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Don’t be a hero… please.

March 5th, 2015

And you don’t need to wonder, you’re doing fine…

Rome, Italy “Are you really so Catholic?” he asked after I recoiled from him feeling me up against one of the hundreds of churches scattered around Rome. I told him I was that Catholic and felt uncomfortable desecrating a church in such an unsavoury manner because it was easier than the truth. The truth was his male insecurity was a major turn off, and I had been dealing with it the entire night. Well, that was only one of the reasons. The other reason was that I got some (read: A LOT) the night before from Mr. Venti (think Starbucks sizing WINK), who at least took me on a motorcycle tour of the city (think Roman Holiday) and bought me ice cream first! But, anyway, back to the male insecurity…

I don’t have a nickname for this one, I simply refer to him as The Other One. Anyway, The Other One really knew how to turn a girl off, well, turn me off at least. There was never a moment in the evening that he didn’t wear all of his “issues” on his sleeve. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think men are supposed to hide or be ashamed of their insecurities. In fact, I personally find vulnerability sexy as hell (*cough* His Majesty). But this guy wasn’t being all cute and shy and vulnerable, he was being a dick about it.

He was the angry insecure male. The type that has to puff himself up in everything he does to feel like a “real” man. I had to be told exactly how much his car was worth (and every car we saw on the streets of Rome for that matter), or why homeless people don’t deserve any charity from him. Maybe you agree or disagree with that last one, but the point is I wouldn’t judge someone for choosing or not choosing to give money away, so I just found his whole commentary extremely tacky. He also talked about himself in a way that sounded like an 18 year old intern trying to trick someone into thinking he was senior. Let’s just say his very being screamed, “I’m completely and totally unhappy with everything about me and my life.”

Having insecurities isn’t the deal breaker. Hurting people (or being an asshole) as a result of said insecurities is! I guess after the ordeal with His Majesty, and seeing how deeply and totally fucked up he was from his confidence problems, I started to become more aware of insecure male syndrome. I also started to develop some theories.

Like most of society, I was also guilty of thinking that all men were made of steel. They are “the man.” They have balls. They are supposed to be driven and tough and designated jar openers and spider killers. And I think that’s where a lot of the insecurity stems from. I mean, think of the term “male insecurity.” The very word itself suggests that only women are supposed to be weak and vulnerable, and that insecurity in men needs its own special label. The reality is, however, most of the insecurities I have seen in my travels belong to men.

I can’t say I blame them. As a society we like to think we have progressed, but the fact is young girls and women don’t feel the same pressure to be ambitious and succeed. I’m not saying that’s a good thing. I think women should be successful. But if you think about it, the women who aren’t professionally motivated are not criticized as harshly. I mean, some women still dream of being “pretty enough” to marry rich, but men grow up thinking that if they don’t work hard, make that money, or drive that car, then no woman alive will fuck them.

But it’s never enough. Coming back to NHL Land, I see it on the ice now. A professional athlete is “supposed” to be the epitome of male success, but these guys are definitely not immune to confidence issues. A player struggling to find the back of the net feels bad, grows paranoid, and attempts to make the fan(s) feel bad for being there to watch. As if a fan would actually pay money (and travel all that way) to do anything but be supportive. I know I have always secretly hoped to see goals being scored even by the players that may have fallen out with me in the past. And, I mean, right now in Toronto we are witnessing the apparent unraveling of our team because of negative media coverage and Twitter trolls! Yep. I think if I was to do my life over again, sports psychology would be my career of choice. Maybe it’s not too late?

Back to Rome, since all roads lead there anyway… I think The Other One thought that if he walked me back to my hotel that night that he might actually get some. I mean, it was just a “Catholic thing” that he didn’t get any at the church, right? Of course, if there was a hope in Hell that I was going to reconsider revoking his free pass, he was too busy letting his insecurities hammer the nails in his coffin to realize it.

“Is it because you think I am too ugly? Because you either think I am ugly or you are just shy. And I know that I am not ugly, so you must be shy.” I swear I rolled my eyes with so much force that I was afraid they were going to get stuck in the back of my head. What do you even say to that? “There there, darling. You are so handsome. Go into the bathroom and take a few more selfies.”

Men, if I had any advice for you, then it would be to own the things that make you sad, worried or self-conscious. Be honest about them. It’s sexy. It is, I promise. And before you know it, those things might not bother you anymore. You don’t need to be a hero, you just need to be. You don’t want to be like His Majesty, do you? A guy who wasted half his life being scared and insecure, a guy who hurts (and lies to) people so he can hide in his shell, and a guy who can’t keep it up if he isn’t a paying customer! Yeah… he made me learn the “hard” (read: soft) way that women can also get blue balls. So I guess what I’m trying to say here is, be confident for the sake of your penis!

Anyway… I basically went silent after the ugly question. I no longer had anything to say. Plus, I had just discovered that Venti had been Whatsapping me all day and I didn’t even know it! Oh, how different the evening could have gone if I had only tapped my app! That’s what happens when you get greedy, I guess.

The following day I finally went to the Vatican because evidently I am “that Catholic.” There was this little chapel inside that was strictly for praying – no photos! My curiosity made me go in to “pray,” as I promised the security guard I would. Everyone in there was deep in reflection, and I couldn’t help but start to reflect as well. When I actually kneeled down and thought about it, I realized everything was in its right place. I was moving home to my beloved land of hockey. My career had changed suddenly and miraculously and for the better. The only thing that was still off was my love life. And so, I found myself praying, if you can call it praying, that when that final missing piece comes around, that he wouldn’t be totally fucked up like The Other One and all the other ones. A girl can get bored when all those she’s loved and left behind have seemed like one and the same, and a girl can get pretty tired wandering the planet alone. Luckily, I’m staying still for awhile…

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