Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

An 8 on a bad day

October 7, 2010

Has anyone ever reflected back to you your worst insecurity in a completely innocent way? Left you crushed, debilitated, scrambling and unsure how to come back from their seemingly innocent poke? Here is what this might look like…

After preparing my go to, impress every person with a penis, sirloin steak dinner at my apartment for this guy I like more than I want to, I have found myself in my bed on top of the covers, under my new friend with blouse unbuttoned, hair tousled and lady parts screaming. Yes. You could actually hear them uttering the phrase “pretty pretty pretty please! Enough already! ” We have been making out all over the apartment and are pausing to catch our breath and admire the new objects of our affection. There is something very sweet and tender in his glance. And touch. I was not at all prepared for the words that came out of his mouth.

” You sure are cute.” he beams, brushing a loose curl out of my face, “Much cuter than me, you know that, right?”

I need to digress a moment. CUTE? Puppies are cute. Babies are cute. Sock monkeys are cute. (and hilarious). I am way more than cute. Right? I am a beautiful woman. Vivacious. Captivating. Glorious. Spectacular. Stunning. Splendid. Breath taking. Pick an adjective. They all apply. Especially if you want me to remove my panties. But nice, fun, and cute are not really the words that describe me. Even people who don’t own a thesaurus know that.

“That’s not true,” I whisper in his ear. 

(Okay, its kind of true. But it doesn’t stop me from being profoundly attracted to him. He has kind eyes and a disarming smile. And an enormous amount of sex appeal. Goatee and all.)

But none of this I say. I am too distracted by the lack of space between our bodies. And reproductive organs. Our heads supported by the pillows of my long-standing wholesome bed, and our focus deep into each other’s eyes. Now is really not the appropriate time to be critical of each other’s appearance, if there ever is a time. Which there isn’t. Even constructive criticism has no place in the first few months of a relationship. Am I wrong? This is the time when you find my flaws adorable. Its eight to twelve months in when you can decide that my butt might actually be too big after all. But it is especially bad timing when we are lying in each other’s arms, vulnerable and exposed. 

“Yes, it is. I’m like a six…”

“A six???!!” I exclaim in disbelief and peel back to punctuate my many thoughts on what is wrong with that statement. 

Digression part II: Why did men come up with this scale of rating looks?? You never hear a bunch of woman sitting around speaking about men this way. I, frankly, hate it. What does it even mean? As a person who appreciates a perfect specimen of human construction as much as the next, I mean, how could you not, I just can’t wrap my head around this extraordinarily limiting way to talk about my fellow human beings. Aren’t words maybe a better way to go? I understand that there is a lot more to attraction than purely physical appearance. And a whole hell of a lot more to a person for that matter. To distill an entire person’s essence and value down to a number rubs me all kinds of wrong ways. And kills any sort of mood we might have been working on. I mean, I made steak, Damn it.

I am not a number. You are not a number. Especially not a 6. The powers that be do a pretty good job balancing us all out. So if you are over the top attractive, you might also be over the top dense as well. Who remembers my first boyfriend?

Tina Fey illustrates this theory more beautifully than I ever will on 30 Rock, in her series of dates with John Hamm. His character was so good-looking that no one ever told him  he was bad at everything. Everything. Plus, attractiveness isn’t even a skill you can cultivate. It’s just luck of good genes. Why is that a virtue we are all aspiring to? You were either born with them or you weren’t. 

(This tirade brought to you by what follows)

“… and you are like an 8. On a bad day.”

An 8. 8. Yep an 8. Did I say 8? Cause he did. 

What I should have said was … “Get the fuck out of my bed!” “NOW”

What I said instead was…” Oh… Really? An 8?” 

“On a bad day.” he kindly clarifies. 

And instead of bursting into tears and jumping out the window, I leapt into a story about Cindy Crawford having dinner at my restaurant? Thinking the whole time, Why  am I talking about this when I could be making out? I was attempting to justify to him and myself, I guess, that I am fully aware that I don’t look like a beauty icon. She’s an undisputed 10, I guess, if we are playing this awful game. And I picked her apart, body part, by body part, and drew clear comparisons to my own and why they would never measure up. And I died a little inside. 

You see, only a very small part of me knows his assessment is horse shit. But that very small part of me happens to be outraged. Which I’d like to count as progress. 

“Anything short of a 10 is just inaccurate! Anyone who can’t appreciate making out with a knock out like you, is just a waste of your time!” This Polly pocket-sized princess squeaks, putting her puny foot down.

However, that teeny tiny part’s voice is inaudible over the obnoxious, nasty self-hatred who is hulled up with her 350 pound self on the couch of my psyche sloppily munching on a bag of chocolate covered potato chips, insisting he hit the nail on the head,”8? I would have said 5. On a good day. How else can you explain your perpetual lack of love? And lack luster acting career? Fatty! “she goads.  Yeah, she’s a real bitch! I’m working on evicting her, but she’s real hard to get off the couch. 

My positive self-image is like a freshly filled wet water balloon these days, that is next to impossible to completely grasp and always in danger of slipping through my fingers and exploding all over the floor. Especially if someone startles me or catches me off guard. By calling me an 8. An 8. ( And grading himself a 6, doesn’t make it okay.)

Splat! There goes hours of work in therapy. Needless to say, the fooling around came to a full stop. And we watched TV. And when he finally left, I couldn’t figure out why I felt like udder shit.

A few weeks have passed, and I think I know why now. He wasn’t into me. He didn’t think I was special or beautiful or worth considering. Not even a little bit. And what’s worse, he was an asshole about it.  It’s no crime that I often “settle” for men who aren’t what you would call traditionally handsome. Or physically fit. But I always think they are. Who made the rules for what I am allowed to be attracted to? I get great joy from knowing that I see their beauty, when most people miss it. It makes me feel like I am in on a special secret. 

( I venture to say that people have often missed this guy’s special qualities) (Maybe that’s why he over compensates by being an asshole to women who just want to love him).

What is criminal, is my insistence  to settle for guys who don’t or can’t or won’t see me for how beautiful and special I am. “Is being lonely and celibet really worse than being abused by jerks?” I ask myself “No, but hopefully those won’t always be our only options.” I quip back.  

So, I might not be a 10 sitting next to Cindy Crawford, but you, future lover, should think I’m nuts for thinking that. Because, future perfect lover, you love that I have a flat chest, a crooked smile and full hips, ass and thighs. The funny thing is, mister just not that into me, if you think a super model is going to go for you, and your 6 self, you are crazier than I am.

I’m just saying.

Categories: See Jane Give Up Dick

Comment (1)


  1. Amanda says:

    October 8, 2010

    the man i lost my virginity to told me that i was pretty but not beautiful. he told me this as if it was a compliment and like he was letting me in on a secret. i still think it's true.
    anyways, i love your blog so,so much! Reply

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