that's me - Stephanie Boman!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Mr. Perfect

When I was a teenager my dream guy was one who would read me poetry, wear glasses (the cute kind that barely hid the passionate man beneath), talk philosophically with me, and, uh, read me poetry. Maybe play the guitar. He'd have attractively rumply hair, wear sweaters, and have a boyish smile.

I was actually able to date a couple of guys like that. When I was sixteen I dated one who had the exact physical traits I described above, sans glasses. He read me Don Quixote, sung for no reason, packed a picnic for the beach, and yes, played the guitar.

In college I had a long term relationship with another sensitive soul. We traded journals to write in, he thrived on intellectual conversations, sketched, made me a stained glass jewelry box, and went with me to indie films.

But the guy I married was athletic (in basketball, especially), avoided plays at all costs, was a people person, and not much of a reader.

We had nothing in common.

He has never read me poetry. He's never written a song for me. He's never quoted classical literature.

And we just had our eighteenth anniversary.

Frankly, I'm glad I didn't marry one of the boys that I thought were knights in shining armor. The guys Hollywood said were out there for me, waiting for serendipity to hook us up. How boring would it be to live with yourself?

Because of my husband I enjoy watching golf, football and basketball. He has kept me from being a homebody with his outgoing ways, has had some influence in my athleticism (modest as it may be), and balanced my emotional side with his practical one.

In turn, after some initial help in getting him started, husband is now a voracious reader, enjoys plays at the Shakespeare festival, and appreciates the classical concerts we attend.

We've balanced each other out. But it took a long time for me to appreciate that. We married very young and I mourned not only for my lost youth, but for the chance to have my idea of Mr. Perfect find me. I firmly believed a John Cusack would hold a boom box up outside my window. Seriously. That's what I thought love was. A Hollywood story.

I like to blame a lot of my misguided beliefs on Hollywood, but the fact was, I grew up without a father, therefor, without a role model of what a real mate was. All I was left with was a fantasy man, an imagined ideal.

There's debate going on around the blogosphere about whether these "perfect" guys in YA novels (and yes, I have one in mine) are giving girls false expectations. I don't worry about that with my daughters, luckily, because they've seen that a man with flaws, with interests different from Mom's, can be a perfect husband and daddy. I have no fear of my daughters turning into Bellas.

Love isn't always found, but made.

Stories, film or book, are fantasy, something we all love to indulge in, and as long as our young women have real role models in their lives, whether they be fathers, uncles, or church members, they will be all right.

I admit, though, that at the end of Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly one), as we sat in the theater while the credits rolled up the screen and tears rolled down our cheeks, I told Darling Daughter between sobs: "Do not expect a man to walk across a field in the predawn wearing a robe to proclaim his love to you. That is not reality."

We still watch it over and over, sighing at how perfect Mr. Darcy is, but DD has told me, when the time comes, she'll be on the look out for a guy just like Dad.


Kayeleen Hamblin said...

Isn't it great how we get what we need, instead of what we thought we wanted? My husband is perfect for me, but not what I originally pictured when thinking of the guy I would marry.

Lydia Kang said...

Fantasy romances are wonderful, but reality truly is better. Because what's real is the person who stays by your side, and loves you for all your imperfections.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great post. I'm a big believer in fantasy over reality. I think the whole "perfect guy" in YA exists for the escapism side. It just goes to show that ya books don't set unrealistic expectations. We know they aren't real. The proof, the fact your DD knows the difference.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Okay, I meant reality over fantasy. whoops. Must check before posting. lol.

Manda said...

That is so sweet! I'm so glad you love my big (goofy) brother!

I thought I was going to marry a tall skinny guy with a thick accent, and we'd live in France together. That was a nice fantasy, but Jon is a much better reality!

Love you! Good luck with your book!

P.S. Have you seen Bright Star? It's awesome, and there's plenty of poetry reading and rumply hair. :)

Bish Denham said...

Congratulations on 18 years! As for knights, who says they have to come across a field in the pre-dawn light? Or wear armor? or read you poetry? Maybe our knights are simply good guys. Mine is, yours must be too.

Anonymous said...

Congrats- I totally agree, my dh and I have completely different tastes in everything but have a fabulous time when we're together. As for the good boy/bad boy- I always have both in my books and it's a delicate balance between who the character (and the readers) like more. Good guys are keepers, but bad boys are so much fun.

PS- You've been bestowed an award on my blog:)

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