When I was 15, a boy inquired about going to the junior prom, never once taking his eyes off my enormous bosoms. I told him, "Oh yes, they'd be delighted to go." His baby blues widened as I continued, "They'll be ready by 7 p.m., but you need to return them safely back home and attached firmly to my torso by midnight."
My first real-life, up-close glimpse of this insane standard for the gay male physique was at a bar in New Orleans. Although I did not want to use my minimum wage to stuff the dancers' G-strings, I envied their natural ability to grasp the attention of the room. I realized that beauty and a good body came with a lot of power.
The bottom line is that rejections are a fact of life -- we all experience them and we all hurt when we do. The best thing we can do is to soothe our emotional pain, take steps to revive our self-esteem, and to connect to our core groups and by doing so remind ourselves that others value and love us even if our date does not.
If a businesswoman doesn't command this language, men think she doesn't "get it." If she does, people say she's not a "real" woman. To make matters even more complicated, what men say and how they strut, huff and puff may have very little to do with how they act in reality, away from the battlefield.
My main objective in writing these last two blogs has been to share some insights that might be useful as guides for all those men and women who use social networking. Its popularity notwithstanding, as a clinician I've heard more than a few stories of people who felt burned by their encounters on the Internet.
People are social animals: it's in our nature to crave approval from those around us, and it's only normal to want to be accepted -- and, more than that, admired. In this image-obsessed society, it makes sense that we'd want to get an idea of what others see when they look at us. Are we pretty, or are we ugly?