Why you should always flirt with barmen, and why it's easier to be stupid if you're pretty.
Silence fives, a nine is speaking.
I was chatting to someone on Grindr the other day, and after a few minutes of chatting about random stuff they said something like “I didn’t think you’d want to chat with me - you’re so out of my league!” Which, to start off was a bit flattering, if only because I’ve never really considered myself on the upper side of that sort of comparison. For a moment part of me wanted to respond in a kind of “Haha! Well, sometimes we all like to rough it, you know… Keep in touch with the common folk and that. And you have a lop-sided charm about you, like a cottage in the country… A bit rustic, but charming nonetheless...”
But after kind of sitting in the glow of it for a little while, I realised that it wasn’t that great a thing. Mostly because I’m not keen on having sex with someone who thinks I’m doing them a favour and they should be grateful for it.
Although there have been people that I’ve slept with who it definitely felt like they thought they were doing me a favour. As if, in their personal league rankings, they thought themselves a good couple of points higher than me, but for one reason or another have decided to shag me anyway. You can kind of see in their faces or their actions as you’re going at it that they’re slightly begrudging of the whole thing, like being with me was better than nothing, but not by much.
Nowadays, of course, they’d be out the door. But back before I got my head around that whole “self respect” thing, I’d have been all for it. “Younger Scott! This hot guy wants to have sex with you, but only because shagging you is better than nothing, and he won’t really enjoy it” I stopped listening after “wants to have sex with me”. You. Drop your trousers and find something to hang on to.
But nowadays, with a healthier outlook, I can see this for the not-greatness that it is. The lesson is simple: If someone wants to have sex with you, great! If you want to have sex with them, then go for it. If they’re not actively interested, or there’s an air of ‘ugh, fine.’ about it, kick that bitch out.
If they don’t see your value and worth, then don’t get with them. The key here, of course, is that first you need to know your own value and worth. Which isn’t as easy to do. And I don’t mean it in a “Dude, you’re easily a 7, stop letting people treat you like you’re a 4” or anything like that.
I’d say thinking of people in terms of ranked attractiveness at all is a bad thing, and changing your behaviour based on how hot you think they are is fucking stupid.
Although, again, I have definitely done that. I once went on a date with a boy who thought that human hair would grow roots and start sprouting if it came into contact with skin, which is why, and this is a direct quote, “Which is why hairdressers aren’t allowed to wear flipflops”. I just nodded and let that pass, as if he were talking about the sky being blue. It wasn’t until after I’d got home, and he wasn’t in front of me, distracting me by being all hot and sexy that I realised what he’d said.
The whole idea of ‘a league’, a kind of ranking of attractiveness, as if it were possible for there to be some kind of objective decision that put everyone in their place and that was it is really offensive to me. Like there’s some government building somewhere where we all go to get certified.
Oh, hello, yes. Just pop your clothes on the chair and we’ll get started. Says here you’re currently rated as a 6, but are applying to be rated as an 8. Just a few questions: Are you famous? That always helps. How about rich? Extremely well-hung and willing to pose a lot in your pants? Well, I can see you have the arms and the abs… Reasonably symmetrical face and nice white teeth. Yes, I think that about covers it. Congratulations, I think you definitely qualify to be upgraded. I’ll have all the paperwork sent though. Please be sure to start posting photos of you flexing with some bullshit pseudo-philosophical comment underneth. It doesn’t need to make sense, as almost no-one will read it.
And why is it always sports metaphors, too? Out of your league, punching above your weight, batting above your average… Why not something food-based? I was chatting to him for ten minutes before I realised there were too many beans on his slice of toast. Or I was going to go over and give him my number, but he was easily a gateaux. I’m barely even a cupcake.
When you think about it, this whole idea of someone being unapproachable because they’re too hot for you is just stupid. As if that’s the only thing that matters, as if there’s nothing to any of us other than the physical bits that others can see, and absolutely everything else is either nonexistant or meaningless.
I remember, when I was younger and in my Hot Mess phase (that’s all of my twenties, if I’m honest), I used to go to a bar called The Edge. And there was this barman there, who was just… Stunning. He must have been about 7 feet tall, bronzed skin, long, surfie blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes. He was like Thor’s hotter, younger brother. I couldn’t even look at him without going a bit weird. I was so intimidated by his hotness that I used to walk up two flights of stairs to get a drink at the other bar rather than have to have a direct conversation with him.
I think once I bumped into him on the stairs and he said “Sorry, mate!” in a cheery Australian accent and, seeing this as my chance to impress him, I replied HAHAHS’DLKJDS;OGID’GLK\N and ran away to hide in the toilets until I could think properly again. I used to go in there a lot, and just stare at him. Except not actually AT him, in case he saw me and I burst into flames. More kind of near him. But yeah, and I’d dream of one day being hot enough to hold a proper conversation with him, so he could see how witty and funny and worthy of his love I am…
Eventually, he stopped working there, and I spent months kicking myself about how I should have just spoken to him, but never did, and how I could see, afterwards, that the only thing stopping us from talking was me thinking he wouldn’t be interested in talking to someone like me.
So, let that be a lesson to you - don’t be like me - talk to the hot person. As soon as you do, you’ll realise that there’s more to them than just the physical, and that everyone is basically a nice person, most of the time.
This story actually has a happier ending, in that we met a few years later and he’s now a good friend of mine (hi babes!). Frustratingly, he’s also said that when he worked in that bar he was massively slutty, so who knows - if I had been confident enough to hit on him, I probably would have got to shag him. I might not have had the 5 minutes’ worth of mediocre sex younger me wanted, but now he’s one of my favourite people and a regular fixture in my life. Which is fine. I guess.
So this thing about there being a league or any kind of system that says “YOU are attractive, YOU are not.” is entirely in your own head. It only exists if you believe in it. Much like Santa, or money. And, just like Santa and money, when you stop believing in it, you can see the world in a different way. There’s no jolly toymaker bringing you presents as a reward for being good - it’s your family, who love you and want you to be happy, but also know that if they hold the potential loss of a new console over your head, you might shut the fuck up for five minutes.
And the thing is, if you think of the whole world in such shallow, physical terms, you’ll surround yourself with people who think the same way. You’ll end up in a nasty, bitchy little clique that rips people to pieces for daring to be different or not subscribing to the same sad little worldview as them.
But! When you stop thinking of people as 2-dimensional and ‘too attractive for someone like you’, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility that they might be attracted to you, because they are a whole person, and so are you, and it’s not all about the bodies. We are all of us so much more than simply flesh.
We are all fucked up, weird people in our own little ways. Arms like pythons with the mumps don’t change that, and the idea that someone won’t be into you because they’re too hot for you is you assuming you know how that person thinks.
In the end, what you’re saying when you use phrases like “Out of my league” is “I am not worthy. I am less than him or her because my body doesn’t look like that.” Here’s the thing, kids: We are not our bodies. You are an amazing, interesting, strange and silly person, represented in a mere 3 dimensions by a what is essentially a mobile bag of water. Are you just a lump of meat and bone? No, you think, you feel, you create, you love and you hurt. There is so much more to you than some flesh and hair. The same is true of everyone else, and they’re just as fucked up as you, so why not try a little flirting?
Otherwise, you end up settling. Back to the cake thing, it’s a bit like going “Ooooh what a lovely looking cake. I’d love a piece of that! But no, that’s too nice a cake for me. I don’t deserve such niceness in my life. I’ll have a flan instead. Flan’s not what I want, but it’s all I think I deserve. Why risk going for something lovely and fluffy and creamy and yum, when there’s something soggy and dense and slightly miserable instead.” If you want the cake, go for the fucking cake. Life is short. You deserve better than flan.
Another similarity between the two is however much you want to, you’re better off shoving it in your mouth and getting icing all over your face in private. I’ve been banned from several cafes because of that.