I Think I’m Hot But My Boyfriend Doesn’t Seem to Think So

Evan, I want an honest opinion on my predicament. I am in a year-long relationship and my boyfriend is a wonderful man. We have a strong connection and share a lot of values, views and interests. We’re getting pretty serious but there’s something that is eating me up inside. I think my boyfriend doesn’t think I am hot!

Being 5’5″ and 115lbs and measuring 34-26-35.5”, I always assumed that I was in the same league as a lot of celebrities who boast similar bodies. Granted, I am a little heavier towards my hips and have a bit wider frame but does 1″ really make a lot of difference here? Well, yes, according to my dear b/f. He basically told me that I can’t even compare myself to an actress or other celebrities (this ridiculous conversation started while watching TV and making comments about some actress). To him, I am “good looking” and “pretty” but, say, Angelina Jolie is “hot”, and “beautiful” and I am well… a regular person so I am not, how could I possibly be? He “likes me and finds me attractive”, but by no means am I nearly as good looking as a movie star, and I am crazy to be even comparing myself to them. That was the essence of the conversation. Of course, I felt hurt and I had a few “nice” things to say to him in response – as in “look who’s talking” kind of things and this conversation went downhill right away.

Now, am I crazy to be upset about this outlook of his? Men I dated in the past were (or at least acted the part) infatuated by me. I am used to hearing how beautiful I am. Men turn heads when I walk down the street. While I am totally OK with the idea that somebody doesn’t find me the most beautiful woman on the planet, which a lot of people probably don’t, I am somehow not OK with that person being my boyfriend! I mean, if he was truly into me, wouldn’t I be to him more beautiful than all Hollywood celebrities combined? Wouldn’t he be saying things like “honey, Angelina Jolie got nothing on you”? What happens if I gain weight with age – do I go from being “pretty” to “ugly, but I love you anyway because we have 2 kids and a mortgage and divorcing you is too damn expensive”? Am I being insecure and shallow for zooming in on this issue when everything else is fine, or have I got a legitimate concern? Is recognizing that your girlfriend is not ranking at the top of your scale in terms of looks but is the best “package” you can get in terms of looks-personality-values-etc. a sign of a mature man, or a sign of a man who’s not really in love? And most importantly, is this a deal breaker? –Diana.

Love. This. Question.

It’s a microcosm of every misinterpretation in every relationship ever.

And before I answer it, I want to share with you a story.

It was a tale from a linguistics professor in college who explained to the class that, in studies, men tend to be much more direct in their language. Women are subtle.

We can see this in many forms of personal interaction.

Because women are so kind and supportive, they don’t always speak their minds. They obscure the truth to be sensitive, but fail to communicate their true feelings.

Women are sensitive to each others’ needs. Men are blunt.

Women pick up on details. “What was he wearing? How did he kiss you? Where were you at the time?” Men just want to cut to the chase. “What’s the point?”

Women are supportive of their friends. “No, you don’t look fat in those jeans.”
Men cut their buddies down. “Dude, you gained, like twenty pounds!”

In fact, suffice to say, women are largely better and more sensitive communicators and men should really learn take a page out of women’s emotional playbooks.

Except for this one thing…

Because women are so kind and supportive, they don’t always speak their minds. They obscure the truth to be sensitive, but fail to communicate their true feelings.

My linguistics professor used an example of how a typical man and a typical woman would respond to being stuck in a hot classroom.

The man would say, “It’s hot in here! Open the window!”

The woman would turn to her friend and say, “Do you think it’s hot in here?”

The man issues a command. The woman tries to build consensus, but she doesn’t come out directly and say what she really wants: open the goddamn window!

I’m not going to get into some debate about whether this is 100% accurate, because it’s not. Not all men are direct. Not all women are subtle and nuanced.

But the reason I’m sharing this, in reference to your situation, Diana, is that the most interesting thing about women’s linguistics patterns can be summed up in one line:

Men say what they mean. Women don’t.

Thus, women are often surprised when men say what they mean.

You asked your boyfriend a question.

He gave you an honest answer. You seem shocked that he would do so.

Women are always asking for “honest” men, and then, when you finally get one, you would prefer if he told you something untrue.

I’d be shocked if he told you otherwise. His answer would be the exact same answer I would give to my wife. The difference is that:

a) My wife would never ask me to compare her to Angelina Jolie. She’s not that insecure.
b) My wife would not be surprised at my response, which is that she’s no Angelina Jolie.
c) My wife would not take it personally that I told her the truth, because she knows she’s no Angelina Jolie.

So what’s really going on, Diana, is that you wanted your boyfriend to LIE to you.

You didn’t want the truth. You wanted praise.

Even if it meant that he lied right to your face.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Women are always asking for “honest” men, and then, when you finally get one, you would prefer if he told you something untrue.

You basically set yourself up for failure on a couple of levels.

    • You expected your boyfriend to be “infatuated” with you because other men have been. Sorry, sweetie. Infatuation is soooo high school.

    • You insulted your boyfriend’s looks because he didn’t lie and tell you were as attractive as one of the most attractive women on the planet. Catty much?

    • You actually feel that that a man who is truly into you would think you are more beautiful than all of the Hollywood celebrities combined? Really?

How much self-delusion do you have to have to say such things?

I mean, let’s just take it to the extreme:

A man with average looks, average intelligence and an average job gets pissed at his girlfriend who doesn’t think he’s the love child of Brad Pitt and Steve Jobs.

Note: the girlfriend didn’t say he’s “average”. She just said he’s not perfect.

Should he be upset? I sure don’t think so.

Obviously, she loves him – that’s why she’s his girlfriend.

But if you compare ANY man to the most impressive person in his/her field, ALL them are going to compare unfavorably.

So, to answer your question:

Are you being insecure and shallow for zooming in on this issue when everything else is fine, or have you got a legitimate concern? Is your boyfriend recognizing that you may not be at the very top of his scale in terms of looks but are the best “package” he can get in terms of looks-personality-values-etc? Is this a sign of a mature man, or a sign of a man who’s not really in love? And most importantly, is this a deal breaker?

I would only say this…

You’re spot on in assessing your boyfriend’s maturity. Well done.

The real question is whether it’s a deal breaker for HIM to stay with a woman who has such a hard time hearing the truth.

I’ve dated such women and personally, I would rather date a 7 who can accept reality than a 10 who expects me to lie to her.

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Comments:

  1. 121
    Aksauy

    ^^^ what Katarina Phang said. That.

  2. 122
    Aksauy

    Evan, my relationship is different in that like you said my husband has me “on the pedestal”. ( That is actually an interesting choice of words and made me remember that he actually made a funny picture using photoshop of him putting me on a “pedestal” made of greek ruins from our vacation, as a joke). You dont seem to have your wife there. If she’s ok with it, it means that this is just not one of her needs. But it is a valid need in and of itself for some people and if the OP has it, it does not look like it will be fulfilled in her relationship. Which, if she decides to stay, is a ticking bomb, until a man comes along who will pick up on that and give her the admiration that she craves and is starved off. That will be the end of their relationahip. Again, hers is a valid need. I can relate to it as i have that need too. If an otherwise “wonderful” guy approached me with the message that even though i am not all that, he likes me “as a package”, i would thank him and move along. I dont need emotional charity.

  3. 123
    Laya

    I have to disagree that when women are in love with their man that they think he is the most handsome, sexy etc.. man on earth. My girlfriends, sisters and I have had many of conversations about the men they have married. I am fortunate to say all of them are happily married. Some said that they weren’t attracted to them initially, the chemistry was lukewarm or they were attracted to their personality. My friends were smart to pick other qualities beside burning chemistry. My friends were able to evaluate their then boyfriends with a level of objectivity.

    My one friend just told me the other day that she married her husband not because she was so in love but because she knew he was a good man. She said that she knew she was taking a chance. She said that the love she has for him now is nothing compared to when they first married. It is much deeper.

    I am a woman with a high libido…my current boyfriend and boyfriends in the past have said I had the highest libido of any woman they have known. I sometimes identify more with men than women honestly. I have a boyfriend, whom I am in love with but don’t think objectively he is the most handsome or sexiest man alive. In fact he is not really my type with regards to looks. However, I am still deeply attracted to him and we have a fabulous sex life. That being said, I still admire attractive men, catch myself staring at them walking down the street, and will laugh with girlfriends about a man’s anatomy or pecs/biceps etc… It goes both ways. I wouldn’t doubt if I have accidentally glanced at an attractive man in front of my boyfriend. If he noticed, he has never said anything. He is not insecure. While I don’t think most women are like me, I do think it has something to do with my libido. Men are probably similar with theirs. It’s nothing personal, really.

  4. 124
    Ruby

    My guy and I (both attractive, both movie buffs) have had some fun conversations about actors (both male and female), that we find hot, some of whom are long deceased. Do we actually compare each other to these people? Uh, no. We avoid that particular can of worms, thank you.

    I think the OP is worried that her BF isn’t sufficiently attracted to her. Is she insecure? Perhaps. Is he a clueless clod who doesn’t complement her appearance enough? Perhaps. But she’s worried that he’s not sufficiently attracted to her, and that he may lose interest over the long haul. That’s the gist of it, in a nutshell.

  5. 125
    Katarina Phang

    Laya, I didn’t say most handsome/sexy but most attractive and that means overall, not just physical. I will feel slighted too if my man says there are other women who are far more attractive than me. Attractive is much more encompassing than physical beauty. You don’t say things like that to someone you love or in relationship with. It’s about respect too. If a man says that to me, hell, why would I want to be your second or third best? Move on then. Let me find someone who thinks I’m his best because I don’t want to think any less of him either.

  6. 126
    Margo

    I just reread the OP’s letter to Evan, and yes, this woman’s expectations are unrealistic. Her boyfriend doesn’t have to view her as the most beautiful woman in the world for them to have a good, loving relationship. My only problem with her boyfriend was that he was too blunt.

  7. 127
    crau-crau

    god, this has got to be the most depressing post/thread on the planet. the subject matter is not even the reason why, it’s just that Evan expects that it is this woman’s job to understand where her boyfriend is coming from, and NOT vice versa. I understand that this site is about trying to understand the male perspective, but how come there’s no give in the other direction? The gist of this whole article is, “Women, suck it up, ’cause this is how men are.” What if we said the opposite? Well. Obviously Evan wouldn’t like that. Because Men Tell It How It is, Women, Get Used To It. Or something.
    Here’s the thing: part of being in a relationship is sometimes telling your sig. other what they need to hear at the time. Yeah. Gross, right? Lying. HOWEVER. We’re creatures, not machines, and sometimes we don’t need COLD HARD FACTS.
    We need the thing that’s going to get us through the night, and to not understand that is the opposite of empathy. You’re not always going to have a perfect girlfriend who RADIATES motherfucking confidence. Sometimes she needs to be built up, and if you tell her that TO YOU, IN YOUR EYES, she is hotter than A. Jolie, is a child dying somewhere because you fudged? No. Not so. But your girlfriend will snuggle up to you and understand that you think she’s gorgeous, and maybe next time Angelina Jolie comes onscren she won’t have to ask. Because she knows that you think she is beautiful.
    But, it seems like we’re supposed to applaud this dude for being Super Truth Machine and evaluating his girlfriend on a numbers system, when part of this whole girlfriend package he has is a girl who occasionally needs some reassurance. My boyfriend is in the creative arts, and sometimes he sends me a project he’s working on, wanting a critique. Do you know what I do? I tell him some glowing things about it (which are true) and then I say “Maybe this part could use some work.” Which is also true. I don’t say “This is a 5 out of 10,” and expect his feelings to MAGICALLY not be hurt. (And I know they would be, even though he’s A Guy.) What’s wrong with reassuring her? Like, seriously, is it not ok to be nice to each other? For the sake of niceness, because we love each other?

  8. 128
    Evan Marc Katz

    Okay, Crau Crau, so when your boyfriend asks you if he’s smarter than Bill Gates, cuter than Matthew McConaghey, and more talented than DaVinci, you go and tell him that.

    Good relationships are built on sincere compliments, unconditional love and support, and frequent acts of kindness. I say this as a relationship coach and part of a very healthy marriage.

    If you’ve read closely, I’m not saying that the boyfriend couldn’t potentially be more sensitive. I’m saying that the OPs overreaction to this minor issue is far more concerning than anything the boyfriend “might” have said.

    Not quite sure why that’s so hard to concede. If you want to go to a blog where women talk about when men are supposed to do, there’s about a billion of them out there. Have at it. I’m only telling you that there are a LOT of good men who find conversations like the above one – “Am I as hot as Angelina?” – to be a nonsensical exhausting waste of time and energy.

    If you don’t believe me, look at the comments from men on here. This blog isn’t frequented by meatheads, but the kind of men you’d be lucky to marry. You’d be well-advised to see the nuance in my position, instead of blindly defending a clearly hypersensitive woman.

  9. 129
    Cat5

    Evan,

    You have been getting beaten up a lot lately on your blog…and frankly, I don’t understand why. Your advice, as usual, has been sound and accurate. At times I also doubted some of the things you suggested and might have even said so in a comment or two…perhaps even in a confrontational manner.

    Despite my doubts, I am always willing to learn, so I went ahead and tried your suggestions. What did I have to lose? Nothing. What did I have to gain? A healthy, loving relationship. I’ve been with my boyfriend now for a year-and a-half.

    It’s simple: If a person is fishing for compliments, he/she shouldn’t be surprised if all he/she reels in…is an empty hook.

    If my boyfriend told me I was hotter than Angelina Jolie…no wait — she’s gotten hideously skinny…let’s say Angie Harmon…I’d laugh at him and tell him he was full of shit!

    I don’t know if I find this conversation more ridiculous or the one under “Why are women more negative about dating than men?” It had me feeling insulted for the many kind, loving and good men I know.

    Get out of your own way ladies. Evan is giving you good advice. Be open and give it a try. You don’t have anything to lose, and hopefully you will gain good man. I did.

    1. 129.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks for the token kind word, Cat5. That’s what I find really amazing. I’ve devoted my entire life to helping women understand and connect with men… I am surrounded by women every day and talk on the phone with them each afternoon… I have over a thousand client testimonials from people whose lives have changed thanks to my writing… and yet I have to consistently defend against this inane talk that I’m a misogynist who wants women to suffer at the hands of the patriarchy. Give it a rest, y’all.

      Unlike all the women who blame men for all the ills in the world, I don’t come remotely close to blaming women for everything. I’ve consistently told women to dump men who don’t call, commit, treat them well, or have the same long-term goals and values. My book “Why He Disappeared” is all about how to get over bad men in an instant and find the good ones.

      What any of my detractors seem to have missed is that I’m only going to post questions where the person asking the question has something to learn.

      Can you imagine how incredibly boring this blog would be if every post was, “You’re right. He’s wrong!”

      I intentionally choose questions that provide a different perspective than the OP has on her own. I answer those questions thoughtfully, armed with more dating and coaching experience than anyone reading this. Now it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to disagree, to point out something I haven’t considered, or to conclude that you don’t like my POV and want to find a blog you’d rather frequent.

      But to continually have my integrity impugned when I am an ethical person, devoted husband and obvious friend to women? Yeah, that’s pretty annoying.

      Feel free to check out the rules of the blog and about the blog for more information about the code of conduct here.

      But there will be no more insulting me, my wife, my penis, my coaching skills, or anything else. Some readers have figured out how to have these kinds of discussions, they know who they are, and I value them tremendously. The rest of you? If you’re not gonna say anything nice, you’re not gonna buy anything from me, and you’re not gonna be my friend, just be gone.

      I sincerely hope that you eventually see that your anger at men like me is highly misplaced.

      It’s my job to teach you how (many) men think. It’s not your job to teach me how women think – after listening to women for 4 hours a day for the past 9 years, I have a pretty sound understanding. The real room for growth is from you – not from me, and not from “men” (whom you can’t change, no matter how loudly you protest).

      Want to be understood as a woman? Start with understanding good, solid, honest men like me instead of angrily invalidating our point of view.

      I think you’ll find that you enjoy men a lot more when you start appreciating our good qualities instead of throwing a fit when we treat you like human beings instead of mythically perfect creatures who need to be shielded from what we’re really thinking.

      When you allow a man to be himself with you, you get the best of him.

      When you tell him that everything he does, says, or thinks offends you, you get guys who pull away or guys who lie to keep the peace. You’ve seen it 100 times yourself.

      The choice is yours.

      Good night and good luck.

  10. 130
    Margo

    “…but the kind of men you’d be lucky to marry”.

    I agree with your latest post, but not this, Evan. Definitely not this…

  11. 131
    Lucy

    If my guy told me I was pretty, but that he didn’t think I was beautiful, I would dump that motherF-R pronto. PRONTO! Out the door! I am incensed by comments suggesting that the OP is being ridiculous.

    I know I make good money. I see it in my paycheck. I know I am really smart. It’s measured our whole lives. I know I don’t have an amazing body, but I am generally happy with it. I know I am really pretty! I see it in the mirror. I don’t KNOW that I am BEAUTIFUL.

    Being beautiful to my lover is really my main priority. And I suck at it?

    The letter-writer clearly thinks that she has an amazing body, but her boyfriend thinks it is just sort of OK.

    If I had a body with the letter-writer’s proportions, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that I could conceivably compare my figure to celebrity figures. It’s not even a ridiculous argument. I bet she didn’t even ask him. She was probably just like “I’m as hot as she is” and then was super surprised at the response.

    On the rest of it: I know other men look at me, and I like it, but it doesn’t really matter in terms of my self-perception because I do not know them. It matters what my BOYFRIEND thinks. If men on the street pay more attention to my general attractiveness than my lover, there’s a problem.

    I know that men think other women are hot. I kind of like it. It proves that they are really virile and have a lot of sexual desire – and choose me! I’m the winner! I am the most beautiful girl in the world! I’m the only one that they will ever love! I’m the only one who knows their heart. I love that Rihanna song.

    sarahrahrah! #13 is absolutely right. There is a huge difference between pretty and beautiful. –Good-looking, cute, and pretty? I know that about myself. Even platonic friends can see that stuff! I don’t need a boy to tell me I’m pretty. –Attractive and sexually desirable, hot and beautiful and sexy? I can’t judge that stuff for myself! Only my lover can do that. It is up to him.

    I absolutely think my lover is the most beautiful man in the world. ABSOLUTELY the hottest. Did I think that when I first met him? No way! I think I audibly snorted when a guy friend said he could see me falling for this guy. Is Brad Pitt cuter than him? I guess, but who cares? Brad is not more beautiful than him. He’s not sexier than him. My guy is the sexiest in the world. FACT!

    This girl’s douchebag boyfriend is a tool, and she can find someone who thinks she is beautiful.

  12. 132
    AllenB

    Actually, until now I always thought pretty and beautiful were nearly synonymous yet 2-3 posters on the thread have said otherwise like “of course everyone knows they are different.” Any other guys believe this too? (Where does gorgeous fit into the spectrum?) It is a small thing to use beautiful instead of pretty so I will from now on, but don’t assume every man understands word choice nuances the same way many women seem to.

  13. 133
    crau-crau

    Y’know what’s funny to me… that you can’t concede that you may have been slightly wrong on a point, or spoken too quickly. You counter with saying that you KNOW women. Because you’ve talked to them so much. For hours a day! You’re saying this… to women. It’s very interesting to me that say you’ll cut off comments if they’re not “your friends” who agree with you. How come you can’t extend that privilege, that power of cutting-off, to the chick whose boyfriend can’t seem to say something nice?

    I’ve read the OP’s post again and never once does she say she asked her boyfriend for praise. The details are iffy, but it could be that he simply offered up the helpful info that she’s not as beautiful as [insert name of movie star here]. You don’t think that’s, um, kinda cruel? Especially for someone who seems to need to be built up about her looks, a little?

    Is it terrible to need praise or reassurance? Maybe it would have been more constructive to advise the OP to let her boyfriend know what she needs? That she needs him to sometimes let her know that he thinks she’s beautiful? NOT objectively… subjectively. And if he can’t do that… then both their needs aren’t being met?

    Maybe the OP is insecure and needy. But a lot of us are. And it’s just as important for men to understand what we need – and I need a man who can understand that. “That’s just how dudes are” isn’t good enough anymore. That’s not really relationship coaching – it’s man-psyche coaching, and being in a relationship is a two-way street.

    1. 133.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Crau – I edited out your insults and kept the meat of your comment. And you’re right. It might have been more constructive to tell the OP a more effective way to communicate with her boyfriend, instead of insulting him and threatening to dump him over an inane celebrity comparison. But that’s not what I did. I told her something that was equally valid which is something you probably wouldn’t have considered: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a man who finds other women more attractive. Most happily married men can find other women physically attractive and have absolutely no illusions that he’d be happier if he were with them. This is a point worth understanding, but it seems to be one that you want to sweep under the rug to justify how insensitive the OP’s boyfriend MAY have been.

      And since this is a blog teaching women to understand men, I feel that it’s my responsibility to do just that. A one page blog post is not a comprehensive answer to solving all communication issues, needless to say. So to expect me to uncover every possible nuance of what happened is simply unrealistic. I chose to do what I do best – educating women on the one thing that they can EASILY change – how to understand and accept men… as opposed to doing what YOU want me to do, which is teaching MEN to become better boyfriends.

      If HE came to me with HIS version of the dilemma, I might have told him how he could have been more sensitive to his girlfriend. That’s what HE could have learned. Alas, SHE wrote to me, so I told her how she could choose to be LESS sensitive to minor perceived slights like this. My fix is much easier and more effective, for what it’s worth. And since relationships are a two-way street, as you kindly pointed out, the easiest thing for her to do is start with the woman in the mirror, instead of flying off the handle as she seems to have done.

  14. 134
    Paul Mawdsley

    I find this thread very interesting, not the battling but the dynamics that underlies it.

    Evan and Aksauy, have you considered you both may be right on this? I’m not being wishy-washy here. Rather than contradictory, your views may be paradoxical perspectives of one truth. You are both becoming the symbols of two very entrenched and seemingly contradictory perspectives, largely divided along gender lines: Evan taking the part of objectively detached realist and Aksauy taking the part of empathically connected idealist. These are each view points we all can have inside us at any given moment.

    Maybe entrenched battling is not the answer. Maybe a dialectical approach, where each takes time to consider stepping into the other’s perspective for a moment, can raise awareness and understanding, and see through the fog.

    Evan, have you ever looked at your wife with eyes that see her as being so completely right for you in so many ways, filling so many of your needs and touching you so deeply that you can’t imagine feeling that way with anyone else? And then can you not shift back to seeing her from a frame of reference that sees only her outsides, where she can be measured by an outside standard as not being as attractive as other women you have known.

    Aksauy, have you ever looked at your husband with a sober mind, not intoxicated by the intimate spaces you create together, and reflected on how he is not perfect by any outside standard; that he is outwardly less attractive than some other men you have known? And then can you not shift back to the perspective where you see all he means to you and you can’t imagine feeling this way about anyone else?

    We have the ability to shift perspectives. This makes them paradoxical not contradictory. The same reality seen through different lenses in different contexts will produce different conclusions. There is no point battling between such paradoxes. There will be no winner. There will only be a power game where truth is the loser. The wiser strategy is to find the underlying truth that connects the different perspectives and different conclusions. This is what I tried to do in my earlier post…but the battle has waged on.

    I think the mistake you are both making is in entrenching your positions and excluding the other’s perspective. It leaves no room to find common ground and a shared perspective.

    You can see your lover as both a 7 and the best thing the universe has ever given you…which I think was Evan’s earlier point. It seems clear that Diana didn’t get this. She had a messed up frame of reference and skewed emotional space when she painted her bf into a shitty corner. Not understanding the emotional space she was coming from, not exploring what her frame of reference was and shifting to a defensive ultra objective space to respond was his mistake. It should be easy to sympathize. This whole thread has been all about people making the same mistakes they did.

    1. 134.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      A wonderful and perfectly valid point, Paul. Thank you for bringing a useful and measured maturity to the proceedings. However, if you’ve read this ridiculously long stream of comments, I’ve frequently validated that the boyfriend could have acted with more tact and sensitivity if he had to do it all over again. It still doesn’t make him a bad person or boyfriend, however. The OP can search far and wide for a man who always says the right thing and never offends her, but that’s gonna be a really, really long search. Better to let stuff like this roll off your back if the rest of the relationship is solid (which the OP says it is). So while I’ve conceded that the boyfriend could have done a better job, I haven’t quite heard the Aksauys, Lucys and Craus admit that just MAYBE this woman was being a bit insecure in her desire to be hotter than every celebrity combined, a bit melodramatic in her reaction to the realization that she’s not, and a bit hypersensitive in her rush to insult her boyfriend’s looks and consider dumping him over this frivolous fight.

      Your point is well taken – and it can be made about almost any argument with two valid points of view. Too bad some of our readers have yet to concede any of the points I made above.

      Your last line really resonates: this whole thread has been about people who refuse to recognize the validity of the other side. As I said in my post itself: this is a microcosm of all misunderstandings in all relationships. The best thing I ever did was find a woman who doesn’t police me or threaten me for my thoughts or occasional lapses in judgment. She sees the big picture instead of reacting to every verbal misstep. We have a very peaceful relationship because of it.

      It’s a lot easier – and more productive – to let tiny things roll off your back (if you love him and he loves you) than it is to get him to stop thinking thoughts or speaking his mind.

  15. 135
    Ruby

    We live in a culture in which women and their looks are continually scrutinized, much more so than men’s looks are. Advertisers and the media make billions off of telling us that we’re not attractive enough, and that we need to look younger, thinner, have different hair color, larger breasts, ad nauseum. So it’s not that surprising to me that many women on this thread have come across sounding insecure, when we’re constantly encouraged to feel that the way we look isn’t good enough. If you’re a woman who feels secure and confident about her looks, consider yourself lucky. If you’re a man who thinks these women are ridiculous, then realize that you are not bombarded with magazine articles and shows on plastic surgery, advertising for the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry, and images of models and actresses who are the beneficiaries of all that, and create an impossible-to-live-up-to standard of beauty, the same way that we women are.

  16. 136
    Katarina Phang

    Evan has a point that women also need to learn that fishing for compliments is very annoying for most guys. It reeks insecurity and dampens their attraction. Men are generally not sensitive to our emotional needs for reassurance. Unlike us, we are happy to give it to them ’cause we are a natural when it comes to relating and empathizing. The more we demand it, the less generous they become. I have learnt the hard way.

    The younger guy I’m dating is very blunt too so I have learnt not to ask him questions the answer of which I don’t want to hear or may not make me feel good. He even has the tendency to joke in a way that comes across as negging (the PUA’s common technique of putting a woman down before raising her up again). I’m still observing all of this in him.

    One example was he told me that he didn’t usually date Asian women because his type was usually white women. At first I was kinda bummed hearing that but then I did take a positive interpretation thanks to my own sense of security that the fact that I’m his first Asian woman shows that I’m really that special that he can’t resist.

    You see, you can take an empowering perspective to their bluntness or lament it as insensitivity. Or better still just believe in yourself that you are all that…and so you become one. Confident women are very attractive even when they are not the most gorgeous on the block.

    I have unwavering belief in that so there is no need for me to ever ask a man again about how attractive I am to them. The fact that they keep coming back to me tells me everything I need to know. Sure, I still want compliments and verbal kindness because that’s my love language. But I won’t beat myself if guys these days don’t praise me left and right because when they do, I know they really mean it (like my cub told me last week: “I’m the best.”) Their compliments have more impact then.

  17. 137
    AnnieC

    @97

    If some-one asks you if you’ve done your paperwork, they are asking for a reason. If you want to invent meaning, put words into their mouth and create drama for no reason, then you only really have yourself to blame. I take people at their word. It is much much easier. Lol

  18. 138
    AnnieC

    Btw: That was a general “you” not a personal “you”.

    @146

    Women are not victims of a world that tells them they must be beautiful. If we are that easily influenced , are we not what some men suggested in the past, that we are weak, irrational creatures? Are we women really that weak? If we are we should be wrapped up in cotton wool, and not allowed to make decisions for ourselves.

    We have to stop blaming everything outside of ourselves. You can’t change the media anymore than you can change men. You can change yourself, and that is the only action that is productive.

  19. 139
    Margo

    @Paul#144, of course there are two different perspectives on what transpired between the OP and her boyfriend in this article. DUH! But, thank you for pointing that out. What really doesn’t surprise me is the reaction of those on here who are so rigid in their thinking that they can’t see that each side has valid points.
    For example, the women on here who are saying things like, “Well, he better think I’m as beautiful as Angelina Jolie or else!” and “my boyfriend looks as hot as Brad Pitt!

    Well, actually, your boyfriend does NOT look as hot as Brad Pitt, but your feelings and love for him have come into play, and that reality is now dictating your feelings. But, there is an objective reality…

  20. 140
    Samantha

    @146 Women ARE victims of a world that tells them they must be beautiful. I think it’s sad that people like you probably know there are millions of females suffering from eating disorders and still think they’re just being weak. If you have self-esteem, great! But educate yourself… you should see Demi Lovato’s Stay Strong documentary or maybe think about Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian, how they had to struggle with their weight and curves and understand before you criticize. No wonder so many women are like the OP and feel the need tocompare themselves to celebs like AJ.

    ”We have to stop blaming everything outside of ourselves. You can’t change the media anymore than you can change men. You can change yourself, and that is the only action that is productive.” Albert Einstein once said: ”The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” There you go.

  21. 141
    nathan

    AnnieC @149 – You are over emphasizing the role of personal responsibility and individual agency. None of us is totally free from being influenced by the media, and the rest of our culture, no matter how strong and independent we are. I have never met a woman who didn’t have some challenges around her looks (either in her past, or in the present). We are surrounded by messages that women must look a certain way, or else they are aren’t good enough. I’ve seen the effects of this even in small children. Girls under six years old talking about not being pretty, or that they are comparing themselves with child stars on TV and in the movies. Telling women to grow up and stop being victims really isn’t enough. In fact, I can imagine it’s insulting to any woman who has done her damnedest to let go of such concerns, only to find them creeping in during weak moments.

    As I said earlier, I think Diana’s fixation on celebrities and being “the hottest girl on earth” to her boyfriend is immature and irritating. If it’s a regular pattern, it’s something that makes being her boyfriend a difficult task at best. On the other hand, if her boyfriend regularly makes subtle or not so subtle comments about how she looks, then a whole different dynamic is at play. Given the lack of information in the letter about their overall relationship, it could be that she’s partly reacting to his undercutting.

    A lot of men fail to give any credence to the ways in which American pop culture fixates on certain beauty standards, and renders everything else inferior. Playing the blunt, “objective” truth teller role all the time is a failure to meet your partner somewhere in the middle. Compromise. Evan loves that word. Guys gotta get a clue and do that more around issues like this.

    To be honest, though, I get the sense that both Diana and her b/f are either young and/or immature. Making comments about how hot celebrity X is, and then making “serious” comparisons between celebrities and yourselves is high schoolish. Granted, with the way so many people are obsessed with celebrities these days, perhaps the whole “extended adolescence” theory is worth considering for them, and for our society as a whole.

  22. 142
    Samantha

    Oh, and my opinion about the actual question… I wasn’t there to know exactly how this conversation happened, so I would advice Diana to ask herself: is it a deal-breaker for her boyfriend because being hot is important to him? Is he really that attracted to Angelina and sad that he has to be with Diana instead of a much hotter woman? Or is it irrelevant to him and he loves Diana more than anybody else, despite her not being the most physically beautiful female he knows? I think if he still loves her despite her physical flaws and not-so-perfect looks she should give him a chance and ignore this instead of making it a big deal, but there are a few men that are with their partners ”just because”. If he’s not into her and is just too comfortable to leave or work in the relationship, then she should dump him.

  23. 143
    Diana

    Ok, I am the letter writer. I want to thank everybody for their comments, it was very helpful to see other points of view. To clarify how the conversation went: I never asked my (now ex) b/f if I was hotter than AJ. I stated it, saying something like “yeah I am just as hot as she is” – to which he responded “what are you crazy?” and I said “excuse me?” and then the whole conversation how I am not that hot but pretty enough ensued. I broke off this relationship for two reasons. First, I realized that no matter what I did he would never see me as beautiful or hot, while there’s plenty of men who would. I should’ve taken a note when we first started dating and he told me I wasn’t “his usual type”. Everybody is entitled to “their type”, and he’s not a bad guy for having it, but being “good enough” is not good enough for me. I decided that I didn’t need to spend my life trying to morph into “his type” or accepting being “second best” and see him longing for women that he considers hot, when I can be “the best” as is to someone else. And second, and the main reason, I just saw my future together with this man. A “good woman, the whole package” shoved into a suburban house with 2 kids while her husband is partying in the city with a “hot woman” and his friends. Relationships where a man can so clearly separate “hot” from “good” in his head are ripe for serial infidelities, I see way too much of it every day, thanks but no thanks. I am really upset with myself that I did not pick up on those signals earlier in this relationship and let it progress that far (as it turned out he went shopping for a ring…) Like Evan said earlier on this blog, men always tell us exactly how they feel and we choose not to listen. I chose not to listen, while he was not simply dropping hints but telling me outright how he felt about me all along. I am also upset with myself for letting his snarky remarks even temporarily undermine my self-esteem and confidence, and for snapping at him – I should be a better person than that.

  24. 144
    Helen

    nathan 151, all your points are very valid. However, I’d be curious to how the media affect not just women, but also men, in this example. Ruby 146 described how the media enforce aspects of women’s perceptions and behavior. How about for men? Do you find yourself bombarded by the media into believing that a particular female look is the most attractive (tall, skinny, long hair, etc.), or do men look less at all these examples because they’re not specifically tailored to men? Do men actually have a much wider definition of women’s beauty than portrayed by the popular media?

  25. 145
    Ruby

    AnnieC

    I never used the words “victim”, although, as Samantha (150) said, an argument could be made for the use of that term. I never said that women were “weak”, either. I am talking about very deep-rooted and over-arching standards of beauty that women are expected to conform to. We are all influenced to conform to cultural and societal expectations, and most people simply follow, rather than question. That is not most WOMEN, that is most PEOPLE.

  26. 146
    Evan Marc Katz

    Thanks for following up, Diana. I’m sorry that your relationship didn’t work out. If your ex really thought that his future was “partying” with “hot women” in the city, then you definitely made the right decision. Please don’t get distracted by all the noise in the comments section. You do deserve a man who is attracted to you and loyal to you above all; I implore you to disabuse yourself of the notion that he has to think you’re hotter than every other woman on the planet. It’s an impossibly high bar to jump and you’re setting yourself – and your boyfriend – up for failure. I trust that with the right guy, you won’t even feel compelled to ask for validation.

  27. 147
    nathan

    Helen @154 Those are good questions.

    “Do you find yourself bombarded by the media into believing that a particular female look is the most attractive (tall, skinny, long hair, etc.)” I’d be interested to hear from men who pay more attention to pop culture, because I mostly opted out of television, American movies, and reading pop magazines years ago.

    “do men look less at all these examples because they’re not specifically tailored to men?” I think they often are tailored towards heterosexual men. In terms of a celebrity or model’s final image. While at the same time, they are tailored towards women in as far as getting women to buy beauty products, “in fashion” clothing, as well as believing that the final image is desirable.

    “Do men actually have a much wider definition of women’s beauty than portrayed by the popular media?” Even though there’s a lot of cultural pressure to maintain narrow definitions of beauty, I do think that men as a group still display a diversity of definitions of beauty. And I’d say that with experience and more maturity comes a much more nuanced understanding of what is beautiful and what isn’t. But some guys never really grow out of that narrow view. I don’t know what the percentages are, but enough that it makes me think that media and pop culture are still a pretty strong influence on people, regardless of gender.

  28. 148
    Helen

    Thanks, nathan. I’d assumed that Cosmo, Redbook, etc., were tailored toward women, but it makes sense that men give the covers a long glance as well, even if they don’t look inside.

    Diana – wow. I feel for you, but at the same time would encourage you not to keep comparing yourself to others, supermodels or not. Be happy with yourself the way you are. Even if I met a guy who really was as hot as Matthew McConaughey, I’d be turned off if he actually stated it outright. It would imply vanity combined with a bit of insecurity, that he needed to compare himself at all.

    Looks are not the most important thing in a relationship. Don’t let this be the basis for how you perceive your worth to other men.

  29. 149
    Helen

    Diana – also, I wonder if you’re hurting yourself by reading way too much into your ex’s statements. For example: “Relationships where a man can so clearly separate “hot” from “good” in his head are ripe for serial infidelities”… Many people, male and female, can clearly separate hot from good, myself included. But I have no desire or intention whatsoever to commit infidelity, and would guess that most people don’t.

    It may already be a moot point, but from your description, your ex doesn’t sound bad at all. If he was shopping for a ring, he loved you despite whatever he may have said about looks. What would be so wrong with his falling in love with your humor, kindness, courage, or something else that really mattered? The only real problem here, from what it sounds like, is that you didn’t trust him. A relationship can’t thrive if one party doesn’t trust the other. But in the future, I hope you don’t base trust on how hot your man thinks you are.

  30. 150
    Karl R

    Diana said: (#154)
    “Relationships where a man can so clearly separate “hot” from “good” in his head are ripe for serial infidelities,”

    Really?

    If a woman is “hot,” then I think of her as “eye candy;” nice to look at, but I don’t particularly want to converse with her or be in a relationship with her (unless she demonstrates that she’s intelligent, fun, easy to get along with, etc).

    I’m certainly not about to ruin my relationship (with a “good” woman) for some temporary fling. I’ve never cheated in my previous relationships. That’s not because I think my fiancée is the hottest woman on the planet (nor were my ex-girlfriends). It’s because she’s more important to me than all the hot women put together. And my integrity is more important, also.

    Diana,
    Do you have some basis for believing that your ex-boyfriend is destined to be a serial-adulterer, or is this a “fact” that you invented?

    Diana said: (#154)
    “I just saw my future together with this man. A ‘good woman, the whole package’ shoved into a suburban house with 2 kids while her husband is partying in the city with a ‘hot woman’ and his friends.”

    Did he say that was what he expected? Has he demonstrated a tendency to run off and party with hot women while leaving you at home? Or is this something you imagined?

    If this was what your ex-boyfriend expected for your (collective) future, then you dodged a bullet. If you broke up with him because this is what you imagined he’d be like in the future, then he dodged a bullet.

    Diana said: (#154)
    “I never asked my (now ex) b/f if I was hotter than AJ. I stated it, saying something like ‘yeah I am just as hot as she is'”

    Even if you are as hot as Angelina Joliie, I would consider that to be an incredibly immodest statement.

    If you’re as hot a Hollywood actresses, you don’t need to tell people that you’re hot. They will have already noticed.

    It seems to me that you’re creating problems for yourself, primarily with an overactive imagination, but also with what you say. And if you’re creating your problems, you’ll find those problems in all of your future relationships as well.

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