Thursday, August 11, 2011

Confidence is sexy. But please keep your shirt on.

A couple of evenings ago, my nuclear family and I settled in over a table of Greek salads and bread, complimented by some powder blue Safeway napkins with pleasantly quilted patterns.

As has been a more frequent topic of late, the upcoming school year reared its head again. My wife asked my sixteen-year-old daughter if she would be agreeable to dropping off our younger girl for her first day of middle school, since parental drop-offs are so "elementary school."

"That would be cute of me," replied the elder sibling.

Cute of me? I hadn't recalled those words having ever been used together before.

"Did you say, 'That would be cute of me?'" I had to confirm.

"Yeah. I'm sure everyone would think it's cute for the big high school sister to drop off the little sister for her first day of middle school," she replied, narrowly avoiding dipping her hair tips into her vinegary salad bowl...again.

Commonly, when my teenager utters such arrogant statements, I'm rendered speechless as I was on this occasion. She's often so oblivious to her utterances that I really don't think she realizes how it sounds to those within earshot.

As she slowly pivoted her head back toward her food, my teenager's eyes screeched to a halt.

My wife observed the process. "You're looking at your arm, aren't you?"

"Yes. Wow, I'm really getting toned this summer."

Such confidence. It is obnoxious for sure, but nonetheless is a trait I've always admired. We live in a culture where we either muster up our self worth from within, or ride the bucking bronco of public opinion. Should we make the error in validating ourselves through others' opinions, we run the risk of feeling like something that that bronco squeezed out its backside.

When Barack Obama was elected, it seemed as if the entire planet Earth believed he could walk across Lake Michigan without getting his wingtips wet. But ultimately, Mr. Obama has proven himself unable to work miracles, such as healing both an already broken economy and an entire class of lepers known as the Tea Party.

Unwavering confidence is a must for any President. After all, can you imagine a moment when you're actually telling yourself, "You know what? I think I should be the ruler of the free world. Yeah, definitely. Either that or work at Costco."

But what about other lines of work where unbridled confidence is a prerequisite?

Professional boxer: Imagine stepping onto a roped off canvas in front of thousands of people, and you're not wearing a shirt? Okay, that's a dream I've had quite a bit, but in addition, you're supposed to pummel another shirtless guy into unconsciousness or just make him bleed so much he can no longer see. This would require confidence and probably not a lot of other job opportunities.

Navy SEAL: Someone calls you and some buddies into a room, where you sit in one of those school desk/chair things, and says, "We're gonna need you guys to get into a helicopter, fly secretly into Pakistan, kill Osama and pack up a bunch of his stuff, including his porn stash and Whitney Houston cassettes. Then bring the body back in the helicopter, mmmkay? Oh, and don't forget to use the Swiffer before you leave. Clean floors show that America has paid a visit."

Graphic designer: When a hundred-year-old company's future depends on one pixel moved to the left or right, I'm up to the task. And, I can perform while listening to Night Ranger. I'll stop there, since I'm sure you're already doubting yourself.

So before you ask your wife how you look in those short slacks and striped green tie, before you run the brown clogs and denim jumper by your husband, take a good look in the mirror. You don't need outsiders' validation.

You look good, and you know it.

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