Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tit for Tat

There comes a time in every relationship when the proverbial jig is up.  The deck is depleted and you have to show your hand.  In romance, some time between coming and going, both parties have to come clean.

There are the obvious lies of illusion to fess up about, i.e., his internet profile said he was 5’ 11”, but without his lifts he’s really 5’ 5”, or her skin looks flawless, but waking up to her a.m. facade feels like staring at the dark side of the moon.  Perhaps he picks you up for the date in a Mercedes SLK, but after the date, when he takes you back to his place, it’s a 300 sq-ft bachelor with little more than an air mattress and a hot plate.  Or maybe you’re really digging your new girlfriend’s perky and plentiful d├ęcolletage only to get her undressed and find her tits really reside closer to her navel than her neck.  That’s the real secret Victoria’s hiding!  Unless she’s under 25 years-old, or slinging silicone, no woman’s tits are as perky or perfect as a strategic placement of underwire and hooks purport them to be.  Let’s face it girls, we’re almost all liars to some degree.  Our cheeks aren’t that rosy, our lashes aren’t that long, our hair does not sprout from our scalps with perfect sun-kissed highlights and chestnut undertones, and though we may start the evening with bodacious tatas, by the end of the night are tits will be deflated somewhere around our armpits.  But what we really want to know is, will he love us anyway?

Chris Rock once joked that nobody starts a relationship as his or her true self, rather we all send our representative.  We put our best foot forward, hiding the bunions and ingrown toenails under Cinderella’s glass slipper.  And many of the women I see in my office would rather flee the scene than let Prince Charming see how jacked up her feet really are.

For example, I have a client, we’ll call her Cindy, who came to me desperate to find true love.  She took excellent care of her body, was highly educated, poised, and had even learned rules, stats, and players of every major US-televised sport as to make herself more attractive to men.  But Cindy could never seem to score when it came to romance.  Much like Cinderella, Cindy had been made into the belle of the ball, but her beauty, both outside and in, was on a ticking clock.  Eventually, midnight would strike and the prince du jour would find out that she wasn’t that beautiful, or that sweet, and that his little princess was the one thing so many women are afraid to be – human.  Cindy and I discovered that all her lies of illusion boiled down to one simple lie of omission.  She had been omitting her true self from all of her relationships.  She’d been operating under the common delusion that romantic relationships are a game of tit for tat.  She thought if she gave her men a beautiful outside, then they would make her feel beautiful on the inside.  But if Cindy couldn’t get her outsides to match her insides herself, she was never going to find the love she desired.  No man could make her feel whole when her story was only half-truths.  There’s just no tit for that.

Cindy and I worked on building her self-esteem by daring to get acquainted with her true self.  And once the real Cindy emerged, she realized falling in love was less about her makeup and pushup bras, than it was about being woman enough to admit that, when it came to relationships, she was really just a scared little girl.

We are, all of us, just emotional infants fumbling about in grownup skin.  In the game of love, we compete, and bluff, and one-up each other because we’re really all just afraid of losing.  I wonder what lies might be standing in the way of my own romantic end game.  Could the big-O be eluding me because, just like Cindy, I was a big faker?  For all my boys and toys, could it be that the one thing I really need to try in order to come, is to come clean?  Finally show a partner who I really am?  If so, I don’t know if that can be done in the next 246 days.  Perhaps my sexual revolution will end up just like my new year’s resolutions – facedown in a pint of rum raisin, dripping all over my brand new yoga pants.  I just don’t know.  Cindy’s story was a success.  Eventually.  Maybe mine will be too.