F*ck buddies love to go tit for tat.
Sitting over a pint and platter of wings with my most recently utilized Friend With Benefits, I found myself wondering just how many women he penetrates on a regular basis.
I don't know if there's some rulebook for casual sex partners that prohibits this question or others of its nature, but, being the somewhat apprehensive and entirely curious individual that I am, I simply couldn’t resist.
As expected, my question ultimately went unanswered and flung my momentary male companion for an unforeseeable loop in the wrong direction.
While I’m sure this observation is by no means gender-specific, I’ve come to find that the men who have the greatest distaste for being probed about how many people they routinely sleep with are usually the ones tapping the most ass.
Later on that same evening, to undoubtedly punish me for my inappropriate inquiry into his personal life, he casually referred to me mid-conversation as a 7.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, my oh-so-sweet booty call was referencing none other than the 1-to-10 scale we Millennials are all plagued to acquiesce.
It's the shallow ranking system used to determine one's value based on other people’s reaction to one's outward appearance.
It's a score most people wouldn't dare mention to someone’s face.
After witnessing my reaction, he instantly defended his remark and eluded to the indication that it was, for all intents and purposes, designed as a genuine compliment.
Following our rendezvous, for which I was left predictably unsatisfied, I consulted my best girlfriend to engage in some much needed bitching.
My BFF surprised me when she confessed that to her, a rating of 7 would indeed be complimentary, as even on good days she considers herself to be a mid-level 5.
“Come on, like, super models are 10. 9 is the good looking celebrity. 8 is that incredibly hot girl from high school who was untouchable, and so on,” she continued. “I try to see beauty in everyone, but I don’t know, I think 7 is great. Stop beating yourself up over it.”
Point blank: My mind was effectively blown. My tall, porcelain-skinned, fiery-haired, hourglass of a bestie would honestly be pleased with a 7 out of 10? This can’t be for real.
Perhaps I’m an overachiever. Perhaps I’m unrealistic, tragically insecure or simply bitter about others choosing to see me in such limited lights. Perhaps that’s the problem.
The harsh fact of the matter is that we live in a sexist, cursory and superficially driven world.
Accepting that people (and women in particular) are consistently subjected to scrutiny based on a system of weights and measures that exists purely to derail positive self-esteem is not only antiquated, but down right disrespectful.
It didn’t take long for me to realize, however, that in my choice to care, I am doing nothing more than perpetuate a menacing facet of society I loathe and desire to change.
Because at the end of the day it is, indeed, a choice.
We may never be able to alter the way other people view us, but we can control the level of power we allow their attitudes to affect us.
Despite the views of some (lesser evolved) individuals, beauty has and never will be a quantifiable formulation of physical attributes.
So, how do those of us who are sensitive to the opinions of others come to terms with the saddening realization that to many, we’ll never be any more than a sinking number on a scale?
The answer is simple: abstain from giving your best to people who see you only as a barometer of their own sub-par status. We keep ourselves down by getting them up. And they thank us for it by belittling our character and judging us shamelessly.
And, as much as certain members of society love to test our ability to cope with their utterly impractical standards, the opinion that matters most is that of our own creation.
Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder. It is something we often say but seldom enforce in any tangible way.
Someday, someone will look at us and see more than just a metric designed to reinforce their own (dismal) self-worth; they'll see infinity.
And to anyone else who diminishes our value to the notorious 1-to -10 scale, sometimes all they need is a good f*ck (you).