I pity young men. Take for instance a young friend of mine. He’s very sweet, about 23 and not a bad-looking kid. The other day, he gave me a disturbing insight about girls.
Apparently -- and I can’t confirm this, as I am neither single nor young -- guys aren’t supposed to ask girls out. When I asked my young friend why, his answer shocked me. Apparently, if a guy expresses an interest in a girl, either by flirting, complimenting, or generally "hitting on" her, the guy is branded a creep.
But only if he isn’t absolute physical perfection. Girls want to choose between Jacob and Edward when picking a mate (those of you familiar with the "Twilight" franchise will get the reference).
What a standard to live up to! Another friend of mine, only a little bit younger than me, has for years wanted to date Brad Pitt in the movie "Troy." She wants a man who’s hairless, with glistening muscles and perfect hair. Not even the real Brad Pitt looks like that, I’m sure.
A lot of time and energy is expended criticizing society for its expectations of female beauty. I’ve felt the pressure: I’m supposed to have Megan Fox’s breasts, Angelina Jolie’s lips, Sophia Vergara’s curves, and Jennifer Aniston’s arms.
But let’s take a minute and be fair to the men, who must also meet expectations.
The "perfect" guy must be masculine but wax off all his hair; sensitive but not a wuss; well-dressed and clean shaven but not too conceited; have plenty of money but spend all his time with you; sexual but not aggressive, tender but not wimpy; and all hobbies must be pre-approved, meaning no video games, sports or comic books.
I’m sorry ladies, but some of you aren’t looking for a man. You don’t want one ready-made right out of the package, because that one has flaws. The physical perfection you want doesn’t exist, so you want to create it. What you need is a basic template to build on, using certain characteristics that make the perfect man. And you don’t want to start with a "creep."
If I was a single guy today, I would be so confused and frustrated I’d dedicate my life to celibacy. A woman can be incredibly blind when a good man plops in front of her to compliment her pretty eyes. So what if he looks more like Steve Buscemi than Jake Gyllenhaal? The Steve Buscemis of the world probably treat their women better, too.
It’s not fair to turn down the "creeps." And it’s not fair to attempt to style them, or anyone, into better, updated versions. The perfect man cannot be created and no man wants to be molded clay.
Like you, he wants to be appreciated for who he is. He wants to be loved, despite his skinny arms, patchy chest hair and comic book addiction. So give the creeps a break, they’re just nice guys trying to take you to dinner.
After all, I’m sure you look nothing like Sophia Vergara and he still wants to date you.
JH Mae is a Banner columnist.