After I Hook Up With A Hot Chick, I Psychoanalyze Myself

It was Saturday night and she was a friend of a friend of a friend. She was beautiful, actually truly beautiful, with the kind of face that didn’t boast but carried quiet assurance in what it was, grew prettier the more you looked.

We met at a bar in Brooklyn, in an outdoor area in the back that accommodated our whole group. It was a breezy night in mid October, a little chilly when the wind picked up, but one of the last good nights before the cold set in. We drank beers and took shots. We talked, and laughed, and danced, and kissed. There were people everywhere, all around, but for three, maybe four hours, maybe time didn’t matter, it was only the two of us at the bar, only the two of us in our own minds. She gave me her number, and at the end of the night, we promised to hang out again, soon.

I took the subway home, a waste of $2.50 in fare. I easily could have flown.

That night I had a dream about being with her. In my dream, she looked different, not how I remembered, less attractive. In the morning, I woke up a little disoriented. Did I drink more than I thought? Was it real? I caved, immediately jumped on Facebook, found her profile, clicked through her photos. She was every bit as beautiful as I had believed, maybe more. I did not friend request.

I think every guy is aware, on some level, of the range of girls that have a place in his life. It’s not entirely shallow, but a lot of it is.

There are the girls we take for granted – the ones we like but we know like us more. We enjoy seeing them every now and then but it always leaves us wanting more, as if we had just done something charitable and found it less fulfilling than we imagined.

There are the girls in our comfort zone, who are cool and pretty and really get along, the ones we’re comfortable with and enjoy being around, on all but our most ambitious days.

Then, there are the girls who speck the top shelves of our reach, who tease and taunt us, make us aspire to be something more – better-looking, more charming, have better hair – make us wish we were the type of guy they might end up with.

This girl belonged in that last group. In the range of girls I thought I had a chance with, she didn’t just register on the upper bound, she set the new standard, extending that range to a stratosphere I never thought was possible. I was rocked, exhilarated, confused – left wondering, is this what I’m capable of?

It seems crazy to think that women were once told they needed a man, that their primary goal was to attract a man, that their worth was tied to their prospects of marrying a man. Those days are gone. But the idea of needing validation – that piece of our psyche that stakes so much of our own identity on what others think – is confined to neither women nor the past. It is something we carry with us everyday – a sniveling, incessant hum, like the faint buzz of a mosquito that you can hear when the room becomes quiet. For better or worse, we all need validation, need it when we log back on minutes later to check if anyone new has liked our status, need it when we dig up our old report cards and read the teachers’ comments about our potential. We seek validation however we can, hold onto it tightly, and never let go.

After that night, the girl and I texted for a bit, then she never returned my calls. I was hung up on it for a few weeks, tried not to think about it, but sometimes my mind wandered and I couldn’t rein it back, the remembrance simultaneously ecstasy and torture, pure vindication of new heights achieved and unavoidable recognition that perhaps it had all been a fluke.

Eventually, I got over it, and when I did, I realized I was in a better place. The truth is, even without a happy ending, that night did a lot for me. I felt more comfortable with who I was – more accepting of how I looked, more assured in the things I said and the way I said them. As much as I don’t want to admit it – the part of me that eschews superficiality, the part that preaches “it’s-the-inside-that-counts” finds this deplorable – hooking up with a super hot girl raised my self-esteem.

But while the encounter had given me confidence, I am still the exact same person as Dan before he stepped on the train to Brooklyn that night. That Dan and I have read all the same books, we still hang out with the same friends, still have the same painful memories of Kate Brennan saying she couldn’t be our date to the eighth grade graduation dance anymore because she had decided to go with James DeGraw, a tragedy we fear may one day affect our propensity to commit.

Why did I suddenly feel so validated knowing that hot girls found me attractive back – or at least one did on one occasion? When we do this, aren’t we relinquishing control, granting power to others, people we may not even know? Confidence need not come from external sources, it should flow from an internal wellspring. So when we look at our own reflections, why do we let the mirror tell us who we are? TC mark

image – Orangeadnan

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