Ask Polly My Boyfriend Thinks I’m Ugly – The Awl

DearPolly,

TheamazingmanI’mwithtoldmetoimprovemylookswhenwefirstgottogether。

We’vebeentogetherfouryearsnow。

Here’sthe?

story:

Whenhefirstmetme,hehadfallenformestraightaway,alwayscominginforcoffeeonmyshiftatthelocalcafe,alwaystextingfirst,offeringrideshome,askingmeoutfirst。

Hewasverysweetandpersistent。

IwashookedandIsaidyes,yesIwillbeyourgirlfriend。

Thensomeshit?

started…

Henevercomplimentedmeonanyofmyphysicaltraits,yeteveryweekendwehungout,hewouldsomehowmanagetotellmethathewantedmetohavelargerbreastslikeso-and-so,getmoretonedlegslikethisperson,growyourhairlongandputonsomeeyeshadow…。

Alotofsimilarthingsweresaidoverandoverforprobablythefirstsixmonthsofourrelationship。

IthinkIdidn’tconfronthimforsolongbecauseIreallylikedhimotherwise。

Iwasalsoonly20atthetimeandreallywantedthisrelationshipto?

work。

IwasincrediblyhurteverytimebutIheldmydisappointmentanddevastationinside。

Thenoneday,Iwasmadenoughtoconfronthim。

Itoldhimthatwhathewassayingwasdownrighthurtfulandthatheshouldn’tbewithmeifallhecanthinkofisimprovingmeandmakingmemorelikeotherwomenheprobably?

desired。

Hewascompletelyshockedatmyconfrontationasifhedidn’trealizehewashurtingme。

Rightafterthathenevercomparedmetoanyoneagain,heevenstartedcomplimentingmeandsayingthatIwasthemostbeautifulwomanintheworldto?

him。

IusuallytellhimtodropitwiththecommentsbecauseIdon’tbelievehim。

Itannoysthehelloutofmethathealwaystriestoovercompensate。

YoumightbewonderingwhyIstaywithhim?

Well,he’sWONDERFUL。

Hedoesdishes,takesoutgarbage,iskindandthoughtful。

HealwayswantstobuymeanythingandeverythingIwant,eventhoughhecan’tcausewe’renotrich,buthealwaystrieshisbest。

Helistenstomeandisinterestedinmylife。

Hesupportsmygoalsanddreamsandalwaysbelievesinmewhenotherpeopledonot。

Heisfaithfulandcompassionate。

It’sdifficulttoleavesuchalovely?

package。

Mytheoryforhisactionsatthebeginningoftherelationshipisthat,hewasjustbeingcompletelyhonest,withoutanythoughtforconsequence。

Ontheverydownside,hisridiculouslyhonestcommentsatthebeginningoftherelationshiphavegivenmyself-esteemabeating。

SometimesduringsexIfeelinadequatecauseIknowIdon’tlookacertain?

way。

BUT…whyohwhydidhesaysuchcruelthingsandthentrytoover-compensate?

Itisveryveryannoying。

ANDHERE’STHETWIST。

Theothernighthedecidedtocomplimentme。

Igotmadandstartedsayinghehasbeenlyingalltheseyears。

Andthen…headmittedthathehad?

been!

HesaidthatIamnotthemostbeautifulwomantohim。

Hewasjusttryingtomakemefeelbetterandmendthe?

wound。

WHATTHEFUCK。

Whygothroughallthetroubleoflyingjusttotellthetruth?

Sigh。

Iamprettyrelievedtofinallyhearthetruth。

BecauseIalways?

knew。

NowIdon’tknowwhattodo,I’vebeenlargelyignoringthisissue,sweepingitunderthe?

rug。

Iwouldlovesomestraightforwardadvice。

Iwanttoknowifit’sworthittostaywithamanwhodidn’treallywantmeforwhoIwasphysically。

Iknowrelationshipsarenotbasedonphysicalattraction。

Butdoyouthinkhisactionshavebeenunreasonable?

Ifeelhurtandkindofugly。

ShouldIcompletelyforgivehimandkeepfocusingonthepositivesofourrelationship?

Hehassincesaid,“Physicallyyouareanokay,prettygirl,butthat’sit。

Manygirlsaremuchhotterthanyou。

”Iknowthisistrue。

I’mgladhecanbehonestagain。

ButIdon’tknowifIcangetoverthefactthatheliedforsooooo?

long。

Ireallydon’twantyoutotellmetofollowmyheart,andthatit’suptometochoosewhatIdo。

(Becausethat’swhatpeoplehavetoldme。

)Pleasetellmewhattodo…ORtellmewhatyouwoulddoifyouwereinmysituationnow。

Thanksin?

advance。

NotHot?

Enough

DearNHE,

Firstthingsfirst。

Yourwonderfulmanisafuckingmoron,nomore,noless。

Straightoutofthegate,hewasatotalandcompleteidiot,nottomentionasexistdimbulbwhohadthegalltoreduceyoutothesumofyour(individuallyanalyzedandrated)parts。

Sadly,thisisjusthowdudes(andwomen,too)aregrowninthispoisonousculture,toseeeachuniqueflavorofgorgeousnessassomemutantstrainthatneedsallofitslovelyoriginalitybeatendownandsmoothedoveruntilweallresembleblandcataloguemodelsandDisney-brandedfuckdolls。

Ifyourdipshitboyfriendhadamagicallooksmixingpanel,sohecouldadjustyournoseshapeandcupsizeandleglengthandwaistsizeandeyeshadowlevelsjustso,you’dcomeoutlookinglikeacrossbetweenPamelaAndersonandsomenondescriptchildstarfromanABCFamilysitcom,trussedupinRuPauldrag。

AndyouwouldbeBUTTFUCKING?

UGLY。

Thecamera(andthereforethedicksittinginthegreasedhand)maypreferbigwaterydolleyesandbabypiglet,buttonnosesandtitsliketwooverinflatedvolleyballs,butinreallife,evencluelessdudeslikeyourspreferrealadulthumanswithwordsthatspilloutoftheirmisshapenmortalmouths。

Sowhat’sapoorguytodo?

Afterseveraldecadesoftraininghisdick,viastrenuousporn-andUSWeekly-aidedbeatdownsessions,hegoesandfallsforaregular,real-lifewomanwiththoughtsandfeelingsandtitsthataren’tturgid,anassthatisn’tairbrushed,featuresthataren’tsupernaturallyinoffensive。

Hethoughtyoucouldmakeafewsimplechangesandgethimofffaster。

Lazy,tactless,almostunforgivable,ifnotforalltheothergoodstuffabout?

him。

Youkeptyourmouthshutforway,waytoolong。

Youwereyoung。

HEYLADIES!

Don’tbiteyourtonguewhenyournewparamourstartsclumsilyhurtingyourfeelingsaboutyourphysicalfeatures。

Makeitcrystalfuckingclearthatyouareuniqueandbeautifulinyourownwayandifadudecan’tseethatwithhislazypigeyesthenheshouldgethisrocksoffwith2-Dimagesandleaveyouthefuckalone。

(Youcangetthispointacrosswithoutsoundinglikeavengefulevilqueenintraining,ofcourse。

Theoretically。

NotthatI’ve?

tried。

)

Now,plentyofsmartwomenouttheremighttellyoutodumpthedudeimmediately。

Notme。

Ibelieveyouwhenyousaythathe’sgreat。

Ireallydo。

Consideringhowtoxicandfuckedthiscultureofoursisaboutlooks,wecannotlaythatgiantburdenofblameonaprobablyverynicedummyboyfriend。

Hestewedinthesetoxicculturaljuicesforwaytoo?

long。

Andsure,clearlyhewentoverboardinhisawkwardattemptstofixeverything。

YouwaitedWAYtoolongtospeakup,andhewasmortifiedwhenyoufinallydid。

HehadNOFUCKINGIDEAhewashurtingyou。

Sohestartssayingyouwereperfectineverywayinstead。

Heisnotasmoothguy。

Buthisheartwasintherightplacewhenhetriedtocleanit?

up。

Sothenwhathappens?

THENyougrillhimexhaustivelyabouthissweepingandexaggeratedlyingaboutyourlooks,which?

—?

Idon’tknow,lady。

Igetit,Itotallydo,butyou’restartingtoreallypushit,rippingtheoldbloomofftheroseasifthat’sgoingtohelp。

Sofinally,youleavehimnooptionbuttotellyouEXACTLYWHATHETHINKS。

(Ladies:Don’tfuckingask。

)Andhereiswhathe?

thinks:

“Physically,youareanokay,prettygirl,butthat’sit。

Manygirlsaremuchhotterthan?

you。



DoyounoticethatthisstatementisbasicallywhatthemirrortellstheevilqueeninSnowWhite?

Themagicmirrortellstheevilqueenthatsheisbeautiful,sure,butSNOWWHITEISONETHOUSANDTIMESMOREFAIR。

Whichtranslates,roughlyas,“You’reOK。

You’relikea7,maybean8。

ButSnowWhite?

Sheishotasshit,dude。

She’slikean11。

AndI’llbehonest,therearetonsof9sand10soutthere。

Butyou’repretty。

You’rea7。

Maybean8withmake-up。

You’reatleastan8。

5whenyou’vegotmydickinyour?

mouth。



OK,fine。

Magicmirrorsdon’thave?

dicks。

Thepointis,yourboyfriend’sexactwordsmatchthoseinafairytaleforareason。

Unbeknownsttomostpeople,themoralof“SnowWhite”isnot“Don’ttastesketchyfruitfrompushyoldladies。

”It’sactually“Don’texpecttobethehottestgirlintheworld,becauseyounever,ever,everwillbe。

EvenifyouthinkforfivesecondsthatyouareTheHottestEver,thosefivesecondswillgoPOOF!

andthensomeotherlittlebutton-nosed,pale-asshussywillrollrightupandstealyourthunderandyou’llbeallGODDAMNITIAMTHEHOTTESTKILLTHAT?

BITCH!



(ThisisalsothemoraltoafewofthebetterToriAmos?

songs。

)

Sohere’sthething:Nobodygetstobethehottest。

Andthinkingthatthere’sonehottestoutthere,orthatthere’ssome1%ofhotnessthatfloatsaroundamong18-to35-year-olds,constantlypushingouttheeldersandbringingintheyoungsters,isdeeplyfucked。

Thewholestatement“Manygirlsaremuchhotterthanyou,”isatoncecompletelyaccurateforeverywomanalive,includingyourlower-rungGiseleBündchens,andalsototallyinaccurate,becausetheso-called“hottest”are,inmanycases,humanswho’vebeensandedandsculptedandairbrushedintoshapesandformssocommonandblandtheymightaswellbeahologram。

Andthat’snottomentionwhathappenswhenyouactuallyspeaktomanyofthesesortsofstrangepeoplewhoareeithernaturallydesignedorcustom-designedforthecamera。

Someofthemarerocketscientists,absolutely。

Others,though,havebeensoconstantlybesiegedbytheirownstupefyinghotness?

—?

alwayssurroundedbyfawning,babblingmenfolk?

—?

thattheyhavenoonboardnavigationalsystemsand,infact,arealittledepressedandworriedthatnoonedigsthemforwhotheyreallyare。

Tothepointwhere,ifyousaytothem,“You’resuperhot,”theyfeellikeyou’resaying,“You’redumbandworthlessinside。

Iwillneverlookpastyourcamera-readyfaceandseearealperson。

”Iknowit’shardtofeelsorryforhotladies。

ButwhatI’mtellingyouistrue。

Hotpeoplearesometimesveryinsecure,andalittledullintheirrepetitive,self-centered,not-all-that-sensitive-to-mere-mortalsstyleofinsecurity。

Inconclusion:Worryingaboutallthehottergirlsintheworld,orthinkingthatyoushouldmovetowardtheirrankssomehow,isunderstandable,yes,butit’salsototallyfuckingstupid,awasteoftime,AND(astheevilqueeninSnowWhitesobeautifullydemonstrates)areallygoodwaytodestroyyouremotionalhealthandruinyourentire?

life。

Competitivehotnessisalsoterribleforyoursoul,andyourpersonality。

Stayinshape,shampooyourhair,sure,butdon’tstartthinkingaboutyourrelativehotnessintheroom,intheneighborhood,inthe?

town。

Becausehere’stherealtruth。

Areyoulistening?

EVERYWOMANYOUKNOWISANOK,PRETTYGIRL。

Everysingleone。

Everywomanhasbeentoldtherearehotterwomenoutthere。

Sure,weallbelievethattherearethesefinegradationsofhotnessthatcanberanked。

WRONG,MOTHERFUCKERS。

Eachfaceandbodyisuniquelygorgeousandrivetingandspecial,andthehealthierandhappieryouare,themoreclearlyyoucanseethis。

Thereisnohotnesstargetyouneedtohit。

Yousimplyneedtobeactive,eatrawgreenshitasmuchasyoucanstand,and?

—?

thisisthecrucialpart?

—?

BELIEVETHATYOUHAVESOMESPECIALSAUCEthatisyoursandyours?

alone。

Becauseeventhoughyouaresoakinginthispoisonous,monkey-spanking,Hootersculture,thefactofthematteristhattheworldoutsideyourdoorLOVESthatspecial?

sauce。

Letmetellyouaboutmyself。

Iamnotandhaveneverbeenthehottest。

Inhighschool,mybestfriendwaswidelyagreed-upontobethehottestgirlinschool。

Shewasvoted“BestLooking”andeverything(Yes,weoldpeopleenduredthatshit)。

Iwastheok-lookingchickwhogotherleftovers。

Sometimestheleftoverdudewouldactuallysitandsulkwhenhisbuddydisappearedinthenextroomwithmyfriend。

HewouldSITANDSULKinsteadofmakingoutwithme,that’showmuchhewantedherandwasuninterestedinmylukewarmleftovers。

Whydidthishappen?

BecauseatthetimeIwasgunningforthehottestone,too。

INHIGHSCHOOL,WEWEREALLGUNNINGFORTHEHOTTEST。

Andwhenyoublindlygunforthehottest(LIKEALOSER,ahem)youdeservetofeellikelukewarmleftovers。

ButwhenIlookatoldphotosofallofmygirlfriendsfromhighschool?

Wealllooklikedifferentflavorsofpretty。

Wearelikeabouquetofflowers。

Wewerealllovelyinourownoriginalways。

Noonewastheabsolutemostriveting。

Peoplewhocouldn’tseethebouquet,whowouldratherpickoutoneandsayTHISONEISTHEFUCKINGBESTONEarethesortsofpeoplewhodigredrosesoverpeachytulipsandpluckydaisiesandinterestinggreenweedyclusteryflowersyou’veneverevenseen?

before。

NowI’m43yearsold。

DoIthinkI’mgross?

Sometimes。

ButgenerallyspeakingIfeelgoodaboutmyself。

Irun4milesfourtimesaweek。

Thatdoesn’trendermemagicallygorgeous,butitdoesallowmetoimagineoccasionallythatI’mnotwretched。

MyhusbandsaystherightthingsandIdon’tdissectthosethings。

Isuspendmydisbelief。

IneveraccusehimoflyingwhenheclaimsthatNOONELOOKSNEARLYASGOODASIDO。

Heiswrong,ofcourse。

Idon’taskhimtobespecificaboutwholooksbetterandwholooksworse。

Ok,Idosometimessaystufflike,“I’mluckyyouhavesuchshittyeyesight。



I’mnotaboveitall,believeme。

AndtherearedayswhenIlookmyfuckingage,andyes,Iwonderhowitwillbeyearsfromnow,whenIlooklikeWalterfuckingCronkite。

Icannotwrapoldageinmylovinghippieembrace。

WhenIeattoomanycronuts,myfacelookslikeanasscheek。

IoccasionallylongforstickyoverpricedFrencheyecreamsthatIcannotfucking?

afford。

ButIknowthatnomatterwhatelseisgoingonwithme,nomatterhowoldandCronkite-likeIget,I’llstillhavealittleswagger,damnit。

IwillnotstopbelievingthatIhavethatspecialmotherfuckingsauce。

Beautyisnotaboutthefactsorwhereyourankonsomescale,andonlyanidiotwouldtrytoputitinthoseterms。

You,letterwriter,areprobably,inthewordsofthemagicmirror,ATHOUSANDTIMESMOREFAIRthanme。

Youknowwhatyouneed?

Morespark。

Morespecialsauce。

More?

swagger。

Youneedtostopaskingthisboyfriendofyoursspecificquestions。

Donotaskhimaboutyourfaceoryourassoryourtits。

NEVERdothat。

Donotsqueezeyourthighandpointtoit。

Donotpointoutbadphotoswhereyoulooklikeaprayingmantis。

Donotaskhimwhereyourank。

WhywouldyoutrustHIMonthatfrontanyway?

LikeIsaidbefore,asniceasheis,heisobviouslyamoronaboutknowingwhentoshuthismouth,andwhatnottosaywhenit’sopen。

WhywouldHEknowhowyoustackup,orwhatbeautyactuallyis,forthatmatter?

Theonlyrelevantquestionis:Areyouattractedtome?

DoIturnyouon?

Andclearly,ifyouaskedhimthosethings,hewouldsayYESYESGIVEITTO?

ME。

Soyouneedtodecideforyourselfwhatmakesyouaspecial,irreplaceableflowerintheladybouquet。

YouneedtonoticethatTheHottestandOK,Prettyareexactlythesamewhenyou’retalkingtothem,listeningtothem,spendingtimewiththem。

Myfavorite,mostinterestingfriendslookthemostbeautifultome,andIgetconfusedwhenotherpeopleseemtoseethemdifferentlybecausetheydon’tknowthemwell。

Yourboyfriendseemstoadoreyou。

Heisnotcheatingonyouorflirtingwithrandosonline。

Hedoesn’townacardboardcut-outofPamelaAndersonthatheputsontopofyourbodywhenhefucks?

you。

Theproblemnowisthatyouwanttoeditthestupidshithe’ssaid。

Youwanthimtoreadfromanewscriptthatwillerasetheoldone。

NOTPOSSIBLE。

Yourbigtasknowistoacceptthatmenandwomenarenotthesame,thatlotsofmenonthisplanetareatleastalittledipshittyinthesamedumbanimalwaythatyourboyfriendis,andthatthat’sjustthewaytheworldistoday。

Amanisnotawoman。

Womenareconfusedandweirdinotherways。

Womenalsodostupidshit。

Butrightnow,let’sacceptthatyourguyhasbadtasteandcan’tappreciatethebouquetofwomankind,thankstotheculturalpollutionhe’sinhaledandingested。

Let’sgentlynudgehimtowardseeingtheREALBEAUTYthat’saroundhim,notjustinyou,butinallwomenwhomhemaybeconsiderslessthanofficiallyhot。

Let’sreadjusthisbadlycalibratedinstrumentsthroughgenerous,kindattemptsatenlightenment。

Hereandthere。

Gently。

Heisslowandclumsy。

Beniceaboutit。

Hehasacrappypalate,likesomeonewho’seatennothingbutChickenMcNuggetssincethedayhewas?

born。

Youshouldmovepastthat。

Headoresyouandgivesyoutheloveyouwant。

AccepthisdonkeymindandAmericandolttasteandbedonewithit。

WhatthefuckdoesHElooklikeanyway?

Isheshakingoffmega-wattagesupermodelseverywherehegoes?

Ifuckingdoubtit。

Lettheguydreamaboutperfectionthatdoesn’texist,ifhemust。

Hejustdoesn’tknowyetthatperfectionisn’thotatall,it’sblandandfugly。

He’llgrowupandfigureitout?

Maybe。

Butyoualsoneedtogrowupandgetoverhisshortsightedcomments。

Figureoutthatyouhaveaspecial,specialsaucethatputsalloftheHootersblandnessintheworldtoshameinasingleinstant。

Figureoutthatyourpullissostrongthatyourdude,evenwithhisbadlycalibratedinstruments,didn’tnoticethisorthatflawattheoutset。

Allhewantedwasyou。

Oncehegotyou,hewantedtoperfectyou,becauseheisthewhackproductofawhackculture。

Notyourproblem。

Hisproblem,hissickness,period。

Now,ifyoudon’treadthisandthink,OFCOURSE!

MYSPECIALFUCKINGSAUCE!

I’VEALWAYSHADIT!

(Imean,whatareallthoseboysdoingintheyard,anyway?

That’smymilkshake,motherfucker!

)IfnopartofyouislikeFUCKYEAH,MYSPARKEDYSPARK!

Thenyou’vegotworktodo。

Workthathasnothingtodowithhim。

Youhaveyourownsickness。

Youneed?

healing。

Therapy,maybe。

Nottotalkaboutyourboyfriend’sideasaboutyourbody。

TotalkaboutYOURideasaboutYOURSELF。

Whydoyoususpectthathewillabandonyou,orfindyoutobeNOTGOODENOUGH(if,infact,that’swhatliesatthecenterofthisangeryouhavetowardhim)?

Whotoldyouthatyoudidn’tstackup?

Whotoldyouyouwerejustok,nothing?

special?

YOUARESOMETHINGSPECIAL。

It’sobvioustoeveryoneelse,isn’tit?

Whycan’tyouyourselfseeit?

Doyouthinkyouneedbigtitsandeyeshadowtoseeitmore?

clearly?

Bepatientandkindtoyourself。

Nudgeyourselfgentlyinthedirectionofnoncompetitiveappreciationofyourplaceinagorgeousbouquet。

Youwillcometounderstandandappreciateyourgloriousplaceonthisplanet。

Youmayneedatherapisttohelpyouwiththis,ornot。

Justdon’tstayangryandscared,andstopgivingyourpowerawaytootherpeople。

LookatthetruthandthendecideforyourselfwhatYOUwanttobelievein,moving?

forward。

Mostofall,don’tpinanyofyourstrugglesonyourstatusasOK,PrettyGirl。

FromoneOK,PrettyGirltoanother,THEREAREAMILLIONKINDSOFFAIR。

Stoptreatingyourselflikecoldleftovers。

Embraceexactlywhatyouhave,loveloveloveyourprettyfaceforallofitsdistinctprettiness,andenjoyitlikecrazy。

It’snotaboutactuallybeingTHEMOSTPRETTY,it’saboutfeelingpretty。

FeelingprettyISbeingpretty。

Learntodothethingsthatmakeyoufeelpretty。

Acceptyourslowmonkeyboyfriendandlookpasthisclumsiness,straightthroughtohisbigheart。

Hewilllearn,andgrow。

Feelthelove,seizethisglorious,shiningday,embracehowgorgeousanduniqueyoubothare,andsmashallthemirrorsthatsayotherwise。

Polly

You’renotquitehotenougheither?

WritetoPollyand?

discuss。

HeatherHavrilesky(akaPollyEsther)isTheAwl’sexistentialadvicecolumnist。

She’salsoaregularcontributortoTheNewYorkTimesMagazine,andistheauthorofthememoirDisasterPreparedness(Riverhead2011)。

Sheblogshereaboutscratchypants,personalitydisorders,andagedcheeses。

PhotobyDon?

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