Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Maybe it is the 96 degrees plus high humidity here this week, but I’ve been thinking a lot about “hotness”. By that I mean “hotness” in the sense of “attractiveness”.
I don’t normally spend time thinking about this. But recently a Facebook friend of mine invited me to add the “Hot, Cute, or Okay?” application. So, I thought, what the heck, why not. I was rather surprised to see the number of guys—cute guys (!)—who rated me as “hot”, or even as “cute”. Perhaps some of it should be taken with a grain of salt.

But more interesting to me was my own response: “why would a guy find me hot?” Mind you, I don’t think I’m an ugly person, or even undesirable. But somehow I don’t think of myself as having “hotness”.

When I was in my teens, I had a cute body but a terrible face—I had lots of skin problems. My nose was also too large and out of proportion (that was fixed 20 years ago via plastic surgery). Over the years, the cruel hormones of teen years have turned kinder, and not only have my major skin issues disappeared, I also look much younger than my actual years. I’ve inherited my father’s skin—he had skin issues similar to mine, but at the age of 76, he has very few wrinkles at all. Mom doesn’t look so bad, either at 70. So, what was a liability is now something envied by my contemporaries. However, in this bargain, I have traded an awesome figure for one that I merely consider OK. I’m not fat, but I’m not as skinny as I used to be, either. My Mom being a size 4 does not help that image. I’ve noticed that my body type is not necessarily a problem for guys; girls seem to think that they have to be very thin, while guys like a few curves. I’m still a size 8, which I’ve been most of my life.

So, all things considered, I should be pretty satisfied with my appearance, and overall I’m not complaining. But I’m still shocked by the idea that someone would consider me “hot”. I don’t think I’ve let go of the physical insecurities of my younger years, in spite of all the revelations and enlightened moments I’ve had about self-image and popular culture.

Which leads me to flirting problems. When men flirt with me, I don’t really know how to respond. I either think they’re joking, or I’m embarrassed. So, my apologies to my male friends out there who have gotten flirty with me and were met by silence or an awkward response. It’s not personal. Really. As I told someone recently, I’m a retarded flirt.

The other problem I have is the relationship problem. In spite of the fact that many dating relationships do not end up as serious relationships, some backwards part of my brain still evaluates long-term possibilities when considering a date with a guy. I’m not a fan of marriage, having suffered through that for many years, but what the heck do I want anyway? One day I’m happy to have a fling, the next day it’s long-term or forget it. Not knowing what I want has been a problem, and has made me something of a hermit.

Sex is yet another thing. I have a very sexual side, but usually it’s hidden. I’m not into the idea of getting down and dirty with strangers, and like the flirting problem, I still feel awkward about being “sexual”. Maybe astrology has the answer—in my chart, Venus and Mars (sexual and aggressive energies) are in the 12th house—the house of hidden things and fears—along with Saturn, which is the planetary influence that puts the brakes on everything. As one astrologer told me, “It’s not that you’re not sexual. It just expresses itself very awkwardly.” That does seem to fit.

In a wider perspective, I don’t think I’m the only woman who feels this way. Thoughts, anyone?

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