In an age of Instafame, Instafollowings, and instant gratification, some sought-after attention is just a tap, swipe and post away. Or, so I thought.

 

*Hits post to story*

 

Haha, oh shit.

 

I had just uploaded a picture of myself, propped up in front of my living room mirror in a black latex catsuit, complete with leather cap, gloves, and a studded collar and leash. Within seconds, my dm’s saw the most action they ever have, like ever, and I was feelinggg myself. Nearly every straight male I’ve uttered the word “hello” to in the past month hit me up with some iteration of a tongue-wagging emoji, and so I sat back (sweating profusely because latex does not breathe) and let the messages roll in. You may have some questions, and rightly so—there’s a lot to unpack here.

 

For starters, the outfit was for a Halloween party. And, like many, I had made the most obvious choice to outfit myself in overt sexuality for the sheer purpose of posting a photo to Instagram, and nailing this guy who’s been breadcrumbing me since summer. If you haven’t heard, Venus is in retrograde, so exes and past lovers will come back into your life during this time. Mine came back in the form of a cheeky mid-week lunch and string of sexts with an old fling that led to nothing but frustration. Navigating Retrograde is notoriously tricky, though, and seldom do these magdalens bear fruit. So, after five days of aching patience, it was time for my next move—they say desperate times call for desperate measures, so consider my desperate measure a full-body latex suit and the camera of my iPhone 8.

 

This wasn’t a first for me; I’m well-known for my thigh-skimming skirts and waist-hugging blouses—the fractions of garments with which I’ve built my confidence. I’ve been very comfortable dabbling in promiscuity, “been” being the operative word. But somewhere around the age of 25, that confidence slipped silently away, leaving in its place extreme insecurity, unable to be kept at bay by the reassuring compliments of my peers. Oddly enough, I’ve never been one to crave outside approval—in fact, the thought of being the subject of a public conversation or any conversation for that matter horrifies me.

 

Tonight though, my platform for campaign was inevitably social media. Fears aside, I posted that shit.

 

I had only wanted the attention of one man, but the unexpected onslaught of messages was actually really nice. Sitting there cross-legged in my inky black second-skin, I couldn’t help but wonder why the validation of others—especially men—despite being a non-necessity, made me feel so fucking great.

 

Vice has dubbed compliments as “mini orgasms for your brain.” Scientifically, receiving a compliment triggers the same reward centers in the brain—the ventral striatum and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex—that light up during sex. I wouldn’t say that the party in my dm’s was necessarily orgasmic, but it managed to break down—even if only for one night—some of the walls that have kept out self-love.

 

Figuratively speaking, an outfit of this nature leaves little space for insecurities; and, physically, with a zipper that went from my chin all the way to the cusp of my crack, there was literally no room. I was raw, with no tools to curate my exposure. No cut, crop, slash or slit could reveal more than a fine film hugging my every curve, every high, low, dip and divet of my fleshy anxieties. And yet, the people were loving it.  

 

Had I sold out with my slutty costume? Was I slut-shaming myself by calling it slutty? I know I’m not alone in this interrogation; the words provocative and shame seem inherently woven into the female vocabulary. Why falter to admit that empowered was the first word to mind as I slipped on my suit? It’s a question so deeply-seated in the breast of social constructs, in antiquated parameters of modesty muddied up by Instagram’s packaging as a user-friendly tool for measuring self-worth. Maybe it’s better not to question it. In place of my usual cringe were rosy cheeks and a smug smile. Dare I say, the telltale signs of confidence? Dressed in a character so far from my everyday, I actually just felt like myself.

 

The guy never messaged me, but I still got my orgasm.

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