Every once in awhile, my conversations with Taz will run around to a little game I like to call “explain why I shouldn’t like you.” It’s usually set off by him saying or doing something that ticks my subconscious list of perfection that no guy ever in the history or future of the world can ever live up to. Like when I casually and jokingly slipped “I liked big books and I cannot lie,” into a conversation and he followed it up with a line from one of the many versions of the lit-nerd’s favorite ditty: Baby Got Books (oh yes, google it, there are videos). That is on my list of things a guy I can’t even imagine because he’s so perfect would do. It’s not a requirement or even a nice to have, it’s a sign from God type of thing. And because I can’t accept that, because I don’t believe in fairy tales or made-for-each-others or things like that, I have to counter it with something, anything that will convince me that he’s not perfect, is totally human, has flaws and more importantly, has dealbreakers which will make me run away in fear. So I challenge him to tell me his negative qualities in the hopes that something he says will turn off the choir of angels singing in the back of my brain. And you know what? He sucks at that game.
At one point, the worst thing he could come up with was that he bites his nails and squirts toothpaste from the middle of the tube instead of the bottom. Facepalm. If that’s the worst he has to offer then I’m going to have to figure out how to marry this guy before some other chick figures this out. Regardless, it got me thinking about what my response would be if I was ever asked to play the game. And then I burst out laughing, because I could probably win within thirty seconds. I’m pretty sure every woman has a readily available mental list of her negative qualities. My hips, my thighs, my arms, my gap tooth, my ass, my boobs, my nose, my feet, blah blah blah. And those are just physical. What about the wonderland of baggage that we all carry around?
Taz laughed when I told him he was horrible at the game and replied that he didn’t exactly carry around a list of his flaws in his wallet. More importantly, he’s more used to pushing his positive qualities than his negative ones. Which makes sense when you think about it. Guys tend to be the salesmen. They come up to women in bars and play up their best qualities. They have a neon-lit sign they point to of why you should give him your number, go home with him, and generally pay attention to him. Guys are about the win, the sale, the prize. Women, we are about minimizing flaws. Ask any woman in the world why she wears makeup or that one dress she loves to pieces. Her first answer may sound pretty similar to the salesman pitch: to play up her eyes or lips, to show off her mile-long legs or great rack. But behind that is the thing her mind is really focused on: what she’s hiding. We want you to focus on our gorgeous eyes because we hate our skin. We want you to love our legs so you don’t notice our less than stellar stomach. We show off our brains and our sense of humor so you won’t notice the rabid loneliness or insecurity. Guys play for the win and only the win. Women play the balance sheet.
On one side of the scale are all our fabulous qualities. This side tends to be a little light, not because we’re not awesome, but because we have a difficult time recognizing our awesomeness. Usually, we need that side to be filled in by a friend. The other side is much easier for us. It contains all our flaws, both real and perceived. In there goes ever failed relationship we’ve ever had, our creeping closeness to the baby-making age, our belief in and desire for fairy tale romances, and all the years of beating up on our bodies. I don’t know of a single girl in all the world who can’t rattle off at least five reasons (or one big reason they feel counts for at least five) why a guy shouldn’t be interested in them. We’ve got that down to an art. So we turn to our friends, to Oprah, to our mothers and sometimes fathers, our gay best friend, and all our accomplishments over the years to give us examples for the awesome side of the scale. And if we have great friends and a non-fat day, we can push the scale to a balance. If we’re really lucky and have learned to love ourselves, we might even make the positive side come out higher than the negative. And that right there is called confidence.