I spent most of the day texting with a Hot Insanely Confident Dude friend of mine who has witnessed my existence over these past couple of months back in New York. It was enlightening. He got to the root of one of the main problems I've been working with.
Not even realizing how deeply reading Lori Gottlieb's "Marry Him" had seeped into my unconscious.
Did you read it, too? Let's have an exorcism together, friends. Here's how it went down over text.
Him: You need a little more DGAF in your dating/romantic life, in my opinion.
Me: Um. No fucking shit. No fucking shit.
Him: Otherwise you're going to end up with some bullshit-less dude that you'll convince yourself you're in love with and end up saying WTF in about 5 years.
Me: I just want someone I love and who I can look forward to fucking.
Him: Yeah, but you don't need it.
Me: Okay. I guess.
Him: Get off on being who you are. Own that shit.
Me: Right. True.
Him: You don't F-ing "need" a man. If one came up, fine, but you ain't dependent.
Me: Yes. It's true.
Him: You can F them and then not call them back. Or you could act like you might and then not call them back.
Me: Yes. I have major daddy issues. My dad was so terrifying. It made me into such a conflict-avoiding people pleaser. So that's why I have trouble being a bitch who owns her worth. Because my screaming blind unpredictable volatile angry combat marine dad scared the living shit out of me. But I'm better. I'm severing the loop.
Him: Yep. And it's okay. You have been successful on your own. Nobody gave it to you. And at the end of the day: Who cares?
Me: Yes. True. Who cares?
Him: Serious, who fucking cares?
Me: Yes. I have trouble believing that people like me/love me. That they aren't going to suddenly reject me. And that's what I need to get over. Because it doesn't matter. WHO FUCKING CARES? I like that a lot.
Him: So true. Plus I'm not saying you can't be nice, funny, witty, engaging. I just wouldn't depend on their response. Own it beforehand.
Me: Yes. Absolutely.
Him: Who gives a shit? ESPECIALLY with potential boyfriends.
Me: Right. Except. I have a thing that I'm 37. And that book "Marry Him" completely fucked me up. That statistically it's so much harder to find a guy when you're over 40. And that you're a fucking idiot if you don't lock that shit down. That you're deluding yourself. You have a higher chance of getting killed in a terrorist attack. That whole song and dance.
Him: Written by a woman?
Him: Not in today's world. Not in tomorrow's.
Me: True. I need to write about this.
Him: Guys in their twenties. They're dummies you can own.
Me: I have this constant underlying anxiety of how I appear to others. Like. I just fucking fret. And you're right. It's stupid.
Him: Dude, you're in a perfect wheelhouse. Time to act like a dude and not a girl.
Me: I'm just stressed out. I have so much change going on. Ugh, now I'm being a whiny little bitch.
Him: Again. At the end of the day. Who cares? You're going to be fine. So what? Are you going to become unfunny? Not be able to write? Rest on your talent. Take it from me. You will be great.
Me: You know what's weird? I get really anxious about all the stupid shit. And I'm at my funniest and happiest when I don't give a shit.
Me: I think it comes down to feeling lovable or not. Like, caring if someone gets me or not. If I connect. If I will be accepted or rejected. Like I recognize that I pollute/deplete my stock even with you when I talk about this shit. No one likes it. It's gross. But I'm trying to get rid of it.
Him: That's bullshit by the way. All of that is normal. Everyone feels that. There's not a person alive who doesn't feel that. But at the end of the day, it doesn't make a difference. No one else defines you.
Me: I think I need to just let go of the idea of some male prince fairytale guy. My mom is always like asking, worried, wanting me to find someone. I think that's where part of it comes from, too. Not just "Marry Him" entirely.
Him: Oh, sure. Don't believe those things. Guys like that don't exist.
Me: My problem is that guys like to fuck girls like me but then want me to be more of a quiet meek demure lovely adornment. And I suck at that. I have a dude aggressive personality with a libido to match, and with women sometimes it feels like a big competition: Can you find someone?
Me: Like, can you be the way I am, and land someone great.
Him: Of mother-F-ing course.
Me: I just always date guys who want me to tone my shit down.
Him: Just let go of the insecurity. And that's dumb. Don't date those guys!
Me: Yeah, I've had years of people telling me to be different, quieter, safer. So, okay. I will own it. Thank you. You are helping a lot.
Him: Don't do that, because being who you are has drawn people to you. Don't be defined by that.
Me: Yeah, I know. I just love to feel alive and have that sense of hope-possibility-sexy-excitement to look forward to that comes with men. I live for that connection. I get it through writing, comedy and sex.
Him: Oh, yes. The rush. Got it. But to encourage that you've got to lessen the worry that comes through it.
Me: Yes. Totally.
Him: My point is: You'll have the connection. The only thing that cockblocks you is the outward "need" for them. You just need to do a better job of reading men. See, they need their egos stroked, but -- more importantly -- they also need the challenge.
Me: You are smart. And an awesome friend.
And that's what friends do. They give it to you straight. I've had that stupid book burning in the back of my brain ever since I read it. As if my expiration date was up in three years. And I think it's informed some of my actions. Of when I find a connection, I think: Okay! This is it! Instead of recognizing I don't need any of that. Jane inspires me in that area, quite honestly. I tell her that every day. I love her, I love her life and she is one of the most powerful, sexy, happy, fulfilled, full-of-joy, living her best damn life women I've ever met. She didn't have to "marry him."
And neither do I.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.