Did Madeline Albright and Elena Kagan waste brain energy this way?
July 15, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm an accomplished 20-something female who can't seem to get over my average looks. Have searched the archives and spent some time in therapy, but not finding the answers I'm looking for.

I have been fortunate to have an accomplished and interesting life: graduated from an Ivy, worked at one of the most selective/prestigious companies out there for a few years, spent time abroad, etc etc. I know I have a lot going for me. And yet I can't seem to get over the one area in which I don't excel -- my appearance.

I'm not exactly unattractive. I'm quite thin but still have curves...pretty great body except for being very short (just over 5 feet tall). I also dress well and take care of myself. Given my small size, I'm often referred to as "cute" and given my body I become "hot" when wearing tight/revealing clothes. At the end of the day, though, I'm never beautiful. My features just aren't anything to write home about (large nose, weird mouth, small face, etc.). As a result, I seem to consider nearly everyone I meet to be more attractive (at least facially) than me. I can't seem to get over this fact and I think it is actually driving me crazy.

I have always been very insecure about my looks. In high school, no boys seemed to like me and I began to feel that I was so unattractive that no one would ever be interested in me. In college and since graduating I do get male attention and have dated sporadically including a few longer flings and one serious relationship. I still have a couple of issues though: 1) The level of attention I receive is nothing compared to my very attractive friends and 2) I take this very very personally/seriously. Any type of slight/rejection (anything from someone hitting on my friend instead of me at a bar to someone not calling me back after a date) causes me to get very upset and to always blame my appearance. I spend more nights out than not crying in bar bathrooms.

I know this is completely absurd given a) my other accomplishments and potential for success and b) my understanding of how inane these issues are compared to real troubles out there. It has really become difficult to live with though and only seems to be getting worse as the pressure to find a partner becomes greater. I would really appreciate any and all help in answering the following questions:

1) How do I become more comfortable with my appearance? This to me would involve both seeing myself in a more positive light and also really truly believing and internalizing the idea that my looks are what they are and really don't matter much.

2) How do I stop assuming that there is a direct correlation between my phyiscal appearance and my ability to attract men and therefore find a partner?

3) Should I change the people/places I surround myself with and/or the guys I go for? Most of my friends tend to also be successful professionally and attractive in that good-looking banker/lawyer/consultant kind of way. They also tend to hang out in fancy bars/restaurants where there is a certain see and be-seen vibe. On the one hand I really like a hip vibe but on the other hand I don't like the insecurity that comes with "being seen." Similarly, the guys I've dated have all been quite attractive. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of insecurity on my part. Also, I probably don't date as much as I could if I was able to expand the pool of people I was interested in. It is probably a recipe for disaster for me to go after conventionally-attractive people when I am not really one myself. I really don't know how to change this though. Any advice?

Apologies for this very long description and also if I come off as being a dumb, superficial girl. The reason I am posting an anonymous Metafilter question is precisely because I am embarrassed to admit these concerns to people I actually know. As I said these thoughts are making me a bit crazy though and seem to be getting worse so I really appreciate any help you can provide.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (60 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
If you spend a lot of time looking at yourself in the mirror and critiquing your nose or your chin or whatever, just stop. People can smell low self esteem and insecurities and these are very unattractive characteristics.

I know it sounds like a cliche but it really does come from within. Accept that you look how you look. Feel better about it. Love it. Own it.
posted by mokeydraws at 11:08 AM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

This may be a left-field suggestion, but maybe you need to do something physical. I have some friends that got into things like roller derby or women's boxing, and got really, really confident about their bodies for a myriad of reasons. And we're talking the full spectrum of body types here.

Or, if bruising isn't your bag, maybe something like belly dancing or burlesque. I've seen the same thing happen with that.

Because at the end of the day, there's nothing sexier than confidence.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:11 AM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

Some of the girls I know who have been most successful in attracting guys are not really that conventionally attractive. I mean, they haven't been deformed or morbidly obese, either, but they've been on the cute side of average, where it sounds like you reside as well. Instead, they have this sort of... openness about them. It's hard to define. Let's see if I can try. They tend to smile a lot and stare into people's eyes intently as they listen. They have a certain physicality about them--they touch people more than others do, they move in a certain way, they make a show of experiencing things through their senses that sort of subconsciously can call to mind how they would be receptive to experiencing sex.

I'm otherwise not sure what to tell you. I don't think you should change your personality or mode of discourse to try to attract guys. I'm just saying that oftentimes, there is not an extremely high correlation between pure physical appearance and attractiveness to mates.

It also sounds like you might want to look into meeting guys in other contexts.

As far as how to be more comfortable with your appearance, I have no idea. It's hard. I'm getting there. I went through an awkward phase that lasted almost ten years and nowadays I'm considered fairly conventionally attractive, but I still have my issues too. ohmygodmyeyesaretoosmallandclosetogether. For example. And who doesn't have issues? You should remind yourself of your positive aspects and emphasize them: it helps. But seriously, attracting mates is really not all about how you look. That's just the very tip of the iceberg.
posted by millipede at 11:11 AM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Could it be that you put people off with your professional accomplishments? I see a lot of women who (in their 20s) dress like in Hillary Clinton and act like the room is full of future employers taking notes.

There's nothing wrong with that as long as you realize that it’s a conscious choice and will alienate a lot of men in your age range. There’s nothing more chilling to your social and romantic life than to be boring, and increasingly men are choosing work/life balance over professional advancement. I would suggest you leave work at work, get a few interesting hobbies, and initiate a few conversations with men you like.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:16 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

It might be interesting for you to get to know someone over the internet without emailing a photo of yourself or receiving one, on the presumption that physical appearance is not a priority. Years ago I used to make friends by mail (the kind that is delivered by the post office), before the internet even existed, and it's a lot easier to do it by email. You might want to meet in person at some point, after you already know each other. You will have an appreciation of each other's minds.

If you are really bothered by your facial features, they can be surgically changed. Making large noses smaller is elementary plastic surgery, and tremendous numbers of nose jobs are performed. Of course, you do not have to go the the extreme that Michael Jackson went to. I find it a bit curious that your appearance bothers you so much, yet you do not even mention the possibility of plastic surgery. Perhaps you rejected it as a dishonest practice, and if so, that's fine. It is perfectly possible for you to accept yourself as you are, and also to find other people who will accept you as you are. You are already aware of the fact that your imperfections as not that serious, and that we all have our imperfections. However, if you would rather have a smaller nose, that can certainly be arranged.

There are undoubtedly people who would like you as you are, and if you continue to meet new people, you will find some suitable person.
posted by grizzled at 11:18 AM on July 15, 2010

You can't judge your attractiveness by a) high school and b) hanging around in fancy bars with your "very attractive" girlfriends. In those kind of situations, the knockouts will get 99% of the attention.

You describe yourself as a cute, smart, thin twenty-something with a "pretty-great body". That sound's attractive to me. I think you just need to find out where the cute, smart guys are hanging out.
posted by timeistight at 11:20 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are you fit? I think going to the gym and toning up is one of the best things you can do to actually enhance your appearance as well as enhancing your self-esteem.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:23 AM on July 15, 2010

I know it sounds like a cliche but it really does come from within.

It really does. The next time you're out and about - grocery shopping or walking around or standing in line for something, look at couples. Are they stunning? Nine times out of ten, they are not, not the guy, not the girl. Most people are sort of ordinary-looking. But if they love each other, she is the most beautiful woman he has ever known, and he is the most handsome guy she's ever met.

I like the idea of doing some physical thing, whether it's boxing or climbing or ballet or whatever, that gives you a sense of what your body can do. Confidence (not arrogance; they're different) is something that makes someone really beautiful.
posted by rtha at 11:23 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

This might be body dysmorphic disorder. Have you considered therapy?
posted by Carol Anne at 11:23 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

This probably doesn’t make you feel any better, but your described feelings about your appearance seem pretty common. Point being, I don't think you are alone/unusual about your though process.

To respond to question 2: I think there is a correlation between your physical appearance and your ability to attract men or at certain types of men. Everyone has their own look and it's not about ways to turn yourself into Lindsey Lohan or Shakira (or whatever pop star women are trying to emulate), it's about finding someone that likes YOUR look.
I think you wil have the best chance of success if you take care of yourself, but the more you try to change who you are, the more unlikely you will have a genuine relationship.

Also, I think you would spend less time crying in car bathrooms if you stopped going to the bar. Find activities that aren't based on the pretense of hooking up. You might meet a really neat guy that is interested in things other than looks. If he's not obsessed with how you look in tight clothes, maybe you won't either.
(Note: I'm not making any judgment about people in bars. Many great relationships begin in bars. But if you're looking for something long term that is based on a real genuine respect, in my experience, it's best to look elsewhere.)
posted by WhiteWhale at 11:25 AM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Have you been to a professional makeup artist and stylist for advice? I'm not saying you should do a Lady Gaga, but beauty pros know the subtle ins and outs of changing your eyebrow shape, hair color tones, makeup tricks, hair shape, etc. that can really make a difference in how you perceive your face to look - which in turn might make you more confident.
posted by funfetti at 11:25 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

You don't seem dumb or superficial. I bet a lot of women can find echoes in what you are saying. To me it seems that you are accurately perceiving how highly conventional good looks are valued by many men, and how many women treat each other and are treated differently as a result.

These perceptions have truth to them, and you are not crazy or wrong for noticing them and feeling hurt by their injustice.

But you are basing your internal sense of self-worth on what men think of you -- and not men who are especially mature, wise, or loving. As long as you are looking to superficial, shallow, judgmental men to tell you what you are worth, you will always find yourself one-down on the scale of beauty judgment. This is true for EVERY woman, no matter how objectively hot.

Where the pain seems to be coming from is the belief that beauty = male attention = love = partnership = not dying alone, a raddled hag. There are a lot of cultural myths in there, as well as cognitive jumps and unquestioned assumptions.

I suggest you read some good feminist books about beauty, to give yourself some critical perspective on the social patterns you are enmeshed in. Cultivate some friends who aren't playing the see-and-be-seen game, but instead treat each other with respect and compassion regardless of looks. Check out groups for women where you can get some support and validation, and some guidance on learning to love your self. And of course (because this is AskMe), consider doing some focused work with a therapist on the connections between your beliefs, feelings, and behavior in this situation.

Good luck, sister. Don't let the bastards grind you down -- especially the ones who live in your head.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:25 AM on July 15, 2010 [19 favorites]

Hypothesis 1.

You are hanging out in places that are designed for people to focus on the attractiveness of other people. Go and hang out with people DOING something, and you'll soon meet people who are interested in other things than the superficial. Evening classes, volunteering, hobby groups, whatever. Make friends with some self-employed people, who are usually aware that there is more to life than clothes and hair and makeup.

Hypothesis 2.

You are unknowingly frightening people off by appearing aloof, by avoiding eye contact, by being self centred on dates and always talking about yourself, or one of a million other things you could be unaware of that put people off. If you have a trusted friend, maybe they could help you work out whether this is the case, and if so, what you could do about it.

Remember, the kind of attention that can be had by being visually stunningly attractive can be unpleasant, objectifying or even dangerous. I'm sure there are plenty of very hot women wishing they had an easy way to filter out the superficial and creepy people from the ones that really like them for who they are.
posted by emilyw at 11:26 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Albright got divorced in 1982 and Kagan does not seem to have had any long-term partners, so I'm not sure they're precisely the women you want to emulate here.

But before I start, I'm just going to assume for the purposes of this answer that your self-description is accurate. I've no reason to believe that, but it's a place to start a discussion.

It sounds to me like you live in a major urban area, quite possibly New York City, seeing as you hang out with the a banker/lawyer/consultant crowd. That crowd is pretty small to non-existent--particularly among single people--most other places. So part of your problem may be that you're hanging out with some of the most conventionally attractive and successful people in the country on a regular basis.*

But more importantly, you also seem to be spending a lot of time in social circles which almost inherently prioritize superficialities, i.e. people who know they are attractive and successful going to hang out with other people who know they are attractive and successful so they can enjoy being attractive and successful together while making other people aware of the fact that they aren't as attractive or successful by comparison. Indeed, making other people envious is part of the point. You seem to be on the short end of the stick here, which sucks, but that's part of the game that's being played.

I can say from experience that this is not exactly an environment conducive to personal relationships of substance, i.e. the sort you need to get past your hang ups about your looks. Because that's important. It's going to be incredibly difficult to get past your own obsession with your looks if you're spending time with people who are obsessed about theirs. What this looks like for the professional crowd you seem to run with is quite different than what it looks like for more down-market demographics, but make no mistake, it's totally there.

So I guess what I'm suggesting is a change of scene. I'm aware that this isn't a terribly convenient suggestion, but if you're really as miserable as you sound, it may worth considering. You don't need to move to the blasted wasteland of northern Indiana, but there are dozens of mid-sized and even larger cities all over the country where you can at least in theory find a place that's a better fit for you.

You don't even necessarily have to move. Even New York has communities that are deliberate about forming relationships based on substance, not superficialities. You'll have to look to find them (if you are actually in New York, you can MeMail me for suggestions), but they're out there. Either way, you need to start hanging around people who find things other than your appearance to be important. I think you'll be surprised just how much a difference that makes in how you think about yourself.

*Indeed, the degree to which attractiveness and success go together is an interesting subject in and of itself.

**Also known as "Fort Wayne, Indiana," where "young professional" means "30-35, married, and 2-3 kids." Not exactly the demographic upon which vibrant night lives are founded.
posted by valkyryn at 11:26 AM on July 15, 2010 [10 favorites]

I'm sure you are very attractive but your insecurities may be a subtle turn off.

Hang out where you feel comfortable and with people you are comfortable with. Have you given internet dating a thought? You've got a profile and a pic - if you find someone interesting ping them, and if guys find you interesting they will ping you...no pressure.

Good luck!
posted by doorsfan at 11:27 AM on July 15, 2010

You're not dumb or superficial.

Honestly, most women look very average and weird. Look at celebs without makeup and they look not pretty at all.

If you take a look at shows like The Hills, you can see that most people aren't anything to write home about. Most people, if you look at them long enough, are weird looking.
posted by anniecat at 11:27 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Stop consuming traditional media. Pop culture pushes beautiful SO HARD. Advertisers get paid lots and lots of money to convince women that living up to some unobtainable beauty ideal is what makes women valuable (and that buying their products gets us closer to that ideal). Now, intellectually, you and I both know that's bullshit. But being bombarded with those images constantly takes a toll.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:27 AM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

Because you talk about wanting to see yourself in a more positive light and stop assuming there's a correlation between your looks and your ability to find a partner, I suggest you look into a reframing technique called The Work of Byron Katie.

I find Katie's techniques very simple to apply and often very good at challenging and uprooting the damaging assumptions we make about ourselves and others.

You can find videos of her working with clients on YouTube and get a sense of what she does that way. This one, about a woman who hates her body, might interest you.
posted by dywypi at 11:31 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

To address your first point: I can't believe I'm saying this in a thread about real-life beauty, but maybe take a close look at some models. Not commercial models, but runway women. They are never conventionally attractive. Many of them are actually odd-looking. Instead, they or their stylists figure out what is interesting about their faces, and then they just rock it. Devon Aoki actually accentuates the roundness of her face whenever possible. Lily Cole plays up how out-of-proportion her eyes are to her mouth and nose. Tanya D's signature look is elfin, oversharp features.

There are a handful of women celebrities who have convinced the world that their not-so-classic features are compelling: Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Barbara Streisand, pre-nosejob Jennifer Grey, on and on. Again, these women don't care about fitting into a mold of conventional prettiness; instead, they focus on what makes them different and rock it. Maybe pull your hair straight back from your small face and put a really bold lipstick on your weird mouth, and stand out from every other girl. Forget "contouring" makeup tips - the point of those is to make your face look more like everyone else's. Trying to look like everyone else and failing is for suckers. Looking like yourself, instead, is awesom.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:33 AM on July 15, 2010 [7 favorites]

This is an odd and counterintuitive suggestion, but learning a little more about fashion, what I like, and what looks good on me, has helped me to be more comfortable with the body I have. I am not and will never be a trend-following fashionista who spends a ton on clothes, but there's something interesting that happened for me in a shift from my body fitting or not fitting into some item of clothing, to clothing as a fun and beautiful thing to wear on my own particular body.

If you are more concerned about the appearance of your face rather than body, you could try experimenting with haircuts, makeup or jewelry. This is not about changing how you look or wishing some feature was different, but discovering what is unique about your own face. What earrings (if you wear them) complement your eye color? How do hairstyles change the shape of your face? Can you dress/accessorize/makeupetize yourself to emphasize your cheekbones? The line of your chin? (Random thought because you mentioned a large nose: a high school classmate of mine with similar features looked *absolutely fabulously drop-dead gorgeous* in french twists and similar updos.)

I also recommend doing something that makes you feel physical and strong - again, weirdly, formal dance classes (modern, a little bit of ballet) were my activity of choice.
posted by heyforfour at 11:34 AM on July 15, 2010

I'm going to be a little rough here, because I know your friends may not be. You come off as a very sensitive person; the bar bathroom thing, even if hyperbole, is a big tipoff. I know more than a few young women who are prone to it. I can assure you that this sort of hair-trigger sensitivity is a lot more offputting than your looks can ever be. Learn to stand up for yourself against your self-image. Learn to put aside those thoughts of being unattractive and replace them with thoughts of being a brilliant person who makes for good conversation and is pleasant to be around.

The level of attention I receive is nothing compared to my very attractive friends.

Your friends probably have issues with getting taken seriously as a thinking human being, rather than just an object of attention and affection. The grass is always greener, y'know? And honest-to-god, anyone but the shallowest of the shallow would rather be accepted for their looks over their brain.

Apologies for this very long description and also if I come off as being a dumb, superficial girl.

Don't worry about this. First, worrying about your appearance and how you present yourself to others is not superficial. Making it your reason to be is.
posted by griphus at 11:37 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

FWIW, I'm a hetero, married male in his 40s and in some respects you sound like my wife at that age. I have no idea what you look like, apart from your description, but said description sounds like - a typical person (after I discount statements like "large nose, weird mouth, small face," because odds are you are sensitized to those features and they're not that unusual). Probably even better than average on the "I'd hit it" scale employed by lounge lizards and construction workers everywhere. I'll get back to that in a second, so as to make the most important point first.

Anything short of a super-model appearance is something one has to learn to accept, especially if one is female, I suppose (since I do think society, perhaps unfairly, places more emphasis on female looks - we could get into a whole genetics argument as to why this is so and how hardwired this all is, but since I don't intend to go there, I won't bother), so here comes point 1:

It really is about how you feel about it, not what you look like.

I could name you several famous females who have somewhat odd facial features in my book (some of whom make their living on their appearance - actors, singers, etc.). They have sold themselves as being attractive due to their personality, I think. More to the point, I personally know some out and out (I'm sorry, I know this is shallow and there is no other way to say it) overweight and/or downright ugly (in my view) chicks who get laid, get into relationships, get married, etc.

How and why they do this is beyond what I can say without writing a book - my short version of this is that believe it or not, there are men who value a woman's brains and personality as much or more than appearance (and v/v). I would say my wife's looks (and my looks) were no better than 5th on the list of things that attracted me to her, or, more to the point, KEPT ME attracted to her (and v/v).

Another point to ponder - there are people who in fact, ARE super-models who have been interviewed on-camera about their appearance and who can point out numerous flaws that make them hideous, in their mind. Which leads back to point #2:

You're probably better looking than you think.

Five feet tall is a bit short, but no so short that anyone would make an issue of it. A lot of men like petite women. Since a lot of men have a hangup about dating women taller than themselves, you have the advantage in that department. You're self-described as being thin and in good physical condition. You've been described as "cute" and "hot," and you have, in fact, dated quite a bit in college. Truthfully, odds that your appearance is some kind of a deal-breaker are really low.

So what do you do?

- Even if you continue to be inwardly self-critical about your appearance, recognize that logically, this isn't the area to worry about. Sure, continue to bath and comb your hair, but stop focusing your energies here.
- You might want to re-evaluate the scene you're hanging around in and what the "object of the game" is. I think you're grading yourself on a rather steep, difficult curve. You don't get hit on a lot in bars? Hell, I can count the number of times a stranger (or an acquaintance, for that matter) came on to me on one hand, and all of those experiences go back to when I was in my 20s. If you're crying in bar restrooms a lot, perhaps it's time to stop hanging around in bars. Seriously. Is your object to get hit on as much as your friends, or to form a stable relationship with someone? Get an interest in life, hang around in the gym, join a church/synagogue/whatever, learn an instrument - SOMETHING to socialize with people where the object of the game isn't just hooking up, and odds are good you'll find someone to hook up with.
- if you handle that last point, this might take care of itself, but - are you sabotaging yourself by hanging around super-attractive, super-superficial people, for whom looks perhaps ARE just about everything? Are you perhaps slighting prospective relationships (both romantic and platonic) because your criticalness of appearance extends to those you'll be seen with? This will both lower your odds of getting notice (whatever that's worth) and, more critically, keep you uptight and off-balance about these issues. News flash: there are a lot of women out there who like to make snide remarks about each others appearance. In the mating ritual, a rival whose eyes are puffy from crying in the bathroom is a rival negated.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:42 AM on July 15, 2010 [7 favorites]

Oh, and also, to echo some of the above comments - "learning what looks good on me" definitely does NOT mean learning just how to look thinner, taller, and curvier. A bunch of fashion blogs just did a "dressing my best" challenge focusing on highlighting all sorts of other things - muscly calves, shoulders, hair, an athletic frame, etc. etc. etc.
posted by heyforfour at 11:43 AM on July 15, 2010

Maybe pull your hair straight back from your small face and put a really bold lipstick on your weird mouth, and stand out from every other girl.

I really love peachfuzz's whole comment, because what most women achieve by trying to "stand out" looks-wise really makes them rather generic. The women who take these tools and use them to call attention to (rather than obfuscate) their features in interesting ways are the ones who turn heads. Consider yourself an art project. Take risks. Fortune favors the bold, and if you can learn to laugh at yourself along the way, all the better.
posted by hermitosis at 11:45 AM on July 15, 2010

I'm also cute but not beautiful and I've learned to be perfectly happy with that, although it did take some time and thinking through it to get to this point. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm glad I'm not beautiful because:

1. Anything you get through using your looks isn't anything worth having.

2. Looks fade. Women who started out beautiful tend to suffer much more misery during the aging process than those who made peace with their looks earlier in life.
posted by hazyjane at 11:47 AM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

You never get used to this. These beautiful people are as insecure as you are. The problem is that you are telling yourself that you are somehow experiencing a more difficult time internally than these allegedly "more beautiful" people. I think if you watch your own experience, you'll see that some of the time, you do feel beautiful. In essence, you are asking what to do when you have feelings of insecurity.

The answer is don't fight feelings of insecurity. They are a part of our lives. Biology installed them for a reason. Imagine if everyone was so self-sufficient they never felt compelled to seek attention or love. We'd be extinct within a few decades.

Accept the feelings of insecurity. Don't wait to go after a hot guy until those feelings are gone. Instead, act on attractions without worrying about whether you are feeling secure or insecure.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I say attack! Right now you're looking at this as a problem that needs relief. You're looking for a way to rationalize your looks. You see them as a something chained to your ankle that you have to drag around with you everywhere and you dwell on that weight and define yourself in terms of it. You're asking for different ways to think about this problem. But I say reframe it. Instead of seeking relief from a problem, instead of looking for new and different methods of wallowing, launch an attack on your target. Guys don't notice you? Notice them. Guys don't hit on you? Hit on them. Those things point to the same outcome as the one you're hoping to achieve by having guys notice you the way you want to be noticed, and it's the outcome that matters. If the way you're approaching it now isn't working, discard it and try another. They say that obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off of your objective. So refocus those eyes. Don't think about your looks - don't give that perceived obstacle any of your time or energy. What do you want? Think about that. Seriously, you only have so much mental energy - and spending it on getting comfortable with something you don't like is a waste of it. Push that stuff to the side and spend it lassoing what you want.

Easier said than done, you say, but that's the way. I see so many guys out there who look like clods, dorks, oafs, nerds, or just plain plain, and they are with girls that look so appealing to me. I'm thinking - she could do so much better. But she's not - she's with him, so he's offering something more than magazine looks, and she she likes it. As my own looks fade in various ways, I begin to think like you, but then I'm like, wait a minute - if those guys can get girls like that, why couldn't I? I could! I have! I can again. I will. Sounds like you have too, and that you can again, so the only question is what are you going to do to make it happen. In my case, I stop thinking about the things I see as defects and just approach with the idea that this girl is about to meet someone that might be right up her alley. If not, well people like different things, but everybody likes confidence. It's the reason oafs can end up with hotties.

Confidence is the only thing you lack right now. You'll get it by letting go of the dwelling on your looks, accepting (on faith first if you have to), that you are anybody's equal, are a catch, and not only can get the kinds of guys you like but will get one if you set your mind to it. I'm telling you, confidence is such a turn on. If a girl I might not otherwise have noticed waltzes right up and starts talking to me comfortably and in a fun way, she's got my attention, almost in a "hey what's happening here?!" kind of way - attention she otherwise wouldn't have gotten. And if the hot girl sits awkwardly slouched in the corner looking trembly and unconfident, she and I won't be talking because I'll be talking to you.

TL/DR: Instead of trying to find a solution to a perceived problem, just leave it sitting there and walk away as you make a positive and proactive plan to get what you want. Your so called problems will be, as they say, Overtaken By Events, once you get what you want, and that will prove that they never really had any power over you. I hate to compare anything to work, but this keeps working for me at work. There are always woes to bemoan with whatever I'm doing, and after a certain point I say eff it and make a new plan to get where I'm going.

PS: For what it's worth, I had a buddy in college that loved girls with big noses. I thought he was just joking around but he was serious. I started naming off the nose-y girls at school and after each one he said "sexy". So you never know what people might see in you that they like. So leave it up to them rather than manufacturing disappointment on their behalf in advance and flogging yourself with it.
posted by kookoobirdz at 11:55 AM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

You've gotten some good advice here, but what I started doing was to start noticing attractive things about Every Other Person I SAW. Especially on the subway or somewhere that wasn't a hip bar. That old guy with giant nose? Awesome beetle-brows! That young woman with the ears that stuck out a ton? Fabulous smile! The middle-aged woman frowning home from work? Pretty hairstyle!

It got so I skipped the young and beautiful, they were easy. I really enjoyed seeing the beauty in the unconventional, the non-magazine, the elderly, the quirky. It made me see the beauty in my own quirky face.
posted by ldthomps at 11:55 AM on July 15, 2010 [11 favorites]

I used to worry about my looks all the time, until one day I realized that I am never attracted to a guy just because of how he looks. If a guy's personality is hot/ attractive, it doesn't matter what he looks like (within reason, of course). The converse is true.

Nowadays, I spend more time trying to improve my personality and likeability/ crushworthiness, than trying to look perfect.
posted by moiraine at 11:57 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

valkyryn has it right.

I know the crowd you're talking about well. The hard truth is that whenever there's this kind of internal strife or drama, at its core there's fundamentally a gap between your expectations and what actually is happening to you in the singles scene.

You have the power to change both of those things. Your expectations are currently being informed by a part of society that is all about making you feel insecure. Why? Well, to achieve more. No one says you need to buy in to that value system. What's actually happening to you is a direct result of your buy-in, and people picking up on the insecure vibe.

It's not about your looks. I spent some time in LA, and was acquainted with some drop dead gorgeous women who's insecurity and constant need for reassurance chased off lots of men.

The brass tacks here are you're treating parts of your life as bullet points on marketing collateral (Ivy league, selective/prestigious companies, etc.). You're now trying to do that to your dating resume. I know lots of people who've done this. Some are happy with their personal branding (or so they say on facebook). Many others are disillusioned after chasing after the ring for so long, and that includes their aerobic instructor banker wife or square jawed lawyer husband. Go be real. Who cares if some guy who hits all the checkboxes isn't in to you enough to hit on you at a bar. The real question is why do you want him to? Are you even in to him?
posted by NoRelationToLea at 12:07 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here is a wonderful interview with celebrated character actress Beth Grant in which she describes her struggle coming to terms with her looks. In the end she has fully embraced being "that lady" in Hollywood.

Also I think you should surround yourself with amazing examples of intriguing, beautiful, non-traditionally beautiful (or outdatedly beautiful) women. There are so many ways to be beautiful. (warning, self-links to follow.) Look at this model's face and try and imagine it commanding so much attention without that nose. Look at typically non-glamorous Brett Somers' regal bearing in this photo. Hundreds of thousands of copycat dresses were sold after Joan Crawford debuted this gown in Lettie Lynton. An otherwise unremarkable-looking Pamela Coleman Smith will always be remembered for her fashion sense because of this famous photo of her. Look at this lush fertility goddess. This aloof madame. Look at Frances freaking McDormand.

There are so, so many ways to be beautiful, and so many ways to accomplish it. As the painter Gaughin once said, the ugly can be beautiful, but the pretty never.
posted by hermitosis at 12:14 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

You're getting lots of good advice!

I have some of your issues, and I feel for ya :D

Anyway, you sound adorable to me! And congrats on having a great body, you're lucky :D
posted by frosty_hut at 12:18 PM on July 15, 2010

Leave the country for a while. Go and work for a social entrepenuerial start up that needs your professional skills but is focused on a business like supplying potable water, medicines or income and skills training to women in the developing world. not charity, not volunteering. just get out of that environment and media saturation and go see what's valued in women in different parts of the world. Its easy to say but I speak from experience.

I've lived on the West Coast and now in Northern Europe. The acceptance of women and the appreciation of qualities that go beyond the superficial are so dramatically different as to be night and day. People actually see you for who you are not just your looks. When I first moved to the US, or rather even further back, when I first went to an American system International school, that was the first time the unbalanced emphasis on popularity/looks/cool crowd/boyfriends versus the wholly other world of various Asian systems as well the British prep school system was made clearly apparent to me.

Therefore, I think that findings ways to get out for a while would do wonders for your learning to appreciate yourself and others as complete people, not simply superficial features and style.
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on July 15, 2010

Do something else on some of your nights out. Go to book group, or art class, or bowling, or karaoke, or somewhere else you can shine. If some of your friends don't want to come along that's a sign they're too shallow to be spending that much time around - they can be your once a week bar friends and you'll make some new ones.

You sound like a catch, but you're continuing to put yourself into a social situation that makes you anxious and unhappy just because that's what your peers are doing. I suspect if you take yourself out of that situation you'll spend a lot less time worrying about your appearance, which will make you more confident, and you'll start giving yourself positive reinforcement instead of negative.

Also bankers / lawyers / consultants aren't any better looking than anyone else - they just buy expensive clothes and moisturizer, you can do that too if you want.
posted by ecurtz at 12:25 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Date online and forget about picking up men in bars. Once you find The Guy, these days will be a distant memory and you'll wonder why you ever spent so much damned time worrying about it.

Sorry to be blunt/pithy but I don't want to go into my personal situation here. Memail if you like.
posted by desjardins at 12:31 PM on July 15, 2010

Hey, lady. I'm really sorry you're going through this.

I'm about to write something that will probably get people all riled up. Sorry for that, if it happens.

I also am an educated, accomplished woman. The way I got to this state was paying my way through college and grad school via stripping. I'm not especially hot. I'm pretty, but I would never say I'm hot.

Believe me, that first day, I was freaked. I thought all the girls were prettier than me, and that it actually mattered. But you learn really quickly, in that industry, that there is someone for everyone.

Big boobs.
Small boobs.
Fake boobs.
Real boobs.

*I remember standing agape —literally mouth hanging open— while watching a woman in her fifties with a terrible boob job make literally $800 from a man. He absolutely adored her. Made it loudly known that she was the sexiest woman in the club.

*Our highest earner in the club was not the bombshell blonde, (they used her for bachelor parties, sure) but a mousy Jewish-Ukranian girl with a big nose, small breasts, and flat hair. She also had perfect legs, big doe eyes, a killer sense of humor, smart as a whip, and could converse with literally anyone.

I'm not saying you should take up the adult entertainment industry— unless you want to. Some women, like me, found it really empowering and a great way to accept our bodies. But no, it is not a wholesome place to be and probably bad for your career. I would never return. But I am extremely grateful to learn that there is, again, a lover for every body type and personality.

This *one* guy isn't into you? Fuck 'em. Your $800 guy could walking through the door right now. (IANAGold-digger. Sorry for the shitty metaphor.)
posted by hubble at 12:45 PM on July 15, 2010 [27 favorites]

This might sound a bit inane, but I'll give it a go. I too was consumed by thoughts of my unattractiveness for years and years, and particularly hated my face. And then one day somebody pointed out that I looked exactly like someone had taken pictures of my parents and morphed them together. My parents are properly wonderful and I love them hugely, and the idea that I looked so much like them struck me as really lovely. I'd always particularly loathed the shape of my face, but knowing it was exactly the same as my Dad's - thinking that people who knew him would look at me and think of him - made me strangely proud of it.

Of course, this only works if you a) look like your parents and b) actually like them. If you do, though, it can make you much more accepting of features (and indeed qualities) you might otherwise be less than delighted with.

Good luck to you, anonymous. I do feel for you!
posted by raspberry-ripple at 12:51 PM on July 15, 2010

A self image not based on looks would be helpful. Remember, beauty is fleeting, unearned, and fairly pointless in the big scheme of things.
posted by parallax7d at 12:52 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I feel down about my looks, I try to see myself through my grandma's eyes. I know it sounds ridiculous at first, but she thought I was beautiful. If she had known how ugly I feel, she would have been heart broken for me. When I look in the mirror, I try to see the beauty that she saw in me (even though I don't think I'm particularly pretty).

Try to imagine how you look through an elderly relative's eyes, someone who loves you unconditionally. Try to feel about yourself the way your loved one feels about you.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:55 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

As a fairly unattractive guy who accepted his unattractiveness years ago and now has no complaints, I can't give much advice about how you learn to accept your unattractiveness; you just do.

That said:

1) Since I came to terms with how I look, I've found that I can date just about anyone I want, no matter how attractive they are. Attracting people isn't all about looks, it seems.

2) Learn to work with what you have (it sounds like you're already good at this). Many, many celebrities who have a reputation for being "beautiful" really just have great hair or body or tits or some other feature that they maximize. Julia Roberts, for example, while not an ugly woman, certainly didn't make it on her face.

3) You say you have a "pretty great body except for being very short (just over 5 feet tall)." Get over how you feel about your height. Tall women are -- to me -- manly. Not that I couldn't date one, but she'd have to have one hell of a great personality. Women should be short. Short is hot.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:58 PM on July 15, 2010

Your post brings back interesting memories for me. I have a similar background, and in my 20s I was hanging out with oh so hip and attractive people in oh so hip and attractive places in NYC. I was always considered very smart and a "star" at work, but rarely attracted people on my looks alone and never viewed myself as very pretty, or valued my rather nice, 5'2" body. I even dated a series of men solely for their looks, and that was hardly satisfying. And like you, I was competitive and rather devastated that looks were an area where I felt I could not compete. (Complications: drop dead gorgeous without makeup step mother, very beautiful sister who was among other things her high school's homecoming queen.)

So, here are some thoughts from what someone living in what may some day be your future:

1. Leaving aside the amazingly symmetrical people of the world, looks are terribly subjective. If you remain fit and healthy, and aim to dress and behave attractively, people are going to see the smart and engaging you that most of us in this thread have picked up on. One of those people, one day, will be someone you really connect with, who is easy for you to be with, and who truly sees you as overwhelmingly attractive.

2. If a facial feature really bothers you, like your nose, talk to a good plastic surgeon. I myself have a nondescript nose, and would love a schnozz with true character, but it is your preferences that count. Do it if it will make you feel better, otherwise go ahead and flaunt your individuality, including your nose.

3. Bars and restaurants are terrible places to meet people -- they are loud and the setting is artificial, and a sustained conversation is incredibly hard to maintain. Eventually I stopped going to them when I lived in NYC, and my dating life suffered not at all. Also, my truly gorgeous friends who met people in bars etc. may have gotten more phone calls than I did, but none of us ever met anyone worth dating for any period of time that way.

4. I'm with valkyryn and others on this thread, too, that widening your circle of acquaintances would be a good idea. Seriously, try pursuing some interests of your own outside your milieu's, e.g. books, art, politics, social justice -- whatever makes you passionate. There isn't much content to a social life that mostly revolves around hip bars and restaurants, as you know, in addition to the problem that spending your spare time in those places just reinforces the superficiality that is making you feel upset.
posted by bearwife at 1:07 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

You're probably better looking than you think.

This. And

Looks fade. Women who started out beautiful tend to suffer much more misery during the aging process than those who made peace with their looks earlier in life.


I'd actually say that you're almost certainly better looking than you think. Women are much more critical of women than men are of women, as far as superficial shit is concerned. You've gotten lots of great advice, so I'll just say that I can guarantee you that there are grips of attractive men who find you attractive.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:21 PM on July 15, 2010

Lots of great advice herein; I don't have anything to add that hasn't been said except you have no business crying in a bathroom about your appearance. As griphus says, you sound like a very sensitive person. I consider myself one as well, fwiw. Environments such as bars are not conducive to sensitive people finding decent dates. For starters, at the very least, eradicate this notion from your mind and enjoy your time out.

You sound like you have a lot to offer; focus on your very real streangths and don't punish yourself.
posted by kryptondog at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2010

Errrp, strengths that is.
posted by kryptondog at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2010

First, stop reading fashion/beauty/gossip/"health" magazines. Don't subscribe to them, don't buy them when you're at the airport, don't leaf through them while you're waiting for your toenail polish to dry. They should come with a warning saying "WILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE." They exist to make you feel bad and channel that angst into cosmetics purchases.

Second, I used to be seriously afraid of people seeing me with my hair pulled back and nothing covering my face. And then I ran down to the pharmacy one night looking my absolute worst, I mean BAD, like keep the lights in the bathroom off so you don't see yourself in the mirror BAD, and no one recoiled or blinked an eye. Then I realized that I walk past tons of people every day in all sorts of get-ups and hairdos and no makeup and perfectly applied makeup and straight up bizarre makeup, and I almost always find every person appealing in at least one way. People are uniformly weird looking, and that's what makes people uniformly great to look at. I GUARANTEE that every day there are strangers who pass you on the street and like something about your face.

Third, being self-conscious about your looks uses up a lot of time and effort that could otherwise be spent doing something worthwhile. I stopped fussing about my extra 10 pounds the day I realized how much time per day I spent thinking about a few extra inches of skin that no one else even noticed. What percentage of your life are you willing to devote to standing in the bathroom of a bar and crying?

Fourth, how do you and your friends and acquaintances talk about other people? Do you have conversations about peoples' looks? Do you spend time talking about who got fat after high school, etc? If you do, quit it. That kind of thing is poisonous, it's mean, and it's BORING. It also makes you more self-conscious.

Fifth, sorry if this seems harsh. This is the pep talk I have to give myself on the regular, because I often feel the same way you do. (I'm still struggling with the whole "my friends get more male attention than I do" thing.)
posted by sallybrown at 1:51 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would change the places where you are trying to meet men. I, like most women, don't have a perfect body image. Trying to meet men in bars when there was the competition element, was on most nights defeating and humiliating. There's just something icky about trying to use your appearance to attract potential partners.

I was much happier when I began to meet men in places where friendships c I could talk to them more than once and where there was a chanceto develop a friendship (possibly leading to a relationship).

I'd try joining book clubs, or hiking groups, or volunteer groups where there is less pressure and less emphasis on appearance.
posted by bananafish at 2:03 PM on July 15, 2010

sorry for the garbled second paragraph. That was supposed to read "places where I could talk to them more than once and where there was a chance to develop a friendship (possibly leading to a relationship)"
posted by bananafish at 2:05 PM on July 15, 2010

Look, as a fellow uggo a good deal older than you, I wish someone had sat me down at your age and said this:

Study. Work hard. A partner would be nice but you can't count on it, so prepare to build your life yourself. When you reach your 40s and 50s the fact that you can pay your way, travel, buy a condo or house on your own, will mean a lot more than pretty.
posted by zadcat at 3:11 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Be happy. Happy women are beautiful.
posted by foobario at 3:44 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing plastic surgery. Go look at some before and after pictures to see how something as simple as a 5,000USD rhinoplasty can turn someone from downright ugly to attractive and change their life for the better. It sounds like you're a perfect candidate.
posted by halogen at 4:03 PM on July 15, 2010

It really is about attitude, especially when you have other gifts to offer (wit, conversation, experience, financial security, etc.). Two words: Chelsea Clinton. People rave now about "what a beauty she grew into." She went from cruelly taunted (by idiotic Republican adults) awkward nerdy teen, to hubba hubba getting married to some young alpha male in front of Oprah and Obama. To me? She looks almost exactly the same, only with some serious proficiency with a flat iron and choosing the right bright lipstick. It's all attitude and packaging.
posted by availablelight at 4:09 PM on July 15, 2010

Um, Chelsea Clinton has had serious plastic surgery. And she's marrying her college sweetheart, whom she knew back when she was "awkward". So wrong on both counts.

Sorry to derail.
posted by metametababe at 4:40 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you have an above average ability to focus on fixing what you perceive to be mistakes. I think this serves you well in matters of career, but not so much in your personal life. It sounds like motivate yourself to fix problems by setting extremely high standards for yourself, and then beating yourself up when you don't meet them. I say this because you mentioned that you think it's inane of you to be worried about your looks. You don't just want to be a normal, slightly vain person--you want to be above vanity and be concerned about Serious Matters instead. There's room in your life for both a little vanity and concern for the needy. You don't have to choose, and you're not a lesser person for worrying. You will still be a great person even if you're not hard on yourself. Similarly, I think that you're taking that same laser like focus to your perceived physical imperfections. It's not surprising that you end up in the bathroom crying--if you're already being cruel to yourself about your face all the time, it wouldn't take much to push you over the edge.

Lots of people don't like their noses, or some other part of their body. They get pretty myopic about it. I think they focus so much on that one part that they don't realize how well it works in combination with the rest of their face. I dated someone with a big nose and small face and weird lips and they all worked together to make them look hot. They were very attractive in the conventional sense. If you stopped to think about it, yeah, the separate parts weren't amazing--but the whole was very, very hot.

If you're into drawing or photography, I'd recommend spending time drawing or photographing people. After drawing or taking photos of "pretty" people over and over again, you start to get more interested in unusual faces or specific features that are lovely in their own way. It might help you find new ways of thinking about beauty.

One last thing-- I'm short too, and when I'm hanging about with people who are half a foot taller than me, guess who gets the most attention? The people who are more visible. If you're not a loud, chatty person, you might be getting less attention because you're harder to see. If you can wear taller heels or position yourself closer to the center of the group, you might have better luck.
posted by millions of peaches at 6:53 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Because at the end of the day, there's nothing sexier than confidence.

If I could favorite this a million times, I would.
posted by zardoz at 7:23 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

You're beautiful to someone. Believe it, and you'll be beautiful to everyone.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:50 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

1. There is a reason single's bars are referred to as "meat markets." It's hard to be anything but superficial in such a setting.

2. There are plenty of men out there who are turned on by a hot body and don't really care as much about what the face looks like (though it sounds like your face looks fine.) Dress to flatter your figure, but in a classy way. Overly tight and revealing clothes look desperate.

3. Analyze your looks, figure out where your strengths are and draw attention to those features with makeup, clothing and accessories. But don't go overboard with the makeup, trying to fix every flaw and enhance every feature. The too-perfectly-painted glamour face just gives the impression of trying too hard, which is the opposite of confidence.

4. Fake it til you make it. Act pretty, and people will think you are pretty. Smile, flirt with your eyes, tease and joke around with the men you know. Think of the prettiest, most fun girl you know... she's relaxed, she's smiling, having fun, not taking the whole thing too seriously. Use that girl as your role model. Lots of average-looking women get credit for being pretty when what they really are is well-groomed, charming and confident.

5. There is a saying: "Show me the most beautiful woman in the world, and I'll show you a guy who is tired of fucking her." Beauties get divorced and cheated on. They get left for prettier woman, and uglier ones sometimes too. They frequently wind up in unhappy relationships, because men who are obsessed with beauty are often jerks.

6. There will always be someone prettier than you. Even the most beautiful women in the world are eventually pushed out of the spotlight by younger beauties. Everyone has to come to terms with this sooner or later... might as well do it sooner and save yourself from years of unhappiness and frustration.

7. I think not-quite-pretty women have a tougher time accepting themselves because they feel like they are almost there... if only they could get their nose fixed, or find the perfect outfit, or the right color eyeshadow, then they would be perfect... but they remain frustrated and unhappy because somehow it never quite works out that way, they never feel pretty enough (because see #6 above.) Women who are not attractive but desire love and success have to figure something else out from the get-go. If you can let go of the fantasy of being perfect you can turn your attention to appreciating and using the gifts you do have, and you'll be so much happier for it. I didn't figure this out until I was forty, and I could kick myself for all the years I wasted feeling miserable and unworthy because I didn't think I was pretty enough.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:23 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

I get the sense that you are super-competitive, and that your actual problem isn't so much "I feel unattractive," but more "I am used to winning, and hate to lose." Which is totally reasonable.

So my advice to you would be to change the game you're playing, and play a game that you can win. This means getting out of bars, and stopping dating highly-attractive men.

It might be worth you reading the new book from behavioral economist Dan Ariely. I can't remember the specifics (and don't have the book with me ATM) but Ariely did a study designed to discover how less-attractive people respond to their lack of desirability in the dating market. Basically: 10s tend to date 10s and sixes date sixes, and Ariely wanted to find out how sixes _feel_ about that. His study concluded that sixes make pragmatic accommodations -- essentially, they re-prioritize to value other attributes --such as kindness, sense of humor, etc.-- more than looks. (He also found that in general men overestimate their physical attractiveness, while women have a laser-precise awareness of theirs. Not a surprise, given that women are encouraged to do continual critical self-evaluation.)

Ariely also wrote about how attractiveness is only one attribute that matters in the dating world -- others are for example money, job status, and so forth. I would theorize that this might be part of the problem for you: for women, I think, money and status are not necessarily considered unambiguous positives (some men find them threatening), whereas beauty is. So part of what you might be responding to is the fact that your accomplishments, which you are rightly very proud of, are wrongly- or under-valued in the dating world, relative to your looks.

Anyway: here are my answers to your actual questions:

1) How do I become more comfortable with my appearance? This to me would involve both seeing myself in a more positive light and also really truly believing and internalizing the idea that my looks are what they are and really don't matter much.

In the circles you're moving in (bars, with super-hot friends), looks _do_ matter. Happiness research tells us we are happiest when we surround ourselves with people who are very slightly worse off than we are. (Not admirable of us, but true.) Therefore, to maximize how comfortable you are with your own appearance, you should start hanging out with slightly less attractive people, in slightly less superficial surroundings.

2) How do I stop assuming that there is a direct correlation between my phyiscal appearance and my ability to attract men and therefore find a partner?

That correlation is real. A chunk of the marketplace will self-select out if it doesn't consider you hot enough. Again, change your circumstances, and start hanging out with super-smart, interesting, accomplished people who think gauging someone on the basis of their looks is lame. You can still be hyper-competitive: you just want to change the rules of the competition.

3) Should I change the people/places I surround myself with and/or the guys I go for?

Yes -- see above.

Trust me: I spent a lot of time in bars when I was younger, mostly I think because --like you-- I had a couple of super-hot close friends, and for them bars were a terrific showcase. It took me years (years!) to realize that I enjoyed myself more and came across better in environments that were conducive to, like, actual talking. That is nothing to feel bad about :-)
posted by Susan PG at 10:56 PM on July 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

Go look at some before and after pictures to see how something as simple as a 5,000USD rhinoplasty can turn someone from downright ugly to attractive and change their life for the better. It sounds like you're a perfect candidate.

Oh yeah, great advice! What you need to do is spend a bunch of money and get your face cut open to "fix" your "biggest flaw."

Then, when you're done, find a new "flaw," rinse and repeat.

Or you could just learn to love yourself exactly as you are right now.

$5000 buys a lot of therapy. I know where I would put my money.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:08 AM on July 16, 2010

If you're getting comments that you're cute and hot and dating hot guys than this is all in your head. Also, I think you're thinking looks are WAY more important than they are. Have you ever watched that reality show with Hugh Hefner's girlfriends? I don't think I could stand to be in the same room with them for longer than 5 minutes. Looks matter a lot initially in attracting someone, but they lose value fast. I've had conversations where the person started a "10" and ended "5" literally minutes later. Consider yourself in total and keep looks in perspective.

Personally, I think Plastic Surgery is a huge, huge, huge turnoff.
posted by xammerboy at 9:09 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have an enormous ass that always makes me feel fat but that's exactly the feature that my husband loves the most and that attracted him to me in the first place. Someone out there will like exactly what you look like.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:23 PM on July 17, 2010

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