A critical milestone of maturity is the realization that perfection is not only unattainable, but unattractive. That’s not to say the inverse is true: Imperfections can be pretty ugly. But at least they are real, whereas perfection is always — always — an illusion. One could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, from time to time, but that’s just the way it is. No one or nothing is perfect. From your dream girl to the overpriced “flawless” diamond on her finger; magnify anything enough times over and you’ll find a recurrence of randomness and asymmetry that couldn’t possibly be confused with perfection. So you best give up lookin’… it’s not there and it never will be.
Hopefully, that’s a relief. In matters of love and affection, it’s pretty great. The process of uncovering those little frayed edges and discovering that, not only can you live with them, but you actually enjoy them… what could be more loving than that? And ironically, being with someone who too often appears perfect, or trying too hard to be perfect yourself, usually yields an unbalanced, doomed relationship. One person, the realistic one, will probably end up feeling bored or inferior, and leave. There’s just no fresh air to breathe around people that insist on perfection. There’s no room for error, which is a principle ingredient in spontaneity. Without that, everything fun has to be scripted… zzzzzz. So many great moments begin with “hold my beer” and a profoundly imperfect leap into the unknown. (A lot of ambulance rides begin that way too, but hey… that’s what they’re for.)
All that isn’t to say that the pursuit of perfection isn’t a noble calling. Just take it easy, and enjoy a vice or two along the way; preferably one that won’t destroy you (such as heroin) or one that is so lame and toothless that it could be mistaken for virtue (like a weakness for spinach salads). You’ll be strangely more likable, and, God forbid, life will be a little more fun.
© 2012, Ian Mathias