Thursday, May 08, 2008

She’s Got a “Great Personality”

“This one goes out to you Carly Simon...”

I hate it when my guy friends ask me to set them up with a girl. It’s not that I am cock-blocking, or holding out on finding them the girl of their dreams… it’s just my way of avoiding the inevitable drama of what will happen if things “don’t work out.” When things are great, you are their favorite person on the planet. But when things head south, well… you might as well pack your bags and head for Miami with them… because things get real ugly, real fast. And of course, since you’re friends with both parties, you’re catching heat from both sides, before ultimately you will have to choose one.

When something fails, it’s only natural to retrace your steps all the way back to the beginning to pinpoint when things went wrong. Returning to our prior conversation, the answer usually lies within the opening lines of dialog. That’s right. The… “What is she like??” To which I normally respond, “Well.. she has a great personality.”


That. That right there. Is the kiss of Death.

When you’re being questioned about the prospect of setting someone up that you know with another acquaintance of yours, and you are asked to describe the person: Never begin with a phrase… “She’s got a great personality.” As silly and as “high school” as it may sound, when someone asks you to describe another person, they are ultimately asking for a list of physical attributes first. I’m not saying you have to describe them as some hot neck breaker when they fall much more into the mediocre category, but I’m sure there was at least some physical attribute you could have tossed into the mix.. whether it’s their eyes, their smile… whatever. Give them something, anything!! But, personality???.. Sadly, to the vast majority, this date is already doomed for failure.

Why is it that American culture has these preconceived notions of what constitutes an attractive person? Far too often people substitute looks for more important qualities needed to maintain a steady, healthy, meaningful relationship. Like.. is the individual a good person? Are they loyal? Are they considerate? Do they make my life better? Do I enjoy being in this person’s presence? Nope. Instead, it’s.. what will everyone else think of my date? How does this person reflect on me? What do they look like…better yet, naked?.. Will my significant other turn heads, or stomachs?.. Shallow, but its reality.

I went to Florida State University, which has arguably one of the biggest collections of hot college co-eds in the nation. I mean, when I look back, I was average at best. But that’s not to say that some of these aforementioned “hot girls” weren’t about as smart or as competent as that kid from your kindergarten class that was notorious for eating glue from the bottle. And I should know, as I have had one or two… (:::cough::: thousand) heated debates with them in some of my classes. They’d come to class in their cute little Paris Hilton skirts and flip flops, in full make up and hair like they were heading to the club, not Criminal Psychology. Me?.. I was perfectly content rolling out of bed, throwing on a baseball hat and some flip flops. Why?? Because being rolled up in my sheets in a nice warm bed for an extra hour, was far better than shellacking on my warpaint to walk down fraternity row in search of my future ex boyfriend.

So to be picked from a crowd of 80,000 at a football game, could have happened to practically anyone. For me, it was just dumb luck, being in the right place at the right time.. and wearing the right outfit. Hell, I will be the first person to admit that I would not be in the position I am today had it not been for the way I look. But, there had to be that something extra under the hood that has kept me going almost 2 and a half years later. After all, looks can only get you so far, so when those begin to fade there’s gotta be some sorta substance left to get you through the rest of life. Otherwise the 26 year old hot chick you married, is now a cankled 40 year old headache. And you’re a 45 year old dude, with a curfew as early as your teenage kids.

I once read a “singles” ad in which some girl was asking how to pick up an older, financially secure man in New York City. Before I had even gotten half way through the gold-digger’s rant, I wanted to reach through the computer screen to this woman’s email inbox and issue her a huge virtual bitch slap in the face. She argued that because she was an attractive woman in her mid to late twenties, that she was entitled to date someone successful, and that she couldn’t possibly understand why every day during her walks down Fifth Avenue. she saw ridiculously successful business men with even more ridiculously unattractive women. She wanted to know why these men settled for anything else but the “best,” herself obviously included.

But before I could fire off any kind of response at this woman’s shallow post, a more qualified fighter beat me to the punch. A successful businessman on Wall Street piped with such a business savvy, harsh rebuttal that even I had to applaud him. He explained to her that being a wealthy business man has its advantages, and that he had learned over time, the importance of making wise long term investments. You see, a month long fling with a good –looking, albeit high maintenance gold-digger in the end was simply not worth his time, effort, or money. Why??.. He went on to say that her main argument for “right to be a kept woman” was her looks. What she was proposing was a simple business deal: Good looks for guaranteed income. In the harsh realities of the business world, if you are not meeting demands and keeping up with those around you, you ultimately lose your position. The businessman understood that with the proper investments his income could only increase with time, while her looks were in fact a depreciating asset. Therefore, just as she would expect him to continue to support her with his income he would in turn expect her to uphold her good looks. Should these begin to fade, he hopes she would understand that their contract of relationship would be null and void. Now that.. is a smart business man. Lease the “looker,” invest in the “real thing.”

Everyone has their minimum requirements of the person they want to pursue a relationship with. They have specific tastes, desires… thus the term of being someone’s “type.” Me, for example? Well, come to think of it … I really don’t have a type. One would guess that I date a bunch of overly big macho athletes when the fact of the matter is, my relationships have all been based on what I was needing at the time I was in it. And the majority of the time.. it was simply a best friend. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to admit that I have gone on a date or two with the hot guy from high school that I never had a chance with back in the day, but these were also the dates I found myself doing my fantasy baseball draft underneath the table on my Blackberry. Can you say, “check please?”

Going through the list of guys I have dated, even on a casual basis there really is no single physical attribute they all had in common. There were tall guys, skinny guys, fat guys, short guys… blondes, brunettes, red heads, should-always-wear-a-hat heads… old guys, young guys, could-have-been-in-my-grade guys... Chevy guys, Bentley guys, all-they-could-afford guys… There were guys that could toss a ball, and some guys with no real skills at all. And the last part… could be true on so many levels.

As I sat down and started to play the Jenn Sterger’s crappy ex boyfriend edition of “Guess Who,” I began flipping down the faces that didn’t make the cut. There was the guy that sat across the table from me, and gazed into my eyes so intensely that I thought I was on a date with Cyclops from the X-Men. That is until I realized that there was a giant mirror over my left shoulder and he had really been on a date with himself for the past hour and fifteen minutes. I excused myself so the two of them could be alone. There was the guy who took me to an expensive restaurant, offered to pay… and then asked to borrow money in order to pay the bill. I gave him half, and told the dishwashers that he was their slave for the evening. And then, there was the classic tale of the guy I went to a school dance with… that ended up leaving me at the dance because I wouldn’t have sex with him, taking the limo that my parents had gotten me to make my senior dance “special,” forcing me to call my father to come pick me up at the dance sometime around midnight. I forget to mention, Prince Charming also slept with a good friend of mine that very same night. Where is a fairy godmother with a pumpkin when you need one? Needless to say neither of them signed my yearbook.

I’m sure a few of you are going, all right.. this girl is totally embellishing for sake of making a few bad jokes and to save face in a list of failed dating scenarios. Honey.. I wish I was. And as for the bad jokes.. humor is my coping strategy to get through the tough stuff.

With only a few faces left on the board, I was down to the usual suspects. The guys that had made it past the first couple of rounds. The guys that “went the distance.” I realized they all had something in common: “Great Personalities.” While each had different ingredients, there was something about them and their character that stood out from the rest. Their wit. Their sense of humor. Their attention to detail. Their career ambition. Their passions toward a hobby. Their compassion to others. The way they treat their mothers. The way they knew that it was okay to sit together, and just say nothing at all. The way they’d make me laugh. The way they’d make me think it was my high school sweetheart all over again. The way they would go out of their way just to make my life a little better than it was before. After all, when you leave a relationship, you should always leave the person better off than when you found them. Call me a hopeless romantic. Call me naïve. But don’t you dare call me a pilgrim. But rest assured pal, there are no buckles on my shoes, because I sure as hell ain’t no settler.


Jeff R said...

Couldn't agree more. I recently tried to set up a friend and it went south fast. Never will do that again! said...

Wow. Jenn, I don't know that you could have said it any better. ANY guy should be beyond the moon and extremely ecstatic to have the chance to go out with a lady like you. Honestly, your blog is always a great read, and the more insight I seem to get about you from it, the more I think, "Who would be retarded enough to dismiss a girl like this?!" Now, I realize that I'm gushing a bit, but I don't think at all it's short-sighted. Genuine compliments should never be doled out at random and without careful consideration. I have a saying, "Hot girls are 14 a dozen, but the -1- that makes you laugh, makes your heart sing, and gives you a sense of relief and calm at the end of a long day; that's the one that can, and should, hold your heart forever."

You seem to understand personality, love, and loss, better than most average people. Don't EVER lose that. It makes you lightyears more attractive than the hottest supermodels roaming this earth. (Not that you're not still very easy on the eyes... ;) And, even more importantly, it leaves you as a good person at your heart. Humanity is better off with people who believe what you do, and I should only be so lucky to meet someone with as much beauty, character, and intelligence as you.

Or, heck, I wouldn't mind meeting the "Original FSU Cowgirl" herself - Miss Jennifer L. Sterger. Why even bother even the fakes? :)

Wishing you all the best.
Take care,

Anonymous said...

Which is more important? Personality or Looks?
Here is a theme that if it was debated world wide, our grandsons would still be debating for who was right.
The “set up” thing is so natural to me that I made an art out of it; I have no problems introducing people that I know to each other.
Because if someone asks me to introduce he or she to a specific person then I do immediately a compatibility test with my head “Let’s examine the situation and the people’s personalities” I immediately know if I should or not introduce them.
Some of my friends are like “Common how can who be so sure that things between us would not work out?” to which I most of the times answer “Who don’t have to believe me, if you think that I’m wrong then go for it. Just be sure to take a pillow with you because most certainly you’re going to land with your ass on the ground”.
See Jenn, is that simple, and please don’t tell that it isn’t because if you said something like that, then my personal rating about the type of person you are would go down as fast as a guy jumping from a airplane with no parachute and a brick tied to is arms.
Like you said personality is a big factor (if not the greatest) in a relationship.
If you can’t see that on two people that are your friends, then I’m sorry I have to tell you this but your romantic life as reached its prime.
Prepare yourself because riding on to the perfect sun set is never going to happen to you.
You said you don’t have a type, honestly I think you said that because you don’t want to disappoint any of your fans; common we both are on our twenties-ich, we both have had more than enough time to know our types, not knowing ones type is when someone starts dating, I say this because it is a new experience like any other and like any new experience we start knowing almost nothing and so it’s excusable that at that point a person doesn’t know his or her type.
But you and me? Common Jenn you said that you where not a BS person, you where the real deal.
Of course you have a type, even if the physical part isn’t that important (to me it also isn’t, till a certain degree, I can’t even begin to tell you how many girls that I have met that outside they looked like works of art but their heads were filled with air) to you but at least the person personality as to count for something.
And let me assure it isn’t just the Americans that have that false notion of who is the right person, in my country and every country that I have visited is always the same thing.
The Paris Hilton types are in the category of the worst type of girls, I would never date a girl like that, not even for all the money in the world.
If I had to date a girl of that type I would probably do a Chris Rock on her, she would be like “How long can I talk before this mother #$cker snaps?” and I would start shacking the shit out of her until I heard the cops coming “Mother #$cker I’m serious, shut the hell up. Shit the cops are coming”.
You where picked out in the middle of 80.000 people, that’s awesome, and you are right it isn’t just your looks, but lest face it, 80% of what you have now is because of your looks.
Sure you are smart, and you did know how to play your game in the right way, but still there will always be the looks.
Is also true that you are trying to stretch to new areas like movies, and The Tenant could be a good starting point, but to tell you the truth I would preferred that you started your actress career in television series, not only would you gain more experience but in time I and other people that follow your career up close, we would have the opportunity to see if you’re really actress material.
Because you know, that it is almost always the firsts roles that define an actress career, and if you flunk on The Tenant you might never get your feet’s back up, I honestly hope that doesn’t happen but we never know.
That is if you want to be taken serious as an actress? I’m sure you don’t want to be another Carmen Elektra or another Kim Kardashian in crappie movies.
So you wanted to bitch slap that girl?!
Maybe give her a Dave Chappelle/Rick James move, you going strait to the girl and you say “Hey there! Have you heard the new joke going around? What did the five fingers said to the face?” and then you would leave your hand print on her face.
That surely would be funny as hell.
And you did a ride down the memory lane, that’s always a good thing, knowing what one has done so you can know where you are going.
And also helps so one doesn’t make the same mistakes over and over again.
You sure seemed to have had your share of bad relationships, but don’t worry, happens to all of us, if it didn’t we wouldn’t know what to search for, would we?
One last thing, don’t quit with the jokes, there may be people that don’t like them, but those are only the ones with no sense of humor.