Why women want what they can't have.
The man sitting across from me on the MRT is every single woman's husband wish list: smart, charming, attractive, successful. He knows how to dress.
His conservative suit with the artsy purple tie tells women he is responsible yet spontaneous.
The gold band around his ring finger reflects the harsh light of the station - blinding, but not binding. So what that he is married? His wife is no more real to me than Santa Claus. Like many women, I want the unattainable man.
But what is it that makes the unattainable so desirable? It is human nature to covet what we can't have. When we diet and restrict certain foods, the desire for what is denied us becomes unbearable. The attached man is the chocolate cake of dating - sinful yet irresistible all the same.
Women also love to compete with each other for "the best man," or in this case, "the groom." A man who is in a serious relationship with someone must have much to offer. The fact that he is so desired by someone else makes him all the more attractive to the single woman. Also, a committed man is appealing for just that reason: he is committed to a relationship.
In this day and age where most men fear the "Big C" more than a root canal without pain-killers, the committed man is a rare gem. What women tend to forget is that that same attribute which makes them attractive is not very compatible with their intent to lead them astray.
There's also the other woman to think about. It's one thing to get involved with a man who slips his ring in his back pocket every time a cute pair of Manolos walk by, but it's quite another to knowingly pursue someone who's clearly marked territory. Being cheated on hurts, and if getting a lump of coal in your stocking isn't enough to deter you, then the guilt you'd feel after intentionally causing pain to another definitely should be.
The pursuit of the unattainable man can be a thrilling challenge, but the end result always ends up in heartache; one cannot unattach anything without ripping some seams. Either much time and effort is wasted by trying to change what doesn't need fixing, or in the event you are successful and end up attaining the unattainable, there is bound to be distrust on both sides.
For him, there's the fear that you're not the type who respects relationships, and that it might extend to your own. For you, well, you know for certain that the man you're with has cheated at least once, but unlike Santa, will never know for certain if he's been bad or good...
Sitting across from me in the crowded MRT is a man who is perfect in that innocent way that only a man in a relationship can be. My stop approaches and I get up to leave. My life is complicated enough and besides, that great suit that he's wearing was probably laid out for him - by his very real wife.
- Photo: Carmelo. This article originally appeared in Hilary Magazine