How useful is it to tell the physically unattractive to lower their standards (revisited) or that their situation isn't all that bad?

I wrote a question somewhat similar to this a few weeks ago, but I'm kind of rephrasing it.

I'm going to use three friends of mine as an example. Let's call them Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Ms. Z.

Mr. X is a long time friend of mine from high school. He has FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) which has made his by virtually all accounts physically unattractive. He has had to watch over the decades his friends, myself among them, become involved in a variety of relationships, yet he is in his forties (one year younger than myself) and is a virgin. Mr. Y (more an acquaintance than a friend), while not suffering from any medical conditions I'm aware of, is by most accounts physically unattractive. His weight gain hasn't helped, but he was considered physically unattractive by most women long before he gained weight. His strategy is that he frequents strip joints and hires hookers (something that many of the dancers do on the side). He has been in one relationship that I know of, but he himself was not physically attracted to the woman. He considered sex with her a chore, not a joy. The relationship didn't last long. Then there is Ms. Z, a friend of mine who I once rejected. She is by all my male friend's accounts physically unattractive. I confess that was a huge factor in my rejecting her offer for a date. She married a man she wasn't much attracted to and is now divorced. She has told me through emails that she is very sad and alone and has admitted she has been suicidal.

Now it seems one thing to tell these people to lower their standards so that they are realistic, but it seems that unless they increase their erotic capital, the only realistic standard would be to be with someone that they do not find attractive themselves.

I think most would agree that we humans can't always control who we are physically attracted to. Why then do some people think that physically unattractive people can control who they're attracted to?

Which is wiser, to advise them to accept their situation and date people they don't find attractive, or to advise them to increase their erotic capital? What if it's impossible to increase their erotic capital? Then what?
Why don't some people understand that anguish and pain they feel? Why do some people seem to have virtually no sympathy and are unable to see the cruelty of their circumstance?

I try to understand their anguish. I do see the cruelty of it.


Most Helpful Girl

  • When I personally advise someone to lower their standards in that regard (which is something I rarely ever do), I do it when their standards are rather high even for people who are generally considered attractive. So what I mean by it, when I say it. is to lower their standards only so much that their new standards is still people they can feel physically attracted to.

    But other than that, there's no use in settling for something that won't make you happy anyway. Whether you're alone and unhappy or with someone and unhappy - you still end up unhappy either way.

    You have to elaborate to me what you mean by "erotic capital".

    • Erotic capital I guess is best defined as the overall strengths (appearance, personality, wealth, status, etc.) that would attract someone of the opposite sex.

      I tend to think with someone and unhappy is actually worse than alone and unhappy. If the other person is into you, you'll wind up tearing their heart apart. If the other person isn't into you, then I've noticed that the unhappiness is almost like some function of a square. Two people unhappy with each other aren't twice as unhappy, they're four times as unhappy.

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    • I have noticed intellectually honest people are frequently unaware of how honest they are. If you walk into an elegant dining room full of elegant people and a rhino browsing around with no one commenting on it, you'd probably say, "Hey! There's a rhino!" without thinking about it much (and wonder why the hell the diners are saying anything).

    • oops. I meant *aren't* saying anything.

Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 5

  • That is one of those "tough shit" situations. Some people feel that romantic relationships and sexual relationships with others is a human need. <In this regard I'll use an example that expresses my "tough shit" belief.

    You have a person who is starving and their bodies are on the brink of shutting down. You bring them mashed potatoes and they refused to eat the potatoes because they don't like mashed potatoes.

    The above example is similar to your observed circumstances because these people HAVE options, they simply do not like what they have to pick from (as other people do not like them as options). Their choices are to
    -Get plastic surgery (hope to become more physically attractive)
    -Accept their chosen path/reality
    -Take what is available to them
    -And/or starve/decay

    As your friends were cursed with poor looks, they were also blessed by being able bodied, in a developed nation, and obviously graced with good social company (you). A person who's never walked, a person who lives in poverty, a person who is unable to connect socially with others because of a mental illness/disorder would gladly change places with your ugly friends any day.

    Now that isn't to say that their suffrage isn't fair or that their feelings should be ignored. Simply that the reality of their situation should be acknowledged. They are fortunate enough to have options as a means to end their suffrage, unlike the people in more unfair situations listed above. Since that is a choice that they actively chose, it is one that they should accept.

    • You forgot another option, Washize. In at least one of my friend's circumstances, that of Mr. Y, I believe he can probably improve his attractiveness without resorting to plastic surgery. He doesn't, however. In the case of Ms. Z, she could have improved her attractiveness in her youth without resorting to plastic surgery. Now, Mr. X has looked into cosmetic surgery and he has been refused on the grounds he is not a good candidate for it.

      They all have accepted their path (I hesitate to say "chosen"). However, they are not happy about their reality. Two of them, Mr. Y and Ms. Z did take what was available to them. They found no happiness in it. Mr. Y I think ably described it as "masturbating inside a woman." I do not poo poo physical attraction. It's big. I can't speak for women, but if anything a man has to get an erection. Mr. Y accomplished this by thinking about someone else.

    • Your calling in "tough shit" is sadly appropriate. However, I don't agree that when all your options are bad ones, that you can really say they have much of a choice accept to choose the least bad choice. However, I fully understand why that would make them unhappy and anguished. I question how much you seem to understand that. So no, I disagree with you respectfully but strongly. Their choices won't end their suffrage. Minimize it at best, but not end it by any means.

      Now I know, and THEY know, there are people worse off who would trade positions with them. I know and THEY know they have some blessings. This does very little to alleviate the pain and anguish they feel at having been sexless and without any romantic love for longer than you have been alive. By the way, my brother has cerebral palsy, but he is, or was, fairly mobile. My family soon learned that telling him that there are people worse off than he did absolutely nothing to ease his frustration or suffering.

    • My friendship with them does absolutely NOTHING to alleviate their longing for romance and sex. They are glad they have friends, but this does nothing... well, nothing is perhaps a little harsh... it does very little to "end their suffrage." In fact, it doesn't end it at all.

      None of the choices you listed are either available to them or choices that would make them happy.

  • It's something I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about... or telling someone to lower their standards... It would suck to be in that position... but I think there is a lot people can do if they take care of themselves more (if they are not already)... I can't imagine how awful I'd look if I didn't work out regularly or eat healthy... but I can control those things... There are some things people can't control... and they can only hope someone will see them for who they really are. My BF isn't really all that attractive. I initially didn't even notice him in my class... don't remember the first time I saw him because I must have bypassed him (but he remembers the first time he saw me and what I was wearing... I feel bad that I don't). But I really did give him a chance and things worked out well because our personalities clicked. Although I'm still not really physically attracted to him his personality makes up for it.

    • "Although I'm still not really physically attracted to him his personality makes up for it. "

      That's very interesting. Would you mind if I messaged you about that?

  • that's a really tough situation but its either that or be alone.. or pay for it
    what else can they do? I believe there are people capable of seeing true beauty that's on the inside, but the way our society is set up most people don't. people like u described need to learn how to do that

    • Why is it ONLY the people I described need to learn how to do that? In theory, shouldn't EVERYONE do that?

      However, I assure you, pr3ttybr0wn, they DO see the beauty that's on the inside of many of the people they rejected. They just aren't aroused by it. I see the beauty on the inside of Ms. Z. She is a kind, generous, and gentle person. She's a great writer. She is funny and she makes me laugh. but I rejected her because I could never be sexually aroused by her.

  • I like to explain as SMF (sexual market factor). We all have a sexual market factor, but this is determined by the opposite sex (if you're straight). Men determine if a women is a 3, 6, 9, etc., & women determine if a guy is a 2, 7, 10, etc. Basically, if the highest someone can get is 7's, then they would have a SMF of 7. Unfortunately, some people just don't get this, & will waste their time waiting for someone who is higher or chance their SMF going down through years, while they are waiting. I hope all this made sense.

    • It makes perfect sense, matrix. You're brief and articulate. However, what if their SMF is so low that they can NEVER be attracted to the people who are attracted to them. What then?

      If I understand you correctly, you're saying a variant on the "lower your standards" model. However, what if their standards must be lowered to the point where they aren't attracted to the people available to them? Can YOU will yourself to become attracted to someone (I can't, and they can't either)? Why do you think they can?

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    • Yes, I agree. While no one is perfect, I think if we all try to look our best (exercising, taking care of skin, etc.), we make ourselves better & increase our smv.

    • Yep. I wish I knew Ms. Z when she was younger. I would have told her to try for option one harder. Well, I honestly don't know how well that would have gone down with her, since I am a man. I wish SOMEONE would have told her in her youth more about option one.

  • You can be attracted to whomever you want, but you have to be realistic in life and what you are able to get/ accomplish

    • What if, realistically speaking, they can only attract people to who they could never feel attraction? What then?

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    • Lost connection, dammit. If they aren't attracted to Anyone that is attracted to them, that sounds lonely. I can't even see or picture of that circumstances.

      To me, it seems, that they might not have a clear and realistic outlook on their features/ looks and what they can attract

    • I know them personally, knotme. They do have a realistic outlook on their looks and what they can attract. They just aren't happy about it.

What Guys Said 3

  • Guys have a warped perception regarding this. They will say "A woman can have sex any time whereas a man cannot". They are usually 5's or under looking at 7's+. So you explain that if this 7 lowered her standards to have a fling with a 5, why don't you use the same tactic and look for a 3?

    That is when the double standard comes into play.

    • It isn't a double standard. They are not demanding that ANYONE lower their standards for them. They are saying that just like it is very well possible that a seven can NEVER enjoy sex with a three, they feel they cannot enjoy sex with a three. If you read everything I wrote, you'll see that one did lower his standards. He did not enjoy sex with her at all.

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    • Instead of advising them to have sex with people they find sexually repulsive (or do you think the ugly have no right to find anyone sexually repulsive?), why not advise that they increase their own physical appearance, or look for other ways to increase their erotic capital?

      When was the last time, by act of will, you flipped a switch on in your brain and WILLED yourself to find someone who you think is ugly suddenly attractive? This has never happened to me personally because I can't do it, not because I WON'T do it. Why do you think ugly people can do it?

    • About women having sex at will (and for the record I do not in any way believe they all can), this poll might interest you.

  • I get what you're asking.

    It's easy when someone's a 5 and only wants 8's, you tell them to pick it up, get themselves to maybe 6+, lower their standards to 7's, and find a case where they think a 6 is a 7 and vice versa because each is the other's type.

    When someone is like a 3, ... its rough.

    However the flip side is that I think its easier to get your erotic capital from low to near-average than from say 8 to 9.

    Take Ms. Z. She weighs how much?

    • At last! A male sounds off! I'll answer more in a while. However, I've got to go to work.

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    • I'm sorry, I forgot I didn't answer this one.

      Mr. Y's photography job is generally not considered cool by most. It's not like he photographs Bengal tigers in the jungle. He photographs weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. Most women don't seem terribly impressed by this. They're even less impressed by his wallet.

      Mr. X has standards that I think are the same as my own, I guess. He was attracted to my wife. I don't think I have particularly high standards. Any rate, his standards are his own. He has met virtually every woman I've met. The fine point is that he isn't attracted to the women who have been attracted to him (of which after 40+ years of life he can count them on one hand). I'm starting to think he CAN'T be attracted to them. It's not like there's a switch in his head that he can flip and suddenly be attracted to them. By the way, Mr. Y and Ms. Z have both been with people they weren't attracted to. The results were unhappiness, and I'm not surprised.

    • By the way, some part of me suspects that Mr. Y probably could seal the deal somehow with the girls who cozy up to him when everyone else has rejected them. You're probably right about hitting the gym (and getting a better job). However, I don't know that I'd be the one to be able to tell him that. He's more like a friendly acquaintance.

  • there is more to the person than looks. yeah i would tell them to look for someone 'else' as for your friend i think you know each other well enough to tell him he has to lower his standards without mentioning the reason.

    • Of course there's more to a person than looks, loda1994. However, looks are a factor, possibly even a major factor. All three of my friends have lowered their standards, but they have run into a brick wall in terms of their standards now must be lowered to the point where they are no longer attracted to the person AT ALL. I believe I made it clear that Mr. Y DID lower his standards to the point where he was not physically attracted to the woman in any way. He did not enjoy sex with her at all. He likened it to masturbating inside a woman. By the way, Mr. X has been told to lower his standards MANY times. He knows this. He says he cannot go any lower without being repulsed by the woman. Do you want to have sex with a woman who physically repulses you? What makes you think he does?

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    • exactly. but at least they would be happy with them.

    • I do not think they would be happy with them. At the very least I have grave doubts that a sexless life is a happy one. For some, perhaps. For about 99% of humanity, I don't think that's a happy life.