This train of thought started with a Muse soundtrack. If you want, you can experience the same, here:
“There is no such thing as perfection”. They say. How untrue. There are plenty of things like perfection. What we should be saying is: “We want no such thing as perfection”. We don’t. Well, that’s also not true. We don’t want it for everything.
We may want a perfect suit. Or, my cup of tea, leafy Earl Grey made with my son’s Mother’s Day Present of crystal teapot, and a splash of milk, is perfect.
We can even go as far as saying, about our partner, say, he/she is perfect for me. That does make more sense, doesn’t it?
My partner, my husband, is perfect for me. He is so imperfect in many ways that drive me up the wall and therefore I have to slow down, breath out fully, and remind myself: he is perfect for me. He keeps me from saying yes to any man who shows any sexual interest in me whatsoever. Now that’s a pretty handy thing. He keeps me from melting down in desire for men I could otherwise fall desperately in lust with.
I was reminded of this last night. A man heard a friend and I talking about dating sites, he came out, was being cool and funny. He was tall, very good body, a good enough age (not too young), not a stunner, but not bad looking either. But he was wearing a football shirt, you know, a team shirt. I was very surprised when I realised that he (his friend joined him, also pretty fit, nice eyes…) he was hitting on us both. I realised because when he offered to go and play pool upstairs and I said “oh, well, I have to wait for my husband to bring me my beer” he was clearly disappointed. He was polite enough, bless him, to hang around even after my husband did arrive, make a polite finish to the conversation, then politely him and his friend took their leave. I had already noticed that my friend didn’t seem in the least interested in him, even though, as I said, he was goodlooking and nice enough and more importantly, considering my friend is pretty tall and that was one of the issues she was finding in dating men, he was tall enough for her. So I wasn’t too sorry for her when he left, but I did make a mental note that there’s no point in me going out with her with a view to perhaps meeting someone for her if my husband is there. A man kills the dating game, even if he’s not the man of the woman who wants to play it.
Anyway, this is besides the point.
The point was, I realised, had I been alone, and had I not been married, I would have played pool with them, I would have giggled and laughed, I would have forgotten that that very morning I was looking at myself and starting to see/feel the ravages of age taking place, and it would have been a fun and rowdy night. I probably would have felt very sad and empty and stupid and worthless and cheap the next morning, or I probably wouldn’t. I never had a problem with football supporters, whereas my friend was put off by that football t-shirt the moment she saw it. The man wearing it was irrelevant, that’s it. The football shirt was enough to put her off, and I can see why, fair enough: that is something she would never ever feel she could share with a potential partner, so she pre-selected, and dismissed this fit fellow in an instant. My husband also said he wasn’t good looking, but more importantly he was wearing a football shirt. I tried to argue for a bit.
Admittedly I didn’t think of people I may have slept with (there really is one for each and every category of man you can think of, so no, I am most definitely not picky), but I did think of friend’s boyfriend and girlfriends, husbands and wives, even one night stands. And I could think of many, many people that had, from my point of view, much greater defects than being a football supporter (potential, as, well, he was just wearing a shirt. He didn’t even mention the word football once).
I stopped arguing very soon, but I would have liked to carry on the conversation. How picky are we? What are we picky about? That guy, just judging from those 5 minutes of exchange, and basing it merely on observation as obvious as his football shirt, had some good things going for him in my book: he was nice looking enough, he had a very nice, fit and strong body, without being overly big which would suggest being too obsessed with it, he may well have been an amazing handyman, he seemed a playful guy, his friend looked sober and decent and more intelligent than him (denoting very real potential for him, a good choice of friends is a bonus), he was polite and well mannered, well spoken, he likes playing pool and asked me if I used to be a pool hustler (which I did, though not for money, but yes to play for hours and get free beers) denoting quick and easy powers of observation, also he showed concern for being nice despite his disappointment in not being able to take the evening to a funner level due to my husband’s presence. I don’t know, I can think of many worse people.
What does it say about me that one of my best friends and my husband completely ditched this guy whereas I saw him as a good catch? What does it say about them? It seems that the pool of people I would pick friends, one night stands, fun acquaintances, partners and mates from is far, far, far more enormously wider than many, certainly of most people I am in contact with at the moment. If I stop and think, I know that of all the people I frequent at the moment, even those I see occasionally (except perhaps my children!) there isn’t a single one that would frequent all the types of people I would. Some of them more than others, but it is pretty safe to say that each one of them has at least a few groups of people I have happily (and would happily) frequent that they wouldn’t DREAM of frequenting.
I think further and think back to the times I tried to introduce such different types of people whom I both liked and got on with to each other. What a disaster it always was and how little I would understand it. Because, I thought, if I like them, and they like me, why wouldn’t they like other people that I liked?
I remember that was, after the wanting to help other people, one of the reasons I wanted to grow up to be single and living in a huge house where a constant flow of different people came by. Some of them would be lovers, some of them best friends, some would interact with my children, some wouldn’t. Some would be misanthropists locked in their room till dusk fell, others would be extroverts helping round the house. I would like all of them to some extent, would get bored with them at different times, and if any of them got out of control they’d be asked to leave. I am starting to think it sounds a bit like a palace with a human zoo for my own pleasure. And indeed, had I been living at a different time, perhaps in a time when, way before I was born or my father was born my family was rich and even before then, when being rich and powerful meant you could indulge in sensual pleasures to your liking without the constant monitoring and judging of modern and boring middle class, had I been living then, what would my household have been like? Perhaps similar to Glenn Close’s in Dangerous Liaisons?
But now that all is much humbler, and I hope I would never be as selfish and cruel, if I could work towards my house of beautiful people (because everyone has their beauty, and everyone has their ugliness, you just have to learn to dish yourself out more of one and less of the other) would it ever come true? Considering how people don’t like to mingle as much as I do? Considering how even I have a limit, even I cannot bring myself to enjoy the presence of a few types of people, who would say yea or nay to who comes into the house? Only me? Would I then impose all these unpleasant creatures on my husband, my resident friends? Would I kick out those that are unpleasant to me but others may find riveting?
And it is so, thanks to the medium of the blog which replaces therapy sessions I cannot afford, and replaces the novel writing time I just do not have, I have an epiphany. On Easter Day, that is quite fitting.
The epiphany is multilayered: I have known for a while that until I have written down every bit of story of my life, I could not hope to write fiction. I have to get my life out of my system before I can novelise. However, the book I wrote in Nanowrimo, which was meant to be (when finally edited and rewritten properly) the science-fiction of my future and therefore concealed as much of my real life in it as I could, is actually a complete work of fiction. Because it will NEVER happen, and I should have seen that when I experienced something very close to what I always wanted, oh many years ago, in the South of Spain: a vibrant and wonderful permaculture garden, an art gallery , sustainability and interesting people and beautiful places and then, what was left of it after only a few years was an empty field, not even rubble, as though it had NEVER existed. That’s because yes, cool people came, and went, and wonderful things happened… but so did hideous things, horrible things, unpleasant things. Because that’s what we are, that’s what we’re made of. That is why we have tribes of similar people, that is why we have wars, that is why we have towns and villages and cities. Global village my ass, when my own husband thinks my business plan for a sandwich place might be in danger of attracting the wrong kind of people. I may love and find cause to love more people than most, but even I don’t love everybody, even I don’t tolerate everybody, and my standards for tolerance being so very different than people I have around me, what hope do I have? How insane it even was. Of course we need small groups, of course we need villages, cities, countries, definitions, belonging to classes, to football teams, of course we need wars and threats and sanctions and agreements and hypocrisy. Because nobody is bidimensional, we will never fit like tidy pieces and in little groups. There can be no global village, we are not the same as our neighbours, we can hardly tolerate and sympathise and find reason to love and cherish the people that share the same square mile as us, how can we possibly ever hope to love the world as one?
Once again, my friend Cindy was right. “You cannot love everybody”. She was wrong about the second part though, when she said “otherwise you will never love a single person”. I do love loads and loads of single people, and each for and only for a certain amount of very differing time. (Madness by the Muse is in loop at this point) That is why I cannot have a big house filled with people coming and going, because I never know how long I will tolerate you for, how long I will love you passionately for, or how long before I find you tedious and uninteresting, or how well I will be able to say “yes to breakfast, no to lunch, it’s too much of you now”.
That is why I know my husband is perfect for me. Some things drive me nuts about him, but asides from my children, everybody’s got something that will drive me nuts, given enough time. Considering how much time I spend with him, his things are actually menial compared to other people’s.
My husband swears a lot. Back in the day, I used to say, if a guy swears too much, that’s it, I’m put off, I don’t even take the time to get to know him, it just puts me off. A bit, I suppose, like my husband and friend felt about that guy’s football shirt. I’m glad I took the time to see what else was under his exterior coating.