We all see ugly every day – bug-eyed hairless dogs, ill-conceived car designs (remember the Aztec?), urban blight, and ugly people. Unlike things, the appearance of which are considered a matter of personal taste, a general societal consensus exits for the way people look. It is what advertising is built on; it sells magazines, movie tickets, and a myriad of other products. Countless contests exist to quantify what attractive is. For people, levels of attractiveness and ugliness are sharply defined. Let’s face it, even ugly people know when someone else is ugly. Stupid might be as stupid does, but ugly just ….. is. The producers didn’t select an ugly guy to portray Forest, or an ugly girl for Jenny. Even Ugly Betty is not ugly.
And, an ugly guy looks at himself in the mirror every day. It would stand to reason he would go out in to the world knowing. After all, any knowledge is good; knowledge is power. So, why doesn’t the ugly guy act like it? Doesn’t he know he’s ugly? Why does he think he has a chance with the stunning girl that knows how attractive she is? Why can he not avoid the narrowed-eye, head shaking, sure-to-be rejections?
The answer for me is, yes. I know I’m ugly. But, most of the time I forget I’m ugly. I suspect it is the same for most. There are a few reasons for this. I can’t spend a lot of time focusing on my looks; I have to live life. There are too many other things to figure, explore, and comprehend in order for me to successfully navigate the day. And, there are few reminders throughout the day; generally, people are too nice to point it out, and I am usually too preoccupied to dwell on it the few times in the day I look in the mirror. Also, I believe my psyche actually utilizes mechanisms to set aside that knowledge to prompt me into actions I would not take otherwise.
A study conducted by the University of Texas pointed to a finding they men were likely to overestimate an attractive woman’s desire for them, and theorized that men were wired by evolution to disregard their own level of attractiveness, throw caution to the wind, and play the numbers game when it came to hot women (http://blog.chron.com/momhouston/2011/12/study-finds-unattractive-men-most-likely-to-incorrectly-think-women-really-dig-%E2%80%98em/).
My mind has taken it further by concocting rationalizations as to why I would have a decent chance with the hot blonde behind the counter. Years ago, when I still could, I asked out the stunning blonde owner of a used bookstore. She took a step back, shook her head, said simply, “No,” and kept an eye on me until I left. In retrospect, Stevie Wonder could have seen that coming from a mile away. But, walking up to her, I Believed I had a good chance. I loved to read, she owned a bookstore and was interested in books. She was an intellectual, I was (in my mind, at least) an intellectual. Her father liked me. With credentials like that, how could I miss? All of the aforementioned were, of course, far from unique and impressive values, but the wiring of my male brain pushed me to don my rose-colored glasses.
But women, albeit extremely desirable, are but one aspect of life. I plan to expound on the effect of my ugly on a variety of things in my life — home life, work, relationships. Don’t get me wrong; I am extremely fortunate. I have good health, a good job, happiness, and was able to marry better than I deserve. This is just one man’s non-scientific, personal study of a subject that receives a great deal of whispered attention around the coffee table and not so subtle attention in the club, but little serious discussion. Thus begins one man’s perspective of what it means to be, well, not so good-looking.