A few months ago, on the Friday before Halloween, I ran into a friend at Starbucks. Let’s call him Erik. Erik is a really great guy who works in the film industry and loves to work out…maybe a little too much. He’s very attractive, in incredible shape, and a joy to be around. Occasionally Erik has lamented to me about his trouble finding a serious relationship. He’s had some short relationships that ended badly and he’s constantly attracting “jerks.” By any measure, Erik is a great catch. Why he couldn’t find a great guy to date was a mystery to both of us.
Erik is generally a fun, playful, guy so of course he chose to wear a Halloween costume to work. Trust me when I say it was one of the most adorable things I’d ever seen. He was dressed as Charlie Brown and had a toy Snoopy on his shoulder. There was something about this look that made Erik more charming than usual. It wasn’t that he looks great in yellow or that baggy black shorts are sexy on him, it’s that the playful nature of his costume gave him permission to be a little more…Erik. Putting on a cute costume actually allowed him to hide his authentic, endearing personality a little less.
Later that night, as I scrolled through Facebook I was surprised to see a picture of Erik wearing an entirely different costume. It was sexy as hell. I’ll admit I had to look twice. Every ass-kicking workout for the last five years was on display, and let’s just say Victoria wasn’t keeping any secrets. His body was a masterpiece, like if you licked him he would taste of creatine and whey protein isolate. I’m having a hard time recalling what he was actually supposed to be because the costume was entirely forgettable. I only remember a man dripping with sex.
I commented, “You look fantastic but I liked Charlie Brown better!” thinking it would be endearing that I preferred the cute look over this. He quickly responded, “Me too, but I need to find a man tonight!” In an instant everything made sense. Erik had been using his body as an object to find love, and although his body was a perfect 10, there is no shortage of those in West Hollywood. The playful charm that made Erik so magnetic this morning because it reflected his true essence, was gone. Now he had to be sexy. He had to be stiff and aloof. By putting himself on display he had actually chosen to hide the very qualities that made him perfect husband material.
Sex, of course, is inescapable in today’s world and we’ve been fed that sex and being sexy will bring us love. We bought in to this illusion hook, line, and sinker so much that we’ve forgotten to think about what we’re really putting out there. At some point we decided that who we are on the inside, all of the things that make us unique, charming, and special were not good enough so we neglected our souls and focused on our bodies. We’re desperate for someone to love us for who we really are, but we’re terrified of letting people see who we really are. If you’re not happy with what you’re catching, think about what you’re using as bait. If Erik wanted to meet someone interested in a serious relationship, the Charlie Brown costume sure would have been a great start. It communicated, “I’m lovable! I know how to have fun! Get to know me better!” If sex is what Erik wanted I’m pretty sure the second costume helped him get it. It communicated, “My body is the best thing I’ve got going for me, will you cover my Uber when we’re done?”
Ironically, I once dressed up as a sexy Charlie Brown for Halloween, so I’m not saying I’m above all this. Like Erik, I often feel tremendous pressure to look and act a certain way, we all do, and who doesn’t like to feel hot? At then end of the day this isn’t about trashing anybody’s choice of dress, and I’m sure I haven’t seen my last Halloween covered in superhero body-paint and not much else, but when it comes to love, the key to attracting better partners and building stronger relationships isn’t to cover up your shortcomings by putting on a false image of perfection, it’s just the opposite. Being more authentic, flaws and all, is what will make you magnetic. People crave honesty and authenticity. We are attracted to people who are unabashedly themselves, who are unguarded and vulnerable. If we constantly put on an act when we’re trying to find a relationship, when we finally do, one or both of us will eventually feel cheated. We might lust after the perfect ten in Andrew Christian underwear with perfect abs, but we long for the partner who thinks we’re sexy when we wake up in our sweatpants with bedhead and puffy eyes, who appreciates our goofiness and enjoys being goofy with us.
The truth is, the deeper your longing for a serious relationship, the more likely it is that you’re sabotaging your chances at finding one. If you’re looking for someone to complete you, the partners you pursue will see a man who’s incomplete. Not even the hottest gym selfie will hide this, in fact it will expose it. The “jerks” will see this too. They’ll swoop in, use you, leave you feeling even more damaged, and then move along to the next. You could have been the man of someone’s dreams, but you were too busy trying to be the man of their fantasies. Well…it worked. How did it feel?
Let me be clear, this is not an attempt at slut-shaming anybody. I hope all of my friends are having incredible sex and lots of it if that’s what they want, but if true love is what you desire, you should spend at least as much time working on your soul as you do your physical appearance. If you want to attract a partner that is happy, complete, and ready to commit, you must first be happy and complete yourself. Commit to your own healing and wholeness. When you can take a look deep within and decide that who you are at your core, your essential being, is worthy of sharing with the world with no reservations, then you’re ready for love, and chances are, you’ll find it.
Lucas and his husband David run a healing practice in West Hollywood called Embrace. To find out more visit embraceheals.com.