I realized something in yoga class this morning.
I am scared of men. More specifically, I am scared of myself when it comes to men.
This is ironic, given that my article on survival tips for singles was published last week.
Because being single is not my fault. It never has been. I didn’t choose to leave, he did.
I have been varying degrees of closed and open since then but “have not met the right person.” I have been traveling and not looking for someone temporary.
I have every reason under the sun. Well, not true. I have all the nice reasons. All the ones that make me blameless. I have all the reasons that “I can’t do anything about.”
This morning, my yoga class was about 40% men. Impressive, I know!
As I usually do, I checked around—lots of nice men (way too young) setting up their mats. I went downstairs to go to the bathroom. As I did, I looked up and accidentally made eye contact with a nice looking guy somewhere around my age. No big deal, right?
I realized in that moment, that I hardly ever make deliberate eye contact with men and I rarely hold it if it happens accidentally. And the better looking the guy, the more I avoid being seen watching him!
And then I started being honest with myself about that.
Wow, okay, so somewhere in between the asanas of an arm balance class (not my favorite as I have dodgy wrists), I did some thinking. What are the thoughts behind my non-eye-contact-OMG-he’s-cute-don’t-look behavior?
1. As an introvert, I am uncomfortable with connecting with strangers and don’t like people “imposing” on me, so I don’t do it to other people.
2. What if he is married or has a girlfriend? I believe strongly in integrity, so would hate hit on a partnered man.
3. What if all he sees in my big nose or my bike-helmet hair?
4. What if he dismisses me completely?
5. Am looking based on appearance only? I like/don’t like the way he looks.
6. If I have thoughts based on appearance only, what does that say about how shallow I am?
7. What if we talk and I like him?
8. What if we talk and I seem to like him more than he likes me?
9. What if we talk and he seems to like me more than I like him?
10. Crap, I am wearing my baggy yoga pants today.
11. And there are way prettier, younger, more flexible girls in the class, so even if he sees me, he won’t keep looking.
And my personal favorite:
12. He is cute, so probably a player, so even if we talked he would only be interested in sex.
Yep, turns out, the depths of my head in an arm balance class is a messy and slightly ugly place. Because—and here’s the real kicker—I am a confident and capable woman, who can chat with people, pick up guys in bars (yes, I have done that!), go on Tinder dates (yes, I have done that too!) and generally face the world with a reasonable sense of self-worth.
But still, these insidious thoughts are lurking behind my casual, “Oh, I just haven’t met anyone yet.”
I am scared of men. I am scared of how men make me feel. I don’t like the insecurity of liking someone, wondering if they like me.
I am scared of my own fear. I don’t want to deal with all that insecurity, so it is much neater and more cheerful being “happily single.”
And so, the fear, the insecurity has been running my life (well, one largish aspect of it, anyway!) for most of my life. Honestly, the relationships I have had—-the real love ones—now feel like something that happened in spite of me, not because of me.
So, what am I going to do about this? Great question!
Get ready for kicker number two.
There is a whole world of men out there that I can deal with easily. Anyone who doesn’t fit into the category of “potential partner” doesn’t make that fear rattle deep inside. Way out of my age range, partnered and just no chemistry are the biggest three things that will get a man into my “no fear” zone.
These guys are safe, easy, see-able.
But, in my “date-able-zone” eek!
Him, I am scared of. I am scared of how he makes me feel. I am scared of even looking at him because all my own crap comes up. I am so scared of facing my own insecurities that I have basically made myself invisible to him for 10 years.
How do I practice my way out of this horrible loneliness when I have effectively barred “date-able” men from my life?
Here is my plan:
1. Make eye contact with more cute guys.
2. Have a good, honest talk with myself about insecurities. “Self”, I am going to say, “Get your shit together. For the entire history of humanity, people have managed to hook up, partner, date, get laid and generally cohabit. You can get over this!”
3. Welcome advice and eye contact from all readers!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kristi Leigh Snyder
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock