(NOTE: This essay was written for one of those Men’s POV columns for a famous Woman’s Magazine back in 1992.)
THE PERFECT WOMAN
an essay by Gorman Bechard
I had fallen in love. Head over heels, completely. Literally and figuratively, and every which way in between. And what man could ask for more? She was blonde - long with just a touch of natural curls - shapely, five foot four inches tall in her silk stocking feet, and beautiful, full lipped with dimples - how I love dimples - and marvelous green eyes, the deepest, most penetrating green eyes. My love was intelligent. At times she seemed to possess the secrets of the universe, the secrets of my soul, the secrets that made me laugh, that turned me on, like no one else before, no one ever again. She was dignified but goofy, motherly but perverse, and she was only eighteen.
Her name? Ilona Ann Coggswater. Her occupation? Being the Daughter of God, Jesus Christ's kid sister, humankind's savior -a fictional character. The lead character from my first book, The Second Greatest Story Ever Told. And though she wasn't real, though I couldn't really take her out for a night on the town, wine her and dine her and make mad passionate love with her, it didn't stop me during a twelve month period - one year of writing and rewriting - from falling, and falling fast. What the hell, I figured, no relationship is perfect.
It made sense to me - for what that was worth - but wrecked havoc on myreality-based dating life. Who wanted to discuss topics like, "my mother's such a pain in the ass," or "my best friend's dating dilemma" or "my day working retail," when I could be hearing about our Saviorette's attempt to save the planet, Her meetings with Bush and Gorbachev, Her visits to the Amazon rain forest? I'm sorry, but, "I sold a ton of 501's and t-shirts," was just not my favored response to, Hi, honey, how was your day? "I met with Pope John Paul II and ordered him to modernize the teachings of the Catholic church" - that was more like it. Conversations you could sink your teeth into, without ever needing a sales breakdown of stonewashed versus good old fashioned deep blue.
The comparison was constant - the women I was dating versus my fictional character.
Ilona had no stray hairs in unusual places, she was always in the mood, and she would never suggest that I spent too much time with the New York Mets and not enough with Her. In fact, the Daughter of God is a big Mets fan - the biggest, in a way. We could sit for hours, game after game, night after night, without ever hearing one of those copywritten complaints or alternate suggestions, "You never take me anywhere," and "Can't we go dancing instead?" Ilona Ann Coggswater would never make such a statement. She'd sit, watch, and root the players on - pitcher Bobby Ojeda is her favorite, he would never be traded to the Dodgers, Her Brother's favorite team, in our perfect world - and strangely they'd win, at least when Ilona was watching. What a perfect baseball companion.
Not to mention her taste in music was, well, let's just say you never heard a disco beat coming from her headphones. Just rock 'n' roll - the good stuff, Replacements, Husker Du and a little Elvis Costello thrown in for good measure. What wisdom from an eighteen-year-old. What wisdom, indeed. If only I had been dealt an equal share.
I remember one occasion when I made the mistake of accepting a girlfriend's - of the non-fiction variety - invitation to spend the weekend with her and another couple in Cape Cod. A weekend in hell, socially and sexually - "Just lie there and pretend you're dead." "Excuse me?" "I want to make believe I'm fucking a dead guy." Would Ilona have ever made such a request? I seriously doubt it. Then, the weekend's big debate, "John Bonham is the greatest rock 'n' roll drummer of all time." Who cares? Really, who cares? "Let's talk about Tiananmen Square," I suggested, trying to change the subject. Not likely, instead I got one of those, "Y'know the problem with you? You're too serious." I left the room, went to bed alone, thinking, Ilona, why has thou forsaken me?
Another weekend, another mistake. Greenwich Village with a cute blonde, also five four, but real and lacking in divinity. I could seemingly do nothing right - sexually, socially or otherwise. The bickering turned into yelling matches, and I finally turned to the Mets - who were at the time playing the Pirates. My team lost, and ultimately, so did I. How could I have abandoned Ilona so?
I broke up with my weekend dates and dedicated myself to the Daughter of God. Tuning and fine tuning, word after word, page after page - laughing, loving, sharing ice cold Rolling Rocks -did I mentioned she liked beer? - and Mets' victories. It was a glorious time.
And though it might be argued that there are complications that arise when "dating" the Daughter of God, whether she be fictional or not. Namely, the big Man upstairs, Her Father, our Father, "Dad," as She calls him. If He's all knowing, all seeing, as He must surely be, then wouldn't that put a crimp in sexual activity? Assuredly, most of my male friends say. But Ilona insists Her Dad is cool, a modern thinker, and quite a womanizer in His own right. "He understands," She explains, "And He knows you'd never do anything to hurt me." Okay, who was I to argue, -if anyone would know, She would. And, remember, with God watching over His only Daughter as He most likely would, would I ever again have to worry about car or airplane crashes with Ilona by my side, Her hand in mine? Not likely.
The romance lasted a year in all. I treasure every one of those days, every one of those nights - or at least, those days and nights during that twelve month period that I was with Ilona and not someone else. The Mets games and cold beers, that Elvis Costello concert, the long walks at night, and the sex - the most intense sexual experiences of my life - what else would one expect from the Daughter of God?
When I put the novel to bed, so to speak, and began the process of submitting it to publishers, Ilona and I grew apart. I was saddened by this separation, of sorts. It's not that we fell out of love, but more like we went out separate ways. She had the world to save and I, well, had other books to write.
I've since met someone else and again fallen quite in love. She too is bright, personable and beautiful - a world famous model, an inch under six feet tall, with long light brown hair, shocking blue eyes and a form chiseled to perfection, as if Rodin's signature itself could be found on or around her ankle. Her name is Stephanie LaVasseur, she's Ilona's roommate.
But Ilona doesn't seem to mind. In fact, she's very happy for both of us. I know. I wrote her that way.
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The ocean is much like a woman; her mood dependent upon many factors, such as the weather and concept of time, determined by the position of the sun. The ocean may be unfriendly and stormy one minute; it's waves crashing against each other in an epic, long running battle. Or, the ocean may be tranquil and welcoming, with it's embracing droplets just the right temperature to relax in or just to look at. These two moods subject to change at any minute, much like the due date of your finals piece.
Although, the ocean is vast, so it can be both of those things at once. At one end of the earth, she may be calm and forgiving, ready to guide lost sailors to a place where they can call home, or they may discover new lands. On the other end, she may be challenging and unwilling to let up and give you a safe passage. She is almost like two different people all together, and when she is calm, it is almost impossible to imagine such a beauty could ever be so unforgiving. But alas, nothing stays the same when there are so many factors to consider. No matter what mood she is in, the sky hovering above her always holds such beauty and indescribable sights. Even with the bad, comes the good. Through the scariest storm, there is still such beauty in every lightning bolt and isolated rain shower, in every leap of a pod of dolphins, and every coral reef.
Never try to predict how she might act, however. Even the most experienced meteorologist, or skilled pirate may fail to foresee how she might react to your presence. Instead, treat her as a true woman; tread lightly, and understand that she is delicate. Understand that each and every creature in her deep, shadowy depths is like a child, no matter how stunning, unsightly, scarce, or plentiful.
Part of her beauty is that she seems to stretch for an age, then drop off the edge of the earth, but still stay at the same level. Although, as you head closer to the horizon, you see that it continues to run away, much like that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you seems to have been chasing you your whole life. The vast beauty of this highway for many different species is sometimes too much to take in in one little dip in the ocean. This drives many love stricken mortals to explore her watery depths, whether they sail her entirety in fiberglass or steel contraptions, or whether they compress and bottle air in old dented tanks and dive into her cold and unpredictable depths for a time.
Another part of her charm, is the ever changing colors. You could revisit one small section of the ocean every year at the same time of the year and not recognize even one square inch of it. Ever changing inhabitants, pollution levels, and depth all contribute to each day on the ocean being a completely new experience. This is an element of the ongoing love affair that an ever growing number of people seem to grow and develop, which can sometimes to be strong enough to last a lifetime for some, and just a season for others.
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