Thursday, September 14, 2006

Of Confidence

and of Irony.

This post is inspired by The Great She Elephant, who is unbefuckinglievably beautiful. Seriously. I would.

I went for 9 solid years without a single date. For ages and ages I didn't know why. I didn't think I was especially ugly. I'm no Catherine Zeta Jones by any means, but I've seen far uglier women get asked out. I just didn't understand. I despaired. By the time i was 25 i absolutely believed i would alone forever. No one in my life had ever fallen in love with me, and no one ever would.

Sure, there were people I had been close to in that time, people I had cared about tremendously, people I had been attracted to, and even managed to fall in love with a couple of them. But none of them ever came close to returning my feelings. I declared myself the Queen of Unrequited Affection, and reveled in my misery. I consumed it like dark chocolate mousse, and it returned the favor.

I came to Bristol with bright, new hopes of salvation. I thought, "This is it. This time, something will happen." Of course, I thought that about Manchester, too, and thought I didn't find the love of my life, I did make one wonderful, intimate, enduring friendship, so it wasn't a total loss.*

Maybe my expectations were too high, but by Christmas I was totally depressed again. Every single one of my flatmates was in a relationship. One of them had even managed 2 boyfriends in that space of time. I thought "How does she do it? How does she meet people? and WHY THE FUCK CAN'T I????" I had no answers, and I was miserable.

Que the New Year, and my birthday. Aforementioned flatmate and I went out, ate food, drank alcohol, and danced. I met the Hot Scot. I snogged for the first time in my life. It was my 27th birthday. And I got a taste (rather literally) of what I'd been missing.

That was when I decided to take, erm, matters into my own hands. I couldn't bear to sit idly and wait any longer. No, i didn't buy a rampant rabbit. (yet, anyway). I joined an internet dating service. My brother met his wife on eHarmony, so i figured I'd give it a go. I also joined Dating Direct, 'cuz it looked good, and I didn't necessarily want to meet men who were hard-core wife shopping. (Sorry this is going on so long. There really is a point to all this. I'll get to it eventually.)

And that was when I met the Hairy Man on Dating Direct. It wasn't love at first sight, it wasn't uncontrollable animal magnatism, but it was a good time. I really liked him (still do and miss him like hell), and eventually I, he, well, yeeeeeah.

And a strange thing happened (I'm getting to the point now. Yay!): people started to treat me differently. Men, specifically. When I walked into a shop, someone would open the door. Walking down the street, men would smile at me. I got asked out to dinner by no less than 3 chuggers, on separate occasions. I declined them all, as I was happy with His Hairiness, but it did exaperate me. I thought Why the hell didn't these sorts of things happen when I was single? They say men are like busses: you can wait for ever for one to come along, and eventually they all show up at the same time.

I reckon there's a lot of truth in that. Flatmate B has a theory, and the more I think about, the more I'm convinced it's right. The thing people find most attractive, regardless of appearance, is confidence. It's why women have swooned over James Bond for over half a century: he's the epitome of confidence. It's why we often fall for assholes and bastards (there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance). I didn't think I changed all that much after I started dating the Hairy One, but maybe I did.

I think the confidence I gained from that relationship changed the way every single person I encountered saw me. For the first time in my life, I felt attractive. And that made me attractive to other people for the first time. Somehow I'd been subconsciously conveying my insecurity and lack of self-worth in my mannerisms and everyday actions, and that is the biggest turn-off of them all.

So, GSE, I feel your pain. I completely understand what you're going through. I've been there, rather recently. You are a smart, clever, loving, beautiful woman who any man would be lucky be with. And the minute you start believing that, really believing it, the men will too. I promise. Go get 'em, tiger.

And the reason this is ironic? I broke the Hairy Man's heart when i met the Pirate, but if it hadn't been for my relationship with the Hairy Man, I would not have had that inner confidence, and the Pirate probably never would have found me at all attractive. It's a mad mad mad mad world.

*and a Master's degree, but who really cares about such trifles?


Celeste said...

I loved this post! I agree that being in love or having a crush is great for the confidence levels, and that's when the men start to swarm like flies :)

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Welcome, Celeste. take off your coat and stay awhile.

Yeah, men swarm to me like flies to shit.

Hmm. Maybe not the best analogy.

First Nations said...

ok, but explain this: when i was pregnant...from 'bump' to HUGELY followed after me like I was the ice cream damn truck playing the 'free ice cream' song? i've heard other women make the same claim and its true. the last thing i was feeling at the time was sexy, confident, or attractive, and yet they were literally stopping their cars in the middle of traffic to hit on me.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

The xplanation to that is simple: evolution. Men are naturally attracted to fertile females, since a fertile female is necessary if they're going to get their genes into the next generation. and *nothing* screams fertility like a breeding woman.

that, and it means you'll shortly be lactating, and all men have fantasies about smearing chocolate on the breasts of lactating women and helping themselves to instant chocolage milk. (or so i'm told.)

belladona said...

You're so right about confidence - it's ridiculous, I'm probably much less attractive than I was ten years ago but when I really became happy with myself as a person it was odd - men appeared as if from nowhere. They stared at me in the street, they yelled stuff at me, they hit on me. Weird.

helena said...

Confidence does play a big part of it but I also think that you hit on another important aspect in your post - you decided to go out there and do something about it. It's no good expecting prince charming to knock at your door, chances are he doesn't know where you live. You've got to just keep on getting out there and sometimes its really disheartening (I used to come back home and cry) but eventually you will meet the right person for you. And honestly - it's much easier that finding the perfect pair of jeans.

Ps. I thought that GSE was absolutely gorgeous too (those blue eyes and that bones structure!)but was much too scared to tell her on her own blog!

Chaucer's Bitch said...

well then hopefully she'll read it here. :-)