When I was 15 years old, Jason Hughes* told Jessica McKenzie* (not their real names) that I was an 8 out of 10 on the scale of prettiness. This was a momentous occasion because a)I had a gigantic crush on Jason and b)it was patently ridiculous. At 15 I was a little too chunky, a little too hairy, and a little too homely to rate on the top half of the attractiveness scale and I knew it. But that didn't stop me from whooping with glee when he told me the news.
As anyone who knows me knows, I’m inordinately fixated on my own attractiveness. I devote days to grooming and spend more money than I’d care to admit on preserving my pretty. After systemically overcoming all my teenage attractiveness obstacles, I’m confident in calling myself an 8. Well, and 8.5 really. But that’s because I’m a bit of an egomaniac.
I was skipping along happily in life with my 8.5 by my side until the day my friend and blogging idol Dr. J wrote this post about the rating scale for women. When I did the math according to his calculations, I came in at a 5. Then I went back and calculated it again and gave myself a 6 instead. Then I wept and hit him on gchat to inform him that he’d ruined my life. Mystified as he so often is by the workings of my mind, he didn’t feel my pain. His advice was to figure out how I see myself and not let other people dictate my number. Solid advice, but I would have been happy with “Max no way are you a 5, any fool can see you’re an 11!”.
Although it was a tiny bit dramatic for me to say that a score of 5 out of 10 ruined my life, it did make me pause and reevaluate my perception of my own attractiveness. What good is your score if you gave it to yourself and you’re the only one who thinks it? Was I incorrect in my assessment that in any given place, only 2 out of 10 women is better looking than I? And why does it matter?
Maybe it’s different for other (normal) people, but my attractiveness – or my perception of it – informs a lot of what I do. I function better in life when I look good or at least believe I do. I have better relationships with people who don’t make me feel ugly or lumpy. I communicate better with men who think I’m pretty. And let’s not forget, I’m the girl who stopped making YouTube videos because a troll called me ugly. I care about my attractiveness and what’s more, I care that other people recognize my attractiveness. Is that a bad thing?
Almost a year after the good doctor’s attractiveness calculations rocked me to my core, I had almost returned to normal when he sent me this link. For those of you too lazy to click it, the net net of it is that most people are between a 4 and a 6 on the attractiveness scale and that there is no such thing as a perfect 10. This caused my self-imposed 8.5 score to waver momentarily, until I reminded myself that I don’t have time for yet another existential crisis about my looks.
At the end of the day though, does it really matter? Is the good doctor right in saying that we have to choose our number and stick to it, all evidence to the contrary? Or is that how those unfortunate-looking women end up on YouTube and World Star gyrating in too-tight clothes thinking they’re really doing something? Is life as an 8 really any better than life as a 6? Or as a 4? The illustrious Panama Jackson has been touting himself as a 3 for ages and he seems to be doing alright with his life. So maybe a high score isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Last night in preparation for this post I asked Mr. Max what score he would give me on a scale of 1 to 10. After giving me a look that said “screw you I know a trap when I see one”, he gave me an 8. Smart man. As long as I think and I’m 8 and my mister concurs, does it matter what anyone else thinks? To me it does, but am I alone in this?
Tell me dear readers, what score have you been given? What would you give yourself? Do you think that being perceived as attractive enriches your life in any way or do you have more important things to worry about? Speak on it in the comments.