|Will there be a kink community in my retirement home?
||[Jan. 21st, 2009|10:26 pm]
I'm really tired of the pervasive idea that some people are "hot" while other people are "not", and those that are hot get whatever they want and those that are not get totally screwed.
This has come up recently because I mentioned to a couple people that I haven't been able to satisfy my one of my kink desires very effectively and they reacted with what I consider an inordinate amount of surprise. (Actually, any surprise is probably inordinate.) This surprise hides several messages:
(1) I think you are hot.
(2) Hot women are the gatekeepers of sex and play and can have whomever they want.
(3) Un-hot people don't have a choice in who they play with because few people want to play with them.
I have never believed that there is some innate hierarchy of hotness. I have simply had way too many arguments about whether someone was hot to believe that there is a hierarchy of hotness. However, I *do* believe that there are many people who subscribe to this hierarchy, and I also believe that this concept is probably the prevailing one in my culture. I also think it is WRONG, just like I think patriarchy is wrong, like I think restrictive gender roles are wrong, like I think many many things about our current culture is wrong. We can do better.
I think in a lot of ways this hierarchy of hotness *is* a myth. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I think compatibility and other factors play a much larger role in who people end up dating than simply how they rank on the hierarchy of hotness. Even one-night stands require a certain amount of compatibility which "hotness" cannot substitute for. If I hate oral sex and you only want oral sex, our one-night stand is going to be over very quickly and unsatisfyingly for both of us.
It's pretty flattering to be told that you are objectively hot, but I really never know what to say to that. Hotness is subjective, not objective. I don't really want to have a whole argument about the hierarchy of hotness every time someone wants to flatter me, but really. Take note: if you want to say "I find you attractive, will you sleep with me?" you will get better results if you actually *say* that, rather than saying "You're attractive, who wouldn't want to sleep with you?"
I understand that it's easy to fall into the objective hotness trap. First of all, the distinction between subjective experience and objective experience is one that all humans seem to have trouble grasping. But then, there's also the cultural forces telling us that hotness *is* objective, and some people have it while other people don't. And finally, there's the issue that sometimes you do want to just tell someone that they are attractive without appearing to hit on them. Phrasing it as an objective observation allows you to avoid the directness of the compliment and to avoid appearing like you are coming on to them. I still think that there are better ways of doing this than invoking the hierarchy of hotness.
The other thing that really bothers me about the whole hierarchy of hotness is that it is heavily tied to only two things: your age and the shape of your body. Also, if you are female, you get to be hot, while if you are male, you are not. (The gender thing is becoming less true in my microculture, for which I am grateful, but the age and body thing still remains pretty strongly prevalent.) I really get the sense that when people react with surprise that I can't find the partners I want, that they are really saying "you are young, female, and thin, why wouldn't everyone want to sleep with you?" In fact, I think one of my admirers even called out precisely the fact that I am female and young when reacting with surprise. How can I feel flattered when I hear this? I have done nothing to be young or female or even thin. It's like being told that of course everyone wants to sleep with me because I have a nose. It's confusing, wrong, and disturbing.
If we existed in a vacuum, then all I would read into the hierarchy of hotness was a silly inability of some people to externalize. But we don't. I refuse to subscribe to the hierarchy. Hotness is subjective, and exists at ALL ages, and for ALL body types, and for men as well as women and everything in between. I'm sick of a culture that tries to train us to only like youth and thinness and femaleness. I want my field trips to local dungeons, I want my one-night stands, I want my fuckbuddies and everything I have now, whether I am old or young, skinny or fat, male or female or anything in between. I want a kink community in my retirement home.
Edit:Now that this is public I feel compelled to add a citation. A lot of my growth and understanding about gender and sexuality in my culture can be directly attributed to Figleaf; in particular, his series of posts on the No-sex class paradigm and the worthiness trap (1, 2, 3). In particular, I stole the phrase "gatekeepers of sex" from him.