Feminism | Posted by Marie B on 12/16/2011

“I Only Asked You Out Because You’re Pretty”

the best thing to come out of this date

the best thing to come out of this date

…But you’re actually really funny, too!” Well no shit, asshole. In addition to a sense of humor, I also possess opinions, aspirations, and a black belt, but since we only made it to gelato and Gas USA for your cigarettes, I guess I shouldn’t expect you to know that. That is the sad unfortunate reality that is dating.

While it’s cliché, it’s also completely true that for whatever reason people love to be told that they’re attractive. This is not meant to necessarily be an attack on the “oppressive bonds of beauty forced upon women by society.” I think it’s more complicated than that. Rather this is me trying to figure out exactly why a statement that praised my looks but clearly undermined everything else about me was so offensive but at the same time strangely flattering.

Let’s examine how this short courtship began. Walking out of the student center at school, I passed a well-dressed (and by that I mean real clothes, instead of the normal sweats seen on campus) guy on the phone. As I scurried pass, he taps his ear, and goes “I like it.” Both of us have industrial piercings- cute, right? It’s like we already had matching friendship bracelets, so it was no surprise when we ran into each other again the following Thursday at karaoke. We talked, or rather shouted over the “talent” long enough to exchange names and numbers. After the standard three day waiting period, we set up our little date.

It was nothing too special, just a jaunt through Little Italy, but I put on deodorant for this. I obviously had pretty high expectations already. We walked to a nice pizza parlor where we ate gelato. It was nice. It was cute. Had the date ended there it would have been no problem. I’d probably still see the kid every once in a while. But then he told me why he was really there.

Looking back, the main reason I was so offended was that I was willing to give this guy a chance based on who he is as a person only to be told that all he cared about, what was most important to him was my physical appearance. In addition to being insulting and in addition to it having a lot to do with the beauty standards for women in our society, it also seemed like a weird double standard. Maybe there are girls who only go out with guys because of the way they look when the guy is really into them, but I feel like what I experienced is way more common.

The physical attraction between both of us was undeniable but considering the fact that we hadn’t already hooked up I was assuming we had a chance at a good old fashioned relationship. But while being told your beautiful may offer a superficial confidence boost, having someone notice things like your wit or your taste in music and still be impressed with you is a much more satisfying boost and I’m going to hold out until I find that.

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  • Liz @ at 10:53 pm, December 16th, 2011

    Its just human nature to pay more attention to people you find attractive. However, it was definitely out of line for him to state that the only reason he asked you out was because you are pretty. However, even if you didn’t say it, weren’t you going out with him based on his attractiveness too? From what you wrote, it doesn’t sound like you knew him at all. But, I could have misread part of the article.

  • Renee @ at 7:01 am, December 17th, 2011

    I have to agree with Liz while it was out of line to blantantly state it that way. Who are we kidding? We pick our others based in part on Physical attractiveness. But your telling us in that short period of time you managed to find the ins an out of this guys personality and based ONLY on that you decided to go out with him? I’m sorry but it seems to me that you were doing the exact same thing that he was doing except he stated his reasons for the date in a very tactless way. But maybe I misread too.

  • Matt SS @ at 2:02 pm, December 17th, 2011

    Glad I’m not the only one who thought it was suspicious that she didn’t know him any better than he knew her but she claimed he was being superficial and she wasn’t. In my experience aside from people who know each other pretty well, the majority of kids get crushes based on attractiveness. Boys AND girls. If you see someone on the street or in public that you don’t know, how else would you have decided to hook up, or go on a date or even hang out? I mean sure industrial piercings. And of course maybe you saw them doing an activity or sport you like. But how does that tell you anything about them at all anymore than physical attractiveness. When you are making out or having sex do you visualize him/her as scoring the winning goal in the world cup or something? Please.

  • Vanessa @ at 10:28 pm, December 20th, 2011

    Exactly. This is spot on. It’s good to compliment someone about their looks, but hitting on someone because of that is just plain wrong.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this type of behavior in my school. I’m talking about both guys AND gals.

  • Lauren @ at 6:53 pm, January 1st, 2012

    The author said that she thought she had a chance at a good old fashioned relationship. Obviously she was not just considering this guy’s looks, and she was trying to get to know him and thought his personality had potential. Sure, she may not have known him very well, but maybe the fact that he was nice enough to compliment her out of the blue made her think he was a sweet guy.

    Sometimes all you need to do is look at a guy’s body language and then you can get a feel for his personality. I might be out somewhere and see a very socially acceptable, attractive man, but if his body language and the way he talks suggests that he is arrogant or condescending, there’s no way in hell I’m going to go on a date with that guy. Yes, looks are important, but body language and tone can also hint at personality traits and could influence a woman’s perception of a man.

    Clearly, though, the guy in this article was not trying to figure out this girl’s personality; he was only taking her at face value and leaving it at that. When it became blatantly obvious to this guy that the author actually had a personality, and was actually FUNNY, he was so surprised that he had to comment on it. It’s sad, really.

    I think this story is just another example of how women can be objectified and have their whole identity based on their looks. Maybe someone should let the media know that we have personalities too (GASP!) so that we can stop being portrayed in this way, and so men can stop believing it.

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