he has the opposite effect on me. I’m no cheeseball and I’m definitely not a fan of mush, but his presence allows me to utter those three words which we often avoid saying. Filled to the brim as I am with pride, I can say ‘I love you’.
I love him for not being perfect, for not meeting my stupid standards, for not being too similar nor opposite. I love that his narcolepsy sometimes frustrates the insomniac in me. I love that he keeps me on my feet, that he keeps me at the edge of my seat, teetering by a cliff. I love that I never quite know how to feel when around him. I love the comfort and discomfort he provides, the security and even the insecurity I experience. I love him for his idealism because it challenges the pessimistic realist in me. I love him for his dreams because it reminds me to keep dreaming my own.
He’s the foil to my character, the polar magnet drawing me in.