Goddess for the world

Last week, I was ruminating about who the perfect man would be. It didn’t take much speculation. I had figured out long ago that the perfect guy, in fact or fiction, is Gomez Addams. Not a GQ model, perhaps, but what style, what enthusiasm, what panache with a tango.

With Gomez you would never experience that exchange, "What do you want to do?" "I dunno, what do you want to do?"

He is romantic and creative, curious and kind, rich but not miserly and intense but not quite moody. A man for all reasons.

This column elicited a great deal of response, the most important of which, I’ll have you know, came from John Astin himself, who gave life in abundance to the character in "The Addams Family." His reaction, as you might expect, was gracious and gratified that he was so dearly remembered. My response was to have to be pried off the ceiling at having gotten acknowledgment from a true television legend.

There were other responses, none of which argued with Gomez as the ideal guy. Women dug him, men identified with him.

But one response from the guy’s team offered some thoughts on The Ultimate Girl.

Now I can’t prove this, because the e-mail was wiped out, but I seem to recall that two names mentioned as "goddess next door" types were Helen Hunt and Meg Ryan.

I puzzled. I think I froze. Helen Hunt and Meg Ryan? Next to Gomez Addams? Isn’t that like putting your mom in a Vegas kickline? No Emma Peel, no Bond Girls, just Helen Hunt and Meg Ryan?

That’s like sticking to your diet on your birthday. Are people so used to easy listening, C average, one-size-fits-all that even in their imagination they buy off the rack?

OK, I have a personal problem with Meg Ryan. It’s really funny and incredibly stupid but everyone has some celebrity who makes them clench their teeth and say "I can’t staaaand him/her."

They can’t see so much as a commercial with Adam Sandler or Bruce Willis or Drew Barrymore without getting pissed.

For me, this person is Meg Ryan. And because of You’ve Got Mail, she turns up everywhere. It’s her jackhammer cuteness that gets to me. At first she was perky and adorable and then she was ... perky and adorable. It’s like watching Shirley Temple fake an orgasm for Billy Crystal’s benefit.

Everyone to their own tastes, and mine can veer into the "Huh?" zone, but come on. Is the ideal woman really someone who, if you put a green hat on her, could pass for Herbie, the elf who wanted to become a dentist? Not from my point of view, but then, when considering the women I would most like to emulate on a fantasy level, the two that spring to mind are Anjelica Houston in Witches and Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn.

Both are jaw-dropping examples of sexy, steely womanhood and here’s the kicker: Both are hideous monsters who destroy mere mortals at will. That I look up to this is a subject for analysis more expensive than I can afford and not your problem, really. It just means that I’m no more a judge of feminine iconography than whoever can’t tell that Meg Ryan should be baking cookies in a hollow tree instead of turning up on wish lists.

This being the case, I decided to take an unreliable, non-scientific survey and ask a few more guys who the ideal woman is.

I asked for famous names we could all criticize if we chose. A few of them said they couldn’t say because individual characteristics counted.

This was not the get in-get out answer I wanted, but it proves that these guys were considering this thoughtfully. Or, they were trying to act all deep in order to be impressive. What you think about that depends on whether you have a "the guy is half full" or "the guy is half empty" mentality.

As for those few who ponied up the goods, the responses were partly expected: Uma Thurman, Sandra Bullock, "a non-smoker" ... a few slight surprises ... Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Kate Bush ... and as individual as you could imagine, "Tank Girl" and David Bowie.

One said, "talent is an aphrodisiac" (talent at what wasn’t really specified). One, "the ultimate girl is a car ... it will drive you anything but crazy."

The lesbian response was Jodie Foster (surprise), Queen Latifah and "Amanda Plummer, because she is a complete freak." And talented to boot.

So it just goes to prove an important maxim around this time of year, that it pays to shop around and get a second opinion ... and a third, and a tenth.

As much as they may get thrown in our faces, there were no supermodels, bimbettes or "Baywatch" divas mentioned.

There was a guy who said that his wife was the ultimate girl, some who didn’t want to answer on the grounds that there were too many factors to consider, and a couple who expounded on those factors, including brains and spontaneity.

What it all means is that where people are concerned, there is really no one ideal. And that is an ideal state for things to be in.

Liz Langley is a columnist for the Orlando Weekly.

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