Overlooking the Mole: Why Your Perfect Mate Might Not Come in a Perfect Package

by Pennie Penz

Do you remember that episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in which Will thought it was a good idea to set his male professor up with his cousin Hilary because he expressed interest in her? The set up was supposed to work for everyone involved – The professor would date someone he was attracted to, Hilary was supposed to get out of her funk (as she hadn’t dated anyone since the untimely death of her fiancé, Trevor) and date a new man, and Will was slated to pass the class that he was flunking. Hilary and the professor went on a date and she enjoyed his company, but as the night went on she began to find the mole on his face more and more repulsive.

Will pointed out Hilary that it wasn’t the professor’s mole, she was repulsed by this man because he wasn’t her “perfect” ex. Hilary did what all women do – she found the “mole” (usually a trivial flaw, fault, or shortcoming) with the new man that came into her life.

What’s your “mole”? Too short? Doesn’t make enough money? He didn’t finish college? He has children? He doesn’t dress as fashionable as you’d like him to? He’s not romantic enough? He’s too nice? We all have one, I know I do.

Despite the fact that the man I’m currently dating treats me like a Queen, I’m ashamed to admit that I used to fixate on his height. I’ve been out with him on several occasions and have come to terms with the fact that he’s the shortest man that I’ve ever dated. He’s no taller than 5’9″ (which is somewhat short to me because I’m 5’7″ and wear a lot of 3″ and 4″ heels thus making me 5’10″/5’11” on most days), yet it bothered me immensely the first time I invited him to my apartment for a home cooked meal. Unbeknownst to him, I stood very close to him while in my kitchen to see who was taller (I thought I was). I took notice of his height again after dessert when we proceeded to dance (similar to the way Claire and Cliff Huxtable danced in The Cosby Show) to one of my favorite Isley Brother classics, Voyage to Atlantis.

It was a sweet moment, we danced and simultaneously sang the lyrics of the song to each other in my living room, and I smiled while leaning on his left shoulder. I loved every minute of it – swaying side to side and in a slow circle until I happened to catch a glimpse of us in the mirror. “OMG, is this man shrinking? Wasn’t he just 5’9″ two hours ago? Why is he like 5’6″ right now? I’m taller than him. I am barefoot in this piece and I’m taller than him! I want this song to be over because this isn’t sweet anymore, it’s weird” – is all that I could think. I freaked out, something like Hilary did, but I didn’t let him know it. When the next song came on, a more upbeat Ryan Leslie cut, Just Right, we switched up our dancing style and I had my back to him. Again I glimpsed at us in the mirror, but noticed something different, he didn’t shrink – I was clearly tripping.

Why was this happening? Why was I picking him apart like a vulture on a dead carcass? Was it because I was getting closer and the feelings were intensifying? I know that I’m not alone – a lot of women do this. Could it be that we pick the new men in our lives apart or compare them to ex-boyfriends or ex-boo “thangs” out of fear? Do we secretly feel that the new man may let us down the same way that trifling ex of ours did? Do we look at him and wonder if he’s too good to be true and that by finding fault(s) in him it’ll be easier to remain distant and protect our feelings and hearts?

I’m guilty, I’m a runner. I’m quick to point out random idiosyncrasies that I dislike with a new man in my life because I am scared to be vulnerable. When one is vulnerable all defenses are down and one’s safety and well-being is compromised. I find myself thinking about the last time I was vulnerable with a man (that was back in 2012 with my last boyfriend) and how much heartbreak and heartache came with that vulnerability. While I think about the hurt of that failed relationship I’ve become appreciative of the fact that being vulnerable didn’t break me. While it is a scary feeling, it does have one great reward – vulnerability allows you to let love in.

I’ve matured over the years and realized that I may not have all the things that a prospective mate may want their girlfriend or wife. I’m sure that I have my fair share of annoying idiosyncrasies that will make a potential boyfriend or husband second guess being with me. By accepting this I’ve learned that I have to let certain trivial things go.

With my maturity comes another realization and acceptance of the 80/20 rule – a rule created by Italian economist Vincent Pareto that basically states that for many events roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes ). While this rule is economically based, it has a lot of relevance to relationships. In a fairly healthy relationship you pretty much get 80% of what you want – that’s all folks – so we may as well get comfortable!

I’m focused on the 80% right now: my special someone treats me good, he makes me laugh, he’s intelligent, and he’s sweet. Do I wish he were taller? Of course I do, but is that enough for me to stop dating him? No, it isn’t. It’s not that deep. This special someone may just be the one for me. The one to make me believe in love again, but I will never know it I keep fixating on his “mole”.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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