I was watching Titanic with some friends, because one of them, bless his heart, hadn’t seen it before. There was much collective swooning about Leonardo DiCaprio in his “younger, hotter days”. I thought he was kinda meh; in fact somewhat obnoxious-looking?
This got me thinking about how I always feel quite stressed when the subject of hot people comes up. I cannot figure out what makes a person hot or not hot. People always talk about these things like they are very universal (“who can resist Leonardo DiCaprio in his younger, hotter days?”) and I don’t get it at all. Is it hyperbole or am I really outlying? Like, really? Lots of people put up posters of this guy in their bedrooms? I cannot even think of any celebrities that I find “hot”, never mind this particular guy.
It occurred to me that when people say things like “isn’t he hot??!¡” and “hey look at that cute guy!” they might be making normal conversation and not giving me the pop quiz it feels like to me. I frequently feel very pressured to either agree or admit to being weird (“what?? you don’t think he’s hot???!?”). I’m always like, “oh, yes! Um! His.. face! Is nice! Yes!! I agree!1! I too am a human person with feelings!!” And then I spend WAY too long afterwards thinking about whether or not I think that person is hot and talking myself into it like, yeah I guess I get it? His face is symmetrical and his hair is nice? I guess? And so I try to figure out the pattern and then next time I will point out similar looking people, and to my eternal frustration other people will be like, huh he’s okay. I am just a robot trying to blend in, man.
I always thought that everyone felt like this, and were all just pretending to agree with each other on these things as part of the social script. Whenever I bring this up people assure me that maybe I just have different tastes, and need to stop stressing out about having my own opinions. Maybe I DO need to chill about having unpopular opinions, because I also feel this way about things like (gasp) thinking Lang Leav is unobjectionable. In the case of movie stars, I also think it might have to do with my general poor facial recognition abilities. I do very badly on face recognition tests, not badly enough to have actual face-blindness, but quite far below average. There aren’t that many celebrities I can even recognise, because they all kind of look similar to me? It might also be cultural displacement, from having these cultural icons not actually be from my local culture. Leonardo DiCaprio is famous but not THAT famous here, and I also didn’t watch that many movies growing up.
BUT it does seem like my hotness radar doesn’t quite work the same way. It’s not that I have different tastes, it’s that I almost never find random strangers attractive. I have no opinion on most people’s attractiveness, and still haven’t quite managed to figure out what people mean when they say that someone is hot. If you are asking my opinion about Some Guy, most likely I hadn’t noticed, and will now take a look, and my honest judgement will be… neutral. That might put me somewhere on the asexual spectrum. I do feel attraction to friends though, and am aware of the word demisexual, but I’m not very committed to putting a super specific label on it. This is further complicated by my fluid sexual orientation gender-wise. Maybe I’m just not that into men at all right now, idk. My experience of attraction fluctuates along both the axes of amount and genders. I like grey-ace, and *vague hand wave*.
I don’t know why people are so pushy about these things. They always talk about “tastes”, another thing that I don’t get (“what do you mean you don’t have a preference, you must have some sort of preference”), but freak out if I fail a bot check and say X person is “okay”. It is no wonder this is a stressful social script. But fine, I will stop trying to blend in for a moment and “have my own opinion”. I THINK THAT LEONARDO DICAPRIO LOOKS OBNOXIOUS, IS WAY OVERRATED, AND HAS DRACO MALFOY HAIR, OKAY????!!!
Footnote: I mainly talked about men here, because a) wew my attraction to women is a whole other strange and wonderful creature, b) it is a lot more predatory and gross and less socially acceptable for men to discuss women as being “hot” or not, so that cuts out a large population, c) beauty standards for women are in some ways more diverse than those for men, d) there are basically no standards and no large pushy population declaring their attraction to the other genders. All these mean that I don’t feel the same pressure to *collective swoon*.