Imposter syndrome. It’s a HR term most women can probably relate to and I’m guessing most men don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s usually applied to people who feel unworthy or unqualified for positions, even once they are appointed. They are haunted by this syndrome of always fearing they will get “found out” for who they really are. It’s why they don’t apply for the better jobs. It’s why people with less qualifications often get the jobs we should have. It’s also the reason that great women date dud men.
It came to me on the swipe recently. Left, left, left, I swipe right maybe 1 in 100 times. There are a bunch of things I look for on the apps – spelling, looks, profession, dog or cat person, kids/no kids, where they live … but if they have somehow managed to tick all those boxes, I try and picture myself with them. I usually end up swiping left but not necessarily because I think we’re not compatible. I often swipe left on great looking, intelligent, professional men because part of me thinks they’re too good for me. There I said it.
I feel like an imposter, where I think the beautiful men with beautiful teeth and a beautiful smile can’t possibly be interested in me. So, rather than risk rejection, I swipe no to the possibility. I mitigate all risk by not making it an option at all. It means I swipe right only to those men who I think, in some way, I am equal to or better than. OK, this is starting to sound super conceited but it’s my fucking blog, so I’m going to push on.
And it means I end up dating man after man who I’m either not attracted to, don’t respect or can’t see a future with. I end it before it’s begun, in my head. Obviously. I still go through all the awkwardness of actually dating them only to understand exactly why it ends when it inevitably does.
A recent example, if you’ll indulge me. A very beautiful, very fuckable man started messaging me on an app. Unsolicited (we hadn’t matched), with near perfect spelling, humour, a Hemsworth voice (he sent me audio messages through the app) and a body I wanted to dry hump in public. My immediate response was that he was a bot, a scam, a catfish. Which he actually turned out to be. That’s not even the point.
The point is, my immediate reaction to a very fuckable man wanting to talk to me was to conjure up an image of a sad, fat man in a sad, little apartment, surrounded by his sad little friends, trying to elicit dirty pics from vulnerable women in order to blackmail and scam them. That’s my go-to. Something is very wrong with this.
Absolutely, I was right on this occasion but how many men have I turned away, swiped left to who were real, genuine and fuckable but I thought I was below their attentions? I have been called out on this before by a former professional footballer who started messaging me. I was cuntish in my replies and told him we couldn’t possibly have anything in common to which he firmly told me that with my attitude toward men, I was never going to find anyone. But now I’m not so sure it’s my attitude toward men but more about my attitude toward myself.
I think this is what I deserve/need/attract. I dismiss compliments from the men I’m dating. I scoff at messages telling me I’m sexy or pick up lines like “Did you have lucky charms for breakfast? Because you look magically delicious!” (yeah that was a weird one I received today). And, subsequently, I settle for the man who doesn’t deserve me, who I don’t want, who is underqualified to be licking my vagina.
Like women everywhere, I need to be stepping up, not stepping back. I need to swipe right and throw my g-string into the dating ring if I ever expect to find someone who makes me say “oh, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.” I just hope they come with killer references.