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On fancying yourself

The vast, vast majority of the time, I am a loser. A lank-haired, jeans-wearing, slouching drunken loser. With a cider in my hand, a chip on my shoulder and a face like a bulldog chewing a whole hive of wasps.

I say this only to counter what’s coming next: right now I am hot.

I’m hot because I’ve had my hair cut – it swishes in that shiny way that some people achieve daily, but for me comes round only twice a year when I go for my biannual hack. I’m hot because I’ve spent the last week doing more exercise than I normally would and – although there’s no immediate visual difference – I feel stronger and livelier and readier to bounce around like a puppy on MDMA. I’m hot because I’m wearing knickers that cup my arse comfortably, and because I’ve been doing DIY in hot pants and getting dirty and sweaty and wet.

We need to deal with your high self-esteem issues

I’m British, of course, so writing the above paragraph was torture – it took me a good ten minutes to bash out just a few sentences without tagging something self-deprecating on to the end. I’ve been trained, through years of TV, magazines and friendly banter, that to talk about the things you actually like about yourself is a social crime. Like eating steak with the fish fork or passing a joint to the right.

Most of the time this makes sense. After all, we’d all be excruciating and insufferable if our conversations started not with “how are you?” but “how hot am I!?” We’d barely get beyond introductions before we were hurling into buckets at the appalling displays of self-love.

No, instead we must only ever speak of the bad stuff, while desperately hoping that other people notice the good. We’re trained to make the best of ourselves, so we spend hours primping and preening and picking out just the right kind of shoe only to shit on all that effort later on by replying “no, really, I look awful” when someone says something nice. It’s a reflex gesture, and one which makes sense most of the time. When the hard-earned compliments come, we bat them away with great force, because self-hate is a much more attractive quality than arrogance.

Start fancying yourself

I’ve got nothing wrong with light self-deprecation, and on an ordinary day I’m far more likely to make a tedious aside about my weight than to bounce into a room and shout “Look! Aren’t my tits brilliant?!”

But not today. Because, fuck it, I don’t always feel good. And on the rare occasions that I do, I want to start making the most of it. In fifty years time I’ll be yearning for the chance to wear this arse again, to sit in hot pants on a stepladder sugar-soaping walls and enjoying not just being me but looking like me too.

You should do it too – go on, do it. Fancy yourself a bit. There are bound to be bits of yourself that you’re not a fan of. But isn’t it bizarre that it’s these disliked bits that get all the attention? Hours in the gym toning a stomach that you hate. Days in front of the mirror shaping eyebrows or facial hair in some sort of damage limitation exercise. Weeks spent traipsing around shops that make clothes for people who always seem to be a different shape to you. All that time spent rectifying or changing or enhancing – how much time do you actually spend appreciating?

You don’t have to take pictures of yourself in sexy poses and pin them on the fridge, or give yourself cringeingly awkward motivational pep-talks about how beautiful you are. Just give yourself a bit of time to appreciate the things you fancy. The things that your partners will go primal for. Stand in front of a mirror if you like, touch yourself if you want to, put on or take off the clothes that make you feel best, and just revel in a bit of self-lust.

Because no one else can love you like you can.


  • Mimieux says:

    Hey GOTN, totally agree with you here. I might not have the body of a supermodel, but I’m certainly starting to love my MASSIVE BOOBIES and my lovely legs, and MY CHEEKBONES. I hear you about the exercise, it really does feel amazing!! For an insta-high, yoga is the one that trips me out a little bit, and weights make me feel SUPER strong. I looooove the beautiful days where you wake up, and you feel excellent, and the happiness is contagious. *amazing boobied chest bump*! xx

  • Mr Archer says:

    Not your usual stuff. Like it. Will use it eventually, once I get down to the gym, as this is the kinda thing I will need to keep going…

  • Richard P says:

    The other night I had a moment like this, I was wondering around Newcastle. Now I don’t like the way I look most of the time, but on this night I was wearing my black leather coat, on most people this coat would be floor length but on my 6 foot five frame it stops around my shins. On the night in question it was a little windy and this combined with my strides made the coat sweep out behind me and for a few moments I liked how I looked.
    For me moments like these are rare and frankly it was nice to hear about someone else’s as well.
    My thanks for making me think about how that made me feel.

  • WenchTales says:

    After years of teenage angst about my (totally normal) weight and “small” tits I’m in self-love heaven now, and stayig put! I’m not sure how for years I successfully managed to not notice the drooling, glazed eyed look men give me when I take my clothes off. I’m far from perfect, but being naked feels awesome now. And it turns out I have D cups; our self-image is skewed, we’re way hotter than we think. Go us!

  • Seth says:

    That is something massively attractive about people who are super confident simply in who they are. Not confident in a stuck up their own a**e, arrogant, egotistical and self-righteous ‘look at me way’. But confident and comfortable in their own skin, that just have that look in their eye and the way they hold their body!

  • Ash says:

    Had one of these moments recently. Woke up above the covers and saw the gf perving on my entire naked sleeping body. Caught a look at myself in the mirror and realised that with my dark skin, recently cut hair (it gets really curly when it’s long) and slight-but-still-existing musculature, I was looking pretty damn good. Yay those days.

  • Absolutely agree GOTN! I was victimised a lot in school and I grew up hating myself. It’s only been the last few years that I’ve learned to love myself. Still a long way to go til I’m on top form, but I’ve found it is hard work trying to discuss your values without being branded arrogant. Like there’s always someone ready to pull you back down again.

  • AK says:

    I wish, I WISH I could find something, *anything* I could fancy about myself. I’ve got nothing! What now?

    • Girl on the net says:

      Well, I’d advise you to chat to people who know and love you – find out what it is that they love about you, and give yourself a boost from that. If that’s tricky, think through all the things you admire in other people, and see what it is about yourself that is similar. Honestly, everyone has something good about them, and I know that having low self-esteem can make it hard to see those good things, but they’re there – you just have to spot ’em.

  • Yingtai says:

    Ever since Mr Gasp Shake Thank You said, “You have a beautiful body. Did you know you have a beautiful body?” I’ve been looking in the mirror more to try to see what he saw. I am appalled how dependent I am on external praise. But it seems to have helped me on this path you advocate. :)

  • AK says:

    See, the things people like about me are that I’m ‘nice, good to talk to, a listener’

    None of that screams ‘sexy’ to me.

  • AK says:

    Ah well. There are worse things. And yes I know complaining isn’t sexy at all!

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