So much of our lives are shaped by how we carry ourselves — our self-confidence, if you will. Yet I have come to believe that confidence is actually an indicator of:

a) the ability to convince people you have confidence when, in fact, you don’t, or

b) severe narcissism and a delusional belief in one’s self.

As luck would have it, I once befriended a co-worker, with whom I shared some musical interests, who fell very much into “column B.” He was a guitarist who fancied himself a singer/songwriter and, while his songs were pleasant enough, he had an uncanny knack for writing tunes that keenly captured the essence of songs that already existed. When he played a show and a girl came up afterwards and said that one of his songs sounded like something she’d heard on the radio, but she couldn’t remember what, he took it as a supreme compliment.

I had never met a guy who took such shameless pleasure in talking about himself. At first, I just thought it was because we shared an office and quickly ran out of other things to talk about, but when we ventured out for a night on the town at one of L.A.’s many hotspots where aspiring (and expiring) actresses gather, the night would invariably go a little like so:

He’d spot a couple tramp stamps, wander over, introduce himself, and then challenge the women to get a word in edge-wise over the next couple hours before escorting one “lucky lady” back to his place.

Now, where I come from (the Midwest), most women would have realized they were in the presence of a real blowhard and simply excused themselves, but in L.A., without exception, the women were sticking around. It was then that I realized that women who lack any shred of self-confidence are really, really attracted to guys who had enough self-confidence for the two of them. More attractive still, it seemed, were those who weren’t so much confident as completely and totally self-centered.

Women seemed to line up for the opportunity to be explored, then ignored by these bozos while a roomful of nice guys sucked beer through their straws, counting the minutes until they’d depart the premises and make that long drive home alone.

Now, I had my fun with the ladies, too, but I had long ago discovered that getting a woman to talk about herself was key to any future romantic success. Of course, none of that seemed to work with the women my friend was attracting. Initially feeling my friend was ‘hogging the mic,” so to speak, I had tried turning the conversation to them, but to no avail. These were women of few words who found comfort in a guy who talked, and talked, and talked so they wouldn’t have to. I enjoyed lengthy relationships with the women I met. My friend enjoyed one or two rolls on the futon with his and, in this, I realized that we were two different people taking two completely different paths in search of romantic fulfillment.

Of course, I find myself single at this very moment, having watched yet another long-term relationship end in a fiery, tangled heap by the side of the road.

Maybe I should try talking about myself a little more next time.

Adele – Chasing Pavements

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