"I am Very Confident!" ...and Other Uncertainties

When I was back in the early days of high school, I had a math class where I sat next to a few people I didn't know well. They immediately seemed extremely cool and sophisticated the kind of cool where they listened to bands you've never heard of before and said things like, "I'm not sure if I feel like going to prom". I was the exact opposite - I got excited about everything and loved my "NOW!" CD. But I desperately wanted to try and make a cool impression back. Each day I would greet them with a huge, friendly smile, and each day they would tell me, "Oh, uh, you have something in your teeth again". There was nothing else to do but go to CVS and purchase one of those small compact mirrors to forever keep in my pocket.  

Much later in high school, I remember having a conversation with my best friends where we enthusiastically agreed that "confidence" is the most attractive trait a girl can have. We believed that regardless of a girl's personality or looks, as long as she exudes natural confidence, she is enviable. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but I have definitely experienced how it doesn't work. As one of my good friends in college put it, "I actually thought you were a bit weird when I met you". Oh, good to know! I thought to myself. This will really encourage me as I continue to meet new people.

As I've slowly begun to enter adulthood I've started to sense that this awkward pursuit of natural confidence feels less like a commitment to personal acceptance and more like a trendy accessory that I hope people will notice. When it come down to it... is a girl's confidence more about being unique or quirky or noticeable in the right kind of way? Are we supposed to be confident for ourselves, or for the people we get to sit next to?