September 24, 2019 | Posted in Editorial Features by
I'm a 30-something guy in an open relationship, and lately I have been feeling frustrated because I don't get attention from other guys. I'm decent-looking with a good personality, and occasionally someone on Grindr/Scruff will proposition me, but I've never actually had someone hit on me in person. I have a really handsome friend who is constantly getting attention from guys at bars/parties/coffee shops and it makes me feel insecure and jealous. I know the deeper issue is that I shouldn't base my self-worth on whether or not guys are hitting on me, and that I should also be able to feel validated by my boyfriend finding me attractive, but I'm still not at peace. I talk about this with my therapist and he says that I shouldn't be judgmental towards my own desire to feel attractive. What do you think? Is it possible that I give off unapproachable vibes? Or that I am getting attention but it's too subtle for me to notice? Or do I need to work on finding my own self-worth outside of people finding me fuckable? Thanks, Queer Abby.
- Just Tell Me I'm Hot
Dear Just Tell Me I'm Hot,
How funny is it that the questions that plagued us as teens still apply into our thirties? How do I get guys to want me. The need for external validation is part of human nature - if we're being honest it fuels the fashion and beauty industries (worth $2.4 trillion and $500 billion respectively) - so I agree with your therapist that your personal desire to feel wanted is valid and should not be minimized. We're all thinking it. You just said it. On the other hand, validation is a moving target, and seeking it out explicitily can be very frustrating if you strikeout. And certainly you don't want your entire mood hinging on other people's comments and attitudes - things you have a limited amount of control over. So what to do.
Balancing a holistic approach to self-awareness while entertaining smaller tangible solutions is key here. On the self-awareness front - continue to ask yourself why you have this desire to be wanted. How meaningful will these desired compliments be to you long-term? Is there a compliment quota that will satiate you, or will the stakes only continue to grow? On the tangible solutions front - take a fresh assessment of how you appear to others. Is there anything about your facial expressions or body language that might be construed as unapproachable? Are there any fashion trends that you can experiment with? Playing with your overall look might take you out of yourself enough to give you a new perspective as to how you appear to others.
Lastly, it's interesting that you are strictly concerned with being pursued. You didn't mention rejection in your letter, which gives me the impression that you hold back and wait to receive compliments rather than reach out to give them. Maybe for the time being, try the latter? It will help you socialize and most likely, if you give enough compliments, you'll receive some in return. This will give you an idea of what people like about you. If nothing else, you'll be giving someone a compliment. And who doesn't love those.
Do you have any advice for our friend? Please share your thoughts in the comments! And make sure to send in your Queer Abby questions to email@example.com, or through our anonymous Queer Abby Google Form.