I was told early on that I was “fat.” I was also told early on that “fat” was not okay, not nice to look at, not nice to touch. That is to say, I have been trained since childhood to believe I am unattractive. I have never been one of the thin, (supposedly) attractive people who could dress in form-fitting clothes and grab the attention of the people in the room just walking into it.
I have never been one of those people who could diet and work out a little and lose the extra weight. I work out a minimum of 4 days a week unless I am ill, and I keep a relatively healthy diet. But despite the extraordinary amount of muscle I carry around, people tend to judge me based on the surface—that extra jiggle in my wiggle, to be precise.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, I have recently realized something. I tend to date really extraordinarily beautiful women. I mean, every once in a while I change it up and go for something extra crazy instead of extra hot, but that’s another story entirely. Ahem. Right.
But every time I find some gorgeous, brilliant, interesting woman who expresses interest in me, I have the same thought running around and through my mind: WTF does she want with me?
I mean, let’s look at this situation, here. I am 34, not gainfully employed, overweight, missing a visible tooth (oh yeah—like the meth head look? Never mind that it’s because of some bad dentistry), and I am still carrying around matching luggage from some previous relationships.
Whiskeypants, you may be saying, clearly these women are interested in you for your personality. Maybe that intelligence of yours makes you sexy. Maybe blah blah blah blah.
Fuck that. You find anybody who doesn’t, deep inside, want to be told that they are handsome, pretty, beautiful, stunning. Ultimately, gentle reader, I don’t want to be wanted for my personality—at least, not only my personality. Of course it’s wonderful when people can see past physical flaws (or not see them at all, or recognize that they aren’t actually flaws, goddamn it) because they see who a person is. Of course it’s fucking brilliant when that happens.
But let’s face it: I want to be wanted because somebody has looked at me and found me fucking hot. And I am sorry, but anybody who says differently is lying to you and possibly themselves. We say looks don’t matter, but that’s because we don’t want them to. Not because reality bears this out in any way, shape, or form (whose form? my form?).
I can’t tell you the number of times I have been out with some gorgeous woman and had somebody come up and buy her a drink right in front of me. I won’t lie—to be discounted and ignored like that stings like a motherfucker. No matter how satisfying it is to know she’s going home with me and not that presumptuous individual. I have had it hammered into me repeatedly: I am no looker.
So when some woman, who could clearly have anybody, shows interest in me, it sends me into a tailspin of “why?!” and “WTF?” and “really?” And then I set myself the task of talking myself out of that woman until I have more or less convinced myself that she could never be serious about me (either in a physical or emotional sense) in a million years.
I forget a lot of relevant facts at this point—all to do, of course, with my personality. Facts like:
- I am ridiculously smart.
- I am funny.
- I am kind.
- I am generous.
- I really really really treat the women I date really really really well.
- I have yet to have any complaints in the bed dept.
- I am trustworthy.
- I know how to communicate.
Somehow, though, none of that measures up to the fact that I grew up with the understanding that I was never all that attractive and that I couldn’t rely on my looks to get me anywhere. I don’t know how to get over that. I know there’s tons of rotund-positive stuff out there, but ultimately it doesn’t do anything to penetrate 34 years of programming and programming reinforcement.
So what’s the point of all this beside some whining about being liked for my admittedly rad personality? Good question. I’m not fishing for compliments. In fact, I’d prefer not to have a bunch of well-meaning friends decide to shower me with them just to make me feel better. So save it.
What I want all of you to do instead is to bring those compliments out for the people immediately around you—your children, your friends, your partners, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, that person you just started dating (because if anybody is at their most insecure…). Tell them they are beautiful, that you love their eyes, their hands, their dimples, their smiles. Say, “My gawd I find you amazingly hot.” Tell them this in person, if you can. If you can’t, tell them over the phone: “Damn, I miss that fine ass of yours.”
Because everybody needs to hear it, regardless of what they say or even think. It will put a spring in anybody’s step to hear that they are beautiful, or that they have stunning hair, or that their smile moves you in some way. This doesn’t require that you buy into traditional ideas of beauty (what tradition, anyway? Japanese? African? America in 1920 or 1980 or now?). Just that you find the beauty in the people around you and—just as importantly—that you tell them about it.
Now go forth and compliment.