Leveling Up: Building an Attractive Lifestyle

Now that Valentine’s Day is over and we’re running headlong into spring, people’s thoughts will naturally turn towards sex and relationships. This makes it a great time to start taking those steps to turning your life around and making the transition into being the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Which is why I’m kicking off a series of articles all about leveling up your life by making changes to help you transform into a new, happier, more confident you. Because I believe that the key to social success is a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of your life, we’re going to be talking about all of the aspects of self improvement and increasing your attractiveness. It’s not just a case of having clever things to say or chiseled facial features, it’s about who you are at your core.

Which is why we’re going to start by talking about the power of an attractive lifestyle.

You Are What You Do

A person’s lifestyle is often simultaneously the most important and the most neglected area of self-improvement, especially when it comes to improving one’s love life. The lion’s share of attention is showered on surface issues – physical attractiveness, having witty opening lines, knowing how to banter – often at the expense of the deeper issues.

The fact of the matter is, your lifestyle can have a greater effect on your dating success than you’ve ever realized.

How we see and interact with the world is colored and filtered by our day-to-day behaviors and activities; what we do every day wears a groove into our brains that affects everything we do and see… not to mention affecting the people we meet and the way they perceive us.

Lifestyle is more than just superficial issues such as job, income and spending levels, and fashion choices. Your lifestyle is the manner in which you live, which reflects who you are as a person. It includes your values and your attitudes, what you find fulfilling and where you choose to spend your time and attention – and this, in turn, will affect how you present yourself and how you come across to others.

Neglecting your lifestyle can actively sabotage improvement in other areas; changing your sense of style and improving your looks can help, but an incompatable or unattractive lifestyle will end up making things actively worse.

Don’t Poison The Well

Your attitude is an incredibly important part of being attractive and socially successful. As I’ve said many times before, the way you perceive the world is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you carry around a shitty attitude and outlook, you’re going to find yourself having a much harder time meeting awesome people than someone who is positive.

A negative outlook is going to, by its very nature, filter out the people you’re hoping to attract. Negative, unhappy people aren’t fun or pleasant to be around.

There are, of course, exceptions.

There are, of course, exceptions.

There are reasons why people aren’t holding Oscar The Grouch up as a dating role model… at least ones that go beyond being made of felt and having a stranger’s fist permanently lodged up your colon.

Your lifestyle is both a reflection of your life and attitudes and an influence on them. Problems in your lifestyle will inevitably infect the rest of your life… especially your social life.

If you aren’t happy with your lifestyle – you work a job you hate for far too little money, you have no creative outlet,  you’re socially disconnected, or you have little to your life beyond just day to day drudgery – you are going to have a much harder time meeting people and finding people who want to spend time with you. Your dissatisfaction will affect how you interact with the world around you and how others react to you. The less you have going for you that makes you happy, the more problems you will face in your dating life.

This isn’t to say that you must have your dream job or make buckets of money before you can start dating; it means that you need to have something in your life that brings you satisfaction and fulfillment.

You Are Not Your Job, Your Apartment, or Your Fucking Khakis

One of the most common mistakes that people make when talking about lifestyle is that they equate a “good” lifestyle with material goods and success. It’s a truism in many PUA circles, for example, that to have an attractive lifestyle means a flashy car, the most stylish clothes or a socially desirable job – all the better to rope in those “hypergamous” women. And yet for all that people will claim that being financially well off is a pre-requisite for dating success, I have known plenty of people who are richer than God who can’t score a date to save their lives.

While financial success can bring comfort and increase one’s opportunities in other  areas, it is by no means the definition of a “good” or “attractive” lifestyle. You can have money or a high-status job and still have little to no satisfaction with your life. Lifestyle isn’t just about what you own or the size of your apartment – it’s about how you live your life, how you pursue your passions, how you spend your time and who you spend it with.

"You'd think that dominating the stock market and sleeping on a giant pile of money would help ease the pain of the emptiness of my life."

“You’d think that dominating the stock market and sleeping on a giant pile of money would help ease the pain of the emptiness of my life.”

Most writers or artists for example, have jobs that they don’t care for because being a full-time writer or artist usually doesn’t pay the bills. Their day job may not bring much in the way of personal satisfaction, but it does give them the opportunity to indulge their passion: painting, music, writing, etc. Being able to follow their passion – even though it may not bring financial success – helps enhance their lifestyle.

Part of an attractive lifestyle is pursuing your interests and your passions, finding the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. Having passion in your life is an incredibly attractive trait and exploring and expanding your horizons helps make you a more well-rounded, interesting individual. This is why it’s important to cultivate your interests and hobbies, especially if they are in areas you’ve always wanted to explore but have been afraid to; taking chances and facing your fears are great ways of building confidence on top of improving your lifestyle.

Your Lifestyle Is Your Filter

Part of why your lifestyle is important is in how it affects the people you meet and the people who will be attracted to you.

One of the reasons I constantly advocate exploring hobbies and being more social is that it makes meeting new people a natural and inevitable part of your life. Instead of having to go out specifically to find people, an active and engaging lifestyle helps bring the people you are interested in to you, by helping to ensure that you’re in a position where meeting new people is going to just happen. If your lifestyle is predominantly one of staying at home and cutting yourself off from contact with the world, you are going to have a much harder time meeting people than someone going out and taking some language classes or participating in an amateur sports league. Similarly, having an attractive lifestyle will increase your personal appeal to others – if you’re leading an interesting life, others are going to want to be a part of it. On the other hand, if your daily life consists of shuttling between work and home with only a few rounds of Call of Duty to break up the hours in between, far fewer people are going to want to take part.

Your lifestyle will also help determine the type of people you meet and attract. Despite what we’ve been told, opposites rarely attract; we are much more likely to be interested in people who are similar to us. If there’s a particular type of person you’re interested in – alt-girls, for example – then you are much more likely to find success if you are compatible with that world. A 56 year old corporate type who’s into opera and wine-tastings isn’t necessarily going to be attractive to the 23 year old recent college graduate in a retail job who lives for shot specials downtown and clubbing on weekends, no matter how much the corporate type may want it. Their lifestyles are going to be too incompatible: they have entirely different life experiences, values, attitudes and priorities. The business type rarely succeeds with the bohemian; more often than not their lifestyles conflict with one another to a point where it’s almost impossible for the two to be happy together. The more overlap between lifestyles that you have, the more basis for attraction and commonalities exist.

If you’re an introvert, the odds of meeting someone that you’re interested in – and who would be interested in you – at a Thirsty Thursday happy hour at Baby A’s are remote at best.

Yup. This seems like the perfect place for the shy, bookish sort to find love.

Yup. This seems like the perfect place for the shy, bookish sort to find love.

This is not to say that nerds can and should only date nerds, mind you. You don’t need matching lifestyles so much as compatible ones. A geek who’s a bit of a homebody with an interest in anime and video games can still find happiness with a non-geek who also enjoys quiet nights at home, but they will be far less happy with an outdoors-y geek who doesn’t care for reading and prefers bar-hopping to a night in.

Play To Your Strengths

One of the common mistakes I see when people talk about what makes an attractive lifestyle is the assumption that there is one lifestyle that is universally attractive and should be the goal of anyone looking to improve their dating life. Frequently when I see people trying to explain what makes a “good” lifestyle, it tends to involve defining an attractive lifestyle in a very narrow fashion and trying to apply it regardless of age, interests or life experience. Just as certain lifestyles tend to be incompatible with others, some lifestyles are going to be incompatible with individuals. An introvert will be uncomfortable trying to wedge themselves into being a fixture on the club-scene just as hardcore punks are going to be less likely to fit in at an exclusive country club.

"So who's up for grabbing some clubs and hitting the back nine?"

“So who’s up for grabbing some clubs and hitting the back nine?”

Spend some time thinking not only about the sort of things that you’re interested in but the sorts of traits and values in the people you want to meet: where are they likely to hang out? What are they likely to do in their spare time, and how much crossover would there be with what you love to do?

By following your passions, you increase the likelihood of meeting people who share your interests and values; people who, in other words, you are more likely to be compatible with. If you’re a high-energy person who gets a charge from large groups of people you are far more likely to meet people you’d be into at rowdy parties rather than at an open mic night or a poetry reading. If you’re passionate about art, gallery shows and art history classes will be much more of your speed. If you’re politically active or socially minded, you will find more success volunteering your time for local politicians or non-profit organizations.

If you’re not sure what it is that you’re passionate about, then take some time to experiment. Give yourself permission to try things you’ve been curious about but never could quite bring yourself to pull the trigger on – travel, learning another language, studying a martial art, taking up a musical instrument or even something as esoteric as learning how to be a DJ. Even if it turns out not to be your thing, it can still help round you out as a person and collecting new experiences and stories is a great way to expand your personal horizons.

Finding ways to indulge and fulfill your passions and interests and making that a part of your life will naturally bring you more in contact with the sort of people you want to meet. If you’re unsure about how or where to meet people who share your passions, look online. Sites like meetup.com1 are one of the best ways to find people who share your interests.

Love Your Life

You will get the best results and the most return on your emotional investment if you love your life. The less happy you are with the direction your life is taking, the more problems you will encounter as you try to make your transformation.

If you’re unsatisfied with your lifestyle, it’s time to sit down and examine just what it is that you feel is wrong. Do you feel stifled with where you live? Do you have a dead-end job that drains your life away and sucks out your soul? Do you not have a life outside of work or school? Do you have a strong network of friends – people who genuinely care about you as a person – or do you just have people you hang out with out of convenience but who don’t share any of your interests?

Even if it seems daunting, solving your lifestyle issues and learning how to craft a life that brings you satisfaction and fulfillment will supercharge your social life. The happier you are with who you are, the better you will be at interacting with others.

  1. Which gets brought up here so often that I’m starting to consider asking them to sponsor the site… []

  • Gman

    This This and THIS! I simply love this post – because it is the best advice that I took and applied and that brought upon a real, actual change to my lifestyle. Even though I am still single – I am FAR less stressed out about it and I am MUCH happier with where I am in my life. Like many of you have already heard me state this several times throughout the comments section of the good doc's posts – I have begun salsa dancing classes 7 months ago. Ever since then I have become more confident, learned a lot about non-verbal signals (as it is a specific weakness of mine) became more social in general (and specifically with women), made some great new friends (we have a gathering set up for Wednesday evening – were planning on watching a movie, getting some pizza then have a Minecraft LAN Party) and all in all I am simply much happier. Heck, just last Friday, I went to a salsa dance party. It was me and a few people that I know through salsa class. After the party – we went to have some sushi at like 3 in the morning! To me, this was an unusual experience but a lot of fun – because I felt comfortable around the people that were with me. I ended up home at around 5am!!

    Now I am thinking about trying other stuff out, depending how much free time I can squeeze between university and salsa dancing. Maybe take a DJ course or learn a new language – thinking either German or Spanish 🙂

    • Clementine Danger

      I just love your energy. I get that too, that feeling of "oh dear lord these people totally act like they like me and here we are hanging out and let me just take a minute to appreciate how awesome that is". Best feeling in the world.

      Also, Spanish. Trust me. All us cool kids take Spanish. Not that I've got anything against German, but learning the grammar is a total drag (and my native language is Dutch, which is like German's shy younger sister). Spanish is pretty easy, grammar-wise. It's just a lot more fun when you can start conversing almost right away instead of laboring over grammatical rules for three years before you can string a sentence together.

      I'm passionate about language. I just thought I'd mention that.

      • enail

        …I like complicated grammar 🙂

        • And I'm gonna give the opposite piece of advice: go for Deutsch! Again, nothing against Spanish, but learning German (more than the other languages I've studied) gave me a deeper appreciation for English and how it's structured. Whichever you choose, though, have fun with it – I took up German in high school to be able to talk to cute exchange students, and it's effectively gotten me every job I've ever had.

          • Oisin

            Having Irish has come in handy socially and romanticly. (still get the ocassional arsehole who’ll go out of their way to tell me it’s a dead language) when I’m talking to someone else who can speak it its can be like are own secret language, I think that’s pretty cool!

          • Clementine Danger

            The secret language thing is really cool. My fiancee is learning Dutch at the moment, and we're really looking forward to having our own secret language. Because who the hell speaks Dutch?

            Honestly, my favorite language to learn so far has been English. It's come in really, really handy. Like here, right now. I like it here.

    • Gman

      I'd feel really bad if I started a "language fan war" here LOL. Anyway, it's just a thought for now, kind of loaded with stuff to do at university right now – it's just a thing that I will maybe start during summer or next year.

      • Jess

        Go German and Spanish! LOL, heck shoot for five different languages and call it a day.

        In all seriousness, I loved learning German because it is very methodical and once you know the rules, you can spell any German word by ear. I also learned a lot about proper English grammar through learning German. It was fun.

        My best advice for languages is to plan a trip, start saving, and start learning the language as you save. So it isn't so much what language do you want to speak as it is a question of, where do you want to go?

  • Axeber

    Totally on point! Happy people, with lives they love, are much more connected to others than unhappy people.

  • Clementine Danger

    My cousin once gave me a coupon for speed dating, and I thought, well, why the hell not? It wasn't like I had anything better to do. Seemed like a fun way to pass a Saturday night, maybe even get a date out of it.

    So we got five minutes with every guy there, which came to about two hours total, and I was bored out of my skull. Because of the "And what do you do?" question that comes immediately after the introduction. I do tons of things. I write and act, at the time I was in a production I was really passionate about, I give talks in high schools about mental health, I was learning three languages and making a movie, but I never got a chance to talk about all that, because they wanted to know what my job was. I was a waitress at the time. I hated it. The end.

    Then I realized I wasn't asking them the fun questions either. So I started asking what they were passionate about instead. That's apparently a very weird question, because half of the guys just shut down when I asked. I remember this one guy in particular, a really nice man who didn't like his office job very much, so when I asked him what his dream job would be, he didn't really know, and when I asked what he was really passionate about, he didn't really have anything either. And it didn't really matter how handsome and nice I thought he was, I just crossed out his name after the five minutes were up. Maybe he was just shy and he would have talked my ear off about his passion for seashells if given a chance, but I didn't see that in those five minutes.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying: man or woman, there is something wildly attractive about a person who is passionate about something, whose eyes light up when they talk about it, and who will talk about it for days when given a chance. That sort of energy is infectious, and you want that in your life.

    • Weelllll, it DOES depend on what you're passionate about. When I start talking excitedly about knit fabrics, guys' eyes start glazing over. You do need to be aware of your audience. I learned my lesson about trying to talk about Broadway musicals at a softball league, for example.

      • Clementine Danger

        Truefax. Do not, I repeat DO NOT go into your passion for roleplaying games without making it absolutely clear that you mean tabletop RPGs, not boinking in a sexy nurse outfit. You'll save yourself *hours* of confusion and cause a lot less awkward boners.

        Seriously though, yes, do read your audience. I really had to unlearn talking about these things to people who honestly didn't care. But on the whole I do find it's a good way of getting to know people and see if there's a friendship or other type of relationship there. Maybe it's just the kind of person I am (actually, I'm like 90% sure it is) but I have very little social energy, so I like to be around people who actually have things to say. Nothing drains me more than small talk. That's not a judgement or anything, it's just not something I can do in a friendly relationship. My fiancee for example is a herpetologist, and he can literally go on for hours about this cool snake or some creepy fish's mating habits, which… is not something I'm naturally inclined to have strong feelings about. But he gets so passionate and happy when he talks about that stuff, it's impossible to not like it.

  • I have struggled with dating since puberty, and for as long as I can remember, people have given me some shade of this advice: give up. Not forever! But long enough to really build a life that you enjoyed, one that wasn't centered around the insecurity, and social anxiety of dating.

    And boy howdy, did I resist it. I am by nature an introverted loner; most of my hobbies are isolated activities I do by myself. Left to my own devices (ie, not trying at dating), I'd for sure fail, since a guy isn't going to magically materialize in my living room. So for the longest time, I *tried* to build an attractive lifestyle, and do things I enjoyed, but still clung onto the idea of "dating." I went out to bars I hated, I took classes in -everything under the sun-, I went to sports leagues and parties and ran myself ragged trying to be this -Successful at Having a Life- person. I stayed in a long distance relationship (with a really cool guy who I adore, to be fair) even though I DESPISE long-distance, because I was so desperate about succeeding.

    A few months ago, I hit a wall. I was exhausted, discouraged, and bitter. For two years, I was doing all the things that Fun and Interesting people are supposed to do (going out to parties, having tons of unique hobbies.) yet I seemed to be sinking ever deeper into unhappiness.

    So I gave up. I sat down, and purposefully started envisioning what a Life Without A Relationship would look like. I dropped the hobbies that I really didn't enjoy, but was doing out this desire to "meet people." (Goodbye sports league!) I started budgeting how I could afford a house, and a dog, on a single income. (Kids may never happen, but at least I can try for a dog.) I cut out a huge chunk of people from my life… I have far fewer friends on Facebook now, making me look unpopular, but am now fairly certain my friends are *actually* my friends.

    Now most of my nights consist of being by myself. I go to the gym, and come home to writing and sewing and video games. I spend most weekends in libraries and museums by myself. I go out with people less frequently, but it's always in small groups with people I feel very close to. I am still taking classes, but they are Internet-based through a local tech school (working my way to a Software Developer diploma.) It's all the things I thought I wasn't "supposed" to do be doing, to succeed at life.

    Yet I love it. I am happier now than I've been in a long time. I finally feel like I don't need a relationship, because I am slowly starting to have something to be proud of all on my own.

    Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been easy. And I still relapse *frequently.* I still envy couples. I still wish I had someone to share my life with. I still struggle with seeing relationships as a necessary part of being a Grown-Up; that until you've achieved a successful one, you're a pathetic loser. I still struggle with placing a lot of my worth in how men perceive me.

    But I'm still happier than I was. And even though I fought for so long against the advice of giving up, it seems it was the only advice that's really worked for me.

    The thing is, improving your lifestyle, and giving up on dating, may not actually help you at dating. But, it WILL mean that you create a lifestyle that makes you happy and satisfied, even without a relationship. I *do not* expect this decision to result in a guy magically materializing in my living room. I fully expect to be single for the rest of my life. The important thing, though, is that I am finally okay with that, because I am working at creating a life that is happy and satisfying without any romance.

    The key is not going in to create a life, or even love a life, with the end goal of getting a relationship. I failed at both relationships and happiness because of that end goal. I was trying to manipulate the system. I wasn't *really* happy. If I was really happy, I wouldn't require a relationship; it'd just be a nice bonus. The important thing is creating and loving a life without a relationship…. as sad and lonely as that can seem from this current point in time.

    • Clementine Danger

      "I sat down, and purposefully started envisioning what a Life Without A Relationship would look like."

      I think that is the best dating advice I've ever read. What a great way of putting it.

      I've been there too, stuck with nothing but myself and that fucking Zen riddle. To have happy relationship, you must let go of desire for relationship. It sounds like such a dumb cliche, but it's actually true, and for me that didn't really sink in until well after it actually happened. Looking back now, it's so easy to see that pretty much the minute I decided to let it go and just be happy for me, all the cool guys and girls I thought would never go for me started flocking in. The happier I was, the more pride I took in my life, the more people seemed to like me. It was so abrupt that if it happened in a movie, you would snarf at it for being unrealistic. And yet here we are. Life is funny that way.

      • Ah, but I think it's dangerous to encourage being happy with yourself, in the hopes that People will come flocking in. The last few months I've been much happier and productive, but I've actually *lost* people. Outwardly, my dating life hasn't really changed…. guys still think I'm ugly and avoid me like the plague. But I am trying to not let it effect me as strongly as it did in the past. (It still effects me, but I try to just laugh at it instead of wallowing in sadness and bitterness.)

        The beauty of Giving Up is NOT that it will suddenly attract people…. but that you will stop caring that it doesn't.

        I just think it's wrong to tell people "If you let go, then suddenly you'll get what you want!" Sometimes it doesn't work that way. I think it's wiser to give up/let go for the sake of giving up and letting go…. expecting nothing from it but a sense of peace and contentment in a single life.

        • Robert

          Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head here Marty.

          At the end of the day, I get the feeling that it's not so much that people want relationships, more that people want lifestyles that they enjoy, and a relationship can be part of such a lifestyle but, unlike what so many people seem to believe, it doesn't have to be by default.

        • Clementine Danger

          You're absolutely right. I didn't mean to present building a happy life for yourself as a "dating technique". What I described has just been my experience with this process, and I shouldn't have presented it like a universal truth. I didn't mean to imply that letting go is a trick to get what you want. It's a worthwhile goal in its own right, not a means of getting to something else. It's also a very difficult process to describe for me, and my experiences are my own, not anyone else's. So… yes, what you said.

          I've also lost people. Some of them were dead weight, some of them were people I would like to have back in my life. What I meant to say was that even a lone introvert like me needs people in her life, and relationships. Not necessarily romantic ones. When I said guys and girls started liking me, I didn't mean in a romantic way. I've always been very insecure about my ability to make friends and be a good friend, and when I started building a more interesting, happier life for myself, I noticed that as a side effect, people responded well to that. Again, not just in a romantic way, just in a friendly way.

          I'm the kind of person who gets friend-crushes on people. Is that… Is that like, a thing? I don't mean I get crushes on my friends, I mean I want to be friends with people so badly it feels like a crush. No romantic or sexual feelings at all, just a strong desire to hang out with these people and play video games and have drinks and talk about Bakunin and Wilde. Friends, you know? That's something I gained when I became a more independent and happy person. My friend-crushes started becoming a bit more mutual on the whole, and that gave me more confidence to go out and act on my desire to have relationships, both of the romantic and friendly kind.

          I don't know if that makes sense. Like I said, it was a tricky process for me, with a lot of dead ends and loops. I *think* I understand what you're saying, I'm just not sure I phrased it right. Bottom line: my experiences, not universal, and I should have made that clear. Mea culpa.

          • Robert

            Re: friend-crushes

            On this other forum I go to, they use the term "squish" for that.

          • Clementine Danger

            Squish? Really? How did you come up with that? It's probably my ESL acting up. I don't get it. But it's actually a bit of a relief that this is not just me. I've always been a little weird with friendship rules. Dating is pretty clear to me, there's like a billion rules and social conventions and I'm pretty good with those, but friendships aren't even a little bit regulated in that way. I used to think that if you really liked someone and wanted to hang out with them a lot, that was a crush. Romantic. Took me a while to even start considering the idea that no, it doesn't have to be. It's just squish.

            Did I do that right? I didn't, did I?

          • Clementine Danger

            Aw, someone just sent me this: http://www.yumisakugawa.com/post/36749463370/i-th

            Not just me then. That's really cool.

          • Robert

            It was actually from an image I found on a forum dedicated to asexuality. The image mostly explains about different kinds of attraction such as sexual and romantic, but it's where I found the term "squish". You can see the image if you're interested.

          • Clementine Danger

            I'd love to see it, but that link just takes me back to this page. Is that just me?

          • Robert

            Goddammit! Why did that happen?

            I'll try linking to the forum post instead.

          • Clementine Danger


          • extinction

            Ace in the hoooooouse! *highfives*

          • Robert


          • enail

            Yeah, I've always called them friend-crushes, and people usually seem to know what I mean without explaining.

        • Johnny Doe

          i had to stop watching house of cards on my day off to type this response to your post Marty –
          I don't think I've ever read a post that so efficiently sums up how I feel about dating – that I can't pretend to do something hoping for some result – and even if I am secretly hoping for that result – it doesn't mean it will happen for me, and it hasn't.

          When I was 24 I used to approach girls all the time, made out with alot at clubs/bars, and everytime I liked a girl and it didn't go my way, etc dating – I was so sad and would think about it for days – people told me just stop trying so hard otherwise I will never find it. At that time, I worked full-time, was a serious runner, and loved the driving range, movies, and nice restaurants. I don't know if that counts as a well-rounded person, but I tried to be.

          At 28, when I came out of grad school – there was simply no time or place to think about girls – I had to get a job, and was facing the worst job market in history with respect to my field. At this point, after having been single for 3-4 years, a few rejections along the way, i made a promise to myself – to just go out and do what I want in life, and not look for a girl to connect with. At 29, I completely stopped. I took my share of licks trying to advance professionally, over, and over again. I then started to make things happen for myself, and again the whole time, I wasn't dating anyone or really trying outside of sending the occasional email that never gets a response on okcupid.

          • Johnny Doe

            Life is not like the movies, where no one ends up alone at the end, everyone gets a gf/bf because they suddenly stopped caring.

            Now, I'm 31, I live in a big city – and all of my friends are floored when they see my apartment and my office, which has a pretty sick view. I have cared about myself, I have reaped the fruits of my labor, thats what everyone gets to see.

            Most of them, who are married now – think I live some super exciting bachelor life, but I don't. I'm flying out of town this weekend on a business trip to meet with some clients at dinner party, which I am very excited about, but everything I am excited about is strictly in terms of me – I'm not thinking about meeting girls – I think about I hope i make some contacts and make a name for myself in the business community.

            I'm hoping I can make a six-figure income by the time I am 33, and by that time, I have so much experience, I will be in demand forever. But I have a ton of work ahead of me to accomplish that, and like the last 3-4 years, I'd be a little naive if i thought some girl is going to notice me, and take interest.

            I have tried so hard just to be focused on myself, and doing things that make me happy – becoming better at my job, making enough money to pick and choose what i want to do and where to go, work on being less socially awkward – but none of this really matters or has affected my single status one way or another. When I look back – I never had anyone to come home and talk to at night about my day – I never got to go out on a date to celebration graduation, or a girlfriend to share the experience with of getting the job that changed my life. That was my life through my 20's.

            The only thing that has changed is – I get lots and lots of comments about why I don't date – from friends, from family, just from people in life. One thing that's somewhat flattering, was I was mistaken for being married on more than one occasion. And for the exact reasons you stated above and your philosophy- its frustrating to explain to people why I don't date, and I don't think I could really explain it if I tried.

            The part I connected with so much was it will happen when you stop looking – it is not true at all – and I've never been a fan of that type of advice. I really agree with your sentiment – you just have to be happy you may be single for the rest of your life, so make your everyday life a nice one, and care about yourself and love yourself. And if i misquoted or am misstating the intent of your post, I apologize and please feel free to correct me.

            Ultimately, I completely share your sentiment about dating – and its something I feel hopeful about and resentful at the same time – its not true for everyone is it? Not everyone says I need to get some more hobbies and just be happier about life – they just get a relationship like nothing – and not everyone needs to say well I just should be happy and accept that I may be single for the rest of my life.

            I am a single man at the end of the day, maybe a little more happy because I've made things things happen to set myself up for a prestigious life (hopefully, that remains to be seen) – but ultimately, I am surrounded by a world of people who hook up, who break up, who make up, who get into relationships, who go on dates, who meet others. . .and I've not been a part of that – its don't try so hard, don't try at all, try a little bit – nothing is different.

            Its no longer a question for me of will I find someone or not – its how will I learn to let go of being bitter and resentful and accept being single in a content way for the rest of my life?

            I believe that is the case for my life – I would not say I am happy about it – but it does seem like its reality for me.

            Thank you for posting something I feel that most posters have a hard time admitting – some people just don't get to experience that part of life, no matter what they do, say, think, or feel, but we got to smile anyway.

          • johnny doe

            and i mean this for anyone, guy or girl, whose ever felt frustrated and lonely and tired of putting yourself out there, not putting yourself out there, not a gender thing at all – the feelings that come with being single for so long.

          • Clementine Danger

            I learned a lot from that. Really humbling. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

          • someguy

            Wow Johnny Doe, that pretty much sums up my situation as well, with the exception of having a clear professional track. But, at 28, I'm just about to receive my M.A., facing the worst job market in history (can't even get a job at Trader Joe's). I'm trying to be so many things at once that I feel like I'm nothing most of the time, or failing at everything. I'm scared of commitment, scared of devoting myself to any one thing, of being readily definable and limited. I know how self-limiting that is, how impossible it is to build anything if you don't even have a floor to stand on. But that hasn't made it easier for me to set useful limits on my interests and goals, which leads to no real goal, no real commitment. I'm working at it, but the process is slow and painful.

          • johnny doe

            make something happen for yourself – there's at least one M.A. out there who is raking in the dough, so there's room for one more.
            It's ok if you feel like its slow and painful – I assure you i suffered my fair share of nightmares before I got to the point I am now – and even then, everyday is a challenge. Just keep trying and don't give up – and don't let anyone dictate where you will end up – they have no fucking say in it – you dictate that, you alone.
            In the beginning, I had no experience, and therefore nothing to offer – maybe just extremely positive attitude, and a strong willingness to do shit others weren't willing to do. I really had to up those two by a tenfold to compensate for the shortcomings in experience – so figure out what your positive traits in the job market, and start capitalizing on them.

        • FormerlyShyGuy

          BTW, as previously mentioned by many people that comment here, you are not ugly. That is all.

      • LeeEsq

        This isn't necessarily true in my experience. It might be true for women, my mom mentioned this to me several times, but I think its different for men since men are the ones who are supposed to be actively courting. I don't feel closer to a relationship now than I was in the past even though I have a more active life and get out more. Everything seems so far away and I feel more lonely now than I did in the past. My resentment at couples is increasing more than it was when I wasn't actively looking.

        • No, it is not necessarily true for women. Please, please, PLEASE, do not make this a gendered thing. I think I have complained enough on this site for you to see that not getting any attention -is not strictly a male thing.- Short of stapling something to my forehead or making you live in my body for a few weeks, I am really not sure how else I can convince you.

          I have been in the Give Up mindset for several months and it has not changed the amount people are attracted to me.

          But that's not the point. The point is NOT that it's going to draw you to a relationship. In my case, it almost certainly won't, since libraries and my kitchen aren't exactly hot Single Guy spots.

          The point of Giving Up is that you start doing things you enjoy, and create a life without a relationship that would make you happy. Having a dog would make me ecstatic…. but that's going to be REALLY rough to do as a single person. I was holding off on getting a dog until I was living with a partner, but by Giving Up, I have decided to press forward and just do it on my own, even though it will require large financial and social sacrifices.

          If you are going out and having a more active life purely as a way to get girls, you are not going to be happy, which will ensure you get girls. Only do things that make you happy. This might mean you don't get girls…. but which is a better situation, being unhappy and single, or being happy and single?

          I understand your pain, I really do. A few weeks ago I went to a museum social event with some friends. (A couple, technically. I was the Third Wheel.) The event must have attracted at least 600 people. And almost all of them were couples. (Or large groups of single women.) Everywhere I looked, couples! Heck, right next to me, couple! It was extremely discouraging…. but then, I said "f- it," and had fun anyway! My friends are great, the activities at the event were fun, and I am very excited to do it again next month.

          Changing your lifestyle won't effect anything, if you're only doing it for the reward of a relationship at the end. The reward should be your happiness and contentment.

          • Gman

            I agree with Marty on focusing on being a happy person regardless of relationship status – but I won't necessarily define it as "Give up" – to me, personally, it was more "do what makes you TRULY happy" kind of mindset. Sure, I am still looking out for a girl but I am far less anxious about it. Most importantly, I realized that it isn't a primary goal. It's a bonus in an already happy, awesome life.

          • Max

            I think the idea is that, by changing your lifestyle, you will be happier and more confident, and happy and confident people are more likely to find relationships. And if you don't, you're still happy and confident.

        • Guesst

          It worked for my husband, so it's worked for at least one man. And he is the one who asked me out, but he wasn't actively looking for relationships at the time.

        • Clementine Danger

          Yeah, I tried to correct myself after Marty pointed out that my experience was my own, not universal, and she's absolutely got the right idea here.

          It's absolutely not a gendered thing, not at all. It just isn't.

          It's also not something that changes overnight. I really shouldn't have made it sound like it was, because in many ways it wasn't, not for me, and I regret phrasing it so poorly. So I'm not going to try again. Instead, links for relevance and truth: http://captainawkward.com/2012/07/12/296-how-do-i

          But seriously, listen to Marty. She knows what's up. Also, I promise you that us girls get lonely and desperate and resentful about this process too. It's not a gendered issue. It's just not.

          • I really appreciate your comments, as well as Marty’s. It sums up exactly how I feel about dating in general – like all I learn is to be happy by myself – its such a catch 22 you don’t know why when you try it doesn’t work and when you don’t try it doesn’t work – your dating status is the same, and you are supposed to be ok with that.
            You are correct when you say it’s not a gender issue, becoming bitter and resentful. I almost feel like people who are in a committed relationship can’t understand what it is like to be frustraTed over not being able to get a date.

          • Clementine Danger

            Thank you, that's kind of you to say. I really like how Max sums it up too. Being happy and confident gives you a better chance at worthwhile relationships, and if you don't get one, you're still happy and confident. That's not a bad bargain at all. There really isn't a scenario where you lose.

            I think letting go of the *fear* of being alone is the best thing anyone can do for themselves. Again, it's a cliche, but really facing and exploring and feeling your fear and imagining your worst case scenario is a very worthwhile thing to do, in other contexts as well. I had to do it with work. Just sit down with myself and really imagine never being the kind of person who gets a career she loves. That's tough, and so very scary, because that's something I've always deeply, desperately wanted for myself, but it's survivable if I don't get it. I can be happy and confident and have a good life even without having a career or a job I love. And… yeah, actually, now that I think about it, now that the fear of getting stuck in a miserable dead-end job is fading, I'm more confident applying for jobs that I actually might like. When I got rejection letters before, my jerk brain immediately said, well, that's that, off to McDonald's and eternal misery with you. And that really doesn't help. I think there's a similar dynamic at work there.

            Maybe it's because once you let go of the fear of failure, you're not afraid to fail anymore, and have more incentive to keep trying even if it doesn't work out. I don't know. Feels right somehow.

          • johnny doe

            You know what is strange Clementine? That's the exact attitude I have about interviewing and hunting for jobs – I became ridiculous confident because there was really no choice there – no job, no money, no lights on. I get uncomfortable at the thought of interviewing being anything like dating – I feel they are completely distinct things – but I can say sheer determination and will to not quit, after a string of failures, is the only reason I am still relevant, professionally speaking.

            I learned so much about interviewing and resume writing – my friends and I used to do mock interviews with each other, and even if we failed, the fact that we were getting interviews at some companies made us feel like we were doing something right – I remember one week i lined up 6 interviews, and two weeks after leaving a job, i had a job offer on the table – at one point, 3 months later, i had 3 job offers.

            But when it comes to girls, its a completely different mentality, lol. I approached a girl last night sitting alone at the bar (made sure I followed all the non-creepy things they talk about her), told her she was adorable, and she laughed and said I totally made her day by saying that. We talked some more, but then she said no when I asked if we could exchange numbers. She said she didn't mean to take away anything from how I had made her day, and to keep trying, I never would know what would happen. I smiled of course, and left, but I felt soooooo bummed out she didn't say yes, and completely felt like I don't want to approach any other girls. I guess getting turned down repeatedly is ok by me if its for professional advancement, not so much if its by the opposite sex.

          • LeeEsq

            I know this is going to get a lot negative responses but speak for yourself. I do not want to end up alone. I do not want to have to wait to very late in my middle age or later to be in relationship. I want to grow old with somebody not just be old with them. I am tired of going to every wedding, every office party, and every other event alone and leaving alone. So I view the above scenario as situation where I lose.

          • BiSian

            Lee, those desires you have are not wrong, not at all.
            The problem is, being in a relationship isn't something you have absolute control over. To a point, it depends on other people, factors beyond our control, etc.
            So if you're not going to be happy being single, well that means that you're going to have to be okay being unhappy. If that makes any sense, sorry I'm coming off a long sleep deprived shift.

          • Joy

            That makes perfect sense. 🙂 And it's very true. There are things you can do to increase your chances of getting what you want, whether that's Dream Job or Awesome Relationship. Most of those things have other benefits as well, such as making you a more well-rounded person or giving you an interesting new skill you discover you really like.

            But they aren't guarantees. You can do everything "right" and still not get that Ultimate Goal. Anything that involves the cooperation of another person (whether it's the boss you'd like to hire you, the attractive person you'd like to date you, or the fun person you'd like to befriend you) is, by definition, not totally in your control.

            Many people do find someone. Some people do not. Many people who are in that latter category aren't there by choice. But how they deal with being there determines in large part how happy they'll be in life. I can rail against the unfairness of my being single. Or I can decide to have an awesome life, whether I am with someone or not.

          • johnny doe

            I thought I was speaking for myself bro. . .

          • Clementine Danger

            Sounded to me like you were. There's a difference between sharing your experiences and telling people what to do. I'm pretty sure you did that first thing.

        • Max

          As a man, I can say that this has totally been my experience. More than once.

    • enail

      Marty, your life sounds pretty cool! It makes me want to know you!

      • Just wait until I have a Corgi! Or my new cosplay costume done. Then I'll be really cool.

        • someguy

          You know, Marty, you say some really insightful and intelligent things, but if there's one thing I've repeatedly noticed across these comments sections, it's just how low an opinion you seem to have of your attractiveness. Since your facebook account is openly linked to your commenter name, I took the liberty of looking at some of your pictures–yowch, someone needs to turn down the heat in this room. That's all I have to say. That, and maybe body dismorphism (no offense intended).

          • enail

            Whatever she looks like, corgi + cosplay costume + studying cool stuff + museums and libraries + being badass enough to do what you actually want to do = frickin' awesome!

    • First of all, thank you for sharing this – it's one of the most sincere things I've read in a while.

      Now, I'm an introvert and the kind of person that can take a lot of time to develop an emotional attachment to others. I'm pretty talkative, but definitely not a fan of big parties or ONS. So to give my thoughts on this topic (when I say YOU, I mean the reader, not you you, Marty ;):

      1) Determine the priority relationships in YOUR life.
      Society teaches us that unless we find that significant other, we have somehow failed at life. It's almost irrelevant who the other person is, as long as we can say we're in a relationship. But dating isn't that important for all of us – in fact, a some of us can be completely happy being "forever alone". So think about how important dating is to you and invest yourself in it accordingly. Being preoccupied with dating just because it's expected of you can only lead to bitterness.

      2) Determine what kind of relationship you want.
      Not all of us want the mythical "when two become one" perfect relationship (in fact, a lot of us fear it). You shouldn't feel bad if you only want somebody to watch TV with, or walk your dogs together, or go camping on the weekends. A value of a relationship should be based on how much it fulfills you, not on how much time you spend together or the big plans we're making for your mutual future. Just remember to be honest with the other side about what you're expecting from them.

      3) Do things you're comfortable with.
      Think about what is the most comfortable way you would like to meet someone. And then think of the most uncomfortable. There, now you have two extremes so you can make a scale 😉 I think the biggest mistake people make is doing something they don't like (taking a class, going to parties) with the sole purpose of meeting someone. Being somewhere you don't want to be and trying to find a match among people who are ecstatic to be there is a recipe for disaster. It's not bad to step out of your comfort zone, but even then you need to know how far you're willing to go.

      4) Make friends.
      For me, a boyfriend is just a special friend 😉 So go and make friends. Avoid dating sites or blind dates or any kind of situation where there is pressure that the meeting has to end in a 'yes' or 'no'. Someone once told me that the best business network you can have is your friends. The same goes for finding a significant other. Too many people go about dating as "Hey, I fancy you. Let's see if we like the same things!" instead of "Hey, we like the same things! Let's see how much we fancy each other".

      I'm not too great at giving advice, but hope this made sense. Stay happy, peeps! :*

      And don't become bitter. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade; sell them; throw them at people you don't like; ask for money instead. But you NEVER f*cking bite into them 😉

      • Clementine Danger

        That saying never made sense to me. I love eating lemons. I eat them all the time. My dentist says it'll absolutely destroy my teeth. But I eat them anyway. Lemons are delicious.

        I like your advice. It makes sense to me, especially number three. I can't actually remember my thinking at the time, but I do remember going to clubs and bars and other places that I just didn't enjoy going, then being surprised when I didn't meet anyone I really liked. I just thought that was what's required, I think. All normal people meet other people in bars and clubs, so I better go there too. Then I met my fiancee on an RPG forum. So I'd say number three is solid advice.

        • How about: when life gives you a lemon, don't date it. Bitter people make lousy dates 😉

          Btw, never met anybody who eats lemons – cool! (though I might have given one or two to little kids to see them make the cute scrunchy face)

          • Clementine Danger

            I agree on not dating lemons. They are terrible conversationalists and lousy lovers.

      • tojo

        "Hey, we like the same things! Let's see how much we fancy each other"
        Brilliant outlook.

  • i'll have a proper read through in a minute but this sounds like something I need atm so thanks for that

  • AstridVibe

    "If you’re unsatisfied with your lifestyle, it’s time to sit down and examine just what it is that you feel is wrong."

    Do you feel stifled with where you live? (Yes, have to live with my parents because I got laid off)

    Do you have a dead-end job that drains your life away and sucks out your soul? (Yes, went from making decent money to less than half of that. Applied for over 20 different places in my field and only 3 interviews, 0 call backs. Still working the retail job that was supposed to be Seasonal. $8 an hour and less than 20 hours a week and I do a lot for so little. Now I have no health insurance or other benefits at all.)

    Do you not have a life outside of work or school? (Sometimes, if my work schedule allows me. Tried to attend Meetup outings but most of their outings is during the time I work or have school.)

    Do you have a strong network of friends – people who genuinely care about you as a person – or do you just have people you hang out with out of convenience but who don’t share any of your interests? (No. Would like to find people that have similar interests as me but it hard because the things like are considered "strange" to people down here. Very rear to find someone that likes the things I do.)

    I completely understand where your coming from and I agree, but sometimes it's extremely hard, especially in my case. Everything came crashing down on me last year, gained 40lbs in the process because of stress. It's really hard for me to see a silver lining at this point. The only good thing I see happening for me this year is graduating in May. Would love to be one of those people who is "Happy".

    • Clementine Danger

      I'm so sorry to hear that. That really sucks. If it helps, what really helped for me personally was getting some professional help, just to get a handle on where to start. My life was going wrong in so many directions at once, all my problems kind of mixed together into one big tangled mess called Unhappy. But there were so many contributing factors, so many strands, I couldn't see the forest for the trees. Seeing a therapist really helped me untangle that mess of strands and look at each and every one of them individually and work on them one by one, instead of trying to tackle the whole shebang in one go.

      What I'm saying is, you don't have to do this alone. If you're not seeing a therapist right now, maybe that's something to consider? Just as a way to untangle the whole thing and set up a game plan to deal with the issues one by one. That could really be something helpful.

      Regardless, I'm really sorry you have so much to deal with. Tackling all of that alone is really difficult. I'm rooting for you.

    • enail

      This sucks, I'm sorry things are so hard for you right now. But please know that you're not the only person who's been in this situation – and it's one that it IS possible to get out of. Graduating is a great step; I hope it'll not only free up some extra time for you to enjoy yourself and make connections but also give you more job opportunities. Maybe start making a long-term plan for how you're going to get into a better situation? It's okay if it's a slow process – this is hard! – but it might feel better to have set out a path to something that will make you happier.

      I second Clementine Danger's advice of getting a professional on your team. And be nice to yourself! Just because your situation is far from happy-making doesn't mean you need to withhold all happiness.

    • Astral

      These times are so difficult to push through, I know! But I also agree with Clementine Danger's advice to get a therapeutic person in your corner. (Also, if you're humming the "but not having money/health insurance" tune I have my hands over my ears, because I sang this one too much even when I knew it was very important I see someone).

      I've gone back in forth in my life from being Happy to Hating Life to Manic Pixie Dream to Devastated to Fulfilled to Drudgery to Optimistic to Defeated to Really Liking Life; so I think of an attitude towards life as pretty changeable! My own last round of Many Strange Bad Things Happening In a Row really left me often shaken, angry, timid, and questioning everything I'd learned about how to be whole. I was looking at having to deal with situations I just didn't have the mental and emotional energy for , and knew I needed a guide. The therapist I found wasn't the best maybe, but at least was a dependable anchor to process everything and to help me figure out how to cope.

      Things began to turn around. Over the last month, even, I've done several eclectic fun things despite my busy schedule. I'm still not dating, but I've discovered that when my fear response isn't going off, I can actually flirt and banter comfortably! I've had some lovely times with guys; just not lov-ing again yet. And I can brush it off when I think I'm being slighted for whatever reason. A couple days last week I was in a blue funk; for the last few days I've been happy. I even got the first OK Cupid message from someone that both referenced something in my profile AND was in my age range. Unfortunately, a couple of red flags on his profile, but Oh Well…eventually I might actually get around to initiating a message to someone myself, – when I'm ready and don't have other interesting things to do!

    • FormerlyShyGuy

      You have listed a lot of problems that are contributing to your personal unhappiness. IMHO you need a win, any win, no matter how big or little. Pick any of your issues that you have listed and think of them as a opportunity. Pick a small goal that is a "gimme" or a big one that you will be happy with incremental success. This is all my opinion of course but I think this is very helpful when you are getting fed up that everything is not going well for you.

      Personally I have been in the position you are in, and I couldn't fix any of the major things you have listed for one reason or another, but personally I pick a tiny goal like go to one meetup, that would be my to do list. Then maybe try to do that meetup once a month or once a week or what ever is doable for you as a next step.

      • Bwmn

        The idea of seeking out a "win" is an excellent idea – I also want to add what I did recently when I was in a pit of "everything in my life is dreadful" that the idea of giving myself a pass for a limited period of time really helped me.

        I had a period of time where a number of things in my life where just headed downward, and ultimately I decided that this year wasn't going to be my year. And so the best I could do in "not my year" was to survive through the numerous difficulties with where I lived, my job, my family, my friends, etc. and then in the next year I could start fresh. Mentally what this did for me was that any time something else "bad" happened, I could just say "hey, this isn't my year and I just need to get through this". And then when anything good happened, it was me being an awesome overachiever and getting started on that new, great year.

        Right now you're graduating in May – and so maybe until May you could focus on small wins and just embrace that this is not your time, and survive the difficulties. Then post-graduation there's the chance to press the restart button.

        After my self-titled bad year, where "everything" went wrong – I didn't fix the problems at work, but I did fix my living situation. The issues with my friends didn't all resolve themselves, but my family issues did. However, I felt like I could start over in control and try to actively fix things as opposed to being at the mercy of the universe that was trying to make my life miserable. It was a mental game I played with myself, but it really helped me.

  • private

    This is all something I really wish to do but theres one thing holding me back and as a woman I feel it's my looks. I just see it's easier for meh looking men to get attractive women (I never understood this) but with me even if I do all of these guys just don't like how I look. I honestly don't know why. (Ok Maybe I do) I just there was an easy fix to that problem that didn't require going under the knife.

    • Hello twin! Welcome to Dr. Nerdlove; I am the Resident Problem-With-My-Looks-Female, and boy, do I feel your pain.

      In my long, long experience of trying to cope with this problem, I have encountered a few encouraging ways around it. Discussing the issue with my male friends, it seems like the easiest way to circumvent this is to actually approach guys yourself. I know this sounds counter-productive; "I'm already being rejected because of my looks, and you want me to chase MORE rejection?"

      Approaching men, though, does have some advantages for us ugly girls. My male friends seem to confirm that shyness and ability-to-appreciate-inner-beauty seem to often go hand-in-hand. A shy guy actually might be attracted to you, but wouldn't take the risk of being rejected (in really blunt terms, he MIGHT chance it if you're really hot, because his lower brain will override his fear, but his attraction to you is not enough to overcome his shyness.) By approaching him, you lower his anxiety a little. If you get really sweet and flirty with him, even better!

      The biggest advantage, though, is that by approaching you get to show off your personality. If you don't have it in the looks department, you have to bring it in the personality department. Don't get me wrong, this is damn HARD for women. It feels like constantly walking a fine line: you are being aggressive in approaching him, but then you usually have to fall back into being kind of sweet and demure. You can be funny, but not in the push-the-boundaries way a lot of men can be funny without being seen as crass and desperate. (Comedy is still a very delicate thing for women in this culture.) But if you can master the "sweet spot" of being both aggressive and feminine, you have a much better shot of getting a guy, than waiting for him to approach you based on your looks.

      Now, the downside, because I feel it is only fair to give you both sides of the equation. Almost all of my boyfriends I got by pursuing them, and I DID get to date them…. but it turns out almost none of them actually liked me, and were just dating me because I made it easy for them. Truth be told, I could have spotted this very early on, if I didn't have my Love-Is-Blind blinders on.

      If your MO is to pursue, then you have to be very honest with yourself about the type of guy you usually respond to (Me: "Nice Guys" and secret players), AND you need to be willing to cut them loose on the first sign of unequal affection. I KNOW it sucks hardcore to go through all the trouble of pursuing dozens of guys, only to have to ditch the ONE guy that responded because he tells you your friend is way hotter than you inside the first month (true story), but…. life ain't fair for us ugly girls, and that's just how it is.

      • Private

        Sorry to be a Debbie downer but this is really discouraging ;( while I want a guy to like me for me I want to feel and be beautiful…

        • Clementine Danger

          You're not being a downer. Being unhappy with your looks can be really draining and painful. People tell you that if you just feel good about yourself you'll look good too, but it really isn't that easy.

          I really hope this doesn't come across as some sort of douchey humblebrag, but you probably shouldn't overestimate how big a benefit looks are. I can't fully empathize with your situation, but I was a really awkward-looking teen. I had acne, I was overweight, I wore baggy, ratty clothes, and because of a pretty severe depression my personal hygiene suffered a little bit as well. I grew out of it, I got my act together, but that certainty, that *fact* that I was physically undesirable stayed with me for a very long time.

          And… I don't know how it happened, not really, but I remember that one day someone saw a picture of me and made that noise, that whistle thing people do that means "hot". That just floored me. I just did not ever think of myself as someone who could get that noise out of people. I kind of looked at myself with new eyes then, just to figure out what'd they'd seen that made them make that noise, and I realized that, yeah, actually, I am kind of hot when I try.

          And this isn't some sappy inspirational story about how everyone was hot all along. What I'm trying to get across is that it didn't change a thing. Apparently I had been hot for years, and continued to be hot for many years after I realized it, and it just didn't change anything whether I knew about it or not. As a teenager, I had these fantasies about what it would be like to be a really beautiful woman, how people would treat me and the things I would be able to do. There's this sort of idea people treat as if it were a set-in-stone fact: that conventionally attractive women have it so easy, that being pretty is such a huge asset it's worth three awesome personalities. I thought that too. I had this Hollywood fantasy about how people treated beautiful women and how awesome it would be to be treated that way too. I was so caught up in the fantasy of what being beautiful would be like that I hadn't even noticed it had become a reality. That fantasy was so strong and so familiar and comfortable, reality didn't have a fucking chance.

          For me, the reality was that while I had grown up to be physically attractive, I was still really awkward, I said really weird things in casual conversation, I kind of hated myself and let that opinion of myself leak out, I came across as really conceited without meaning to, and being technically good-looking just did not change that. There's downsides I never considered. Some people seem to think less of me. Because remember, beautiful women are stupid and mean. I became pretty, but it didn't come with all the things I assumed were a package deal back when I was an acne-riddled, greasy teen. Being good-looking didn't give me any confidence, it didn't make people treat me any better, it didn't make me good with guys… I was just me. Awkward, shy, introverted, kinda-resentful, defensive me. Just thinner and prettier. It was barely an upgrade.

          I guess what I'm saying is, in my personal experience, being good-looking is one thing, but being attractive is something else altogether. And that the reality of being beautiful is not nowhere near as awesome as the fantasy of being beautiful.

        • Loxosceles

          Attraction isn't purely about appearance.

          That sounds obvious, but I'd like to clarify it a little bit… visual attraction isn't even purely about appearance.

          When we observe another person, we subconsciously pick up on dozens, hundreds of pieces of information about them. We do not just see a collection of body parts; we see their expression, their posture, their hygiene, their attitude. We pick up on the quarter inch smile at the corner of their mouth and how wide their pupils have dilated when they look back at us. Our brain processes how rapid their breathing is and how open their body language is and if they meet our gaze.

          When people talk about attitude having an impact on how attractive a person is… yes, they do mean things like compatible opinions on what sort of music to listen to… but it also plays out in the subconscious communication that we all share.

          Socially, women are under a lot more pressure about their appearance than men are. Men aren't immune and not every woman will find herself similarly effected but… women tend, as a generalization, to have their self esteem and ego tied in much more significantly to the popular standards for beauty than men do. Consequentially, I would suggest that it is possible that many women are going to be more self conscious of their appearance and, if they are not happy with it, much more likely to throw off a completely different set of those subconscious expressions. Men are less likely to be self conscious about their appearance and are more likely to have their ego tied in to other aspects of themselves, making them a little more confident and attractive (related to but distinct from standards of beauty) and resulting in those… mismatched pairings… if one is judging a couple based strictly on the symmetry of their facial features.

          When someone feels comfortable, feels confident, they behave in a way that makes them much more open, approachable and attractive. When someone is self conscious, they behave in a way that is more reserved, closed off and unapproachable.

          The upside of this… social standards for beauty have a lot to do with fashion shows and Hollywood casting and much less to do with actual relationships between human beings. When a guy likes you, you will feel and be beautiful. He will see the beauty that's already present and, hopefully, he will communicate that to you in a way that makes you more aware of it yourself.

          That part does go both ways. I'm not a pretty man by any objective standard. I'm short, skinny, pale and bald. I've really only got one eyebrow, I chew on my fingernails, wear extremely thick glasses and have a terrible beard because I dislike shaving when I can avoid it. As I mentioned, my self esteem isn't really tied into my appearance… guys tend to find society judging them by entirely different standards… but when my girlfriend looks at me and smiles, I feel like a young Carey Elwes, Bruce Campbell and Bat-Man all at once. And… when I feel like that… my posture improves, my chin lifts, I smile more, I take the time to dress a little bit better, I'm happier and I make more eye contact with other people. Suddenly, despite physically being the exact same person, other people who were indifferent to me before are responding to me as if I were good looking. Or… better looking than I thought I was, anyway.

          Which is kind of the point. Attraction, even visual attraction, is a broader, less concrete concept than Cosmo quizzes and professional blemish airbrushers would acknowledge. It's not just what you have… it's how you feel about and what you do with what you've got.

          • No. No, it really is not. It is NOT "just" how about you feel and what you do with what you've got. Sometimes people really ARE just physically unattractive. Sometimes a romantic relationship isn't possible because of that, no matter how confident and open you are.

            I am trying not to be too aggressive, but we REALLY need to stop this lie, this lie that everyone can have what they want. Not all of us are going to get our dream jobs, even if we work ourselves to the bone every day of our lives. Not all of us are going to have a fantastic family life, no matter how much we want it.

            And not all of us are going to be beautiful, no matter how badly we wish this were the case.

            I have been out there as an ugly girl. As an ugly, CONFIDENT girl. And ya know the really twisted thing? Being confident seemed to make guys like me LESS. When I've gone to bars, acting friendly and open and happy (confirmed, by my friends), guys have reacted as if a moose just walked in and ordered a drink. Like "I cannot believe this delusional girl."

            There IS a threshold past which confidence can not take you. I just wish we could acknowledge this and start working from that truth, instead of continuing to insist on something that is not helpful.

            Some of us won't be in relationships. Some of us are never going to be attractive to the opposite sex. Isn't it time to start learning how to just be okay with that?

          • Clementine Danger

            I want to believe you and support you, but… I don't know. I can't. It just hasn't been my experience. I've just never met a person in my entire life who wasn't attractive in some way. And I've met a lot of people. People with disfigured faces, with burns all over their body, with horrible skin conditions, just all sorts. Not one of them was too ugly to be lovable. Many of them were happily married. I just can't imagine a person too physically ugly to love, and I'm honestly trying here. But maybe that's just me.

            It's a new idea to me, that there's people too ugly too have a relationship. I just can't quite wrap my head around it. I'm open to it, but… Yeah, just extremely hard to imagine someone like that.

          • Clementine Danger

            Um… Yeah, I'm not a creepy cyber-stalker. It's just that you've got your Facebook profile linked here, so I thought it was okay to take a look. I promise I am not being rude or joking around, but the honest truth is that you made me curious and I was honestly considering what you said here, and I kind of wanted to see what a person who is too ugly to ever have a relationship looked like, just to see what's going on there. I got curious. Sue me.

            So yeah, no. Seriously? Just no.

            I mean, if that's you in your profile pictures, and I assume it is (but correct me if I'm wrong), yeah, just no. If you want to work from the "truth" that you're simply too ugly to have a relationship, that's your choice and not for me to debate or decide, but I'm just not going to do that any more that I'm going to work from the "truth" that drinking a glass of gasoline every day is good for my blood pressure.

          • I have left it linked for a reason, because people just flat out do not believe me online when I make some of the claims I do.

            Below in a comment I made a point about how being ugly is not always necessary about the physical side. I have been told my looks aren't a problem (mostly by people online, which probably isn't a coincidence.)

            And yet, in real life, I've been told, to my face, I am ugly by men. Heck, boyfriends *while I'm dating them* have told me I'm ugly. On my lucky days, guys don't notice me at all (walk into me, slam doors on me, once or twice elbow me in the face.) On my less lucky days, I've gotten out and out abuse (mooed at, sneered at, had a guy almost FLEE when I tried to talk to him.)

            The definition of attraction is "are people attracted to you?" If they are not, you are unattractive. I do not have men who are attracted to me, THUS, I feel free to call myself ugly.

            That is my reality. I think that is the reality of more people than we'd like to claim, because any time someone says something negative about their looks, they are immediately shut-down. Look at how you treated my comment: with disbelief and insisting it just CAN'T be true, completely denying my experience in my own body.

            And that's why I get really, really fed up with the lie of Everybody's Attractive. Everybody is not. It's sad, yeah. But let's actually DEAL with that. Let's find a way for people who are not attractive (as in, there is no one attracted to them) to still have worth and joy in life without having forced positivity rammed into them.

            There is nothing WRONG with being ugly, just like there is nothing wrong with being single. What's so bad about just accepting a truth and finding contentment in it?

          • Clementine Danger

            I'm so sad that those have been your experiences. That's really rough. I just can't believe how awful some people can be. I'm not denying your experiences. I 100% believe you when you tell me that is your reality. But it doesn't make me want to agree with you when you call yourself unattractive.

            You are absolutely free to call yourself ugly. I am free to say that no, you are not, by whatever definition you choose to go on. That not me denying your experiences. That's not what I want to do at all. I believe you have those experiences. I also believe that you have met some seriously shitty people who had some sort of reason to keep you down and hurt you.

            I'm just going to go ahead and call *them* ugly, not you.

            If you've been treated so badly, if you've been psychologically abused like that, I absolutely believe that you feel like you're just 100% unattractive. If that's your reality, I believe you, and I am honestly, deeply sad for you. That just shouldn't be the case. I get so frustrated when someone who is so obviously a good, cool person believes things like that. I hate the assholes who put that idea into your head. Hate them like my exes, who did that to me too.

            So yeah, I believe you when you say that there are a lot of people out there who honestly feel like the objective truth is that they are too ugly to have a relationship, by your definition or the dictionary definition. And that's really sad, because I've never met someone who actually is.

            I'm sorry, but I'm not going to tell you what you want to hear. I'm so tempted to pretend to be so open-minded about this and be supportive, because I think you're cool and I want us to like each other, but I can't do that. I mean, what do you want from me? To sit here and tell you with a straight face that you're a lost cause? That yeah, I agree, you're probably just completely unattractive? Jesus Christ. No. I won't. Not because of some sort of taboo or societal expectation or something, but because it is simply not true. And I sincerely hope that nobody here will do that, because I will be very, very cross with them.

            I am so, so sorry that men have called you ugly, and that your exes have been abusive to you. They are assholes. I am not an asshole. Don't ask me to be.

          • Well, what I personally want is for us (in this case, you, me, this comment board) to face unpleasant truths but find happiness in them nonetheless. I'd really like to get to a point where "ugly" doesn't have the negative palor that it does currently…. where "ugly" isn't a value judgement of a person. To be able to call ourselves ugly, but still feel proud and happy with who we are. I'd like to take the sting out of being ugly, so to speak… that to say is just making an observation of physicality, like "I have brown hair" or "I am short in stature."

            It's just…. I read comments like "Private," and her sadness doesn't come from being ugly, per say. It comes from the VALUE people attach to it. Ugly means bad, ugly means lazy/evil/stupid/worthless. Ugly means unhappiness, ugly means isolation and never living these experiences our culture has shoved into our brains for hundreds of years.

            I wish it DIDN'T mean those things. I wish people could just be ugly in peace. That we could work towards ugly just being a thing a person is, instead of attaching all of these awful things to it.

            People have always treated me as ugly, and if the past is any predictor, people always will. And it was awful, because I felt so *helpless.* Like, there's this thing I can't change and I can't control but makes people think and treat me in this certain way.

            Accepting myself as ugly, OWNING my ugliness, is not an act of abuse or hatred. It's a way to give me control. It's a way to start untangling all of the Bad Things of ugly, and realize that even if the world does think I'm ugly, I can still be good and worthwhile and have love.

            Maybe not romantic love. Similar to how giving up is accepting the reality that I may not (in fact, probably won't) get a relationship, doesn't have to mean an end to dreams or a passive surrender to negativity. It just means carving out new dreams. It means finding value in myself BESIDES my looks.

            I just wish it was easier to say," I'm ugly. That matters in the dating world. But so what? Maybe men aren't attracted to me, but I'm a worthwhile person who is going to find happiness anyway."

          • Clementine Danger

            "Well, what I personally want is for us (in this case, you, me, this comment board) to face unpleasant truths but find happiness in them nonetheless."

            Okay. I respect that. But I'm going to throw out something unpleasant, and I really hope you won't get angry with me or hate me for it. It's just that I've been there. People have called me ugly in all sorts of ways, and laughed at my looks right to my face, and boyfriends have called me worse than that just to keep me down. But I'm telling you, I promise you, they are the ugly ones.

            And for me, it was just easier to believe them. It got to be so draining, to keep fighting them, to keep fighting that idea that they were totally right about me, that my only choices were to stay with them or be alone forever. I accepted that. But that wasn't owning my bad qualities and being at peace with them. That's being shoved down and staying down, because getting up hurts too much.

            "People have always treated me as ugly, and if the past is any predictor, people always will."

            I won't. No matter how many times you ask me to do it, I won't. You can keep calling yourself ugly all you like, and you're free to do so, but I'm just going to hang out here and tell you no.

            THEY are ugly. THEY are damaged. THEY did that to you.

            You are not ugly. You are cool, and funny, and obviously kind and smart. I can see that plain as day. There's a guy right here in this thread who told you you sounded really cool. I saw that with my own eyes. He didn't treat you like you were ugly. He counts. So it isn't always. It's now officially impossible for you to be objectively unattractive, because two people have found attractive things about you.

            I really commend you for working to untangle these things, and you should. And I think it's great that you're taking a break from this whole dating nightmare. You don't need to expose yourself to that kind of nastiness.

            If you're going to redefine the word ugly to the point where it means almost the exact opposite, you may as well skip the mental arithmetic and just call yourself attractive. You don't need to incorporate what those people did to you into your thoughts and identity. They don't count. They are assholes, those never count. I know that incorporating their words and attitudes into the way you see yourself feels like control, but it's not control. It's just you building your self image around their opinion of you. It's the exact opposite of control. If you let what they did to you be part of you, then they're still there, and they still have power over you.

            I really wish that we as a society weren't so rigid and cruel when it came to our beauty standards. I certainly wish we were a bit more realistic about them. I definitely agree with you there. But that's just not what this is about. People have been incredibly abusive towards you, and you've started to believe them. And I hate them for it.

          • I don't think it mental arithmetic to judge ugly/attractive. Ugly/attractive IS a matter of other people's opinion. To quote Tina Fey," I could go around calling myself the world's tallest man, how would that go for me?" Ugly/attractive is a label other people give us. But having pride and worth is something we can define in ourselves. I'm not building my self-image on other people's opinion of me; I am merely accepting their opinion of my looks, but choosing to find value in other places within myself. Is that really such an awful thing?

            As to them being assholes, I really don't think they were/are. I think they were just honest.

            If they WERE assholes, well then, we have to confront the uneasy reality of assholes being rewarded. Most of my exes are married to exceptionally hot and fantastic women. So, they might be assholes, but I'm the one sitting here alone.

            Either way, it's having to confront a world that is not always fair or right. Assholes get rewarded. Some people end up alone for no real discernable reason. Beauty standards are strict, some dreams are impossible to achieve.

            Instead of crumbling under the weight of an unfair world, I'd choose instead to accept it, and make of it what I can, ugly and all.

          • Clementine Danger

            "I'm not building my self-image on other people's opinion of me; I am merely accepting their opinion of my looks, but choosing to find value in other places within myself. Is that really such an awful thing?"

            It's not an awful thing to find value within yourself. Of course not. In fact, I think there's a lot there for you to find, more than you realize. But I also think you've closed off one avenue of exploration that really, really merits another look. You're not an unbiased observer. And I think that if you're going to work from the premise that they were right about you, but you're going to flip it around somehow and make it work for you, you're still working from their flawed premise, no matter how positive you are about it. You can't build a solid home on a shaky foundation.

            I don't know all the people in your life. I don't know what they did to you. And to be honest, the kind of talk I would really like to have with you is less comment thread back and forth, more bars and beers and karaoke why not.

            So I guess this is where I really don't want to stop talking, but I kind of have to, because this just isn't the proper venue, and agree to disagree and all that.

            Oh, and you're not ugly.

          • Max

            I always feel weird commenting on people's attractiveness over the internet, but I took a peek at your facebook picture, and I'd like to add another "you're not ugly, and are actually attractive by any reasonable definition" comment. So that's three. And, judging just by your comments here, it seems pretty unlikely to me that you have an ugly personality.

            Ugliness isn't an objective trait. It is incredibly subjective. No one is objectively ugly, and relationships aren't impossible for anyone.

            Also even if you do like Quasimodo (which you don't! At all!), there are plenty of guys of equal or lesser attractiveness out there. Even Quasimodo got a ladyfriend in the sequel.

          • Gman

            I'm with Max on this one.

            Just here to add another "I really don't think your ugly comment", because reading your comments (by "your" I mean Marty) makes me both sad and confused. I actually dated some girl (it was just one date) that I later realized was one of the ugliest girls I have ever met. She wasn't fat or had a horrible disability or anything like that; she simply looked really bad (IN MY OPINION and this is very crucial to understand). Her clothing style didn't match her at all, as if she didn't care about it. Then why did I go out with her? Well it's a long story that has many aspects to it – but in short, she also is one of the happiest individuals that I have ever met, as in overly happy "goodie 2 shoe" kind of personality. That is why I gave it a shot (but that also had to do with me being desperate, because we had almost nothing in common and like I said, it's a long story). Till this day, whenever I show someone a picture of her they tell me "you dated HER?".

            So trust me when I say that YOU ARE NOT UGLY… I wish I could just send my arms into the screen, grab you from the other side and shake you hard till that concept is firmly locked in your head. I understand that you've been through some very unpleasant things throughout your life and I wish I could just meet you face to face so that I can just get to meet the awesome person that you seem to be (according to your posts in the comments that I have seen so far) and try to convince you that YOU ARE NOT UGLY.

            In the end, you are free to believe whatever you want to believe… I just hope that you can understand that this concept of yours, that you are "objectively ugly" and that "I should accept this as an ABSOLUTE REALITY" is simply NOT TRUE AT ALL.

          • enail

            Sadly, yeah, sometimes assholes do get rewarded. Bugs me no end, but there it is.

            But I really do think that the people you've described who've called you ugly sound like they were total manipulative assholes – and this would be true whether or not you're ugly. I can imagine situations where a person might say another person is ugly for non-asshole reasons, but not many, and the ones you describe aren't those situations. Ugly's kind of irrelevant to that.

            I like your attitude here. I just want to caution you to be a little careful of people who call you ugly, b/c you might respond to the fact that you feel they're being honest and therefore be less likely to notice that they're raging assholes. The reality of your appearance is kind of a distraction from that.

          • someguy

            Sorry, I don't mean to assume anything, but you may find this of interest: Body Dismorphic Disorder:

            "The disorder generally is diagnosed in those who are extremely critical of their mirror image, physique or self-image, even though there may be no noticeable disfigurement or defect. The three most common areas of which those suffering from BDD will feel critical have to do with the face: the hair, the skin, and the nose. Outside opinion will typically disagree and may protest that there even is a defect.

            People with BDD say that they wish that they could change or improve some aspect of their physical appearance even though they may generally be of normal or even highly attractive appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder may cause sufferers to believe that they are so unspeakably hideous that they are unable to interact with others or function normally for fear of ridicule and humiliation about their appearance. This can cause those with this disorder to begin to seclude themselves or have trouble in social situations. More extreme cases may cause a person to develop love-shyness, a chronic avoidance of all intimate relationships."

          • Clementine Danger

            Don't diagnose people over broadband. Just don't.

          • enail

            Is it okay over dial-up? 😛

          • Clementine Danger

            Considerable leeway will be granted in matters of internet etiquette to people who use dial-up by choice. They are not fully in control of their actions and lack the self-awareness to recognize bad decisions and behaviors on their part.

          • tojo

            Well I'm a bloke and from you fb pic I think you look cute.

          • Loxosceles

            It may be important to read *exactly* what I wrote. The specific order of the words and qualifiers is important. You are arguing against something I did not say.

            I said that attraction was not strictly, solely about conventional social trends for physical appearance. And then clarified that by explaining how attitude and bearing intersect with what other people perceive and how they process interactions.

            It is not a guaranteed fairytale ending for everyone. It is not the promise of bliss.

            It is, however, a confident assertion of the idea that most people are capable of being more attractive than they may realize. A great deal of which is going to be based on how they perceive themselves and how they present themselves to the world. It doesn't create a fictional narrative where Prince Whatshisface falls into a woman's lap, but it does give people a better chance to interact with others. It's not a guarantee of love… it's just altering the probability a little bit.

        • I don't think you're a Debbie Downer. I think you, like me, are struggling with harsh realities. I find it sad that especially in Western society, we have an extremely difficult time discussing "flaws" in an acceptable light. It's an incredibly knee-jerk reaction; if you call yourself ugly, people rush in to reassure you, because Ugly = Bad, Ugly = Worthless. It's like we can't separate out ugly from having a value; that it's a bad thing to BE ugly. So we can never just acknowledge the reality (being ugly in a society geared towards superficial beauty sucks) and talk about it without seeming OVER negative or "downer."

          I wanted a guy to find me beautiful, too. But… that might not happen. I don't say this to knock you down, cause I'm in the same boat. I still struggle daily with that realization. It might not happen. A relationship might not happen. Or it might, but the guy might not like our looks and be with us for other reasons. For girls like us, it's just more of a likely as not.

          You can always hold out hope of finding someone who finds you beautiful. You could say screw it, and try to enjoy romance without physical attraction. You could devote yourself to other kinds of relationships-platonic and professional.

          Ugly does not mean you're worthless. Being ugly does not mean the end of the world. It *might* mean no guy is ever physically into you, but that doesn't HAVE to be a sad thing. You can find joy and peace in other areas of life.

          What I try to do, every day is: mourn the fact that you might not get what you've always wanted, and then let it go. Hope that maybe someday it'll come back, but find happiness in things you CAN achieve and control.

          • enail

            I'm hesitant to get into this topic again, but I'm going to give it a try. I hope you'll try to give me a neutral listen. It's true, we're not all going to be beautiful, or even pretty, or fairly nice-looking. And it's true we're not all going to be able to make jaws drop and heads turn through confidence and positive attitudes, if that's what you mean by attractive.

            But I do think you're underestimating the amount of variance in the looks people can find physically appealing, especially in someone that they like. I've met people that I would have described as pretty 'meh' at first glance who, after I've gotten to like them, I started sincerely seeing them as attractive – even when I was trying to be as coldly objective as possible (b/c I remembered what I thought previously and was curious), I couldn't not see them as attractive . Feature by feature, I liked their looks.

            And judging from all the couples I see who are far, far from conventionally attractive and the couples who still gaze at each other with not just love, but attraction and outright lust long after they've become wrinkly and spotted and saggy, I think this is true for many if not most people. It's that old cliche about seeing inner beauty when you love someone; it's sappy and sounds fake, but it's something that does actually happen, and applies to actual physical attraction, not just some sort of soft-focused and vague vision of love.

            I'm not saying you will find a guy who will find you beautiful – I'm not saying you'll find a guy at all, no matter how confident your strut and how wide your smile – but I think that if someone loves you, they will probably like your looks, whether or not they were initially a plus or a minus. And I'd think that someone who was dating you and didn't like your looks was maybe not actually the best person for you, even if you're really kinda ugly to most outside observers.

          • I feel like this is one of those "differences in definition" disagreements.

            I think when someone says "ugly," what most people imagine is someone with… bad teeth, or a goiter, or six toes or something. That actually isn't how I define ugly.

            I define ugly as "no one is attracted to you."

            Those 'ugly' people who get married? They are not actually ugly. Sure, they're not your style, but they are not strictly ugly in my definition, because obviously, people DO find them attractive.

            I think that actually fits with your idea of inner beauty. Looks are not strictly what defines someone as being attractive, because a person can be physically nice looking but considered unattractive by others, or a person can be "deformed" and yet seen as smokin' hot.

            People have told me over and over, it's not my looks. And ya know what, I *kinda* believe them. It probably isn't entirely my looks. But no one can tell me what else it is, either! I just seem to be, flat out, unattractive to men. "Ugly" is just short-hand for "does not attract people." It could be my looks, it could be something else, but there is SOMETHING that makes me unattractive.

            But the point still is that some people ARE just unattractive. And I get really wound up at this continued assertion that, oh no, looks/attraction doesn't matter. Inner beauty, outer beauty, however you want to slice it, some people just do.not. attract people, and it ISN'T always something they can control.

          • Clementine Danger

            Yeah, but when someone tells me that they are simply too ugly to ever have a relationship, that is a pretty bold statement. And when someone then goes on to say they're not even talking about physical beauty, that is just worrying.

            I don't want to dismiss your experiences. I want to be sensitive to your feelings and the bad things you have experienced, because I know from my own life that it gets pretty freaking bad out there. But I'm also not going to sit here and pretend I agree with you when you call yourself objectively unattractive. Just because you haven't found out what made your past experiences so unpleasant doesn't mean you're simply too "ugly", whatever that means to you personally.

            I am totally on board with the idea of sitting down with yourself and confronting your own fears about being lonely, and building a better and more interesting life for yourself because you can be happy outside of a romantic relationship. But I'm not going to agree with you when it crosses the line into self-limiting beliefs. The idea of building a happier life is to not be afraid of being alone, so you can be happy no matter what your relationship status. It's not bashing yourself until you're okay with feeling ugly and unlovable. It's supposed to be liberating, not limiting.

            So… you know, no. I'm not going to encourage you when you say that you or anyone else has absolutely nothing attractive to offer, no qualities or skills or features that people might find attractive. Don't demand that of me, because… well, no. I refuse to do that.

          • Astral

            I second everything you've said in this thread, Clementine Danger. Also, you have more patience than I do…possibly because I'm projecting past incarnations of myself on you, Marty Farley. Hell, my mom taught me I simply came from an unlikable family!! (Still is by the way…) So, I don't know you, but I know that when a core concept of my identity was that "I am unlikable," it was impossible for anyone to tell me any different. Plus, research shows that we, however, unconsciously, gravitate toward those who confirm our assessment of ourselves. Which, I know, gets close to being victim blamey, but honestly, I think icky people must be able to smell me when I'm down and think they can get away with directing nastiness in my direction, so personally I want to ferret out anything in me that will prevent that. Because I have experienced people doing crappy things to me and it is true awfulness. And I've got at least a little bit of a fighter in me who says, hell no you don't pull that with me.

            But, looking back, I can also see how I simply could not believe when a successful, attractive man was paying attention to me. I was convinced that one man must have been trying to get me into a cult (yeah, that's a much more rational assessment than he wanted a date, isn't it!) because someone couldn't be that positive and attractive and be attracted to me! I also was convinced an interesting and attractive guy I danced with at a bar only gave me his card because he was starting a new business and was networking for customers. I wish I had kept that card… the business is now a household name. So maybe that was a marketing strategy that worked : – P (really I suspect it was another very visible aspect of his business name, logo, and marketing that was more important – rational thought to the rescue!)

          • Clementine Danger

            Thanks. And honestly, while there's a lot of regulars here that really try my patience, Marty really isn't one of them.

            Me, I developed a sort of nice-people-blindness. It's a thing that happens when you're depressed. Your absolute conviction that the world is full of hostile, mean-spirited people, or people who are just plain better than you, makes you filter out and ignore all the people who are kind to you and act like friends. It doesn't fit into your worldview, so you just don't see them even if they are right there.

            Hell, tomorrow I'm setting up a night out with a high school friend for that reason specifically. She really was my friend, she was kind and supportive, but my jerk brain refused to acknowledge her and insisted that I had no friends. So I really have to apologize to her for that. Not looking forward to it, but it has to be done.

            So yeah, a combination of nice-people-blindness and the misery-loves-company dynamic you described is a recipe for self-loathing and unhappiness. It just sucks that our brains work that way, but they really do. Brains are jerks.

          • Max

            I'm a guy. You're attractive. So by your own definition of ugly, you aren't ugly.

            I would say that the only unattractive aspect about you is your mistaken belief that you are ugly.

      • Thereal McCoy

        Wow, Marty and Private. I've only just met you, and I really like your perspectives, especially Marty with her candor. I am also a female who dates men and who has, shall we say, fewer gifts in the attractiveness department than others. I've had a lot of the same experiences as Marty has, from people calling me ugly to the more benign just flat out not getting attention or responses. Marty is dead on about her observation of the reaction people have to outgoing, ugly women. I sure had it reinforced that as an ugly girl, I was supposed to sit in the corner and be unnoticeable. I completely agree with Marty's take that attractiveness is completely externally defined. If no one is attracted to you, you are not attractive. I support most of Marty's opinions.

        My experience differs from Marty's in that there have been a few men who thought I was hot and told me so (I was the initiator in all those relationships, too). I sure appreciated their compliments, but these guys were singularities in an ocean of men whose eyes dive away from mine when I walk into a pub. I actually find my own features to be quite pleasing. I'm probably 90% happy with my face and body. I even have most of the requisite features for meeting the standard definitions of hot – I have great skin, great hair, I'm thin, I'm symmetric, ok fine, I'm flat chested, but my tiny rack is quite nice. So why the hate from men? Fuck if I know.

        When I was younger, I was really devastated by the number of people who called me ugly. At this point, I'm just puzzled. Like Marty, there are other things about myself that I value a lot more than what the genetic lottery gave me for looks. One thing about getting older is that I've had more time to accomplish things, and I place a lot more value on my accomplishments. In fact, if I were a guy, I would be an awesome fucking catch. Too bad meh-looking, accomplished women don't have quite the same market value that meh-looking accomplished men do, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.

        One thing that I have learned in my life as a mostly-unattractive woman is that you have no idea what another person's experiences have been. My last boyfriend (eight years ago, whoo!) found me really hot and simply could not believe that anyone else would not agree. Even when I told him my experiences, he just didn't believe me. I feel that frustration from Marty in this conversation. But he had never been me. He never walked into a room as me, he never tried to talk to man as me, he just had no idea. Sometimes I catch myself seeing a really attractive woman and think, "wow, it must be nice to be that attractive." Then I remember that I have no idea what her experience with her body has been. I might find her attractive, but she might have had all the same experiences that I had. Anyone here might find Marty attractive, and I think she looks really nice in her photos, or you might even find me or Private attractive, but that doesn't change our ongoing, lived experience. Try to keep that in mind next time you tell Marty how wrong she is.

        One place where my opinions differ from Marty's is that I don't think that it's a forgone conclusion that no one will ever be attracted to her. This isn't some Pollyanna, I-know-better-than-her opinion of mine. It is entirely possible that no one will be attracted to her, or that no will be attracted to me or to Private. That could happen. Attraction is a very subtle and complex thing, though, and there really is no accounting for taste, and as noted, attraction isn't just about the outside, it's also about character. And men are like coin flips – each one is new chance. Just because 100 men think Marty is too ugly to date, that says nothing about the 101st man. So it's absolutely possible that Marty will find a guy, or even several guys, who think she is totally hot and want to date her. After all, 10 heads in a row is just as likely as any other ordered string of coin flips.

        Anyway, I wish Marty and Private the best, and I look forward to reading more from Marty.

    • Vic

      Uh oh. You're coming dangerously close to admitting biological truths about male/female sexual dynamics. People won't like that around here.

      • Clementine Danger

        Oh man, Vic, buddy, usually I'd ignore you like the thing in the back of my fridge, but this is just rich. I just can't wait for a discussion about "biological truths" between some misogynist PUA shithead and the guy who I happen to know is an actual biologist, with a proper degree and published papers and everything.

        Now I'm not going to stand here and chant "fight", but I'll admit I'm pretty gosh darn excited.

        • Loxosceles

          I don't really want to talk to a pick-up-artist. They don't know the meaning of most the words they use. Conveying information to them in a way that causes them to actually stop, consider the point and acknowledge its validity is like trying to nail jello to the wall.

          Here's John Cleese explaining it. With a British accent, so you know he's very smart.

      • I don't even know what you mean here. You mean people here dislike the idea of average men with hot women? Or people here don't like admitting ugly women are somehow unloveable? I know you're trying to make some snarky "I am so wise" remark, but I'm really not getting exactly what you're angling at.

        • Clementine Danger

          What he means is that he found some website where some douche dishes out biological "facts" about men and women that justify their misogyny, and while neither Vic nor the guy who wrote that stuff have a degree in biology, it sounded kind of legit. Mostly because it gives them licence to act like raving douchebags and convince themselves they have scientific proof for their bigotry. It's kind of like those people who want to hate gays but are afraid to admit it and just convince themselves that it isn't "natural". About the same grasp of biology and related sciences there.

          • But what biological "facts" is he spewing out? It's why I'm not a fan of evo psych; you can read freaking everything and anything into human behavior. It's like sociological Ouija board. But I mostly don't get WHAT he's trying to reference as a "fact"; that average men end up with hot women? Then why are PUAs always complaining about how women are hypergamous and only choose the "hot alphas"? Nothing seems to line up.

          • Clementine Danger

            Honestly, I don't really know what he's getting at specifically, but I know enough to know it's not going to be worth anyone's time or attention. Well, I mean, if you want to know, I'm sure he'll be glad to explain. I just meant to say I really don't find it worthwhile in any way, shape or form, but you should make up your own mind. Just prepare to be offended.

            I don't know what this… evo psych stuff is, but if it refers to evolutionary biology and psychology, yeah, that actually *is* a worthwhile and pretty interesting branch of science. It's just that the internet is overrun with people who either misunderstand how it works or deliberate fudge the facts to incorporate it into some sort of agenda, the PUA scene especially. But the science itself is legit, and extremely interesting. You just have to get your facts from good sources.

          • johnny doe

            I would not get in on the Marty Farley's debate on her attractiveness to men, but I feel like I completely identify with her on the part of accepting being single for life. I feel you could almost switch 'ugly' to 'single', using your definition of ugly, and it would would sum up exactly how I feel about the philosophy on make a better life for yourself.

            It's a grim reality, and you won't see any self-proclaimed dating experts admit it, but I believe, there are hundreds and hundreds of people out there – who have every aspect of their life taken care of – except being single – and they have no real idea why. And again, as much as I like you CLementine Danger – and I really mean that – I genuinely feel this is not an issue people in relationships can give advice about (if I read your posts wrong and you are single – please feel free to slap me in the face) – unless they have gone for a serious long period of time alone.

            I've been single since I was 23 years old, and now I am 31. The last time I had sex with someone was when I was 24. I have gone on a total of 8 dates in those 7 years, and I've never had a girl who I liked since then like me back. There just simply no way I think someone else in a relationship, who never struggled on the level some of us have with dating, can relate to it feels like to always look around you and wonder why don't I get dates? or if i do why does it have to be such a fucking big deal? Or, why do zero people reciprocate?

          • johnny doe

            And that is something I have noticed on this board, is that the people giving advice, often are in relationships/married, and may struggled, but struggled to the find the right person, they didn't ever just drop off the map for years and go unnoticed by the opposite sex. They didn't struggle with GETTING dates for years at a time. They've maybe complained about unwanted attention from MOTAS, but never did you hear them say "no one has ever found me attractive or reciprocated my attention, and I mean, never". If they can't say that, how can they relate to what it feels like?

            I agree with Marty – It's better to accept being single, rather than feel that way – or feel like if i just stay positive and be all about making a good life, someone will come when I am least expecting it. After 7 years, I know that isn't the truth. Sometimes I've heard guys and girls tell me the longest they ever went without being with someone was 6 months, or they'd go crazy. By that logic, I'm insane in the membrane times 10.

            Sometimes its better to accept rather than stay frustrated forever about something you really don't have control over. And I don't know why this is, and it may be from resentfulness, but I do equate approaching girls, trying to talk myself up and doing things to impress girls, or any other person besides myself, as kissing their ass.

            I don't kiss ass. And the last thing I want to be, is the person whose giving someone else unwanted attention. The world isn't short of unwanted attention, at least if you read enough on the internet, and the last thing I want to do is force-feed it to some poor girl who gets harassed by guys left and right and doesn't at all need it, or some girl who loves the attention, and loves following it up with a rejection. Besides maybe professional obligations, I really do mean it when I tell friends or family who tell me I need to care about dating or whatever it is they feel I am doing wrong "I don't give a fuck what you think." I read so much stuff about creepy guys and unwanted attention, it just so gross and foreign to me – I want no part of it.

            For what its worth, Marty Farley, personality does matter more than you think. I have been told more than once I am attractive, I have been rejected by others on basis of looks, but I have been rejected mostly on the basis of how I came off as in what I said and what I did.

            I can't say its true on the flip side because I don't know for girls, and I don't want to pretend, but the stereotype about good looking guys getting girls left and right all the time is not entirely true – I've seen it go both ways – and often, I've seen good looking guys get shunned by girls, flaked on, and dismissed the second they said something stupid. So I would say personality does matter to stay in the game, whereas looks will you get you attention in the beginning. My last roommate was exactly the stereotypical good looking guy – tall, chiseled, etc – i was so surprised when he told me girls had bailed on him when they made plans to kick it in another state – and overall, what he told me wasn't too far off of what I was experiencing myself in terms of the dating game. I understand that is no way shape or form comparable to how we feel, but it did feel somewhat reassuring to know that sometimes everyone struggles. Personally speaking, as well, I would never date a hot girl who is totally rude and not a fun person to be around, and most girls I've liked were not considered 'hot' at all. One girl I liked I was afraid to tell my guy friends about, and when I did, they made fun of me so much because they thought she was so ugly. That's happens 4-5 times throughout my life. So I can't speak for all guys, but I don't fall for girls because they are hot, or automatically think I will talk to them and ignore other girls.

            If anything, people who think they are the shit based on their looks is hands down, the biggest turn off to me – the same way people flaunt money doesn't mean a single thing to me.

            I know for a fact that if I am around anyone too long they will start to get sick of me, so I'm resigned to being alone – ok with the occasional compliments here and there.

            Only because I feel like I can relate to you, I'd feel like if i had to call it like i see it – I would say you can attract guys, and you probably have already have by some guy who didn't make it known – BUT – is it a guy YOU would be attracted to? Therein lies the promise, but either way, you seem like you are doing all right to me.

          • vessna

            Not everyone who gives advice on here is in a relationship and some of us have struggled quite a bit with our dating lives. However, it's difficult to give advice for someone in your situation without knowing more about you. I can't tell how outgoing you are. If you go out a lot or not. If you live in a location with a small pool of datable people. (Relationships are more about location and timing than a lot of people are willing to admit.)

            I suspect that those of us who are not in relationships don't give as much advice because we're still struggling through this. We're also not sure what we might be doing wrong so we read the advice and try to make changes in our lives.

          • johnny doe

            One thing I'd like to clarify is I'm very happy for the people who are in love and have someone, including everyone on this board, and their efforts to give advice. My bigger point that I was trying hone in, is that, my normal is very, very different from theirs – so I don't know that they can relate, though their intentions may be very altruistic, and I don't expect them to relate.

            I don't mean this in a negative light, but you really do begin to think no one cares about you, that way, if you've been alone for years. It makes perfect sense to feel that way, rather clinging onto some irrational hope. It's not beating yourself up, its not rationalizing being ugly, its accepting how it is. And I think the divide comes where people who haven't had that kind of slump, they preach positivity because it worked for them.

            Just for fun sometime, I'd like every poster here to say the longest they've gone without a date. I'll go first. I haven't been on a date since 2011. Almost 2 years now.

          • Clementine Danger

            Do bad relationships count? The longest I've ever gone between relationships or dates since high school is about two years, and those years sucked. But looking back now, I'd gladly make those two years all of the years if it could erase those bad, bad relationships I had. People say that having no relationship is better than having a bad relationship, but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how soul-crushingly terrible a really bad relationship is. Being alone and being with someone who treats you bad both chip away at your soul day after day, it just happens in different ways.

          • johnny doe

            again, see this is what i mean – how do you know what years alone would feel like? And that it wouldn't just feel worse, in a different way?

            Not to say bad relationships are good, they aren't, but they don't count toward what I am getting at – the feelings and re-evaluations of life that go with years alone, between dates and relationships.

          • Clementine Danger

            I'm sorry. I didn't mean to contradict you or co-opt your point, I was genuinely asking. Yeah, it happens in different ways. I think we agree on that. I was… I guess I was trying to be empathetic and failed. Because the thoughts and feelings I had when I sat alone and wondered what the hell was wrong with me when I was alone felt really similar to the times I sat alone and wondered what the hell was wrong with me when I was in a bad relationship. But no, they're not the same thing. It's just… I don't really like pretending that there is this sliding scale of suffering where one person suffers a couple of degrees more or less than the other because of reasons. If a person is suffering, they're suffering, and it doesn't really matter whether they have it better or worse than anyone else. They're still in pain.

            I do know what it feels like to be desperately lonely and craving love and affection and respect and shared life experiences and just not getting that for years on end. There were people around who identified me as their girlfriend while that happened though. I understand that's not the same thing in practical terms, but I did think that maybe it gave me a hint about what it would be like to feel and want all that without that person who calls me girlfriend around.

            I guess I'm just trying to understand where the big difference is that makes your life experiences so different from mine that I can't even understand what you're talking about. I promise I'm genuinely thinking about that and trying to understand, not being snarky and argumentative. I want to understand, but at the moment I don't really.

            EDIT: I should clarify, when I say bad relationship in this context and my personal experience, I don't mean "we have some really good times but I just don't think we're made for each other", I do mean "includes felonies", so… I don't know, that may be an important detail.

          • enail

            I agree with a lot of what you said, and as a person in a relationship, I don't want to pretend I can truly understand your feelings, and I know all the Positivity Rah Rah Rah stuff must be pretty annoying but I just wanted to mention one thing.

            The reason a lot of people here preach positivity is not so much because it works for them as because a lot of posts read as totally defeatist or self-flagellating, to the point where it seems like the hopelessness itself is probably their biggest obstacle to connecting to other people; either b/c they're giving up before they start ("no one could ever like me, so I'm not going to try to meet people") or because they're flooding the people they meet with their despair and resentment, which can be pretty off-putting. A lot of posters don't seem to realize how much they come off that way or how much it might affect their interactions.

            I don't want to pretend it's easy to get what you want or that everyone will find twuu wuv, but at the same time I think there are a lot of people out there and no one's totally unlovable, so making some changes within oneselve/changing the people one meets might help.

          • vessna

            The longest I've ever gone without a date is 3 years from when I was 21 until I was 24. That was long time ago now but I understand what that desperate loneliness feels like. More recently it's been 2.5 years since my last relationship but I've done some casual dating since then.

          • enail

            Johnny doe, could I ask what makes you think that everyone will get sick of you? Do you mean friends too, or just romantic partners?

            When you say you equate talking yourself up and doing things to impress girls with kissing ass, I wonder if you mightn't be going rather far to the other extreme? I don't know if this is you at all, but sometimes when people say that, they think of it as not bragging and showing off, but by most peoples' standards, they're actually talking themselves down or avoiding revealing anything positive about themselves, or they're not making any effort at all to put on a good face for others.

          • johnny doe

            I guess that was an overly general statement – I just meant the last 3 girls I liked, obviously didn't stick around, so they must have either gotten sick of my presence, or not really cared enough in the first place, or they just didnt like what I had to say or the way I acted around them. I don't think am really capable of acting in a way thats accommodating in a relationship – I'm used to being alone.

            That's the one thing I don't understand about this board, that tells people don't act like its a big deal if you meet someone and you need to tell them you havent dated for a long time or had sex or a relationship or whatever, when that premise is so faulty – no one can really identify what that feels like, unless they have been in that situation themselves. You can't just act casual about it, its not a casual topic, and its not wrong to feel bad or affected for all those years you've been by yourself.

          • johnny doe

            That's not to say you must project all your expectations on someone you meet, thats bad too, but only someone whose never really had the kind of slump like I have had can say something so dismissive as 'don't act like its a big deal when you do start dating someone.' And people don't like it admit it, or maybe they can't control it, but when you are inexperiencing, you are swimming in a sea of people who have grown to develop signals of attraction, what they do, and what they dont like, and they can detect someone who is a little off, maybe its not words, its just a vibe, but really, you can't do whole lot about it. I've seen girls who openly get disgusted as fuck the second a guy mentions that he hasn't dated for a long time. Girls have done it to me, more than once. They did not give a *fuck* about that they were the first person I had feelings about in a long time.

            All the confidence and hobbies in the world aren't going to cover that up.

          • johnny doe

            Answering the other part of your question, I don't mean friends get sick of me – but in all honesty, I don't have many these days – most have moved on to marriage, onto kids – a completely different phase of life. I don't get invited out as much for very understandable reasons – it'd be weird to invite a single guy to an event where its all couples and kids, and I wouldn't want to be there anyway.

            When I say kissing ass, I just mean any sign of doing something for validation of someone besides yourself. Though I am not right at this second in the shape I would like to be, but when I was, I never did it for anyone else's attention, and I don't know why, maybe its from years of rejection/being ignored, but the idea of improving yourself, so others notice, its so disgusting/appalling to me, and I don't like it conceptually at all, because I always felt it implies that you aren't anything, and those around you are superior to you, and their approval validates your existence. If anything, I prefer when its the other way around. When people hang onto every word I have to say, or they are thinking about how they need to come off to me.

            And that's for anything in life. I remember once I had a conversation with my boss about something a work situation – and my boss is a very blunt, aggressive person – you don't want to be scrutinized too closely by him – and I just stated exactly how I felt, wasn't really scared at all and then suddenly he started laughing, and said he thought I was funny – but I wasn't at all trying to make him laugh or seek his approval of validation of my handling of the situation, and he told me near the end he liked me, and not to take anything he said too personal. I just remember thinking how confident in myself I felt after the conversation, not because of what he said at the end, but how i felt during the conversation.

            I do not jab at myself when I talk to girls, I do not know, I just generally smile, and keep it positive, and most importantly, don't ever have a conversation where the length of my conversation exceeds theirs. I just taper off real quick, and that's probably 99% of my interactions right there, because girls rarely, if ever want to talk to me longer than a few minutes, and none I ask ever say yes to hanging out or doing something one-on-one. I guess I could say positive things about myself, but there isn't much to say that isn't very generic – I can be sweet, funny at times, I'll listen to everything you have to say, I'll make time for you, and I can take you to nice places. There's a million guys who can say that.

          • johnny doe

            For years, I craved the validation of my family – who constantly hounded me about my shortcomings – now I don't live with them or depend on them for anything – and they have just become a background noise. For a long time – I was shunned by most of the wealthier side of my relatives – and I really cared about what they thought about me, professionally, socially, everything. Now, I could care less – and I have openly told my parents that when they complain I'm always a no-show at family events – I don't care what my relatives say or think. Not them, not my boss, not women, not my friends, not my family, no one. I am the decider of my level of self-improvement, and how I feel about it, and I do what I want. The only thing I need to do is work extremely hard to keep it going, since it can all go away and I have no safety net, but I like to think of that as positive thing. It is nice if someone cares to tell me something about my looks or when I make them laugh, but I really don't give a shit either way.

            This is how I have responded to my frustration, my loneliness, my tears over, my experiences have shaped who I am now, for better or worse. I'll admit, initially, I was really, really desperate to succeed because I felt, I'm single, people will point at me, and ask why is he single? What a loser. The one thing they will never be able to say is I can't provide for myself, nicely.

            And this may sound completely bad, but I always thought if i tried real hard to succeed, and make lots of $$, there's one area of life I will never worry about, but those who have been lucky in love, lucky in relationships, it will be a constant source of insecurity for them, and therefore, I am superior to them. I would never say this to anyone's face or put someone down, or have any malicious intentions about it, but deep down, it is how I feel – trying to compensate for my shortcomings in love because I'm so certain of how I will end up alone.

            Maybe I am protecting myself over the past – and I got a guard up, but rarely am I wrong about my feelings towards girls and them not ever wanting to hang out with me, and I just don't care to go to a bunch of rejections, feel super positive about it, only to have the same result at the end, which has already happened throughout my life. Again, like I said before, I hate the idea of doing all this shit for someone, when I've done enough, and if someone wants to do that for me, I'll certainly welcome it.

            I'd rather just accept being alone, and try to develop a beautiful life from that core, and not think about anything else – and maybe occasionally, relapse and feel bad about being alone – but then come back to the real world of work, deadlines, bills to pay, and snap out of it.
            I'll concede is that, making money, and having alot to spend on yourself, doesn't compensate for the loneliness, but it does help maintain a certain level of self-esteem and self-esteem to be independent of others.

            I remember one night with a friend, who had no problem getting women, but has never held down a job in his life, has tons of money problems, probably forever, asked me why in the world I didn't get girls, given my status, and etc etc, and I just told him 'i really don't know how to do that. I can make $$, that's all I know how to do, for now at least'.

            And I agree with Dr. Nerdlove, for different reasons, that its stupid to get a nice job, a car, an apartment to impress girls – that's just dumb and pathetic on so many levels – you do that stuff for yourself, and you if you aren't, chances are, you will never be able to keep it.

            Enail, I laughed outloud when I read 'twuu wuv'. Marty, I wish you the best, and I hope you keep doing our thing. Clementine, thank you for listening, and everyone else who I didn't mention. Time for bed, gotta fly somewhere tomorrow . =)

  • deadliftman

    If any of you girls are struggling with body weight issues, skin problems etc. I would highly advise you to have a look at the Paleo diet/ Primal diet and lifestyle. The whole idea is to live like our ancestors. Lots of physical effort, natural whole foods. It's not just about the diet either. The general lifestyle should be more natural. I have seen great improvements on that diet. Many of my female friends looked pretty damn good after they went primal. Just a suggestion. And if you insist that you don't want to change your lifestyle just to look good for someone else – well, there are other arguably more important benefits of going paleo – including better immune system, better hormone stability, better heart. There you go.

    • Clementine Danger

      Have you heard of Health at Every Size?

      It does away with all these stupid fad diets that are all about weight loss and conforming to conventional beauty standards, and instead focuses on a weight-neutral, health-focussed outcome that takes your emotional and psychological well-being into account. Because, you know, diets don't work. Not if you define "work" as "lead to permanent sustainable weight loss and improved body image".

      And I'm honestly a little disappointed at this vision of "going primal". I thought it'd be a lot more running around the woods howling at the moon and eating funny mushrooms.

      I swear, sometimes I think the diet industry people just sit around coming up with dares to see what they can make us buy into next.

      • OldBrownSquirrel

        Amanita muscaria has some nasty toxins, but at least one of the active ingredients is filtered intact and active by the kidneys, whereas many of the others apparently get detoxified to some extent by the liver. That being the case, the real secret to going primal without messing yourself up badly is to find a shaman who's willing to suffer the full side effects and then use the Bear Grylls method to get the funny mushroom second-hand. Granted, it's a processed food at that point, but it's paleo! This is, in all honesty, an authentic, traditional Siberian method.

    • Why did I never think of that? Why have I never discussed my weight gain with my doctor, and researched and tried every single possible diet on the face of the planet? How did it NEVER occur to me to stay away from carbs and reduce my calories? Here I thought stuffing my face with bread and eating 3000 calories a day would make me skinny!

      All joking aside… I HAVE done Paleo, for a total amount of time of a little under a year. (In addition to weight lifting, belly dancing, and almost daily cardio.) And ya know what? Didn't drop a pound.

      I won't slam on Paleo, eating clean or exercising. It certainly has health benefits. I slept better and felt better. But it did not help me LOOK better. Science has very, very little understanding of how our bodies process calories and retain weight in the modern world, and for women's bodies, that's goes double. Women are genetically made to STORE fat (for example, you'll have difficulty with pregnancy and stop menstruating if you drop below a BMI of about 20.)

      I…. think you're trying to be helpful here, so I won't slag on you too much, but in the future, I'd heavily re-consider telling women on forums about their own bodies and what they should do with them, or frankly dispensing advice of any kind of weight loss.

      • Clementine Danger

        You're a kinder person than I am. I just get this knee-jerk reflex to snark at people who barge in going "Hey girls! Are you ugly? Well this quick fix can make you a worthwhile human again!"


    • FormerlyShyGuy

      If YOU want to lose weight for yourself, I use something similar to the Paleo diet and it is a sustainable diet for me (so IMHO not a "fad" type diet). If you don't want to lose weight and you are healthy (at Any Size) enjoy life and don't worry about diet.

      If deadliftman had simply changed a little bit to say, If any of you want to lose weight…. blah blah recommendation here blah blah. I think it would be less offensive, and more informative to those who have that goal instead of insisting on that goal for all.

      • Clementine Danger

        It's just the assumption of it that bugs me. This is from another comment thread, so I don't know if deadliftman noticed it, but they *should* have noticed that they just barged into a comment section where several people are expressing deep and genuine pain about their looks and how it influences their thoughts and their life. Following a conversation like that up with "here's some diet that'll fix that!" is *incredibly* offensive and insulting. So that probably didn't help either, not even considering all the other stuff that's wrong with that post.

        Like claiming that good health is ARGUABLY more important than looking good for someone else. That's probably just a slip, or my ESL acting up, but man, presenting good health as an afterthought after being conventionally attractive seriously does not help their case.

        • deadliftman

          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it. Also, just because some people don't comment here doesn't mean they are not part of the readership. So my comment isn't just directed at people actively commenting here. I shared with the readers of this blog what I considered to be an useful diet. Whether you take offence to the way I present my thoughts is beyond my control. Offence is taken not given.

          • Clementine Danger

            It did entertain the idea. Like I said elsewhere, I looked into it and agree with some aspects, but as a whole package I found it lacking, as did the many scientists and nutritionists who made very convincing arguments against it, both for its apparently highly exaggerated health and weight loss claims as well as claims to historical accuracy. And that's ignoring the disappointing track record this diet has when it comes to actually doing what it promises to do. Also ignoring that pretty much 100% of weight loss diets or any diets that restricts food intake simply do not work and actually cause more harm than good, both physically and psychologically. As long as we're quoting other people, I'm perfectly willing to be open-minded, but not so open-minded my brain falls out.

            And I do take offence at your offensive behavior. So… yup. Offence taken. That is the current situation, vis-a-vis offence taken by me. Let's both not lose sleep over it.

          • Mel_

            All that happened was a couple people here pointed out that you presented your comment in a way that would generally be considered insensitive and problematic. You were clearly directing it at the women already commenting who were talking about being unhappy about their looks, because you couldn't be directing it at the article itself, which isn't talking about how to look better at all.

            When someone points out that you've stepped on their foot, the correct response is to remove your foot, apologize, and make an effort not to step on anyone else's. Not to keep standing there telling them it's their fault because the pain is in their foot, not yours. A mark of an educated mind is being able to accept criticism when it is given and adjust one's perspective where needed.

    • Hannah Solo

      Didn't our Paleo ancestors also die before age 30?

      • Clementine Danger

        [history nerd indulgence]

        The Paleolithic era is just such a long-ass stretch of time. Among other things it encompasses the growth of homo habilis into homo sapiens sapiens, and there's just not one single human lifestyle associated with that entire period that we know of. There's a lot of very solid theories, but claiming to know what daily life almost 3 million years ago looked like down to the details is a misrepresentation of the facts as we know them at best. So that bugs me right off the bat.

        [/history nerd indulgence]

        But I get the idea, it's just a catchy name for the thing, not any claim at historical accuracy. I hope. I've looked into the diet and it really looks good on the surface. I'm a big supporter of eating local food, for example. But then you look into their track record and actual accomplishments, and it kind of goes to shit from there.

        • Maggie

          I have nothing against the diet. It's just that all the girls I know who try it keep saying that it's aboutbeing healthy, not about being thin, but then all they'll talk about is their "huge" ass or how what they're eating is "going straight to my thighs"… I mean I get it, if a person trying to lose weight. That's fine. What irks me is how they insist that it's not about weight loss, it's all about health, then just bitch about their size…

      • deadliftman

        That's probably because of the natural calamities, tribal wars, getting attacked by wild animals etc. Also, many standard viruses that we have learnt to control today probably were finishing up thousands of people in the old days. No one has any solid proof of this, but it is likely that our ancestors did not have any chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure or stuff like cancer. Many of them are the gift of modern human civilization.

        • Clementine Danger

          No. That is not how archaeology or anthropology works. You can't just preach a diet that claims to know down to the details what daily life nearly 3 million years ago was like and then turn around and say they probably died a lot because of, like, tsunamis and stuff. For all you know, they all died of fucking malnutrition.

          Then there's also the fact that, you know, this isn't the Paleolithic era, and even if we knew every single second of every single Paleolithic human's life, that still wouldn't be worth shit, because this is 2013. Turns out things have changed quite a bit since the Neolithic Revolution, and we can't just change them back. Air quality alone is a huge factor, not to mention factory farming, the genetic manipulation of crops, radical changes to the human immune system, oh and fat-shaming is also a thing now, a thing which you did, and shouldn't do, ever, because that thing I said about offence being taken. Also it's just rude. So how about we stop trying to build a time machine for the universe and start being nicer and more accepting of people who don't fit a standard of beauty they never agreed to? Seems like a lot less effort.

          Just call it the Eat Healthy Local Food and Exercise Every Once In A While Lifestyle. All these claims of historical accuracy are obviously just a catchy load of bull to make the thing more marketable. And I trust "lifestyles" that work so hard to be marketable about as much as I trust religions that require me to buy ranks of initiation.

          • Maggie

            Adding in here that the diet of many of our agricultural ancestors was richer in fat and calories than ours is because they had a much, much more active lifestyle and needed to eat lots in order to get them through the day. So unless we decide to spend all our day doing what our ancestors did, exercise/energy consumption-wise, their diet isn't adapted to our way of life..

        • Maggie

          Why is that likely? I mean yeah, those numbers are definitely helped toards the lower end of things by high child mortality, but there's no reason that they wouldn't have high or low blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. We didn't just magically develop tose, especially since there are genetic componants to that…

    • You don't need to follow stringent ass diet like paleo to get healthy. It doesn't even make sense because the true way to eat like your ancestors would be consume what ever calories you can find. Finally, you're following a diet endorsed by a man who looks like a wombat.

  • Stay Excellent

    For me, it's not the what but with whom you're comfortable. Everything from poetry slams to mass pillow fights and from LAN-parties to playing hooligan at a riot police training exercise becomes fun if I'm with likeminded snarkers with a laidback attitude and fondness for references. I don't really identify with a particular lifestyle or subculture, but a personality type-one you can easily find nearly anywhere, and are easy to pick out. It made me a lot more comfortable going out of my comfort zone once I realized this.

  • LEOGfan

    Hi i need some help , so i have a close circle of friends , cause i have a hard time keeping friendship in break periods liek vacation ,just cause i dont keep tabs as much. But i finally found this few guys who got me acess to parties and other activities ,the thing is…after 2 years of hanging out with them ive discovered i dont really have anything in common with them and the personalities of a couple of them are really shitty and make me get far away from them , Plus they never made me feel like an equal member of the group and i always feel like the extra guy.So what should i do ? Should i stick on that group only cause of the social oportunities it provides or should i cut ties and follow Dr.Nerdloves advice and find better friends?Please respond i really need some input on this 🙂

    • Clementine Danger

      Well, what social opportunities have they provided for you in the past? New friends who aren't acting shitty? If yes, hang out with those people. If no, don't hang around shitty people to get them.

      That's the thing. People you're not compatible with and that you don't really like have a very slim chance of introducing you to compatible people you do like. You don't have to do some grand dumping them thing or not see them ever again. But start hanging out other places as well, without them. Places you actually like. Then, if that works out, you can faze them out if you want to. Do what the post suggests. Make new friends, proper friends who like what you like and who like you. Because take it from me, the more time you spend around people who aren't nice to you and don't act like they like you, the less motivated you'll be to go find people who do treat you like a friend.

      • LEOGfan

        THank you for the advise, i guess im just scared that ill have no friends and ill just become a ermit in my house but ill guess your right and the doctor has indeed posted an article that speaks to me to the tee.

        • Clementine Danger

          Well, whether other people like you or not is their decision, and not something you can control. But whether you become a hermit and stay inside forever is completely on you. That's always going to be your choice.

          Like I said, you don't need to make a big spectacle of dumping this group and moving on. Just try some things without them, see if you can make friends elsewhere, without them, and take it from there. I personally think it's best to work from the assumption that these things take a lot of time and effort, and that if making new friends is your goal, you need to really plan for and work towards that goal. It won't happen overnight, and it won't happen without effort.

          Also, I'm just some lady on the internet, so don't take what I say as gospel. But I think that if you focus on that goal and work on your own life and happiness, eventually you can reach a place where you're happy, both with yourself and the people in your life.

          Good luck. It's not easy, but I'm rooting for you.

        • johnny doe

          I'm not an expert or anything, but there are any things you like to do by yourself? you dont need someone around? For me, for years, it was going to the bookstore and the movie theater alone. Sometimes, I would go to a bookstore, read for 2 hours, go a watch movie, buy myself dinner after, then go to sleep. Very relaxing.

  • Matty C

    Thank you for this article Doc. It's the first 'lifestyle' article I've read in as long as I can remember that didn't make me feel like the author was just saying to me "Dude, the shit you're really passionate about (video gaming and games dev) just isn't cool and chicks won't like it, so, you know, stop that.".

    Been meaning to take up swing dancing again and attend more IGDA game dev meetups. Gotta get onto that 🙂

  • I'm having some small issues at the moment.

    1) My passion for things seems to have ebbed a bit and thus my motivation too. Any advice on rekindling it?

    2) I find it difficult to do things outside of my experience without feeling unduly nervous (Thanks Asperger Syndrome) also meeting people (mostly over this) i still find it difficult with people I respect. I'm going to be going to a convention primarily to say hi to Kieron Gillen and get him to sign something. I'm certain to be ok once the interaction happens, but the lead up.

    And I speak as someone who has shaken Admiral Adama's hand, you'd think everything would be easy after that.

  • Maggie

    Although opposites can have a very fulfilling relationship when they have certain aspects in common. My very corporate, straightlaced father and my artist, bohemian mother have been married about 30 years now. They both share an interest in new age spirituality, though, which is how they met. But they're a real inspiration for me, even if no one really gets how they ended up together.

    Personally, I'm slowly starting to expand my social network after starting a new exercise/arts hobby. It's doing wonders to my body (the exercise) and my self esteem (the community)

  • Pingback: Raising Awareness About IT Education In Estonia – Summary Of IT Night 2013, Roela()

  • Question: How does one build an attractive lifestyle if most of their life is built around their work? I'm currently starting an engineering graduate program, and I certainly enjoy my work and I like living a busy life, but it hurts my social life. Add that to the fact that engineering programs are mostly men (one of my classes literally has no women, the others hover around 25%) and you've got pretty shitty prospects. Sure, engineering kids are pretty cool to work with and don't have douchey egos, but it's hard to make friends to chill with outside of class.

  • LokiTetch

    man, having an attractive life and personality seems like a hell of a lot harder than being pretty

    • eselle28

      Then my suggestion would be that you specialize in being pretty. As numerous gripes on the site confirm, physically attractive men with unattractive lives and personalities can also find partners. So, go out there and get hotter. It's easy, right?

      • LokiTetch

        if being pretty was the most valued initial requirement for men to get dates maybe it would be worth it. Realistically most women are naturally pretty, work to maintain that and will be handed dating options, working on building an impressive life resume and trying to earn dating options through witty banter and being inherently funny is difficult but a man's only realistic option

        • eselle28

          Most men are naturally pretty. Work to maintain it, and I suspect your dating options will at the very least improve.

          But if you're not heading off to the gym and to your waxing sessions, it's going to be pretty hard to take your evaluation of your dating options seriously.

  • What should I do when the things I'm passionate about and enjoy doing don't bring people into my life? I like magic(the card game) reading fantasy novels, playing dungeons and dragons and I'm really exceptional with STEM subjects but those are all male centric and have never helped me get a date even though I enjoy doing them. I've tried dance classes, martial arts, art classes, going to bars/clubs, and I go to the gym but I didn't really enjoy any of them. They were all things I did to meet women, and if I didn't continue them. And even living the lifestyle to keep me happy doesn't keep me happy because I'm still just a dateless sexless loser when I get everyday. What should I do?