“Every woman is beautiful; it just takes the right man, at the right time, in the right manner to see it.”
I’m not one to kiss and tell; so when it comes to dating, I’m pretty private! Most that transpires between any eligible bachelor in question and me I keep to myself; okay and maybe a couple of close friends I can count on. Other than those select ones I’m closed lipped and keep that slice of my life close to my chest.
For almost a year, I have actively dated some select few men; and in that same year took a hiatus from that same activity. It was an intentional decision I made to go on this ever growing, and ever socially acceptable (and now almost expected) online dating scene. Coffee Meets Bagel and Hinge were my daily sources of eligible bachelors. Like fishing, I casted out my net. I posted my best angles, my best filters, my best, fill in the blank, and I wrote about all my great qualities. Like a job search, I brushed up my personal resume – complete with my best head shots, and full body photo ops! Because, let’s be honest, online dating is like a job search.
In all my life, I don’t think I have ever dated as actively. Personally speaking, I tend to let things happen organically, or “the old fashioned way.” And in the wake of my father’s death two and a half years ago I had to shake off some grief and extra weight, to get back to me (so to speak) before I was ready and confident to put myself out there again. Then, to discover this world of working professionals who didn’t find their soulmate in high school or college, and are left to an array of forums ranging from the hookup option that Tinder offers to the in depth questionnaire and ticket price of eHarmony I was substantially overwhelmed!
In a little more than a half year span I went on more first dates than I can remember, a fair number of second and third dates, and dated a couple different men fairly steadily for some months. I should probably say right now, I am not seeing anyone at the moment. I know I was leading conclusions elsewhere. Sorry to disappoint.
Dating these days is so complicated, delicate and convoluted! Truth be told, it’s exhausting! Sometimes, I just think how much easier it’d be if I were asexual, and didn’t desire emotional closeness, affection, romantic love, and companionship. It sure would make my life less complicated and easier. Yet alas, men are some fine specimens of handsomeness and this woman can’t resist from the irresistible chemistry I find myself in, or from engaging in the dating dance! Call me a fool I guess.
One of the first bachelors I found myself involved with was intense and passionate! Anything that mattered to him he pursued it with great intensity – even if there was a conflict between two equal desires. There was no weighing of what’s more important, he’d simply do it all. Even if that meant no sleep and an obscene amount of driving – he’d do it! For the time were talked and dated, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced more consistent communication via text and calls - multiple times a day, and most days. Don't even get me started on the feisty banter that happened between us either. With this fella, I was definitely able to show my sarcastic side – matter of fact he put my sarcasm to shame in comparison to his. He kept me on my toes for sure! Some moments of physical affection were just as passionate – and if I’m honest I was a sucker for it! Presumably so, and given the level of attraction, I was baffled when said bachelor ghosted – no rhyme or reason, or explanation - just disappeared. This was my first experience of this new modern (and somehow totally acceptable) phenomenon. I was dumbfounded to learn of its social acceptance – a totally normal thing to do! Really, I couldn’t believe how a person could allow themselves to dismiss someone in such a cold way. Ghosting is really worse than rejection, because with rejection you at least have a level of closure; not with ghosting. With ghosting there are no answers, no rhyme, no reason, not a hint or a clue – nothing, just gone!
After accepting the fact that said passionate, sarcastic gent lost interest I proceeded to the next bachelor. While bachelor number two wasn’t as feisty, I was still drawn in nonetheless. We seemed to have plenty in common: an affinity for a particular Bay Area city, both active and fit, and both had experienced the death of a parent. The attraction and chemistry helped too – that’s for sure! I found myself intrigued by this man’s intentional direct communication with most things serious – full disclosure! He bounced ideas off a trusted elder about anything significant that was disclosed between us or that transpired between us; then proceed to follow up with me about some points of their conversations. He had a quite façade to him, but an occasional goof ball would emerge. With this guy though, I experienced a side of myself for the first time, a side (if I’m honest) I was afraid of. Part of me questions the line we walked on, but part of me also is content with it too. It’s a weird oxymoron: while I’m not necessarily proud of our actions, I also don’t regret it either. In a strange way I think I had to experience these things with this man. And while I have a certain gratitude to this man for his time and patience, I think we both knew what we need and are looking for, the other can’t give. So we parted ways. In all sincerity though, I wish him well!
Out of all my dating escapades recently one particular guy truly took me by surprise! One spontaneous night, one particular gentleman shocked me! And with all my online profiling, I didn’t meet this one through a daily match. This one was a familiar face! A good friend, who I am comfortable with; and at the end of an eventful night, caught me blind sighted! He kissed me – like really kissed me – and I didn’t see it coming! Let me be clear here: I’ve been kissed plenty of times, and by plenty of men, but this one left me speechless! Without any hesitation, without any permission and with the surest confidence this man grabbed my face and passionately kissed me like I’ve never been kissed before for the first time! I don’t think I have EVER felt more desired than I felt in that moment. And in that moment my instincts were rendered paralyzed! And as the moment continued and progressed, there was a moment when this gentleman’s breath was taken away as he pulls away from me, gazes upon me, sighs and utters: “gah, you’re beautiful!” In that moment, my heart simultaneously glowed and melted! This man touched, woke, stirred and spoke to a part of my soul that had yet been trigged. He spoke to and of my beauty! Let me reiterate: he didn’t just speak of it, he spoke to it!
Allow me to diverge for a moment: I know I am beautiful. I don’t say this in a conceited way, but more in a way of self-love and confidence. Yet like most women, I do struggle from time to time with my self-image in terms of how I view my beauty. A lot of this struggle stems from my late father (another story read from this earlier post). Trust me when I say I’ve been told plenty of times by a number of men of my physicality: “you’re pretty, beautiful, sexy, hot, gorgeous, stunning, astonishing, cute,” fill in the blank with any number of adjectives. However, as many times as I’ve been told by any man of my beauty, never has it been told to me in such an intimate and genuine manner! The level of beauty I felt – truly felt – I have never felt before! It was such an indescribable feeling. In that moment, having a man just grab me, and moments later sigh in my beauty; to see him have to catch his breath at the sight of me? I’ve never felt more like a woman then I did in that moment! Never have I had a moment of physical affection or intimacy quite like that before. It was truly romantic!
Since that pivotal experience – this almost and arguably rite of passage – I do view myself differently, and carry myself differently because of it. Its exterior effects are subtle, yet the feeling and thoughts after the fact run deep. While I knew prior to this experience I am in fact beautiful, there is a deeper understanding of this beauty as truly seen through the eyes of this man. As I’ve reflected on this moment I wonder what he saw in me that took his breath away. Was it the glimmer in my hair; the sparkle in my eye; the softness of my skin; or the tenderness of my lips? Or was it something deeper as he looked past and through my grand façade in this moment of affection? Like I said, I’ve known this man; he isn’t a stranger. So what was it he saw differently in me in that moment that made him catch his breath? I may never know, and he may not be able to put it into words, but it has unlocked a certain awareness in me that I also struggle to put to words.
With this profound experience and new awareness – of myself, my beauty, and my womanhood – I contemplate the power I hold with it. The power or higher level of confidence and self-awareness that flows from this rite of passage rains, refreshes and molds the woman I hold myself to be. Audrey Hepburn once said, “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she loving gives, the passion that she knows.” And while these man’s words to me, spoke of my outward beauty, the words he spoke to me affects the love I show and the passion I know. It ripples into my classroom and to my students; the affects cascades and guides my interactions with friends and family; the experience flows through and empowers me in my graduate studies at Loyola Marymount University; it makes me more aware and selective of other potential bachelors I choose to entertain; it renews me and reestablishes my knowledge of my beauty, but in a deeper way that I have never known before. In the moment this man’s breath was stripped from him was the same moment a certain feminine and sensual spirit was unlocked in me. To this moment I am grateful for, and to this man, I say: thank you!
“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.”
~ Sophia Loren