We’re revisiting this classic Autostraddle piece on queer dating as we get back to dating basics in partnership with HER’s Queer Dating 101, a series of live edutainment events that brings in concrete how-tos, insights, experts and some of your favorite Autostraddle personalities to help you find love (or whatever you’re looking for) in the time of corona. Check out the first event, the Dating Preparedness Kit, on Tuesday 1/12 at 6pm PT | 9pm ET!
Hello it’s me, your supportive fun friend who thinks you’re literally the greatest hottest person on the whole goddamn planet. I’m here to talk to you about confidence, feeling sexy, casual dating, and how to feel like the extreme babe that you are in 2019. Welcome.
Here’s a question, that I got for real in my Instagram DMs from a very hot friend, to contextualize what we’re going to talk about today:
I have been single now for about two months and I wanna get back into dating and I have been feeling incredibly frisky! Do you have any good links or advice? You are so naturally sexy and I wanna be like that but it’s just feeling so awkward. I have been taking some thirst traps which I feel is a good start. Here’s to sexy times ahead, sorry if this is a strange question.
I have had this specific conversation with no fewer than five friends so far this year, and it’s only January 15th! As a community, we’ve gotta sit down and talk about this. I think I’m specifically asked this question because I seem confident, I have a huge mouth, I love talking about going on dates and having sex, and I post a lot of NSFW photos of my tits on my very public Instagram account (hi mom!).
A lot of times when my friends and I delve into this question – which essentially, I think, boils down to how can I feel good about my body and my appearance and also how can I translate those feelings into being desirable to other hot queer babes – they are surprised to learn that I do not wake up every day magically loving myself. I’m flattered that y’all think I’m a natural at having amazing self-esteem, but LOL. I live in our fucked up world, too! I’ve hated myself for years! It’s just that one day I decided to stop.
That last sentence sounds flippant, but I don’t mean to be, I swear. I know it’s not easy. But it is doable. It’s a homework assignment, honestly. I wake up a lot of days feeling kinda meh about how I look and how others might perceive me, but I don’t want that to be how I feel, so I get to work like a typical fucking Capricorn and force myself to feel otherwise – in like, a loving (mostly) gentle way.
The confident vibe you get from me? The “naturally sexy” way you (might) think I am? It’s not natural at all. It’s a choice, it can be learned, and you too can suddenly start posting low-key almost inappropriate nudes of yourself on the internet and reaping the benefits in your DMs. Here’s how!
1. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
The first step to deciding you’re hot is… deciding you’re hot. Look in the mirror, find the things you like about your appearance. Then look in the mirror again, find the things you really don’t like about your appearance. Now praise all of it. Ideally out loud! Trust me. I’m a fat femme with huge tits and a nice butt. It’s easy (for me personally) to love my chest, easy to love the way my cleavage looks in a tight shirt. My tummy? My thighs? My stretch marks? Less easy to love.
So I stare at myself naked in the mirror every chance I get and I tell myself how hot I am. My tummy? Super hot. My thighs? Fuck yeah. My stretch marks? I literally rub my hands all over them to get to know them and enjoy them. Is this an instant fix? LOL Y’ALL OBVIOUSLY OF COURSE NOT! But has it, over the course of almost a decade, made me significantly more familiar with and happier in my bod? Yeah, it has. It really has.
The exercise of deciding you are hot and worthy of being desired is multilayered. We’re all unlearning different bullshit that the world has heaped upon us when we stare at our bodies, our faces, our selves and decide we are attractive. I’m white and cis and fat, so I know there are layers upon layers of external and internal hardship that others deal with that I can’t possibly understand. But also: I believe in all of you and your potential to romance yourselves, desire yourselves, talk yourself into accepting your hotness. You are hot. You are so hot. Now take yourself to the mirror, take off your clothes (or keep them on if you’d prefer), and start teaching yourself that. I’ll wait.
2. Take Thirst Traps Or Show Off Your Confidence In Another Way
Okay, you’ve successfully (or somewhat successfully) accepted that you are a babe. Let me repeat: YOU ARE A BABE! Write that down. Tape it to your mirror. Put it on your bulletin board. Tattoo it on your thigh. Cool. Now you’re gonna show off your babe status to the world / your crush / yourself / whoever the heck you want to text from that tiny computer you keep in your pocket.
Here’s the deal: you don’t have to share your thirst traps with the world. You may not want to. You don’t even necessarily have to take thirst traps. In this context, a thirst trap is a metaphor. When my friends ask me how I get so many dates, or how I ended up sleeping with that hot queer from the pizza shop, or why I am “naturally sexy,” the very short answer is that I am putting myself out there with extreme confidence. I happen to be using my tits and my ass and videos of me slowly slicing open particularly robust soft boiled eggs to showcase Who I Am, but that is not the only way. I dated a very shy quiet girl for a while who was always the smartest one in the room, and she knew it. She wasn’t obnoxious about it, but she had the best tweets, the funniest jokes, the most well-researched articles, the deepest fountain of trivia knowledge. Her brilliant brain came with a quiet confidence that was honestly one of the hottest things I’ve ever experienced. She never posted a thirst trap. She never even sent me nudes when we were dating. We had an elaborate bit where we pretended this miniature pumpkin was our dog and she would send me photos of him but – anyway, not the point. The point is she’s always had an abundance of dates and everyone I know thinks she’s a babe. The key here is not the NSFW image – the key is the confidence.
You don’t have to 100% believe in that confidence. But you’ve gotta fake it (as we addressed in step #1). Confidence is a muscle. It’ll get stronger the more you use it, I swear.
3. Surround Yourself With Friends Who Make You Feel Good
Do you hear what I keep saying about myself? I am your friend who is going to make you feel like a million dollars. I am going to remind you how fucking hot you are. I am going to assure you that everyone in the bar or on Tinder or on Personals definitely thinks you’re super hot. Why am I like that? Because that is the kind of love and support we all deserve!!!
Listen, it’s 2019. We’re all gonna die, maybe soon. WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO KEEP TOXIC PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES! If you and your friends are not lifting each other up, we can all just go home. COMPLIMENTS ARE MY LOVE LANGUAGE AND I ENCOURAGE YOU TO INTEGRATE THEM INTO YOUR LIFE, TOO! If you don’t have one already, start a text thread with some supportive friends where y’all share nudes or thirst traps and just validate the shit out of each other. Go shopping with your best cheerleader friend. Tell your friends how hot they are. Instruct everyone in your life to live as if everyone on the planet already thinks they are so hot! As queers, we often operate from a place of feeling anxious about scarcity. I’m here to remind you that being hot and desirable are not limited resources. Every single queer person can and should strive to feel like the hottest babe in the room. I’m not good at math, but I think we can describe this as an exponential net-positive: the hotter you feel, the hotter we can all feel.
TL;DR: COMPLIMENT YOUR FRIENDS. THIS IS YOUR DAILY REMINDER THAT YOU ARE REALLY FUCKING HOT AND IF ANYONE QUESTIONS YOU, JUST TELL THEM VANESSA SAID SO, OKAY?!
4. Legit Assume Everyone Thinks You’re Hot
Here we are, the official prescriptive part of this “advice column.” (Can we call a roughly 2k word meditation on why I support stronger self-esteem and confidence in the queer community via more thirst traps posted to Instagram an advice column? Sure, why not!) You have to just accept this and then do it: Are you walking into a coffee shop today? Every single person sipping an overpriced beverage thinks you’re hot. Are you reading Autostraddle? Everyone else reading Autostraddle thinks you’re hot. Going to work? Your co-workers think you’re hot. EVERYONE THINKS YOU’RE HOT.
Now, pause. We are going to check in about consent and boundaries. Does living a mental exercise of assuming that everyone in a room thinks you’re hot mean you’re entitled to anything from these fine folks? No duh of course not. Will this homework assignment I’ve given you actually change your life and make it so everyone who sees you will actually find you hot / ask you on a date / wanna sleep with you / marry you / etc? No. That’s not the point of the exercise. I’m sure y’all are following me here, but just to explicitly state the obvious: this thought experiment does not entitle you to anything nor does it give you the right to demand things from your fellow humans. It’s about changing your mindset. Which will inevitably change the way you exist in the world.
Listen. Does everyone actually think I’m hot? OF COURSE NOT. Y’all I’m not delusional! Probably most humans in the world do not think I’m hot. Full disclosure, I once had the misfortune of overhearing one of my very best friends describe me as “pretty average looking, honestly” and I know that even in queer community folks are still super fatphobic. Also, almost every time I post a thirst trap some cis straight dude pops up in my DMs to tell me that I look like a whale, so like, I am very aware that many many many people on this earth do not find me hot and are not attracted to me.
I choose to live my life assuming that everyone finds me hot. Like, as an exercise. A homework assignment, remember? Because it helps me find myself attractive to think that way. Because I am literally teaching myself confidence through that act. Because it makes me brave enough to ask folks out on dates and not feel bad about myself if they say no. Because it gives me an excuse to post sexy photos of myself on the internet and if even one or two folks compliment me on that photo I actually feel a boost of confidence. We’re all human and external validation is a real addictive drug, ya know?
Assuming everyone thinks you’re hot is more about you than it is about anyone else. I can’t promise it will change your life or your dating success stories or how much sex you have. I can tell you that it changed the whole fucking game for me. It’s how I walk around this hellscape of a planet getting asked how I am so confident and naturally sexy. Sure, some of that might be my tits (can y’all tell I love my rack?) but a lot of it is the confidence I forced myself to learn. You can learn it, too. I promise.
You are a babe. Do you need me to say it again? YOU ARE A BABE.
Now go do your homework.