Rants & Essays
Just the Way You Are
By Robin Reif
I had a boyfriend once who couldn't dance. But knowing I
loved to, he would lead me onto dance floors and throw his body and arms
around. Watching this performance as he risked his dignity - and balance - for
me, I'd think, "Dear Lord, I love him."
Love lets us view imperfections as tolerable, if not
adorable. But it's a choice. We can bristle at quirks, or we can cherish them.
Why not cherish? A little ineptitude is a charming thing in a competent man. A
friend who married a hot-shot lawyer remembers, "On the first date, I learned
that he could ride out rough hours and stiff client demands. On the second, I
learned that what he couldn't ride was a bicycle. THAT'S when I decided to give
him a chance."
Endearing foibles are one key to a man's distinctiveness.
Case in point: A boyfriend - ordinarily dignified - showed up for a party in a
kilt and knee socks, announced that it was his family tartan. Glimpsing his
pale, skinny legs, I bit my tongue lest I utter something
But he said, "I wanted the chance to show off my elegant legs!" His whole
character seemed distilled in that gesture: in his willingness to see the good
in the less-than-perfect. I smiled for weeks after.
This is not to say that imperfections are always adorable.
If he's late again, you may not be charmed. The best prescription I know for
"curing" your irritation comes from writer Ellen Goodman, who learned it from
her Uncle Mike: Every morning look your own flaws in the face in the mirror and
say, "You're no bargain." You may soon realize that you're not a ten slumming
with a six but more like an evenly matched pair of sevens - a thought that will
help you accept and love him anyway.