Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Key Ingredient in Finding New Friends, Lovers, and Jeans

Trying on clothing in a fitting room is an exercise in vulnerability.

You head in to that poorly lit little stall with a pile of jeans in your hand and a heap of uncertainty in your head, and then you strip down to nothing and stand in the reflection of your own judgment. If it's Nordstrom, there's a mirror behind you, illuminating every dimple and vein on your backside. Funny how the lights always seem to shine brighter on those spots.

You slither into the denim, unsure of whether it will mold perfectly to your curves or gape and pucker in all the wrong places. You try on one pair, two, three—finally on the fourth, you stop and stare. You like what you see. You like how you feel. It's you but maybe even better.

And you never would have figured this out if you'd only grabbed one pair from the rack. Or if you'd made a purchase without trying them on first.

The act of letting go of your defenses—stripping down to your natural self—has served you.

The fitting room isn't the only place this tactic works.

A friend and I were talking recently about how it can be difficult to make new friends when you're an adult. It can be scary to ask another ladykid if she wants to come over for a playdate. She might get one look at your collection of owl salt and pepper shakers and deem you a huge dork. Or you could open up to her about your irrational fear of the earth losing its gravitational pull and she might decide you're crazy.

She might reject you.

And wouldn't that be a good thing?

Just like the jeans, we want our friends and lovers and jobs to fit just right. We want them to hug us where it's needed. We don't want them to pull away in the spots they should be close or cling too tightly when we need breathing room.

But like the jeans, the only way to discover whether they're the right fit is to let down your guard and be vulnerable. 

And if they're the wrong size, that's okay. It doesn't mean you've failed. It just means it wasn't the right fit.

You just keep trying on others until you find the ones you want to keep.


  1. I hate to tell you this but... it doesn't work that way for guys. Seriously, I've gone to the store, picked up a pair of 505s in my size and bought them without ever having tried them on. Hell, without ever even unfolding them. Cuz, you know, we guys can do that sort of thing.

    *sniff* It's so good to be a guy. *wipes single extremely manly tear from eye*

    Anyway, probably best not to tell your coffee dates that you're "just trying them out to see how well they fit", eh? :) And you're right about the gravity thing: since gravity is determined by mass, and we have shot stuff into space that hasn't returned to Earth, technically the planet has lost some mass and there for an infinitesimally small part of its gravitational pull...

  2. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones, GH. Mr. W usually has to try on several pairs before he finds the ones he likes.

    As far as dating goes, isn't it a sort of unspoken rule that you're trying on people to see how they fit? And they're trying you on right back? I think this is less apparent when it comes to friendships...

    But the only way to really learn whether you're compatible with anyone is to let down that guard!

  3. I haven't tried on jeans in so long. Maybe that's why I'm so happy? HA.

    But I have met more and more friends lately and I know that for me when I know I'm being authentic and try to be unafraid, it is much easier to just allow myself and everyone else to be as they are. You are right, letting down the guard opens a door, sometimes for the other person as well!

  4. That's so true - I didn't even think about how our own authenticity and lack of an "up-guard" could impact other people. Thanks for pointing that out. :)