Why Our Fantasy Lovers Don’t Exist


A hint: when someone who has self-identified for years as a singleton gets married, don’t ask her, at the wedding, if her Prince Charming has come. This will take her completely out of the moment, which is a good thing since her left foot has gone suspiciously numb from high heels. What does Prince Charming really mean? (And why is my left foot still numb?)

There’s lots of advice out there about dating and marriage. Some think you should settle after a certain age if the right fella hasn’t come along. After all, there’s that tick tock of the biological clock to consider. (And for our response to that, click here.) But others propose that settling for a spouse is the quickest way to Divorce Town, and that living the single life is the most fulfilling path.

What truth is there to it all? All I know is that I met my now-husband precisely at the moment when I decided that marriage was unnecessary – for sense of self and for survival in this wacky new century. Is the new hubs about the best man walking this earth right now? Yes, he pretty much is. And I know this not because I’m a Smug Married flaunting my significant other like a Prada bag at Condé Nast. Really, it’s because I’m old.

At my extreme advanced age, I’ve dated enough of the bad to know what the good looks like. Is he the fantasy lover of my youth? Okay, I will concede that maybe he’s not riding around the universe in the Millennium Falcon, hanging out with a Wookiee and getting encased in carbonite. This is probably for the best, because I can’t imagine putting on a Princess Leia clay bikini.

Further, a new study out of England and France shows that people often pick mates that are far from the ideals we held for our fantasy lovers. Researchers interviewed 100 heterosexual couples living in Montpellier, France. They found that these mates differed in height, weight and body mass index from how their spouses identified their ideal lovers.

As researcher Alexandre Courtiol of the University of Sheffield told Time, “Whether males or females win the battle of mate choice, it is likely that for any trait, what we prefer and what we get differs quite significantly. This is because our ideals are usually rare or unavailable.”

Of course, it seems like this study was just focused on the outer aspects of our mates. (And yes, that seems like a rather shallow way to rate up your significant other.) So is the reality of love really so dire? For this newlywed, it’s only dire if I can’t find a way to deal with chafing on a clay bikini.

Image: happyhipposnacks

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.