Hey Doc, I have an image problem, though that might be a huge understatement.
Let me explain: inwardly, I’m your stereotypical nerd. I talk about Asian cinema and French New Wave with the kind of enthusiasm most people reserve for their children, I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe, and I’ve logged in way too many hours on the Mass Effect trilogy than I care to admit.
In my day-to-day life, I’m soft-spoken and decidedly introverted. I’m also six and a half feet tall, completely bald, and my arms are heavily-tattooed (though they are easily covered by a long-sleeve shirt). I’m also a competitive power lifter. In other words, I’m friggin’ huge.
I struggled with body image issues from my early teens to well into my twenties. I was ridiculed for being effete in the locker room, and I felt like a cave troll in more intellectual social circles. During my undergraduate years, I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder – which, after a great deal of cognitive behavior therapy, I now realized caused me to stumble into a number of toxic relationships, the last one ending about two years ago.
For the first time in my life, I can finally say that I’m comfortable being in my own skin. I’ve learned to embrace all of the disparate parts about me. Problem is, is that I seem to be attracting the same kind of women I dated before I got better.
Before I go any further, let me say that I live in a fairly conservative, small-to-medium sized city in the south eastern United States. Home is far from Deliverance, but it’s also not running over with open-minded, cultured people either. The women down here that are physically attracted to me tend to like traditional, hyper-masculine men, which appearances aside, I am decidedly not. They also do not share any of my intellectual pursuits or creative passions. When I do find someone that I’m intellectually compatible with, there just seems to be a lack of chemistry (at least on their side).
I tend to dress fairly conservative – partly because of work, mostly because men’s big and tall fashion, though it has made leaps and bounds since I was in high school, falls to either one of two sides: decidedly bland, or incredibly tacky. I tend to accent my wardrobe with things that illustrate my more nerdy/bookish personae, like my Elvis Costello style glasses, or in the winter, my Dr. Who scarf. I’m also working on being less stiff in my body language and to be more approachable and outwardly expressive (It’s an on-going process), but I get the same results.
I’ve read your articles on selecting an archetype as well, but there is a dearth of examples out there that fit both my personality and body type.
So what do you say, Doc? Care to help a brother out?
300 Pound Woody Allen [Read more…]