I am not someone that would ever be described as “sexy.” “Funny,” yes. “Witty,” on a good day. Never “sexy.” Hearing your husky voice whispering “Damn, you’re so sexy…” as your lips trailed their way from my earlobes to my collarbone had an almost immediate, but surprising effect on me. Yes, the words combined with the physical connect-the-dots you were playing had their intended weak-at-the-knees/ swooning/ please-continue-what-you’re-doing effect, but there was a strange psychological shift that happened at that exact moment. I could definitely feel my body reacting positively, but I could also feel my mind actually believing your words. Me! Ms. Hold-on-I-tripped-over-my-own-feet! Sexy? If you say so!
Leaving you on my doorstep, I remember floating up the stairs in a pure daze. You know the kind that I’m talking about. The complete euphoria that a good make-out session that leaves both wanting can have. For approximately the next 48 hours, I found myself sauntering into rooms with my head held high, an expression of triumph and confidence permanently plastered on my face. Friends and coworkers remarked at my shift in demeanor, and I could only smile and say something like, “I’m just having a really good day” or “Must be this beautiful weather”. I couldn’t tell anyone the truth! It was too personal, and it felt like a scandalous secret. Someone thought I was sexy! I would read your flirty messages with a slightly mischievous smile, and I felt powerful.
Then something happened. Around hour 49 you sent me a text that read something like this, “I can’t get you out of my head. You’re so sexy and smart and I can’t wait to see you again”. Sounds like something any woman would love to hear, right? But I happened to be standing right next to my full length mirror when I read the message. Now this is one of those $5 mirrors every college kid got that sits on the back of a door. A real space saver. It’s also not the best mirror in the world. It mildly distorts everything it reflects, and I generally make note of this in the back of my mind when I’m using it to critique whatever outfit I’ve decided on for the day. On this occasion, I forgot about the crappy quality of the mirror and just stared at myself.
I was coming down from my high. I was crashing. You weren’t anywhere around to whisper tantalizing things into my ear, and your gruff lust-filled voice was becoming a memory. Maybe I had imagined it? I mean, why would this attractive man find me sexy? Staring into the fun-house mirror, I began to come up with excuses for him:
He had one too many beers and he wasn’t seeing or thinking clearly. (False. He had maybe 3 beers and stands well over 6 feet tall with broad shoulders. His tolerance is much higher.)
Maybe he has a hard time meeting women because of his job. There’s a chance he was desperate. (Also, False. He works in an industry with way more women than men. He has no shortage of options).
He was confused and didn’t realize he was talking to me. (Highly unlikely. Our passionate doorway kissing was initiated after he said my name in his deep manly voice, and I could barely control myself).
Maybe he said “Damn, you’re so silly…” and I misheard him. (Highly unlikely, as well, considering the next words out of his mouth were “So” kiss on the ear “damn” kiss on the neck “sexy” kiss on the collarbone.)
He just wanted to get in my pants. (The jury is still out on this one…)
All of these were based on the notion that he couldn’t possibly believe that I was sexy.
It was stupid.
I could not swallow the fact that someone could be that physically attracted to me. There’s a difference between saying someone is beautiful and saying that they are sexy. Sexy has an undertone of carnal desire. That’s a connotation that I’m just not familiar with.
I looked in my mirror and saw my imperfections: big feet, sausage fingers, stomach pooch, and a slight lazy eye. These are things that I’ve spent a majority of my life staring at and picking apart. I see my imperfections as glaringly obvious, because I’ve spent so much time focusing on them.
Then the light bulb flicked on. The circuits were closed and everything flowed so easily that it made perfect sense. You don’t see me the way I see myself in the mirror. You have only seen me for a tiny fraction of my life. You haven’t spent years dissecting bumps and blemishes. I am still novel to you. Still shiny and untarnished in your eyes. I don’t represent my awkward teenaged years to you. I don’t represent acne, trying to figure out slow dancing, or instant messenger away messages with pop-punk lyrics. I was well beyond those stages when I met you. I am a woman in your eyes, feminine and sensual. Those odd adolescent years when I formed opinions about my appearance, my body and my worth were not spent in your presence. You are completely unaware of how those mindsets have shaped my self-perception. You only see me standing before you as I am now.
The light bulb began to flicker as a wave of doubt washed over me. What happens when you begin to see the not-so-sexy parts of me? When you discover the hair on the back of my fingers or the stretch marks on my stomach? What happens when my imperfections are sitting right in front of you? Will you recoil in disgust, because this idealized image of me has been shattered? Will you claim to love the imperfections because they are mine? Will you sigh with relief because you, too, have been having similar self-conscious thoughts?
All of these thoughts ran through my mind at lightning speed. How could one little four-letter word have caused such extreme reactions? I went from sauntering to second guessing in a manner of minutes, and it was all because you called me something I never thought I could be. For that I want to thank you. You’ve opened my eyes to a part of me I didn’t know I was missing out on. Now I just have to figure out how to get that back. What’s it going to take for me to know that I am sexy? I want to believe it. I want to see it when I look in the mirror. That’s going to take some time. Time that I’m 100% dedicated to putting in. While I work on that, I think I would be okay with hearing you say it a few more times. We can always go from there.