“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind contemplates a different beauty.” – David Hume, Philosopher
Physical appearance plays a crucial role in sexual attraction. However, attractiveness is shaped by how society sees it, and people deemed ugly can still be attractive no matter what their DNA has in store.
People usually know what’s ugly about themselves only through their self-esteem issues during their teen years, where insecurities become cemented, or by the jibes of others.
There is no official guidebook on beauty standards we can refer to, and the idea of attractiveness changes as society’s needs and desires change. I’m sure you have a “type” too, but I strongly doubt you have a way to explain why.
In the Victorian era, for example, the idea of a woman’s beauty lay in pale skin and a curvy frame. It suggested you were wealthy, ate well, and stayed indoors while the less affluent worked the fields.
Fast-forward 200 years and a bronze tan became the flavour of the month. Far more people work indoors now, so a tan became a sign of having leisure time and being able to travel.
I’m sure that some of you reading this now might disagree with the above being attractive and have an entirely different idea of it. Ugliness and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. That’s what makes them so easy to mould to your advantage.
However, this has implications beyond dating. The insecurity that often accompanies sitting outside the conventional boundaries of “good-looking” can often transform into isolation and anger.
This anger has been the backdrop of mental illness and violence in men who label themselves as “involuntary celibates” or incels. Addressing the underlying insecurity is vital for well-being and an essential part of being happy and social.
The good news is that with a little bit of work on yourself and the right outlook, you can overcome these negative and destructive feelings with ease. As a side effect, you’ll experience more positive encounters with women once the work is underway.
Let me explain what “ugly” people can do to get around society’s labels and be happy (and more popular with the opposite sex).
The Science Of Attraction
I’ll be upfront with you – looks do matter. And science has found the same throughout nature.
Bees will flock to the brightest petal to pollinate, and countless species attract their mates by seducing them with colourful plumage and fur.
You need only look at the bizarre mating displays among birds of paradise to know that we are far from the only species who prejudge sexual partners based on attractiveness.
A 2011 review of studies on facial attractiveness found that several different factors can affect how we perceive other people’s faces, including:
– Hormone levels and fertility: Women prefer different facial types at various stages of their ovulation cycle.
– A person’s impression of their own attractiveness: This is a big one, and I’ll go into this in more detail below.
– Personality: An individual’s character plays a huge role in the attributes they seek from a sexual partner.
– Exposure: We calculate faces based on experience. The people we meet throughout our lives will shape what we find attractive. This may change over time as we meet more people.
– Social learning: Even fish prefer a partner if they see other fish fawning over them. So humans may well take on board what society deems to be attractive and judge themselves by those standards.
These chemical and biological fluctuations are powerful, too. For example, the perception of a person as attractive can even affect how likely they are to receive a favourable verdict in a court of law.
With so many different variables in how attraction is shaped and its importance in modern society, it’s no wonder that many guys who are less physically attractive find dating stressful.
How to Be Attractive – However Attractive You Are
Let’s clear up something that makes the rest of this a lot easier to absorb: “Attractive” does not mean “physically aligned with the beauty standards of the time.” It means you have qualities that attract you to other people.
Those qualities can take several forms, whether it’s economic stability, talent, confidence, earning power, humour, sociability, kindness, emotional intelligence, physical fitness… The list of possibly desirable qualities goes on and on.
And the great thing about all of these qualities is that you can change and develop them. Why get frustrated and insecure about an aspect of yourself that is mostly a genetic lottery, and about which you can do very little?
Instead, it’s best to work on the bits of yourself you can shape more to your liking.
Here are a few measures you can take to change the way you and others see yourself:
Tackle the insecurities at the root
If you feel fine having yellow teeth or large moles on your face, then 100% do you.
However, if it makes you frame yourself negatively, there are so many ways to fix cosmetic blemishes at minor cost, be it dermatology, dentistry, or simply a new haircut.
There comes the point where the excuses need to stop, and actions need to start. If an imperfection means enough to you that it stands between you and talking to other people with confidence, it’s worth the financial outlay.
Live a life of substance
This should be a priority regardless of physical appearance. But being driven in a way that provides your soul nourishment will mean that physical concerns take a backseat.
And women will pick up on that focus.
Set and achieve goals
A man with goals is sexy, and a man who knocks them down even hotter.
Put aside anger and resentment
Aside from being deeply unattractive, many other guys have to put in the same work as you to keep afloat in the world of dating, and it’s not a woman’s fault if the attraction hasn’t sparked.
Break that toxic cycle and make dating more fun for everyone involved.
Work on yourself
You are a brand, and presentation is everything when it comes to making a first impression. So work with female relatives and friends on reshaping your wardrobe, work on your physical fitness, or just get your shoulders waxes from time to time.
Stay hygienic and presentable, and you’ll find a sharp boost in the number of positive encounters you’re having.
Learning to love what you have is most of the battle. I quoted David Hume at the top of the article, and in the words of another great philosopher, Ru Paul, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?
(And yes, you can get an Amen.)
A technique I use is standing in front of the mirror naked and finding aspects of myself I admire. Maybe you have square shoulders, or a slender frame, or good skin.
Standing there for 5 minutes and taking stock of your good qualities will give you an air that allows other people to join the You Appreciation Society.
It’ll come across in how you walk, stand, and make eye contact, all of which are more important than facial attractiveness in the intricate dance that is social interaction.
And if you’re really struggling to find desirable qualities, admire yourself as a canvas with unlimited potential. You’re alive, breathing, and able to look in the mirror. That’s a significant first step to self-improvement.
Stop assuming that women will not like you
When entering a social interaction with someone they find attractive, the gravest mistake men make is assuming that this connection will not be returned, just because a guy doesn’t fall within the bounds of traditional good looks.
This often prevents the interaction in the first place, thus providing a barrier to becoming more comfortable with talking to women and sparking attraction. It’s a spiral, and it needs nipping in the bud.
The stereotype that only attractive people can pair up with attractive people regularly gets turned on its head. Danny DeVito has been happily married for 38 years, which should tell you everything you need to know.
He’s about as far from the conventional “chad” image, which many incels blame for their own isolation and sense of rejection, as you can get. But he’s funny, charismatic, very financially stable, and, by all accounts, a really nice guy.
And he’s built a personal brand that maximises his unusual height and appearance to inspiring effect. That 38-year marriage started with a single conversation.
Do not underestimate the power of accepting who you are and working on yourself.
You don’t need to deprive yourself of that enduring connection just because you don’t meet one narrow criterium of what can make a man attractive. You’re more than just a face, pretty or otherwise.
Can your resentment, sharpen yourself up, and dive headlong into your next positive interaction.
I’ve been defusing men’s negative inner narratives for over 15 years now. Visit www.johnnycassell.co.uk/pua-training for information on my private virtual mentoring and confidence training. Let’s start your journey.