Friday, August 12, 2005

kay this is a little personal...i'm scared

Out the window of the bus this morning, I saw a woman crossing the street wearing a shirt that read, “JERKS (heart) ME”. Totally loved that. Wanted to throw down the window and yell, “Yeeahhh, sistah!”

The shirt got me thinking.

I don’t know how it is for other women, but I’ll just share this little observation from my experience with this, and here it is: The more confident I am, the fewer the jerks for which I fall.

This is not to say that I cease to find jerks alluring. Certain jerks will always intrigue me, play on my emotions, even tantalize the senses a bit. But we’re talking about an emotional commitment, an investment of time, effort, heart and soul - - even if it’s a little one, even if you say to yourself, “this is just a short-term type thing”. My desire to invest in a jerk, long-term or short, is just not what it used to be, and I think that’s a good sign.

It reminds me of something my brother’s friend, Scott, once shared with me. I think he meant it as comfort, or’s hard to tell. “Guys are jerks. Girls are stupid.” I don’t care much for the ‘girls are stupid’ part. (I don’t care much for any of it, really.) Let’s just say “Girls are too nice” instead.

There are so many nice, nice girls out there. But as a well-known musical composer once put it: “nice is different than good.” I think I’ve always been a "nice girl," and I’m still a "nice girl." Except now I’m a "nice girl with reasonable expectations for the reciprocal behavior of others to whom I will emotionally commit." That's not as easily screened on a t-shirt, is it?!

Way back when, I was a nice girl who’d get sent to the cleaners apologizing all the way through the spin cycle. And that cycle got repeated several times until I finally got off the conveyor belt. I benched myself for two and half years. And for a while there I thought Bench and I would have a beautiful life together forever. Now I realize that Bench was a place to rest, to think, and a place to start over.

Which brings us to the present. I got real fond of Bench, but it’s time to stand up and stretch the legs. It’s not easy. I’m taking it slow. But I’m also truly excited to see what’s waiting for me, now that my jerk-repelling talisman is securely fastened over my once broken heart. To do without confidence in the knowledge of who and whose I am would be a tragedy and not just for me. If for no other reason, I will learn to stand up for myself so that my future children won’t have to do it for me. Theirs will be the right to just be kids, while steady Mom is safely cared for by Dad.

I know it may not happen this way, no matter what measures I take. There is just no predicting how things are going to end up. But like I said, with more confidence in me, the weaker the chances of ending up with a jerk.

I was just thinking about the time when my Dad said he wanted to sell bumper stickers that said: I (heart) My Great Dane: But Fluffy Isn’t Ready for a Relationship. Kind of random. But that’s my Dad.
That is an awesome post. I totally get what you mean, and you said it so well. I completely agree that as women get more secure, they are less likely to put up with jerks. And most people I know who have stayed with jerks the longest have been the most insecure. I just never really put the two together.

Also, I decided (very deliberatly) to become well acquanted with Bench many, many years ago. I, too, have gotten too comfortable with Bench, however I can't seem to get myself away from Bench. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that part.
Love love this post. It's true. Jerks make woman with the low confidence or self-esteem feel like at least someone likes them, that that's as good as it will get for her, etc.

Not too mention they can come off charming and confident and that is attractive. That's usually a fairly thin veneer that a more self-assured woman can at some point see through, but not necesarily and not necesarily for someone not as confident.

And the nice part just makes 'you' feel like the jerk when you don't want to put up with it or take steps to not put up with it anymore.

I've discovered in the past several years that I'm not really that niiice a person. I can, I think, be kind and thoughtful and giving, but I'm pretty insistent on being treated decently and having my boundaries respected. At least, in order to really get close to anyone, man or woman.

This now concludes the 'it must be all about me hour' on the cat show. sorry!

Great post, Mary! Hope you get to leave that bench behind a bit:)
Mary, I'm a friend of Cat's and I've been consistently enjoying your blog for several weeks now. This post is especially relevant for me right now... I know that you've recently turned 32. I am just a few weeks shy of that same birthday, myself. I say that to say, that I really think that some combination of age/maturity and confidence commingling helps a woman to get to that point... the point at which a jerk will just no longer do...for anything,not even friendship. You are a superb writer,and I love reading you. I'm hoping a worthy guy comes along for you soon, but in the meantime, I'm so glad you already know how worthy you are!
Richard, you know I feel you. I was in jerks heart me mode for a while and disappointed myself for a long long while with this kind of okie dokie... you know my drama. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, a desire to expect more of self and others in terms of relationships to tap into, and to tap into for good. Freedom baby. Yeeeahhhh! - A. Powers
All my love,
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