Saturday, March 17, 2007

Looking for Mr. Perfect

Man, it has been quite awhile since I’ve had a truly thrilling crush. With spring coming on, I’m sure in the mood for some of those heart-fluttering feelings.

Of course I’m not in the market for an actual love affair; I am, after all, happily married and perfectly content with the real-life love going on in my life right now. No, I’m referring to a good solid celebrity crush or even a small obsession with some fictitious character.

And right now I’m actually jealous of Scarlett O’Hara. I just started reading Gone with the Wind again and read the initial passages about her feelings for Ashley Wilkes. Ah, the joys of yearning for a man who makes you feel like that! Even though I know that relationship is doomed and will only bring Scarlett pain, I wish I were watching a Georgia sunset and dreaming of my own version of Ashley.

But those kind of thoughts just aren’t happening lately. In spite of my recent appreciation for Trey Parker’s musical aptitude, I haven’t been sitting around fantasizing about walking with him on a beach. I can’t seem to muster anything that fervent, try as I might. I’ve reviewed in my mind all the potential hot guys and nobody’s tripping my trigger.

The closest I have to a likely candidate is my personal hero, Les Stroud. I’ve been keeping up on his blogs from the field during the filming of his two African adventures for the new season of “Survivorman,” and he writes wonderfully. Is there anything the man can’t do? His dramatic but humorous accounts are quite thrilling. And I can’t say I haven’t had a torrid thought or two about the man, but I’m not genuinely romantically obsessed. Maybe because it’s because he does reality TV, and I’ve seen footage of his wife and kids and all that, so he seems like a regular guy, flesh and blood just like you and me.

And I guess I’m looking for Mr. Perfect.

In my younger days I was much better at thinking of men as perfect, or close to it. But now that I’m 50 and jaded, it’s harder for me to gloss over the flaws and shortcomings. Unfortunately, while I’ve grown more realistic in perception, my expectations are as unrealistic as they ever were. I can’t fall for a guy who isn’t a hero, and unfortunately heroism is almost impossible to come by.

Now do you see why I have to write romance fiction, and invent these guys myself?

For the present, I find myself making due with feeling a little flutter when ever I discover some quality of heroism in a guy or a character. Thus my attraction to Trey Parker, for being so creatively and musically gifted. The same can be said of all my little crushes, which lately have included M. Night Shymalan (for artistic and creative talent), Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre (for intelligence and complexity), Admiral Adama (for courage and leadership) and his real life counterpart Edward James Olmos (for humanitarianism and generosity of spirit). And of course, the obviously heroic Les Stroud.

The rare exception can be found in guys who are simply cute, charming and funny, the Jim Halperts and Sawyers of the world. (My husband is in this category, with a little heroism thrown in.) While I enjoy the presence of such types in my life, they rarely send me into a Scarlett-over-Ashley type rapture. Nope, for that it takes a purebred hero.

I used to assume a heroic-appearing guy was truly a hero until proven otherwise, which inevitably they all were, with painful results for me of course. But until I made that sad discovery, I enjoyed myself immensely. Unfortunately, it seems nowadays I no longer have that childlike naivete. Nowadays, alas, I assume the guy has faults, until he can prove me wrong. Of course I’m still looking in vain for that guy. Mr. Perfect.

So, what a fix I find myself in! Am I just too smart and cynical for my own good? Can I never again experience the joys of infatuation? Is romance dead for me? :-)

A few years back, as I wrapped up having a crush on a friend of mine, he wisely said to me, “Do me a big favor and promise you won’t do this again, with me or anyone else--I don’t want you to put yourself through this again.” So I promised him.

Yeah, I guess I’ve been happier since then than before--at least more emotionally stable. But still, I can’t give up hope on finding one more Mr. Perfect to get me all rapturous for a little while. Would that be such a bad idea?

After all, it’s spring.

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