THE PERFECT MAN
Author Elizabeth Kyne contemplates the impossible
Author Elizabeth Kyne contemplates the impossible
He’d have to be good looking, for certain. The sex would have to be pretty good too. It would be really handy if he did all the cleaning, the washing, the ironing, the shopping and cooked fantastic meals every night. And what else shall we give our perfect man? For me, as a rather short woman, I wouldn’t want my man to be too tall (I’ve hugged tall men in the past and it seems to involve getting intimately acquainted with their navel, which is a bit awkward). You, on the other hand, might require other criteria, such as, he likes dogs or is good at gardening.
This is all a fantasy, you might think. There is no such thing as a “perfect man”. There may be men out there who have amazing characteristics who, for example, really are fantastic in bed; or really do look after the housework, but they will also have faults. They might be chubby and out of condition, or they might insist on farting loudly during your favourite TV programme. Whatever their attributes and their less attractive qualities, they are still human – like we all are. There can never be a man who can tick all the boxes, even if dating agencies offer to find you a partner who literally does exactly that.
But stop and think for a moment about what would happen if the “perfect man” really did exist. That you could pick him up off the shelf just as you might a breakfast cereal? Instead of requiring a package fortified with vitamins and high fibre, you might chose “has a fantastic body and is happy to do the ironing”. If that were truly possible, wouldn’t life be a little bit dull?
This might sound ridiculous to most women who have frustrations about their man, but take a moment to think about it. Isn’t a relationship about more than finding the perfect husband? You may wish he would pull his finger out every now and again and do the hoovering, but isn’t a relationship about the coming together of two people, the learning to deal with one another’s foibles and exploring their personalities? He may annoy you one day by farting in the middle of Strictly Come Dancing, but the next he might surprise you by demonstrating a knowledge of Lauren Bacall movies. It’s the give and take of getting to know a person and of building a life together.
I think this is the lesson learned by Rachel in my novel If Wishes Were Husbands. Not that I set out for her to learn a lesson, I just set out to tell a fun story. She is a single woman who has got to a stage in her life where being un-married and un-attached is unusual and so, to appear to be more normal, she makes up a story about having a husband. Because he doesn’t exist, she’s free to invent everything about him. She boasts about his skill in bed, his eagerness to do the housework and his fabulous cooking. Her story takes on such a life of its own that so does her husband – and appears one day in the flesh on her sofa.
Suddenly, she is faced with living with this “perfect man”. That’s when the fun begins. Well, it’s fun for the reader, it’s not so much fun for poor old Rachel who has to put up with him. As she says in the book, it’s wonderful at first to have a man who cooks gourmet meals for her when she comes home from work then makes love to her three times a night – but sometimes she just wants a sandwich and some sleep!
We’re not made perfect, and we’re not made to find the perfect match. A man is not a box of breakfast cereal, even if sometimes we might wish he were. The fun comes in the discovery and the melding of two personalities. Otherwise, we might as well employ a house full of staff to do all those things we would like to be done. We could tick all the boxes of getting the ironing and the gardening done – even the sex! – and it might be fun for a while, but at the end of the day wouldn’t you rather share your life with someone than be their employer? I know I would – well, I would most of the time.
Rachel re-invents herself when she moves back to her home town of Aylesbury; with a new job, a new house and a new haircut. But people’s eyes glaze over when she tells them about her life as a forty-something singleton who works in accounts. So why not spice things up a bit? Why not tell her new hairdresser and her new friends about her fantastic husband? Everyone wants to hear about Darren, the man who cooks her amazing meals, cleans the house and takes her to bed for orgasmic sex three times a night! What a shame he doesn't exist…
…Until she comes home one night and finds Darren sitting in her lounge. And everything she said becomes true: from his sensuous food to his skill in bed. So real, that she believes it.
Not as if living with a perfect is man is… well, perfect…
She can’t find anything because every time she puts something down, he tidies it away. Then there’s the shock of the credit card bill from buying all that gourmet food. Not to mention the sex! Three times a night is great at first, but sometimes all she wants at the end of the day is a sandwich and some sleep.
Then Rachel decides that Darren has to go - and that’s when her troubles really begin.
Elizabeth Kyne takes the absurdities of the modern woman's quest for love and turns them into an enjoyable romp. She finds the comic in everyday situations, from buying a dress to experimenting with hair dye at home. While, underneath, she comments on the pressure to find the perfect husband and how that quest is doomed for us all.
Elizabeth Kyne trained to be a radio journalist and spent her early working years reading news bulletins and writing for magazines. Later, after learning the meaning of “mortgage” and “gas bill”, she decided to do the sensible thing and drop the freelance lifestyle to get a proper job. The job, however, all went horribly wrong and she returned to her first love of writing, and worked on several novels before finding success with “If Wishes Were Husbands”.