Feminism | Posted by Marie B on 12/16/2011
“I Only Asked You Out Because You’re Pretty”
…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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