When I Started Looking Hotter, Dating Got Worse

Everyone knows the story of the Ugly Duckling—once the bird becomes beautiful, all of his problems are solved and he lives happily ever after, blah blah blah. Besides being a blow to the whole idea of internal beauty, I personally haven’t found the story to be true. Things don’t magically get solved when you get hot—they get weird. Especially dating.

  1. I attracted a totally different kind of guy. This is really no surprise. All of a sudden, guys that are more interested in looking than listening were approaching me. It turned out to be more difficult to sort one from another than I would have thought. I’ve found that this new type of guy is extremely excited about being together for maybe a month and then he starts becoming scarce.
  2. Your heart gets broken more. If you’re like me, around a month is about the time it takes to start really liking someone. A month is about all the time this new type of guy stays interested, then the texts become more infrequent, planning a date is arduous and then they just disappear altogether. That really hurts, especially the first few times it happens.
  3. There were fewer dates with more people. It gets hard to get a second date arranged after a first one. For me, it felt like part of the reason was that my personality and perspectives were being ignored, which makes forming any sort of connection difficult. Even if he just wanted the date to try his chances at how far he could get, ultimately, even he actually wants a real connection with someone who sees the same things in the world that he does. Only paying attention to someone’s appearance makes that an impossibility. So, whether it was him who was disappointed by the date or me, one of us is going to ghost without a second chance and move on to the next person.
  4. The compliments changed. Being told you have nice eyes is a great compliment. At some point, that changed to men feeling like they could freely comment on my breasts whenever they wanted or asking what my butt was like. Talking about my boobs over a shared appetizer isn’t what I’d classify as good “getting to know you” conversation.
  5. My appearance became a main topic. After a little while, these conversations just start to get awkward, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. “You’re so beautiful!” “Aw, thanks.” “No, like really you have really nice hair.” “Thanks…” “And nose.” “Thank you. I’ll be sure to pass your compliments on to my parents for sharing their genes.”
  6. I got more self-conscious. This may seem counterintuitive, but all of my flaws began to feel more glaringly obvious. There’s no way this guy doesn’t notice every zit on my forehead or the giant bags under my eyes from staying up too late the night before. How are you supposed to relax and enjoy someone’s company when you feel like you’re being judged?
  7. I started worrying about being “hot enough.” There’s still always going to be someone more attractive than you. As with just about everything else, it’s difficult not to fall down the rabbit hole of comparing yourself to other people. Do I really get to be “hot” too when these people are clearly so much more beautiful than me? All too soon, you’ll start viewing yourself as Slot from The Goonies and undervalue yourself.
  8. Guys started treating me like I was stupid. I’ve been a lifelong nerd, from going to Pokemon League as a kid to doing side projects about geology in elementary school. I can no longer say that I’m a nerd without being questioned or blatantly told that I’m not. Men want to explain everything to me. There’s absolutely no way I could understand sports or know nearly as much as them about Quentin Tarantino films.
  9. My accomplishments were discredited. The phrase “because you’re cute” started getting thrown around a lot. About work, school or other factions of my life, working hard and using my brain could no longer be the reason I’ve had successes. I willingly showed up to a two-hour session of being undermined while the man across from me pays for his meal with his parents’ credit card.
  10. My expectations lowered. When I started to internalize all of this as just being part of my life now, I became more easily impressed. Wow, only one comment on him liking my boobs? No passive aggressive texts because I’m not free tonight? Just mentioning that we like the same book or movie starts to seem downright gentlemanly. I had to start reminding myself of the things that I was looking for in a potential partner, even when it seemed like I wasn’t seeing those qualities in anyone. It’s a far cry from the idea of having my choice of any man now that I’ve moved into a new league.
Lauren is a mass of blonde hair that makes puns. As a freelance and not-so-freelance writer from the Midwest, she types fast and thinks of things to type faster. Away from a computer keyboard, she loves books, art, theatre, music, politics, cooking and long walks that inevitably end in her getting lost.
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