He had me at, oregano.
“What’s your favorite season?”
I had to ask such a mundane question, cause I knew that anyone with a penchant for the sun, sand and surf would never win this Buffalo, NY homegirl’s heart.
My perfect man answered, “oregano.”
At least at the time I thought he was perfect. After all in the world of online dating one can never be too sure.
I started my quest for online love via Match.com, meeting and dating men locally. The first man I met caught my eye (and my thigh as well…) Short, Dark and Handsome. Intelligent, Community and Family Oriented. A good church going man. A great catch. Or, maybe not. After a few months of not going anywhere, I decided to say adieu. Expand my horizons, reach out and touch…someone else.
The perfect man. He had to be out there. Maybe I was being too limiting with my search. I’ve always been lured, tempted, captivated by the charms of our nation’s capital, perhaps I could meet my match in D.C. and end up living there for a while? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…
And that was that, with a few click, clicks my search expanded 459 miles. What did I have to lose?
A few witty, and cleverly endearing Jennifer emails later, nothing. Some banter here and there, perhaps a flirtation or two, but no one took me seriously, after all I lived in Buffalo. Too far away for a quickie fling. And did I know it was cold and snowy there? Alas. I gave up.
And then one day, weeks later, out of nowhere, he responded. Mr. Way-Too-Good-To-Be-True. My Mr. Perfect. The one who never responded initially, in fact I thought he ignored me all together. Nope. He was just (warning, warning warning…red lights ahead for my future) too busy with work at the time and never had a chance to respond, until that moment. However, respond he did. And only to me.
Mr. Perfect? Worked for the Federal government and was politically minded. (Check.) He was intelligent, motivated and driven to succeed. (Triple check.) Family oriented. (Mama’s boy, check. Hey it’s sweet, at first!) Community and civic minded. (Check, ran the inner city tutoring program for his agency.)And actually liked snow. (Check, from a great lakes city himself!)
And when I added the ye old stand-by clause of “Republican, Tenor with Preppy Glasses.” I got a check (although he needed to remain non-partisian for his current position) check and a check. Hey, don’t ask, don’t tell, and don’t laugh...I said, MY perfect man, not yours! I never did get over my obsession with Alex P. Keaton in the 80’s.
Eventually, after a few emails, Mr. Perfect asked me for my phone number so he could call me sometime. CHECK! Too Good To Be True!
Ah, but true he was. That week I came down with a nasty flu, at the most inopportune time of the year for the program I was running for work. My doctor said to stay in bed. My boss, called me every hour with questions. And Mr. Perfect? He called too. Three times on one day to check up on me. Three times. Our first phone conversations held in between scratchy coughs and stuffy nose blows.
I was smitten. No looking back for me.
Over the weeks, and months that followed I learned two very important things about my Mr. Perfect.
1. He was absolute perfection on paper.
All those women I heard about in stories who were looking for a trophy husband? Sign up right here. I had him. I found out that I would want nothing materially with him by my side. Money was never an issue. All expense paid trips via Southwest to D.C. for the unemployed girlfriend? No problem. I could have had first class. “My dear, you always have class.” Anytime he called and caught me watching C-Span (for fun) he would tell me that he personally knew the person being interviewed. The man had connections. Everywhere. Third generation, Ivy League educated. Private schools. A family name that meant something. (He could trace his lineage back to a U.S. President, albeit, not a very famous one…) He had it all. We would balance each other perfectly. I was the cute big hearted girl from the wrong side of the tracks and he owned the tracks and knew the people who ran the trains. Really. Move over Mary and James, this time we got economic backgrounds clashing!
The other thing I discovered
2. None of this mattered to me.
I fell head over heels in love with this man the night he serenaded me cheezy songs (and I do mean cheezy) over the phone during one of our long-distance dates. I fell in love with the fully grown, highly successful man with the perfect pedigree, because his hair was always just a little bit messy in the back and he never noticed. I fell in love with the man who wore a power suit to work on the Hill, but carried a Playstation bag with all of his papers, instead of a briefcase. (I kid you not.) I fell for the man who decided to order in Chinese food one night at his apartment instead of going out for a fancy meal, and set up his childhood cardboard table with a plastic garbage bag as our tablecloth so we could eat our romantic meal. I fell in love with the man who instantly knew me, the good and the bad, sometimes better then I knew myself. A man who inspired me everyday, and who loved my enormous bleeding conservative heart and my goomerless grin.
Boy was I naive. I fell in love with a man who was too good to be true, who wanted to be with me, who wanted a future with me. And as the months wore on, I realized the importance of the first lesson I learned about Mr. Perfect. The hazards of blending the well bred, overachieving man with the one I fell in love with.
The idea of being together wasn’t enough.
The perfect man on paper, was not the same as the perfect man I needed in my heart.
So what did I do?
I gave him up. I set aside the trophy husband. A trophy for all the well-to-do waspy ladies, as well as the nerdy, goofy, kind hearted preppy trophy of mine.
I needed more. My credentials for the one, involve matters of the heart. Helping each other through the good and the bad. I was unable to be this person for Mr. Perfect. He didn’t need anyone. And I became resentful. I wanted a present, not just a future.
I found everything I (n)ever dreamed of in a man, online. And today, I wonder if I will have the nerve to try again in the not-so-distant future. I think next time, I will stick to Buffalo.