I watched a skit Amy Schumer did with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette about aging actresses being deemed "no longer fuckable" by the media, and therefor, no longer fit for consumption by the US population. Shortly after, Sandra Bullock was named Most Beautiful Person for People Magazine, making her the oldest most beautiful woman in the history of People Magazine.
I don't think I need to go out of my way to say this, but clearly, this has no bearing on the shit that goes down in the real world. Beauty is subjective. No matter how many scientific studies we run, no matter how many people vote on who is most beautiful, prettiest or sexiest, in the end, your body is just a skin suit. In some cases, an altered skin suit. The last time I was in an environment where that type of beauty truly mattered, it was in high school. The place where everybody who was considered important had not yet developed their adult brain. Evidently, the media sees the value in prolonging the hell of a high competitive, anxiety-producing environment where characteristics over which you have little to no control determine the level of your success and happiness.
I don't live in that world. I live in the world where personality, joy, and compassion are beautiful. Where you are attracted to a person for indescribable and undefinable reasons. You either feel a pull, or you don't, and this pull is not determined by beauty. Well, in a sense it is, but not beauty as we have been fed. The beauty I am speaking of comes from a mix of different traits; smell, smile, laugh, world view, etc.
Dustin Hoffman said that after he dressed up as Tootsie for his movie he came to realize that he had turned himself, visually, into a woman he would not spend time with, solely based on her looks. He said it broke his heart because he had created this character; he loved her and felt horrible that in so doing he had revealed to himself his vanity and short sightedness.
The rest of us are not so lucky. We see idealized versions of human beings on screens, magazine pages, billboards and on soda cans every day. We are being sold an ideal of a person by a machine which scaring us into buying one version of beauty or another, because beauty determines happines, wealth, and success in the real world.
In order to stop doing this to each other, we must stop doing this to ourselves. We must see ourselves as beautiful, valuable, strong, and confident. We must know our value, no matter what our skin suit looks like. The more you can see yourself wholly and accept that person, love that person, embrace the entirety of that person, the more easily you can do that for others. The more easily you can accept others, the better your life becomes, because there are fewer barriers to getting to know and care for more people.
You might wonder how this can be done. I can only tell you what I have done and what has made the biggest difference in my life. I am as honest as I can be about the reality of me. My acne scars, my fear of abandonment, my big nose with black heads, and my abnormally large head are all as much of what defines me as my amazing sense of humor, my adorable smile, my sparkly blue eyes and my gravity-defying badonk. They are all worthy of my acknowledgement, attention, compassion and acceptance. They are what makes up me, and the sum of my parts is miraculous.
We are all miracles, and reducing anyone to what their skin suit looks like is not fair to them and not fair to you. It might seem like it saves time up front, but in reality, it is a huge waste. Unfortunately, and this is something that was not mentioned, but is in all ways alluded to, that sex and love are the same thing. That a woman who is no longer fuckable, is therefor, no longer lovable.
This is pure bullshit, but it gets to the heart of why this idea is so scary and so dangerous.
We believe this shit because we fear we are not lovable, and the media plays on this almost ubiquitous fear by using idealized people to convey messages about the value of beauty to us.
I understand the argument. It sucks that women, after a certain age, are sold by the media as no longer believably fuckable. The reality, as anyone who seeks out sex knows, is that this is far from the truth. The media is a machine created to make people believe a lie. This is one case where reality is better than myth. Where the fairy tale is actuallly a night mare and the cold, harsh light of day garners great fruit! The truth is that women of all ages get plenty of sex, with plenty of people, sometimes even with people who work in and run the media! Yes! Those people have sex too!
I have my own form of "no longer fuckable", but it is more functional in nature. I do believe that at a certain point, I will cease to be able to have sex. For whatever reason, either old hips, unavailable partners, or simple geography, sex will become more and more scarce as I age, leaving me to compile an even larger pile of sex toys to choose from as my body slowly returns to dust. This seems to be a reality of my life, but inn no way have I seen evidence that I will stop having sex because someone else believes I am no longer worthy. Nor have I seen that it will have any bearing on how lovable I will or will not be.
One of the things I hope to remember on my deathbed, soon after I have had my last mind-blowing orgasm, is all the amazing and wonderful people I have had sex with. I want to lie there, knowing that I got all I could while I was able. This is an entirely different meaning to the phrase, "no longer fuckable," but it does hold value in my world.
I hold sex as a valuable resource. Yes, a resource. It feeds me, gives me energy, brightens my outlook, and brings me closer to the people I share it with. It is one of my favorite things and I intend to do it for as long as my body and environment will allow.
As of this writing, I have roughly ten profiles of different varieties on-line. Different pictures, descriptions and narratives represent me to different audiences for different reasons. I am an artist, a writer, a dater, a business person and an amateur porn star.
It is a strange thing to have grown up pre-tech and now live in a time where a great deal of my socializing happens virtually. It is almost impossible to not feel like something is lost; like I am an ad agency running different promotions for Different Versions of Sara:
LinkedIn Sara: Sara Young, MBA, entrepeneur and management guru
OKCupid Sara: Quirky Sara with a need to engage
Facebook Sara: Sara with the wonderful life
Etsy Sara: Creative Sara who likes to make somethings from nothings
Tinder Sara: Glutton for punishment Sara
I am many different people combined and jammed into one skinsuit, and can be of use in many different ways, it just depends on where you find me and who I am trying to reach.
Profiles represent us, but often, we do not put a whole lot of thought into what information we are compiling for the world to view. I have had some stunning moments of realization hit me after looking through one month of my Instagram feed (drinks, anyone?). Similarly I have been surprised to find how often certain people pop up on my facebook page.
Looking over each of my profiles, I am left with a question. I have created them in order to reach out to other people. I want to be seen, but a profile is just a glimpse really, a peep show, and the overall impression the audience is left with is false, because it is only what I wanted them to see. I wonder if the things that come up inadvertently on facebook and Instagram aren't a more real depiction of who I am than the images and words that I craft. I am a fan of the inadvertant. I adore the accidental epiphany, but do the things I do online paint a better picture of who I am than the profiles I create to represent me?
No matter how many profiles I build, or how many different websites I appear on, I am still just wanting to connect with people in the most basic and honest way that I can. I am a lure, I am bait, and I am waiting for a nibble. I am waiting for connection, which for me is in-person and face-to-face, where I can smell you up close. There is no way for me to communicate this in any profile that I write, and so when I take the chance to reach out to someone, it is scary, because in some ways, I am an imposter.
What does that mean for you? Well, I have been answering a lot of questions about on line profiles lately, and have come up with a pretty good list of what to do and not do for a dating profile. I am going to just list the do's, as the do not's include, "don't be negative," which seems somewhat oxymoronic to me.
Okay. The last one is a "do not", but it is the most important rule of all, because in the end, none of us are as perfect as we portray. We are all cracked, damaged or mangled in some way, and the more honest you can be about your particular cracks, the better. It is my preference to write profiles that show my quirks, my inconsistencies, my character defects.
Equally, I reach out to people who are open about who they are, or have pics that are not glamour shots. I know I want interesting, not beautiful, and I have found, for the most part, that those people want to find me too.
So look at your many profiles. Do they represent you in a way that entices? Or might they be too perfect? Too angry? Too unattainable? It is your challenge to be as real as possible in the virtual world; to bring some humanity to your profile, to infuse it with character.
You have the ability to truly share yourself, why not take a risk and go ahead and do that?
Didja like this? Share it. Bring more humanity to the internet by using it to spread the word. Twitter, FB, email all work.
I do love virtual dating. I view it as a means to enlightenment. Some people see that as odd, but for me, it is a common experience where I have the opportunity to test myself and push my limits. I am in the position of dealing with the anxiety of relating to people through a computer then taking the chance of meeting them in real time.
Earlier this week I met a guy on OKCupid and set up a date for last night. Not much information was exchanged, we just made plans to meet. It started well enough, though when I asked him about his life, he seemed slightly exasperated with the questions. After that, it seemed to just keep getting worse as the night went on. To give you a taste, toward the end of the night, my date reached over, grabbed my breast and proclaimed, "I can't feel anything! There are no boobs here at all!" It is ridiculous, some of the things people do when they are nervous? stupid? drunk? I don't know.
My point is that dating can try your patience and make you want to quit all together. But I can't. I feel like there is too much there, too much good stuff in dating to give it up just because sometimes you get stood up or felt up or what have you. That is why, as I think I might have mentioned before, I have rules.
While some people might argue that rules keep you from living in the moment, or being present, I don't operate in the dating arena without them. They are necessary to my state of mind, emotion and spirit. Basically, they are in place so that I don't get pissed off and quit dating. I will outline them here, with an explanation, so that the true intent of the rules can be understood.
That said, this type of thing very rarely happens. This is, in effect, the reason I have rules, so that when this stuff happens, I remember my rules and take care of myself. I also remember that the only exceptions to the rules are the ones I make for myself. I do love dating and I want to be able to date for many years to come. I know that I will be able to do that if I am happy and not putting myself in a position to be hurt.
So, think about making some rules for yourself. Relationships will be easier. Life will be easier. And dating? You will get more out of it if you make sure to put yourself in the position to be treated kindly.
Didja like this? Find it useful? Know someone who is dating virtually and need to hear it? Pass it on! email it! tweet it! Post it on FB! You never know what might come of it. Take a chance. Go ahead and share with abandon.
A friend of mine has a daughter who is starting school in the fall. She is going to the local University while many of the people in her circle of friends will be going away to more prestigious schools.
Unfortunately, her friends who are going away are putting the local university down, wondering why anyone would even consider getting an education there.
After having gone through several degree programs myself and having labored at several colleges and universities, I can tell you why, and I will list them, as I like to do, so that you can print the list up and put it on your fridge, your folder, your car, or my personal favorite, your ass.
The young people who disparage the schools they are not going to do not have the foresight or the experience to know what they are talking about and in reality, are most likely parroting what they hear their parents saying, which again, is hardly pertinent to your future. Sometimes, people with children have an unreasonable level of anxiety over which college their kids will go to, what that says about their child, and in extension, what that says about themselves. Sadly, these kids are just voicing the misplaced anxieties of their parents and freaking you out in the process.
It matters little which school you enter if you are prepared to squeeze every drop of an education out of it that you can. If you are an engaged learner, committed to yourself and your education, you will succeed no matter where you go.
Do not let these anxious, ill-advised voices become the voices in your head. The voices in your head should ALWAYS be supportive, compassionate, and inspiring for you. Do not believe the hype. It is created to force you into making a choice that is not in your best interest. It is geared toward scaring you into making a bad decision about your future. Remember that; it is YOUR future. You have the right to go anyplace you choose, for whatever reason you choose it. Do what's right for you and don't worry about the anxious voices of others. It is their anxiety. Let them keep it.
I can tell you from experience; in ten years, no one will care which college you attended, and on your death bed, you will not regret your choice, if it was indeed yours.
Go to school, learn shit, and then go live your life. It is what a lot of the rest of us did, and we turned out okay.
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