Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stop Frontin'

I had a chat with a friend yesterday that I could have had with thousands of other women. Do you recognize yourself anywhere in this conversation?
Friend: my guy friends tell me that I come off demanding and hard to approach, and my girlfriends tell me that I'm too hard on guys, but I don't want to be a pushover
Ivy: do you feel that people don't really know the real you when they first meet you?
Friend: yes, and many people have told me after knowing me for awhile "when I first met you I thought you hated me"
Ivy: hahaha! so what do you think people think about you at first? and what do you think people realize after they finally get to know you?
Friend: I think it's in the look I give them. I developed the look to turn off scrubs, but I think it turns off stud muffins as well.
Friend: at first, they think I'm very serious
Friend: once they get to know me, though, they realize that yes, I work hard, but I have maybe one serious bone in my body
Friend: most people also think that I'm quiet when they first meet me, but then realize the exact opposite is true
Ivy: so what should your ideal man love about you?
Friend: the fact that i have my own mind, that I have goals and opinions, that I'm there no matter what
Ivy: ok, so you're loyal, you're opinionated, independent and you have a sense of humor
Ivy: if a guy isn't in love with those 4 things, he needn't apply. Right?
Friend: Correct!
Ivy: ok, so how is the man who is scouring the earth looking for you, the loyal, opinionated, funny, independent woman of his dreams supposed to know you when he sees you, if you're scowling and keep your opinions to yourself when he meets you?
Ivy: you're wearing camo! how's he supposed to find you that way?
Friend: I never thought about it like that. I need to stop making it so hard for the hunter
Ivy: if the scrubs come, just say no, which you have no problem doing.
Ivy: luckily, the real you is awesome, and your laugh and smile are gorgeous!! so if you're just you all the time, people will just come.
Ivy: it's so awkward when people ask for advice, and all i can say is "stop being a douchebag"

Women today, we're strong. We have to be. Who has time for a breakup before a major client presentation? Sometimes, though, we misinterpret braggadocio for strength. For example, I met a joyful woman at a bachelorette getaway last weekend who declared loudly that all she wanted was a boytoy to pleasure and dine her and be disposed by her when she goes to grad school. Then, in other moments, she quietly suggested she might really want to love and to be loved - which she'd be great at, I think - and she wondered why that eluded her.

We put up walls of bombast and bitchiness to protect ourselves from those who might break our hearts, and we're afraid that people will see through these disguises, but the worst thing that can happen is that no one does. There is no valor nor gain to be had in hiding. In Eleanor Roosevelt's words, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." And it can be terrifying to simply be your humanly vulnerable or goofy or imperfectly beautiful or malaproptastic self, but love's looking for you -- just as you are.


  1. Scrubs!! That's harsh, whatever happened to giving someone a chance? Isn't there an underlying irony here where your friend judges men on first appearances, but complains when the same happens to her?

  2. I absolutely agree, and that was part of our convo, too, but I think that's deep enough to merit its own post.

  3. I agree that a lot of women have a hard time to discern when to be the tough girl and when to relax and smile a lot more. I think I have this problem, too, sometimes. For my part, sometimes a lot of unnecessary assumptions or fears are involved like "I dont want to be hurt by someone who just wants to play" or "I dont want to be talked at by those other guys". Sometimes (and so justly) I don't want to come off as a little naive girl, but appear more attractive and mature. I guess the assumption behind that is that a hard to get woman is for some men more interesting than the obviously interested girl. And then again, there is the (mostly misguided) assumption that a guy who invests the time and effort in getting to know how you are really, is really interested in you and not just in short term fun.
    Experience told me that all of these assumptions are somewhat true and somewhat wrong. I went quite well with keeping my cautions but leaving them in my mind and not carrying them outside by my face and body expressions. I smile, give him a chance and talk but when I notice after some time of talking and maybe drinking that this is rather not what I am looking for, I just politely say bye and smile. It's not always easy, but I keep working on it to overcome the harsh outside that I built up over the years.

  4. You go, Orangeblossom! And if any guy thinks you are naive or immature when you are smiling and relaxed in your own skin, please tell him to go fuck himself. Sounds to me like experience has made you gorgeous.

  5. i needed to read this exactly when you posted it, ivy. it's actually kind of uncanny, but i'll overlook the eerie and just say thanks for being oddly in tune my emotional needs. also for rocking.

  6. I love this post! I think I should share it with some of my friends!!

  7. This post could be packaged up and sold as my love life in stores. I've built up an ovewhelming amount of skepticism and distrust in the opposite sex so it's extremely hard for me to open up until I've gotten to know them more and realize that they are the real deal. Fortunately, this has made me rather good at weeding out the @$$holes but I'm sure its also made it very difficult for anyone who has been genuinely interested.

    My other problem is that I often attract the wrong men. Your friend Jermey has likened me to a plate of honey and how it will attract flies simply by being left out...(haha). I guess I'm frustrated by the idea that a confident and flirtaceous nature is often misconstrued and interpreted as "I want to hit the sack with you. Now. Like. Right. Now. I mean seriously, let's get in the car and go back to your place" when my intentions were sooooooooo not built along those lines. I could understand if the flirting were overtly sexual in nature but we are talking PG13 flirting here i.e. a laugh. a mega-watt smile. a casual "You're the cutest thing this side of the Mississippi"......

    This blog kills by the way. Good stuff all around.



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