Initially, I wanted to call this post “Life as an unattractive woman” but thinking about it, one cannot be truly “unattractive” as it is more than physical looks that determines one’s “attractiveness”. Things like personality, compatibility (the whole “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”) count, I suppose. And in that vein I realise that the reason I keep referring to myself as unattractive is due to the deep inferiority complex I have with regards to my physical looks. So this posts will be both about my feelings and life as an “unattractive woman”, and my deep inferiority complex.
It’s quite weird for me to have an inferiority complex, because as an Aries I supposedly ooze confidence (my friends might think I’m a taurus given how stubborn I have been over my “horoscopes are so real” theory;) ) and I am an epitome of an Aries. I guess most of my confidence comes from my belief in my ability and work ethic, one only has to mention physical looks to realise how low my self-esteem is with regards to my looks. And I got particularly triggered today whilst surfing the net and coming across a reddit article “What it’s really like to be an “Ugly Woman” . You can read it here:
I am an ugly woman. Objectively, I really am. Please don’t argue with me on this one, Reddit. I am not overweight, actually in better shape than most women my age, I dress well, I am great with makeup. But last weekend the world just had to remind me that despite all this, people will go out of their way to kick me.
I don’t often go clubbing, but Saturday night was a special occasion. A friend was celebrating her 21st, and it was also the weekend after a long week of brutal exams. It felt like a good time to blow off some steam. Because I don’t often go clubbing, I really tried this night to look nice. There was an outfit that I had bought a long time ago, but that I’d never worn because it was a little sexier than what I usually wear. A close friend had picked it out for me when we were shopping, and, in that “you go girl” kind of way had urged me to buy it. I did my makeup painstakingly, straightened my hair which always takes forever because my hair is huge, put on that too-sexy-for-me outfit. And when I looked in the mirror I was even surprised at myself. “Wow, is that me? I actually look…nice!”
I showed my friends. They all said I looked great. And they MEANT it too. Like, genuine happy encouragement. I could tell they were sincere and it made me feel so good, like for once I wasn’t just masquerading as an attractive girl with fancy makeup and clothes, but that I WAS the attractive girl. I hadn’t felt so attractive in ages, Reddit.
When we got to the club, we got a nasty surprise. We had been told that tonight there was no cover charge for girls, and so none of us had brought much cash on our person. Well, our info was wrong. They did indeed ask for a cover. Only one of us 6 girls had cash, and she only had enough to cover two people. When we got to the door and found this out, a group of guys behind us volunteered to help us out. They each forked over a couple of bucks to cover my friends, but not one of them offered to cover me. One by one my friends were let in and they waited on the other side of the door until everyone got through. The guys were doing everything to avoid eye contact with me. They were looking at the ground, the street, pretending to look through their wallets for cash to cover one more girl. It was so painfully obvious that I felt like just going home. Luckily, my friend with the extra cash covered me so I was allowed in.
Well, once we were inside I thought I could just forget about that incident. I had dressed up and come out, to have a good time and relax. So for a while I danced with my friends. It wasn’t long before other guys started dancing with us. We kind of paired off slowly, there was a guy whose two buddies had started dancing with other girls and he was left alone. At that point I too had lost track of my friends and was alone. He started dancing with me, but the whole time he seemed really distracted. Not once did he really look at my face, he was kinda looking around the club the whole time, like he was browsing the scene for another, more attractive girl he could bounce to. In less than 10 minutes, he had seen one. He peaced out without a word, and I saw him dancing a few minutes later with a very attractive brunette. The way he acted with her was just SO different than when he had danced with me. He was face to face with her, smiling, dancing enthusiastically.
That made my stomach drop. I went to the bar, found one of my friends who was sitting there with a guy. She introduced us, he bought everyone drinks. After a while I felt like a bit of a third wheel so I went back to the dance floor. Eventually my group of girls regathered together. Everyone had a guy, except for one of them who had a bf at home. So I danced with her, with our friends and their guys near us.
There was a photographer going around the club, taking pictures of the people there. I assume it was for some promo for their website or something. He got to our group, and literally circled us several times, taking several pics from different angles. I was kind of psyched about this, so I did my best to look like I was having a good time, made sure he could snap me at my best. But after a while I realized he wasn’t circling us to get our best angles. He was trying to get a frame without ME. If I moved closer to the center of the group, for instance, he would tilt his camera a little the other way. I couldn’t believe it until finally, he actually came up to me and asked me to get out of the shot.
I felt so ugly right then. For all the effort I had put into looking and feeling good that night, it seemed like it just didn’t matter. So the night ends with me leaving the club. My friend with the bf at home who was dancing with me left with me so I wouldn’t be alone. The rest of my girl friends didn’t notice what had happened with the photographer, so when they asked me where I was going I just told them I was tired and wanted to go home. And since I wasn’t leaving alone, they let me.
So yeah, that’s my story from the weekend.
I guess I just felt that this story is so…relatable. I feel really ugly most of the time, and honestly the experience the writer has narrated seems like it could happen to me any moment (and become my worst nightmare too). (It’s late and I’m tired so my thoughts are a jumbled mess but I’m just going to write them down because it’s cathartic) Because of my inferiority complex, I have resigned myself to certain beliefs that I am too tired to convince myself otherwise:
- I no longer believe in love and relationships because I do not think it is possible for someone to even consider me girlfriend material. There will be nobody who sees me in a library and wants to go out with me. I won’t be the “love at first sight” kind of person/recipient. It’s kinda sad because I read those stories of footballers asking journalists out and I know something like that will not happen to me in a million years even outside the context of footballers/celebrities. Like, even regular people won’t care.
- But doesn’t personality play a role too? Nope, not for me. I’d like to think I’ve got kind of a go-getter personality, and this means I will always be seen by intimidating, too forceful, head-strong, manly by the male species. And I WILL generalise here because I have had enough people telling me men don’t like girls that independent and strong. I’m too tired to fight, especially I’ve got nothing to prove them wrong with. And few can ever truly understand this sentiment because I have a very explicit “I-can-handle-this attitude” that may come off as a little masculine, and however men protest that they find independent women sexy, a lot of them don’t want a woman that may cause a slight reversal of roles in the relationships. I’m not meek, and that’s a problem. It’s a complex problem because I don’t want to be meek either (anyone with even the littlest sense of ambition knows the undesirability of being meek especially in the male-dominated workplace + one cannot be meek in the corporate environment which can be quite cruel and demands one to be tough) but I’m still a girl, I want to be loved, I want to be appreciated. But instead I’m being perceived as bossy (so many times this word has been used on me), rowdy, not feminine etc. It’s like….my romantic ambition and career ambition cannot be reconciled.
- I used to desire getting married young but I scoff at that now. I don’t think I can even get married.
- And why on earth do I care so much about love again? Because validation cannot keep coming from oneself, or from people you know will definitely validate you. Like moms in general. Some apparently think I am not “unattractive” but that’s because I’ve got the bright-eyed-good-student kind of demeanor. But man, I don’t want to marry moms! What good is a bright-eyed-good-student kind of face?
- Not only do I not think that I will ever be noticed as a prospect, I am also struggling with ridiculous self-bashing when I face people. Besides the few times where I am in an environment I am completely secure in (like friends’ gatherings), I always think “I bet he/she thinks I’m real ugly” when I talk to someone I don’t know that well. It’s horrible. It’s like I feel that my unattractiveness is actually an eyesore and people can’t help but notice it. And it doesn’t help that when I was in retail, a kind-hearted uncle told me to get braces. I’m not going to fault him for his harsh comments; he knows I care about my career a lot and I guess he really wanted to help me. It’s confusing lah, somehow it’s inappropriate to put someone down like that but then again, he probably meant it as helpful criticism. Anyway, I’m on braces now (but it has worsened my inferiority complex because I feel that people can notice me sucking on my aligners which is not my fault, anyone would do that if they had such a big piece of plastic in their mouths)).
- I think my face is very broad, cheeks are very fat, nose is too small. But I don’t have time to travel to korea. I think I’m fat too but not that fat, and I’m working on it. At least I’ve for skinny arms. But I’m afraid to swim too much for fear of making my slender arms more muscled.
- I’ve now got all my convictions jumbled. I have a senior who has a Goddamn eating disorder and I found myself marvelling at how pretty she was, so skinny, and questioning why would anyone change that? Honestly, screw me and my messed up brain. She has a disorder. A DISORDER. And a disorder is not something good.
- I guess I’m lucky to be confident in my academic ability and passion/zeal/interests. But it makes the thought of failing/actually not doing well hurt a lot more. Because my confidence in the acad stuff comes a lot from the whole “you may be ugly but at least you ain’t stupid” belief so if I don’t do well, I feel that I’ve got nothing. I know I can be so annoying when getting results but my fear is compensatory. It’s because I know I have to do really well to compensate for my looks. It really seeps into so many aspects of my life. Recently I started learning chess but would berate myself for not seeing the danger of some moves because it made me feel stupid, made me look stupid. The same for Russian too, that’s why I work so bloody hard for Russian.
- I use Tinder way too much because it’s the only way I can seek validation from other people. But it’s bloody boring sometimes so obviously not sustainable.
Life with an inferiority complex is really hard, because the problem exists with me, and nothing anyone says can change that. It’s not that I don’t want to listen to you, it’s that the demons don’t go away just because someone says something nice. But I am not suicidal or anorexic, don’t worry. I just have an inferiority complex. I know some might find this post ironic (Oh, men don’t like women so insecure in their looks) but man, I can’t help being human, cut me some slack, let me be human. Maybe it will all go away when I meet someone (which is not remotely possible) but it will make me too dependent on the person to validate myself. I think it will go away with time. Then I can look back and laugh at how silly I’ve been.