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Meet the Real Me: The Representative Phenomenon

Cover of "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka"
Yes, this movie has something to say about this blog post... Cover of I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

There’s a scene in the movie I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, a satire of the Blaxploitation films of the seventies, in which the main character meets a woman in a bar. This woman gets straight to the point: she’s looking for a man with twelve inches. The main character assures her that he is in possession of this. She takes him home. Once at her place, he admits that he isn’t exactly what he implied he was. She says that’s OK; there are a few things about her that aren’t as they appear either. She takes out her green contacts, pulls off her breast enhancing bra, pops some plastic mold off her butt, removes her wig to expose a nearly hairless head, and pops off one of her legs. The man runs out in disgust and horror. It’s an extremely funny scene, but one that drives home a solid truth.

The other night I was watching “In the Bedroom” with Dr. Laura Berman with a very engrossed Mr. P. Here’s a brief synopsis of what had our rapt attention: A husband and wife were asking for Dr. Berman’s help because their sex life was largely non-existent and it was having a negative effect on their marriage. She said that she had been raised religiously and did not feel comfortable with the fact that they had engaged in pre-marital sex, but did so in an effort to keep her now husband. He says when they got married she stopped having sex with him and when he confronted her about it, she said something that made both Mr. Perfect and I sit up and take notice: “Well, I have you now.”

Is there really anything more horrifying that you can conceive of than having the person you love all of a sudden inform you that they can stop being the person you fell in love with because “they have you now?” My personal disapproval of pre-marital sex taken as read, this is the most fear-inducing thing about a relationship, that this could happen. I’m sure most people would agree this is a major concern.

Another example of this was how everyone though Peter was such a good businessman on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, only to find him not only bankrupt himself, but having bankrupted his fiancée and still pushing forward with a wedding they could no longer afford. His flashes of temper and controlling nature unnerved me all season as well, but they were only flashes and dismissed by those in the cast until the evidence kept mounting.

There are some women I know who diet, exercise, wear makeup and perfectly coordinated outfits, work at a corporate job and attend cultured events with the sole purpose of only doing so as long as it takes to get a man. Not to mention women who fake interest in sports, tolerance for his female friends, love for his mother, the desire to cook and clean and wait on him hand and food–all with the express intent to ensnare him, then revert to their true selves.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward when getting to know someone. There’s nothing wrong with enhancing your appearance or highlighting your best qualities. But there seems to be a fine line between selling yourself and selling yourself out.

Men complain all the live long day about women and our “tricks“–hair extensions/weaves, makeup, spanx, body magic, girdles, control top underwear, contacts, etc. What about you is real? they moan. Ladies, I have to confess, I agree with the men on this. Not to say they don’t have their issues and don’t have “representatives” as well, but women have a lot more¬†physical slight of hand tricks at our disposal than they do.

If women lie to a man’s eye, men lie to a woman’s heart. They love museums and poetry. They could listen to you talk forever. They have a wonderful job and a healthy relationship to their mother. They don’t mind waiting for sex. They go to church all the time. They respect our minds and our spirits.

Eventually, though, all of the lies come out. So why do we tell the lies? Do we intend to trap people? How can we put our best foot forward and still be ourselves?

To be continued…