I stumbled upon my “perfect” guy more than 30 years ago, so it’s safe to say I have no idea how hard it is to find a good man these days, but I hear it’s pretty tough.
If you know one who can fix what’s broken, hold a stimulating conversation, and, well, I’m too much of a prude to add that third item but Donald Trump says he’s good at it, there are a whole lot of women who’d let ’em put a ring on it.
If you don’t, no worries. What you really ought to be looking for, according to Pouline Middleton, isn’t one man but three.
Of course, that is NOT the kind of advice I’d give either of my daughters, but I’m just saying.
Middleton is the Danish author of “One Woman Three Men,” a witty mélange of “Eat Pray Love,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “50 Shades of Grey.”
I caught up with her by phone last week during the final days of a monthlong U.S. book tour that ended in New York.
After a divorce in 2003 and a breakup with a cheating man, Middleton believes she found the solution sure to satisfy women’s collective complaints that men are inattentive, unromantic and just plain lazy — her words, not mine — around the house.
Since “the perfect man” doesn’t exist, better to get three of them to make a whole.
But the sex reference threw me, so I asked Middleton: Did you indulge with all three?
No, she did not have sex with three different men.
One was for making repairs around the house. One was for great conversation. And the third was for sex.
Middleton said she came to that decision three years ago after her love life was in ruin.
But she refused to sit in a corner and cry.
“I figured something was wrong with the model,” Middleton said. “Most people meet their sweetheart, marry, have children, and buy a house. That’s fine but what about also allowing other models?”
Middleton created a profile for a dating site, and for the next year and a half, she incorporated the three-man model. During her daughter’s visits with her dad, she’d dated the men who responded to an online dating profile she used to screen perspective suitors.
“I’d meet one in the afternoon to do the handiwork, have dinner with the talker and sex with the lover in the evening,” she said.
The first couple of months, depending on the roles for which they qualified, the men always lived up to their part of the bargain.
But the moment he discerned it wasn’t leading to sex, that was it. He dropped out.
Middleton eventually fell in love with a handyman, but after a couple of years, he took a job in another part of Denmark, and well, she had to start all over again.
She soon grew tired of the logistics and the superficial.
“It was a great experiment, but deep relationships require your presence, focus and commitment,” Middleton said. “I found out that the talking and sex were the two most important things for me.”
In 2012, she started dating again and found her man on Facebook.
Four months after meeting him, they moved in together and were married nine months later in 2013.
“He’s not much of a handyman, but he’s good with the sex and conversation,” she said.
“One Woman Three Men,” first published in Denmark in 2014 and released in March in the U.S. market, is based on Middleton’s dating experiences.
Given that infidelity is rampant and that 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce, her ideas are striking a chord in so many women who are struggling with love.
It isn’t that Middleton is against marriage. Obviously, she isn’t.
Things go wrong a lot of the time, she said, because people have too many expectations of each other and their expectations are not very concrete.
“With this three-men model, everybody delivers only what they want to and agree to, and it’s a win-win situation,” she said.
In order for women to get what they want most, Middleton said women simply need to ask for what they want and see who responds.
“Start the discussion by being demanding,” she said. “So many women wait to be found by their Prince Charming, but the men liked that I was very clear about what I wanted.”
Long lists of demands, however, aren’t good because there will always be things a date can’t live up to and women, unfortunately, focus on that.
“Come up with three things and leave the rest aside,” she said.
And please don’t tell everybody about the fact that you’re dating three men. Just do it and see what happens.
“I’m urging women to empower themselves in love, to dare to tell men what they want and then go out and find it.”
Sounds like a plan.