Confidence: Better than Makeup and High Heels?
December 18, 2012 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Does confidence really make a difference when it comes to attraction? If so, I'd like to generate enough in time for New Year's.

I swear, I will start saving money to go to a therapist, and not use AskMe when I can't get out of my own head. Pinkie-swear.

I've been trying (not hard enough, admittedly) to lose weight in a healthy way for several months. I dropped something like 20 lbs. since graduation, perhaps more, but I'm still a size 16/18. This is a problem, because I'd really like to hook up with someone on New Year's Eve; last year, everyone kind of paired off and no one approached me. I'd like this year to be the exact opposite.

In kink, this isn't a problem; I never, ever have a problem finding people to play with. But I'm in a different headspace there, and the qualities I focus on in kink do not often cross over into vanillaspace (like...I'm much more quirky and less disciplined). But the party I'm attending (and helping to plan) does NOT consist of individuals from kink communities, and I'm back in the world of "most straight men consider women of my size extremely unattractive." They won't be turned on by my ability as a Domme, they're looking solely at my physical appearance. Having a pretty face won't be enough.

So...I thought that I'd ask people with more life experience than my friends and I. For those on the larger side: when do you notice that people are most attracted to you, and what thought processes did you have? For everyone else: in your experience, does confidence really help? Because my (much smaller) friends have all told me to simply "be more confident" and I don't remember the last time that worked since I've gained weight.

Thanks so much. I'm struggling a lot with how to ask this question, so I'll be happy to elaborate if it isn't clear.
posted by Ashen to Human Relations (26 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

Best answer: Wear something you wear while you're in Domme mode. It can be something subtle, or something hidden, but you'll know it's there. You'll know how awesome and sexy and attractive you are.
posted by Etrigan at 11:30 AM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Not really an answer to your question, but don't put a lot of expectations on New Years Eve. Seriously. NYE sucks.

I am a thin, conventionally attractive woman, and I will probably feel awkward and left out on New Year's Eve. It's a shitty holiday. You can radiate awesomeness and confidence and still feel the sort of vague disappointment that December 31st inspires. It's not you, it's the holiday.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:40 AM on December 18, 2012 [29 favorites]

Also, don't be afraid to take the first step. If you end up having an awesome conversation with a guy that you figure would make a good sexual partner for the night, feel free to lean in close and whisper something to the effect of, "You'd better stop drinking now, since we're going to have all the sex tonight."
posted by Etrigan at 11:40 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

For everyone else: in your experience, does confidence really help? Because my (much smaller) friends have all told me to simply "be more confident" and I don't remember the last time that worked since I've gained weight.

Absolutely yes.

Look, I have been fairly thin my whole life. I also spent many years thinking I was totally undateable, and then not getting approached by guys, which obviously only made me feel MORE undatable, and it sucked and I never got laid and whatever. And being thin DID NOT CHANGE THIS. But then I started working on my self esteem and started thinking of myself as worth something and, then, yes, I started getting approached more because I came off as a positive and approachable person, and more people wanted to be around me.

I know this is harder for larger women, and it obviously won't work on every guy. Fortunately you don't need it to work on EVERY guy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:45 AM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Also, don't be afraid to take the first step. If you end up having an awesome conversation with a guy that you figure would make a good sexual partner for the night, feel free to lean in close and whisper something to the effect of, "You'd better stop drinking now, since we're going to have all the sex tonight."

I laughed when I read that. Life is not the movies. And if you said it to the wrong person and it got around, you might have a harder time feeling better about yourself.

Don't put too many expectations on New Years.
posted by discopolo at 11:46 AM on December 18, 2012 [23 favorites]

Select a movie or TV character that you think comes across really well, and go to the party as them. I don't mean dress like them, although you could. Just imagine you're them.

The thing is, you're not at this point satisfied with your weight so you can't use any psychological tricks that involve telling yourself you are. If you really actively liked the size you were now, you'd stay that size. I'm not suggesting beating yourself up either, it's just that you're working hard towards a goal and any mindset that requires you to downplay the importance of that goal to you is going to mess with your mind. What if you framed it as "as good as I look now, I'm getting more fabulous by the minute"?

I do have to question whether women your size are considered extremely unattractive by "most" men though. If "most" men won't be attracted to you, doesn't that still leave a minority that will be? I'm pretty sure there are guys out there who love big girls (and will therefore be disappointed to watch you get narrower and narrower before their very eyes, but apparently you're out for a short-term relationship here anyway).

When I'm bothered about something I find it helps to have a catchphrase. Maybe when you start thinking "ohnoes I'm fat" you could say to yourself "already and not yet" or something like that?

And do you have a new dress especially for this party? Make sure you have something AMAZING that will make everyone GASP. Make sure to select it specially for the size and shape you are right at this moment (memail me if you want and we can figure out what specifics you should look for). As has been mentioned in another comment today, grooming is scientifically proven to go a *long* way.
posted by tel3path at 11:47 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm fat and I have been my whole life. I've got confidence for days. I approach guys, I chat, I try not to come off as too overbearing.

Now, to be sure, most guys will profess to love the lithe beauties, mostly to fit in with their other, idiot buddies. In reality most guys like a wide variety of women (pun intended) and may span the gamut from teeny little oriental girls to stong like ox heifers. (Husbunny's ex was from the former category, I'm in the latter.)

The guy you want is confident enough in himself to not care a fig about what other guys might think, and will go after the woman he likes. The younger the group of guys, the less probable it is that you'll find him.

Now trying to get a hook up on NYE is the WORST thing for your ego. So many folks have been nurturing these dates prior to the party. A huge fear for most of us is not to have someone to kiss on NYE, so people proactively attack it so as not to leave being alone up to chance.

The other side of it is that I guaran-damn-tee you that even if you find someone to hook-up with for the night, that it won't turn into anything into the new year. It's just not that kind of holiday.

What I suggest is start now looking around for a date, someone who's up for a little holiday NSA coupleage. Acquaintance from work, the guy who flirts with you at Starbucks, friendly neighbor.

The problem with NYE is that it's supposed to be magical and wonderful and portentious about how the new year will be. What usually happens is that you end up sobbing in the ladies room, losing a piece of heirloom jewelry and a big, bag of disappointment.

Don't pin your hopes on trying to get a guy to play with on NYE, chances are you won't and you'll feel like it's all you.

Now, another note. Take a bunch of pictures of yourself naked, as you are today. When you're 50 like me, I promise you'll look at them and say, "What the fuck was I thinking? I was GORGEOUS!"
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:49 AM on December 18, 2012 [26 favorites]

Best answer: I am also about the same size, a little larger. Since being paired up - and thus being a lot more confident - All kinds of guys talk to me. I also remember a party a few years ago where a pretty, larger-than-me woman was holding court with at Least three guys at all times, because she was funny, extroverted... and a little plyafully domme. I watched in awe and met no one because I couldn't imagine being that confident.

So I agree with the above - bring a little of your confident domme self. You don't have to order people around, but think a little selfishly. Instigate. Decide what would be fun for you, and see if others will join in. Many people want to follow the confident and fun (or just follow).

That way, even if NYE ends up overhyped as usual, at least you'll have had some fun and been confident in a new situation, which are both wins.
posted by ldthomps at 12:04 PM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: But the party I'm attending (and helping to plan) does NOT consist of individuals from kink communities, and I'm back in the world of "most straight men consider women of my size extremely unattractive." They won't be turned on by my ability as a Domme...

I guarantee you 100% that there will be men at your New Year's party who would be incredibly turned on by your abilities as a Domme. They may be in the scene, but playing vanilla at this party, they may be tuned into their preference but not have chosen to participate in the scene for some particular reason, or you may be introducing some lucky man to a side of his sexual preferences he didn't know existed, but I guarantee you, they are there. The world is not divided neatly into "kinksters you meet at play parties" and "boring sizeist vanillas".

I'm not saying you should show up at this party in a leather corset and insist on being addressed as mistress. But there are more subtle ways for you to broadcast your sexual dominance, and your target demographic will be quite attuned to that.

And I promise this relates back to your question about confidence. It's really difficult to be confident when you're playing the role of "conventional pretty woman" because that's not who you are. So don't limit yourself to that role. Play instead to your strengths: a skillful domme discreetly playing the very fun game of "spot the secretly kinky at this vanilla party".
posted by psycheslamp at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

Maybe I'm missing something. Why don't you go into Kinkspace, find a date, bring the date to your Vanillaspace Party, and then go home with your kinky date who will appreciate you for what you have to offer?

Honestly, your best bet for a hookup these days is going to be to go online and find a date. Maybe this is just the way the gays work now, but I think the fine art of picking someone up at a party or at a bar is pretty much a Thing of the Past Century.

But furthermore, if your self-esteem is riding on this (which it shouldn't be, but well maybe it still is), why would you leave this up to chance?

Find a date. Bring date to party. Reward your obedient date with lots of sexytimes afterward.
posted by jph at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Ugh while I sympathize and spent many a year trying to hook up on NYE myself, may I just say--I finally "succeeded" last year, at age 30--and it was just about the worst decision I ever made. The involvement that ensued ended up pretty much ruining 2012, destroying a long and valued friendship, and frankly, might have fucked me up for the foreseeable future. It certainly means I will be heavily medicated and not partying this NYE, because I already get panic attacks thinking about it.

I don't mean to suggest that this happens to EVERYbody, obviously. Just to offer up a little reality check to that glossy picture of romantic NYE kisses--they can be great, or they can be meaningless, or forgettable, or fucking gawdawful scarring messes that wreck your psyche. Alllll things are possible.

If you're generally looking for ways to boost your confidence, beyond a NYE hookup, may I suggest telling the entirety of our culture's Insecurity Industrial Complex to go fuck itself, and doing something actually enjoyable and worthwhile with your night? Surely there must be some people who mark the passage of time with something other than the pursuit of sex with strangers?
posted by like_a_friend at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Projected confidence rings empty - confident people feel no need to project it. It's easy to spot someone who's playing brave for a crowd because it's very offputting.
You can work on your approachability, though, by participating in conversations with groups, but also sparing some time to be removed to some degree from your friends. Be alert and curious, and project 'open' body language by not slouching, and keeping your eyes at head-level.

It's not easy to talk to girls, man, so don't make it any harder on your potentials
posted by MangyCarface at 12:27 PM on December 18, 2012

Another vote for not pinning too much on NYE. I got a date last year, and he turned out to be better-looking when not in costume, but entirely entirely charmless. He was bad-tempered, didn't want to be there, and looked disappointed to see me when I showed up.

He did, however, mention that Orange had a terrific deal on iPads. So it wasn't a total loss. I mean I'm a programmer, what do I need a boyfriend for? But an iPad, that's cool.
posted by tel3path at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Finding someone to hook up with ON New Year's Eve AT a New Year's Eve Party is just pretty much doomed to fail from the get-go, and has nothing to do with you or your own attractiveness. The night itself is just cursed. (Seriously - the one and only time I broke a bone? New Year's Eve 2011.)

But that said - wearing a bit of your kinkwear under your regular clothes is indeed an awesome way to get a shot of awesomeness or badass attitude, if you want that. And finding a hookup ahead of time and bringing them along to the party would be a good way to stack the deck (you can spend the whole time subtly flirting with each other just under everyone else in the room's radar, trying not to let anyone else catch on, and that could be real fun.)

But yeah, don't go into New Year's Eve expecting to make a hookup right there. It's REALLY hard because there's all this weird culture baggage around it and everyone's head is in a weird place so it's especially tough.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:58 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

friends have all told me to simply "be more confident" and I don't remember the last time that worked since I've gained weight.

Probably you haven't felt as confident since you gained weight, which is part of why you're not succeeding. Being comfortable in your own skin, at whatever stage in your evolution, is part of what makes one naturally exude confidence and appeal. Pesky, that.
posted by acm at 1:24 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, when I was a size 16 I never had trouble getting attention from guys, and I am not particularly gorgeous. I think it's a combination of being comfortable in your body (which it makes sense you wouldn't be if your weight had changed recently) and dressing to suit your body at its current weight (again not so easy if it's a new weight for you).

On the latter, let me recommend the fashion blog is a 16/18/20 US and always looks dynamite.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:33 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

For everyone else: in your experience, does confidence really help?

I don't think that it's something that you can, like, use on one particular guy who's not into you in order to make him be into you. I don't think it would really make a difference in a situation like that.

I think it is more of a carpet-bombing strategy - if you walk into a situation acting that way, then more people will notice you and I think that it will attract some of them. I just think that you can't target specifically who it will be.

They won't be turned on by my ability as a Domme, they're looking solely at my physical appearance.

I don't think it's as compartmentalized as that. I'll give you an example. I play a lot of sports, often co-ed, and there are times when I play extremely aggressively. One of the weirdest phenomena that I have noticed in my life is that if I play extremely aggressively against a big man in a one-on-one kind of way (like if I have to block him, for example), he often ends up asking me out later! For guys who are turned on by some kind of mix of confidence/dominance/physicality/etc., I do not think that it is limited to the environment of a dungeon, I do not think that it is limited to sexual activity, and I don't think it's limited to the persona of a Domme.
posted by cairdeas at 2:46 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am much fatter than you. Photos are accessible from my profile if you want to gawk. I do not ever have trouble getting laid or getting dates. I wouldn't say that I'm confident, so much as I'm comfortable. I like who I am, and I like who I am around dudes I like even more. Something about being not-so-conventionally attractive makes it even easier to just be myself and not give a shit about what people think, which turns out to be very attractive to people.

So wear something you love to wear and feel great in, be hilarious and friendly because you're awesome, and don't sweat it. No guarantees you'll have a kiss at midnight, but you'll probably have some new FB friend requests waiting for you next year.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:02 PM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all of your replies. I couldn't respond straightaway while at work, but I've been mulling your answers over.

Getting "comfortable" in this body is difficult - I thought that if I got comfortable enough, the urgency I felt to lose weight would go away. Weight gain makes me super anxious (and actually prompted this particular Ask), and the next two weeks are going to be hell for that reason. I've placed a *lot* of significance on breaking a 10-month dry spell, for those who were wondering why I'm freaking out.

I did consider going into FetLife and finding someone there; but then I'd have to worry about how well they'd mesh with this particular social circle. It's a risk I'll take since I have no idea how long this year's guest list will become by December 31st.

I also really like the idea of wearing a subtle kinky item, as well as playing "spot the other kinksters," depending on how big the party gets. I assume that the item + liquid courage will do the trick.

Is there anything else that a person who has trouble looking at themselves in mirrors should try, at least in order to become marginally more comfortable? I don't want to broadcast discomfort even if I can't be radiant per se...
posted by Ashen at 12:46 AM on December 19, 2012

Data point, in case it helps with your confidence, which is after all what you came to ask for: I don't know jack about jack, so I Google Image-searched size 16, and saw plenty of photos of women with pretty faces who I would definitely approach if I were not lacking confidence myself (and not married myself). And I have friends who've shown interest in women who were larger than that (and did not interest me). Ruthless Bunny is totally right.
posted by troywestfield at 4:43 AM on December 19, 2012

All I can do is repeat this: you don't have to want to stay a size 16, but plenty of people can and do look fabulous at that size. There is absolutely no reason why you can't be one of them.
posted by tel3path at 9:17 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Confidence makes it low stakes for someone to approach you. They can feel like even if they're not a brilliant conversationalist, you will make the interaction pleasant and leave them feeling good about themselves. They can feel like even if the interaction doesn't go great, you won't glom onto them like a sad lonely puppy. It disinhibits, kind of like alcohol, and makes everything seem easier. No one (not sketchy) goes to parties to work on opening up the trust of some gentle flower just in case she's pretty when she blooms.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:54 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've placed a *lot* of significance on breaking a 10-month dry spell, for those who were wondering why I'm freaking out.

Don't do that.

Sorry for the TMI, but nine-month dry spell and I don't really give a shit. If it happens, it happens, and if not, don't worry about it.

Don't worry (about getting laid on New Years Eve). Be happy (with your body and yourself as a person, and don't beat yourself up for having some confidence issues).
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:26 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Honey, I'm on a two-YEAR dry spell. Nthing "don't try to force it on a specific day" - it'll happen when it happens.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:35 AM on December 19, 2012

D'oh, hit post too soon - trying to set this goal for yourself all "lo, TODAY I shall get laid for I have decreed it" could end up biting you in the ass, because there are too many variables - and that'll set your confidence back, maybe, because you'll just end up feeling "but....I decreed it! Woe!" when there wasn't anything wrong with you after all and it just turned out that all the guys there were secretly monks or something.

So, don't place any significance on Breaking A Streak On A Given Day. Get zen about this; it'll save you some anxiety, and that will also subtly boost your confidence.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on December 19, 2012

Response by poster: Well, I'm glad that you guys advised me to not take New Year's Eve too seriously, because it went exactly as you predicted. Although the party I attended included alcohol and copious amounts of was apparently not in the cards for me. I'm currently tending to my wounded pride (and confidence) in my hotel room.

But thank you.
posted by Ashen at 6:19 AM on January 1, 2013

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