About ten years ago, after yet another afternoon of boyfriend show and tell, a friend remarked that my taste in men was ‘eclectic’. A more honest male friend suggested she was being too kind. There was no taste. I was attracted to the bizarre and quirky. The only unifying quality was that they were recognisable as men.
He may have been onto something.
As someone who always considered herself a woman with personality, rather than a looker, I tried to look for those long lasting attributes in a partner. Someone who reads. A gifted conversationalist. A good sense of humour. Perhaps a collector of rocks that look like celebrities. You know, the important stuff that outlasts great teeth and hair.
These were my people. This was my dating level.
As I have gotten older, the men I date have definitely become more objectively attractive. This is at least what common consensus indicates. I’m not sure if this is because I’ve levelled up dating wise. Perhaps finding my push up bra and contact lenses opened the door to the world of more beautiful people. Perhaps as we’d grown older, my friends and I reached a similar standard, they gained some perspective, and suddenly the quirks that I loved had become attractive to all.
I was dating prettier, because I was feeling prettier.
In my younger years I was a hoodies and baggy jeans kind of girl. PS3 and beer. I was never a fan of my face or my body shape, so why would anyone else be? I’d always pulled through a comfortability factor.
As I have aged, I’ve become a lot happier with the way I look. Living in Mexico contributed to that. There is a real focus on beauty and appearance for women. Women are very well groomed, dolled up to the nines and curling their eyelashes with a spoon whenever they hit a red light. As amusing as I would find this, I started dressing to get into the clubs and bars I liked and almost immediately I started getting a lot of compliments and attention. I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it.
I stopped wearing hoodies and vests all the time. The skirts, dresses and heels came out. Then all the lookers dropped their cloaking devices and I was dating a much more attractive category of man.
There has been a steady increase of female acquaintances cooing over my love interests over the last five years, and a general confusion as to how I’d managed to get them. Past relationships with good looking men have met with similar responses to the one below:
Looking at a picture of my boyfriend “ Where did you cut this out from?”
“Nowhere, he’s my boyfriend.”
“You’re going out with him!?!!”
“ Err yeah.”
“Yeah right, he’s bloody gorgeous.”
“What I mean is, well, look at him. No offence. What I meant to say was well done! How did you net him?’
“Roofies. Lots of roofies.”
Yes, it was unbelievable that I’d managed to date a man found unanimously attractive. I mean I was attractive, but way too covered in food and obsessed with finger puppets for this level of dating.
Now these friends liked me. They enjoyed my company. Thought I was smart. Funny. Attractive. But for some reason they also seemed to believe there was an attractiveness threshold that needed to be met to date someone of this aesthetic calibre.
The man in the picture was undeniably handsome. As I would find out a few months later, he was also an undeniable cock, who had a problem with gay people, and the disabled.
But pretty, so no one seemed to take that part too seriously.
This was not something that horrified or surprised people. If anything I was frowned upon for mentioning it and tainting the poor guy’s pretty. If you’re good looking people naturally assume you’re amazing in all departments. Even if you’re not.
It’s the halo effect.
Comments that would normally sound self absorbed, stupid or superficial in the mouth of a regular human, must be witticisms, ironies and a black sense of humour. He didn’t mean to say ‘escape goats’ he was being funny. Err, no he wasn’t.
Some lookers will buy into their own hype, John Hamm style. Of course you can put Gatorade on salmon, it was culinary genius. Yes you should be a public speaker, because I would listen to you talk for hours. You are a far superior specimen of humanity who can do no wrong.
A friend of mine couldn’t believe his luck when he got a beautiful girl to date him for nearly four years. It was the most tumultuous, abusive and disrespectful relationship I had ever been witness to. She once threw his laptop out of a window because he had been rude to her. She got him kicked out of his apartment complex by bursting into tears, saying that he had mistreated her, after physically attacking him.
It culminated in him having to leave the country because she had destroyed his passport, stolen his credit cards and used her looks to ensure if he came near her to try and get them back, he would be the bad guy. Because, well look at him, and look at her.
“Surely if we all saw ourselves as amazing, none of this would even matter.”
Now this girl clearly had a problem. But wouldn’t it have been nice if people had listened to both sides of the story, and paid attention to the scratch marks on his face, rather than immediately assuming she was the victim in all of this because she was so ‘fragile’ and beautiful?
It would have been even better if he had stopped putting her beauty on a pedestal and actually paid attention to how she was treating him.
Why would you make excuses for the poor behaviour of someone purely because they were physically attractive? Why was their seal of approval, relationship, friendship, or opinion so important?
It’s easy to be charmed by someone ‘incredibly good looking’. A scientific study in China showed, more men were likely to be conned out of money by an attractive woman than a less attractive one. We don’t trust the less attractive. People that are less attractive are actually more likely to be attributed negative qualities, and considered to be ‘inherently bad‘.
More circles open up to people that have the right look, in the same way doors are opened if you have money or social standing. It’s no wonder that with this kind of beauty bias, people struggle to take the perfect selfie or to present themselves as more attractive to gain the approbation of others and the perks that come with it.
“It’s no wonder that with this kind of beauty bias, people struggle to take the perfect selfie.”
Looking for this kind of validation would make anyone unhappy. Who wants to be judged on their appearances alone? What happens when they fade? What about all the other qualities you possess?
On a date with another stunner, I was told that I was like a 7 or 8 on a scale of hotness. A 10 personality, but you know… Naturally I was slightly offended. Also unimpressed by his shallowness. He could see this, so he quickly added I could be a 10. I just needed to get that beach body, wear a little make up and ‘take more pride’ in how I looked.
I ordered the cheese sticks and mentally noted there would be no second date. Not that he would have a problem getting another date with someone else, as long as he kept his mouth shut, and the cheese sticks flowing.
Surely if we all saw ourselves as amazing, none of this would even matter.
If we treated people based on what they were like as human beings, rather than favouring a certain look above another, maybe people wouldn’t be so obsessed about making themselves fit a generic mould of beauty.
I rarely get preferential treatment based on how I look. I don’t know how I’d feel if that’s how I lived my whole life and then that treatment faded, or disappeared because I was getting older, I was pregnant, or married and unavailable. Would I even be willing to give it up? It’s nice to be treated specially.
I’m reluctant to comb the Cheetos out of my hair to be treated on a par with someone who lucked out on the gene pool front. Personally, I think we should all hold out for the guy or girl who likes us Cheetos and all.
I’d probably be a 10 to that guy.