#18: Some people are ugly. That's okay.


Today, we talk about what it’s like when you feel like you’re too ugly to be loved.

Art by @Biancartoons. 

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What’s your advice to women who feel like they are too ugly to be loved?

This question breaks my heart, because I don’t believe anyone’s too ugly to be loved. There’s no such thing as a woman whose appearance disqualifies her from a relationship she can be happy in. Or if there is, it’s exceedingly rare.

That being said, how you’re perceived and treated, and how that informs your overall perception of yourself and experience of the world is another story.

It’s also not a story that I’m interested in invalidating.

It’s extremely painful, it’s real, and in a world that’s swung from placing all value on appearance to changing absolutely nothing but gaslighting people into believing that’s not how people behave… it’s… not easy, to say the least.

Let’s take a second to be honest.

There are some places in the United States—and I can only speak for the United States—where if you’re a woman who’s even a little bit fat or a few years too old, or who has buck teeth, or a big nose, or lopsided breasts, you’re completely invisible. Forget full-blown ugly; it’s over before it even began for a lot of people. It’s brutal.

And when your presence is acknowledged? At best, you’re desexualized and at worst, harassed.

By “harassed,” I do mean harassed and not catcalled, which while it can be its own form of harassment, is something distinct.

You receive the worst kinds of comments, the “Move you fat ass bitch,” or “Fuck you, you ugly cunt.”

Because you’re not deemed fuckable, you straddle the line between have no value (being ignored) or negative value (being called names).

The good news is I think this kind of discrimination is endemic to only some places. In others, you’ll meet people who’ll treat you with respect, you’ll find that you had opportunity you didn’t know existed for you.

I’m not sure what the secret is here. I can say that I find that places like New York and Los Angeles are totally unforgiving towards women.

Boston and San Francisco, on the other hand, are great places to date as an unconventionally attractive or, let’s just call a spade a spade here, ugly heterosexual or bisexual woman.

When I was experiencing these feelings, two things helped me feel better.

The first was meeting people online, where I felt like people judged my appearance much less harshly. The second was doing what I could to “make the best of a bad situation” (or so I perceived it at the time).

I exercised. I tried to make sure the things I could control like my eyebrows, my hygiene, and my haircut were okay. I made an effort to dress better. I couldn’t change how my features sat on my face. I could change how I presented them.

I also stopped telling myself things like, “I’m beautiful, people are just wrong and don’t get it.”

I made a conscious effort to stop thinking about it all together. If I was ugly, so be it. If I wasn’t, I didn’t need to focus on it. I stopped looking in the mirror except to get dressed—seriously.

This is one of these topics that’s taboo, because we’d rather have everyone believe that they’re beautiful than make peace with the fact that they might be ugly.

It’s a privilege to be beautiful, but it’s like being rich. It’ll make your life easier in some respects, but it doesn’t define what you’re able to get out of life. It just shapes how you experience it.

I put so much work into finding other areas where I could get value out of life. It was one of the most painful journeys I’ve ever been on, but I got through it. At the end of the day, maybe I’m not ugly, but I wholeheartedly believed that I was. You might not be ugly either, but it’s important that that’s how you experience the world.

And if you are, not only can you find self-acceptance, there are people who will love you anyway.