Sunday, December 16, 2012

Being Oneself

A close (male) friend of mine recently shared the following quote with me, and it got me to thinking:

“A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled, but for that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy.” ~~ George Jean Nathan

When I was a young woman, I felt it important to be that sexy woman that media sold me a bill of goods to be. That concept carried over into later years and caused a good deal of distress. Although I am fortunate to have excellent skin tone and texture, good hair and teeth, etc., (I sound like a horse now), I feel far from that electrifying, enkindling vixen I once was. 

Men no longer follow me on the street, or make cat calls. It's been ages since a guy stood before me, tongue-tied and stammering, red-faced and ashamed. And I'm so glad of that, I can't tell you! I am ever so much more comfortable in my own skin without those interactions. 

I am pleased to be able to look a man straight in the eye and smile a warm, genuine smile, letting him know I care about him as an individual and that I don't feel like prey. I no longer feel subjected to predatory interactions. Nor do I feel embarrassed vicariously because the male is ashamed of his physical response when in close quarters with me. My physical features are no longer the cause of discomfort for either of us. 

But after my ex left me, I found myself floundering. What did I, an out-of-shape, middle-aged woman have to offer a new beau? Maybe I'm not scary looking yet, I dunno, but I'm definitely not stereotypically sexy either. My friends assured me that mature men were not looking for physical perfection. I felt dubious. Online dating sites seem to place a giant value on photographs. 

To make a long story shorter, I read the above words and reflected on them. I actually felt a little wistful thinking of how much time, effort, and energy I wasted trying to be that "electrified and enkindled" woman I believed would capture the imagination and love of a special man, when all these years men have fallen in love with me because they felt relaxed and comforted with me. 

Yes, the truth apparently is to just be who you are, and the rest falls into place naturally. I know this because, looking back over a lifetime of -- well, this comes off sounding egotistical, but it's true -- more than my fair share of men having fallen in love with me, I now realize it was not because of my beauty, but because of my spirit. Maybe the beauty was the initial attraction, but it was the spirit that cinched the deal. 

I wish I'd been ready to read those words thirty years ago. But I'm ever so thankful I am ready for them today. It will take a bit of adjustment to reconcile, but I do believe the basic truth of what Mr. Nathan said. How much of our lives are wasted because we looked at something from a skewed point of view? Staggers the mind, it does. ~~GH


Karen Brideweser said...

Your words never cease to amaze me!

Karen Brideweser said...

Wise, wise words.

Ginger said...

Karen, Your words never cease to inspire me and re-affirm my belief in the basic goodness of mankind. :D