IT DOESN’T MATTER if you’retall, good looking and successful. You can still be chronically unattractive to the opposite sex.
The reason for this doesn’t lie in anything that’s missing from your life. You don’t need more money, better looks, or more status. In fact, the reason has nothing to do with what makes someone conventionally attractive at all.
The reason lies in simple choices that you’re making every single day.
WHAT ATTRACTIVENESS IS NOT
There’s this show in the UK called Love Island. It’s unbridled reality TV trash, but like anyone born after 1990, I watch it without a hint of irony.
The premise of the show this:
A bunch of hot single people living in one villa. They either couple up and make it work, or they get voted off. The final couple wins £50,000.
As you can imagine, this makes the singles couple up pretty fast. And naturally, the more time they spend time together, the more they develop feelings for one another. And because the producers of the show are crafty (and require drama) they frequently put obstacles in the way of each developing relationship. Which, in turn, strengthens or breaks the bond between the respective couples.
With me so far?
Because it’s within this show, that despite being good looking, tall, educated, successful, and surrounded by single women, one man just can’t catch a break.
He’s called, or at least, I will call him, Dr. Alex. And no matter what he does, no girl seems to be interested in him.
Doesn’t seem so bad?
It’s a strange situation. Everyone in the villa loves him, and the public has been extremely fond of him ever since he first appeared. He’s polite, even-tempered, he helps people out, and, if Twitter and the Media are to be believed, he’d make a great boyfriend.
Yet despite this, no girl on the show is interested him. He’s always a friend. Nothing more. Even when it seems like he might have something… Nope, straight back to where he started.
Why? If he’s so great, why can’t he keep a girl’s interest?
The answer lies in how being unattractive works.
HOW BEING UNATTRACTIVE WORKS
Watching the show, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this guy’s unfortunate story.
We’re so often told that attractiveness is a set of traits (usually height, looks, and success), yet here was a guy who ticked all of the boxes but was still wiping out relentlessly. As far as conventional wisdom was concerned, it didn’t make any sense.
Girl’s should have been finding him attractive. But for some reason, they weren’t.
Well, there’s a simple reason for that.
When it comes to attraction, conventional wisdom is full of shit.
No matter how attractive you may inherently be, being unattractive is always just a few bad decisions away. Decisions about how you act, how you think, and most of all, how you see.
And far from just applying to Doctors on reality TV shows, these are decisions that apply to all of us.
REPRESSING YOURSELF IS UNATTRACTIVE
A key hallmark of someone who is unattractive is repression. There is a divide between what they truly want, and what they actually do. When it comes to Dr. Alex from Love Island, this is his most obvious flaw. He’s constantly repressing what he actually wants and feels until its too late.
And if we’re honest, this is something we’re all guilty of.
In our lives, repression usually manifests itself in three ways:
You repress your sexuality
When you want to talk to a girl. You don’t do it. When you want to kiss a girl, you don’t do it. When you want to do anything even vaguely connected to your sexuality, you don’t do it.
It frightens you. It feels wrong. So you don’t do it.
The result of this is that people stop feeling anything for you sexually because sexuality thrives on mutual reciprocity and expression of desire.
You repress your spontaneity
Because there is such a clear divide between what is, essentially, your consciousness (a.k.a you), and your actions, your habitual repression leaves you with an inability to be spontaneous.
You’re constantly filtering through your emotions and thoughts deciding what is and is not appropriate, instead of running with what you feel and what is true for you.
The result of this is that you aren’t fun, and you are rarely ever funny. You’re simply nice, or pleasant – because everything you do is artificially appropriate.
You repress your opinion
When you have something you truly want to say or something you truly feel, you don’t express it. You either couch it in softer phrases, drain all the genuine feeling from it, or you don’t say it all. The reason for this is that you don’t accept that it’s normal to voice your opinions and feelings and that you do not need permission to do so.
Incidentally, to yourself, it might seem like you’re calm and collected when you talk this way, but to everyone else you just come off as cold and robotic.
The result is that people struggle to connect with you on an emotional and sexual level. In other words, regardless of how attractive you are – you’ve now made yourself unattractive through people’s lack of excitement and comfort they feel with you.
You don’t give it to them so why would they give it to you? Sexual interest isn’t charity.
The reason you do this is that you’re avoiding being vulnerable. Expression requires vulnerability – it inherently invites rejection and the potential of you being found to be unlikeable. This is why I always say the easiest way to develop charisma is to stop trying to be likable.
A lot of people praised Dr. Alex when he finally told a girl that he liked her, but this was wrong. There was no real desire, all he had was words. He may as well have been reading from a script.
YOURNARRATIVE IS UNATTRACTIVE
Underlying repression is always a narrative that justifies it.
The narrative is usually something like this:
I deserve to be treated the way I treat others.
But in reality, this narrative is felt to be like this:
I ought to be treated the way I want to be treated.
In other words, the world is there to serve you. This is narcissism, even if externally it comes off as shyness.
Dr. Alex, like most people who seem to operate from patterns of repression, is on the outside quite nice and pleasant, but when you really look into his behavior, he’s engaging in something that’s referred to as silent agreements.
When you use silent agreements you act in a nice and pleasant way because you believe that doing so means the other person ‘ought’ to do something in return for you, even if the other person hasn’t been made aware of this. They’ve unknowingly been put into a contract that they have no idea exists.
And of course, when you act this way, and the person doesn’t do what you think they ‘ought’ to do, you blame them.
Because you ‘ought’ to be treated a certain way, it’s never your fault when you aren’t.
And how could it be? You were entitled to something, and you didn’t get it, despite doing everything that you considered was right to earn it.
Tell me if this doesn’t strike you as that?
On a conscious level, silent agreements and blame are how you operate. But on an unconscious level, you’re telling yourself a different story.
The reason you engage in silent agreements and blame is that you’ve consistently told yourself that it’s not okay to express what you want. Whether it’s bad, shameful, or not appropriate – whatever the reason is, the message is clear.
You’re not allowed to be open, transparent and honest about what you want. It’s not okay, because you’re not okay.
At least, in your own mind.
This is most obvious when you actually, for once, try to express yourself. The language of expression is, as Mikhail Bakhtin says, alien to you. It’s awkward, unnatural, and you probably try to dilute it with irony or a laugh – despite sincerely thinking and feeling what you’re trying to say.
YOURPERSPECTIVE IS UNATTRACTIVE
Underlying a narrative is always a habit of perceiving things not as they are, but how we’d like them to be.
When we feel ourselves to be a certain way, and the world to be a certain way, we begin to look for things in the world that correspond to our feelings. We do this unconsciously.
And so good are we at doing this, that the more we see things that justify our feelings, the more we unconsciously train ourselves to keep doing this.
When we, like Dr. Alex, feel that we are blameless and that we aren’t given something we deserve, we look for, and start to notice details about people that suggest they’re treating us unfairly or victimizing us.*
We look for details that support and ramify the feelings that we’re already indulging in, but in doing so, we don’t just teach ourselves to perceive things (in this instance, people) negatively, we also teach ourselves to avoid seeing things positively.
We don’t see the “selfish person’s” kindness, we don’t see the members of the opposite gender who aren’t sexist, and in the instance of Dr. Alex, we don’t see all the clear signs that we are driving people away from ourselves and that what these people are feeling is normal and understandable.
Our perspective and our narcissism slowly erode our ability to empathize with others and accurately self-reflect.
How we choose to see is one of the most important decisions we make.
BEING UNATTRACTIVENE IS AN EVERY DAY CHOICE
The most important thing about the details above is the one thread that ties them all together.
They’re all your fault.
Nobody else’s. Not the world’s. Not society’s.
Dr. Alex always had a choice to take responsibility for his own actions and results but instead chose to engage in blame and avoidance.
But if he simply took responsibility for that element of this life, everything would begin to fall into place, and he could capitalize on the abundant natural advantages he already has.
Each of the unattractive flaws results from a fundamental choice that’s being made. A choice that you, I and everyone else constantly makes.
What we choose to stop ourselves from doing, what we choose to listen to, and what we choose to see.
An irony of this is that people who make unattractive choices often say “if only they saw me for who I really am.”
But the truth is, they see you exactly as you are in that moment – insecure, afraid, and narcissistic. All as a result of the poor choices that you’ve made and continue to make.
But like any choice, it exists moment to moment. And just as you’ve made one choice at this moment, so too can you make another in the next one.
This time, let it be the one that says “you’re okay.”
Because as soon as you do, you’d be right.
*This applies to countless other situations, for example:
When we’ve felt, for whatever reason that our partner isn’t that great, we look for and start to notice details about them, either physically or in their behavior that makes them seem undesirable.
When we feel that women are whores or men are pigs, we look for, and start to notice details about their behavior that exemplifies their ‘innate’ immoral character, that is universal to all of them.*
**People will seek others out to share in the views. An easy example of this is someone bitching about their partner to a friend. A broader example would be people who join isolated communities on the internet that reflect their negative worldview. I.e Incels, The Red Pill, or huge chunks of Tumblr.