12 October 2016

Meek vs. Dauntless: The Epic Rap Battle

Recently someone commented the following:

before you answer anymore questions a quick update PLEEZE. i can't believe no one nice has asked you out on a date in over a month!

Well, my dear, believe it. I hate to say this, because it is exactly as pathetic and lonely as it sounds, but lately if I'm not working, I'm sitting home alone watching Supergirl in my pajamas. But, it so happens that I actually intended to update you all on a recent event regardless.

On a rare night out and an even rarer opportunity to put on the ritz, I attended a wedding a couple of weeks ago. My very dear childhood friend Jenna recently married her honest-to-goodness True Love, Matt. And I want to take a moment to say that it's couples exactly like Jenna & Matt who give me hope that maybe one day I'll be as blessed as they were to find each other. Their wedding was elegant, classic, and beautiful, and yeah, I happy-cried about four times. If you're ever looking for me at a wedding, I'm the gal weeping while handing out tissues to all the other weeping women around me. (Where's my big brother when I need him? He carries a handkerchief for exactly such occasions.)

And what better way to meet single men than at a wedding reception, right? Meh. Not in my experience. Actually, at nearly all of the weddings I've attended, I've found myself to be one of the only dateless guests there. That said, there were a few familiar faces at this reception whom I had met at other parties Matt & Jenna hosted, and for once, I was not the only person without a Plus One.
I ended up dancing with and talking to a couple of different guys, each of which displayed an unfortunate lack of confidence. Before I get too deep into that complaint, I am going to clarify something: Everything I'm about to say reflects my own personal opinion and preference. For some women, shyness or awkwardness is endearing, appealing even. I completely respect that and I'm not saying every guy should change to conform to what I find attractive. 

So it is personal opinion when I say the worst thing you can do while dancing [with me] is say "By the way I'm a terrible dancer." And once you do it, please don't expect me to come to your rescue and stroke your ego by saying "No way! You're great at this!" Because guess what? Unfortunately, the first thought that flashed through my brain, however cruel, is: I know. That's why I'm leading. I'm not a great dancer, folks, but experience over the years has taught me that it's all about your partner. If I'm dancing with someone who knows what he's doing, then doing my best to be a good follower usually means having a great time. I'm a decent dance partner at best, though, hardly Ginger Rogers. Really I try to enjoy the moment and just go with it. So I have a special appreciation for a great leader who makes me feel like I don't have to worry about where my feet are going next. Is that symbolic of my relationship preferences? Damn straight. (One day I'll tell you all about Mr. Theatre and how he won me over in a single dance. Great story, but a whole separate tangent.)

If you're not a great dancer and you know it? Here's my advice: Instead of putting yourself down, just relax. Do your best, embrace the music, and have fun. If you're having fun, I probably am, too, whether or not you step on my toes. If you're judging yourself and vocalizing what a bad job you're doing, I just feel like you're inviting me to join you in that spiral of awkward misery.

By the way, in at least one situation, I wasn't even directly asked to dance. I volunteered when someone came over and stood next to me and asked the group at large whether or not they were going to dance and no one said anything.

Another guy did at least directly ask me to dance. We had met before, and I remember walking away from the experience with the general impression "Cute, but shy." So I was surprised when I found myself so uncomfortable when he started flirting with me. Of course, flirting with me involved informing me "I'm trying to flirt and I'm really bad at it," and "I'm not very good at being romantic," and several variations on that theme.

Now, to every person reading this who believes they are bad at flirting, I want to enlighten you on something: You're not. You're inherently great at it. The only difference between flirting and being friendly is intention. Flirting is being friendly with the hopes of it leading to a date. Friendliness is being friendly with the hopes of it leading to friendship. Both require being yourself, whether that person is as suave as Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief or as clumsy as Kevin James in Hitch. For those of you freaking out at me and screaming the phrase "friend zone!" right now, first of all: shut up. Second of all, don't wait a year to ask the person out! That's what leads them to believe you wanted friendship and not a date.

But back to the main plot. I was having a quality conversation with this guy, right up until he informed me he was flirting with me and wasn't good at it. Which to me is kind of the equivalent of saying "I'm talking to you and I'm bad at it." Both inspire the same reaction in me. You were doing great until you said that. Now it's just weird.

I think this is one of the reasons I generally find older men attractive. Confidence and experience appeal to me. I like being made to feel comfortable around a person. It makes me feel like I can just enjoy the moment without pretense. It also probably explains why, as a teenager and even as a pre-teen, I almost always fell for guys I was friends with first.

It's tricky. A lot of the time confidence and inauthenticity go hand in hand. Take a look at Mr. Charming for example. There's a very fine line there, and it's difficult for me that I find insecurity so unattractive. I will never forget going on my very first date when I was 17 and the guy spent the entire evening putting himself down and saying how he couldn't believe "a girl like me" was out with someone like him. By the end of the night (thanks to that and several other awful things he did) I was starting to think he had a point. Why is it that so many good guys so rarely have self-assurance?

There's not going to be any closure in this post, I'm afraid. I'm just going to throw that whiny question out into the universe and hope it sends a hoard of men my way to prove me wrong.

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