Dustin Hoffman and Beauty Brainwashing


The viral Upworthy video showing Dustin Hoffman sharing his experience about becoming an unattractive woman for a movie has got me thinking… Are we really brainwashed into expecting to have the most physically attractive partners/friends and not settling for less? Probably, yes. Is this a bad thing? It’s probably distorted. Moderation in all things is wise. Here is my take on moderation of beauty-chasing:

I’ve posted previously about my burgeoning theory on really attractive people. Over the past couple years I have had the good fortune of going to bed with a couple people I would rate a “ten” on physical attractiveness. I found out that “tens” usually find themselves most attracted to other tens, and then date down the scale for variety once they’ve pocketed a steady ten.

But it’s a rough existence. Tens find themselves sought after by all the other numbers in the chart. Jealously among ten partners can be overwhelming because of this phenomenon, and they can become hyper-controlling of themselves or their partners to compensate. It takes a strong and wise person to pull off a ten life with grace.

On the other hand, a “five” will find themselves physically equal among other fives, but will occasionally score a higher physical beauty or settle for a lower one. I supposed I’d rate myself somewhere 7-8 on the scale of attractiveness, some moments maybe a nine. I’ve subtracted points for my height, which is taller than average, and my size, which is larger than boutique store size. My breasts are small compared to my hips. And I’m pretty goofy-looking from certain angles, strikingly beautiful from others.

I was going to write an article one time called, “What to do when you find yourself in an orgy with an unattractive person.” This has happened to me a couple times; I’ve also chosen the experience one-on-one (less pressure!). If you’ve never given yourself permission to be intimate with someone you also find slightly repulsive in some way, you are really doing yourself a disservice, I must say. Many other delightful treasures lay beneath the surface. Of course when the lights are out…many shortcomings fade.

Some people have real trouble understanding what it’s like to be physically intimate with someone who is physically unattractive to you. If you can’t even imagine being emotionally intimate with someone unattractive, definitely start there, and see how it goes!

Of course, there are lines nature intends for us not to cross, and beauty is an indicator of health. Swapping water with someone who totally repulses you may indeed be bad for your health (or your future offsprings’), and it is worth being cautious. But to think you have to score the company of the highest physical beauties you can all the time might really be selling your experience on earth disappointingly short. It’s probably more a symptom of trying to validate your own worth somehow by basking in the shine off someone else’s glow. It also might feel a little too much like chasing the “popular crowd” in high school. Ugh.

But all this is coming from someone who named her own kitten Fea, meaning “ugly girl” in Spanish. I found her a bit repulsive to look at when I first saw her nine years ago — the coloring and patterns on her face made her look a bit like a burn victim. But she was so sweetly tempered, I decided it was exactly what I needed in an animal. It was a beautiful name that happened to mean ugly, which was also an honest reaction to her physical beauty at the time. I wanted a name with meaning. Now you may be wondering, will I name all my children after my first physical impressions of them? Ha, no! Physical beauty is of course just one piece of the puzzle, and my cat has had a very good sense of humor.