I wasn’t going to write about Karen Owen and her, uh, list, figuring I’d have nothing new to add to the conversation, but I had an experience over the weekend that changed my mind.
I had arrived at Borders to meet some female friends for our weekly Bible study. While two friends went and got coffee, I held down the table. Having just awakened from an out-cold nap just about 30 minutes prior, I was still feeling a little groggy and trying to snap out of it. I tried to telepathically will my friends to hurry back to the table so that I could order my own overpriced cup of coffee. Tragically, my telepathy failed.
A large, hairy, possibly somewhat Armenian-looking guy with cornrows dressed in the drab guy uniform of knee-length shorts and an enormous T-shirt sat in the armchair to my right with his beat-up MacBook and headphones. I didn’t really notice him until he got up and went to unplug his power cord near my table. As he passed behind me, I heard him talking out loud. I think he was trying to be lighthearted and jovial and attract my attention that way, but I was still groggy and didn’t care what a large, hairy, badly dressed man wanted to say to me if he wasn’t going to engage me directly.
I guess he also figured out that his indirect approach wasn’t working, so when he sat back down, he spoke to me directly, using my shoes as an opener. He asked if they were Burberry. I said no, they were $14 from Payless. He said they looked like Burberry because of the plaid pattern. I said that the plaid was the reason I liked the shoes. He then asked if I was there for a Bible study. (He must have seen my Bible with its gilded page edges.) I answered affirmatively, and he went on to ramble about how he think it’s good to read the Bible, even if you don’t believe, because there’s good stuff in there with good morals and Jesus had a lot of good things to say, etc. etc. I nodded a couple of times and agreed with him but didn’t encourage the conversation to continue, all the while trying to decide if this guy was legit or weird and wondering if I was being a bad Christian for not asking him where he thought he would spend eternity if he died tonight or doing other Christian Outreach Moves especially when he clearly had a positive attitude about Christianity and my goodness I REALLY needed some designer coffee or food so I would be more pleasant and awake. Finally he concluded and decided to leave, and we bid adieu.
Later on that night, I thought about what had happened and concluded that I would have snapped to far greater attention had the guy who approached me better-looking, better-dressed, more articulate, or wittier. I would have acted more interested and possibly even thrown out some charm if he had been more in line with the type of man I find attractive.
Then I thought about Karen Owen and how her List only featured athletes and how most people believe she was only discriminating in reporting her adventures, not in having such adventures in general.
I’ve read before that men consider the looks of their wives/girlfriends to be a reflection of their own quality as men; that men do think of women as arm candy, and the better-looking the woman, the higher-status he must be. In a way, a woman is a mirror back to the man of the type of man he is. I think the inverse is true for women as well, that the status of the man or men they’re associated with is a mirror validating their beauty and worth as women, the logic being that high-status men choose high-status women, therefore if a high-status man chooses me, I must be a high-status (read: beautiful, sexy, alluring) woman. For someone like Karen Owen, an attractive but not pretty girl, the drive to secure a mirror that reflected what she wanted to see was pretty all-consuming. That she apparently picked and chose who made it onto the List supports this theory, since a girl who gets the best must be one of the best herself. A lesser man’s inclusion on the List would only have lowered her value in her own eyes, and in the eyes of her friends. If men typically go only for what they think they can get, then it’s pretty depressing if the only men who are coming after you are unimpressive, because that means you must be unimpressive, too.
So to bring it back around to my experience with Big Borders Guy, on the one hand I tried to feel flattered that this guy was doing a daygame cold approach – and I am not approached very often, much less cold, so I should have felt extra flattered – but on the other hand, he was not the reflection of myself that I wanted to see at all, and I think it would take a toll on my ego if BBG-types were the only ones who approached me. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Or, perhaps more accurately, the spirit is reluctant, and the flesh is weak.
(Also, let this be encouragement to men to dress better. If you look like you just rolled out of your parents’ basement and you try to approach women with minimal game, it’s probably not going to go in your favor.)