I Might Just be a Spoiled Brat

Or maybe I have an integrity that refuses compromise.

Let me start by saying, that I believe my work ethic is tied to my belief in working for a cause or a vision. I have this tendency to not do things just because someone asked me to – I have to strongly believe in either the purpose of the task or the person who’s assigned it. When I can find neither foothold of belief, it’s like this innate stubbornness just kicks in, and I can’t bring myself to do whatever it was I’ve been asked to do.

Let me give a proper example here. Not too long ago I volunteered at this organization whose vision and mission I think are pretty cool – they are in alignment with some my own beliefs and convictions and I figured it would be a good avenue to exercise my passions. However, as time went on, my excitement for the position I had taken failed to build up – if anything, it dwindled considerably. For this reason, I could not motivate myself to accomplish in a timely manner even the littlest tasks I was assigned. Coupled with the fact that I had a lot going on mentally, I could not bring myself to focus on the little jobs I was given. Because without a vision which I could see, those jobs just became banal unrewarding tasks – and as far as I was concerned, I might as well be reading a book or visiting friends!

I have been told by someone with whom I had just had a disagreement, that he admired my integrity. At the time, I wasn’t sure if to take that as a compliment, or just a politically correct way of saying “stubbornly strong-willed.” I have now come to accept it as a deep compliment that says a lot about my character. But I still sometimes feel like I need to explain myself.

There are a lot of debates in this world that I know for sure to which side I lean, although I remain somewhat flexible pending a greater understanding of those matters. There are even more issues/debates upon which I have not yet decided which way to lean. So, when I arrive at certain convictions after broad considerations, I am usually very sure of myself, and it would take a paradigm-shifting experience – or maybe even more – for me to change my mind on those things.*

For someone who hates confrontations, and would do whatever it takes to avoid a heated debate (unless, of course, I was sure I would win), sticking to my convictions and remaining agreeable at the same time can be a bit challenging. So, over the course of my life, I have mastered the art of silent stubbornness, whereby I will refuse to argue with you, or say much on whatever is our subject of disagreement. Meanwhile, I will still go ahead and do whatever it was I intended to do in the first place.

I remember, back in secondary school (SS2/11th grade) we had this Food and Nutrition Practical exams, where we were each assigned a partner with whom we were supposed to plan a three-course meal for either a hypertensive or a diabetic person. Now, I went into the brainstorming session with some pretty good ideas for dishes we could make, and a long list of options which I was very willing to tweak according to my partner’s preferences. But, when I met with her, she had already decided on exactly what she wanted to make, and I thought some of them were horrible choices, so I let her know very nicely we should consider changing them.

My partner was one of those very vocal girls, who on one hand could be nice, but who also had physically beaten quite a few people (mostly male) in school to earn herself a nice little reputation. So I wasn’t about to start arguing with her for fear of encouraging a physical or maybe even just verbal confrontation. I figured, at the end of the day, she would still need my money and my approval to buy any ingredients. So, while she vehemently declared her faith in her menu, I quietly sat down and planned a menu I felt would make us both happy.

It was during this episode that one of my friends first told me that I was “very stubborn o! But in a quiet way.” At first, I felt scandalized that she would call me – of all people – “stubborn,” because I considered myself nothing if not pliable. I didn’t have a lot of strong opinions back then. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how right she was! Any other non-stubborn person would probably just agree with my intimidating partner – after all it was just for a grade, and she may end up doing most of the work anyway – but not me. Let me just say, I was probably happy with what we ended up making, because if I wasn’t I would still remember how that episode ended, probably with some bitterness.

My discovery of this trait in my person was not a recent one, however I lately recalled that experience back in secondary school because of some recent happenings. A couple months ago, I took up another volunteer job, where I could not only see the vision, but could make it mine – and guess what else? I’m in charge of this new project…well, for the most part, which means that I’m not just performing empty tasks without a greater understanding of their purpose.

My reaction to this position in terms of my work ethic has been nothing like how I was with the one I took up last year. Since most people won’t understand what difference between the two positions make me work harder at one than the other, it just seems as if I like one better solely because I’m in charge. While this is partly true, it does make me feel like I might just be a whining brat who just wants her own way – and I felt the need to explain myself a little.

I have even more recently discovered that I am not as motivated by money as some other people are – it sure took me a while to arrive at that. I mean, I studied English in the University – that’s not a course aspiring billionaires would willingly choose!

So, it’s not about money, being in charge, or getting my own way – it’s about working towards a set meaningful vision, preferably based on a personal conviction.

* This may just have something to do with my personality, I’m not sure. I recently took a very detailed personality test that happened to be eerily accurate, so I’ve been trying to find ways I fit into the description and ways I don’t.
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Ngozi Adichie – My Public Personal Person

It’s like when you find out the private spot you discovered on the beach, which you’ve been showing to only those people who might appreciate it, has now been discovered by the whole town. On one hand, you’re glad more people can now enjoy what you’ve known to be pretty great, but on the other hand you fear a certain level of abuse.

Read my post on celebrity worship, HERE, and get a better sense of what I mean. This is why I’m not particularly thrilled with the level of popularity one of my favorite writers has recently achieved – not just by her own doing of course (she was featured in a Beyoncé song). I am happy that she has gotten so much exposure that she could do more with her career and reach way more people than before. The cool professors at Universities now read her works in classes and seminars, and I am really thrilled about that part of her popularity. I have been a big fan of hers from the very beginning – back when she published a play in Nigeria which she recently said she hopes no one ever finds or reads! I hope to work with her someday, so she’s not my problem here, at all!

However, at the same time, I realize that most of the people who “absolutely adore” her, have no idea what her literature is like – they don’t like her for her work, or her intellect. They like the image of her as the poster-child for the cool, educated, strong, Nigerian woman who has made a name for herself in America of all places! A big enough name to make it into a Beyoncé song! Can you believe it?! It’s like her name (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) has become a symbol for something other than her self, or even something other than the artist.

A smart Nigerian woman on her way to becoming a household name in America sounds like quite the achievement for her – except it may not be. The person behind that image cannot claim that success as a personal achievement any more than a raffle winner could claim his win is as a result of his incredible talent. Because at the end of the day, it’s the image that people worship, not the person.

I guess you could say I feel a bit protective of her, because I know if care is not taken, then it’s only a matter of time until people get over her brilliance (which most people would have never discovered the depth of since they won’t read her books) and start attacking every little “flaw” and “non-flaw.”

And yes, this is a rant, and I’m proud of it!

What is Idolatry?

I remember when I was younger and we would read the list of sins we should definitely stay away from, or maybe even the Ten Commandments. I’d think to myself something along the lines of, “I’m not sure what “covet” means…lying and stealing would be a little difficult to stop, but murder and Idolatry – God Forbid! I would never do that!” Because I could not picture myself killing anyone or building an actual graven image and worshipping that! Who does that?* However, I’ve long since come to discover that worshipping Idols isn’t just a thing of the biblical times.

Most people partake in a different kind of idolatry, in the form of celebrity worship, whereby devoted fanatics worship the image of a public figure personified in the human body of an actual person, who has come to fame one way or another.

They build pedestals or altars and set these celebrities on top of it; worship the idea and image of the person; set up shrines; pay tributes; make sacrifices and offerings; build up expectations based on the image, not the person; attack everything about the “person” that doesn’t match up with the unreasonable expectations; then when a new, better god/goddess comes along, they go ahead and tear down that pedestal (altar) brick-by-brick as they build a different one around the new god/goddess, not even giving a second thought to the emotions and life of the actual persons behind these images. *Ahem* Hathaway à Lawrence à// Nyiong’o *Ahem* Bieber.

The celebrity almost never has much of a say in this procedure – it just happens to most of them. The only thing they can decide are tactics to keep the fame, and stop it from transforming into infamy. Thanks to the wonderful media network, fame has become like a wave, which picks up whomever it wishes, and as that lucky/unlucky person you could either ride it out – reveling in the sensation of being up-lifted by a whole nation – or crash into it.

The latest of these images being worshipped is that of a certain Kenyan-Mexican whose name is Lupita Nyiong’o. While I can’t go as far as saying that I love her – I hardly know her, and I never saw her work, including the Oscar movie – I do appreciate the fact that she’s brought a different kind of beauty into the Hollywood Glamour canon. (I try to avoid incredibly sad true-life movies because I get emotional enough with the fictional stuff. Did someone say, “For Colored Girls”?)

However, I also see that it is the image of this dark-skinned African that is being worshipped, and celebrated. Do I think that her fame will give way for more similarly dark-skinned women in Hollywood? – Not really. You see, if more dark-skinned girls made it into Hollywood, that image would lose its novelty – then what would be the point of celebrating it and her, right? As callous as that may sound, that’s just the way image-worshippers would think. Her image is famous for its novelty, because most people only talk about how much they love her gorgeous dark skin, which has become a sort of fetish. I don’t know much about Alek Wek’s fame, but I get the feeling the beginning of her fame was much like Nyiong’o’s. I also realize that they look nothing alike, although some people have sworn that they do. Anyway…I digress.

My point is, Idolatry is still very much prevalent, and not just as a metaphor! So, where do we draw the line of admiration?

*Just Kidding, I know a lot of religions have images and sculptures they kind of worship in one form or the other

The Hypocrisy of Tolerance

“What price tolerance if the intolerant are not tolerated also?” – Salman Rushdie

These days there are a lot of movements for tolerance in the society. And sometimes I feel that people get carried away and lose the real essence/basis of their activism. Right now, I will use gay rights activist to illustrate what I mean – just because it’s one of the biggest causes in U.S. at the moment. The idea is for those beliefs and convictions to be accepted by the society. Yet, majority of the activists are always ready and eager to bully into silence and passivity anyone who has contradictory beliefs and convictions.

These days, one fears that if one speaks against lgbtq rights in any way at all, one may be lynched by a mob drunk with indignation. Yet we are encouraged to speak out for the lgbtq community – no, not even “encouraged,” because “harassed” is a better suited word for what sometimes happens.

If you doubt me at all, think about it from the point of view of a celebrity who depends on an image and popularity for a living. No celebrity who wants to stay loved and popular (not infamous or defamed or obscured) would ever confess to having beliefs that do not completely support that community. And if they dare speak out on those convictions, they would immediately be bad-mouthed, hated, bullied, and pressured by about 70 percent of America.

One thing I will say to any activist of any kind is this: even as you fight for this to be accepted, and for that to be accepted, just reexamine yourself and your reasons. When you claim to fight for tolerance, make sure you’re not fighting for your own beliefs to be the supreme one, which ultimately replaces whatever is, was, or could have been. Don’t make it seem like you’re fighting for tolerance, when what you really want is dominance.

GIRLS SHOULD “ASPIRE” TO MARRIAGE?!

It may seem like an outdated notion that is no longer prevalent – especially with all these pesky feminists that never seem to shut up about it* – but unfortunately, that’s not so. It might seem like this happens mainly among some ethnic (Non-European-American) circles, nonetheless, it is something that bothers me tremendously as a girl. Period.

I may not know exactly how to put it into words, but I’ll try a number of illustrations and maybe you will understand what I mean. For instance, there is this unfortunate running joke about how when a Nigerian girl graduates from university her parents throw her a graduation party, which they then hope would turn into an engagement party also.

As a girl (especially one from an African household with an involved mother), you’re taught from a very young age how to keep a home and keep yourself, and prepare yourself for what will definitely come in the future – marriage to a husband whom you’ll have to keep appeased and interested. Now, it’s all fine and dandy to learn these home keeping skills, so I am not about to go on a feminist rant about it – relax.

But, what does bother me is when you sense that some people (some parents, as well as girls sometimes) see marriage as the end all be all, the ultimate life accomplishment, the reward of being a good and Godly girl, the supreme aspiration, and the happy ending every accomplished girl should have.

Now, I’ll step away from Africans for a bit and widen the scope here. Think about how many Rom-coms and animated movies you’ve seen where the main female character (or maybe even her pathetic side-kick) was rewarded with a “nice” husband in the end. This idea is pounded into our heads over and over, and subconsciously, most people begin to feel that it’s just the way it has to be.

For instance, the recent Disney movie Frozen, ended with the older sister regaining control over her magnificent powers, and her Kingdom as well. Yet, a lot of people have expressed some discontent, and hope that there will be a second movie where she gets a husband and with that, her “happily-ever-after.” Because, regaining an understanding and manageable relationship with her sister, her kingdom, her powers, and her pet snow man, apparently is not accomplishment enough, or a good enough reason to be happy.

So, let’s reconsider – yes, this notion is prevalent, what it is not is relevant. It sometimes makes girls and young women feel like rapidly wilting flowers that have only just bloomed: So, if you don’t get married within this five-to-six-year gap, you’re either a child bride, or an old maid!

I know I may sound cynical at this point, so let me just set something straight. Of course, I do hope to get married down the line, but it is NOT my ultimate ambition, nor should it be! I have hopes and big dreams that I feel should be encouraged and supported just as much as if I were not a woman – and these aspirations shouldn’t always be planned around or limited by the expectation to be married at a certain time (which is something I find happens a lot).

I know quite a few brilliant women who have given up, or put their careers on hold indefinitely just to make that marriage deadline, and it kinda hurts to watch. It is especially painful when the husbands of aforementioned women are then encouraged and supported to go on and have long-lasting careers (sometimes not even as brilliant as she would have had -_-).

What really troubles me – and perhaps encourages this idea – is when a married woman is accorded more respect and reverence than her equally accomplished (except for marriage, I suppose) unmarried peers. As an active member of an African and Christian circle of friends, I have seen this happen a lot more than I would like to admit – it should not be happening at all in my opinion!

Yes, to be married is something to be desired (if it is a happy one), but it should not be something you pine over and plan every minute of your present and future life around – unless of course you’re already married, then you should definitely give it your all!

But, for those of us young ‘uns who are not “hitched”, just remember this – Marriage is a gift, not a reward. It’s a gift from God to find and stay with someone who He’s destined for you to be with.

*I do consider myself a feminist, and this sentence was intended to have a wry sarcasm – just FYI, before anyone says anything harsh.

Self-aware Awkwardness: Cute or Nah?

In a previous post I talked about small talk, and the problems that arise when you’re forced to engage. I fancy myself a kind of expert when it comes to these, partly because I feel like I have participated in so many such exchanges. I like to think that I can now navigate these conversations in such a way that the other person either doesn’t feel the full awkwardness of the exchange, or we get a good laugh out of it somehow.

I think the key to my “success” (I don’t think you can really call it that, but I choose to anyway) is being aware of the conversation’s inelegance, and finding my way around it. When I do have to make small talk – because it is inescapable sometimes – I go into it with this understanding; If you have this kind of conversation in a social environment where you can admit it for what it is (an awkward exchange), and you’re able to laugh at yourself, then it takes a bit of the simulated edge off the conversation. Acknowledging awkwardness sometimes introduces an element of authenticity that is often lacking in most obligatory and/or unrewarding small talk.

If you’re a bumbling idiot, and you know it, and can laugh at yourself, then hurray! Because that could actually be adorable to an extent – it’s endearing, and also connotes a sense of sincerity. However, if you’re a bumbling idiot and are completely oblivious to the fact, or continually/consistently deny or ignore it, then that’s just tragic. Because, trust me, if you can’t laugh at yourself, others will do it for you.

I must say that in my experience, self-aware awkwardness can be overdone! Too many times, I’ve heard people START conversations with “OMG, I’m so awkward, sorry!” and it often leads to me wondering if their private thoughts were responsible for this otherwise incongruent outburst.

It’s definitely not a good idea to let yourself be known as that one person who always claims to be weird and awkward, because you might just speak that reputation into existence. I have a friend who apologizes for her “awkwardness” after almost every sentence, and sometimes even before she starts a statement. A typical conversation started by her would begin with something like, “I’m sorry, this is gonna be so awkward, but what do you think about so and so?”

As someone who is introverted, or shy, or just handicapped when it comes to impromptu social exchanges with non-friends, it really just comes down to being aware of your environment. If there is no indication that other people sense the awkwardness, or that pointing it out will help the air, then you’re most likely better off not doing so.

This is probably a good time for me to say that I still stand by my belief that silence can be better sometimes. How ‘bout you save yourself from the stress on occasion?

THE CIVILIZATION THAT IS AMERICA

Everything that has a beginning must surely have an end – that much is true. Every civilization always manages to reach its peak, and then go through its demise. I don’t mean to be some kind of messenger of doom, but unfortunately that is the way it has been and if we’ve learned anything as human beings, it should be that history tends to repeat itself.

Here is an analogy that unfortunately applies to America, the country: It’s like you’re building this skyscraper of laws, values, and civilization, and you happen to start out with a pretty solid foundation (not perfect by any means, but strong enough to hold its own for a while). However, somewhere along the line, as you build higher and higher and add more and more floors, you realize you want to please everyone, and you want everyone to be able to do what they think is right in their own eyes. All of a sudden, certain aspects of the foundation are now oppressive, or archaic, and no longer convenient, so you decide to pluck out those parts. And the higher you build, the more of the foundation you take out. Now, you don’t have to be an engineer to guess what will happen to that skyscraper next.

Civilizations rise through painstaking diligence, hard work, and sacrifices, and yet they fall for often relatively simple reasons. Why is that? They forget about the fundamentals, and begin to base everything and every decision on secondary matters and values. They get carried away with superficially pleasing everyone and everything, and begin to over-define their core values until they no longer hold any true meanings.

Take Rome for instance. Rome rose in greatness and might, and the empire claimed a large portion of the earth. But, the fall of Rome is something that still confounds a lot of scholars. One popular statement that does have a ring of truth to it, is that Rome fell because of their preoccupation with bread and circuses (panem et circenses). This just means that they became more concerned with trivial matters, so that it seemed like as long as they were fed and entertained, they didn’t care much or do much about the actual strength of the empire. Is this not what is kinda happening in America today? Before you say “no”, just take a moment to really think about it. Yes, it’s not about “bread and circuses” per se, but it’s about very analogous, and similarly inconsequential obsessions.

Also think about what happened to the people of Israel in the book of Judges – each man did as he saw fit in his eyes, and that only led to the disintegration of the nation of Israel. Unfortunately, we have reached that point in this nation. We have reached a point where people can comfortably say things like, “my truth is my truth, and your truth is yours” or “just do what feels right,” and so on. If you happen to read the book of Judges from beginning to end, you will see that at the end of almost every chapter it says “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” And if you know anything about the nation of Israel at that time, you will understand that this was NOT a good thing. It was not the ultimate victory in a fight for individuality and self-expression, it was just a clear pathway to destruction.

So, what am I really saying? I’m not saying there is no hope and that everyone and everything is just going to destruction. No. I’m just saying that we need to be conscious of what’s happening. We need to be conscious of the fact that America has ceased to be, or will soon cease to be THE world power. We need to be cognizant of the fact that this civilization has peaked, and we need to think of ways to make sure that its demise is not catastrophic. And Christians in this nation need to reconsider what the Bible says in Jude 22-23, because guess what? The fire has been lit.

Small Talk is The Devil

If I ask someone about their day, and what’s going on in their life, I want to do it because I care, not because I’m trying to avoid awkwardness. But somehow, you sometimes feel the pressure emanating from your surroundings when you call that friend or acquaintance, who maybe you haven’t spoken to in a while, and you feel like you have to find other things to talk about first before delving into the real reason you contacted them. Or, say you just met someone, and no non-lame conversation starters occur to you – you have nothing concrete to say or ask – so you try to talk about the weather, or the local American football team (How ‘bout them Ravens?), or your college major, or some other banal subject.

Even though this seems a bit preposterous in my head, I do realize that this “small talk” phenomenon is the main basis for the idea of “networking” – a word I have come to dislike very much (you might say I’m biased because I’m not very good at it, or I hate doing it, and you might be right). The idea, from where I’m sitting, is to meet people who you intend to use as connections (resources) as a result of a position they hold and/or what they could do for you. Then, you’re supposed to cultivate an ersatz friendship with these people by connecting with them somehow.

Now, to properly connect, you need to have done your homework (because chances are, you’re not an extroverted social butterfly), which sometimes means research, preparing your mind for often mindless conversation, making yourself seem like you’re interested in something they are or might be fond of, or desperately grappling for a common interest.

I wish we could get to a point where we didn’t feel the pressure to simulate rapport, and conversation could just flow naturally where and when it’s meant to. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t make the effort to connect with others, I’m just saying that when you do connect, let it be for the right reasons – like a genuine interest – not just because you need to make a connection.

It seems logical that if you can’t think of anything about a person that you actually wouldn’t mind hearing about, then you’re better off not asking lame questions sometimes. In my experience, real friendships rarely ever form from those conversations, because they often result in either one of two things. You could be trapped in a conversation where there’s one talkative and one rude inattentive listener – which can be very unpleasant no matter what side you’re on – or you could end up with an awkward and unrewarding monosyllabic exchange.

Too many times, I’ve been called back from very important trains of thought because I stopped talking and had my face scrunched up in deep reflection. It’s sort of goes like this, “oh, you haven’t said a word in five minutes, did someone die?!”  I’m not saying that I don’t  appreciate the concern, and I really wouldn’t want people to stop doing this because I actually do get carried away, but it just goes to prove my point. Silence in a social gathering isn’t always welcome, and is often perceived as a signal to worry that there’s trouble.

The way I see it, an “awkward silence” is only awkward if you feel it is – if you don’t sense any pressure, it’s just plain old silence, which can be very soothing and comfortable for reflection. Why can’t we just sit in silence sometimes, and live in our own thoughts sometimes? If there is nothing immediate to communicate or share, it’s okay to just be quiet sometimes.

Oh! So you are NOT a Quirky Maverick?!

Have you noticed how, these days saying someone is weird is practically a compliment? I think that we have reached a time where most young people feel they have to be different from what they understand to be the acceptable social norm. Now, I’m not even going to delve into how people’s understanding of the social norm often grossly varies from the reality. But, I have been trying to understand why it is that when most people set out to be “unique” and “different,” they mostly strive for the same brand of uniqueness – usually the particular brand that society has come to love and fight for its acceptance.

These days, in America at least, we young ‘uns are being encouraged – even hounded – to be different, to be unique, to be quirky, to be the maverick, to embrace the weirdness, and let your freak flag fly! Because, apparently, you have the right to be whatever/whomever you want to be…but if that thing or person is not weird enough or quirky enough…hmm? Well, it should be! Right?

“Don’t let society put YOU in a box,” they say. Meanwhile, society has sort of created a box for those ones who say they don’t want to be in a box, and most of our “aspiring” mavericks are running right into it to be catalogued.

Now, there are people who are truly quirky and eccentric, and people who are truly rebellious in nature – who can’t sit still, have to challenge authority and accepted social conventions because it’s in every fiber of their being. And you would think that at a time like this, life would be very easy for these ones, and they will be wholly accepted, but that isn’t always the case. Here is why: these truly eccentric ones are usually the ones whose way of life, or dressing for instance is strange and different but not necessarily cool. They are the ones who people don’t necessarily want to emulate.

Allow me to illustrate: towards the end my time in college, I met this guy, who would truly qualify as strange in your book if you saw him, I guarantee it. Before that, I had seen him around campus quite a few times, and he always managed to pass on the sense that there was something nonconformist about him, but it wasn’t always the flattering kind. I mean, he would walk around bare-foot and on his tip toes, his clothes were far from what would be considered normal, even his backpack seemed to have been made out of a sack (like the kind in which big bags of rice are sold, but smaller). I eventually got to meet and have a conversation with this guy, and he happened to be very sweet and sincere, and you could tell that he was just BEing. He wasn’t going out of his way to be different, he ate, and lived, and walked, and dressed, and was the way he was – it wasn’t forced.

So, maybe we should all just be who we truly are. A lot of times, when this message is preached, it pressures people whose weirdness isn’t as apparent to feel like they are too controlled, or too conservative, or… (dun! dun!! dun!!!) MAINSTREAM – a word that has come to be derogatory.

So, you’re not all that quirky like that guy on campus. So, weird and rebellious isn’t necessarily your thing. So, you love vanilla and plain khakis. So, you don’t particularly like dressing in what counts as weird clothing, and wouldn’t try something outrageous if you didn’t think it would make you look and feel cooler. So, what? Simply be yourself!

You see, when someone tries so hard to be unique and different – if it doesn’t come naturally – she or he just ends up becoming a caricature of who they want to be, morphed with who they really are, if at all the latter part manages to shine through.

I mean, at this rate, we may get to a point where what was conventional a few years ago and what is considered conventional now, will become the new avant-garde. So, be patient. If you’ve read up to this point, let me know what you think – Am I right, or am I right?

The Perfect Myth

Not too long ago, I was talking to a very good longtime friend, who I’ll call Sally for the purposes of this blog. Now Sally was very concerned that I hadn’t been going out with a lot of guys, because how else was I supposed to find that perfect man? Although there was an intended hint of comedy in her concern, Sally’s eager push for me to “get out there” and find the perfect guy did make me wonder about how often I hear things like that, and come across sentiments that ascribe to this belief in the existence of such men.

It’s in the memes and the pop culture jokes – this concept of finding or waiting for the perfect man. Just google “waiting for the perfect man” and see the images that come up. As much as we make fun of the idea of waiting on someone who will be practically flawless in our eyes, some people are yet to abandon this concept – maybe only subconsciously.

You see, people MAKE LISTS! I’ve seen a lot more people than I’d like to admit do this: they imagine what they would want their future spouse to be – his likes and dislikes, his personality type, his beliefs, his socio-economic status, his temperament, his body build, blah, blah, blah. I mean it’s so serious a lot of dating sites are based on these lists of expectations, which supposedly helps make a perfect spouse. They may not always be physical written-down lists – not everyone gets that meticulous – but the effects are very similar because once it’s done, expectations start running high, and the likelihood of meeting someone that would feel right drops even lower. I’ve met people that have unwittingly revealed their plans of being married to some guy whose personality, opinions, income, and body type they have already designed and approved in their hearts.

Now, I’m not saying people should not have standards – by all means, please do! For instance, if you’re a true Christian, then you better make sure you don’t end up with someone who isn’t: if only to save yourself all the fundamental disagreements, the fights, and the years of unsuccessfully trying to convert someone…and so on.

In my understanding, the ideal is not to expect to find someone who meets all the superfluous criteria and is perfect as in completely flawless, instead it is to find and be willing to stick with someone who is right, as in perfectly flawed for you – highly compatible.

Or maybe we need to use a different definition of the word “perfect” which would be “complete or absolute.” So next time you think about the perfect person, don’t think of it as someone who is either flawless, or a person whose flaws you will never notice (because such a person DOES NOT EXIST), but think of it as a someone whose flaws you would absolutely be willing to live with because you care for that person more than you abhor their shortcomings. Believe me, everyone is flawed, and there is no perfect person out there – of that much I’m certain – and as much as a lot of people claim to know this, not as many people as you would expect actually truly believe it.

So next time your own Sally confronts you about finding the perfect spouse, consider introducing the idea of a perfectly flawed spouse instead.