The other day I was tapping out my gym code when a guy introduced himself on the way out. I figured he must be asking me the way or something because I looked bad. I’m wearing this down jacket that my ex stole from a club and it’s splattered with white paint. I do have a lovely green gym but he can’t see it. My face was puffy from not sleeping well. I still wear my bike helmet. He wasn’t asking for directions, though; he was talking to me.
“I’ve seen you,” he said. “I wanted to say hello, but I don’t want you to stop exercising.”
I gave him my number and turned and walked in the door — or tried to. We’ve talked long enough that they shut me down and I have to pull myself back.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “that was my fault.”
Part of me loves what just happened. I walk around the gym like a Kylie Jenner meme strutting around on a private jet with her hair pinned behind her ears. Another part of me felt exposed, like I had been caught at the wrong time. I want to tell him, “Wait, I can do better – I’m not ready!”
This is how I feel with a lot of men lately. I ignore their messages. Stupid, like a friend sent me a video of a guy holding up a sign that says, “Send this to whoever you want to sit on your face.” And normal, like when I go out Someone I was with after a night of playing texted me asking if I got home safely. The hinge remains removed. I set myself these deadlines all the time — committing to when my skin gets better, when I get back to the gym, when I get rid of the peach fuzz on my face, whiten my teeth, write more words, when I’m better at communicating , when I’m less tired, when I get to the bottom of my to-do list.
After talking to that person, I realized the flaws in this thinking. I treat attraction as a logical thing, as if the better you are, the more likely you are to meet someone you like, which I suppose should be true, but not always. I can’t be the only one looking at old pictures of myself and wondering if there’s anyone like my younger self after all. I wear sparkly eye makeup, my hair is thinning from bleach, my lips are dry, and my eyebrows are too dark, but I still meet a lot of people. How sexy or interesting you are has much less to do with your romantic life than we think. In fact, believing it does surround us, shut us down, and keep us from the good things that fall in our lap.