Ugliness and Style

Being ugly profoundly affects your life. People assume you're less intelligent, or important, than you are. On the street, eyes never "snag" on you--and when they do, you panic. Wo/men don't flirt with you or ask you out. When you look in the mirror, you get a sinking feeling––especially if you've just seen a picture of a movie star or a fashion model.

I'm not going to tell you it's all in your mind if it isn't. And I'm not going to lie to you and say there's some whizz-bang product or procedure that will turn you into Angelina Jolie. If you've been around a few years, you know that your appearance affects how people treat you, for better or for worse.

Ugliness is not a devastating shortcoming. It does not guarante you'll die a virgin or live an unfulfilling life. If you develop yourself while you're young, you may live a better and more complete life than a stunning person who loses their looks in middle age. You can turn ugliness to your advantage, especially in the workplace.

But if your looks are wanting in a lookist society, don't succumb to despair. Instead...

  1. Accept yourself as you are now. This is the hardest and the most important step. It's hard to accept, for example, that wo/men you find attractive don't reciprocate; that you'll have to work harder in your career than a handsome person; that, in this case at least, you got dumb bad luck. There are entire industries designed to prevent you from facing these kinds of truths.
    But let me tell you something. After you've accepted the truth, you'll be surprised to find out how little it hurts. I'm serious. So you're not the handsomest person in the world. (Would you really want to be that person?) So what? Next!
  2. Groom yourself well. Make sure that your teeth are clean, your hair is neat (even if you don't have a lot of it), and your deoderant is working and doesn't smell like aluminum after a few hours.
  3. Accept that life isn't fair and never will be. This is self-explanatory.
  4. Dress well. Your ugliness might actually just be sloppiness. Even if it's not, a nice outfit increases your self-confidence and affects how others treat you, whatever you look like.
  5. Dress up. Dress a bit nicer than the occasion warrants. No, don't wear a tux to work...but do wear a suit a little better than what your co-workers wear. If you're at a casual party, dress "business casual."
  6. Mitigate Your Biggest Flaw. For example: My biggest flaws are pockmarks and acne scars all across my face. Under some kinds of light (fluorescent light especially), my face looks like the surace of Io. Many of these scars are here to stay, but I still take good care of my skin, wear an anti-scarring cream and a bit of makeup.
  7. Develop yourself. Yes, it's a cliche that ugly people have great personalities. But it's a cliche for a reason. Who wants to hang out with an unattractive bore? Remember that beauty almost always has an expiration date; but a good sense of humor, a positive outlook, and personal charm never get stale.
If you're still struggling, I'd recommend reading this essay on ugliness in the workplace. Dr. Nemko provides a balanced look at ugliness from a first person perspective.


Related Reading

Learned Ugliness

Confronting Fashion Fears

Style and Beauty

How to Apply Mascara


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