I’m in the laboratory. In one corner, a desktop monitor casts a glow across the room. Next to it sits a small cauldron, its contents bubbling. The two are connected by a long, coiled cable that snakes from the back of the hard drive, into a box upon which the cauldron sits. I can’t reveal the contents of the cauldron. This is an experiment and I’m not prepared to give away the details of my research where they could fall into the wrong hands.
A digital display on the box flashes with the formula I’ve just entered into the desktop, and now we wait.
I’m building a man, you see.
Many have tried before. Most notably, Dr Frank N Furter, my inspiration, who died after a failed mission. I’m hoping my method is more practical. My creature is not designed to look a certain way, but instead, the focus is on behaviour. We say we are attracted to personalities, but that isn’t strictly true. It has taken me 37 years on this planet to realise that behaviour is by far the most important factor when it comes to building a relationship. Yes, there are other important qualities and I will come to those, but behaviour is paramount.
My creature will comprise of the following components;
40% Behaviour – It’s not personality that leads someone to be unfaithful. It’s not personality that makes them dishonest. It isn’t personality that makes them loyal. It’s behaviour and circumstance. My creature’s behaviour will be key. His likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests won’t form who he is. The focus will be on what he actually does.
15% Sex Appeal – This isn’t about just looks. The allure of a man can be anything one finds attractive. It can be the twinkle in hooded eyes, the cheekiness in a smile of uneven teeth. The smooth voice that may occasionally rise or lower in pitch from nerves. Body language that can be awkward, but projects warmth, not arrogance. Attire that doesn’t try too hard and is comfortable, but tries enough to show they put some thought into it. While my man will care about the feelings of others, he won’t worry about what they think of him. He will look, dress and act exactly how he wants to and not to please others.
15% Matching Wavelength – This can be an exchange of looks, a hug when it’s needed, distance when it’s required, and an understanding based on more than words. A shared joke, a secret language and the ability to resolve disputes without getting defensive. My intuitive creature will have a deeper understanding of what I want that goes beyond what it’s told. It’ll want to be there for thee bad times as well as the good and not see my troubles as a burden but something to share, without my having to ask. Being compassionate, caring and kind will be more important to him than material things.
10% Ease – An underrated quality is feeling at ease with someone so everything doesn’t feel like a chore. A conversation that flows. A silence that’s comfortable. The willingness to work at things, even when they’re hard, that has nothing to do with duty. And most importantly, a shared sense of humour.
10% Selflessness – This isn’t about watching a movie you hate or enduring a night out when you want to stay at home. Selfless is fearless. The man I am building will put me first and let his ego take a backseat without point scoring. He won’t be afraid to make a fool of himself and be able to cope with rejection. He will speak the truth, even if it sounds silly and lay himself bare, knowing it could hurt him. That’s the ultimate selfless act. He will be a humble creature with a conscience and not afraid to apologise and make amends.
5% Innate Goodness – My creature is a good man who will care about me as a person first, quite apart from his feelings, and he will continue to care about me whether or not we are together, or on good or bad terms.
5% Keeping Quiet – Everytime he shows loyalty, honesty, selflessness, respect…HE WON’T MAKE A POINT OF TELLING ME.
An urgent beeping sounds from the monitor. Colourful steam rises from the couldron with a hiss. A bar that had sat at 0% starts making its way slowly towards the 100% mark. A message flashes up on screen ‘PROJECT MAN IS NEARING COMPLETION.’ The beeping quickens, the steam rises thicker, the bar reaches the end. From the steam, rises a man. An attractive, appealing, beautiful man, his eyes rimmed with kohl. When he finally speaks, the sound of his voice makes me weak at the knees. I’m so enchanted, I don’t quite catch what he’s saying at first. I ask him to repeat it. He gives me a kind, crooked smile with just the tiniest hint of mischief.
‘My darling’…he purrs…’I don’t exist.’
And in a puff of smoke, he’s gone.
The light on the monitor dims, the hissing stops, the smoke clears. I eye the cauldron, which is now silent. Suddenly, the screen lights up again. The MAN programme has been running an error report on why my experiment failed. A note pops out from the printer with the details.
‘Operation MAN was created to build a creature with free will. This clashed with the required components that were input into the data. A fix will need to be implemented to create a successful MAN using either free will or required components. Not both. Please try again later.’