Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mister Perfect: Location, Location, Location

House Hunting has been pretty hard work these last few weeks til it was pointed out to me today that I do the same thing with houses I always do with boyfriends. Which is to say, I'm a dabbler, a dilettante -- I want a little of this, and this, and this, but definitely not that or that or that. I most certainly did not buy my last house out of Love at First Sight --- I bought it out of Paralysis, when the one I really wanted burned down. It's just one big Swap Meet to me and I can never find everything I want all in one package. I needed a little perspective.

I'll pick say, the garage from this one... but then it doesn't have the big basement that the one two streets over has. I'll be wowed by the cook's kitchen in another, but the yard'll be too small for gardening. Dwell Magazine architecture is my style -- but it's impossible to find in my neighborhoods -- the closest I can hope for is Arts and Crafts. The light might be exquisite in this one.... but that one has a shiny new EnergyStar washer and dryer.

It is the same damn thing with Boyfriends.  

This one has the height I need and the six-pack that goes with the marathon training, but ...comes with two kids. I should of course admit up front that I don't care much about six-packs (and he's certainly not getting that from me), it's just a nice view. But I think of that the same way I remember this office I used to have overlooking a lake --- you know what? After two weeks, I didn't even see it anymore.

This one's younger and hotter than I am (life back inside the Bubble), but ...Clingy. (Get off my leg already pal.... or at least outta my car.)  

This one's tall, cute, and never-married/no-kids, but is... kind of a dick -- he did take out my trash one night last week, but he purposely put the Recycles in the Herbie, not the Rosie (if you can imagine). I mean, I am admittedly not the most devoted environmentalist (everyone's seen what I drive), but that's just the kind of thing I'd expect from a trust-fund baby like him. Picture a lot of stories about the family "compound" (not making that up), then picture the literal physical exertion it took for me not to roll my eyes every time that word came up. I suspect he's a fear-biter.

Still another one started out an adorable charmer who came with a soon-to-be-ExThis and soon-to-be-ExThat, both of whom turned out to be neither. I never judge anybody on baggage (fully equipped with a semi-load of my own) -- and this particular freight wasn't even bothering me as long as I knew what was up (so to speak) with whom and when -- til it was explained to me that the three of them will probably be very happy together till Death Do 'Em Part, at the earliest. There was no room at that Inn for me. Word on the street was a fourth was on the way in (I'm a little afraid of crowds! And I stopped watching Big Love when they added the Russian-waitress-bride.)

But the One who looks best on paper -- the definitive Upper East Side of Men -- is a guy who has been, for me, like finding your dream house... and then finding out it sits on a haunted burial ground, or a volcano that's due to blow at any moment, or that... there's no closet space.

However eco-unfriendly I might be, I am a devoted Recycler of Boyfriends, and this one passed everyone's muster years back. (I didn't have a choice about whether or not to integrate him into the social circle -- he knew, and does know, most of the same people I do, and has for several years. To be honest, they prefer him to me. And to be honest, if you knew him, you could hardly blame them.)

While he's still young enough to be up for a ... spirited game of Ring-Toss twice a day, every day (my minimum requirement), he has many (arguably less important) virtues too. He's kind, for example. He's a deeply, deeply good person. (He happens to be Nice, not that I care.) He is the guy who stands off to the side at parties and makes friends with the grandmothers and the pregnant ladies. Which is all the more surprising given that he is irresponsibly tall, and good-looking in a way that would make Jon Hamm blush with schoolgirlish envy. His southern manners extend not just to opening doors and pulling out chairs and gathering coats but to navigating the internecine mores of imperceptible tipping and lighting of cigarettes. He's like fuckin' James Bond with an Ashley Wilkes accent. OK, ok, so he can't cook, but no one who looks like he does will ever have to go hungry. He went to a much better college and post-grad than I did -- and worked his way through every minute of it. No trust fund (mercifully), he just slaved away so long and hard that he accidentally wound up so successful he never has to work another day in his life.

But despite all that, what he is NOT, is smart. And not in a "can't define irony" or "loses his car at the mall" kind of way -- it's just a profound absence of any critical thinking. Whatever was told to him last is what is correct. I haven't seen him marinate anything in Gatorade, but I have watched him eat riblets for dinner. He reminds me of my first Beagle. He reads dumb books and listens to dumb music -- as do we all from time to time, but this isn't his Guilty Pleasure, it's his way of life. If I listed them (to give you an idea of how awful they are), he might recognize himself (but that would presume he could get to a computer and find an ON switch). If none of this sounds like a dealbreaker to you, it's only because you haven't woken up to find a copy of "The Secret" on the opposite nightstand.

What I am thinking is that maybe the Ideal way to handle boyfriends is the same way we all want to handle real estate in a perfect world --- find a promising property that has most of what you want ... then get yourself a Piece on the Side (perhaps a nice unassuming Mensa member who doesn't think Rufino Tamayo is a hot sauce... who wouldn't mind talking a little David Sedaris and listening to a little Lucinda Williams in the backseat every-first-Wednesday when you're supposedly off at Book Club?) Isn't that why rich folks have cabins and cottages and vacation homes? (What? You mean it isn't?)

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. We thought our house was perfect when we bought it...and in a sweet little darling way it is. The first night here, Michael came bounding down the stairs in full voice, proclaiming : "I was BORN to live here.!" No wayer pressure, no advetized downstaits air conditioning, broken 90 year old sewer pipes, which lead me to think, you should be able to "try on " a new house for a few weeks before buying it...just to make sure the "pipes work".