An Ideal Man?

An article on Hello Giggles was recently posted discussing women’s image of an “ideal man”. It compared the “hunk” that men expected women to want with the “guy next door” that was described in reality.

It made me think. My “ideal man” has changed over time, changed with experiences and time. Changed as I have grown and developed.


As a little girl I wanted Prince Charming. Having binge watched simpering sweethearts such as Cinderella and Snow White, I firmly believed a man would sweep me off my feet, ride off into the sunset with me, and I would live happily ever after surrounded by crystal shoes and bunny rabbits that liked ironing.

Of course, hitting puberty swiftly proved that a) men like that don’t exist and b) I’m not a girl like that anyway.



As a young teen I was madly in love with a long haired drummer named Greg. He and his friends smoked weed, drank beer, and listened to rock music with swear words in. We all hung around together with purple hair and spikes round our necks, at grungey gigs where grungey boys played grungey music. I wanted a bad boy with a heart, someone wild and exciting with an obvious and utter devotion to me.

Turns out bad boys are just bad. They may well have a heart and a kindness that comes out with age and maturity, but when you’re a bunch of adolescents drinking cheap beer and feeling each other up in the park, that age and maturity is far away. Several heart breaks down the line and I gave up that one.



After high school I started my partying phase. I hung out with hot girls in hot clubs drinking trendy drinks. We flirted and we danced, and finding a man hotter than the one your friend had her leg wrapped around was the order of business. I was a homing missile for good looks, firm muscles, tight butts, and the personality of a radish.

Boring. They look good, but they’re so concerned with the fact they look good that it’s all consuming. And if you don’t look good for a second you’re out of the picture and replaced by someone with bigger breasts, poutier lips and far more hair.



In my early twenties I went through a daddy-issues phase. I dated almost exclusively older guys. Men who loved having a much younger girl to show off, and treated me like a princess in order to keep my attention. So yes, I realise that basically I whored it about a bit, and I’m not proud of that, but I didn’t realise I was doing it. I fell utterly and totally in love with a man twenty three years older than me. He treated me better than any man I had met before, he was handsome, he was experienced and he was kind. He valued me. What he valued me for I will never know, but in my head and in my heart he valued me as more than just a hot young twenty year old he could show off.

Massive age gaps, whilst appealing, are often doomed. I wanted to be an average twenty something, they wanted to be average forty somethings. I had knowledge and experience of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Greenday, they had knowledge of Richard Burton movies and The Beatles. However loving and exciting they were, they were hopelessly and tragically doomed from the start as neither could artificially conform to the other’s basic relationship requirements for the long term.



I had been flakey and promiscuous, flitting from friendship group to friendship group, lover to lover, and finally was ready to slow down. I met my husband. He rapidly peed all around me and made his mark, I was taken. Same man, same face, same friends, same pubs. I was off the market. The initial excitement and passion died rapidly and stability and routine took over.

Well, we all know how that ended. We were more housemates than lovers, more vague friends than partners. The beautiful finality of divorce ended that phase.



I went back to hotties. I was fresh out of a long term relationship and I wanted someone beautiful. I got it, I enjoyed it. I had fun and I rediscovered myself and my life and my body. Hotties were obviously a great time.

But hotties #2 ended for the same reasons as hotties #1. Good looks and hot bodies does not equal a long term relationship.


I met The Boy as I was reaching the end of my hotties phase. I had experienced fun and passion and excitement, and I was pretty much done with men. I was bored of it, fed up, and ready to just write off men for a while.

The Boy is hot, like my hotties. He is stable, like my husband. He is naughty, like the bad boys. He treats me like a princess, like the older guys. The Boy is what my experiences and types all lead to. The Boy is my ideal but he is not what I expected at any point. He conforms to none of the standards I anticipated I would need.

Maybe my ideal hasn’t changed as much as I have changed.


About J.J. Barnes

Author of The Lilly Prospero Series Writer and Podcaster at Blogger at Rose And Mum And More Contributor to The Huffington Post
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