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To Be Or Not To Be?

This is a blog I’ve wanted to write for a while and lately some signs have been pushing me to it. So here goes.

Should women completely be themselves or should they adjust who they really are to suit what the man is looking for? Sounds like a simple question but it really isn’t.

I watched ‘Just Wright’ (starring Queen Latifah and Common) a day or two ago and the first half of the movie more or less summed up my thoughts on the subject. Latifah’s character, Leslie Wright, goes on a blind date and it seems like a fun date. They get along, they’re laughing, flirting, having great conversation, the whole nine yards. At the end of the date, the guy says he really had fun with her, she’s good people and he’d like to be just friends. I could feel Leslie’s disappointment because it mirrors what I go through all the time. Let’s just be friends.

When Leslie gets home, her cousin Morgan asks her how the date went.

  • Leslie says, ‘Dude just wants me to be his homegirl.’
  • Morgan says, ‘Well you do have homegirl written all over you.’
  • Leslie counters, ‘I’m just being myself.’
  • Morgan replies, ‘You should never be yourself with a guy, unless you’re five years into the marriage.’

That right there is what I’m referring to. To be or not to be? I struggle with this myself. Leslie’s whole date right up to her conversation with Morgan is like me to the T. I have homegirl written all over me, because I am completely, 100% myself. But Morgan taught both Leslie and I a thing or two, perhaps being yourself isn’t very effective.

Morgan pretended to be someone else through-out the movie and she snagged her prized target. She wore a tight dress and heels to a basketball game, while Leslie donned a jersey and jeans. I know I would have worn a jersey and jeans. Morgan pretended to like volunteering because her target does charity work. She took out her weave, because her target doesn’t like weaves. She became the type of woman he liked and she got him.

Lately, before I even went to the watch the movie, I’ve been thinking that snagging a man is a strategy. No one can pretend it’s not. Women treat getting a man like marketing a product or service. The overarching goal is to: Get married and have babies. So if that is the goal, what must you do to get there? You identify your target man and then define his needs and preferences. What does he like to do? Who are his friends? What’s his personality? What are his pet peeves? Then you assess the product you have to offer. Does your product fit with your target’s needs and preferences? If it doesn’t, then you need to tweak your product, by a lot or by a little depends on the man and yourself.

An even better analogy may be that of a job interview. There are more single women than there are single men. Likewise, there are more unemployed people than hiring companies. With literally thousands vying for the same job, you must make sure what you have to offer is specific to what the company is looking for and stands out above the masses, even if that means some exaggeration here and there. You’ll deal with your ability to execute on your promises later. That’s the game. Full stop.  And this game works well because guys can’t really read women. They can’t tell who’s pretending and who’s not. They think they can, they will argue they can, but trust me, they really can’t. A woman can be who a man want her to be for life.

A short while ago, I met a guy I really like and I was discussing this crush with my friends. One of them raised a concern. She said this guy seems like a pretty quiet guy, am I sure that would work with my personality? My immediate (I tell you, she barely finished and I responded) reaction was, ‘Oh I have really toned down.’ And I responded not just with words but my whole body softened. I placed my hands demurely together and smiled a sweet smile. It wasn’t an act, honestly. I meant it. But then I wonder; if this guy was gregarious and my friend asked if I could match his spirit, what would I say? I suspect I would have said, ‘Come on, you know me, I can be as outgoing as anyone else.’

I think every little adjustment can count as pretense. Let’s say you’re an outgoing, open minded, free your mind type of girl. You meet a guy today and you like him bad, you want to tell him, but he’s not quite like that. So you wait till he’s ready to hear it. Isn’t that a form of adjusting who you are? You want to have a third beer or glass of wine, but he’s still nursing his first and you don’t want to scare him, so you switch to water. You were in bed till 1pm on a Sunday nursing a hangover but when he calls you tell him you went to church. He says he likes natural women and you immediately cancel your weekly weave and nails appointment. You’re a slob who leaves dishes piled in the sink for at least a day but each weekend he stays over or you stay at his, you hand wash every utensil, make the bed immediately you wake up and pretend a water stain on the coffee table drives you crazy. You’ve slept with 10 guys, but he’s only had 3 partners, so you edit your number down to 2. Well, almost all women lie about that, so maybe that doesn’t count. But we make millions and millions of little adjustments for men. Seriously, it all adds up. How do we keep track? How do we know which personality is supposed to be at play?

I was in a long-term relationship with a guy who was a sports fan – basketball, football (aka soccer), pool (which I will regard a sport) and whatever else. During that relationship, I was an avid basketball and football fan. I knew the name of each Lakers player. I was schooled in 3-pointers, free throws, dunks, you name it. I never missed his court games and I never missed any seasons, All-Star game or Slam Dunk competitions either. I was also a die-hard Hearts of Oak and Manchester United fan. Those were his teams so I didn’t support any other teams. Since the relationship ended, it’s mainly through Facebook that I know there is some basketball or football game going on. And I definitely can’t throw any stats your way. So what does that mean? Was I pretending during my relationship? No, I wasn’t. I did love basketball and football. But did I subconsciously love it because it was his life? Probably. There was another guy I was in love with who was crazy about Formula One and Grand Prix motorcycle racing. So I started following the races, got deep into Schumacher, Rossi and Lewis Hamilton. Since we parted ways, I have no idea what’s going on in the world of Rossi and all I know about Hamilton is that he and Nicole Scherzinger broke up. Is it okay to care about something because your man cares about it? Is that a form of pretense? I don’t know. Maybe it’s pretense if you hate it or can’t stand it but you act like you’re into it.

Last week, just before I posted the Sexual Lessons blog, I hesitated because of the guy I’m crushing on and I wasn’t sure how he’d take such a bold blog. Thankfully my hesitation was for a split second.

Whatever the case may be, conscious or unconscious, women tailor who they really are to suit men, all the time. And it gets so bad that we begin to lose sight of our true selves and what we want. Their dreams become our dreams. Their teams become our teams. Their lives become our lives. We do this in order to ‘snag’ them and some continue to do this in order to keep them. It’s the way of the jungle. You have to be a little sneaky to catch your prey.

I really tend to do me, but now I think it’s time to be a little more strategic and targeted. I think it’s time to do some ‘editing’ if need be. My ‘I am who I am, independent style’ isn’t working. The whole ‘take me as I am or leave it’ attitude is a tough sell in this competitive and brutal world.

If you’re true to yourself, you CAN get your man. But what are the odds? Life isn’t a fairytale or a movie. It’s up to you and in the end, a lot of men can’t tell. To be or not to be?

(I can imagine what the comments will be. The women will say, ‘I am always myself!’ And the men will say, ‘Be yourselves, we can always tell.’ Yeah, whatever).