I was a geeky (very) ugly duckling who made this “Winnie Cooperesque” transformation as a freshman in high school. Have you ever seen the movie, Welcome to the Dollhouse? It was like that. As a preteen I dreamed of having breasts & hips, ditching my cokes for contacts, straight teeth without train tracks and my cystic acne clearing up. Once I morphed I figured my life would be perfect and I’d be so happy, everyone would suddenly like me. Looking back nearly 24 years since then, I can tell you it hasn’t exactly been a pegasus ride to She-Ra’s mystical castle in the clouds.
When you’re young you’re not old enough to understand that you’re being sexualized and it’s too soon.
A Venus somewhat painfully emerged the summer between 8th grade and freshman year. I strutted into the halls, literally a new woman. At first I was so confident. The guy who coldly rejected me in middle school suddenly was calling up. Believe me, it was fun rejecting him. I found myself the subject of several boy’s attention, all seniors. I began dating a senior boy who was 18 when I was a 14-year-old freshman. It was enough of an age difference at the time to be a problem. My parents were the general ’80s/’90s workaholic types and weren’t paying attention. I’d never even been kissed, so I fell hard. After six months of dating he pressured me to have sex. I did it and lost my virginity. It it was a painful 30 seconds set to the tune of Pearl Jam’s, “Black.” He callously broke up with me the next day and began dating his ex-girlfriend immediately. This severely traumatized me, especially when he performed a poorly written play he wrote about the experience in front of the school. After that I suddenly had a reputation of being, “easy.”
Generally boys at school didn’t bring flowers or whisper sweet nothings to woo me, they bullied to get my attention. Terrible things happened. Once a teacher left the room and a boy stripped down to his underwear while singing and dancing lewdly in front of my desk. Other boys harassed me with verbal abuse and threats of violence after school. Once I went out to my car to find the tires slashed, pretty standard stuff. I reached out for help but the fat, old, wart-faced grimalkins in charge didn’t give two shits about pretty young girl problems.
You won’t be seen as intelligent or funny, just sexy. Sexy gets old unless you’re a sex addict or making millions as a porn star.
Through middle school and college I was pretty ugly. Wait, wait, what?? I though you said you made a transformation in high school? Well, I did but I got ugly again in college for a few years. It wasn’t clear to me until many years later but I see now why I was treated so differently at the different stages of my life.
In middle school I got straight A’s and I was seen as a nerd because I looked the part. In high school I tried just as hard academically but teachers were more reluctant to give me good grades. I still did fairly well but I always had to prove myself with 10 times more effort. In college I once again excelled with ease. Why? I put on 20lbs. I wore ugly granny glasses that I thought looked hip. They didn’t. I dyed my hair black and I thought that looked like Elizabeth Taylor. It didn’t. The acne returned with a vengeance, had to go on Accutane. I was happy though. Good grades came to me with much less effort. I was a nerd and was desexualized. I had an awesome boyfriend, who was also super dorky. We had so much fun together NOT going to frat parties and geeking out instead.
Think of a person like Lena Dunham. Sure, she’s cute as a button but she’s no Scarlet Johansen. If she did look like Scarlet Johansen would you believe she was intelligent? Would her book be on the best seller list? Would she be writing a hit TV show? Would you think she was funny? No. If Chris Farley had been within a normal range BMI would he have been as funny? How about John Candy? No and no.
It’s a hard knock life in the workplace.
After college I’d stopped consuming copious amounts of beer and couscous and slimmed down. With 36-24-36 measurements, suddenly I had the body of Jessica Rabbit but I wasn’t totally aware of that. I was in the most beautiful physical form of my life and trying to make my way in the workplace. Remember Nine to Five starring Dolly Parton? It was kind of like that but smaller boobs (thankfully). I figured it would be easy for me. I had two degrees from a prestigious university, a myriad of relevant skills and was ready to put my shoulder to the wheel. What could go wrong? Once again I wasn’t taken seriously, whatsoever. The jobs I got were mainly given to me by bosses who wanted to sleep with me. When I wouldn’t sleep with them I was laid off. Laid off for not laying down. Sure, the economy was bad. Bush II was president. Obama was president. The boss always blamed cutbacks and the struggling economy but there were other reasons. Other people who didn’t have my skills or experience mysteriously kept their jobs. After about 12 years of sexual harassment and rigmarole I finally just started my own business. I deal with clients 100% through the internet. No one knows what I look like and that’s been a tremendous advantage.
The majority of straight women (and gay men) hate you and ohhh they make it hard.
All women are beautiful. I’ve never seen a woman that I didn’t think was beautiful… Women have weird, creepy, feline ways about them though. Yes, I’m lumping gay men into this because they’re my girls too. It’s no secret that women compete through appearance. Tragically, many women have been taught (especially older generations) to place all their self worth into their looks. It’s no secret that the most beautiful woman in the room is the most hated.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some lovely feminine friends but a whole lot of women are a horror show. They’ll just be straight up mean to your face! Once in college a female friend took raw hamburger meat and poured it over my head and down my shirt for no reason. I’ve been denied jobs because wives don’t want me working with their husbands. As if I would want to have sex with their gross old husbands, please. Honestly, I don’t even think it’s that they fear I’d steal their husbands. It’s more the fear that I will simply give their husband a boner and that’s scary enough. The jealousy doesn’t stop even when the woman is a family member. When I was 14 my grandmother, in a ferocious rage, told me she hated me because I was more beautiful than she ever was.
You can’t have dude friends.
Since I grew up with brothers and no sisters I’m kind of a boyish woman. Not so much in the way I dress but in the way I act. In my 20s the majority of my friends were geeky guys. There was never anything sexual between us, at least not on my end. They were like brothers to me. Well, as they grew up and paired off with women/wives I was slow faded from their lives. They all still strangely follow me on every social media platform available but now they won’t even return casual emails or well wishes from me. That hurts.
Looks don’t make love relationships easier.
When I was 13 and dreaming of being beautiful, I always figured I’d be able to get and keep any man I wanted, yeah right. Sure, I attracted men, ones who wanted to have sex with me but relationships were hard. Men’s favorite thing to be is being powerful. It makes them feel powerful to sleep with a very attractive woman but you know what’s even better? Rejecting one. Unattractive men love to reject attractive women. There are two reasons. One being they’re scared the beautiful woman will leave them anyway. The second is, if they can reject a good looking woman then they can feel good about being “above looks” which makes them feel powerful. If I’m not rejected outright I’m in very long term relationships with generally very controlling, possessive men who are terrified I’ll leave.
There was one time I could say that I was truly in love with a man. He was highly intelligent and SO funny but didn’t have conventional good looks. He was kind of like Jack Lemmon but really hideous teeth. Man, I loved those teeth. To this day when I hear his name it feels like someone is gently poking my heart with a tiny, tiny shrimp knife and a shivers shimmy down my backbone. We had such a beautiful relationship together. When he looked at me flowers seemed to bloom in his eyes. Complexity broke up but ultimately I made him too nervous, like he could never keep me. He ended up marrying a woman who was very plain and older. I’ve never met her. Friends told me she’s nice but kind of a snooze and that he should’ve stayed with me. I’ve seen the same thing all over. If you look around while strolling at Home Depot you can see the general rule: when men choose a lifetime mate they don’t necessarily want the best looking one. Well, they do if it’s their 2nd/3rd marriage and going through a mid-life crisis. They do if they’re also very good looking men. However, the majority of regular men want a woman who is comfortable like an old shoe. They want someone who is pretty enough but ideally someone who can be trusted to be loyal. A beautiful woman creates too much anxiety, especially if the man’s best quality isn’t his looks.
The benefits aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Yes, being good looking opens doors but the doors lead to bedrooms and if you don’t walk through the bedroom, you aren’t gonna get where you really want to go. There are some benefits that don’t involve walking through bedrooms. Yeah, I’ve always been able to get into dance clubs. Wow, how I love loud clubs where I have to shout in someone’s ear to be heard. Get me in more of those please. I’ve only been pulled over a few times but generally I haven’t gotten a ticket. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m white, I’m pretty or because I cried but either of those could be the reason. Free stuff? Yeah, OK you win on this one. One time a very wealthy man gave me 9K and I didn’t even have to sleep with him. I took it and went to Japan. Wouldn’t you go to Japan too?? As a general rule, I haven’t gotten a tremendous amount of free things but men are always willing to help you move furniture or open a jar, crap like that. Probably if I asked more I’d get more free crap. However, getting things for free at the expense of others doesn’t exactly fill me with joy, so I don’t ask.
It can be lonely as fuck.
OK, I don’t really get that lonely because I’m one of those introverts who actually likes to be alone. I have a dog though. I love animals. Animals just straight up love you. They have no ulterior motives. You often see a beautiful woman with a pet dog, that dog is probably her only true friend.
It’s going to be OK. Don’t start a hot woman rescue hotline just yet.
The good news is that I’m 37 now and not as hot as I was back in my 20s. Or maybe I’m even hotter now? Maybe I’m just now entering my Mae West phase. Uh oh, look out kids. I’ve wised up and learned to ugly up. Generally I wear thick glasses, frumpy clothes, no makeup and exaggerate my nasally Midwestern accent as much as I can. Believe it or not, people seem to like me a lot more in this “regular person” state. The looks are used very sparingly when I feel an impact is required. It’s healthy that way. Nutella is delicious but you can’t eat it by the spoonful for every meal. No one could handle the sweetness.