The joke has always been that it was my inner beauty that was so attractive. It’s not.
I joke in my dating profile that the first thing people notice is my personality.
I can be kind of a bitch.
More importantly, I am beautiful.
Those are hard words for me to write.
They were, rather.
They were hard words to think.
Because, despite it all, I haven’t felt I am. I’ve not felt beautiful; I’ve felt lucky.
That makes an enormous difference in how you approach the world.
Beauty is both surface and internal.
I noticed this is law school: two men looked identical, dressed identical, same education, backgrounds, everything, but one was considered top-5 most attractive in our class and the other was sort of homely. The only difference between them was a projection of attraction.
I’ve never forgotten that and yet I always forget that about myself.
I am objectively beautiful.
I have pretty features, I am thin, I look 5-8 years younger than my age. For my age, I am stunning. I am considered beautiful for women much younger.
But again, I don’t think about this.
I don’t think about the fact I date exceptionally attractive men who are wildly successful.
I feel lucky to be with them. Fortunate that we live in the same world. A beneficiary of serendipity.
But it is not.
It is me.
Part of the difficulty that I have been having in coping with my life is that I have felt unworthy and unattractive.
Because, over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve begun to figure it out.
My life is better because I am beautiful, but my life is also much better when I feel beautiful.
Objective beauty is less important than subjective beauty. Do you see the light shining in my eyes? Then to you, I am beautiful.
So, I spent two weeks surrounded by the most important people in my industry, by friends of the long-distance fling, and by celebrities famous for their work in tv, film, music, sports.
I felt wildly insecure for days. I felt like I didn’t belong.
And then, a switch flipped.
I was sitting at a hip diner in the reporter’s neighborhood at 6 am next to one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen up close in real life. (And that list includes Ryan Gosling.)
That beautiful man — tall, model-handsome, with the same impressive super-well-connected job as my Long-Distance Fling — was trying exceptionally hard to sleep with me. This had been going on for hours, despite the fact I kept telling him “our world is a very small place,” as it’s not my place to tell friends of the LDF that we are doing whatever the hell it is we are doing.
I detail to this beautiful man all of the shit with which I am currently dealing: all of it, including the fact I gave up my place and I am now living in the burbs with a friend and sleeping on the reporter’s sofa while we had these events going on.
I tell him everything in the worst possible light.
He looked at me with his arm around my shoulders and said “you’re smart, you’re beautiful, you’re very funny, and you have everything you need to fix what’s happening. You’re going to be fine.”
And I believed him.
But what I realized while he was speaking is that everyone reacts that way to me.
I consistently hear from friends that they love my eternal optimism and how I strive always to make sure everyone has the very best time.
[in the middle of writing this, I paused to call N, the famous tech entrepreneur I’ve escorted for years and with whom I cohosted a gala at his home, because writing it reminded me of those excellent times.]
I have often found myself mystified that exceptionally attractive and successful men choose me as their mate. Like I said, I felt lucky because I failed to understand what they saw in me.
Now that I do, now that I get a sense of what they see, I realize it’s not luck. It’s me. And that fundamentally shifts the power dynamic.
When you feel lucky to be with someone, you feel vulnerable and undeserving. But when you realize it’s you, then the entire world opens up.
My tale with the beautiful friend of my long-distance fling is amusing. I ultimately had to tell him about the LDF as they’re friends. He was not convinced we shouldn’t have sex as the LDF and I are not “dating,” as I told him our status is unclear and we live 1700 miles apart.
He has his hand inside my jeans as he made this argument. Quite convincingly.
In the cab back to my place which took all of 8 minutes we kissed and explored and then I sent him off to his place. His final pitch to me was to figure out where we would spend the next night, after we were again LDF’s guests at the most exclusive parties happening during all of these events.
The had LDF canceled on me the day before he was flying out. His staff was there, who catered to me and enabled me to have an amazing time. The beautiful man had teased me that of the 150 people at the party, I was — by far — the least famous. He added, that I was also the most real, most awesome, and least superficial. Or something.
When the LDF canceled, I was devastated. I handled it poorly enough that I sent a few, hey, I understand, I’ll see you soon type emails, and then handed the reporter my phone lest the two glasses of wine result in a wtf is wrong with you series of texts.
Because seriously, wtf.
In retrospect, I know why he canceled. I would have, too, under the circumstances.
After his team made it back, they all had lunch to celebrate his birthday. Which then resulted in the LDF blowing up my phone to reschedule. I presume I made a good impression on them.
The beautiful man and I exchanged texts throughout the afternoon about a party thing, during which he casually mentioned his girlfriend had just flown in. Which was actually perfect. I saw them back at LDF’s party that night and I had a drink with them the day after that and she was incredibly awesome and sweet and it’s sort of unfortunate she’s dating such a DB, no matter now gorgeous, wealthy, and connected he is.
I will say that I am glad we met, glad we spoke, glad he put on his full court press, and glad we made out in a variety of cabs, etc. because it enabled that conversation to happen. And it was deep and raw and real and those part of this beautiful man were the most beautiful. He showed me his pain and vulnerability and enabled me to trust him enough to open up.
I began to recognize that I am hit on by men I find attractive regularly. That my friends love me and support me knowing how long I’ve been depressed and how shitty my life is. That I have a really wonderful relationship with friends I’ve had for nearly two decades.
When I embrace the things that draw people to me — my wit, my enthusiasm, my charm, my brain, and even my face — and incorporate those into my self-image, I am better prepared to face the world. Seeing myself through other people’s eyes has enabled me to see myself more accurately.
My ability to fix what is wrong with my life is solely dependent upon my ability to fix what is wrong with me and part of that has been this unmoored disconnection from myself. From what makes me me.
On Mardi Gras, I was so depressed I wanted to step in front of a bus. Now, I am managing to move things ahead, sign new business, accomplish complex things.
That connection with myself feels strong now, with understanding who I really am rather than who I fear I am, or who people who wish to keep me weak would like to convince me I am.
I feel like I see myself more accurately than I have in a long time. I was flipping through old photos and remembering that feeling of wondering why I look so great in photos and so terrible reflected back in the mirror. Which is not at all true. Those photos are just as accurate. I don’t look better in photos, I look, I look better not I my own head.
I am dating and being actively pursued by the most intriguing new man on the market in our city. A recent resident with what is about to be a high profile gig for which he has already appeared on national tv. He has a crush on me, but schedules being what they are, we are just chatting daily.
When we started talking weeks ago after he sought me out when I’d posted some comment that he was coming to do this job, I had a very different impression of myself and my dealings with him reflected that. He asked me to go for a drink within days and I deferred. I lacked confidence.
Now, I’ve embraced my inner me and I am excited to meet him and enjoying our conversation, just as I am intentionally opening myself back up to everything.
I am aggressively putting myself out there in every way and I am seeing the results.