- Gender and Relationships
The cover doesn't make the book...or does it?
An ugly man's guide to the galaxy
There's a part of each one of us that would love to believe that all humans really want to look past our physical appearance to see the beauty within us. We actually want to believe in this so badly that we have grown into a species which, at best, is internally conflicted with our own desires. In fact, countless psychologists and "gurus" make thousands upon thousands of dollars writing self-help-books which try to convince their readers that attractiveness is a state of consciousness rather than a physical attribute and that you, therefor, have complete control over it. Wow! Doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? That, of course, is the same fuzzy feeling you get when you run your fingers through the mane of a lion, right up to the point where it takes your arm off.
Of all the gifts God has bestowed unto me, good looks certainly isn't one of them and I'm embarrassed to report that I too was taken in by the psycho-babble for most of my life. Mix in a generous portion of harsh rejection and a recent side-order of midlife crisis and voila: A recipe for disaster. Luckily, hundreds of hours, reading scientific articles and watching documentaries on this topic, has all but cured me from further setting myself up for failure.
So, for now, let's call an apple "an apple" and get down to the brass tacks; Any neurologist will tell you that your instincts, such as self preservation and reproduction, reside within a primal or "animal" region of your brain, while logical reasoning forms part of a more recently evolved area. No matter how politically correct our society has become, our primal instincts cannot be overridden by logical reasoning, for it is our instincts which make the human species perpetuate. Given these facts, it will come as little or no surprise that our instinct to find a suitable mate bears very little difference to that of the other living beings on this planet. Long story short: Looks matter more than your logic can possibly comprehend.
Various international studies have shown that physical appearance impacts almost every facet of our daily lives. From the most insignificant to the blatantly obvious, in almost every situation, we are all subject to society's reactions to the aesthetics of our birthday suits. There's no question that appearance plays a paramount role in our choice of a romantic partner, but did you know that an unattractive child, for example, is likely to receive much harsher punishments at school than their attractive counterparts or that, apart from getting a job more easily, an attractive person is more likely to be appointed in a leadership position than the unattractive one, even with lesser skills? Our tendency to confuse appearance with competency is staggering, to say the least. But, don't start pitying yourself just yet if you're unattractive, because human nature's prejudicial treatment on the grounds of appearance cuts both ways, even if it is in an unequal measure.
What does all this mean to the unattractive person then? Well, I have developed a theory over the past year or two and it goes like this:
In my humble opinion, being born unattractive or becoming unattractive later in life, for example in an accident, bears a striking resemblance to being born without a limb or losing a limb later in life. I'm sure there are quite a number of other differences but there's two specific and major ones I'd like to point out: 1. The unattractive person is unaffected by a lack in bodily function; 2. Because unattractiveness isn't recognized as a handicap, the unattractive person cannot rely on special privileges.
As is the case with many other handicaps though, the loss of one ability heightens another. A deaf person, for example, is widely known to have a heightened sense of vision and a blind person, a heightened sense of hearing and touch. These compensation mechanisms are built into every human to help us cope with our environment. The same goes for the unattractive person: The lack in physical attributes, magnifies positive personality traits and/or heightens an ambition to achieve competency. In my personal experience, an unattractive person is, for instance, much more likely to be trustworthy and loyal than an attractive one.
So here's the skinny:
Firstly, and I cannot stress this thoroughly enough: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT believe the inexperienced babble of psychologists in books or on TV, no matter how high their ratings. While their "feel good" message will bring you immediate comfort, the long term effect on your life will be disappointment, self doubt and even depression. You need to come to grips with this truth: The book is, in fact, judged by its cover. No matter how unfair it seems, you cannot under any circumstances allow this fact to make you curl into the fetal position and wallow in self pity. For all the might in you, you cannot change human nature and you need to accept this. Embrace the cards you have been dealt; remember that those are the cards that has helped shape your personality and made you into a lovable person to the people around you. Be attentive to the fact that the people close to you, who have come to know and care for you, no longer see the face that reaches from the mirror each morning to strangle your self confidence. If someone remotely attractive tells you "I know exactly how you feel" or "I know what it's like, I've been there", listen to their words in quiet amusement - They haven't a clue of what they speak. At the same time, bear in mind that they too are judged on their appearance and recognize that you don't have the slightest inkling for the burden of that judgement either. Be awesome; Be the type of person with whom you would want to fall in love but be patient - Affection will probably not come swiftly. Stand out from the crowd by pursuing perfection in everything that you do.
In closing, if I haven't mentioned this before, whatever you do, stop hanging on the nonsensical babble of the "true beauty is on the inside" preachers. You cannot judge a book by its cover, it's true, but you can predict its selling rate.