A very handsome guy lives in my building. He’s incredibly nice and charming too. All the women, even the old married ones, harbor little crushes on him. My single neighbor was in the lobby with him last week and she texted me- “guess who I’m in the elevator with- really want to tell him about this new bottle of wine I got….giggle giggle.” Now, every time I see him, I look my absolute worst. I was doing laundry the other day, and I switched out of my “nice” (clothes that should be worn in public) into sweats and a t shirt. My t shirt was also on inside out. Oh- my slippers- hot pink and fuzzy, like the kind you wore to a slumber party in 5th grade. Yes- it was quite a look. And yes, he got into the elevator as I was coming up from the laundry room, made the usual pleasantries as I was trying to hide behind my laundry basket.
Here’s the thing:
Why do I care? I’m married and not looking for anything on the side. (seriously- 1 man in my life is more than enough). So why do I freak out when I don’t look nice and a handsome guy is around? Is it just some strange survival of the fittest thing? Is it just instinctual to want to attract the more evolved species? (I thought evolved sounded a lot nicer than saying the really hot guy)
Now let’s switch this ever so slightly. Remember a few weeks ago I felt that I wasn’t taking care of myself as much as I should be? So I started paying attention, dressing more neatly (except laundry and house cleaning- then I am scraping the bottom of the clothes barrel). My husband and I were out at a music performance with a bunch of friends and a guy chatted me up- a younger, pretty attractive guy. (I know- you’re thinking he’s a serial killer…..don’t worry- that thought briefly crossed my mind too….) But anyway- guy chatting me up- it felt nice. I felt attractive.
When the guy at the fish counter looks for a really good piece of cod for me, I feel attractive. (I know-who feels attractive when they are buying groceries? Well, me, yesterday when I was at the market in a shirt that was right side out).
I like to think of myself as a strong, tough competent woman. I worked on the trading floor in the 80s and 90s…I know there is steel in my veins.
So why do I still feel good when a man thinks I’m attractive? And for the record, I feel just as good if a woman finds me attractive. (though again- all of you men and women- don’t get your hopes up- I’m taken)
What is it about praise or interest from others that makes me feel good? Now I know, I have all sorts of issues from my past with my Mother being critical of my appearance. But is it just that? Or is there a greater biological imperative?
Is self worth always going to be oddly tied into how others view us?
How hard is it to feel good about yourself if no one ever compliments you? (ok- as I’m writing this I am remembering how crappy my Mother made me feel- so I guess that’s part of the answer)
Do we need positive reinforcement to survive? If we do, how much do we need? Where do we draw that line?
I know I try to give my daughter positive encouragement for the things she does well, and I try to give her constructive criticism for the things she needs to work on. As of today, this has worked out well- she is confident and capable. But is that enough?
Feel free to tell me how wonderful I am……..