Chat at 1.
Q: Dedicated reader and first time writer here with a quandary of sizeable proportions. This problem may have been discussed before, and if it has, please accept my sincerest apologies.
I can't help thinking about my situation as it is somewhat analogous to a movie that came out in March that had a tag line of "How can a 10 go for a 5?" For those who don't know what movie that's from, and if searching IMDB is inconvenient at the moment, I will cut to the chase. It is from "She's Out of My League." The title is unequivocal but for those who want a brief synopsis, it is about a young gentleman of moderate attractiveness with a less than prestigious job (but of significant importance) with animated friends and family who comes across a stunning, intelligent, empathetic, and ambitious woman who defies convention by showing interest in said gentleman who at least on paper, is well out of her league.
Here is my situation as I think parallels the movie. I am in my mid-20s, master's level educated, attractive (as others would say), employed, and an easy going male with a severe lack of self-esteem that has contributed to other issues for which I am currently seeking help. So it is a beautiful weekend several weeks back and I am strolling down a street often described as pretentious when a beautiful girl walks beside me and compliments me. I am stunned by A. her beauty, B. her confidence, and C. my uncomfortable feelings. We talked briefly and I was getting a little nervous so we exchanged numbers. I told her we would hang out soon, and I was back on the path to my destination. While walking to my destination I kept thinking about past experiences where this type of interaction had previously occurred and my reasons (self-esteem issues) for rarely mirroring the interest. Because I had been advised to take some risks, I decided to pursue.
Enter the DeLorean and fast-forward a few weeks. Interest and I meet, drink nonalcoholic beverages and talk. Talk a little more and laugh. Prior to the meeting I already know she is attractive and has extreme confidence, but while talking I learn she went to an extremely prestigious school and studied an extremely challenging subject and has the genes of an entertainment mogul. She is very empathetic, compassionate, culturally sensitive, inquisitive, intelligent, eloquent, and holds eclectic interests. She learns that I come from a less prestigious school and hold a less than prestigious job (but of significant importance) and picked up on other aspects of me that I have a difficult time seeing. At the end of the night I got to see her dwelling and we shared in a passionate exchange of saliva.
In total, considering her qualities and personality, she is a 10 in both my eyes and I am sure in the eyes of others. In total, considering my qualities and personality, I rate myself as a 3.14159. I know she likes me. In fact, I think she likes me a lot and I like her too, but I feel like there is no way I can compete in her league. We have plans to meet up again but I am ambivalent as to what to make of this as the apparent difference in scale rating scares me from continuing to pursue.
I know a large part of the problem is my self-esteem issues but the difference in leagues is apparent. Should I pursue and continue being myself and see what happens irrespective of embarrassing myself? Stop pursuing? Just friends? Rent and watch "She's Out of My League" to show her that she is out of my league? Advance my therapy in correcting my self-esteem.
– Wishing To Be In the Big Leagues, Boston
A: WTBITBL, reasons you might be a 10 in her eyes:
You are capable of making a joke involving pi.
You used the word "unequivocal."
You have low self-esteem so you work your behind off to stay interesting.
Beauty, brains, job, degree -- those are all important things. But her "Perfect 10" list might prioritize humor, the ability to listen, self-awareness, and aptitude for sharing saliva. Perhaps you score high when it comes to those things.
You're not "competing in her league." This isn't a competition. People usually look for someone who will balance them, make them feel secure, and care for them. Good partnerships don't involve rankings.
I get that you have a self-esteem problem, and to be honest, once you have one, it's difficult to train yourself to ignore the self-doubt. And that's why I'm not asking you to get super confident. You're you, a guy who second-guesses. That's fine. I'm just asking you not to self-sabotage.
I haven't seen "She's Out of My League," but I can guess the ending. It's probably the same ending as "There's Something About Mary," "Superbad" and all the other films about really cool guys who feel outclassed by a "10." Moral of the stories: stay funny. Humor wins out over everything. Justin Timberlake was a 9 in my book until he dressed up like an omelet on "Saturday Night Live." He gained a full point by wearing an egg costume. That's all it took. Think about that every time you wonder what it means to be a good catch.
Readers? Some people just can't stop thinking about how they're not good enough. Any tips for controlling anxiety related to self-esteem? How can he focus on what he has as opposed to what he lacks? Anyone out there suffer from self-doubt that leads to self-sabotage? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.