Recently I read an article on Salon.com originally published in Scientific American entitled: “Men are attracted to nonconformist women: The science that explains the “manic pixie dream girl” cliché.” Read it here I recommend reading the article but the gist of it is the fact that both men and women tend to prefer partners who are nonconformist – whether it be in dress, thoughts, careers etc. This may not be shocking to you or it may rock your world. A lot of conventional wisdom, particularly for women, has been that in order to be attractive to men they needed to be X, Y, or Z.
I have been thinking about this a lot since I read the article. There is absolutely a time in my life where I felt because I wasn’t X, Y or Z (for me that was thin, very successful in my career and twice divorced) that I would never be able to find a partner. The irony of this is that I have rarely struggled to meet people when I have put myself out there – I may not have met the people I have wanted to meet or the right fit for me but meeting people hasn’t been a challenge.
What has been a challenge has been my own self-image and how that impacted my confidence level and I believe that my lack of confidence in myself has, at times, made me way less attractive than the size of my body or my weekly paystub.
The last time I went out on the dating market, I made a decision to show up exactly as myself. I don’t mean that I dumped all of my deep, dark, horrible secrets on the table the first time I met someone but I decided that if I thought something, I’d say it, if I had a preference for something, I’d express it, if I had a challenge, I’d bring it up. I would dress in ways that made me comfortable and that made me feel good about me. I would just do me and see where the chips landed. I had a few dates that didn’t click until one did and it continued to click for close to a year.
As I have looked back on this relationship, one thing that I am so very happy to take from it is that I can be me and show up as I am and I can find someone for whom that is a-ok. I can be vulnerable, I can be a jerk at times, I can be thoughtful and loving and warm. When I worry that my inclination to take care of someone may be too much, I can give it a shot and know that if it is too much for them then I am too much for them. I can tell someone when I am scared and I can let them reassure me. But most importantly, I can love fiercely with all of myself and that can be a lot more than ok.
As I process the grief of this relationship and try to learn the lessons that it was intended to teach me, I look back on the ways that I showed up as myself, as I maintained my integrity and I didn’t hold back out of fear. Now that I know I am capable of doing it once, I know I’ll be able to do it again. When I’m ready, which won’t be for quite a while.
I'm a single lady living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with 2 cats named Leo and Toby (after characters on "The West Wing" - one day I will have the ability to recite the entire series by heart.That's a noble goal, yes?).
I've had a varied career doing a bunch of technical stuff that isn't that interesting to folks who aren't doing it but my real passion is writing.I also get the fabulous pleasure of coaching people from time to time and that brings me amazing joy and energy.
If you want to hang with me there are things you should know:I curse.A lot.I like hoppy beer.A lot.I like big and deep red wines. A lot. I adore my friends.A lot, a lot.I am passionate about politics (or a big geek about them - you choose).I'm an accidental but rather passionate Unitarian and few things make me happier than my dining room table surrounded by people I love.And picking paint colors, let's not forget that. Find me online here.