Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mirror, Mirror

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Last night, I went to visit Ryan, one of my dear friends from college that I don't see nearly as often as I should. I didn't feel like sitting in the house last night and we needed to catch up. Plus, he usually cooks every night.

So, I'm there. He's cooking. We're laughing, talking and watching TV. Having a good time. Then, there's an unexpected knock at the front door. It's this dude named 'Paris'. Last night was only my second time meeting this kid (in every sense of the word), but I'll tell you what little I know about him.

I'm pretty sure (hopeful) that his birth name isn't 'Paris', but I have no idea what his Mama named him. I've never been interested enough to ask. I know he's young. I'm not exactly how young, but you know how you can just tell? Young is young. Lack of experience. You know? (Let's see if anyone gets that reference.) He's a talker, but isn't profound in the least bit though. He just...talks.

Anyway, he comes in. We speak. Standard greeting...nothing special. He sits in the living room to watch tv. Ryan and I continue talking in the kitchen.

Several minutes later, we all go outside to the patio for some fresh air. Suddenly he says:

"You're gorgeous. You're so gorgeous."

"Seriously? Wow. Thanks."

"No, I'm for real. Like...from head to toe. You're gorgeous."

"Really? Thanks."

In my head, my distorted self image and I are wondering if he's trying to play us.

"No, you may think that because you're not real thin you aren't attractive, but you're hot. Face, body...I love the way you dress."

It was with this semi-pointed compliment that put me over the top. I had reached my threshold. I was officially uncomfortable. Ryan, being a good host, sensed that and interjected.

"Whats your sign, Paris?"

He answered. I honestly don't remember what his response was.

"Let me analyze you for a minute."

Now, I don't know if Ryan was really analyzing or if he was just buying us all a little quiet time, but either way, I appreciated it. I told you, dude is a talker.

The night consisted of more of the same. 'Paris' reciting some mind-numbing monologue about...whatever and Ryan shutting him down, but in a nice way. I was quite entertained.

I usually don't put too much stock into people's opinions and last night was no different. Afterall, my mantra for the moment is 'I love you, but I don't live for you.'

Perhaps that explains why I'm the antithesis to the looking-glass self theory.

I thought about what he said as I drove home.

According to the 'looking glass self theory' people form self-perception by:
  1. Imagining how we must appear to others.
  2. Imagining the judgment of that appearance.
  3. Developing our self through the judgments of others.
Question: Am I the only one who has trouble gauging how I'm perceived by others? How do I explain why what I see when I look in the mirror doesn't match what other see when they look at me. How strange is this?

Thoughts?

15 comments:

Mr. Jones said...

Snippet from an email I received today from another buddy of mine regarding 'Paris':

A case of a young gay black teen poorly navigating through life by filling his mind with dips, balls, and limped wrists...He's not too bad when he's not suffering from diarrhea of the mouth but its good to know he still has time to [grow] out of that.

He was doing waaaay too much, when ppl pay comments like that to me it makes me uncomfortably freaked out (esp. when you couple adamant gushings with my own "distorted self image''[your words were seemed to come outta my mouth])

Fuck that shit!

Isn't Ryan good at sensing when others are slightly [done with] conversations?

Mr. Jones said...

Oh, and I found out today from Ryan that dude's birth name is Paris. :-(

Cocoa Rican said...

I have the misfortune of knowing what I'm capable of, but never having that perception of myself add up to me being a good looking person. I carry myself with confidence, believe I'm quick witted and bright, but I don't necessarily think I'm the eye-catcher some folks think themselves to be. That said, I'm so overly critical of myself that I'm now numb to any good or bad perception from anyone. I only see myself through my eyes and depending on the day, those eyes can be severely distorted. It's really odd..but I will say this, I'm holding on to that hope of having some work done at 40! LOL

life said...

Take the freakin' compliment!!! I too miss a lot of what people think of me.

That Dude Right There said...

I only judge myself by what I think and see of myself. Forget what others think that I think, think about me, or think that they see.

They don't live their lives for me, so I don't live my eyes for them.

Darius T. Williams said...

It's not totally that strange - but I know me and my capabilities, thus I am pretty much on target in gaging what the other think of ya boy. Besides, I possess a bit of charmly something or other as well, so I usually make sure people have great memories. I know - this is one of my arrogant traits, but hey...it's me.

D.LavarJames said...

Although there are times when I think I'm past it, I still look at myself in how others see me which makes me self conscious.

But at the end of the day it only REALLY matters what you think!

Of course that's better said then done.

bLaQ~n~MiLD said...

Hmmmmmmmm... Well I actually think that I'm handsome and my feelings have been affirmed by others. However, I too don't know how to feel when someone says "You're cute" or what have you. Case in point, me and Lil Dred went out for drinks after work Wednesday and he says "Damn baby, you look so fuk'n sexy right now!" to which I responded by looking at my cloths and then looking at him and responding "Ummm ok." I have a problem accepting compliments from others but when I look in the mirror (especially after a fresh cut!!!) I'm like "DAMN!" Don't know if that makes sense...


~Damnit!

Kensilo said...

I can only speak for me and when I take a "look in the mirror" I realize that I tend to concentrate more on parts of my body that I do not care so much for. I'm so focus on what I don't like till thats all I see (sometimes). But in the publics eye people are stating how nice I look, how slim I am, how pretty my eyelashes are (to be a guy), etc.
Over all I like who I am and what I look like. And as for people and their views, I tend to take what people say very lightly.

Mr. Jones said...

Cocoa - Once again, we're on the same page. Word for word. Except for the whole getting work done at 40 thing. :-) But you never know. I may need to holla at you in a few years for a reference.

Life - It's not that simple. If it were, then I would've simply said thank you.

TDRT - I feel you.

Darius - Consider yourself lucky.

D.Lavar - Exactly. Better said than done.

Blaq - That's a hell of a pickup line.

Ken - I do the same thing. Focus on the bad. I need to see pics of these lashes. lol.

Thanks for responding guys.

Humility731 said...

First let me say...hey Mr. Jones..I miss you. You already know how I feel about situations like this. I dont care what people say or think about me or how I look. I live for me, because thats all I know how to do. Its not about what people say about you, or think they know..its about how you feel baby. This reminds me of a conversation I had a few nights ago with someone, about even someone who appears to be attractive can be the ugly duckling as a result of a nasty attitude and a overly positive self image. Vice versa, a person with a negative self image and nasty attitude would appear just as ugly. In the end to me, you see in the mirror what you give off. If you give off beauty in all that you do...then the mirror mirror on the wall...shall let you know that your the baddest of them all.

thats all.

yet another black guy said...

why do people always throw back handed compliments that can be taken 50/50? in any event, he's obviously got his mind on sillier things than you care to think about. i say hit the alt control delete button.

Mr. Jones said...

Humility - Miss you too. We'll get together soon.

YABG - Because they're dumb. He was a mess anyway.

brran1 said...

I caught the reference, and I'm suprised that no one else did. It's from Jill Scott's "The Thickness" off of the second disc of her live album.

*goes back to reading*

brran1 said...

Ok Comment # 2. lol

I wonder about other people's perceptions of me alot, but at the end of the day I'm still comfortable with myself and the decisions I choose to make. To hell w/ anyone that has an issue with that.

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