Ugly girls are easy
May 30, 2012 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Is he a player? Give me suggestions to work around my lack of confidence, please, so that I'm not a target.

I am not this poster, but I am not attractive. I'm overweight. I am about 160cm tall, and 90 kilos (5'3", 200 pounds). I have a very turned eye (no further treatment possible) which really disconcerts people. I have some unusual moles on my face (and some scars). My breasts are very large and very saggy. I have an overhanging belly that completely fills my hands.

He is 6'4", fit, and conventionally attractive, educated and in an interesting job, and we met on OKCupid. We haven't met in person yet. His profile does indicate that he likes curves on a woman but I'm pretty sure I exceed requirements. The fat on my thighs wrinkles and sags.

We are enjoying bantering via email and intellectually, sure, I'm his equal and a good match. I'm adventurous, inventive, responsive, funny & appreciative of humour. I'm incredibly smart, I'm compassionate, a good listener. I'm successful in my own business. I have luscious lips and hair and very sexy nipples.

But! There's such an imbalance in the relative attractiveness of each other. And it seems to me that on average, attractive guys are most likely to prefer attractive women. (see WaPo).

Since I've been dating again, my experiences have fallen into one of two camps - one night stands (which I didn't know were one night stands when they started), and great wonderful sweet male friends, who are not interested in sex with me but love spending time with me (which is great, but also a little disheartening to put it mildly).

I don't like feeling used. I really don't like one night stands. I'm not after a boyfriend / girlfriend relationship, but I'd like to feel respected as a human being.

What do you do? Or more importantly, what do I do?

How do you approach a potential relationship with attractiveness imbalance without leaving yourself open to being used and discarded?

(Yes, I'm in the process of losing weight, yes, I wear clothes that enhance my good features, yes, when I get to goal weight and maintain it, I will get the girls lifted and put back where they belong - but this is a long term plan).

Throwaway email:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think the first step here is that you need to meet him in person. It'll be a lot easier to tell whether he's legit and sees past the things that you dislike about yourself or if he is simply a player (or probably worse, has a sort of fetish for your body type). Its hard to tell someone's intentions when your only interaction with them thus far has been online.
posted by lovelygirl at 6:27 AM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Okay, first of all, hey, everyone has issues. If you don't believe me, join a gym and check out the other women there. No one is perfect, not even super-models.

The best way not to feel used is to not rush into anything. So a cute guy is interested in you. Yay. Go on a date, see if it goes anywhere. If it does, fine. If you're not attracted to him, or vice versa, it's an evening. Your first date should be for a drink or coffee. You should have somewhere to be immediately afterwards. This will keep the first date from turning into a One Night Stand.

Don't sleep with him until you feel like it. If his interst wanes, then you know, he was looking for easy sex. If he still calls and wants to hang out with you, then he's at least as serious as any other guy would be.

I'd like to remind you that every beautiful person has been dumped because their SO got tired of their bullshit. This is the human condition. (Someone cheated on Hally Barry. Ruminate on that!)

Not being physically attractive does not mean you are not worthy of an amazing relationship.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:34 AM on May 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you don't want to be a one-night stand, then you meet him and don't sleep with him.

But good news! You actually really don't know how "attractive" he really is. In person he could be stooped, hunched, with a hideous Gargamel laugh and breath like a sloth and terrible dining habits and awful manners and pants three sizes too small and a tendency to be mean to cats. He could be the least attractive person you've ever met.

What's great about your question: you know exactly what you want! And you think well of yourself, which seems right, because you sound awesome! Lots of people don't have either of these things, and it leads to disaster.

So get your confident, saucy behind into the same room with him and get to know him as a person.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:38 AM on May 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm confused by this: "I'm not after a boyfriend / girlfriend relationship"... what are you after? Wanting to find a relationship is not a bad thing and you don't have to deny it or apologize for it if it's true (just confused because the rest of your post seems to indicate that you ARE looking for a boyfriend).

Is there a clear photo of you in your OKCupid profile? If so, just remind yourself, this guy knows what you look like already, and he's into it. Honestly, there's a lot of talk in magazines and stuff about attractiveness sorting and how good looking people end up with equally good looking people, but in my experience, I see couples with big disparities of conventional attractiveness all the time. Very often. It happens a lot.
posted by telegraph at 6:39 AM on May 30, 2012 [8 favorites]

Remember my tall dark and handsome lead guitar player, editor/journalist/award-winning poet friend once telling me that he "just liked larger women."

No idea if he's a player, but generally players are doing their thing with people they are attracted to.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:50 AM on May 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Nthing playing a little hard to get too.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:51 AM on May 30, 2012

Honestly the important thing is to focus on you. What do you want? What do you like? What is important to you? Treat yourself with respect. This goes beyond dating. There is a trope that if you're ugly or fat or whatever it's ok if you can find someone to love you. Be the person who loves you and respects you, and (metaphorically) screw the people who don't. Choose to spend time with people who appreciate you exactly as you are now. Not the you who is twenty pounds lighter. Not the you who is cuter or funnier or who plays games with people to see if she can find the right combination to get someone to like her. Be your fullest, happiest, loudest, sexiest self. Have sex if want to have sex and say no if you don't. Decide that being alone and loving yourself is better than being with someone who uses you and treats you with disrespect. (Trust me, it is so, so, so much better.)

We train people how to treat us and if you go into any situation with the mindset that you might not deserve whatever it is you want, you increase the odds of not getting it considerably. So work on feeling like you deserve what you want. Do things that nurture yourself, practice saying no to things you don't want until it becomes second nature. I promise you that you are amazing and that you can be exactly who you are and find someone who makes you ridiculously happy. Settle for nothing less.
posted by Kimberly at 7:03 AM on May 30, 2012 [15 favorites]

How do you approach a potential relationship with attractiveness imbalance without leaving yourself open to being used and discarded?

You allow the other person to be the one who decides what they're attracted to.

Above the fold, you ask, "Is he a player?" So I clicked and I read and I kept looking for whatever sign that he may or may not be. And it seems like the only reason you're wondering if he's a player is that he's talking to you so, in your opinion, something has to be wrong here. You have no idea what he's attracted to but you've already decided that it must not be you. If he's seen a photo then he knows what you look like. If he hasn't then you need to send him one before deciding to meet - that's harsh, I know, but you need to allow him to make up his own mind on this, one way or the other.

If you don't want to feel used and discarded, here's what you do: Meet the dude. Kiss on the first date if the feeling is there. Don't fuck on the first date. Don't fuck on the second date. Let yourselves want it a little. If he's cool then he'll understand that you want to take it slow without you having to tell him why. If he's not cool or if he's just looking for some tail, he'll either get pushy about sex or move on to an easier conquest. Either way it's a win/win for you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:04 AM on May 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

I've always said the quickest way to feel self conscious about yourself is to online date. I totally feel you because I've been there.

When I was in your shoes, someone mentioned something on here that really resonated with me - that people have different preferences and what is attractive to one person is revolting to another. It's the same way that people like different types of ice creams - some people LOVE chocolate, whereas others are repulsed by it. Maybe think along those lines?

Maybe it IS your intellect, your success, your humor, your communication that is attracting this man to you. Maybe he's not shallow and knows that looks are cosmetic and can be changed. It's easy to lose weight, it's not easy to grow a personality or a sense of humor.

I'd say keep on losing the weight and making yourself the best person you can be. Right now you need to be your own cheerleader. Meet this guy in person and who knows, maybe you'll hit it off and maybe you won't. I'd wait a little bit to sleep with him though. I learned this lesson the hard way and people can be pretty awful. Be cautious. But have fun!

FWIW, I am an attractive girl by conventional means - I'm in shape, blonde, tall and not a double-digit dress size. I get hit on constantly by pretty boys who are not my type because I find them boring. My boyfriend is not attractive by conventional means, but when he starts goofing around and making me laugh and being all supportive and fun and adventurous and we have a blast doing all these cool things together, to me he's DEAD SEXY AND I CAN'T KEEP MY PAWS OFF HIM.

posted by floweredfish at 7:10 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh lord I need to clarify something:

If he's not cool or if he's just looking for some tail, he'll either get pushy about sex or move on to an easier conquest. Either way it's a win/win for you.

I should have added that getting pushy about sex is a win for you because it's a clear and early sign that you should run for the hills.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:14 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

His profile does indicate that he likes curves on a woman but I'm pretty sure I exceed requirements

As a guy whose ideal type is significantly larger than average I can tell you that this isn't something that you can know at this point. I met my current girlfriend on OK Cupid and my profile didn't go right out and say "OMG I find overweight women super-sexy!" but I do in fact find many women attractive who are your size or larger. In fact although she does not consider herself to be very attractive due to her size, I can honestly say that on any given night when we are out somewhere my girlfriend is the most attractive woman in the room to me. And that's on a purely physical level, the fact that she has a great personality and is compatible with me in a lot of other ways is why I'm dating her rather than some other woman that I find attractive.

Now I can't say whether or not this particular guy is a player or what he's looking for in terms of dating, but if your profile photos show what you look like and he's still interested in meeting you it means he finds you attractive. The "you only date overweight women because they are easy" cliche is a common one, but it's both disrespectful to women and disrespectful to men that have different ideals of attractiveness. There are certainly men who are only interested in casual sex or are jerks or whatever and hit on overweight women, but that's the same as it is for anyone. An attractive guy is not going to message a woman he is not attracted to in order to have sex with her, because guys in general do not spend a lot of time and energy trying to have sex with women that they don't find attractive. One of the positives of online dating is that even if only 5% of the overall dating population finds you attractive, that 5% is going to be able to find you and message you.
posted by Sexy, Sexy Anonymity at 7:25 AM on May 30, 2012 [11 favorites]

So I have this acquaintance I'm really fond of. He's just the sweetest guy, great attitude, sense of humor, smart, always supportive and constructive and kind. But not, strictly speaking, the handsomest guy I've met. And when we became Facebook friends I looked at his photos and his girlfriend, whom I'd never met in person, was just a total knockout, so much so that I immediately began to wonder what was the x-factor to explain the disparity.

Eventually I met her in person and realized that she has a very lazy eye, which you can't see in photos because she turns he head to the side before looking at the camera. Also she has a goofy smile and she and my friend just adore each other.

Anecdata point two: I have another acquaintance on whom I nurse a little schoolgirl crush. To me he is one of the most incredibly physically attractive men I have ever met, when I get near him I squirm. I confided this crush to a friend. "He's kinda plain, isn't he?" She said. I mentioned it to another friend. "Really? He's so weird looking, though." I was surprised.

What I'm getting at here is, attraction is so weird, looks are so deceptive, who the hell knows. You don't yet have evidence to suggest your guy is a player.
posted by milk white peacock at 7:29 AM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

It'll be a lot easier to tell whether he's legit and sees past the things that you dislike about yourself or if he is simply a player (or probably worse, has a sort of fetish for your body type)

Also I don't really consider it to be a fetish. To me that's a way of marginalizing people who have a different idea of attractiveness than normal. I didn't choose my ideal type, I could just as easily to attracted to "super-model" type women or big hairy men. Over 60% of women in the US are considered overweight, so I don't think I'm some sort of deviant for thinking that many of them are attractive.
posted by Sexy, Sexy Anonymity at 7:35 AM on May 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

I've been having the same dating problems. I'm attractive but I am poor, I have 3 children full time, and I am older. I feel very insecure about these things. I spent years telling myself that no one will want me long term. No one wants to take on all my mess. And you know what? No one has. I've had a pattern of choosing truly inappropriate men to date. Men that are not likable, so that when they leave, I don't miss them.

A friend of mine finally told me to stop doing this to myself. He said that I am great and I need to see that. I'm trying.

My point is, we all live self fulfilling prophesies. If you say to yourself that you are too ugly for anyone to love, then you will be alone. If you say that no one will want you, then no one will for long.

Stop worrying about what his intentions are and start loving yourself. I'll try and do the same, okay?
posted by myselfasme at 7:49 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would say, protect your heart but go for it. I started dating a guy last year who I considered (and still do) to be out of my league. One of my guy friends who is super-short and dorky but pulls tons of cute girls said he has this success because he never lets them know that he thinks they're outmatched.

I took that advice, and things have worked relatively well. Your confidence is what wil seal the deal. Don't be self-deprecating about your appearance, don't make excuses or apologize, and always act like you see nothing at all unusual about this pairing. It may turn out that you're right!

(And, as someone upthread mentioned, attractiveness is soooo subjective: I was telling a friend about my insecurities about this guy, and she said "why are you worrying, you're the better-looking one!" which totally shocked me even if she was just being nice.)
posted by Pomo at 7:52 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

And it seems to me that on average, attractive guys are most likely to prefer attractive women.

That might be true on average (and it might not even be true at all), but you're not interested in some hypothetical average guy. You're interested in this particular guy. And you won't know until you meet in real life, but he might be interested in the real, specific you, too.
posted by zoetrope at 7:55 AM on May 30, 2012

It'll be a lot easier to tell whether he's legit and sees past the things that you dislike about yourself or if he is simply a player (or probably worse, has a sort of fetish for your body type)

This is silly. A fetish is an attraction to a specific thing that happens to be abnormal in a particular society. The only reason male attraction to slim, hourglass female bodies isn't a fetish is because it's completely normal in our society. But being "abnormal" doesn't have to be a bad thing, and in fact labelling it as "weird" or a "fetish" just marginalizes both those with fetishes and those who fulfill them, reinforcing the "correctness" or what's "normal."
posted by smorange at 7:55 AM on May 30, 2012

My husband and I are like this. My husband is 6'1" and weighs 126lbs. I'm 5'6" and in the region of 215-230. I think my husband is very attractive (even my friends comment on how attractive he is when they meet him) but I'm conventionally unattractive (I think "different looking" fits me -- I get stared at a lot) and overweight.

I spent months trying to figure out why someone like him would like someone like me. We've been married for nearly five years and I still wonder!

On preview, I agree with "protect your heart" -- but go for it. Attraction is a strange thing.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 7:59 AM on May 30, 2012

I want to stress that sometimes we are our own worst judges in terms of attractiveness.

Hi! I'm a fellow lady whose breasts just aren't where they used to be. (Oh, kids, how you wreak havoc on my body!) I bemoan this sometimes, wear a lot of support bras, and feel kind of a slouch in this regard.

My fiance absolutely adores this fact in strange and unholy ways that I still don't understand but have something to do with sex and bouncing. It took me a long time to realize that yes, he was serious, yes, this was incredibly sexy for him.

Attraction's a weird thing. Meet him, don't sleep with him on the first date, and don't fret it. And then come back and let us know what's going on, and THEN we can tell you if he's a player! :)
posted by corb at 8:06 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is silly. A fetish is an attraction to a specific thing that happens to be abnormal in a particular society. The only reason male attraction to slim, hourglass female bodies isn't a fetish is because it's completely normal in our society. But being "abnormal" doesn't have to be a bad thing, and in fact labelling it as "weird" or a "fetish" just marginalizes both those with fetishes and those who fulfill them, reinforcing the "correctness" or what's "normal."

Not silly at all. Everyone commenting here might be open minded and not think of it that way. I'm trying to help the OP and I would be remiss to not point that out. There are many many people who define themselves as "chub chasers" (sorry to use the term) and numerous tv specials/articles written to that end.

It would be wrong of me to not mention that there are people who do indeed have a fetish for very large women (not saying that the OP is one).
posted by lovelygirl at 8:15 AM on May 30, 2012

I was quite overweight when I was dating on OKCupid, saggy belly and all. Here's what I would have done differently:

First, I would have put up an accurate full-body picture. I did have a full-body shot up, but it was from far away and a few years old. (It started out accurate but got less and less so as I gained weight.) I didn't want people to reject me for my weight, but the end result was that people would meet me and then reject me for my weight. It would have saved time and hurt feelings if they'd decided I wasn't attractive enough before they initiated contact. The instinct is to present yourself as attractively as possible in your photos, but make sure you still look like yourself.

Second, I would have established and stuck to an in-person meeting rule. Something like one week or three messages; if you've gone that long without setting up a time and place to meet, move on. Part of this is to avoid the disappointment of establishing a rapport with someone via email and then discovering you just don't click at all in person. But part of this is that there are people who, for whatever reason, just want to chat online and have no intention of meeting in person. You can go a long time chatting with someone before you realize you're never going to meet them, and it's a waste of time. In your case, I'm not worried that your fellow is a player or will be unattracted to you, but I'm concerned that either he doesn't want to meet people, or you will meet and the connection just won't be there. Ask him on a physical date ASAP. If he's not interested, move on.

Finally, and this is the hardest one both to articulate and to practice: I would have placed less importance on dating, somehow. This is really hard to do, because it's such an addictive rush when you think you have that initial chemistry, and if you're overeager to find the right one or worried that you'll never have a long-term relationship, you mentally add so much importance to every date and every guy, and it just makes you more nervous. If you take anything away from my wall of tl;dr, let it be this: You will find someone, as long as you keep doing what you're doing, believe you have something to offer, and believe you are worthy of love (which you are). You have time and you can afford to let people go if they aren't right. Protect your heart, as others have said, but remember that what you are protecting is the part of you that hopes and believes. Don't let that hope die.

Okay, that was way longer than I planned. One last thing: many many people are attracted to overweight people. It's not necessarily fetishistic, and it's not necessarily an exclusive preference. Yeah, some people do have fetishes, but that's not really related to this question. Like, some people have long hair fetishes, but more people just think long hair is attractive, and mostly people think hair can be attractive at various lengths but is just one part of a larger package.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:30 AM on May 30, 2012 [14 favorites]

For what its worth, you sound like someone I would love to go out on an OKCupid date with and I present as a conventionally attractive guy.

The media presents straight male sexuality as this narrow, immutable, and universally homogenous thing but really that is absolute bullshit. Most straight guys just like women, particularly as we start to get older and over ourselves somewhere between 22 and 70. Many straight guys are also really attracted to specific things about women that are often really non-intuitive from a media educated perspective, I'm sure at least as many men who are turned on by large fleshy bits bouncing during sex ala corb's fiance as there are men who are turned on by twiggy folk who don't really bounce.

You come across here as witty, aware of your appearance but not neurotic about it, interesting, not a slob, and a real catch.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't sleep with people until you know they want a relationship. You don't have to make any declarations, just do not put yourself in a position to have sex if you're not ready. I.e. don't hang out alone in your house with a man. Be cautious and put protecting yourself above everything.

As for handling an attraction imbalance, the chemistry either works or it doesn't. If you feel super insecure around someone, that's a sign you shouldn't be dating them at that time. Go by what you think and feel, not what you think they think and feel.
posted by amodelcitizen at 9:32 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

As well as what others have said about your size. maybe the features you mention on your face don't add up to as bad an appearance as you think, and/or maybe he just doesn't mind. He could have grown up with someone or had friends who had inward-turned eyes or scars or whatever.

I saw on TV a man who had facial deformities so bad he was almost not recognisably human, had been that way since birth. His wife said, "nah, doesn't bother me, I've known him since we were kids and I'm used to his appearance."

So maybe life experience has left him just not too bothered by scarring and eye issues. Or he just doesn't care.
posted by tel3path at 11:38 AM on May 30, 2012

How do you approach a potential relationship with attractiveness imbalance without leaving yourself open to being used and discarded?

It is simply impossible for you to decide by yourself that there's an imbalance. The only way you have an imbalance is when one person thinks they're better than the other deserves and the other person agrees with them.

Quit deciding you're not good enough for someone else. They'll decide that all by themselves.

I did online dating (and print personals before that!) off and on for a long time before meeting the woman who became my wife. It'll be ten years since our first date next February, so I've been out of the game a long time now. But I suspect the #1 thing I learned from it is still true.

That's this: Meet very quickly.

Online is a nice way to cut out the initial-meeting determination that someone might possibly be worth knowing more. It does a good job of substituting for the meet in a bar or at a party. It lets you get a quick thumbnail so you can discard blatantly wrong matches.

The problem is what you've reached - it lets you keep getting more dribs and drabs about a person without necessary context or determination of in-person chemistry. So your brain tries filling in the blanks and figuring out the things you can't get via text and it splashes your personal junk all over those spaces.

It's almost impossible not to over-think this stuff, so just meet him and figure it out. He could still be full or crap/delusional/broken in a dozen other ways. But it's at least a little harder to fake face-to-face.

As far as the one-night-stand you can prevent that by just not sleeping with him on night one. If you're doing that because you think you have to then let me join the chorus in telling you that if you're having sex when you don't want to in order to keep him then you don't really want to keep him. Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with date-one sex (or anything wrong with waiting) but if you do then stop doing things that will land you people who feel differently.
posted by phearlez at 12:09 PM on May 30, 2012

You just described the body of a significant proportion of women who have had one or more children. Seriously. We all want our breasts to be where they were when they were 15 but you know what? They're not. That's life. And the attitude you want is not "I'm so sorry that my body fails to please you" but "my body is MINE. I love my body. It takes me places and frankly, it's the only one I've got. My body and I are in this together and whether or not some random dude wants to jerk off to my body, it is VALUABLE and I AM VALUABLE."

I hope that helps. Feminist critique of female body standards might help, too.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:42 PM on May 30, 2012 [10 favorites]

Oh and the no 1 thing I did to get to this place of acceptance was to stop dieting, stop reading magazines and watching tons of TV, and get rid of all my full length mirrors. (That last one was an accident, we just never replaced lost/broken ones). Oh my god, I feel a million times more pleasure in my skin now than I did when I was 16 and everything was tight and firm and I was having horrible self-conscious sex!
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:47 PM on May 30, 2012

One thing that I'd note is that while the average more attractive dude might prefer a more attractive lady, when dealing with relationships, "average" just doesn't tell you anything useful. Your relationship is always basically a sample size of two, giving you a miniscule confidence rating for any sort of population-level conjecture.

So what matters isn't if the average dude thinks you're attractive — what matters is that this dude does.
posted by klangklangston at 7:13 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Attraction differs as you grow. I'm 25 now, but I can tell you what I look for in a woman now is far different than when I was 16, 18, 20, etc. I'd say if this guy is at least in his mid-20's then he has a pretty good idea of what he wants, and if he wants you then you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Think of it this way, the same way you can screen multiple men online, he's screening multiple women, and he's CHOOSING to talk to you.

My last girlfriend was taller than average and heavier than average and had more body hair than average and had bad acne, and yet I thought she was beautiful and exactly what I wanted, and expressed this plenty. However her self-image was terrible, her self-confidence was terrible, and it eventually split us apart, regardless of the fact I was happy with her just the way she was. She'd often reflect her own crappy self-confidence onto me (in a "there must be something wrong with you that you like me" kind of way) and it eventually tore us apart. Don't do that, its really unnecessary.... us men are simple folk, when it comes to appearance we're very black and white, we either like or dislike.
posted by el_yucateco at 7:19 AM on May 31, 2012

Another anecdone I'll mention related to the ex above, I realized by observing her confidence issues that you really just have to live life and be yourself... I'd met this ex online, and we were both in rather desperate states at the time.... after we broke up I had much greater confidence in myself, and it made it much easier to be picky and choose exactly the kind of girl I wanted to be with, which I did find and am 5 months into an amazing relationship. A few years ago I would have never had the confidence or courage to even talk to her.

I've found that when you're not happy with yourself and being by yourself, you're more likely to fall into a bad relationship. When you're fully content and not looking, thats when amazing relationships seem to fall into your lap.
posted by el_yucateco at 7:25 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

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