Introduction and Interview by Makisa Francis.
One look at Ari Fitz and it’s easy to get why people are enamored with them. The 28-year-old androgynous model has unique sense of style, an authentic, honest personality and thoroughly modern views when it comes to dating and relationships.
After a stint on MTV’s The Real World in 2014, Fitz has become an influential voice exploring sex, gender identity and fashion online. From collaborating with ASOS to make gender-neutral fashion more mainstream, or founding the insta-zine Tomboyish Magazine to spotlight masculine beauty, Fitz is dedicated to creating a space for masculine of center individuals to express individuality and love.
But Ari doesn’t want to be your girlfriend.
Fitz is openly non-monogamous, sharing their views about dating on their Youtube channel and opening herself up to criticism in the process. In 2019, they want to dismantle the ‘fuckboi’ stigma around being polyamorous and encourage people to be open to different types of love.
Salty: How to people react when you tell them you’re non monogamous?
By the time I open my mouth and people hear the words non-monogamy it’s like “oh you’re just a fuckboi, you’re the reason love doesn’t exist”.
I wish I got ass the way people say I do. That would be nice, but I’m not even fucking like that!
I just don’t think I’m into the whole trying to find my soulmate thing. At the moment I’m single, I’m dating a few people. I have unique relationships with each of them, some involve sex and some don’t. I care about these people a lot and I don’t want to lose them.
The way that I’m approaching dating is very much like that. Like, first of all, I care about you and value your relationship, but if I meet someone and were vibing, the last thing I want to do is let my previous relationships with other people get in the way of something dope.
Salty: Tell me about your dating history, how did you become comfortable with yourself and figure out what you want?
I’ve always been on some “I’m not going to knock it until I try it” shit when it comes to approaching relationships. I’ve dated every background of human being, I’ve tried every body type, I’ve just always allowed myself to not let my own hang ups about how I want to be perceived get in the way [of love].
A lot of us date with this idea of introducing ourselves as a couple to society. Like “I found bae, here we are” – it’s this weird celebratory thing we do to showcase our relationships and say “I’m winning at this life shit”. I always thought that was weird and performative.
I’ve tried to dismantle how I approach love: [figuring out] whether I’m doing it for other people or doing it for myself. That’s why I have these very progressive views when it comes to love, I guess.
Salty: Do you think being poly something you think you’ll do forever?
Part of me wants to be like fuck it, I’m doing this for life. The real answer is, I really don’t know. This feels right. I can’t imagine myself with a wife, and if I randomly met someone I was interested in, the person I’m with wouldn’t be ok with that.
The people I’m with right now give me a lot of space, because I love to flirt.
Salty: How do you meet new partners? Are you on any apps?
I’m never looking for anything. A few of the people I’m talking to right now, I slid in their DMs. I know I have a crush if I keep looking at their page. I’ll do the liking back and forth thing to see if it’s ok to shoot the shot, and from there it moves fast honestly.
Even when I try to take it slow it goes fast. Women are gonna women.
Salty: Do you set digital boundaries with the people you date?
No, not at all. I don’t want to hide anything. I like to push boundaries and since I am so open about my non-monogamy, I’m like, why am I hiding this shit?
If I’m having fun and having a good time and there’s a cool post with me and somebody, I’m gonna post it just like I would with my friends, because the people I date are my friends except sometimes sex is involved. Why would I hide them from my page? That feels weird. It feels like I have something to hide, and I don’t.
It’s nice to keep things to myself though, I’m realizing, and I think I want to figure that out more in the future.
Salty: Are you having a lot of great sex? How do you communicate what you like to your partners?
On dates, we talk about sex a lot. It’s never even really me bringing it up, don’t get me wrong I’m horny as fuck, but a lot of the time the girls I date have questions. Some of them are new to riding a strap, you know? So, we talk a lot about sex before it happens and it’s pretty open before we do anything.
Salty: Do you have any 2019 sexual predictions for yourself?
I want movie sex all 2019. I want like crazy sex, like we can’t handle it so we’re gonna fuck in the back of an Uber sex.
Now that I’m being more clear about the fact that I’m not in this to fuck a bunch of people, I’m in it to meet great people, I think I can start to get past my own hang ups. I always wondered if I don’t like to be touched because my masculinity is getting in the way or if I really just don’t want to be touched, so I want to get comfortable enough and close enough to someone to figure out how much of it is my masculinity and how much I actually really don’t like.
Do you think about the dynamics between your partners? Have you ever introduced them to each other?
It’s not gonna happen. Maturity aside, it’s a sticky situation. Like, if everybody was in a room together, I feel like I would very much have to address the energy very fast. They know of each other but, yeah.
Salty: Dating multiple people takes up personal time, do you get enough time to yourself?
I take my relationships really seriously and I recognize that I need to spend a lot of time to grow each relationship and keep it solid, but I’ve realized I NEED time to myself. And I stress that to my people, and they understand that, but then it’s like a competition at the same time like “I just saw you hanging out with so and so”. So I overextend myself to make sure everyone feels loved. But I need to value time with myself too.
I want to get more comfortable being alone and spending more time alone. Connecting with myself will allow me to create more love for other people. I want to set enough boundaries so I can have more loving relationships in 2019.
Salty: What inspired you to start Tomboyish Mag and how do you see it evolving?
Tomboyish started when I was on Real World. I started getting all of these messages and emails from young people saying “seeing you on Real World really made me feel comfortable about how I dress, you should do more content about style”. So I started Tomboyish as a Youtube channel, and then moved it to Instagram, to just give a platform to tomboys who wanted to share their photos and stories. You don’t see that enough, masculine presenting people being posted and celebrated like models. I realized there are a lot of conversations to be had about masculinity.
Salty: Are there any products that make you feel sexy right now?
I love my tomboy-x underwear, I like having tight underwear to do my videos in, these are like I’m wearing boxer briefs but with just a thin little layer of fabric. They’re great.
Ari is photographed for Salty by Jess Pettway
Styled by Slainne Linanne
Hair by Latisha Chong
Make up by Raisa Flowers