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Open Mike           September/October 2000

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Open Mike is a forum for readers on a specific topic that will change every one or two months. The forum includes Your Turn, an opportunity for readers to share anecdotes and opinions related to the chosen topic. Conversely editors and writers select the most interesting entries and post them the following month In This Corner!

For our readers who don't have time to write but want to share their opinions, Open Mike also features a Three-Minute Survey - not the typical, simplistic Internet poll, but a set of five questions related to the monthly topic. When the survey is completed, we will publish Survey Says: a brief article analyzing the results.
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Survey Says:

Is Ideal Unreal?
Results from our September/October 2000 Three-Minute Survey

It appears that our readers are pretty sensible when it comes to the question of having and finding ideal mates - single people excepted.

In our survey we asked people to share their expectations regarding the man or woman of their dreams. First off, most respondents admitted to having a mental image of their "ideal" beloved. The feeling was almost universal among single men and women, but less so among those married and in long-term relationships. Perhaps, once people settle down, they tend to let go of their dreams...?

Of all the women who said they had an "ideal" candidate in mind, the majority considered their expectations of this person to be realistic. Almost half of all men, on the other hand, described their ideal lady as a rather fantastical concoction. Comparing single vs. married, the former group (both male and female) also admitted to being less realistic.

We asked readers to tell us if they believed in waiting "until they found the ideal person," or whether they were ready to make some compromises in order to settle down sooner. Here, women also came out as more rational, whereas men in general showed greater willingness to wait. The only exception was single women, who for the most part also wanted to wait. Looking at married women vs. married men, the latter group said they had "waited" until they found the ideal person, while women indicated that they had compromised. Are the men deluding themselves, or are the ladies being too harsh?

Even those who want to wait, however, are not ready to wait so long. Almost all respondents said they'd wait at the most five years before they'd give up on the quest for perfection. Interestingly, this waiting period was the same for younger singles in their early twenties as well as more mature individuals in their mid-thirties.

Given that most people either don't want to wait for their superman or wonder woman, or are only prepared to wait for a few years, it is fortunate that we all have a backup plan called love. More than half of all respondents said they believed (or hoped?) love would make up for some of the missing "ideal" qualities in their chosen mate. However, a fair number of respondents, especially among divorced or separated men, showed a more cynical side: they thought that love blinds us to things we eventually end up regretting. Words of wisdom, or bitterness?

Note: Numeric results are not quoted, so as to preclude the appearance that this is anything else other than an entirely non-scientific survey.

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