I met a guy the other day who I wasn’t sure I was interested in at first.
He was the friend of a friend, and the fact is, the first time we hung out I wasn’t trying to impress him. I was just me. In my sweats and a T-shirt. No makeup, no effort, no agenda.
I’ve seen him a few times because of our common friend. I’ve dressed up a grand total of one of those times. The rest, I’ve just been myself, not really “trying.”
And you know what? I think he’s kind of interested.
This blows me away.
This morning I woke up and thought about it, and frankly found it hilarious—because it means that a pretty strong part of me truly believes that it’s only when I’m making an effort that men like me. That it’s when I’m wearing lip gloss and cute shoes and maybe strutting a little. That it’s when I’ve decided I like them and I’m trying to control the situation.
But what if my “control” is just an illusion?
A few weeks ago, I met another guy I wasn’t interested in at first. Similar to the other guy, I wasn’t making much of an effort. To be fair, we were at an adult summer camp where the whole point was to have fun and play in the dirt and connect with people, so very much not the lip-gloss-and-cute-shoes type of scenario. I think I wore the same pair of jeans the whole five days. I did change my shirt, but they were all shirts I didn’t mind getting dirty.
I wasn’t exactly looking my best.
But I sang my heart out at the campfire sing-along. I crushed it at charades. I was engaged in the deep conversations we all had over lunch. And I was affectionate with the guy the way I tend to be, and emotionally open the way I normally am (when I feel safe with someone, which I did with him).
The last night at camp, we hooked up. It was blissful and easy and not at all effort-full.
I didn’t have to hide the fact that I don’t have a flat stomach, or that I have laugh lines, or that my figure isn’t an hourglass, because I wasn’t wearing clothes to strategically hide these things the whole time. I kind of just didn’t give a f*ck.
And it seems he still wanted me.
These two experiences back-to-back have me reflecting. What if it’s not the things I think make a man interested that are actually what interests them? What if my attempts at “making” someone like me are truly an illusion—that it might make me look a few shades more attractive to wear lip gloss and cute shoes, but it’s not at the heart of a man’s interest?
I believe that as women in modern society, we are trained to believe that it truly is having the perfect ass, the perfect face, the perfect breasts, the perfect trim little waist, and the perfect skin that makes a man want us.
No matter how empowered we are, we grow up swimming in a cultural soup that tells us that really, deep down, honestly, it is our looks that matter most to men.
But what if that’s not actually true? I mean really not true. It’s possible—nay, probable?—that that stuff helps, but isn’t the core of what a man is responding to.
It might be something else entirely. It might just be the way universal energy moves through these bodies of ours. It might be the way we light up when we’re singing, or cry when we’re hurt, or ask the questions that move us right in that moment.
It might be the way we care about our friends, the way we write about what we actually believe in, the way we dance to Shakira Shakira, the way we come up with a sassy rejoinder to an unkind comment.
It might be how life moves through us, when we’re not trying to control it or block it, that actually does the trick.
Is this why you’re interested in me?
Is it really that simple?