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.