I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole “how to maintain your sexual self-esteem when you’re a short, chubby, middle-aged woman” thing that I was talking about in The Aging Slut. It’s such a complicated circle — thinking that you’re hot and being confident in your hotness makes you hotter, thinking that you’re dumpy and being insecure about your looks makes you dumpier… but then how do you break out of the dumpiness/ insecurity circle and break into the confidence/ heat one?
I was re-reading what I wrote in Woman Eats Brownies, Gets Laid:
… what I wind up doing is seeking sexual affirmation, not by looking in the mirror, but by looking at other women who look like me. When I catch myself drooling over some hot babe with a nice meaty body that I’d really like to get my hands on, I remind myself that other people — especially other women — probably feel the same way about me.
And so lately I’ve been doing something I’m calling Ogle Therapy. When I see an attractive woman who looks something like me — forties, chunky, strong muscles, big tits and ass — I make a point of taking a moment to look at her. And I mean really look at her. I try not to be obvious and obnoxious about it, but I take a moment to enjoy the view, to luxuriate in her hotness and really take it in… and to remind myself that if I can look at this woman in this way, then chances are at least some other people are looking at me the same way.
I realize this isn’t much help to the heterosexually-inclined. But I had an opposite-sex version of this experience the other day — and it gave me a whole new perspective on this question.
I was at the gym, getting ready to use the bench press (my favorite weight set — it’s so fucking hot). Both benches were being used, so I waited… and while I waited, I watched the guys who were benching.
One was a very short, skinny, wiry guy in a Picasso T-shirt, in I’m guessing his late thirties or early forties, benching about 85 pounds. The other was a tallish, youngish (early 20s), well-muscled guy in a college sports team tank top, conventionally handsome in a frat-boy/ Tom Cruise/ Rock Hudson sort of way, benching about 150 or 175.
And if a fairy godmother had appeared to me at that moment and said, “You can have sex with either of these two men — pick one,” I would have picked the short, skinny, Picasso guy in a heartbeat.
He just looked… I don’t know. Interesting. Smart. A character, a guy with a mind of his own. Like someone I could relax and have a conversation with. Like someone with potentially interesting ideas about sex. The other guy looked… bland. Not bad or anything, but just kind of boring.
But it occurred to me: It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that the short, scrawny guy was insecure about his looks. Every bit as insecure as I can be. The beauty myth doesn’t just hit women, after all. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he was comparing himself unfavorably to the big, beefy guys at the gym, just like I compare myself to the slender young women.
And yet here I was, thinking he was the hottest thing in the weight room.
And I realized: If I’m hot for the wiry little slip of a guy in the Picasso T-shirt, chances are someone at that gym has looked at the tough, chubby, forty-something dyke with the scary Jabberwock tattoo and thought, “Yeah, I’d do her.”
And for the rest of the evening, I was back on the confident/hot circle.
So at least sometimes, it works. What works for y’all?