Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Can we really date Mr Perfect?
As he uttered the words, “I won £50,000 on a game show once,” my mouth fell open in utter amazement. Here I was standing with a guy, who not only had the guts to appear on a game show, but was intelligent enough to actually win thousands of pounds on it too.
And that was just the icing on the cake, for me it was like all my dreams had come true - because I was dating Mr Perfect.
We’ve all met Mr Perfect. He’s the one that girls flock around, even if they have a boyfriend. The guy who’s willing to do a sponsored run, in the rain or with a hangover, just so he can save the lives of thousands, and the guy that your family seems to like more than you.
And I had the pleasure of being the girlfriend of Mr Perfect, for six whole months, but unfortunately it didn’t really finish in the happy ending I’d read about in fairy tales.
My Mr Perfect was gorgeous, or as my Mum put it he looked like he’d just stepped off an LA beach, tanned and toned, with blonde hair and blue eyes, he’d got my attention straight away.
His jobs were pretty perfect too, yes he didn’t just have one job, but two. By night he served every women’s fantasy by saving cats, old ladies and people from burning buildings and by day he had the patience and know-how to teach children how to swim.
But it didn’t stop there, unlike my ex, who thought that one trip to the gym was enough to give him biceps the same as Arnies, he actually visited the gym more than once a month. He did spinning classes, abs work outs and swam like a fish, and all this was just preparation for the three hour bike rides, 10k races and triathlons he did.
The rest of his life was quite perfect too, he was a genuinely nice guy, but he also had the car, the house, a good selection of friends, a family that thought the world of him and work colleagues that loved him. Basically he ticked all the boxes, the guy of my dreams, he was my Mr Perfect.
Of course when I met him I wasn’t even looking for Mr right, I was on the look out for Mr right now, someone to have a bit of fun with, to spoil me and help me get over my latest break-up. I was happy to be selfish, find my independence, and concentrate on my career. But out of the blue he swaggered, shining with confidence and perfection and like many of the other girls before me (there had been a lot) I instantly thought he was ‘the one’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been the commitment sort, marriage, babies and things like mortgages just send a shiver down my spine. When past boyfriends had even mentioned moving in with them I shrugged it off with lame excuses like money and timing. But when I met Mr Perfect I was ready to hang up my dating shoes, jump into his perfect world and make compromises and decisions that I never would have made before I met him.
And the most exciting part was that he was into me too. From the moment he met me my phone didn’t know what had hit it, he was a serial texter, and if it wasn’t my phone which was popular it was my inbox with sweet messages and ideas of dates three, four and five. His facebook status wasn’t deprived either, Mr Perfect was announcing to his facebook world that he couldn’t wait to be with me again, and after a month he even committed to a relationship with me on facebook, a done deal, or so I thought.
And for the first few months we played happy families, I was the girl who Mr Perfect would tell his friends and family about with a smile on his face, the one who he’d plant sneaky kisses on at the gym, spend lazy Sundays with and the one who he would rescue in her hour of need.
But just when it all seemed too good to be true, it was, and cracks started to appear in the perfection. The first dent was my friend’s opinions of him.
“He’s really lovely but how can you trust him? He’s far too good looking,” my friend Emily said.
“Don’t you just want to slob out with him?” Another friend said, “You must get bored of the constant spinning classes and healthy food.”
My sister’s boyfriend went as far as to give him a nickname for his perfect ways. After about a month of me dating him he started to refer to him as ‘Perfect Bob’, because being the same age as him he was slightly annoyed that Mr Perfect, with his ‘I save life’s’ job and fitness track record, was frankly, just showing him up.
My Mum even committed the cardinal sin, that any Mum can make when you're dating someone, to tell me she didn’t think he was ‘the one’. At first I thought she was joking "Don’t be silly he’s far too perfect Sarah, how could you marry someone who’s that perfect?" she’d said. When I realised her seriousness I declared my hate to her like a spoilt brat, “Oh my god your soooo wrong,” I screamed off in a strop “I’ll show you.”
But soon I started to see what she meant. Being a perfect girlfriend around Mr Perfect wasn’t easy. I loved the fact that he knew what the inside of a gym looked like but when he was leaving my bed, with me naked in it, at 6am for swimming sessions you could say I was more than slightly miffed.
He’s culinary skills also put mine to shame, although I was no Nigella in the kitchen I was definitely more than a microwave meal kind of girl. But all of a sudden I was aware that maybe I was cutting an onion the wrong way, and why was I asking his opinion on how to drain spaghetti and make scrambled eggs? I’m sure I’d got it right when I’d been single just a few months ago.
The green-eyed monster also struck when it dawned on me that he probably had more ‘girl’ friends than most guys could account for. His friendly nature meant that most of the women he came in contact with, whether they were work colleagues, mums of the kids he taught, or just any woman with a pulse, would text him on a daily basis, comment on his facebook statuses or come over all giggly when they just happened to bump into him. Most of them were just that – friends, and I tried to let it not bother me, but after about four months paranoia set in and I spent hours trying to decipher what girls ‘actually’ meant when they wrote on his facebook wall.
Independence in a man is attractive. And Mr Perfect’s independence was one of the things that attracted me to him. But too much of good thing is quite plainly – a bit weird. It’s very rare to find a man who actually knows what an iron does, let alone how to use it. But Mr Perfect had nights when he would do just that – iron. Also his washing machine was constantly in use, he hated leaving the pots and pans for tomorrow and never once did I have to remind him to send a birthday card to a relative. It was as though I had been introduced to a super new ‘Perfect’ breed of man, and while my friends were moaning about how their boyfriends didn’t do so and so, I was left wondering if he was thinking the same about me.
Towards the end of the relationship he also made me feel like my life, next to his, was more like an episode of Coronation street, boring and a bit pointless, where as his could have come straight off an action-filled episode of Lost or Prison Break. My job meant I spent a lot of time alone, in front a computer, his job meant action, stories and being a hero. And compared to him my life was far from sorted, while he moaned about a measly £500 overdraft I tried my hardest to hide my credit card debts, I was no closer to owning my own house or car than I had been when I’d left primary school, and however hard I tried my stomach never would have been as flat as his.
In a word, he was just too perfect.
So when he ended it with me I wouldn’t say I breathed a sigh of relief, it was more like a small weight had been removed from my life. I was glad that I no longer had to worry about looking perfect in the mornings and or have that ‘please don’t dump me’ money talk with him, but I was also slightly gutted.
It’s hard to get over a normal break-up, but being dumped by Mr Perfect is so much worse. It’s like winning the lottery and being told that you can’t claim your prize. Basically, a big disappointment. How could my Mr Perfect not have been perfect for me? Was I a loser that needed to sort her life out before I was good enough for him?
Of course not, but it did make me think that maybe the reality of our perfect guy will never actually live up to our expectations. If by some miracle, in real life, we happened to bag our dream man, say George Clooney, would it be so great? Or would it just make us jealous, insecure and unhappy? Reality would set in and anyone, next to a movie star who had millions of women falling over him, would pale in comparison. So perhaps we all just need to stop chasing perfection and be happy with what we’ve got.
Dating Mr Perfect was an experience, of course it had its upsides, I got some pretty nice meals cooked for me, he made me care more about my fitness and I got to kiss my Mr Perfect for six months. But if another potential date lists game shows, 6am swimming or putting out fires as his hobbies I may just have to run in the opposite direction.