“OH MY GOD, I CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE. ALL OF MY PRECIOUS HAIR IS FALLING OUT OF MY GODDAMN HEAD—I’M ABOUT TO HAVE A WEAVE RELAPSE!” I screamed down the phone to my best friend Ruba.
“Aren’t you on your way to a date? Girl, calm down. You’re a mess.”
And because my life tends to mirror a poorly written made for TV movie, the very moment the “word” mess released itself from Ruba’s lips–I stepped right into the muddiest, coldest puddle to ever grace the streets of Manhattan.
“AGHHHHHHHHH!” The toxic rainwater stung my freshly shaved legs.
“MY NEW WHITE SUEDE BOOTS ARE RUINED!” I roared into my cell.
“Honey. Get. It. Together.” Ruba purred down the phone, before hanging up on me.
Get it together. Get it together, Zara. I chanted to myself as I sloshed through the wet streets in my sopping wet ankle boots. My legs were so cold; I could feel my leg hair growing back for warmth. I spit the “anxiety gum” I had been chomping on into the polluted pavement and strutted into the bar to meet my date.
I instantly recognized my date Tasha, she was the spitting image of her Tinder profile picture. Black arched eyebrows perfectly framing Listerine blue eyes, a strong jaw, and creamy olive skin.
“Hey, Tasha! It’s Zara! Pretty please excuse my wet shoes. I’m kind of a wreck right now. My cousins aren’t speaking to me because I finally told them I was a big dyke over a recent family dinner, my company just went under so I’m totally jobless and to be perfectly honest—I have zero idea of what I’m going to do with my life!” I cackled a little too loudly. “So anyway, how are you?”
Tasha’s Listerine eyes were so fresh I wanted to gargle them in my dirty mouth and rinse the sins away. “Uh, I’m fine.” She smiled nervously. “What would you like to drink?”
“CHAMPAGNE, CAMPAIGN!” I squealed, instantly regretting it. “Sorry, sorry, SO sorry, that’s a dumb thing my sister and I say when we’re demanding Champagne.” I winced. Demanding Champagne? “Sparkling wine is cool too.” I stared into the constellation of mosquito bites peppered across my upper thighs.
The next thing I knew a flute of Champagne was sitting in front of me. I guzzled it down with an intense urgency, like a dog gobbling down a table scrap before its owner has the chance to pry it out of its teeth.
The bubbles went straight to my head.
I fluttered my long spidery eyelashes (I was rocking last night’s eye makeup) right into Tasha’s pore-less face. “I’m not supposed to be drinking on my new meds,” I whispered, a toothy grin stretching its way across my face.
“What kind of, uh meds?” Tasha asked. She took a healthy gulp of her beer.
“Prozac. I’m wildly depressed.” My eyes suddenly felt wet. Don’t you dare cry.
Tasha gently put her hand on my arm. “Talk to me.” Her voice sounded smooth like a velour juicy couture sweatsuit from the early 2000s.
The next thing I knew mascara tears were falling like little black snowflakes into my Champagne.
I sobbed to her about my brother’s psychotic breakdown. I told her I felt like I was slowly sifting through outer-space and didn’t know when (or if) I was going to land on solid ground. I even told her about the time in the seventh grade I got wasted at the school dance and got busted going down on my best friend Lydia by the custodian (in the boy’s locker room none-the -less).
Tasha gazed at me with big enchanted eyes through my entire sob-fest.
The moment we stepped outside, my heart dropped into my chest. “I guess I blew it. I’m sorry I’m such a hot mess.” I hopelessly gazed into the starless sky.
“I think you’re sexy.” She pulled me close to her and kissed me. It was the best kiss of my life.
On the uptown train home, my mind began to race. I had stumbled into this date being my total messy self. I had waved nothing but bright, shiny, red flags the moment I walked into the bar. I might as well had been draped in a couture red flag, not the sequin scaled mini dress I’d sported.
And suddenly it hit me: We are the sexiest versions of ourselves when we’re going through it.
Because there is nothing in the world more intriguing than a woman who can’t be bothered to fake it anymore.
We live in a world of perfect curation. It’s all Instagram pictures of kale smoothies and downward facing dogs and pristine sunsets in exotic locations. Everyone transparently shows off to the world their highlight reels, not their real lives. We’ve become so filtered as a culture—that all of this false perfection is straight up boring! And you know what’s NOT sexy? Boredom, baby.
The girl who shows up to the date with torn tights and is out of breath because she’s running late because her therapist appointment ran 20 minutes over and oh my GOD—she’s SO sorry she just knocked a drink right into her date’s expensive-looking shirt; now, she’s sexy. Because she’s interesting. We want to know more about this glorious mess teetering in her heels, her face twisted up into a complicated expression.
What’s her story? We collectively wonder. We’re dying to know why this hot beautiful mess is sobbing into her whiskey. We want to ask her about the holes in her stockings. We’re amused by her charming clumsiness. She’s a breath of fresh air because she’s allowing herself to openly feel her feelings, and that’s a radical thing to do in this manicured day and age.
This is why when you’re a hot mess, you shouldn’t ever feel ashamed.
You’re actually the sexiest version of yourself right now. Your protective shell has cracked wide open. We’re able to peer inside. And it’s the stuff that exists inside that shiny-little-shell that’s what’s really sexy. That’s where the ~substance~ lives. And substance is hot. The shiny-little-shell might be superficially attractive, but its glossy exterior tarnishes fast. Inner sexiness ~intoxicates~ the soul forever.
So my little internet sisters, if you’re going “through it” right now, don’t feel like you don’t stand a chance scoring a date. Don’t stay home and wallow and do dark things like eat 27 pints of Halo 240 calorie ice cream while binge watching “Locked Up Abroad.”
Nah! Adorn your lips with the most vibrantly colored lipstick you own, throw on your wildest outfit and saunter into town with confidence! Don’t hold back. Let your torn, messy, red, freak flag fly!
The masses will be drawn to you like never before when you’re riding on the hot mess express. Trust me. I’ve been riding on the crazy train for years, now. And even though my hair is a total wreck and my mascara is perpetually smudged, I’ve found love. More than once. More than twice.
And once you embrace your authentic hot mess self, you will too, babes.