It really sucks having low self-esteem.
I wish I could just walk through life all cocky and confident and just strut up to handsome guys and say, “Do you like camping? Because you just pitched a tent in my pants.”
Or heck, even just say “Hi.”
But I’m not all cocky and confident, and no matter how much I try to pretend that I am sometimes…. well, there’s only so far one can lie to one’s self.
I blame bullying.
Yes, one of the harmful side effects of being made fun of as a child (especially in those gawkward junior high years) is that it tends to stick with you. It ‘may’ get better for you, or it may not. Given all the personal anecdotes I hear, my guess is that mostly it doesn’t get better.
Sure, intellectually I know I’m not that underdeveloped, stocky-assed teenager with cowlicky hair, braces, and ugly glasses– I still feel that way a good deal of the time.
Especially in social situations where I am confronted with men I find to be quite handsome. It gets worse when they are also naked. And perfect.
Last night was a classic example of the paralysis created by low self-esteem issues.
I was at the gym, I had finished my workout, and I was heading for the sauna/steam room areas. My back and neck were still pretty fucked up from the massage, and I wanted the heat to try to relax out the kinks.
And there he was.
This guy is totally handsome. Probably in his early 30’s. Tall- like 6’2″. Bearded. Thin. Very nice build. And killer blue eyes.
I see him talking to “Equus”. Equus is this 50-something gay guy who goes to my gym who is seriously horse-hung. A fact that he is obviously quite proud of, given the way he parades and wags it about in the locker room.
Well, I pass by Mr. Handsome on the way to the steam room. I glance over, and we lock eyes. It was that second long “Hey, you’re gay? I’m gay too!” look. You know the look.
Anyway, I hit the steam and am stretching, and Mr. Handsome comes in. He sits semi-close to where I am, and I’m doing my best to try to ignore him. I don’t want him to see me drool, and I don’t want to look like an old letch in front of the other men in the room.
I do look over occasionally, and Mr. Handsome catches me every time. And looks back.
I want to talk to him, but the room is so crowded, and quiet. It would just be weird to strike up a conversation. So I hit the showers.
I’m washing my hair, letting the hot water course over me, and trying desperately not to think of Mr. Handsome.
Which became much more difficult when he came into the showers, and chose a shower head just a couple over from me.
When he removed his towel, I seriously had to look away. He had no body fat and was firm everywhere. And… impressive. Everywhere.
In addition to the water from the shower, I’m awash in feelings of inadequacy in his presence. I’m old. Fat. Dumpy. Less… impressive.
I try my best not to watch him shower, but I can’t “not” look. He catches me again, and I feel so sheepish. But he doesn’t seem to mind. In fact… it’s almost like he’s inviting me to look.
I hurry up and finish, and head to my locker. I spare one backward glance as I leave the showers… and catch his eyes again.
I get dressed alone and in silence. The last thing I do is go to the sink area for some hair gel… and there he is. Mr. Handsome. Fully nude in front of the mirrors. Putting on some lotion.
I gathered my stuff, looked again, and we locked eyes a final time. I smiled medium and he smiled brightly right back. His handsomeness made my heart hurt. And his eyes? My god… his eyes.
And all I could think about was… why the fuck is this guy smiling at me? So I heaved a big sigh, shook my head, turned around and left.
I’m still kicking myself today about it.
But I mean, what was I supposed to do? Just walk up and start a conversation with a handsome, naked guy in the locker room? “Hey, I’m CB. And your naked.” Doesn’t that seem just a tad awkward? And sketchy?
I’m going back to the gym tonight; I’m praying that he’s there again. I need redemption. Next time I vow not to be such a pussy.
Unless he smiles. Then all bets are off.