L.M. Montgomery (famed author of the “Anne” series) once wrote a short story titled “The Pursuit of the Ideal,” and basically it was about a guy who tells his best girl friend all about his ideal woman (nearly her opposite in every way) but when he meets her, he realizes that it was his good friend who was his ideal all along. Montgomery also wrote a similar plot line with Anne, who aspired to love a dark, melancholy and poetic man, but found that in the end, she preferred Gilbert, who was not melancholy or very poetic, but laughed at her jokes and appreciated her.
The moral obviously is that what we think we want is not always what is best for us, and I think we can see that in almost any area of life.
But what, I wonder, if our ideal is someone who were are friends with, someone with whom we can laugh with, among other things? What if our ideals are things we actually know would be good for us?
In my blog on Singleness, I mentioned I’ve been single for a long time, and I briefly listed some things I’d (ideally) like in a guy. Having been single so long has a dual effect on me regarding these “ideals”: one is that I feel entitled to at least the majority of them; the other response I have is despair that I will ever find anyone who even remotely matches up.
If I were to list for you the things that I would like in a guy—The Guy—the length and elaborateness would stagger and astound you. It is the result of mentally calculating all the things I ever noticed and liked about guys I have known (whether real or *ahem!* fictional) and things I have observed in relationships. And…probably stuff from sappy chick flicks, too. I know. Shame on me for being out of touch with reality.
And some of the stuff—for example, being able to play the guitar, having an accent of some kind, driving a motorcycle—isn’t really important at all. It’s just fluff. Although…the guitar thing…….no, okay, really, I’m fine. I’m back to reality now. Not important.
Some things are only relatively important, like having the same taste in literature or music or movies. I don’t expect any guy (or anyone, for that matter) to like everything that I like. But at the very least I’d like to think he wouldn’t bash it, to my face, if he knows I love it. It’s okay to disagree on things, to have differing opinions, certainly. Everyone has different tastes. I’m pretty opinionated myself at times. Most times. But for example, tonight a guy was saying some harsh stuff about my favorite band ever. Ouch. Right after I said they were my favorite band ever. Really ouch. Not scoring any points there. Not that he was trying to. But you get the point.
I have decided, however, that a few things really are important to me. Like, non-negotiable. I know, you’re thinking, he has to be a Christian, right? Yes. Of course. That’s a given. But more than that, I want him to be a deep, strong Christian. A Ransomed Heart Christian. The kind of guy who’s read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and has already gone on his journey with God to learn who he is as a man.
Why is that an Ideal? you may very well ask. Well, let me just say that Mr. Eldredge’s writings have been extremely meaningful and influential to me and my journey as a Christian, and as a woman. I will save further details for another blog at another time.
One thing I really liked about Wild at Heart (which I am currently re-reading) is that although the book was written primarily to give men permission to be men, in the process, it also gave me permission to be a woman. It told me that it was okay to want a strong guy who would fight for me. More than okay—it said it was good! No one had ever really said that before.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit in today’s culture of strong, feminist, “girl-power” women that I actually would like a guy to fight for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am capable of fighting for myself. But I don’t want to always have to. I like it when chicks kick butt (hello, Alias? Princess Leia?) but I also tend to really love the heroes in the story.
Think with me now: William Wallace (Braveheart), Aragorn, Spider-Man, Han Solo…these are men who fight for what they believe in, they fight to free and help people. And they also fight for the woman they love. And deep down, I think every woman longs to truly be fought for—not necessarily in the physical sense, punches being thrown and all that, but to know that she is worth the risk. That’s not an Ideal, that’s a part of being a woman.
I know, this all sounds rather silly and perhaps a bit juvenile. The fancies of a girl who’s lost touch with reality. Knights in shining armor and all that…who needs it today? Who even really believes it’s possible? Well, I don’t know how possible or probable it is for me…but for right now, all I have is my Ideal. It’ll Have to Do, as Dean Martin sang, Until the Real Thing Comes Along.