Today, a simple idea. Mainly for the men. But women should read too.
Recently I asked Nicole to marry me. In looking back, I’m actually bemused to have arrived at this point. Not about her, but that I actually managed to get engaged to anyone at all. You see for most of my adult life, I’ve wondered whether I’m really capable of loving a woman with any kind of certainty.
And, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve dated seven other girls before Nicole. Not bragging, just saying I’ve had a few data points to work with. But with her, I learned something that I didn’t quite know before. A cliche, really, a phrase I’d heard thrown around, but never believed down in my bones.
It is this: “Beauty is on the inside”
… and it sounds like garbage from a hallmark card. Right? This phrase sounds to us like a pitiful attempt to level the field. It feels like when everyone on the pee wee baseball team got a trophy, because everyone was special and nobody ever actually lost. But after a while we grew up, and realized that sometimes your team actually does lose the game, and sometimes other people are more special than you.
So we don’t believe this phrase anymore. We heard it a thousand times in our childhood, and now it is a cliche, and we don’t pay attention to the notion. We dated around in high school, or tried, and we discovered that some people are more beautiful than others. Some of us got hurt. Some of us got lucky. Primetime TV conditioned our standards. Advertising conditioned our desires. And for the men (mostly), porn conditioned our eyes.
At some point we discarded this platitude, then, and thought instead: Sure, I guess everyone is somehow beautiful in a metaphorical way … but some girls are actually hot. And I want to be with them.
What arose from this adolescence of disappointment and confusion and occasional good luck is a generation of men that mean well (some of us), but who are stuck, unconsciously, in the search for a bombshell woman. In spite of whatever we’ve learned, we have meanwhile quietly acquiesced to the narrative sold us by TV, advertising, and porn: Get hot girl = Get happy
Mind you, I’m not saying I’m better than all this. I lived in all this.
At one point a while ago, I actually found the girl who I deemed to be the bombshell. I got to be with her for a little while. At first I was crazy about her. Then, slowly, like all the other girls before … I grew half-hearted, and wondered if I still wanted her.
Seriously — I got the hot girl … but still got no satisfaction. Interesting. Interesting.
At that point, I began to sniff a little more closely at the hot girl myth, and realized in time that the whole theory was broken from the start.
… Nicole wrecked this whole thing anyway.
I knew Nicole among a larger group of friends for about 6 months before we started dating. In that span, I didn’t think she was my type. Then in February, I got a tip from a 3rd party, and decided to get to know her better.
Five minutes into our very first real conversation, I thought ‘Oh no I’m in trouble’ and quickly found myself falling for her. What — where did that come from? For all of 6 months, she was sitting across the room, and I assumed we would never be. Then, I barely began to skim the surface of who she was, and at once she looks like … huh … a bombshell. Everything that I knew and thought about her changed. The way she looked to me changed. She was transformed. All because … I got to know her?
This is stupid. Surely this is a flight of fancy, too good to be true.
Or is it?
I was drawn to Nicole because of her passion, her elegance, her fire, her inner rebellion. Her hidden, wildly beating heart, which I was surprised by. These things about her were sexy to me, more than anyone I’d ever known. Why?
A few years ago, I read somewhere that the definition of sexy is being comfortable in your own skin. I thought that was a novel idea, and then forgot about it.
It came back to me when I was with Nicole. I started to realize that we are mostly captivated by women when they are in their element. E.g. a woman that looks otherwise mediocre to us might become inexplicably quite hot when she:
- steps out onto the ballet floor and becomes a moving work of art
- sings in perfect harmonic notes from a rooftop just for the hell of it
- takes graceful control of a group conflict and leads it to resolution
- makes everyone in the room laugh with some exquisite witticism
- doodles in the margin of a notepad and effortlessly chisels a dozen masterpiece scenes
Am I right? You know I’m right.
These momentary feelings of attraction are not accidental. They are hints toward a bigger truth. There is beauty, divinity, in every woman. It comes out most often when you see her doing what she’s comfortable with, because all the self-doubt and fear and armor gets sloughed off for a moment and suddenly you’re watching confidence, profundity, grace, and warmth — you’re watching her heart, as unfiltered as you might ever see it. And your own heart responds to that; don’t think it won’t. Seeing a heart unfiltered is captivating. Captivating is sexy. Captivating is crazy wild uncontrollable sexy.
Okay, I need to wrap this up for today. The bottom lines are:
Our culture sings a myth that says ♫“There is such a thing as an objectively hot woman, and if you get her, you will be happy”♫ Guess what? This idea is dumb and broken. There is no such thing as objective beauty. And if you chase the hot girl and succeed in getting her, you’re still likely to want a different one after a few months. Try it, you’ll see. Repeat as necessary in order to get the point.
Not every woman is right for you, but every woman is sexy. Your challenge is to get past the armor and self-doubt (your own too) and discover her fluency, her passion, her elegance, her heart. Once you see that, you’ll know quickly whether you want her or not. Try it. Repeat as necessary.
If I had understood all this a bit earlier, I probably would’ve arrived at this point sooner. But if you’re reading this, maybe you can benefit from these words, and skip a few steps.
Commentary is encouraged. Surely you have an opinion about this.