If you’re anything like me, your imagination is really good at coming up with scary possibilities. When it comes to conjuring up irrational fear, my brain is great at wiping the floor with me.
So of course, this tendency predisposes me to feeling intimidated by new metamours. Basically, everyone’s a supermodel astrophysicist until I meet them.
Obviously, this is a deeply unpleasant and unhelpful tendency. Thankfully, however, when I actually meet my metamours, I invariably realize my fears were unwarranted.
So whenever it’s logistically possible (scheduling lines up, there isn’t distance getting in the way, and all relationships are sufficiently serious enough that it’s appropriate to have “meet the friends and family” style moments), I find it extremely helpful to meet new metamours.
Every time I have done this, I’ve felt immediately better. These days especially, my partners have wonderful taste. Oftentimes, I’ve found that I not only have a good first meeting with a metamour, but in the process I also make a new friend. Every once in a while, they might even end up becoming my partner (although this is fairly rare for me, maybe a tenth of the time).
And the truth is I’m actually yet to find a metamour who is as scary in person as they are in theory.
Perhaps this will one day happen, that I’ll stroll into a metamour meeting and look upon a Hollywood star with four PhDs and a cabinet post. A metamour who speaks 14 languages. Is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company that they started at 16, right after they graduated from their second doctoral program. (I warned you that my imagination is vicious.)
But so far? Nope. And anyway, if I can stop feeling jelly for two seconds, it dawns on me that it’d be awesome to know someone who has all that going on in their life. The things I could learn! It’d be fascinating to be their friend.
Reality really is less scary than my imagination.
You Missed a Spot
And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Here’s what a former metamour of mine had to say about the first time she met me:
I was honestly pretty intimidated by you before I met you. My partner couldn’t shut up about you. He kept going on and on with random stories about you. Page this, Page that.
Then the first time we met and sat down, I was nervous at first. You did seem really nice. You were stylish, wearing a cool dress — but I happened to glance down at your legs and saw that you’d missed a spot shaving on one of your ankles.
I was so relieved when I saw that. It was like “ok, this chick is pretty cool, but she’s not perfect. She’s human.”
I’m not surprised at all that I missed a spot shaving. I just shaved my legs this morning, and I’d be shocked if I didn’t miss a spot.
I Might Be Good at Some Things, But I Lack Spatial Intelligence
Truth be told, while I can bungle my way through tasks, I lack natural spatial intelligence. I’m fairly terrible at being detailed oriented when it comes to visual stuff. Ask my husband Justin. When attempting to do chores, I routinely miss swaths of surfaces that (I swear that) I’m trying my best to clean. I frequently don’t even see or mentally register messes that jump out to others. And my sense of direction is terrible.
I’ve had to develop compensatory strategies for basically everything that deals with spatial orientation. There was no one happier than me when cell phone GPS navigation became available in such a widespread way.
I’m just not a terribly visual person. I get that other people are, including people I care about, so I’m always keeping that in mind, and I make an effort. But when I’m trying to look nice, I inevitably miss small things.
My Grandma Once Told Me To Put on Bright Lipstick and Smile
I come from a long line of stoics. Folks who believe the only thing worse than struggling through something is being pitied while you do it.
My grandma once told me that if you’re sad that you should just put on bright lipstick and smile. That people would be too busy looking at your lipstick to notice.
Lipstick was a little hard for me to manage since they didn’t come out with good waterproof solutions until the last decade or so (gotta say, lip stain rocks). And I hated to be the person ducking into the bathroom every three minutes to redo my makeup because it had come off on my coffee mug. Or while smooching someone.
But I found other ways to abide by her suggestion. I’ve learned to have fun with my wardrobe. Usually this involves a lot of colorful shoes and dresses. It’s a bit like I’m cosplaying as me. I’m hoping that people will be distracted by the larger flourishes — the pretty dress, the killer heels — and not see that underneath it all I’m just like anyone else. A scared child trying to do her best in a world that she didn’t ask to join and she’ll one day have to leave, regardless of her feelings on the matter. One where she never seems to measure up to what everyone else is expecting of her. Or even figure out what that is.
I’m hoping that they won’t catch on that I’m not really Wonder Woman. That the shield I’m carrying is plastic and came from the Dollar Spot at Target.
Or that I missed a spot shaving my legs.
My new book is out!
Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).