Blame my older sister, the kindergarten teacher, but I believe in the Golden Rule. Whether you’re my boss, my intern, my boyfriend or my third-cousin-twice-removed, I will treat you with the same amount of respect as everyone else.
Why am I wired this way? Other kids were really cruel to me from grade school through high school—whether putting Scotch tape in my hair during class, calling me “Cabbage Patch Kid” because of my chubby cheeks, or circulating my name on a list where girls were ranked by their hotness and I was rated 3 out of 10. That stuff made me feel terrible most of the time and I don’t want anyone knowing what that’s like. Instead, I try to be kind to every person, regardless of how popular/attractive/smart they are, and not be a kiss-ass, ever.
It’s striking to me, though, how not being an ass-kisser has ruined my friendships with some very pretty women. In fact, my only friendship Titanics have happened when I’ve stood up to extraordinarily beautiful women and lost out. The Pretty Girl wanted me to play by her rules; I didn’t want to do it, so Pretty Girl read me the friendship riot act and ditched me. Forever.Let me be clear: I do have girlfriends. I’m not incapable of being friends with women. I have some really great female friends who are all regular-looking like me. When we bicker, we get over it. But when a normal-looking woman like me befriends someone who is model-pretty, there’s trouble.
Let’s face it: Beauty is a privilege. It acts like a honing device for male attention, opens doors to clubs, causes compliments to rain upon the lucky ones. But if the parties aren’t careful, a beautiful friend and a regular-looking friend can get locked into a power dynamic. Of course, not every beautiful woman lords her privilege over her less beautiful friends. Still, some do. Beauty is a universally valued quality for a woman; it offers privileges that can always be relied on. The logic of one’s arguments or articulation of one’s emotions, unfortunately, are less reliable. And because plenty of women and men want to be around attractive women just so those privileges can rub off on them, some beautiful women aren’t used to hearing “no.” I truly think my friendship difficulties with pretty women stem from my challenging them with words or reasoning, instead of just falling in line with the power dynamic they try to exert. Jealous? No. I’m resentful. When it becomes clear to me that a beautiful friend of mine plays the “my way or the highway” card, I resent the fact that I’m being valued so little. Compromising and admitting you are wrong are friendship skills which date back to the sandbox days—I don’t care if you look like Megan Fox.
Sasha modeled back in NYC, where we went to school; she turned heads with her pretty blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, and lovely smile. We met studying abroad in Prague together and lived in the same dormitory. It became clear after a few weeks, though, that Sasha only wanted to do what she wanted to do and when she wanted to do it. She wouldn’t go to a Czech restaurant or join me at a dance club just because I wanted her to—she said “no” all the time. I hated that, of course, but I figured I had to suck it up because the other girls we hung out with parroted whatever Sasha did.
Then one day, I was robbed — my passport and all my money were stolen. I told Sasha about it and it surprised me that she didn’t offer to spot me even a little Czech currency to tide me over until an American Express wire came through from my dad. Instead, Sasha was really quiet. When I returned from the Czech embassy after replacing my passport, I saw Sasha by my bedroom. Out of left field, she confronted me and accused me of coveting her fiance because I’d once dated a guy who had the same name as her fiance. Lusting after a guy I’d never met back in NYC? What?! No!
Minutes later, Sasha switched gears and lectured me for calling myself a vegetarian even though I eat fish. I defended myself against that accusation, too. After a lot of tsk-tsking and head-shaking on her part, she said she didn’t want to be friends anymore and stalked out of my dorm room. OK, whatever, kooky lady who kicks a friend when she’s down. But then over the next few days, I realized the group of girls Sasha and I hung out with were avoiding me completely, but still hanging out with her. What jerks!
Years later, I butted heads again with a roommate, Elizabeth, who worked as a professional model and actress. She was tall, slim and elegant, with dark hair, dark eyes and an absolutely breathtaking face. Elizabeth, too, insisted she was right about everything, from whether men should pay on dates to the best way to scour a bathtub. When I disagreed with Elizabeth, she would, without fail, say something in a condescending voice about how I didn’t understand XYZ, but she did because she claimed to have had more experience with whatever it was. That kind of “logic” is hard to argue with. Eventually, we had a friendship/happy roommates’ blowup when I told her that her friend who insisted that he knew how to fix our broken internet connection was actually making it worse.
I could go on with other examples of disagreements with attractive women where I ended up getting ditched, but I think you get the point. It’s their loss, I think, because they could have had a friend who stood up to them. That’s an asset, ladies.
But it’s my loss for being so stubborn about arguments that I lose friendships over them. I’m just unwilling to be an ass-kisser. I really, really can’t do it.
Have you had the same experience being friends with pretty girls? Or are you the most attractive one in your group of friends? What has your experience been like?