It strokes my ego to have a lot of these, but it also makes me feel like a dick. Just this weekend two separate couples I know and really cherish asked me to play. Not attracted to any of them. It's hard to say no delicately. Then an interesting guy asked to chat over a meal, and he was super forward about interest, which I didn't share. He was attractive but after 20 minutes of conversation, I knew it was a dead end. I get these endless streams of new friend second meeting compliments--so handsome and interesting too, I really like that. It's nice when a guy is upfront, but as I've come to recognize more and more that I'm getting more attractive as my twenties pass me by, I'm also getting stressed by the attention it brings.
I was a relatively unattractive kid who bloomed late in my teens and early twenties, and I've since gone from compliments that just call me "cute" to people flat out calling me "hot" since I've gotten more muscular. I also find it difficult to assess where I stand on the hotness continuum. I think I used to be a 4 or 5 in high school. Now I feel like a 7, but my friends are always saying things like my being consistently in the top two hottest people wherever we go. I guess I have really bad body dysmorphia. I just don't see myself the way other people do, and so the compliments and advances help boost my morale, but then I don't know how to reject very graciously, because I'm honestly never prepared for it.
The worst bit is getting cat called at in front of friends. A couple weeks ago I was out late with a friend and a very handsome guy said, "God fucking damn", at me to his friend as we walked by. My friend said, "At least I get to hear that when I'm with you. It's sort of a compliment." I felt flattered and disgusted with myself at the same time.
And as if my insecurity weren't bad enough, men I genuinely adore at first, who like me back will sometimes put me on a pedestal and lose themselves in trying to keep me won over. Pro tip: working too hard to please somebody else can be scary if they've ever encountered controlling or abusive partners before. Buying things for me on a whim, trying to introduce me to their families after just two dates, talking about marriage after a week, never stopping the compliment stream, canceling work when I'm off early to bring me soup when we expect only known each other a few days... I feel like a dick saying this, but those sweet things, those signs of obsession wreak of foreboding.
What I do love though, shamelessly, is when people are just nice to me. That I really do think is a wonderful thing. And people who listen to what I have to say and have something to say back that I can engage in. I really enjoy waking up to a "good luck today with your ____". I find it really attractive in somebody I'm already a little taken with. And guys who aren't pushy about a date. If I like you, it'll happen, but if I only kind of you at first, your best bet is opening up the possibility and bringing it up a couple times, at most, in the first few days we talk. If you come on softly, you're going to seem confident, genuine, and interesting rather than obsessive, desperate, and needy.