Steven Klein Male Models

It was a Sunday afternoon in summer. A female friend of mine had asked that I entertain a friend of hers while he was in Sydney. She assured me that although he was ten years my senior, he was handsome, charasmatic, successful and friendly. Obviously I was sceptical but being the friend that I am, I agreed to do her a favour. I met him at a popular Sydney restaurant for drinks and we hit it off instantly. He was handsome and charismatic, just as she described. The conversation flowed and we were getting on like old friends. After a bottle of champagne we headed to a local gay venue for a few more drinks. Being a Sunday, this particular venue was wall to wall with gay men.

“Is there anyone here you like?” he asked.

“Not really” I replied after scanning the room for potential. “I’m very picky”.

“You’re not picky, you’re insecure” he responded instantly.

My blood began to boil.

How dare this guy presume to know me after one bottle of Clicquot and an afternoon of small talk. Couldn’t he tell that I’m confident and self-assured? That I’m successful and intelligent. That I’m the whole package. That I’m just waiting to find the right guy. That I’m…. insecure.

As I tried to reach for a defensive response I was stumped because in that instant it dawned on me, he was right. I wasn’t picky at all, I was afraid of rejection. I was insecure. Behind the confident facade, I was a scared boy, afraid that nobody would  love me. For so long I had hidden behind a vail of protection disguised as “pickiness”  in order to dismiss guys before I even had a chance to make a move; before I had the chance to be rejected.

He’s too short. Too buff. Too skinny. Too gay. Too butch. He dresses badly. He’s too old. Too young. Too tanned. Too many tatooes. Too clean cut. Too hipster. Not hipster enough. He’s not successful. He’s not my type anyway. I doubt I’m his type.

There have been so many excuses.

I realised that I had created a defense mechanism which had protected me for so long from facing rejection. Before I even had the chance to be rejected, I would justify reasons why I shouldn’t approach a particular person or give them a chance. This is such a limiting view of life. In retrospect, the greatest loves I’ve had have come from finding the courage to approach the handsome guy across the bar. But I’ve missed so many moments too due to my insecurities and unjustified justifications. I think about the times I wished I had said something to the guy who made eyes with me in the supermarket, or the boy from Canada my friends brought to the party. What could have been if I just had the courage to say “hi”?

A heart that is never broken dies of dystrophy. It’s only thorough the broken heart that light shines through. Without risk there is no reward. So instead of pretending that you’re just picky or waiting for someone to approach you, recognise your insecurities and try work on them. We need to have faith in ourselves and what we offer to the world.

A friend of mine who worked in marketing for an energy drink company (let’s call it Energy X) once told me a story that changed my way of thinking. She said, “Josh, at Energy X we don’t try convince people to like our brand. Some people drink Coke, others like Iced Tea. We have enough faith in our incredible brand that we appreciate those that love Energy X and it is those people who we pursue. We don’t try convince someone who only drinks Coke to drink Energy X too. You are like Energy X. Have faith in your incredible brand. Know that not everyone will like you or be attracted to you but appreciate those that do. Pursue them“.

This has stuck with me till this day and has helped me overcome my insecurities and my fear of rejection (a fear that we ALL share). We cannot convince someone to like our drink if they only drink Coke. Just the same as you aren’t attracted to everyone you meet, not everyone will be attracted to you. Be brave and be honest and realise that all this time you haven’t been picky, you’ve just been insecure.

Photo Credit: Steven Klein “Games and Restrictions”

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  1. uniguy says:

    sounds a lil bit contradictory but still a nice article

  2. brodiewest says:

    I like this. I definitely think at some point in my life I was insecure, but now I legitimately don’t like certain qualities about other people… so I just keep them at a friendly distance. “Have faith in your incredible brand. Know that not everyone will like you or be attracted to you but appreciate those that do. Pursue them“ – I had a similar experience with a wise friend. It’s an excellent lesson to have when young; it boosts confidence, helps you handle rejection, and makes you really appreciate yourself.

    • joshvansant says:

      Thanks for commenting Brodie and sharing your opinion. I completely agree with your first point. Once we build our inner confidence and learn from past experiences, we can determine what qualities we want in a partner and therefore choose partners accordingly. The problem arrises when we are too afraid to approach anyone and use “pickiness” as an excuse.

  3. Jack Bruce says:

    what a load of twaddle………..just the old adage of believe in yourself wrapped up…….geees………..maybe you are just unattractive:)…………have you ever thought why these guys didn’t approach you?….

    • joshvansant says:

      Thanks for your opinion Jack.

      The message is indeed to believe in yourself, to have faith in your “brand” in order to overcome your insecurities. And it’s not whether or not people approach you, it’s whether or not you have the courage to approach others.

    • Tris says:

      Nice Jack, really nice, really mature…

      We’re left to assume you’re drowning under a human tide of guys swamping someone as handsome as you? 🙂

    • alexd says:

      I can assure you Jack, being hindered by lack of physically appealing qualities is not something that Josh faces. Have you ever met him? Lol!

  4. Jack Bruce says:

    It was a general comment on the article, and not personal……physical qualities do not necessarily relate to being attractive….as per the Coke crap…personal brand…vomit…next you will be “pushing back” on my comments …:)

  5. Jmo says:

    True story!

  6. Eamon B. says:

    I agree, it’s hard enough being gay let alone being someone that you aren’t or shouldn’t be – even if you say above Jack “unattractive” – Sex isn’t everything nor is physical attraction. If you are with someone for these reasons then it is destine for failure in old age when you may need companionship. Your endocrine system ergo your “sex drive” teeters off in older again. If you are with someone for the sex, then you will break up when the sex goes, its simple medical science 😉 yet, sometimes there is no reasoning with idiots. Being yourself and confident about it, is by far the best lesson you can learn in this life, both psychologically and socially. And it is true, being dismissed by someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you are “not any good” it just means you weren’t that person’s flavour. Although, being too socially advantageous does not bode well either, best to enjoy a happy medium.

  7. Chris B says:

    Well done on another interesting read Josh.

    I feel pretty involved with this one because I would generally be considered to be ‘picky’. I think picky is a problematic word because it’s a diagnosis that’s whacked on a wide variety of behaviours. Someone who judges people frivolously would epitomise people’s idea of pickiness when it’s actually underpinned by fear, resentment, insecurity, or whatever. Other people, and I include myself in this category, adhere to pretty specific conventions (note, not ‘high standards’) of interaction and are only really interested in deep/meaningful discussion. Maybe that’s a trait of introverts, I’m not sure. I know I’d rather be by myself or enjoy an established friendship than partake in a rambling discussion, which I find exhausting. In my opinion, this ‘pickiness’ is underpinned by security and comfort in one’s skin.

    Everyone operates differently, and I don’t think it’s fair to generalise about this stuff. Someone who is considered to be picky is not necessarily insecure. You’ve mentioned waiting to be approached, and offered the alternative of having the security to approach others opportunistically. These aren’t exhaustive though… There’s also just enjoying life as it is and getting on with the tasks at hand, and just being open to things that actually progress organically. I look at the cross-section of personality, aptitude, sexuality, age, values, physical attributes, life stage, frame of mind, relationship status (all things that are relevant to whether I am attracted to someone) – and I know it’s a minuscule proportion of the population that I’m attracted to. Acting in accordance with this doesn’t make me insecure… And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Looking forward to the next article!!!

    • joshvansant says:

      Thanks for your considered response Chris. As always, you’ve offered another interesting perspective. I completely agree with you.

      I understand that the title of the post is rather generalised and sensationalised in tone. While I have intentionally neglected to mention those people who are genuinely comfortable in their own skin and are picky by choice not by insecurity, I still think that “having a type” or “being picky” can be limiting. If we only choose to engage with a small percentage of the population, whether it’s a sexually driven engagement or an everyday interaction, then I believe we are limiting our life experiences.

      Furthermore, we’re constantly growing and changing as people. Things that we liked 5 years ago aren’t necessarily the same things we like now. Wouldn’t this hold true for our propensity to like certain types of people too?

      • Chris B says:

        I understand that peril of choosing not to engage people (theoretical extremity), but I think it excludes the notion of opportunity cost. If you’re not doing anything else with your time then I think you’re right but, in reality, people do other things… Often with more instrumentality (the courage to change the things you can, or whatever the saying is). I know exactly what you mean though, about giving things the opportunity to eventuate, but I also think that the fear of rejection, which can be detrimental if you’re not able to learn from it, is a very real thing that affects absolutely everyone. Rejection from someone that you like the look of hurts a lot more than from someone who appears to be a horrible person.

        I do love being pleasantly surprised by someone who I wasn’t inclined to start a conversation with, of course. Similarly, I will strike up conversation with someone whom I discover something impressive about. I guess I just feel like approaching people on a whim, or trying to make yourself do so (especially as a gay guy who is attracted to very traditional and respectable guys) can do more harm than good, and it’s not necessarily to do with insecurity. From a platonic perspective, I will take any opportunity to learn from people from all walks of life, but I don’t think it’s something that can be forced… I think people can generally learn more from candid, private discussions, which don’t tend to happen with strangers.

        In relation to your last question (sorry if it was rhetorical)… From what i can understand about myself, my ‘types’ (platonic and romantic) have just been honed over time. That said, my material values have changed recently, and I guess I find different things interesting now… But maybe that represents a different category of commonality. I mean, I was talking more about fundamental personality and values, which is different to past-times and current pursuits. I think my taste in people has only changed in terms of the latter.

        I get so charged up writing these comments! Such interesting topics!

  8. I’m very picky, but that’s because I like a certain type of person. I don’t see them everyday, but when I do. It’s on.

    I got this move where I approach someone I like at a bar. I tell them i just wanted to say hi, shake their hand, and keep it moving. I figure if they like me they’ll let me know. If they don’t. Oh well.

    Works well with daddies in my experience.

  9. Brenton says:

    I can definitely relate to this. I’m sure sometimes I’m just being a picky bastard but a lot of the time it’s just protecting myself from being hurt. Nice work

    • joshvansant says:

      Thanks for your comment Brenton. It’s definitely a combination of both. I think we do have a type but we need to distinguish between when we’re being picky and when we’re simply being afraid.

  10. tagle says:

    Reblogged this on It's Tagle. and commented:
    Found this from a friend. If anybody knows me well, they’ll find it quite ironic.

  11. […] RULE NO.14: YOU’RE NOT PICKY, YOU’RE INSECURE  Published by […]

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