“Beauty is…the promise of happiness.” —Stendhal, De L’amour, On Love (1822)
In a culture that prizes beauty above almost all else, it’s hard to believe that looks don’t matter. The BDH recently ran an op-ed, “Heroin Chic is Back,” detailing how beauty standards are pushing new, dangerously impossible heights. On this campus, especially with the warmer weather, being beautiful and skinny are “in.” But I’m telling you, when it comes to sex and love, beauty simply isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
I recently overheard a conversation at the Ratty on looks. “She’s so beautiful and like, omigod, the nicest person, too!” I thought about that for a moment. Why were these girls holding this beautiful person to any different standards than others? Why is a beauty worn like a badge of entitlement? Does being attractive really matter that much?
Sophomore year, I dated a brilliantly gorgeous man. We’d go out to dinner and the hostess would stare at him and forget to ask us “how many?” People checked us out on the street constantly (and look, I’m pretty darn cute, but I don’t think those girls were checking me out.) He modeled part-time for extra cash. He got his ass grabbed by a gay guy. On the subway in New York. In broad daylight. With me standing next to him. Twice…
Here’s the thing, though. I dumped that guy. And it wasn’t because I was insecure that he was too good looking. It was quite nice to have such an attractive face and body to wake up with every day for eight months. But it was because I realized we didn’t have enough of a connection to keep us going.
That’s not to say that you should go find yourself an ugly mate. I shamelessly tried that a few times, too. I thought that dating someone less attractive would come with perks: tons of attention. Not so. Some of the ugliest guys I’ve dated have been some of the biggest assholes. Doesn’t leave much room for fun.
In matters of sex, too, looks don’t determine much. I’ve had scrawny lovers, muscular ones, and some chubby ones, too. I’ve slept with varsity athletes and nerdy math concentrators (and sometimes, both). All of them were different in bed and looks had nothing to do with it. Sometimes the less good-looking ones were most eager to please, but sometimes they didn’t lift a finger. Sometimes the muscular ones were better in bed because they’d lift me and throw me into any position. But sometimes they were insecure about their bodies and inexperienced. Fat, tall, blue eyes, brown eyes, black, Asian, skinny — these just don’t matter when it comes to action in the sheets.
And in case you were wondering: body size has nothing to do with package size. No, the taller ones don’t have skinnier ones. And the muscular guys don’t all have big ones, either.
When it comes to relationships, beauty has little to do with your emotional connection. And when it comes to sex, what I’ve found is that I get most pleasure from the guys with the greatest self-esteem. Those who are comfortable in their own skin are usually most open to exploring and doing their best to please. It’s not about what they look like, it’s about how they perceive how they look.
Until next time,
Got questions for Heather? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org