Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A perfect "10" or a really good "8"?


Hey all,

For starters, thanks to you all for your comments in the last post. It left me with tons of thoughts and expressions to consider. I'm working on some more serious topics to discuss, and I'll post them pretty soon. But for now, I've got a quick question. This one is especially for the ladies, but fellas feel free to join in if you wanna get down. Here goes:

I've got a female friend (in fact, a few of my lady friends fall in this category) who is about as close to being complete as anybody. She's beautiful, brilliant, successful, nice, talented...the whole nine. She's good at virtually everything she does and the character flaws she has (limited as they are with her) are pretty minor. For lack of a better word, the girl is about as perfect as they come. On top of it all, she's incredible humble and grounded in the Word. I mean, if I even think about complimenting this girl, she will most assuredly (1) blush profusely and/or (2) give credit to God. She's amazing.

Her great qualities comes at a price however. During our conversation, she mentioned that men are frequently intimidated by her. Truthfully, when I first met her, I was intimidated by her my damn self. But once you get to know her, you get to experience the less intimidating side of her. That is, of course, if you're not scared off before then.

So my question to you is the same one she posed to me: How do you tone down your positive qualities so you don't come across as intimidating to others? Perhaps the better question would be: Should you even bother doing so? Initially, I thought the answer was obvious: that she should never compromise herself and who she is for others. But that leaves too much faith in the idea that intimidated people can and will get over themselves and their own insecurities. But we all know that's hardly the case. I'm curious to know what you think.

Go.

- ACL

25 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Joslyn said...

I'm going to wait on this one....

HeiressChild said...

interesting, halle berry has this problem too. i say be yourself at all times. if she's as perfect and humble as you say, then she should continue being herself. i think people who are genuinely interested in her will stick around to get past the initial outward "whatever it is" that intimidates them.

i find when i'm intimidated by someone or something, it's because there's an insecurity that lies with me, and i have to check myself and search myself for what it is. then i have to work on me to get past it.

since you didn't say she was stuck-up or arrogant or anything like that, then i don't feel like there's anything to be done on her part except to make people feel as comfortable as possible when they approach her. i may want to add something else once others respond.

i was half-joking about halle berry, but it's really true, not only about her, but others as well when they have looks, money, social status, etc. it's a matter of finding like-minded people to associate with.

Will Luongo said...

I'd tell her not to bother changing. People worth investing time in will be able to get past their intimidation eventually, as you did.

Megan said...

My choice may not be the more popular one, but I would put a filter on my "perfection" (though none of us are perfect). Of course I wouldn't dumb myself down or compromise myself to satisfy someone else, but I wouldn't make my successes openly known either. Being the somewhat traditional girl I am, I wouldn't want to upstage my husband. If it didn't come at our detriment (i.e. being silent about how much money I have which effects what we can do financially), I would just it to myself. Fortunately, I'm not in such a difficult situation. It's easy to say not to sell yourself, but if it means scaring off everybody, I'm not so sure I'd do it.

Cynthia said...

I feel some of my feminism points being deducted, but I kinda sorta agree with Megan. Sometimes you have to let a man be man. I hate to admit it, but the idea of a strong, successful woman can be threatening to a man who may not be as strong. As she said, if it's to the detriment of both people, obviously the woman shouldn't second-rate herself. But over things that aren't as important, maybe it's best not to wear those things on your shoulder.

Did I really say that?

Joslyn said...

For the record: Halle Berry is crazy. Is she talented? Yes. Beautiful? Undeniably. Crazy? For sure.

Her issues with men stem far beyond her career...

Now, on to the question. Meagan and Cynthia; I'm with you.....sorta.

I seek and attract men who are secure within themselves to be able to cheer me on, instead of making me feel guilty because of their insecurities. There are a lot of men who will feel like less of a man if you have more education and make more money. Because of this reason, I tend to attract older men. I find that older men are *generally* more secure in themselves, and have already identified who they are and what they want outta life.

*PLEASE NOTE THAT I SAID GENERALLY. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE*

*waits for someone to misinterpret that statement*

That being said, the way that one presents herself can be a MAJOR contributor. Take Andre's sister's, for example. ALL 3 OF them are HUGELY successful (Damn, ya'll want to adopt a chick?) but they never come across as dudes or "manly". Like me, I'm sure that all three have to have very agressive personalities when they step foot through that workplace door; however, they leave it there.

Working with an Attorny, I know how to be a REAL BITCH if I have to. I can say some things and slice you four different ways and having you pick your face up off the floor. (Ask Andre, he' seen and heard me in action before) However, once I leave my job, I leave that type of demeanor there, and pick up cute, cuddly, Joslyn to go home. (Hey, everyone loves a Libra, right???)

Now, cute cuddly Joslyn is still very smart and extremly witty, just without the extra mustard on top.

Like you, Cynthia, I don't want to outshine my (future) husband. But for that reason, I choose men who have just as much or more going for themselves than I do. Most importantly, they have to be secure.

P.S. Having more going for themselves doesn't always equal monetary value, but it damn sure helps

HeiressChild said...

i don't think it's a matter of outshining someone, but more a matter of finding people who are more your equal where you can be you. maybe i don't understand the way outshining is being used here, but to me outshining would be showing off, whether verbally or otherwise. i didn't get that sense about the person andre was speaking of.

i understand about having the softer side vs the workplace side such as working in the attorney's office like Joslyn was saying, but people who are intimidated will be so regardless until they get over their own insecurities.

i'm with Will. people shouldn't change unless they want to, and people with insecurities who are intimidated need to make some changes. people who feel intimidated usually feel threatened by something, so they need to check themselves and work thru it.

Joslyn said...

*SHAMLESS PLUG*

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS JOSLYN!!!!

*waits for HC to visit my page*

KC said...

For whatever reason, society tends to villify the qualities that people have when those qualities SHOULD be appreciated. For women, confidence, strength, beauty, etc. are "intimidating" to men. For men, kindness, responsibility, sensibility, etc. are not considered "manly" enough for some women. It's a win-lose situation.

My advice (for what it's worth) would be for people to be who they are. From there, they'll attact who they attract. If those folks can't get over their hang ups, too bad for them.

Andre said...

@ Jos (part I): Dedicating a comment to tell me about what you plan to do. Hmmm. I'll figure that one someday.

@ Heiress: Halle Berry's only true attribute is her beauty. Everything else is questionable. She's really not that spectacle outside of being beautiful; and even that has more to do with the resources she has at her disposal to look that way.

To address your other point: Like you, I have to check myself when I find myself freaked out by somebody else's status. I'm not sure, though, if most people are willing to make such an assessment. Hence, my friend's dilemma. All the same, you're right. We should do our best to fight our insecurities. Rather than being intimidated by what others have, perhaps being reflective and thankful for what God has given us is a better medicine.

@ Will: Whoa! Talk about being in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. What's goin' on, brother?

I think I've made a pretty significant "recovery" (though I admit I'm still occasionally haunted by great people doing great things). But my 'recovery' came after I dropped the ball with a few great people in my life. I had to learn from experience; painful experience.

@ Megan/Cyn: I can appreciate your concern about not 'upstaging' your men. But I can't help but to wonder what would happen if your men found something about you that "intimidated" them. What if your job got them intimidated? Your friends? Your church mates?

Would you be so willing to satisfy someone else that you would part with the very things you've come to love? Just asking...

@ Jos: You hit it with Halle. That chick is crazy. Eye candy, for sure. But crazy nonetheless.

"There are a lot of men who will feel like less of a man if you have more education and make more money."

Do you make this your responsibility? Do you tone it down for cats like this? Again, just curious...

"Now, cute cuddly Joslyn is still very smart and extremly witty, just without the extra mustard on top."

Do you think that the men with whom you're involved deliberately try to avoid the 'intimidating', Attorney Joslyn? What would happen if she got out of her cage outside of work? I guess my point is: though I don't see how you do your thing at work, I get a taste of you just from being a friend. I see that you're pretty no nonsense (you and Angie have that down "to a tee"), but your also pretty tamed; in that you're very invested in keeping the man feeling "manly". Tamed is not the best word, but it's the only I can think of now (it's late). As with Megan and Cynthia, I'm just curious to know how far you'll let that ride.

@ Heiress (part 2): "i understand about having the softer side vs the workplace side such as working in the attorney's office like Joslyn was saying, but people who are intimidated will be so regardless until they get over their own insecurities."

I think that's my ultimate point and what I seem to have trouble understanding. It should be up to the person to get over themselves. But what if they don't? What happens? Would you be willing to lose out on somebody who might be great for just because they can't passed that obstruction. Better yet, does the existence of that obstruction suggest that the person with the hang up is not for you in the first place?

@ Jos: Be back in a moment. Guess I just did the same thing you did...

@ KC: "For whatever reason, society tends to villify the qualities that people have when those qualities SHOULD be appreciated. For women, confidence, strength, beauty, etc. are "intimidating" to men. For men, kindness, responsibility, sensibility, etc. are not considered "manly" enough for some women. It's a win-lose situation."

Interesting point. I never thought about it that way. I've always argued against the mislabelling of men/women based on expected gender roles but I never thought to contextualize it to this post. But you're absolutely correct: certain roles (mostly false) are attached to people who exhibit "good" qualities. For instance, I know a guy who -- as far as I can tell -- is doing his job as 'a man'. He's devoted to his lady, takes care of his family (versus many deadbeats who lay seeds and take off), is working, and has a strict devotion to God. So it suprises me when people question his "manliness". I'm thinking to myself, "Here's a brotha that's doing his thing, taking care of business." Since when is that not being a man? Women deal with the same thing; sometimes with similar repercussions. Women who do their thing are either (1) intimidating, (2) anti-male or (3) "Butches".

I'll never understand that phenomenon.

Back to you, Jos: WOOOOOOOOOWWWWW! Your own blog! Nice! It's about freakin' time! Yeeeah, buddy!

Joslyn said...

Well Dre,

Here's how I view it. Being a smart ass know-it-all is fun for me, but not fun for the people on the receiving end. I guess that's why I feel like I "tame" my personality, because I know that I can sometimes come across a little.....shall we say.....mean????

Andre, you already know that I'll tell ANYONE to get over themselves if they have an issue with me that I'm not willing to change. Sometimes, though, we NEED to be able to view ourselves from a different aspect. Sometimes changing can indicate growth. I'm not saing that this woman shouldn't change the way she view the world, maybe she should re-think the way that she communicates her view.

I dunno....

HeiressChild said...

when i mentioned halle berry, i was half-kidding about her. i just threw her out there. i know she has some issues, but i was really talking about people being intimidated because of other people's beauty, fame, money, etc. she was just an example, but there are other known people where people are intimidated by them as well.

in answer to this part of your questions: I think that's my ultimate point and what I seem to have trouble understanding. It should be up to the person to get over themselves. But what if they don't? What happens? Would you be willing to lose out on somebody who might be great for just because they can't passed that obstruction. Better yet, does the existence of that obstruction suggest that the person with the hang up is not for you in the first place??

yes, it should be up to the person to get past their insecurities, and if they don't, i don't look at it as me losing out on someone. that would mean they weren't for me, or just wasn't meant to be a part of my life. if a person isn't willing to work thru their own insecurities, either with my help or without my help, then a relationship of any kind wouldn't work out because they'd never feel comfortable in my presence. i'm not perfect, and i have my own insecurities, but i work thru them because i don't like the feeling it gives me. i'm secure and confident in who i am, and i refuse to fall prey to intimidation and insecurity so i check myself as to why and work thru it.

usually, when a person is initially intimidated, i think it's because there's an initial outward judgement, and once people take the time to know the other person (like you did), they see it's not like they thought in the beginning.

Andre said...

@ Jos: "Sometimes, though, we NEED to be able to view ourselves from a different aspect. Sometimes changing can indicate growth. I'm not saing that this woman shouldn't change the way she view the world, maybe she should re-think the way that she communicates her view."

It's hard to "rethink" being successful. It's her accomplishments (her degrees, her job, her intelligence) that freak men out; or so she says. It's so bad with her that she's comtemplating lying about who she is/downplaying her success just to avoid the possibility of running people off. That's an unfortunate scenario to be in.

@ Heiress: I get where you're going with Halle. Her deeper issues aside, men being captivated by her makes sense.

"yes, it should be up to the person to get past their insecurities, and if they don't, i don't look at it as me losing out on someone. that would mean they weren't for me, or just wasn't meant to be a part of my life."

That's a lateral point you and I share. I don't think that anybody who walks out on you or gets scared off by you are meant to be a part of your destiny in the first place. But she doesn't see it that way. Being on the receiving end of rejection (and, frankly, having the sensitivity of a woman. Sorry...), she can't see it that way. All she sees are people rejecting her after being frightened off by her success.

The way she was sounding when we spoke, I was under the impression that if getting a man meant quitting her job, drop out of school, and becoming a housewife, she'd do it. Surreal.

Joslyn said...

UHHHH

KC AND HC...VIEW MY BLOG...


*RUNS OUT*

HeiressChild said...

andre, since your friend is a praying person, i don't know if she's prayed about that, but if not, she should and see what results derive. i hope she doesn't sell herself short. unless she wants to give up something or change something for her own self, later on down the line, she'll be unhappy.

Greeneyes said...

outside of hurting others or "inappropriate behavoir " NO one should change something about themselves for anyone, ever. If there is something one does not like about themselves ,sure work on it and change can be good but always be proud of YOU~~.
you do not have to wave a flag of all your attributes In peoples faces ,just be thy self and if it is beauty someone is talking about ,well if you have it count it as a blessing .
A woman as you described may intimidate men but the men who stick it out and get to know her are the ones who should be in her life ,they are mature enough and see other attributes other than outer beauty.
If you dull,dumb or ugly it down where is the relationship going to be once it starts second gear and she relaxes and starts being herself ? A man will feel indiminated if he feels he cannot keep up and may well feel insecure if she becomes a attraction elsewhere all of a sudden .
Good Luck on your first date ,,,,,, as if you dont want to ! Sniff... sniff ....LOL

Andre said...

@ Heiress: "...since your friend is a praying person, i don't know if she's prayed about that, but if not, she should and see what results derive."

Good point. But while I believe in prayer, I believe in human application just as much. Praying for financial stability, for instance won't do much good if you don't go out and get a job. The point is: she has to physically do something to address her perdicament. What that is, exactly, I'm not sure. But I completely agree that "... unless she wants to give up something or change something for her own self, later on down the line, she'll be unhappy."

@ Greeny: I don't doubt the sincerity of your comments. I just question whether or not people in general are enlightened enough to see things the same way; men especially; black men even more especially. As KC mentioned earlier (and what I followed up on), black masculinity is defined using a series of pretty unfair labels. For black men (generally speaking); if you're not 'hardcore' enough, you can't get validation. "Handling your business" is somehow looked at as a weakness. But above all, being with a lady who is more "successful" than you are (however you define success) is the ultimate no-no. While I don't think this is a cultural thing (the friend in question is a white woman who -- as far as I can tell hasn't dated interracially), I have noticed it far too often. Simply put, being the nice and enlightened man just isn't the way to go. Society won't allow it. Perhaps that's why men get intimidated being around more accomplished women.

Andre said...

"Simply put, being the nice and enlightened man just isn't the way to go. Society won't allow it. Perhaps that's why men get intimidated being around more accomplished women."

I should clarify. Society doesn't frequently label men who aren't intimidated by accomplished woman fairly. There's an expectation that the man is supposed to be the one who "wears the pants". Somehow, being the more educated, richer, and more successful person has been equated to wearing those pants. Societally speaking, a man who has been usurped in any way by a woman (other than maybe in child rearing, cooking, homemaking, and other 'feminine' traits) is less of a man. This causes problems for men who may wannna be 'stay at home dads' or who don't mind being with a more accomplished woman. But it also presents serious problems for women who want to strive for the very best in everything they do; because they might just be a little better than the boys. It's an interesting dilemma.

HeiressChild said...

hey andre,

you said: But while I believe in prayer, I believe in human application just as much. Praying for financial stability, for instance won't do much good if you don't go out and get a job. The point is: she has to physically do something to address her perdicament.


well, yes, i know there would have to be some self application after prayer. i was merely suggesting prayer for some enlightenment as to her situation. sometimes thru prayer, God gives us revelation and understanding about what the real problem is and how to take steps to resolve. ya see what i mean?


then i wanted to make comments to your last set of comments about how society views men who stay at home or where the woman makes the money, etc. i think a lot of that has changed and is still changing. i do think the man should be the bread-winner (i'm from that generation), but there are stay-at-home dads and the mom is the one working and it works out fine. as a matter of fact, for the time being, my son-in-law is a stay-at-home dad while my daughter works. while my son-in-law went to school for medical assistant, my daughter has the higher education with her masters degree and a good-paying job. even when he works, she makes the most money. i'm not in agreement with the whole situation, but then, it's their household and it seems to be working out fine. their baby is almost 2 yrs old, so the situation may change soon. (ok, maybe TMI)

i know of other stay-at-home dads, of different races, and they're working out fine too. i think society is more accepting today of this kind of arrangement. i know you specifically mentioned black men, so maybe there's still some stigamitism associated with them, but i'm black and so is my son-in-law and i don't see it.

oh yeah, one last thing. you said,
Societally speaking, a man who has been usurped in any way by a woman (other than maybe in child rearing, cooking, homemaking, and other 'feminine' traits) is less of a man.

now that part about other feminine traits is about as sexist as you can get. since it's just me in the home, and i take out the trash, check the oil in the car, does that mean i have "masculine" traits? sorry, couldn't resist letting this one pass. i am joking though, but i saw a good opportunity and took it.

Andre said...

Hi Sylvia,

"...sometimes thru prayer, God gives us revelation and understanding about what the real problem is and how to take steps to resolve. ya see what i mean?"

I gotcha. I always did. But thanks for the clarification. :)

"i think a lot of that has changed and is still changing."

What's been changing is the number of women who have ventured out of the kitchen and into the workplace. What hasn't changed is the intimidation that most men feel when dealing with a woman better off than themselves. At least, that's what I think.

" ...even when he works, she makes the most money. i'm not in agreement with the whole situation, but then, it's their household and it seems to be working out fine. "

Not to single you out, but I think that sentiment is exactly why most men would not want to be in a situation where they are deemed 'inferior' to their lady. It's the Oprah/Steadman complex. They feel like any validation can only occur if they match or exceed their lady's status. That spells trouble for successful women trying to get a man all over the place.

" i know you specifically mentioned black men, so maybe there's still some stigamitism associated with them, but i'm black and so is my son-in-law and i don't see it. "

I contend that race and class occasionally dictate particular norms and behaviors. Perhaps not all the time; but certainly every now and then. I would argue that Black men have traditionally been subjected to circumstances that bring into question their masculine roles and -- in many cases, completely strip away their masculinity. Nowadays, it seems like a capital offense to even crack a smile according to social bylaws; much less to do 'feminine' things and/or be with a woman more accomplished than he is. I'm sure that each culture has its own dynamics but speaking as a Black men, I know for sure that we struggle in establishing our role as men as it has been come to be defined by the dominant culture. This is likely the reason why black men don't respond well to women who are well to do. So, my thesis is simple: As men (especially black men, but not limited to us) deviate from the expectations of the dominant culture, they have to deal with the social conditioning that often castrates them.

To address your last point: I get the joke. But unfortunately most of society doesn't. Take your life and flip it to apply it to mine. I'm a heterosexual male. But -- being a single bachelor living alone -- I cook, clean, and have a pretty good eye for home decor. Does that make me "feminine". I don't think so. But I get heckled nonetheless. Though I take the jokes in stride, I don't discount the fact that they represent a much larger issue.

HeiressChild said...

thanx for showing me from a different viewpoint. this has been a most interesting post.

Greeneyes said...

My Green eyed delishiously Handsome KING ,

Yes my words are sincere but it seems they come from my heart rather than my head .
I really feel it but I guess it is not rational to think others would feel the same factoring in difference of all humans ,it is impossible to get valid results ,but I stand by it for me!

I FEEL/THINK it should not matter ,people should be themselves outside of the points I mentioned prior,and not worry what others may think if you are with someone different than you but again in a perfect world !
I get your point of how others perceptions can cause some flack but tis your life ,tis too short too waste on what others think is best for you, and in "YOU" I am generalizing .
And by the way interracial dating , check yes or no ?????? You said you have prior in a post ,have your thoughts changed ?

Andre said...

@ Heiress: Thanks for your input. I think you'll agree with me in saying that no group (black, white, male, female, young, old) is monolithic. There are an assortment of unique and complex perspectives from any group.

@ Greeny: As I've always maintained, I REALLY appreciate your optimism and your positive spirit. When I get convinced that the world has lost it's mind, you remind me that there are beautiful people in the world to offset the lunacy.

To address your question re: interracial dating: I've never been in a serious interracial relationship, but I have casually dated interracially. I semi-dated a Middle Eastern woman in college; but I didn't have the sense to pursue her (J, if you say ANYTHING...). But generally speaking, though I've only been in relationships with black women, I'm an 'equal opportunity' lover. *Although I have to admit, Hispanic women are hot!* >:)

But ultimately, I'm not racially selective.

Joslyn said...

Look,

Every woman should just change so that a man will want to marry her. Also, she should keep changing so that 10 years from now when he decides that he wants something different, she can be that for him. There. Everyone's happy

Thank you...


*Snicker*

JJM said...

"Semi-dated?!" Oh. OK.