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September 3, 2010

I’m Not My Type

I’m Not My Type

So many of us go through life feeling that we’re undesirable. We look at ourselves in the mirror and conclude that no one could possibly find us attractive. I see this all the time when coaching men. While there are many factors that can contribute to this feeling, I believe that, for many of us who identify as gay or queer, it’s because we make the mistaken assumption that everyone is attracted to the same ‘type’ that we’re attracted to and we aren’t that type.

Every time we look at ourselves in the mirror we see someone who we’re not attracted to. We see a body type that is not our ideal. In many cases our body type is the opposite of what we’re attracted to. The little guy wants the big guy. The smooth guy wants the hairy guy. We don’t see how someone could be attracted to us because we’re not.

When we believe this we have a hard time letting in interest from others. When someone we find attractive expresses an interest in us we question how this other rational, attractive person could have any interest in us. We’re so focused on all our shortcomings that we assume everyone only sees those shortcomings too. Yet the reality is that no one is as hard on ourselves as we are. Maybe this other attractive person is attracted to you because you’re just their type!

I’ve seen this in myself. For many years, I went through life ashamed of my body. I always felt too big, too fat. I didn’t like the way my body looked. I was always attracted to thinner people and assumed that everyone was attracted to the same type and that I was undesirable. Later in life I realized that many people are attracted to larger men like me. I had friends tell me that people were checking me out and I was completely unaware of it because of my mistaken assumptions. It goes to prove that old adage that there’s someone for everyone.

Understanding that other people find us attractive – regardless of how we feel about ourselves is a step toward coming to terms with our bodies. For every person who thinks they’re too old there’s someone looking for an older person. For every person who thinks they’re too thin, there’s someone looking for thin people.

The difficulty begins when we start to compare ourselves to cultural norms without realizing that those cultural norms change over time. It’s not that long ago when the burly “Marlboro Man” type was all the rage. Now everyone is shaving everywhere! Tastes change and magic happens when we begin to see ourselves as worthy of desire along with everyone else!

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