Making Mr. Right 

I just broke up with someone. Don't cry for me, Argentina. (That is your drag name, Isn't it?). I break up more often than your cell phone and have gotten good at it, so good that we remain friends. Not like when you say you're friends and then you get a real friend to burn the eyes out of his photos with a cigarette. We're real friends and I'm fine. I only bring it up because it's soon going to be Valentine's Day and I will get more attention because I have just broken up, the same way that the poor only get trotted out on Christmas.

Still, it was with different friends that I was sitting at Will's Pub, and had I not broken up we might have been choosing our porn names (my favorite is still Beaver Cleavage) or drag names (I've finally settled on Fruitopia) or something more fun; when your heart is secured in the overhead, you feel free to wander the aisles. But when you hit turbulence and your emotional baggage breaks free and hits you in the head, well, it's on your mind.

So there I was, quoting a friend who wanted to know how the R word could be transformed from a hairshirt to a cashmere robe: "Why," she had said, "can't men just be well-dressed and interesting?" Fair, I thought, but her list went on: "And intelligent? And charming? And funny? And rich?" I think she had one specification for each martini.

Break dance

Break dance

While I was parroting this list of renovations, I heard a voice behind me say, "Give us a break." It was a guy. I thought he was responding to me, though not directly, which would have been interesting (minus one) and funny (minus two). Instead, he seemed surly (minus three) and obtuse (for a grand total of negative four). Maybe I should have given him a break. But I didn't want to. And I didn't have to.

There's a button-popping freedom that comes with a breakup, a window of dreaming just like after a graduation or a job exit or right before the lottery drawing, before someone else's six numbers are called. And the wish-list, like a day off or a surprise kiss, should be explored while it lasts, because inevitably there will come a time for compromise.

You see, men are very much like bras. The really hot looking ones are never very supportive. The durable, practical ones are mostly boring. They're almost never big enough, and they're all pinchy. I go through them quickly, no matter how well I take care of them, and if I find one I really like I seem to end up wanting two. Free-speech feminist or not, you know you could use one, but they're all a bit confining. If you get one so comfortable that you don't even know it's there, well, what's the point? And you always end up hooked. Men are just bras that can drive. That's Victoria's Secret.

But after a breakup, you're not ready for this reality. A breakup is the time when fate throws open the window of opportunity and strokes you with the hot, florid winds of Could Be. For just that moment, you don't have to compromise. You get to Make Mr. Right. You are allowed to elevate your hopes. And why not? You're not getting anything else up.

You piece him together like Martha Stewart setting a table. He's funny but not the village idiot, romantic but not a cling-on, agreeable without being an adaptably dull slab of human tofu, good-looking enough to stare at dreamily every once in a while but not so good looking that he makes you forget where you put your check book.

Dream on

Dream on

I know you're thinking, "Yeah, and when you find him, have the pixies come and tell me; I'll be riding my unicorn to the moon," and you're probably right. Male or female, no one is the perfect balance of rigid Oreo and creamy filling.

There is only one man I can think of with balance. He's an incurable romantic, rich but reckless, a little funny looking, but no more so than Gerard Depardieu. His eccentricity is legend, but evenings at home are his forte. Yes, Gomez Addams is the male ideal. And, sadly, fictional. The closest I've ever come to him is the Gomez Addams candy dispenser I got at Populuxe, but since I haven't demonstrated any Geppetto-like purity of heart, it's doubtful the Blue Fairy would turn him into a real dasher on my hopes alone.

Wise people don't make resolutions only on New Year's. They resolve every day to revamp, improve and upgrade. They have midlife crises once a week out of fear they've somehow "settled." Settling is something done by old, creaky houses and guilty people out of court. So the most romantic thing I can do this VD is to have faith that there are big, steel-belted Michelins out there, and not settle for the crappy little spares that come with the car. Give them a break? Give me a break.

Oh, and if that guy in the bar was talking to the TV, forget I said anything.

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