"I like someone who has their sh*t together," I exclaimed, taking a bold sip of my white wine.
"Me too! Who wants to date a f*cking mess?" my best friend Liz asked, haphazardly adhering red lipstick to her lips.
"Not me. Screw that, I don't want a trainwreck!"
"No trainwrecks!" Liz cried, throwing back her stealth shot of stiff daytime tequila.
It was a beautiful fall Manhattan afternoon in 2010, and Liz and I were engaged in a delicate conversation about our "types." I was three glasses of white wine deep (which was more like six due to a weak tolerance and a high dosage of antidepressants), and Liz was on her third tequila shot.
Liz wouldn't stop reapplying her makeup. She was starting to look less like my best friend and more like a drag queen rendition of Christina Aguilera. And in between her chipped pink fingernails, she was holding a cigarette, so she smelled like the dire combination of an ashtray and hard liquor.
I took out my gold-gilded compact to check on my own face in my powder-smudged mirror: My black eyeliner had settled around my eyeballs, I was ghostly pale, and my hair was a mess. I looked like a teenage runaway who’d just stepped off a Greyhound bus.
We were a sight for sore f*cking eyes. An ironic duo. Two drunk Manhattan Millennial messes discussing how they can't handle the prospect of a partner who doesn't his or her life orchestrated together.
As I ordered my fourth glass of wine, I suddenly became acutely aware that we were the hot messes we didn't want to date.
"Sh*t," I slurred to Liz.
"Whaaaat, bitch," Liz slurred back.
"I wouldn't DATE me, so how can I expect anyone else to date me?" I dramatically exclaimed, putting down my wine glass as a statement of drunken defeat.
And that was the start of the great change. It took a while but somehow I (sort of) got there.
It was simple really. I decided to become the kind of person I want to date. I certainly didn't come out the other side perfect (I don't want to date someone perfect), but I took the reins of my own my life.
And it was only in finally taking control of my life that I started to draw in the right people.
It's law of attraction really. A mess attracts a mess. As beautiful and awesome as we girls are, we are not the exception we like to think we are. If we don't want to date a toxic mess, we have to take a long hard look in the mirror and assess ourselves.
Being an emotional mess isn’t sexy; working on yourself is.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a work in progress. We are all glorious works in progress, working to get our sh*t gorgeously together.
However, being a mess who isn't at least trying to pick herself off the floor is NOT sexy.
I used to think there was a certain lure in being a disaster, a certain mystique to the trainwreck.
Well, save it for the movies, kittens. Because in real life, being a total emotional wrecking ball isn't at all sexy. It's actually kind of dangerous (not in the good way).
I'm not shaming us complex, depressed beings (trust me, I'm NO position to judge). It's just imperative that we start to take care of ourselves.
You know what I think is sexy? Going to therapy. Working out your issues with a professional. Sweating the angst out at the gym. Writing down your pain in a diary. Going to support groups. Sketching and listening to music to satiate the hurt.
Drinking, drugging and constantly bursting into inexplicable tears on dates is not sexy. Which leads me seamlessly into my next point…
Blacking out is not sexy; knowing when to go home is.
I've blacked out more times than I care to admit. It's awful. I've woken up and not known where the f*ck I was and am lucky to have made it to the other side alive. I've put myself in pretty f*cked up situations, and I'm not proud of it.
In the darkness of my past (nothing is darker than a blackout, LITERALLY), I've pushed away really nice people who would have wanted to date me, but were turned off by my out-of-control, reckless behavior. Because no one who is a good, lovely, put-together person wants to date the sloppy girl who can't hold her alcohol.
Not only is it not a good look, but nobody seeking a healthy relationship wants to be the babysitter. Nobody who knows his or her self-worth wants to be with someone who treats his or her body like a playground.
You're not sexy when your eyes are rolling in the back of your head (well maybe to predators, but the goal is to avoid the predators). But you're totally f*cking sexy when you're lightly buzzed and attain the wherewithal to hop in a taxi and call it a night.
Complaining about your job isn’t sexy; doing something about it is.
You know that girl who is forever bitching about how much she loathes her career but never, ever, ever makes active moves toward a better, more fulfilling job?
Have you noticed that girl is chronically single? I rest my case.
Holding back your feelings isn’t sexy; being honest is.
I used to feel so seeped in shame over my past, my pain, my life and my mistakes that I did everything in my power to hide who I really was. I never really got close to anyone because all I displayed was a perfectly curated version of myself.
Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing sexy about putting an Instagram filter over your feelings. Expressing them raw, is sexy.
Because when you're being real and revealing your flaws, you're displaying an incredible amount of palpable bravery and confidence.
Holding back your truth only makes you come across as inauthentic.
F*cking for validation isn’t sexy; f*cking for pleasure is.
There is ZERO shame in sleeping with whomever you want to sleep with without apology. In fact, it's 2015 -- there is absolutely, truly, no such thing as a “slut.” I endorse free, fluid, liberated sexuality.
However, there is a key difference in f*cking for fun and f*cking everyone under the sun because you're lonely and seeking affection. I should know. I used to be a big offender of validation sex. And let me tell you, kittens: It doesn't work. It only leaves you feeling more sad and empty than you ever thought possible.
The hot, mind-blowing, hair-pulling, bed-shaking sex you're coveting will come when you're doing it solely because you WANT to do it, not because you're trying prove your worth to someone undeserving (expert's tip: Don't give anyone that kind of power).
Crash dieting isn’t sexy; listening to your body is.
Oh, the plight of the crash diet. There is nothing sexy about putting your body through an intense, unhealthy, toxic diet to lose weight quickly. Your body is your temple, and you don't want to disrespect your goddamn personal temple. It's all we truly have.
Listen to your body and eat the damn donut when you're craving it. Your body will tell you what it needs, so it's time to start listening to it and stop taking dangerous methods to fulfill an impossible standard of beauty.
Blaming your parents for everything isn’t sexy; taking control of your life is.
I get it. Your parents, childhood and the twisted demons from the past have f*cked you up, you gorgeous girl. Join the club. You're not alone. The best people in the world are the ones who were handed some of the toughest cards.
And you know what's wonderful about being a grown-up? You have the power to turn your life around. It's in all in your precious hands.
What an awesome, exciting adventure this life is when you start to realize it's not up to fate. It's not up to your parents. It's not up to a mystical power from a land beyond. It's all up to something far cooler and far more powerful. It's up to you.