Aw, you guys.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who sent me a worried, supportive, flattering or incredulous response to my previous post. You’re very nice people. I swear, honestly, I wasn’t angling for that.
Okay, maybe a tiny bit.
I nearly responded on Facebook, but I think this deserves a bit more room to breathe, so it’s here.
Almost all of the time, if someone you like tells you “I think I’m ugly”, it’s because they are sad. They feel bad about themselves, and they want some reassurance. It is the accepted ‘done thing’ to give them that reassurance, attention, and support.
That is not why I said it.
In a way, I said it because I really hope it’s true.
I hope it’s true, because – as some of you pointed out – it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the most important thing about a person.
If my astonishing, overwhelming failure rate is down to the girls I like being shallow, then that’s a great result for me! I can feel good about that, because it makes them slightly less attractive, and so it makes it easier to get over the fact they didn’t even read my message (or whatever). I can’t change my face, and I’m a big believer in not stressing about stuff you can’t change.
There are two aspects to it. There’s the one-on-one interaction. I can be in a room with someone, and they could consider me a hard 10, y’know? Hottest guy ever. They could consider me a 1. They could consider me literally anything in between. I could expect and deal with any of those. People are really different. They have different expectations, tastes, and so on.
I am more interested in the big picture. A cultural scale. As I said before, common characteristics that big groups of people respond to positively. We find people with those characteristics, and use them on posters to sell bread.
Here’s my process.
- Okay, let’s try dating girls
- That’s not working so well. This internet thing is pretty cool, let’s try that
- It’s been twenty years, neither of those two methods has ultimately worked all that well for me. I do have lots of female friends, which is very nice, but rarely more than that.
- Maybe that’s normal for someone like me? I should check.
- Okay, most of my friends and peers seem to have had better luck, on average.
- It seems reasonable to conclude that something is going wrong, somewhere. Most likely on my part.
- It’s probably worth figuring out exactly what that is. The stakes are, after all, pretty high.
- Let’s figure our the kind of girl I like. Okay, done that.
- Now, let’s try to figure our what kind of guy they like. This is much harder, but I’ll give it a go.
- Do I fit that description? Well, let’s see. Do people ever tell me that I’m clever? Yes, that sometimes happens. Good. Tick. Funny? Yes, people have said that, which is nice. Tick. Down the list, tick tick tick. Am I good looking?
- Well now. Looking at other people, almost none of them seem to have a particularly good sense of their own physical attractiveness. Either they’re being modest, or they just have no clue. I probably don’t have much objectivity here either. Whenever I see a photo of my face – any photo at all – I wince and look away. I am genuinely upset by how hideously potato-headed I am, but as I just said… I can’t be trusted to be objective.
- Do I look like anyone who is famous for being good looking? I don’t think Seth Rogen or Peter Griffin counts, that’s probably a no. Are there any other social clues that might indicate I am considered handsome? Not that I’ve noticed. Okay, worth noting.
- At what point do things ‘go wrong’? Generally speaking, it’s very early on. Either when they see a picture for the first time, or meet me for the first time. It’s a first impressions thing.
- What reasons do the girls give? Almost entirely terrible, transparently dishonest-for-the-sake-of-being-kind reasons. It’s never an easy thing to say, I don’t envy them. Choice examples: “We’re just two different people”, “You’re great in every way, but I don’t like being your best option. I’d prefer it if you had more options”, and “The chemistry was amazing when we were talking alone, but when you’re among other people… Sorry, I just don’t fancy you any more”.
- I don’t really feel like I can trust the reasons I’m given. Why are they being so circumspect? My guess is because “your face isn’t up to scratch” is considered exceptionally blunt and cruel.
- The facts do seem to point to a general lack of attractiveness, as far as I can tell. Note that I’m focusing on my face – my body is pretty damn good. I mean, have you seen my arse?You don’t have to answer that. But DAMN it’s peachy.
- That’s okay. In the overwhelming majority of cases, I don’t feel like there was enough interaction for them to consider me boring, or arrogant, or weird, or whatever. It makes sense that they are making a snap decision based on a picture.
- Some girls (and guys!) do think I’m handsome, which is nice. It’s always pleasing to hear that, albeit a bit odd.
- I’m losing the thread a bit here… To summarise!
- There’s enough of a trend here to notice. Breaking down the facts (as I see them) leads to one primary conclusion. It’s not the end of the world. I have my health, I have friends, I have a cool career (and I’m finally not worried about money all the time). I have all of the straight white first world middle class privilege you can possibly imagine. The planet is set up almost specifically for me. I’m fine. Better than fine!
Ultimately, I don’t know for sure what goes through the mind of any one particular girl who sees me and thinks ‘nope’. I have my best guess, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again.
Looks do matter. They are emphatically not the most important thing about a human being, but they are a thing. They are on the list. I still believe that, wholeheartedly. Mutual physical attraction. It’s important. It’s certainly elusive.
I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before.