There is a misconception that women are the insecure gender. Yes, girls criticize themselves and are socialized to believe if we’re not supermodels then we’re not attractive or perfect just the way we are. But what about men? No one ever discusses the insecurities that plague men because if a guy shows weakness he’s looked down upon or called a pussy. By no means do I want a guy who is crying all the time but being in touch with your feelings is not a bad thing! How can you be secure if you are not honest with how you feel about yourself? The answer is NOT all men are secure.
I didn’t conduct an experiment with a control group but my exposure to men has lead me to this conclusion. Since I began online dating again, I’ve noticed that most of the guys I am talking to have something in common, low self esteem. However, it would not appear that way to the naked eye. Many come off as cocky and overcompensate whether it’s how much money they have or how far along in their career they believe they are. But it’s those little comments and gestures that blow their poker face.
Let me give you a clear example:
I was talking to this guy, we’ll call him Peter Griffin (explanation to follow), and he immediately asked me if I liked his pictures. Peter had actually contacted me on another site a few years back and used the same pictures so I knew these were not recent. There was the first hint of deception. The old picture. This will probably come up in every post but, come on, if you don’t look like your picture then don’t post it! Then he asked me if I look like my pictures. He pressed this topic for a while as I reassured him I wasn’t a 56 year old man pleasuring himself at the public library computer. He kept talking about how we were both really good looking people (and pointed out how people tell him he’s handsome all the time). He then pat himself on the back for his sexual prowess. Peter noted quite a few times how long he could go for yet he hadn’t asked for my name yet. I agreed to go out with him because he lives close and has a Labradoodle (as do I). I thought, if nothing else, I would have another friend at the dog park.
The date. Peter Griffin took me to a cafe that was cute but more so for meeting an old friend for coffee. This was Saturday night and the nicest meal they had on the menu was a burger and fries. But he was classy, he brought champagne, Korbel, and had it chilling for my arrival. As I expected, he did not look like his pictures. Coincidently his first question was, “So, do I look like my pics?”. What am I supposed to say? No, you have less hair, are 50 pounds heavier, and might be batting for the other team. Then he went on to tell me about his new exercise regimen and low carb diet (he offered me some dieting tips…yup), what he had for lunch, what he has for lunch on a regular work day, and how he already feels lighter and more energetic. Peter didn’t forget to mention the amazing apartment he has and how much money it costs, the new cars he gets every year (from a Hassidic family in Brooklyn?), and how he’s a “musician”. FYI, owning a guitar and singing along with the radio does not make you a musician.
I hate goodbyes but this one I was looking forward to. As we’re walking out he offers to drive me to my apartment since he thoughtfully picked a place that was closer to his apartment. Unfortunately I don’t live in a city that you can just hail a cab so I decided to take him up on his offer…among other things. He said he had to go into his apartment to get his keys. He showed off his mediocre apartment, okay the view was amazing but this was nothing compared to what he made it seem. He kept trying to show me his room and his king sized bed. As deeply impressed as I was by his ability to furnish an apartment, I wasn’t that interested and wanted to get home. I asked to use the bathroom and when I came out he called to me from his bedroom. I walked in to find him laying on his bed naked (Castanza portrait-esq). I was speechless, not because of his ballsy assumption that I’d want to have sex with him but that he looked so much like Peter Griffin from that episode of Family Guy where Peter’s bones disintegrate and he’s just a huge blob of fat. I swear, the resemblance was uncanny! He started to stretch and flex his leg to show off his assets. He actually said, “Come feel. I’m all muscle” and I couldn’t help but think “Under which layer of skin and fat?”. I have nothing against overweight people but the way this guy spoke of himself you would think you were on a date with David Beckham, not the complete opposite. As much as I enjoy awkward moments, this one needed to end.
But the journey continued. I asked if he minded taking me home because I wasn’t feeling well, AKA was nauseous from the mental image of his naked body ingrained in my memory. So he gets his clothes and brings them to the bathroom to dress (because being naked was ok but seeing him dress was off limits). Then he was telling me how handy he is around the apartment and how he installed everything himself. I inquired about the ceiling fan that was hanging from a wire and was one door slam away from crashing to the ground. He conveniently didn’t work on that one. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, we get to the car and he puts on Nickelback and starts belting out “Never made it as a wise man, couldn’t cut it as a poor man stealing”. I was embarrassed for him. It was mostly his pride in liking bands like Nickelback and knowing every lyric to the songs as well as the key changes. It didn’t stop there- he informed me that he just learned how to play this gem on the guitar! Because hearing you play it will make it sound better, right?
Peter Griffin was just a walking contradiction. This guy had cajones! Not only did he strip naked and try to seduce me but I was able to call him out on every lie and exaggeration that came out of his mouth. To me he screamed insecure! In an attempt to overcompensate for his shortcomings he came off as self conscious of his appearance, his finances, his masculinity, sexual capacity, and his musical ability (or lack there of). Note that this behavior is typical for people with low self esteem. Masking it with a facade only goes so far. Your true nature will always show as it did in the Family Guy episode with the real Peter Griffin and now with the fake Peter Griffin, case in point.
To the nervous daters out there, you are not alone. No one is completely secure but the more you confront these insecurities the better chance you have of overcoming them. Don’t let these over confident personalities fool you. Just because issues may not be visible right away doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Like a braless girl in a see through shirt, you might be covered in fabric but we can still see your nipples.
Do: Live a naked life. Be honest with yourself and your feelings.
Don’t: Actually get naked…especially as a surprise after the first date. That’s one jack we don’t need popping out of the box.
A toast to living naked because eventually you will have to strip and bare all.