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“Perfect” Men on San Diego Scene

9 · Jun · 2004

A couple of months ago San Diego was named the third top “dating city” in the country. Having been freed from a remarkable, albeit confusing affair in the recent past, I was relieved to hear such a report. I’ve also been noticing lately I have noticed lately that in the places I go in this city single men outnumber women.

With so many “fish in the sea” I can only guess that the fact that I had not met a wonderful single man yet has got to be my own fault for not getting out there and chatting up this vast pool of potential suitors. So, on a Saturday night when I had already been laying in bed for two hours and every inch of my body was begging for sleep, I forced myself out the door, bed head and all, to meet my friends Lane and Nicole for a night out on the town in Pacific Beach.

We arrived at party number one a little too late into the festivities. I managed one glass of wine and three dull conversations with men who were too high, too young or standing too close to their girlfriend until we moved on to a cocktail bar down the street. There, I had the pleasure of trying not to be depressed by a giggling display of Lane and Nicole’s blatant adoration of each other. But just as I was making a mental list of all the reasons to become a cradle robbing drug addict, a glass shattered in the center of the bar and brought my attention to four handsome bachelors about five feet away.

Each one returned my gaze and I felt my luck begin to change. Within minutes I was pulled into this friendly group of men. As they heckled the movie JAWS that played on the bar TV and someone bought me another beer, I took inventory of my evenings catch.

The glass dropper, Chris who was the only San Diego native, barely spoke at all and was the first to slip away citing a bad case of sobriety. Joe, the tall, sensual VP of Sales from Texas was the most talkative. I felt like I had run into an old friend. He had just enough rib poking jokes, mid-south charm and insight into my psyche to make me nearly hate him for already being engaged to some other unsuspecting woman. If my previous relationships are any indication of my physical preference in a man Rick was the obvious attraction. His sleek shaved head, tone body and tattooed arms caught my attention while his sideways wit and come-hither honesty both intrigued and frightened me. And then there was Mark; another engaged gent with easygoing humor, and a warm conversational nature that played out like melted chocolate on my bruised heart. He looked rather inviting with his vintage t-shirt and sleepy smile.

As our evening progressed, I shamefully admit, I spoiled myself in the attention of my company. I felt like a ten year old unleashed in Disneyland. At every turn there was a compliment to give or receive, a funny story to hear or sarcastic lines to be thrown. All while reeling with the intoxicating allure of being the center of attention. We moved from one bar to the next and ended the evening at Mark’s apartment playing a very successful game of classic Truth or Dare. Everyone was good-natured; nobody cried; a candle was lit.

It was only the next morning at 8 am that I felt the full affect of my indulgence. I woke with the feeling of having eaten too much cake and stayed up way past my bedtime. For the better part of my day when I should have been recovering I was analyzing my embarrassment for being swept away by three strangers. Every rule, nearly every brick of my protective wall had crumbled in one evening. Was I so shallow? Was the beer that good?

As I sorted through my feelings for the three bachelors it occurred to me that something extraordinary had happened that night. I had spent an evening with the Perfect Man. And my modern Perfect Man had many names.

Rick had just the right tough guy image. I always say I want a man who looks like he can kick someone’s ass but is really a softie. Mark appealed to my desire for a man to lie in bed with on Sundays reading the New York Times. Joe was the kind of guy who would keep me on my toes, knowing me nearly as well as I know myself. And even Chris brought an odd sort of integrity to the mix by not being a drinker and leaving early. Each man was handsome and all were extremely funny, definite basic ingredients to catch and hold my attention.

Relieved that a portion of my weakness could be excused as circumstantial, on Sunday night I was able to relax at the beach house of a new girlfriend in Oceanside. Five of us ladies painstakingly grilled ranch-sized steaks, drank orange dreamsicles and watched the DVD Under The Tuscan Sun while cozied tight in blankets on the living room carpet. When the credits rolled and I surveyed the room of bleary-eyed, diverse, single women, I couldn’t help but wonder how my four bachelors from the previous night would describe each one of us. More specifically, I wondered how incomplete these descriptions would be. In a society that is determined to place everything in it’s neat category, so much so that even “alternative” music has become a genre on store shelves, perhaps stereotyping has finally gone a bit too far among singles without us realizing it.

Several years back I came across a small comic strip that portrayed an attractive woman sitting on a bed in her slip. She fantasized about dressing up as a sexy and tough superwoman who would arouse and terrify men with her distribution of justice while wearing thigh high boots and a black cape. On the other hand, she thought, she was a pure, innocent sort of girl with a fondness for the simplicity of a nun habit. She was so wrought with compassion; perhaps she should spend her time arousing men to write large checks to private charities. The last frame of the comic showed her standing before her closet stating the real question that needed to be answered” What the hell should I wear?”

Women are complex creatures, yes. So are men. But only those who spend time getting to know men can testify to this. Just thinking back to our little game of Truth or Dare, I remember that each of my bachelors was full of surprises. (After all, it was Rick who called me up the next evening to tell me what a great time he had and that he’d like to take me out on a date sometime.) To quickly box each one up in the above mentioned stereotypes after one night might be a mistake. Any one of them could be “Perfect” for me if I’d given him the chance to shine alone, at the right time, sober. It seems to me that it’s just a matter of paying attention to them long enough to appreciate those complex details. How’s that for optimism?

Therefore, I have to say that if my four bachelors are any indication of what kind of fish are mingling in my part of the sea, San Diego is living up to it’s reputation of being a great city for dating. It’s should be celebrated as well, that at least two of my Saturday night bachelors intend to be “one-woman-men”. (Though one’s decision to settle now seems a bit hasty. But what do I know…I’m just the girl who listens to drunken confessions) I just hope that in future expeditions, I reveal a little more class by not presenting only the attention starved side of my personality. And I plan to spend more time getting to know each potential love instead of getting giddy over my habit of wrapping each one up in my restrictive categories. After all, my Perfect man is out there … somewhere… and he’s waiting for me to reveal Perfect Little Me.

For Mark, Joe, Rick and Chris: Cheers! (looking each right in the eyes)

Posted by Penny Rene at 03:09 PM