Being a real boy was easy. It's being a real man that's difficult.

As my father before me, I became a toymaker and took over the shop when he grew too old to work. One night I was thinking about how lonely I was, seeing so many other children but never having my own; however, I knew from personal experience all the trouble a wooden boy could find himself in. Perhaps instead of a child, I would do better if I became friends with someone my own age, someone who was already an adult. Instead of a son or daughter, perhaps I should carve a puppet that could one day be my wife, if the Blue Fairy was willing to bring her to life as she had done for me years ago.

I spent weeks carving a beautiful maiden of wood. When she was finally completed, I knelt before my bedroom window, wishing on the first star I saw that Carina, my name for this sculpture, would become a real woman.

Before I had finished making my wish, the Blue Fairy entered the room, smiling as she asked, "Are you sure you know what you're asking, Pinocchio?"

"What do you mean?" I queried.

"A woman is a very complicated creature," the Blue Fairy began. "She will bring warmth and sunshine to your home, yet there will be times when she is weak and needs a man to hold her and let her know he'll always be there for her."

That sounded alright. After all, wasn't that what any good husband was supposed to do for his wife?

"There will also be times," continued the Blue Fairy, "when she feels weak but is determined not to show it, so she may act stubborn or be in a bit of a temper to prove to herself and the rest of the world that she is hardly a damsel in distress."

Even though I had never had a mother, I had met a few girls when I was going to school as a young boy, so I understood.

"When a man speaks, the words he says usually define what he means, but when a woman speaks, her words may have different meanings, depending on how she says them. Sometimes she will treat you as her charming prince; other times, you will feel like her slave. At times her mind will change as frequently as the wind; other times, no amount of reasoning will be able to change her ideas. Are you sure, Pinocchio, that you are ready for a wife?"

This was starting to sound frightening. How was a man to know what mood his woman was feeling or what her thoughts were at any given time and how he should respond?

I looked over at Carina. Could I learn to be the kind of man she deserved? Could I learn to compromise for her, to settle disagreements calmly, all for the sake of having her love to brighten my home?

I thought it over and realized that bachelorhood really isn't so bad.