It’s not easy being a woman of substance in a superficial world. Women are valued based on two primary categories… first by what they look like and second by what valuable traits they possess. In our fast-paced society where we don’t have time to get to know anyone, attractiveness often wins out over substance when it comes to immediate personal investment. Not to say you can’t have both, but let’s face it… men aren’t looking for the smartest girl or the most interesting girl or the kindest girl when they’re on the make. They want the pretty ones, whether or not they’re smart, interesting or kind. And if they have to choose one or the other, the pretty package will always win in the end, even if it’s nothing more than a paper doll.
It’s not their fault. Men are hard-wired to be more visual. They are drawn to the younger, fertile female to sustain the species, which spells trouble for any woman of substance who has had to hone every other character trait she has because she wasn’t born traditionally attractive. If you pride yourself on being smart, kind or interesting but are missing that key element of attractiveness, it is a tough pill to swallow that many prefer the clear empty vase they can assess in a glance – perfect and pleasing to the eye but devoid of anything real or complicated. I am not this vase; as such my many fine attributes are overlooked. I am regarded more as the battered paper bag sitting on the street that you never know has discarded treasure or a pile of refuse hidden inside. You have to look a little closer with me. You have to get your hands dirty. You have to take some time.
In doing so many people (mostly men) who don’t care to take the time or get their hands dirty will simply pass me by. You see the scars but don’t care to know where they’re from or how I survived and overcame them. Instead, whether on the make or not, they will stop traffic for the empty vase, the object they assign a certain value because it doesn’t take any effort at all to look at something pretty and decide it’s pretty. There’s a very visceral reaction to someone who looks like someone they may one day want to mate with, even if the primary goal of the relationship isn’t to mate.
This sparks an interest with which I cannot compete. Time is not on my side. To discover if one is wise, sensitive, loving, compassionate, talented, funny… that’s going to take more of an investment. And in this world, especially for women, there isn’t a long line of people who wish to figure you out. We’re that puzzle on the edge of the table no one bothers to solve. We are marked “some assembly required” which means you get to participate directly in the relationship by putting your own personality on the line. So gals like me, we don’t get the extra effort. We’re that fixer-upper that few can see the potential in because we’re not already polished, shiny and new.
That means when you see me it’s an auto-relationship. You can’t NOT invest time in me to discover what I’m all about. But in the ultimate catch-22, since I’m not attractive there’s no initial interest there to develop that relationship on any level. My traits are discarded as second-best even among those who would have been friends or casual acquaintances.
They don’t care to look deeper to find the jewel buried underneath. Sometimes they are very open and direct about it… but there are those who try to fool you that they aren’t a superficial douche and will lead you on but keep you as final resort to feed their ego when the other pretty ones aren’t giving them what they want.
In some cases throughout my history, they’ve also preyed on my desperation to be accepted to use me like a scrap of tissue; to be picked up and discarded when the mood struck but never offer me anything of value in return.
When someone passes me on the street they can’t possibly know all the wonderful things about me that make me me. In fact many times they look through me like I’m invisible. Apparently I’m easy to miss.
Worse, they attribute a bunch of negative qualities to me because of the unappealing outer exterior and stuff me in a box that I can apparently never earn my way out of. It’s quite frustrating when someone labels you as “desperate” and “crazy” for a relationship you don’t even want. “I will never want to sleep with her… so obviously she really wants to sleep with me. Let’s keep her at arm’s length.”
So everything legitimate I can offer is overshadowed by this arrogant misinterpretation of my intentions. Once again, no matter how interesting, smart, kind, funny, talented, compassionate and strong I’ve become through the years I’m delegated emotionally to the new fat kid in the school cafeteria looking for a place to belong at one of the tables… and no one will meet my eyes because I just don’t fit in.
I’m not f*ckable… so I don’t count as a female. And this is only getting worse the older I get and less f*ckable culture regards me. If this seems whiny it’s not meant to – it’s just the reality I’ve experienced the last four decades I’ve had on the planet. I realize all the primal instincts I’m working against and, frankly, am glad that for the most part I am cast aside rather than cruelly manipulated and deceived. There are unexpected benefits to being unattractive.
Does it hurt my feelings? Of course. I’m not made of stone. I wish I could flip the switch and not care what people think about me but it’s hard on the ego when you’re cast aside for all those who are way crazier than you could ever hope to be just because they are in a prettier package. (Raise your hand if you have known a guy who prefers the hot crazy chick to the sane plain girl… or the weak but pretty emotional black hole as opposed to the strong, independent woman who can stand on her own two feet.)
In my mind I’m quite easy-going. I’m not out to hurt anyone or manipulate anyone. Most of all I’m not looking for a sex partner – so the attractiveness shouldn’t even be a factor. I’m looking for colleagues and friends with compatible personalities and common goals. I give a lot because I have a lot of gifts to give, not because I’m setting you up to owe me a romp in the hay. All I expect in return is to be appreciated for being more than just a battered bag you’d pass in the street.
Like anyone else I want to be seen. But like so many I am easily ignored. My many gifts are forsaken. My devotion is scorned, my faithfulness mocked. In the end – even though I’ve fought so hard to be so much more than what you see, I’m discarded for exactly that. I’m good but not good enough, simply because of my rough exterior.
It’s not easy to be a woman of substance in a superficial world. But as much as it hurts… I’m smart enough… kind enough… and interesting enough to enjoy my own company even when rejected by others. Those who do take the time and invest themselves are generally as kind, smart and interesting.
That has given me the wisdom to step back and realize that those who might discard me do not have the substance enough to qualify for *my* attention. In that respect, though it hurts to be overlooked and underestimated, I’m glad for the built-in asshole deflector of being unattractive. The gifts I do possess are too precious to squander on those who simply do not value them in the first place – and are undeserving of the prize.