Monday, July 9, 2007

Confidence Game

“Do you feel like you have enough confidence?” my wife asked in the waning hours of the afternoon as we lay on our two-person hammock.

“Yeah, I suppose so,” I replied. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough, and sometimes I have too much, but it all evens out.”

“Do you ever think it comes across as arrogance, or self-righteousness?”

“Of course not,” I said looking down at her from a great height. “No one would ever say that about me, and by the way, you’re not fanning me fast enough with that palm frond. Could you speed it up a little?”

Well, no- I didn’t actually say that. If I had, then I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be sitting at all.
But, even more absurd than my possible list of smart-aleck replies is the question of why my wife has an issue with confidence in the first place.

Our fifteenth wedding anniversary is next week. That alone should convince her that she is an amazing woman. I did the math a few days ago- my mother was married twice and both relationships lasted just over ten years. My wife’s parents were married about ten years before they split up, and while both of them have remarried, they are still only twenty years into their second relationships. We’ve almost caught up to them, but this is our FIRST marriage. I’d say that gives us a good five year handicap so the next time any of our parents decide to dish out marital advice I’m going to ask to see their counselor’s license and a list of references.

Then there is the issue of being married to ME for fifteen years, which is its own accomplishment. No matter what perspective I come from, my wife is an amazing woman.

She graduated from college, has two beautiful well behaved children, mentors women is substance abuse programs, and works outside the home. She is well respected in her church, she is considering going back to work on her masters degree, and, if I may say so- she’s a hot babe. I mean it.
So what reason does she have to lack confidence?

I stayed outside on the hammock by myself longer than I should have, and as I entered the house a little groggy from “resting my eyes” my wife was sitting on the couch combing our eight-year old daughter’s hair. The TV was on and I realized they were watching “Age of Love,” the new reality show where a group of young women compete against a group of “seasoned” older women for the affections of some dashing bachelor with a weird Kathleen Turner accent. I watched as the women competitors ran a grueling race that ended with them paddling a surfboard out to a yacht were their suitor stood waiting at the railing to give them a hand as they crawled aboard.

“There it is,” I thought. No wonder women like my wife lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. Reduced to cheep circus entertainment, these women deserve to be kicked in their silicone enhanced backsides. And while that statement doesn’t even make proper medical sense, I know that they are not totally to blame. Media is part of the problem, but it appears to me that many of the women I know lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. Those that have confidence and some sense of pride are often thought of in very negative terms by their female peers. I do not pretend to have the ability to shift through the last century of cultural flotsam and jetsam to present to you the single defining moment of the female inferiority complex, but doggone it- this kind of television program can’t be helping. And then part of me takes a step back and wonders if I am the problem. If I think less of these women for making fools out of themselves, then am I contributing to the overall decline in feminine confidence? Am I?

Nah, never mind that, I am going to judge them. In two words-
How pathetic.
And that may come across as arrogant or self-righteous, but… I’m okay with that. As I told my wife today after rattling off a list of the things she has accomplished that make me so very proud of her, maybe I have too much confidence because she has so little.

“But isn’t that co-dependant?” She asked.

Remind me to find the person who invented that phase.
More backsides need a good kicking.