"You're beautiful on the inside."
"Yes, but you're nice."
As a former ugly, fat, and low-self-confidence person, I can truly say these are THE most hated phrases we like to hear.
Why? Well, we know the sentiments are well-intentioned, but that does not help when billboard after magazine cover after television ad all show what is truly valued in our society--physical beauty.
The perfect abs. The well-formed pecs. The chiseled jaw line. The perky boobs. The all-but-impossible flat stomach.
Lucky for me, I almost have the chiseled jaw line. Everything else is a work in progress.
And I say "former ugly person" for only one very specific reason: I no longer feel ugly, but it isn't because I could now grace the cover of PlayGirl and get a standing ovation. And I also can't say it's because I now value my looks over my personality. If it came right down to it, I'd choose my personality--but it would be a hard choice.
Looks come with entitlement. We, even subconsciously, extrapolate onto beautiful people a beautiful personality. We stare at them longer, want to be standing near them in the hopes that some of that beauty will "spill over" onto us, laugh louder at their jokes in the hopes that getting their attention will make us just that much more attractive to others...
Yes, that was me. The "hoverer." An Ugly Betty, if you will, living in what seemed to be a Mode world.
Cry me a fucking river, Amanda.
Amanda: You're so lucky, Betty. I never know if men like me because of my personality or because of my looks.
You can add that quote to the list of things we ugo's quite hate to hear: After all, just because the Amanda's of the world can't judge who likes her for her looks and who likes her because of her personality is her failing. Not ours. So don't push it off on us.
I think all of us have these parts of our personality, however. "How do I look?" "Does this outfit highlight all the right parts?" "Does this make me look fat?" "How does my hair look?" We all want to present ourselves the most attractive way possible, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, none of us can blame the genetic lottery for being ugly OR for being considered beautiful. That's just a fact. And neither can we blame the beautiful people of the world for taking advantage of their sheer luck at high cheekbones, a propensity for higher metabolic rates, or that bubble butt.
And we ugo's have only ourselves to blame for not hitting the gym.
That being said: We have no way of judging whether you meant that tip on getting rid of that bulge as a well-meaning piece of friendly advice, or as an opportunity to make yourself feel better about your non-bulge at our expense--and just maybe, it was both.
But unless we ask for that advice, keep it to yourself. It only serves to make us self-conscious about one more thing on our growing list of how we feel inadequate to be human in your presence. We don't want to hear about our great personalities--after all, we're the ones that perfected "great personality" since we didn't have bikini-bodies to fall back on. We don't want to hear about the trials of being beautiful--we'll never have that problem despite hours spent trying in our bathrooms and beauty parlors across the globe. (As my cousin Courtney likes to say, "I'm a beautician, not a magician!") And we certainly don't want to hear about how we're beautiful on the inside because it's nothing more than a metaphor for how ugly we are on the outside.
And we certainly don't need reminded of that.
Learning to love myself, especially after a young woman in junior high named Stephanie told me, quite out of the blue, that I was so ugly she was amazed anyone would even consider dating me, was quite an uphill battle. All I was doing was standing by the biology classroom door, waiting for the bell to ring so I could go to my locker and get the books I needed for the next class. Thanks, Steph. I hope your thin, straight hair has started falling out. (But that's not the nice part of my personality, so--forget I even thought it...)
The point of this post? Not sure--maybe I just need to get these things out here onto the blogosphere so I can move on. Maybe I just want to let my fellow ugo's know that we've all been there, are still there, and never quite leave there. After all, even today when someone lets me know they find me attractive, I can ride that high feelings for days, if not weeks. And I hate myself for that. I hate that that part of my past days of low-self-confidence continues to live on.
I've realized I'll never be "Male Model of the Year," or even anything close. But I have learned to work with what I have, and that took some hard work.
But--dear, sweet, well-meaning beautiful people? Go suck my personality.