Written by xxyla , xxyla is a professional makeup artist and fashion model based in New York City.
You know you’re dating when you spend a third of a date deciding what outfit to wear.
And you know your potential romantic partner knows that too.
In my work as a professional makeup artist, I often face the same challenges. Are my makeup skills impressive enough for my clients? Can I improvise after an accident during hair styling? Most important, will he be impressed with my performance?
I’d like to propose a solution. Forget for a moment about your inner confidence, your style, and all of that. A simple change in clothing could be the secret to putting you in a position to have your soul mate. And it’s an idea I’m using for my own dating app for straight people.
For most straight couples, the dress code is more of a guideline than an agreement. And no matter what outfit you choose to wear, expect that dress code to apply as well. No matter what accessories you wear — be it bracelets, necklace, earrings or an aviator sunglasses set — think of the attire as your dating brand.
As queer people, we’ve been conditioned to see our true selves when we step into a closeted relationship, which is only natural, as a gay man. In our privileged position as a society, we have no problem exploring our sexuality in public spaces. But for most of us — straight and gay — standing out in a public space can be terrifying.
“When we’re dating in a relationship, we basically need to hide our sense of self. “
Because of this, we as individuals have no fear and often struggle with keeping ourselves present while seeing ourselves — and the person we love — through the same sort of disguise.
In this first edition of Fit Dating, I studied the way couples expressed themselves while dating. What I found was that no matter how much of our true selves we shed during an intimate relationship, we’re still inspired to bring it back into our lives as we get older.
Here are some of the overarching ideas I learned along the way, and some tips to help you better express yourself as you date:
1. Bringing your true self to a date
Couples can have very different values in dating, and this can lead to conflict on a number of different levels. But I was surprised at how even one another’s values showed through in their appearance.
Even couples who don’t identify as a sexual minority or as bi might end up having similar style. Study participants had very different trends in fashion — they were spending a bit more or a bit less on their outfits as they aged.
And it was less about their economics, and more about style preferences. The younger millennials, for example, tended to wear more bohemian, folk looks or jeans and t-shirts. Those who aged out of that trend grew more into more neutral urban patterns.
And it was less about their economic, and more about style preferences. The younger millennials, for example, tended to wear more bohemian, folk looks or jeans and t-shirts.
Regardless of how they define themselves, these two groups ended up looking a lot alike in their outfits. If you do identify as a straight white man and see yourself as a very confident and street smart guy, consider dressing like one.
2. Staying true to your sense of self
Gay men have always worn a hetero-normative perception of femininity, so it’s understandable that straight men often dress in congruent congruent female-like fashion.
In my studies, I found this pattern to be true for couples on both sides of the aisle, whether we were gender bending about queer or masculine appearances, or even gay and straight heterosexual couples.
Even a few generations after the sexual revolution, we have yet to come to a genderless, LGBTQ+-uniformed idea of what your partner could look like as well.
3. Be authentic, but bring your true self to your match
From personal experience, my dating app is filled with more confidence and a clear idea of how I personally identify. But I also noticed that for men, flirting in a way that’s more at their natural style can be a little bit harder.
If you want to date a straight man, it is really important to remember that just because he has certain wardrobe elements that are “date-appropriate” and “liked,” that doesn’t mean you should pull out your dinner jacket or your bowtie.