A man walks down the street. He’s well dressed in a nicely pressed blue shirt and grey khaki pants with creases so sharp they can be used to carve butter. His black shoes are polished to a shine, and as he looks down he sees his reflection staring back at him. His face, as clean-shaven as a baby’s bottom. His eyes evenly spaced with thick long lashes and groomed eyebrows. His nose, not too big, not too small. His mouth is closed now, but when he smiles his teeth are white and endearingly uneven. People tell him that he’s handsome, and today he certainly looks the part.
He sneaks a glance at his watch. Phew! He’s right on time. His other hand unearths The List from his pocket. It is very important to him, this list. He remembers the many hours and sleepless nights he’s spent writing and refining it. FINALLY, today he will use it to find the perfect wife.
The first impression he gets of the warehouse as he walks in is chaos. Some people run around shouting orders while others mingle, waiting to be served. Here and there he sees many ladies just standing around. Most of the men he sees are carrying a list, just like him. There is so much happening at the same time. He doesn’t even know where to start.
Before the sheer enormity of this endeavor can get to him, a young man in uniform comes to greet him.
“Hello, my name is Simon, and I’ll be your attendant today.” Shakes hands. “Here at Marriage Mart, we care about your marriage needs. To that end, we have designed a system guaranteed to make you leave here with a wife today. We have a wide selection of eligible ladies you would probably never meet on the streets. We take out the stress in finding a marriage partner. There is enough stress to go around after the wedding. (laughs) Just tell us what to look for and we will find it for you.”
“I have a list.”
“Good good. The List is very popular these days. Which is good, because it makes our work easier. Now, let’s see….”
A few minutes later, after looking through The List and making hmmmhmmm noises…
“You want a beautiful girl. The good news is that we have many. Are there any particular physical characteristics you would like us to focus on?”
“Well, I want hers to be the kind of beauty they write sonnets about. I also want her to have an hourglass figure.”
“How about inner beauty?”
“I don’t care about that. I want every man who sees me with her to die of jealousy.” (smiles just thinking about it.)
“Hmmm…it says here that she must also be a good cook. We’ve run out of good cooks at the moment. Would you be willing to teach her yourself or pay for a class?”
“No no no. I want a woman who already knows how to cook. I’m tired of cooking for myself, and I want her to take over that duty.”
“Hmmm…she must do your laundry, as well? That kind of lady is difficult to find in this economy. Why not invest in a washing machine? It will show her that you care that she doesn’t kill herself doing so much work, you know.”
“Ah-ha. She MUST wash my clothes. If my mother did it, who is she not to?”
“She must be good in bed, she must be independent, she must speak four languages, including Klingon, she must be active in church, good with your boys, besties with your mum….Ai, are you sure you’re looking for a real person? ”
“I was told I wouldn’t leave here alone today.”
“I cannot help you from here; you’ll have to speak with Judy. She’ll help you make The List more realistic. She’s done it many times before, so you are in good hands.”
Simon smiles reassuringly.
“In the meantime, how partial are you to life-sized dolls?”