How to settle for someone ugly?
April 20, 2011 11:36 AM   Subscribe

How do you settle for someone? I feel like it would be so much easier to find a woman to date if I didn't care what her face looked like. Does anyone know of any way to make myself do this?
posted by vash to Human Relations (54 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming this isn't a joke post, you need to be attracted to a person in some way in order to date them. Whether it's physical, emotional, personality, etc., you need to decide for yourself.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2011

This needs more context and explanation.

Why do you want to do this? What do you mean by "ugly"? What are your real goals? How old are you? What experiences have you had in the past that make you feel the need to ask this question?
posted by John Cohen at 11:39 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

You don't "settle" because that would be crazy and by definition lead to an unhappy relationship.
posted by cmoj at 11:39 AM on April 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

and why would any woman settle for someone who considered her "ugly"?
posted by violetk at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2011 [66 favorites]

You don't "settle" because that would be crazy and by definition lead to an unhappy relationship.

That's a nutty thing to say. This old AskMetafilter comment put it well (this is in the context of marriage, but it obviously applies to dating too):
Imagine that we had the same "don't settle for anything less than nearly perfect" attitude in other things we do.

Some examples:
1) When we bought our house, we knew it was farther from work than we wanted it to be. But we loved the layout. So we settled. It turns out that the neighborhood is great. We love our neighbors. And the commute is not nearly so taxing as we thought it would be.

2) We wanted a familly car, but couldn't afford a new one. So we settled for a year old Subaru in a color that I didn't like. Now, we love that car. It is exactly what we wanted, and the color has grown on me.

3) My current school was not my first choice for graduate work, but her family lives nearby. So, I settled for the program anyway. Now, I love it. I found a specialty that excites me, I have great friends, and we didn't have to sacrifice our family ties.

In other words, we settle all the time for all sorts of reasons and it hardly ever works out badly just because we settled. Why would marriage be any different?
posted by John Cohen at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2011 [10 favorites]

Does anyone know of any way to make myself do this?

Have you experimented with hypnosis?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:44 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

There's "settling," and there's finding someone who you adore for more their looks. You may be blown away by someone physically, but if you don't click in other ways, it could be a passionate, but short-lived relationship.

Talk to more people, realize there is more kinds of beauty than physical.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:45 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Because marriage to a person is different from "settling" for an inanimate object, which does not have feelings or desires of its own. The Subaru will not be heartbroken if you paint it a different color.

I don't know that what you want to do is very workable. Everyone I've ever loved became more beautiful to me when I fell in love with them, but none of them were ugly (to me, as this is a very subjective thing) to begin with. That said, open your heart and your mind more than using just your eyes and see what happens. But if you know someone who's a great fit in all ways but you're just not physically attracted at all, well, that's not a great way to build and sustain and romantic partnership.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on April 20, 2011 [8 favorites]

Sorry but this question gave me the lols. As long as it's not a matter of ridiculous standards ("Any woman I date must look exactly like Scarlett Johansson"), you probably just haven't met the right person who you feel a special click with. Keep looking. Physical attraction is about way more than someone's face.
posted by motsque at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

Everyone is beautiful, just in different ways. Some people are blessed with attractive physical features, others have beautiful minds, others have amazing personalities, and most people are a mixture of different features. If her physical features are NOT what keeps you coming back to her, then perhaps figure out what about her makes her beautiful and focus on that?
posted by xicana63 at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

It seems like there might be some life experiences missing here, like dating a gorgeous girl who treats you like shit and then fucks your friends, or dating some girl you find unattractive in order to be dating someone, only to find out she's boring as hell.

It's not that you're going to get to a point where you think "looks aren't important" because they are still important, but I think at some point you get a little bit better perspective on what a happy relationship feels like and what you really want and you can really only do that after making some really dumb-ass moves.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, also, if this is a particular woman, please don't settle for her. That's not fair to her. Let her find someone who thinks that she is beautiful.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:57 AM on April 20, 2011 [12 favorites]

"A man does not insist on physical beauty in a woman who builds up his morale. After a while he realizes that she is beautiful -- he just hadn’t noticed it at first."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
posted by bryon at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2011 [19 favorites]

Whoo boy. I agree we need more info here to properly help you out.

Is your problem that you don't regularly see women you find at all attractive? Because that could be a case of not getting out enough and/or having impossible or unusual standards, both of which would require you to change where and how you're looking for potential mates.

Or is your problem that the women you find attractive don't want to date you? Because in that case, I would first say you have to stop saying things like, "How do I settle for someone ugly?" Because yiiiiiikes! You may not have meant it this way, but that's the kind of thing a real asshole would say!

If you can explain a bit more, I think you'll get advice that's better tailored to your particular situation.
posted by superfluousm at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

From your profile, I'm assuming you are young, like late teens, early 20s. Not to be patronizing, but you will likely outgrow this issue as you mature. You may find that you're attracted to someone overall, because of the combination of physical, mental, and emotional attraction.

Physical attraction is about more than a pretty face. It's also about how you react to the way a person carries themselves, smiles, laughs, hugs you, and acts toward you.

Just the fact that you're thinking about it is probably the first step. Maybe you can try to put it into practice by trying to see attractive aspects of different women you know, even if at first you see them as "ugly."
posted by xenophile at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

You will never not care what her face looks like, however there may be ways of thinking that you haven't considered that are affecting you.

A lot of modern culture is shaped by the visual image and pictures of women that are manipulated with lighting, photoshop etc. and porn etc can make people disconnected from reality. It also shows a culturally standard type or types.

Consider if you are locked into going for women purely visually or whether you have a real chemistry with them. 'Chemistry' is more a desire that you sense rather than something you can point to visually.

Spend some time with women with different types of facial structures, looks etc and it may help to diversify your 'type'.

Try and spend some time with women in places they feel comfortable not just public bars and streets so they can shine on their own terms.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't mean this to sound harsh, but I'm not sure how else to phrase it:

Stop looking at women as "potential dating partners" and start looking at them as people.
posted by Zozo at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2011 [17 favorites]

[folks, we're aware that this question has problematic phrasing, if you can't answer it without calling people names, please DO NOT ANSWER IT. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I don't like how someone looks, chances are it's because I don't like who they are and if they looked differently, I still wouldn't like how they looked. How someone looks usually expresses something of who they are.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

We all get old and ugly eventually. Until then, just do it with the lights off?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:20 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't think you can be attracted to someone to whom you aren't attracted. You can't will yourself into thinking that someone is beautiful. You can, however, will yourself out of thinking someone is beautiful.

It's possible to reject someone for some attribute that doesn't actually bother you, but that you believe should bother you. You decide that you like tall women and you reject someone who is short. The reality is that she's awesome, but you have decided that you are "The guy who likes tall women" and conclude that you can't possibly really like her. This sounds completely stupid, but I've actually seen it happen.

Maybe this is part of what's going on. You see a woman with a less than perfect face (easy enough) and rather than asking yourself if you actually find her attractive you tell yourself that you don't. Because of the nose. Or the eyes. Or something that you have decided must matter.

Or maybe you have unrealisitcally high standards. Can't help you there. I tend to find the majority of women to be attractive (although not quite as attractive as my wife, who is, of course, a goddess in human form).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

People raise their standards if they're constantly exposed to super beautiful people.

With that in mind, don't look at porn, men's magazines, or watch a lot of TV or movies about good-looking people. Eventually you'll recalibrate.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:27 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Maybe examining and questioning your standards of beauty may help. We live in an environment in which toxic unrealistic standards of beauty are constantly forced upon us and influence us in ways we're not always aware of. At some point I started realizing that women who are unconventionally or quirkily attractive, or who have some trait I notice that I don't see anywhere else, are often more striking than the bland good looks you get on the cover of every fashion magazine.

For sure, though, I don't think you'd be doing anyone any favors if you just find a woman completely unattractive but move things forward with her anyway.
posted by naju at 12:30 PM on April 20, 2011


Well, if you're not incredibly handsome, wealthy, famous and/or very charming yourself, you can either date the very, very few extremely good-looking women who will go out with you or date women who are somewhere in the middle, looks-wise.

I have a friend who dates only much-younger, extremely pretty women while being broke , middle-aged and chubby himself; he doesn't date a lot, and the women he dates are literally neither bright nor cultured. But it works for him, although he has not been able to achieve a long-term relationship.

Myself, I feel like averaging isn't really settling - maybe I date someone with extremely attractive features who is a bit heavier than I'd normally go for, or date someone with beautiful eyes but awful hair, etc etc. Sort of a "ding and dent" approach to looks. I find that if I hit it off with them, the "less attractive" features fade into the background.

Also, try meeting women outside of the dating environment - if all you're seeing is someone dressed up to go to the bar, looks are the only data you have. If you're seeing someone rock-climbing or playing chess or whatever, you have a lot more information and that tends to spill over into enriching your perception of their looks.

If you're funny-looking, make the most of yourself and look for women who do the same - I say this as a slightly funny-looking person myself. There's a woman at my job who is tall and heavy and pallid and has a weird chin...and yet, she got this absolutely fantastic short haircut, started dressing better and looks very striking. She's still tall and heavy and pallid and has a weird chin, but now she looks attractive because she looks dramatic and interesting. Most "ugly" features can be turned into "dramatic" or "quirky" if you style yourself right. (I mean, I'm assuming that you're all about the settling because you aren't constantly being propositioned by supermodels and thus probably aren't Mr. Universe yourself.)
posted by Frowner at 12:33 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whether or not you find someone attractive can have a lot to do with their personality. More than you think. Look for admirable personal qualities first, get to know the women second, and see if attraction blossoms third. Try to consciously stop focusing on your first impression and categorizing people immediately as ugly or not.
posted by prefpara at 12:40 PM on April 20, 2011

If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

- Roald Dahl, The Twits
A person's personality can and will affect how physically attractive you find them. Not just "pretty on the inside," but actual physical attraction. Some of the most beautiful people I know would go unnoticed in a crowd. It's like the difference between a photograph and seeing someone live; there's just so much more to see the closer you get. if you've never experienced this effect firsthand, I encourage you to keep an eye out for it.

You can't force attraction, of course, but give the plain Janes a little time to grow on you.

Is there anything else in a partner you're concerned about having to settle for? Intelligence, income, emotional maturity, sex drive, shared interests, how you solve disagreements? If you're concerned about a potential partner's looks, but not about anything else, why is that?

Here's a previous question you might find interesting.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:42 PM on April 20, 2011 [12 favorites]

I don't know if this helps or not, but: have you thought about dating people who make you feel all crushed out? You know - like, when they make a joke while handing you your latte order, you get all giggly and "aw shucks"-like. Or your get that weird rush whenever you see a text message come in from them. Or you find yourself repeatedly scanning the crowd at a local gig because you're secretly hoping that one of those hipsters will be that friend (or friend-of-a-friend) you spend, despite what you will admit, a little too much time thinking about.

Though I'm not 100% sure what you're getting at or where you are coming from, if might be more fun if you date those people who make you feel weird tingly feelings inside, regardless of whether they fit a type or seem totally random or don't match your mental image of your ideal partner. Because those tingles are radar. Sexy radar.
posted by vivid postcard at 12:49 PM on April 20, 2011 [6 favorites]

I've known two men who really "fell in love" with their wives' appearance through photography. The first was a semi-pro wedding photographer who began using his wife as a an assistant and a lighting stand-in. She was what many would call "of pleasant countenance" i.e. not conventionally pretty but not plain either, and for these occasions, she generally wore simple white or light colored dresses to simulate the reflectivity of a wedding dress, and also helped with getting names and addresses of wedding guests in pictures written down correctly (for mailing wedding photos), and kept up with exposed film rolls, among other assistant duties. But after a couple seasons of this, my friend had hundreds of semi-posed pictures of his wife that begin, I think, in his mind, to show him things about her appearance that he never would have really seen for himself, just living with her. Over time, he framed and placed dozens of his favorite pictures of her all over their house, to the point that even friends and visitors began to see her differently, as a person living in a montage of her best lit, best angled self. She finally set a limit on it, by quietly packing away older photos, whenever she found more than 4 or 5 of herself in any one room. And eventually, he quit the wedding photography business.

A second guy was something of a bird watcher, and he and his wife had an enormous, wooded backyard, and a deck on their house, overlooking it. The guy would regularly sit out there, with his binoculars and camera, taking pictures of birds as they flitted about in the trees. One year, his wife got the idea to try seeding in a few "wildflower" garden beds, and begin seeding some open areas around the house with wildflower seed mixes. As she begin spending more time in the yard, the guy started taking candid pictures of her, digging her beds, raking, and doing yard work. His pictures of her taken this way are mostly all figure, shade and light studies, which capture her physicality in work, in ways that wouldn't occur to you, if you met her socially. I first saw some of these prints interspersed in some of his bird photo albums, and it was clear, from the way he hesitated over them, that they meant something important to him, and he later talked with me about how they showed him things about his wife, that he might have overlooked, otherwise.

So, maybe seeing through a camera, in the right settings, is one technique for learning to love what is not immediately obvious about a woman.
posted by paulsc at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2011 [22 favorites]

It's difficult to evaluate whether you should try dating someone who is nice-but-not-attractive-to-you on the theory that they might become attractive or whether this just won't work.

I will tell you a cautionary tale. Once, when I was young, there was a person who was sweet on me, a person who was awkward and kind of gauche and definitely did not have any of the usual physical qualities that attracted me. We did not go out; in fact, we managed to treat each other fairly badly due to miscommunications and so on. And once this person was gone, I missed them like crazy. For years. Missed them well into my next relationship. I would have walked out of that relationship without a moment's thought if the first person had come back around. Even now, the whole thing is a big mess of regret.

Looking back, I have to admit to myself that a lot of the "unattractive" piece was really social--the physical part was negotiable even though the person wasn't perhaps dazzlingly attractive or really my type. But I'd let shame and insecurity dominate--I didn't want to be the kind of person who would attract someone gauche and awkward, I wanted to be the kind of person who could "do better". It was vanity and insecurity driving me.

And that's the thing--relationships aren't forever (until you find one that is). It's not really going to destroy the world if you date someone who isn't a model for a few months. If it doesn't work out, you break up--usually it doesn't work out even if they're fabulous-looking, because that's how life is.

Looking back, I doubt that I would have stayed with my awkward person forever. But I would have had a happy time with someone smart who was really attracted to me. Not every relationship since has worked out that well.

You're probably going to date a lot of people. Some will be prettier than others. It doesn't really matter that they all be dazzlingly good-looking.
posted by Frowner at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

and why would any woman settle for someone who considered her "ugly"?

First, this. It may surprise you to know, OP, that ugly women don't want to be settled for.

It could be that your standards are too high, or that they are not really your standards, but the standards you think you should have based on what your friends or TV or movies say. In that case, make an effort to see, and consider, a more diverse selection of women. This may well happen on its own as you grow up. (I'm assuming you're very young.)

If your standards are not too high, and it's just that you can't attract the girls you are attracted to, then work on improving yourself so that those girls have a reason to notice you. You shouldn't have to pretend to be attracted to someone you're dating, that's not fair to her or to you. But don't be one of those unattractive, unaccomplished, uninteresting guys who think he deserves models.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2011 [16 favorites]

Interesting question. I always remember a sister saying of these sorts of things, "There has to be some physical attraction." Hardly a revelation, but it's stuck in my mind because of the way she said, "some."

Feels like all or most of us have some sort of threshold for appearance that people either cross by at least a little or we simply don't find them sufficiently attractive to pursue/be pursued by.

I'm of the view that if they don't... I dunno... resonate, they don't. Seems like its kinda sorta similar to people's reactions to food. I don't like mushrooms, can't imagine anything in this world that would change my reactions.

If anyone's honest, basic, visceral reaction to someone's face is, "ick," hard to imagine that any relationship's gonna come of it.

If you really don't like someone's face, hard to think there's hope.
posted by ambient2 at 1:34 PM on April 20, 2011

You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want(probably). Maybe you can find a partner who is really gorgeous, but has a difficult personality, or is much older, or is in terrible debt and keeps spending. A lot of guys want a beautiful, young woman, so there's a lot of competition. A lot of guys are swayed by skillful makeup. Even women with average or unimpressive looks can learn skillful makeup and presentation skills, but genuine sweetness is harder to achieve. I have not observed a correlation between looks and sweetness, other than people who look angry.

I'm old enough to have seen some marriages succeed and fail. The people I know who are happiest looked for niceness and compatibility. Read up on John Gottman's research and you'll learn that lasting relationships have little to do with looks. So, focus on your longer-term goals. Think about who you want to be with on vacation, or when your job tanks, your best friend moves to Australia, your home burns down and you lose everything. I think that will help you re-orient your priorities.
posted by theora55 at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

I once dated a guy who objectively had an unattractive face, but made up for it with his mannerisms, a nice body, the way he moved, confidence... Now when I look back at photos of him his face is sometimes strikingly unattractive, but at the time I really didn't even notice, and I was crazy attracted to him (and fwiw, lots of other people were also).

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that at least for me, facial attractiveness is a very small part of being physically attracted to someone. Don't date people you find unattractive. But know that finding someone attractive is also very subjective. (and I think becomes moreso the older you get).
posted by geegollygosh at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get to know more women. Make friends with them. Go do activities that you're interested in. Join groups. I say this from experience, although the gender is different.

I was not attracted to my husband at first sight. It actually took about a year. We were in high school and had Spanish class together and at first, he was just some random guy in my Spanish class. I didn't think he was hideously ugly, but nothing about him triggered my "ooh, he's hot!" signals (I ranked him as average looking) and for the most part he blended into the background. We didn't talk except when doing group projects. I knew very little about him and did not give him a second thought.

The next year, he and I both started doing high school theatre. We saw each other a lot more often, worked on building sets together, had rehearsals together. We had to interact with each other, and started talking. We discovered we liked the same bands. We liked the same movies. We had a very similar sense of humor. He made me a mix CD. And gradually, over a couple months as we became friends, I realized he was actually really, really hot. His looks hadn't changed at all! But now I knew him as a person and a friend and that made him attractive.

So, almost ten years after that first Spanish class, we're now married and I still think he's, like, insanely good looking. And this holds true for many of my friends--I don't think their partners are especially attractive, but observing them together, it's obvious they think their partner is the best looking person on Earth.

Moral of the story: Don't immediately veto somebody just because they don't give you a tingling feeling at first glance. Get to know the girl first, and if you click, it's very likely her attractiveness will then become obvious, even if it wasn't at first.
posted by castlebravo at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2011 [19 favorites]

castlebravo - I love that story!!

on a similar note . . . I have known some hot hot people but the more I got to know them, the less attractive they were because their personalities sucked and vice versa. I've known some average looking people but after getting to know them, they grew in attractiveness.

So, yes, get to know people. Be around people.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:37 PM on April 20, 2011

Don't try to settle for someone whose face you couldn't kiss. I agree that someone average-looking can grow on you, but if you're feeling some repulsion then seriously give that person a pass.
posted by lizbunny at 2:43 PM on April 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Consider that someone finds you ugly. She thinks you're easy enough to get on with, but she doesn't really find you much to look at. 'Hmm', she thinks, 'should I just settle with him to save me the bother of being single and looking for someone else?'

How does that make you feel? Would you want to be in a relationship with someone who felt that way toward you? If not, why not?
posted by mippy at 2:55 PM on April 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

I don't need more info to figure out what you mean. I know exactly what you mean. I will say this: a beautiful face is not correlated with a sense of humour, intelligence, kindness, creativity, sexiness, compatibility (with you), common decency or any other quality you might name and value. This is true whether we're talking about women with beautiful faces - as you are - or men. A beautiful face is zero guarantee of a good relationship. Why, bearing all that in mind, beautiful faces have evolved I don't know.
posted by londongeezer at 3:24 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

The people around you affect your perceptions. If you're hanging out with people who are critical of women's looks, then you're going to absorb that critical qaulity; also, as has been mentioned upthread, you may unconsciously, or not-so-unconsciously, fear that you will be judged negatively for dating a woman to whom you're plenty attracted, but who is not up to your social crowd's "standards". You can look at who your friends are and how they talk about women -- does it make you happy? Does it make you comfortable? Does it make you proud?

Similarly, images of unreal -- I mean literally unreal, airbrushed, photoshopped women -- create unrealistic standards in your head. If you're watching a lot of porn, you might consider cutting down (maybe trying the kind you read instead of the kind you watch.) If you're consuming a lot of other media which revolves around selling idealized women's bodies, you might consider cutting down.

You can't "settle". That's cruel. But you can cut down on the influences which limit your choices.

Maybe your friends are all ardent feminists and your favorite porn is C-SPAN. Then all I've got for you is the advice to worry less about first impressions and more about how someone grows on you over time. As you get to know people, their inner qualities become associated with their appearance, and they *look* more beautiful to you. It's like a light shining from within.
posted by endless_forms at 3:59 PM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Why do you think you'll have to settle for ugly? There is a whole range of attractiveness between hideous and gorgeous, and studies have shown that most people tend to end up with someone pretty close to their own level of attractiveness.

So if you are in the average-looking range, as most people are, your best bet is to focus on women who are average-to-cute-looking, which is not the same thing as being ugly at all.

If you are average and the women you like are out of your league, you might find you have greater dating success if you lower your standards a bit while simultaneously working to raise your own attractiveness a notch or two. Say you're a "five" on the notorious one-to-ten scale. You get a decent haircut, learn to dress better, work out a little, work on your confidence, or whatever else needs improving, and bump yourself up to a six. You're still not likely to attract women who are nines and tens, but you could get a solid seven or maybe an eight if you have money or your personality really rocks.

If you are average, ugly girls may not be too interested in dating you anyway, as they're seeking their own level as well. It's a comfort-zone thing.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:19 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

The illusion is not settling. Not settling is a fantasy.
You will never know perfection, except in your dreams.

Beyond that, you must learn to love the imperfections of the world.
posted by Flood at 5:44 PM on April 20, 2011

Give people chances. A friend told me that I was being too rigid about my "type", so I consciously made an effort to be more open-minded. I started selecting dates based on whether they expressed themselves intelligently and whether we seemed to have things in common, and ruled out appearance as a factor.

I had a few awkward dates, and a lot of dates that were fun and interesting but didn't go anywhere. And then I had some real surprises. Like that beanpole blond guy with the thick glasses who I thought definitely wasn't my type and who I never in a million years expected to have more than one drink with - but he was smart and I figured we'd at least have a good conversation. Then he kissed me and .... *surprise*
posted by bunderful at 6:14 PM on April 20, 2011

Next time you are out and about notice older couples, you will notice they are out of shape, you will notice they have wrinkles, you will notice they are not attractive. But the person they are with loves them for the person they are, that what love is. We all can not all be attractive but when we find that someone special they will love you for the person you are. I have seen some beautiful people whose personality make them unattractive and I have seen some plain people who's winning personality make them attractive! Have you seen the movie Shallow Hal? It is a must see for you because of your question - watch it if you haven't seen it!
posted by sandyp at 6:32 PM on April 20, 2011

To settle does not necessarily mean to lower your standards.

That being said, if you expect a woman's face to be stunningly beautiful while yours is all pot-marked, blotched, crooked, and crusty, then you need a reality check.

Think about what you have to offer. All of it. Your face, your body, your athleticism, your charisma, your money, your debt, your ability to make money, your emotional issues, your depth, your shallowness, your greed, your generosity, your patience, your short-temperedness, etc etc etc. .... it's much more than just your face, huh?

Same goes for your dates. Don't go consciously dating someone whom you think is ugly. But remind yourself that there's more to someone than their face. Look for other characteristics that you find attractive (and more than just looks) and go from there.
posted by Neekee at 7:10 PM on April 20, 2011

I feel like it would be so much easier to find a woman to date if I didn't care what her face looked like. Does anyone know of any way to make myself do this?

Sure. Find out what's currently making you compare the faces you encounter to some arbitrary standard of beauty, and take action against that.

If you're like most young people growing up in a consumer culture, you have not been paying attention at all to the barrage of advertising that bombards you daily; you'll be quite indifferent to it, and the idea that it might actually be affecting you in some way will just sound bogus and quite frankly weird. All the same, it does.

One of the things that advertising has been relentlessly training you to do is to strengthen your inbuilt tendency to associate desirability with average physical appearance. There's an inbuilt tendency to notice facial features that deviate a long way from average - heavy eyebrows, perhaps, or a bigger than average nose - focus on those, and classify the face that has these features as less than perfectly beautiful. Advertisers want you to feel good about the imagery they show you, so they pander to that tendency; the result is a positive feedback loop, where you're surrounded by images of average faces in contexts designed to make you desire things, which makes the real faces around you seem less desirable by comparison, which makes advertisers less likely to risk using them in advertising and so it goes.

Advertising uses many, many more images of women than of men. Its effect on perception of female faces and bodies is therefore stronger, and this is true regardless of the target audience's gender. It seems plausible to me that this is is a strong contributing factor behind the fact that so many women report hating some feature of their own appearance, while men are more likely to make disparaging comments about the women around them than about themselves or their buddies. But even though the advertising-influenced inability to see beauty except in the conventionally beautiful causes less self-hatred in men than in women, it is, as you're finding right now, inconvenient.

So, to fix it: start treating advertising like the toxic sludge it is, and making a practice of shielding yourself from as much of it as you possibly can. Get rid of your TV, and replace it with assorted Internet-based video-on-demand services. Install an ad blocker in your web browser. Give up buying glossy magazines. And pay analytical attention to advertising that you can't avoid; spend the few seconds it will take you per image to notice the way you're being manipulated, and work on learning to resent that.

I confidently predict that within six months of starting these practices, you will be viewing the women you encounter in a completely new light.

I also confidently predict that once you have found somebody you can be wonderful with, then the more time you spend contemplating her, the more beautiful she will seem to you.
posted by flabdablet at 9:26 PM on April 20, 2011 [8 favorites]

Here are some things that have helped me:

I mentioned this already in a linked thread, but a great way to deprogram yourself is to watch television shows with a cast that doesn't look like supermodels. The Wire did this for me, along with Six Feet Under.

Don't fall into the trap that certain stereotypically attractive women are more "valuable" than the ones that don't fit the stereotype and you have to "earn" their affection by meeting an arbitrary social standard of "success." That sentence is filled with code words that break down upon inspection.

Some clean clothes, fashion sense, and a couple hobbies will take you a long way, but make sure you're doing it for yourself.
posted by yaymukund at 10:23 PM on April 20, 2011

As the child of someone who settled, don't do this.

Reasons why:

(a) Whoever you settle down with, she will be the only one you are "allowed" to have sex with for the rest of your marriage. Do you really want to have to only have sex with someone you don't find attractive whatsoever? I'm not saying you need to only date raging beauties, but you have to find them attractive enough to boink for the presumed rest of your life.

(b) You can only fake love for so well and for so long. If you're lucky, Ms. Settle won't notice the difference or care. If you're unlucky, she'll spend her whole life trying to please unpleaseable you and getting more miserable.

(c) Your future children with Ms. Settle WILL KNOW that you don't love her. I knew when I was six, for fuck's sake. I got brought up to settle (literally was told that I should date whoever asks me, even if I don't like them at all). It gave me a lovely complex and sent me on a lot of dates that I found very unpleasant, and I was leading the guys on by saying yes. And that's probably as good as one can get from a "settle" relationship since my parents didn't divorce. Watching my mom go gooey over a guy she actually likes is a total 180.

As for how to settle? Remember the line out of Tom in Four Weddings And A Funeral, at the funeral, where he said he just figured he'd find a girl who he liked the look of and hoped she wasn't physically sick looking at him? It's about like that, in a way. You date whoever asks you or is interested in you no matter how you feel about them, whether you find them boring or nice or godawful, and never break up, and eventually propose. You fake loving them. You have sex enough times to produce the requisite 2 children and then never fuck again. Then you hit your 40's and have a midlife crisis and start fucking someone you actually like, except then you've got a wife and kids at home and it's so much worse.

Don't do that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:51 PM on April 20, 2011 [8 favorites]

How hard is it to find someone with a good face?
posted by PersonAndSalt at 2:18 PM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds to me like you don't really like women, or maybe you don't even really like people.
posted by PersonAndSalt at 2:20 PM on April 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, everyone makes compromises. But you have heard that true beauty comes from within, right?

Perhaps you should find someone who's nice to you and who has similar interests to you and a similar life perspective - because all of those things will outway and outlast looks, hands down, every time and you may even find that that so-called ugly face looks actually quite beautiful to you.
posted by mleigh at 4:24 PM on April 21, 2011

I'm separating from someone really pretty that I don't have that much in common with after over 10 years & OP's concern is a worry of mine, too. I don't want attraction to "trick" me into another relationship that isn't mutually fulfilling.

I'm surprised how much hope browsing interesting women on OKCupid has given me. They are smart & interesting in the ways that I care about and whoops, turns out they're pretty too.

I'm also becoming hopeful that I can become less critical (in my head) of a partner that I click with better. I'm already surprising myself with fantasies about being naked and relaxed about it with someone I've been seeing on a friendly basis. With my hot ex, I picked apart her appearance (hot this, but not so hot that body part) and was more self-concious.

So, to me, it's not settling, but re-focusing desire.
posted by frek at 5:09 PM on April 22, 2011

Appearance is appearance, but I have found that at least for me, I shouldn't settle or compromise on smell and taste. Face and tits are nice, and can be "settled" because they will change with time and are only packaging but flavor and oder are deal-breakers. Don't "settle" on that stuff.
posted by fuq at 4:45 PM on April 24, 2011

I wasn't talking about trying to get nines. I just don't like that I wouldn't date a 1, just because of her face.

The men saying that it really doesn't matter what someone looks like are delusional. There are people ugly enough that you would not date them. I want to really not care what they look like.

Sorry to the women, but it's not really the same for you.
posted by vash at 10:01 PM on May 28, 2011

I'd be interested in the reasoning behind "not really the same for you". I can't help but feel that there's an assumption underlying that somewhere that's key to your whole difficulty.
posted by flabdablet at 10:35 PM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

« Older Recommend a USB microphone or headset for...   |   tips or advice for cat with arthritis? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.