Dealbreaker: The Pretty Boy

For most people, Halloween is either an excuse to look like a slut or it’s an opportunity to look as stupid as possible. Either way, it’s all about appearances, and, ultimately about getting attention from them.

On Halloween last year, I had parked myself firmly in Camp Slut, arriving to my costume party as a bride left at the altar—one, of course, with a very skimpy wedding dress. By the end of the evening, I was playing the part quite well because I was literally living it. I sat alone in a corner of the room, pissed because no boy had come to my rescue. Then, like a scene in a movie, the crowd parted, and out of it emerged a tall, thin man with wispy blond hair, heading straight toward me. Corey was, in a word, beautiful. (Even with a slashed t-shirt and fake blood smeared over his face and collarbone).

Corey wasn’t hot. Hot is for David Beckham and Brad Pitt. With his angelic face and creamy skin, he was a bit unreal, as if he had just stepped out of a Botticelli painting. I was instantly infatuated.

I needed to actually look better than my date. He had turned into a version of a female frenemy—the woman you’re friends with but always feel, in a cruel way, that you need to one-up.

My infatuation grew when, with closer inspection, I realized Corey was exactly the type of guy I lust after: Your classic hipster. (I mean, not that I’m a hipster, like whatever…like I care…). He was thin in that heroin-chic way, had the whole greasy/perfect hair thing going for him, wore cute tees, talked about culture and style, and even had a creative job as a designer. A jewelry designer.

I would let that last detail slide for a few weeks, and when that detail was met with raised eyebrows and suspicious looks from girlfriends, I would brush it off. “What? Come on, lots of guys are pseudo-gay on the outside. It’s just what people do now.”

But quickly, pseudo-gay on the outside started to bother me on the inside. Before I knew it, I was experiencing flashes of resentment and discomfort. Naked next to each other, I envied his thinner and lighter body than mine. What was worse was wanting to wear most of his wardrobe of skinny jeans and plaid button-downs, only to discover that they didn’t fit me.

Let me take a moment to differentiate this from what is more commonly thought of as the metrosexual man. While, like the metrosexual, Corey knew about good style and fashion, he didn’t work hard to live that lifestyle. This made things more frustrating, because he was truly a natural product. I later described him as having the “it just so happened” syndrome: It just so happened he made beautiful things I wished I had made, it just so happened he looked amazing in clothes, it just so happened that when he smiled, he looked like a Teen Vogue cover girl.

I knew it would have to end the night I nearly had a panic attack while getting ready for dinner with Corey. I couldn’t find anything to wear and I spent half an hour in front of the mirror sucking in my cheeks and stomach, disgusted by my curves. It’s natural to try to look your best on a date. But, as I stood ankle-deep in discarded dresses and tops, I realized that

I needed to actually look better than my date. He had turned into a version of a female frenemy—the woman you’re friends with but always feel, in a cruel way, that you need to one-up.

That evening, I ended up choosing a blue checked blouse and gray skinny jeans, hoping that he wasn’t wearing the same thing. Luckily he wasn’t, but it didn’t stop me from envying how amazing his face looked in candlelight, how much straighter and whiter his teeth were, and how the shape of his lips was perfectly formed.

During a pause between courses, he looked at my top and asked, “Is that a Built by Wendy blouse?”

Screw you, I thought.

“Um…Yes…” I lied.

It was from The Gap.