My problem—and my problem with most advice-outlets—is that there’s not much of a resource for people like me. In movies, ugly characters are redeemed by being made beautiful in time to catch the eye of their love interest, or else their ugliness is a joke (Ugly Betty is NOT ugly). In practical life, we’re taught that personality matters more than physicality, but there are plenty of attractive (or at least normal-looking) people who are also decent human beings.
What is there for people like me who will never be remotely attractive and who are just average on the inside?
The Dear Sugar column includes a story about a man who was severely burned, and who ultimately committed suicide, believing he’d never find romantic love–as well as a response to the man who wrote in, which is quite beautifully written.
Inhabit the beauty that lives in your beastly body and strive to see the beauty in all the other beasts. Walk without a stick into the darkest woods. Believe that the fairy tale is true.
Our own questioner, who signed herself FB (or “female beast”) goes on to ask:
I’m a woman who is just plain ugly, no genetic disorders, just ugly. The thing is I try. I clean up, I dress nicely, but I’m not pretty and I have never once been approached in a bar or at a party, or asked on a date by a colleague or friend, no matter how sparkling and charming and witty I might be. And I put myself out there, I talk, I flirt. It’s very easy to say “Oh, it’s just your manner” or “If you met the right guy…” when you fall into the “Normal to Pretty” category, but I’m not in that category. I’m just not attractive, I’m ugly. So how am I supposed to keep looking, keep trying, when for so long all I have faced is constant rejection? Because, while women may look past looks, its just not the same for men. How do I not give up?
One thing to keep in mind, FB, is how lucky* you are to be free from genetic disorders or physical deformities. Those of us who don’t fit the mold of stereotypical beauty–whether because we’re fat or for some other reason–can often forget that. The “Fatosphere” is sometimes criticized for being ableist because it is so easy to ignore the fact that not everyone faces the same challenges.
And hopefully we can have a conversation about that too, because I would like to learn more about disability politics, and make sure this blog is a positive voice as far as that goes. (For instance, is it okay to say we are “lucky” not to be physically deformed? Does that mean we are saying able-bodied people are superior to those who are not able-bodied? And if so, what do we say instead?)
[*It has been pointed out that this is, in fact, an offensive statement. I'm leaving it here so you have context for the conversation in the comments, but I do apologize for using ableist language. I also don't want to make FB feel that her problems are not valid or less valid, and apologize also if I inadvertently did so.]
But anyway, this is not to diminish the fact that you feel that your physical appearance does affect your love life, and that you’d like advice. To that end, commenter boots asked some follow-up questions:
@ FB, I have so many follow-up questions…also, thanks for the link to that Dear Sugar column, that’s fascinating.
1. How old are you? (Just curious where you are in your life)
2. What does “giving up” mean to you in the context of finding love? What are you doing currently in your search that you would not do if you gave up looking?
3. Was anything in the comments of the Dear Sugar column helpful to you? (there were some pretty good thoughts there–even the stuff I didn’t agree with I thought might work for someone else)
Hopefully FB will come back to respond to those questions; I’ve sent her an email alerting her to the conversation. In the meantime, what advice would you give FB–can we help her? And what advice would you give me?
Posted by mo pie