Dear Wendy: “I’m An Ugly Beast”

A few days ago, The Frisky posted a link to an advice column where a man had written in to say he was very ugly — a beast. The thing is, I’m a female beast. So what would your advice be to a female in this situation, since men are not known for looking past a woman’s appearance. I’m a woman who is just plain ugly — no genetic disorders, just ugly. The thing is, I try. I clean up, I dress nicely, but I’m not pretty, not attractive in any way shape or form, and I have never once been approached in a bar or at a party, or asked on a date by a colleague or friend, no matter how sparkling and charming and witty I might be. And I put myself out there — I talk, I flirt. It’s very easy to say “oh it’s your manner” or “if you met the right guy…” when you fall into the “normal to pretty” category, but I’m not in that category, I’m just not. And I don’t have Body Dysmorphic Disorder or anything like that; I’m being honest and realistic. So, how am I supposed to keep looking, keep trying when all I have faced is rejection? How do I not give up? — A Female Beast

You may feel that when it comes to physical attractiveness, there’s more pressure on a woman because men, as you say, “are not known for looking past a woman’s appearance.” I happen to believe women have it a little easier when it comes to their appearance. Sure, there may be a bit more pressure to look good, but that’s partly because we have so many ways we can enhance our beauty. From makeup to hair styling to eyebrow grooming and push-up bras, we women have lots of tools we can use to help out nature. Now, you say you “try” to look good — that you “clean up” and “dress nicely,” but if you aren’t particularly skilled in personal grooming and putting yourself together, your efforts may be in vain. I suggest enlisting some help. Visit some makeup counters in department stores and try out different looks and get a tutorial in applying makeup in a flattering way. Cut out photos of hairstyles you like and take them to a salon in your town that gets good reviews (I like Yelp for finding online reviews). Talk to a trusted female in your life — a friend, family member, or colleague — whose personal style you admire and ask her to go shopping with you and help you pick out clothes that flatter your figure and show off your best features. As much as these things are all about presenting yourself in an aesthetically pleasing package, it’s really about giving you some much-needed confidence, and confidence is one trait that everyone is attracted to.

Another way you can increase your confidence is to focus on what you do love about yourself and affirming those traits. That’s right; I’m talking about daily affirmations here. It may sound silly, but it works. Thought directs energy and as long as you’re telling yourself you’re an ugly beast, that’s the energy you’re sending out to the universe; that’s what people around you are picking up on. So, change the direction of your thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I’m ugly, I’m a beast, and no one wants to date me,” start telling yourself, “I’m a lovely person. I’m funny and witty and charming and would make someone a wonderful girlfriend.” Sit down and make a list of all the reasons you’d be a great date. Are you a good conversationalist? Do you tell funny stories? Are you a great listener? Then remind yourself of all those things in your daily affirmations. You may not get a date immediately, but when you feel like you’re a good catch for someone — when you keep reminding yourself why someone would be lucky to go out with you — sooner or later that energy you’re sending out is going to attract someone who sees those traits in you.

Now, let’s talk about the sort of guys you’re flirting with. What attracts you to them? If you want to be seen for more than your appearance, you have to look further than someone else’s exterior, too. This isn’t something people like to admit or talk about, but there are leagues when it comes to dating. I’ve written about that notion here before. Beautiful people tend to date other beautiful people or those who can elevate their lifestyle in some way (i.e., are rich, connected, etc.). You’ll have better luck with men if you figure out what league you’re in and pursue guys who are on or close to your level. The important thing to remember is that you are more than your appearance. Certainly, you have a lot to offer someone and your job is to not only prove this to others, but to prove it to yourself. Only when you are comfortable with who you are and what you have to give someone will you find the right match for you.

Finally, I’ll refer you back to the advice column you referenced in the first line of your letter to me. The columnist in question, Dear Sugar, said it better than I could. She writes:

I believe once you allow yourself to be psychologically ready to give and receive love, your best course is to do what everyone who is looking for love does: put your best self out there with as much transparence and sincerity and humor as possible. Both online and in person. With strangers and among your circle of friends. Inhabit the beauty that lives in your beastly body and strive to see the beauty in all the other beasts. Walk without a stick into the darkest woods. Believe that the fairy tale is true.

That fairy tale — you finding love — can happen. You just have to believe it can. And believe you’re worthy of it.

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