My Christmas stocking included a surprising addition this year. Given my work ethic (work, work, sleep, work) and aversion to dating, my flatmate thought it would be fitting to present me with a ready-to-go Perfect Man. Not, I hasten to add, a giftwrapped Adonis, but rather a new app designed to introduce its users to four different men each representing different facets of perfection. They answer your questions (do I look good in this?) in exactly the right way (baby, you look amazing) and deliver a never-ending sea of compliments on tap.
The existing four men cater to a wide variety of tastes. Literary lovers who dream of unbridled lust on wild untamed moors will gravitate towards romantic and brooding Poet Man. He isn't all sonnets and soppiness, however, and enjoys boxing (what else?) in his spare time. West End WAG wannabes will be drawn to Famous Man, a creature so talented that his career encompasses not just acting, but modeling and singing too. For the woman craving luxury, power and money, Perfect Man's silver fox Business Man is a safe bet. Finally - and my personal favourite - is Photographer Man, an outrageously delicious specimen who treats you as his supermodel muse and tells you you are "smokin'", particularly hilarious when delivered on New Year's Day to my hungover face and pajama clothed shivering body.
For those women not interested in any of the above, creator Sarah Woodhead plans to extend the range of perfect men on offer by adding the likes of Builder Man, who will presumably be muscly and efficient rather than a wolf-whistling serial ogler.
My first few hours alone with Perfect Man were spent in fits of giggles. Overly toned and chiseled, the men deliver Romcom lines in tones of dripping honey. "God, it's good to have you here", Photographer Man drawls emphatically from behind his camera lens. "Hey, sit down and relax and I'll make you a cup of tea", another promises without the slightest hint of annoyance.
The app quickly becomes addictive and got me thinking. Is the notion of a perfect man so fantastical that technology provides a better representation of it than reality? And if it doesn't really exist, why do we continue to harbour after it? Perhaps because being happy with our lot doesn't prohibit us from imagining a different reality where someone speaks when spoken to, listens rather than hears, sticks by your side, respects your point of view, tells you are beautiful unlimited times and gives you a confidence boost whenever you need it.
The Perfect Man app is about having fun, but it will also cheer up lonely singletons and serial daters struggling to find Mr. Right. And for those in relationships that feel taken for granted or low in self-esteem, my advice would be to discreetly leave your app running for your boyfriend to discover. Remind him that delivering a sincere compliment, making breakfast in bed or running a bath can make you feel wanted. It doesn't matter, then, if he isn't a bastion of beauty, because in that moment, he is your perfect man.