“Among the knowledge that he possesses: pi to 11 digits, the names of the current communist countries, at least 28 past U.S. presidents—including the first six and last six, who Larry David, Kofi Annan, Steven Soderbergh, Donovan McNabb, and Warren Buffett are, the significance of the Magna Carta, three mythic allusions, working use of literary devices, what CFC stands for, where Darfur is, the difference between Bach and Chopin, and four Impressionist painters…He gets along with different types of people. He is able to converse with anyone from the homeless person on the corner to a Hungarian immigrant to Method Man to the CFO of an oil company sitting next to the head of the Sierra Club.”
The Perfect Man (from Craigslist’s “Missed Encounters”)
She’s thirty-six and her dream is to be a beautiful bride, a fairy-tale princess in a frothy pearly white frock. Or maybe cream. It all depended.
In her mind’s eye she can see how the photos would look framed on the mantelpiece in the lounge of the large detached Barratt mock-Tudor home: she would be smiling in soft-glow focus, perhaps on a tropical beach.
In this imagined photo, she is blonder but most importantly she is thinner. The bridegroom (whose personality is not important) would be called Luke or Jake, would perhaps be American (California), would have his own PR firm, designer stubble and a crumpled cream linen suit. He would take her for mini-breaks to New York and Paris, where he would propose.
You might think her fantasies and dreams were just lifted straight from Sex And The City or the chick-lit novels which litter her flat like large, pastel confetti lumps, but that’s how she actually thinks. When she wakes up in the morning (just before she switches on the television to catch twenty minutes of the morning chat-and-gossip show, where celebrities come in to the studio and sit on a big sofa and talk about their health problems to a glamorous-looking celebrity doctor and Agony Uncle) she actually thinks: OK! Today maybe I’ll meet The One.
Then she dresses carefully and applies her signature scent (the magazines say you have to create your personal brand so people can remember you. Otherwise you’re instantly forgettable).
She isn’t dating anyone right now, though.
She hasn’t dated anyone for six months.
She has high standards: after all, you have to respect yourself.
The last man she dated was too fat. He wore jeans and watched football on telly and didn’t work in PR. And he was called Kevin, not Jake or Luke or Josh. After four months, he hadn’t bought her a single piece of jewelry. So he had to go.
In moments of doubt she thinks: is there really someone for everyone, a The One, a knight in shining armour, a soulmate?
If there is a The One for everyone then what about those people who marry and get divorced and meet someone else? Do they have two The Ones? Is that fair? Has some greedy woman stolen my The One?
(Last week she bumped into an old school-friend Beth in Sainsbury’s. Beth had a new haircut and a new husband called Geoffrey. She said the new husband Geoffrey was The One for her. Beth had said that about her old husband Martin too but then Martin turned out to like horse-racing a bit too much and lost a lot of money and then Beth met this Geoffrey in the office and they went for a drink and that’s when she realised that he was The One. So Beth dumped her first The One (Martin) and when the divorce came through she married her second The One (Geoffrey). The first The One (Martin) was tall and blond and the second The One (Geoffrey) is tall and blond as well, so at least that’s consistent.)
How come Beth got to have two The Ones? And does that mean that someone else (i.e. her) might not have one The One at all?
But then she thinks, maybe one day she will just be walking down the street or shopping in Sainsbury’s or sitting in Starbucks sipping a skinny soya latte and she will look up and see him, The One will just walk in, walk into her life and sweep her off her feet and then (finally then) her life, her real life, will begin.