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8 August 2011, 9:00 am 2 Comments

Cynical And Southern: Don’t Show Your Crazy Flaws On The First Date

This post was submitted by Jeremy Gloff

Once upon a time I used to wear my hair long. I also used to take showers instead of baths. And there’s something else I used to do that I don’t do anymore: the second I became interested in someone I burdened them with a long grocery list of everything that was wrong with me and everything bad that had ever happened in my life.

Before someone got the chance to know me I warned them about everything awful I was going to do and I filled them in on the childhood trauma I was using as an excuse for that action. Long before I let someone know my favorite soda, what I liked on my pizza, and what my favorite Joni Mitchell song was, I let them know each of my defense mechanisms and what all of my flaws are.

With the trap door flying open on all my discrepancies, it’s no surprise not many stuck around for the pizza.

But after eating a lot of pepperoni and mushroom slices alone I had time to reconsider my approach. I was mishandling my openness as a means to distract from my lack of confidence. By showing all of my supposed warts first I saved myself from the terror that I’d eventually be “found out.” By laying my inner-craziness out on the table I felt that if someone could accept THAT there’s no way they’d ever leave me!

The truth is we are all crazy. We’ve all had bad stuff happen to us. Oft times conversations about trauma turn into a competition over who went through the worst shit. “If you think THAT’s bad listen to THIS!”

All of us has a part of us that is jealous, that has defense mechanisms, and that is capable of doing some fucked up shit. I used to keep all my syndicated hardships close at hand to be used as excuse for crappy behavior. I used to get insanely jealous of my boyfriends and I would blame my crazy behavior on a relationship that had dissolved fifteen years earlier. I was using what happened many yesterdays ago to justify my being an asshole today.

To burden a prospective partner with all of our crazies isn’t indicating self-awareness; it’s simply making a horrible first impression.

I no longer lay my flaws out for anyone to see. In doing that it distracted someone from getting to know the good things about me. The kind of pizza I like is just as important as the jealousy issues I need to work on within myself. I hope my boyfriends will share pizza with me but I will try my damnest to never let him share in my jealousy. That’s on me, not him

And the truth is, if your partner loves sharing pizza with you, and watching TV, your sense of humor, and all of the golden things they’ve gotten to know about you then they will stick around to work through the bad stuff if it eventually emerges.

That’s the beauty of an established relationship: when the weather gets cloudy you have the bond to work your way through the storm. I used to force people’s heads into my clouds before they go the chance to enjoy my sun.

You don’t have to hide or expose your inner-crazy. Let it be. Maybe you aren’t as crazy as you’ve convinced yourself that you are. You don’t have to hide or expose your flaws. Those flaws are just part one small part of the huge quilt that is your being.

By focusing on the ugliest patch of your quilt you aren’t allowing someone the time to appreciate the beauty of the entire blanket.

My hair will never be long again, but don’t expect me to put a spotlight on my bald spot on the first date. How do you feel about green olives on your pizza?

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  • Richard said:

    I’ve always said that the key to dating is finding a crazy that matches your crazy, meaning that you shouldn’t worry about what you think are your flaws because everyone has flaws. Eventually you’ll find someone who’s flaws are compatible with yours. Like you say, you should instead focus on what makes you happy about yourself. Your comparative crazies will come out in time, but enjoy the happy, fun qualities first.

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