Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Makes a Woman at "10"?

"I have gotten a lot more attention than...other women that I find incredibly beautiful. And this has happened to me ever since I was a girl, when I was flat, had no teeth, was skinny and small as I could be. I always got more attention than anyone else. If I hadn't, I would have made sure I did."~Salma Hayek

Every two weeks, my massage therapist Kelsey Enochs makes a house call to battle all the tight muscles I've accumulated through dance, swimming, weightlifting, and core strengthening class.  I've known Kelsey for over 10 years.  We danced together when she was in high school and worked together after she opened Golden Heart Massage. As adults, we've sat over beers and bitched about life. She's one of the greatest highlights in my life.

The first forty-five minutes of my session includes catching up.  I tell her about the antics of my crazy co-workers, fill her in about studio life, and anything new with my family.  She tells me about school, her family, and recent adventures. We are both workout nuts, thus the conversation for today.  Kelsey made a comment that it finally dawned upon her husband that she works out because she enjoys feeling like a "10."  I laughed and in my delusion state exclaimed, "I know what you mean!  I'm a '10' dammit! I frickin' learned to do flip turns this week!"

Later I thought about it. Despite all the years of worrying about my weight, I really have a different idea about what makes a woman at "10."  Yes, I look at many practical "Alaskan" women and see their potential if they'd put on a little makeup, run a flat iron through their hair, and wear something other than a sweatshirt and sweatpants. However, it isn't just the clothes, makeup, or hair.  I see some women dressed to the nines and still I rate them as only a "6" or "7," a rating that is sometimes less than the "Alaskan" woman. Fifteen seconds beside a woman and I can sense the depth of their beauty.
Beauty is subjective.  Every
woman has the potential to
be a "10" no matter what
they look like.  It's all in how
their approach to life.

So what makes a woman at "10"?  It's their courage. Women face some of the most difficult challenges, caught between a society that simultaneously provokes them to overfunction and chastises them for doing so. They (whoever this mysterious group is) tell women their ultimate limits are age, status, and their ability to maintain impression management. Overcoming these expectations so they can do what's most important to them is impressive no matter what a woman looks like.  A woman who does this consistently is a "10".  It's not a one-time rating.  It's a number that's earned through years of hard work.

Discouragement is simply the despair of wounded self-love.~Francois de Fenelon French archbishop & author (1651 - 1715)

As for men, courage goes a long way in my eyes.  Except it more has to do with a man's courage to honestly interact with me.  I joke that "no one should be afraid of a 5-foot, 3-inch little girl," but I once saw a quasi-foe take one look at my car and walk the other direction. I've seen a 6-foot, 3-inch man cut through a hallway to avoid me.  For years, I thought it was flaw in my personality.  Eventually, I realized there is just something in my face, my expression, and my eyes that kills their bravado.  For me, that ability, more than my looks, fashion sense, intellect, or athleticism, makes me at "10" in my eyes.

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