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Singles Discover the Genetically Modified Man

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Singles Discover the Genetically Modified Man by Lesley Simpson

Have you ever wondered where the desire for designer-everything ends? Lesley Simpson argues that too many men today seem like they were grown in a lab. Normal guys, rejoice – here’s a woman who longs for a man who’s more comfortable doing laundry than open-heart surgery.

Dear G-d,

Did you know it’s no longer sufficient to have pine, magnolia, chestnut, apple, pear, cherry, elm, oak and birch for trees? Our scientists are creating genetically engineered trees, inserting an extra gene to protect spruce and poplar forests from budworm without resorting to pesticides. Since scientists are improving on nature, single men have decided to re-engineer themselves as well… I have neurosurgeons who speak four languages promising to deliver wildflowers to me at work on Monday, perform Bach on their violins in the symphony on Tuesday, and whisk me around the world on Wednesday.I joined JDate to find a nice Jewish boy. But I found Renaissance men, superstars multi-tasking so heavily they must all be blessed with a new and uber-functional attention deficit disorder.

What I want to know is, how can I rewind time? It’s not like I haven’t tried to find a man—a real one—who has not yet been “genetically modified.” They say G-d helps those who help themselves, right? Well, I’ve looked in the aisles at Home Depot. I’ve checked out the guys spinning next to me at the YMCA. And I’ve searched online. Let me tell you what I found…

It’s nothing simple, G-d, like the way you set up the very first blind date in the Garden of Eden. The Internet is the new Eden, a paradise of possibilities. From the piano-playing American orthodontist to the “Italian count” in Venice filling up my inbox, the men are unreal! You and I know Adam and Eve didn’t start off their partnership with an email, “Hey Eve, cute fig leaf.” But what’s a girl in modernity to do?

I joined JDate to find a nice Jewish boy. But I found Renaissance men, superstars multi-tasking so heavily they must all be blessed with a new and uber-functional attention deficit disorder. Either that or a new pathology – the irresistible urge to check off all the boxes in an online profile.

There’s the Parisian-born music producer who likes to read fiction, non-fiction, poetry, trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and comics. Free time? He works out, does martial arts, and goes to comedy clubs, charity events, art galleries, political events, restaurants, theatre, and opera. But only when he isn’t organizing “weekend travel adventures.” Oh yeah, in the highly unlikely event he might actually be at home, he loves “to entertain.”‘Me want real man,’ my profile says. I’m totally allergic to bad advertising copy.

Then there are the linguists who speak unusual combinations of languages almost as an afterthought. Their chance to shine is the part of the profile where you check off all the languages you speak. I remember the literary critic Northrop Frye, one of my English professors at the University of Toronto, saying that he was still trying to master his first language (English).

But these guys also speak Vietnamese, Hungarian, Japanese, Farsi, and Urdu. They run, play soccer, football and racquetball, water-ski, swim, climb mountains and rocks. Then they bike, hike, play golf, and baseball and invest before dabbling in photography or exploring antique markets on Sunday afternoons.

Worst of all, however, is the “Your Ideal Date” box. This is where you find guys auditioning for a gig with Hallmark. Yet, they don’t seem to understand the first thing about romance. Phrases spill out in some combination of the following: “candlelit dinner,” “club dancing until dawn,” “gazing at the stars.” Yuck! Romance is not about prefab. Romance is about surprise.

“Me want real man,” my profile says. I’m totally allergic to bad advertising copy.
Do you want to know what my ideal date is? Grocery shopping in February, slush seeping into our boots, our spirits frayed, trying to pull something together for dinner.

I developed a brief online crush on a man who suggested meeting at a laundromat. I could feel myself swooning already. Our unconventional venue seemed full of promise and possibility. I’d bring the Tide, he’d bring the Bounce. Tragically, he dumped me online before we’d watched a single spin cycle together.

Do you want to know what my ideal date is? Grocery shopping in February, slush seeping into our boots, our spirits frayed, trying to pull something together for dinner. You can learn a lot about each other on a date like that. Does he know how to sniff a pineapple? Can he improvise when the tomatoes look like they’re made of wax? Is he nice to the overworked, underpaid cashier?

Now listen, G-d, lest you think I’ve given up on my dreams – I say, absolutely not! I still want a man who can make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. A man who understands kissing is an art form, and that the little things are the big things. Yes, I know – it’s a tall order. But if you’re busy, I’ll take comfort in your other creations. The ones that offer solace for the soul and life for the planet, like trees. At least until those scientists perfect the Franken-Pine.

Lesley Simpson works as a freelance journalist in Canada and is the author of children’s books “The Hug,” “The Shabbat Box,” and “The Purim Surprise.” She can be reached at lesleysimpson@cogeco.ca.
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