Thursday, April 13, 2006
In My Head
Over time, I’ve become rather confident about what I have to offer at the dating table. I’m smart, witty and sophisticated. I know my way around the kitchen, enjoy doing little things to make someone else happy and understand that compromise isn’t necessarily sacrifice. I'm not needy, demanding or unreasonable. I'm more than competent and comfortable in the bedroom, or any other place where one dabbles in physical intimacy. So with all of the knowledge and confidence I’ve gained over the years, why is it that no matter what, I sell myself short. When Hope asked me the other day about a man in my mix, I told her the line had been quiet for around a week. And without a second thought, I shared my reasoning.
“It’s my appearance. He got one look at me from behind and decided there was no way in hell he could live the rest of his life with my ass. I knew I should have insisted he walk in front of me on the way to the table.” Hope almost choked on her granola.
I’m not exactly sure at what point in my life my physical appearance became the bane of my dating existence. Nonetheless, there it is. When I look at a picture of myself, all I see are the things I detest. My thighs are too big. My eyes get squinty when I smile big. My too front teeth belong on a woodchuck. I am my worst critic which sometimes makes me equally the worst salesman.
Two therapists ago, I sat across a woman Barbara Bush looking woman and I admitted disliking my appearance. She cut me off in the middle of my list of flaws and gave me homework. I was supposed to go home, stand in front of a mirror and repeat “I’m beautiful” ten times over. I wanted to poke her in the eye. Daily affirmations a la Christina Aguilera were not the answer to poor body image. For the first time ever, my dog ate my homework.
In recent years, I’ve spent more effort and time trying to override my crazy head. When I think I look fat, another voice pipes up and compliments my eyes. It sounds so Sybil. I’m standing at a bar, sipping my cocktail and batting my eyelashes and in my head there’s a battle of wills.
“You’re ass is huge.”
“No you shut up, bitch.”
I can only imagine what the heck my expression is as I’m internally arguing with myself. It takes a lot of energy to keep the old critic mum. That voice has had many more years to perfect its efforts, knowing exactly what words hit my insecurity jugular. But with some effort, my stand-tall voice has had an impact. It isn’t the shy voice it once was, intimidated or hushed easily. No longer does stand-tall retreat out of fear.
“Who are you calling bitch, you little twit? Let’s get something straight. Paige brings a shitload to the table. And if you want me to whip out the list and start rattling off each item, one by one, I will!”
“Whatever. A fat ass is a fat ass and that is the only thing men, or any man she'll ever want to date, care about at the end of the day.”
“Brilliant and no fear to show it!”
“El junk-oh in el trunk-oh!’
“Sexy with a capital S!”
“Beep! Beep! Beep! Back it up!”
“Funnier than funny!”
“Fuck it. Fine. I’ll let you win this time but don’t think I won’t be back the next time something silly happens and Paige needs her ass as the explanation!”