Friday, July 8, 2011


Skipped Weddings, the Sex Talk, and Attracting the Attractive

I would appreciate a woman's perspective on something. Here's the situation. I feel like I'm a pretty nice guy who has a lot going for him. I'm polite and respectful. I'll hold the door open for you and give you my jacket when you're cold. I've got a masters degree and a great career. I'm not rich, but I live comfortably and can afford nice things and frequent vacations without having to be a workaholic. I own my own home and a good car. I love to cook and I keep a clean house. I take care of myself (as in exercising regularly and brushing my teeth and all that). I'm as comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt at a barbecue as I am in a tuxedo at the opera. I like to think that I've got quite a bit to offer, except for one thing...

I'm ugly. That's right, on the classic 1-10 scale, I'm probably a 3. This isn't a self-esteem thing. I'm a fairly confident person. I have an easy time approaching women and striking up a conversation and asking if I can take them out sometime. I don't spend hours crying about my looks, or avoid walking by mirrors or anything like that. I'm fine with who I am. It just so happens that who I am is a balding 30-year-old with a gut that won't go away, and several other features that make me empirically unattractive, many of which I couldn't change without resorting to surgery. But that's not the problem. Despite being aesthetically challenged, I get plenty of dates. The problem is — and this is the part where I hope you don't write me off as a shallow jerk — the dates I get are with women who are also 3's. Any woman who's even moderately attractive to me usually replies with a polite, "Oh, you're such a nice guy, but I just don't feel any "spark." I'd love to be friends though!" And more often than not, we do stay friends. And they'll invite me over for a party and introduce me to their unattractive friend and then go off and dance with some attractive guy who will soon be their boyfriend. This happens ALL THE TIME! So I go on dates with these other women and I really WANT to like them. I really, really do! But knowing that I'm unattractive doesn't suddenly make me attracted to unattractive women. And at the same time, I know it's unreasonable to expect an attractive woman to be attracted to an unattractive man. So I turn to you, oh lady who knows everything, for advice on how to fix one of those two things. How can I either A) attract an attractive woman, or B) become attracted to an unattractive woman? Any help is greatly appreciated.

So, here's the thing: You're right. I was inclined to write you off as a shallow jerk. But I understand Society and Standards of Beauty and blah blah blah. So let's see what we can do!

But first let me just note that “attractiveness” isn't an objective thing. I mean, don't you have a friend who thinks, I don't know, Jennifer Aniston is just the hottest thing ever, and another one who thinks she's just OK? And she's “attractive” enough for Hollywood. But different people have different types, are into different looks, etc.

On to your questions: The answer to question A is to become rich. I mean, right? When you see a more-attractive woman with a less-attractive man, usually he's rich. Or super-compelling in some way. I have this theory about everyone's assets adding up, and in couples that make sense, they add up equally. Not the same way, but more or less equally. So he's better-looking, but she's smarter, or something. If you're trying to date up, looks-wise, you need to bring something exceptional to the table.

But I don't really think that's your problem. I think your problem is snap judgments, on both sides. That, or terminal shallowness. But are you really only attracted to a person's face/body? I'm guessing no, that personality also plays a role. And maybe — MAYBE — your opinion of your looks has become a “self-esteem thing,” making you hold back with women you think are out of your league or whatever. Are you making moves? Being noticeably flirty? When they say “let's stay friends,” have you ever said, “No, I don't want to be your friend, because I want to date you”? Maybe try that. It may not work, but at least you won't be set up with someone's “ugly friend” again.

In the meantime, give the “less attractive” women a chance. A real chance. Maybe her face is just OK, but she's sexy as hell when she dances. Maybe she makes you laugh so hard you can't breathe. Maybe her face will grow on you!

But maybe you are just a shallow jerk, and need to wait it out until you get over it. But for the love of god, please don't settle for someone you think is unattractive when you've decided it's time to settle down. That's no good for anyone.

How do you deal with your friends in far-away places bringing along their SOs every time you see them?

My current problem is with a close friend from university. We've stayed in touch — weekly emails and chatting — over several years and I'm heading out his way for a business trip next week. We had discussed splitting the distance between my destination and his city to visit with each other and I would like nothing more than to hang out with a great friend for a few hours. However, he recently told me that he's got himself a girlfriend. I don't really feel the need to meet her, especially when I'll only have a few hours to spend with my friend. To be clear, this is not a jealousy thing — we are really just great platonic friends, I'm glad he's found someone who makes him happy, I'm dating an amazing guy right now myself — but when I have a limited amount of time with my friend, I want to spend that time with him, not getting to know someone else who in all likelihood I'll never meet again, given that we live on opposite sides of the country.

Is there a tactful way for me to say, yes, I'll rent a car and drive for two hours to have some dinner with you in the middle of nowhere, but please don't bring your girlfriend? And in general, because I am sure I am not the only lady out there with this problem, how do you politely tell your friends that you are thrilled they're in love but please, can we hang out just us right now?

Oh, girl. You really just have to talk to them and say that. And you already know the polite way! “I am thrilled you are in love but please, can we hang out just us right now?” Seriously. It's that simple. If you've never told them that, they have no idea. They think you are SO PSYCHED to meet their Snookums, because no one is more awesome than Snookums and who wouldn't be psyched to meet him/her! She/he is THE BEST!!!! asldkfjasdflkj Really, that's it. Just tell your friend you want to hang out with him alone.

Now, given that he is a dude and you are a lady, there may be added complications in this case, but I hope his girlfriend is cool enough to believe him when he says you are just friends and not a threat to her/their relationship. In the male/female friendship situation, you may have to make concessions to the girlfriend and at least meet her once, but maybe not?

(As a lady does) I am overthinking something that I really don't even have to think about at all for a few years, but I was interested in getting the Hairpin perspective (both of the Ask A's and of the readers) on this. I would like some advice on giving The Sex Talk to my kids (of both sexes). A little background: I was given the book "Where Did I Come From" in lieu of actually being talked to about sex (classic my-family avoidance move). That's all fine and good, but it only covers the strictest sense of "natural" conception, and our kids were not conceived that way. So I feel sex can't be approached from a "makin' babies" standpoint (and perhaps shouldn't be?). And yet, it makes me feel squicky to think about telling a five-year-old (for example) that sex is about feeling good, or whatever? Like, as kids I want them to know it's not for them yet, but as teenagers I want them to feel good about approaching sex (although please gods not too early!!! I'm not for abstinence, just taking one's time and being ready). Plus whatever orientation they turn out to have, or that anyone else has, is completely fine and cool.

Good on you for thinking about it ahead of time, because does any parent do this shit well? The thing is, I'm pretty sure there can't just be one Sex Talk. Kids need to hear different things at different ages. When they are little, it will probably start with asking where babies come from, probably when a friend gets a younger sibling or you know a pregnant woman. Then you can give them some level of information about the mechanics, both the P-in-V way, and the more scientific ways, but it's not really talking about Sex, and Why People Do It. But then as they approach puberty, you want to give them moral advice, letting them know that sex is fun, but maybe not age-appropriate, includes an incredible variety of acts beyond the P-in-V, etc. Myself, I am a big fan of encouraging younger teens to explore masturbation and dating simultaneously, so they aren't driven by their hormones into doing sex too early with other people. I have no idea how I'd approach that as a parent, sorry, since OMG what is more embarrassing than being a pubescent child and talking about sex with your parents??? Maybe being a parent and talking about sex with your child.

But yeah, I don't think you're going to need to tell your five-year-old much about doing sex. You'll probably want to throw in that people do enjoy it, but if your child is anything like I was as a child, there is no way they will believe you, until they are older and actually understand what you were talking about.

How do I tell my friend I can’t afford to (don’t really want to go to) her wedding? I am supposed to be a bridesmaid, but I really don’t get any room in my budget to travel at all, ever. I’d have to be pulling money out of my ass to go — it’s a destination wedding, and I will have to fly myself there, dress/feed/makeup myself, and pay for my dress and hotel. There’s not way I can manage to afford it, but the wedding is in November. When should I tell her? Is it tacky to be like “girl, I don’t have money for that wedding shit"? I am dreading how much it’s going to cost me, and I already have had to make cutbacks on my own in order to save up for anticipated expenses. It’s not fair! I don’t take vacations! I’m poor! Now I have to go do this wedding? There is no way I am putting it on a credit card.

Yeah, much like the lady above with different friend issues, you just have to tell her. Tell her you can't afford to go to the wedding, much less be in it. And do it soon, so she can rearrange her plans for attendants. Were you surprised she asked you to be a bridesmaid? Because that seems like something for a BFF, spend-money-you-don't-have type of relationship, not a casual friendship, but maybe you are just more financially responsible than I am, and she is totally your BFF and you just don't have the money. Speaking for myself, I have spent plenty of money I don't have on my best friends' weddings, due to generally being the poor friend. But it is totally a legit choice not to! So anyway, you just have to tell her you can't afford to do it. Maybe don't call it “wedding shit” in the actual conversation? Have a nice talk — in person, if at all possible, or over the phone if not — where you tell her how much you love her and are happy for her, but how you are just not financially able to make the trip. And that's it!

Previously: Revenge Tips, Infertility, and the Lumpy Lumberjack.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady?

Photo via Flickr

360 Comments / Post A Comment


Ugly Dude:
1. Join a cult or a fanatical religion like Mormonism
2. Have you ever talked to any Hispanic men? They have this all figured out.
3. Watch Ghost World
4. Become a cool gangster criminal or Jason Stratham-looking dope pusher.


@moneyfetish True story, I have contemplated Mormonism because (going by their blogs) they all seem to be happily married. It's my plan Z.


@moneyfetish To be fair, #3 basically equals "become Steve Buscemi so people will have sex with you ironically." Not practical!


@moneyfetish Wow, what's that Hispanic men line supposed to mean?



I think this is the part where moneyfetish gets defensive about his flippant though fairly offensive comment and offers a meh explanation, and then you call them out on it, and then we get a shitstorm comment thread going where I find out that people whose comments I liked on other things think some offensive stuff too? At least unlike on Jez, I guess this won't automatically become the top featured comment on the article. :X


@CrapCommentFromADude let's take this party to groupthink!


Actually I think that while it truly WAS a stereotype remark, it was meant in a complimentary way, as in "Hispanic men exude so damned much charm that women are generally helpless in their presence."


@MoonBat Excellent! "You should take that stereotype as a compliment" is necessary tinder for the fire. Keep going! We can't do this without you!

RK Fire

@CrapCommentFromADude: I think I love you.


@moneyfetish yo, the internet has taught me that Mormon girls are the cutest. How do they dress so cute all the time? Every single internet Mormon girl has the best wardrobe. How do they get their hair so shiny? They all have the best orthodontist providing cute, shiny smiles. Mormon girls are the best looking bitches on the internet.

tea tray in the sky.

@CrapCommentFromADude I love this Hairpin School of Conflict Resolution. Way to keep things civil and entertaining!


@RK Fire Fun fact about this thread: After my reply to AuntAgatha, I realized I'm actually married to her. No joke.

RK Fire


Seriously though, that just made me wonder if my fiance lurks on the Awl now. Lord knows I send him all of Alex's bear-related posts.


@tusked Single Mormon girls look so nice because they can't drink, smoke or spend their days having delicious sex. Married Mormon girls look so nice because they don't work. So. There's lots of time to do shit like that.


@lafleur @tusked I'd say about 75% of the lessons I was taught in girls' Mormon youth group were about how to put on makeup and having "fashion shows." We/they teach this shit EARLY.

(The other 25% was a variation on that "DON'T HAVE SEX" monologue from the coach in Mean Girls.)

So is this just gonna be Mormon Week at the Hairpin? Did they do this to cancel out Stripper Week?


@tusked I have a serious Mormon blog addiction. So much Anthropologie! Cupcakes, smiles, picnics, adorable babies! It just looks so appealing (except for the whole religion part).


@lafleur c'mon now, Mormon sisters work - albeit maybe in different ways than you might define "work" - I'm not prepared to get aboard the "she doesn't work because it doesn't look like my work" train.


Ask a Jimmy Soul response:

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall.
As soon as he marries her
Then she starts to do
The things that will break his heart.
But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
She'll always give you peace of mind.

Don't let your friends say
You have no taste,
Go ahead and marry anyway,
Though her face is ugly,
Her eyes don't match,
Take it from me she's a better catch.


@Anne Love it, tho' I got more of a Skee-lo vibe from Dude 1: "I wish I was a little bit taller/I wish I was a baller/I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her..."


@Anne: My mother and I used to wait in gleeful anticipation for that song to come on the radio. We'd crank it up real loud and sing along with the windows open, complete with the "yeah, yeah, yeah. yeahyeah yeah. yeah yeah" in the background in the later refrains.

Sarah in Japan

@Anne I always thought it was "I wish I had a girl with a kid, I would call her" and I thought it interesting that is what he wanted!


@Sarah in Japan I could never figure out what the line was, so my brain substituted "I wish I had a girl, with a phone, I would call her."

science is sexy@twitter

My parents never talked to me about sex. They just put a computer with dial-up in my room in 1998. There's no better way to learn the birds and the bees than from AOL chatrooms and Asking Jeeves "what is sex?"

elysian fields

@science is sexy@twitter yeah. My mother never said a single word about it. Nor did she give me any books. I learned everything from friends at school, "Family Life" classes (Catholic school), the encyclopedia in our living room, and later, the Internet.

Honestly, I don't think it's necessary to give your kids a "talk." It's horribly embarassing for everyone involved, and if they have Internet access they will already know everything by the time they are 10.


@science is sexy@twitter My parents taped the Nova special on "The Miracle of Life" when I was about 11. Let me tell you, with that much excruciatingly boring detail around fertilization, coupled with full-on explanations of childbirth, I was NEVER going to have sex, ever.


@elysian fields I had nothing myself and I think it added to a lot of the frustration and shame around it. Part of the reason for the talk is to acknowledge that the child is maturing and that it's time for them to take some kind of responsibility for it. Man, I would have killed to have had the internet when I was 16.


@science is sexy@twitter Ha exactly. Being 10 years old with my own AOL-accessible computer in my bedroom really answered anything I would ever want to know... and also a lot of things I would NEVER want to know. You haven't lived until you're a confused 5th grader in a "bears 4 bears" chatroom.

Katie Ritter

@science is sexy@twitter Yep. Never got the talk either. Imagine my surprise when my boyfriend was *ahem* premature during a heavy STANDING makeout session when I was 16 and I had no idea what had happened because I thought that could only happened during intercourse.


@science is sexy@twitter The closest thing I had with my parents to the sex talk was when, in 5th or 6th grade, I started using my 10 megabytes of AOL hosting space to start a hentai website, which AOL then suspended and notified my parents.

Awkward Conversations I Have Had, Part XIV in a continuing series!

tiny dancer

@elysian fields STI rates among the youngs indicate otherwise. I think it's pretty dangerous to advocate a position of not talking to kids about sex because it's embarrassing. Talking to kids in an honest way should decrease embarrassment, among other things like STIs and unwanted pregnancy. Generations of people in the US have such messed up ideas and practices regarding sex because of the lack of communication and puritan values in this country. Leaving kids to learn from the internet could even be worse, like that's the best source of information, sure. It could be a nice supplement, if a trusted adult points them to legitimate sites, but who knows what they're finding on their own.


@tiny dancer agree, as stepparent of two. They will get lots of information from other sources, but it will be conflicting and overwhelming and possibly upsetting, so I think it's very important that they feel able to ask things in order to sort it out in their heads and deal with any fears or worries it raises. Of course the embarrassment factor is there, but it's a parental reponsibility to try and overcome it, lest shame sets in and they harbour fears that they can't tell you about. 'Knowing everything' technically from the internet is not the same as getting emotional guidance on it from a trusted source.
One approach is waiting for questions. Another is saying, once in a while, 'You've probably been hearing some stuff about sex, do you have any questions I can help with?'


I think the sex talk I gave my son was "Don't do anything weird to the dog".

science is sexy@twitter

@tiny dancer "but who knows what they're finding on their own"

Yeah I'm not sure "big-titted anal sluts fuck black cocks" prepared me for real-life sex? Though my friend and I once "cybered" with a "guy" who lovingly "smoothed on" a "condom," so it wasn't 100% unsafe.


@Ophelia MINE TOO - they put on the VHS tape for me and my older sister and then left the room for the whole thing, which is especially hilarious in retrospect. Helpful! Afterwards we were like, that is gross, we will never do that. That was the only sex talk we ever had, which also was technically not a talk.


@elysian fields i had family life at catholic school too, though, it was mostly scare tactics to be celibate until marriage. guess that didn't work out. damn peonies.

elysian fields

@tiny dancer well, I don't know what kind of information kids today are and aren't getting. As for STIs, I think certain people will do stupid things regardless of what they've been taught. All I know is that if my mother had ever attempted a "talk," I would have RUN AWAY as fast as I could. If necessary, I would have jumped from a moving vehicle. Also, I can't imagine having a talk with my hypothetical kids; I trust they'd be smart enough to figure it out themselves. Oh, and I've never had an STI or gotten pregnant so I think I've managed just fine so far.


@elysian fields Trusting that your imaginary kids would be smart enough to figure it out by themselves is the first step on the highway to danger. You understand that anal sex rates and pregnancy rates are up really high now because kids don't get it, right? Sex, STDs, and pregnancy are a little too important and critical for kids to just "figure it out themselves." Would you also not teach your kid to drive and just hand them a car key and tell them to figure it out themselves?

elysian fields

@becky@twitter haha. Actually, wait. I do remember the one and only thing my mother ever said re: sex. There was a section of our book that talked about how abortion is wrong. My mom the pro-choicer opened the book to that section, looked at me sternly, and said "Don't believe everything you read in this book."


@elysian fields good for your mom for being progressive! did your family life class involve a VHS tape of an unwed girl having a baby on what looked a pool table? cause ours did.

my mom's version of the at-home sex talk was "don't do anything to a man without his pants on until you are married." for a while i thought marriage was some kind of strange, pantsless party where you got to stay up late and play scruples.

science is sexy@twitter

@thebestjasmine This is basically how I learned to drive. This thread is really making me reconsider whether my parents should have been trusted with human-production.

elysian fields

@thebestjasmine actually I feel completely relaxed about this because I realized: assuming our kids turn out as completely awkward and nerdy as my boyfriend and I, there is no way they will be involved in any kind of hanky panky until they are already in their 20s, by which time they will be less likely to do stupid things.

tiny dancer

@elysian fields Sadly since the Clinton administration many kids have been receiving abstinence-only education in school, which makes honest communication from parents or other trusted adults even more crucial. Abstinence-only materials are horrifying and filled with misinformation. And just because you never had an STI that you know of, doesn't mean it's not important to be concerned with these issues on a broader scale. Chlamydia has been increasing every year among people under 25, and it's estimated that half of all sexually active youth will get an STI before age 25. And of course the hardest hit are African Americans, women, and the South. But this is an issue everywhere. Many people with STIs don't experience symptoms, which can lead to bigger health problems down the road. Not only does that decrease their quality of life, but it has a large economic and social cost. Will some people "do stupid things"? Probably--like not giving people accurate information and protection? Because I think that's a stupid thing.


@science is sexy@twitter My parents never mentioned sex to me until one day an insurance stub for an STD test I took when I was 16 showed up at our house (because I learned, no thanks to them, that when you were sexually active, you should be tested at least once a year). My mom's response to that was yell "ARE YOU HAVING SEX?", not let me answer, and then ground me.

It's a MIRACLE I never got pregnant or caught anything. I will never understand why my otherwise fairly reasonable parents thought this was acceptable.


@elysian fields The whole point is if you start having the talks (because there will be a number of them) early, and keep them age appropriate, it's *not* embarassing as a kid to talk to your parents about sex. My parents were always very open in answering questions and talking about it, so it really was never embarrassing, and it was great to always know I could turn to my mom if I ever needed help or was in a bind.


My parents tried to have the sex talk with my brother and I, but we refused to participate. They also left a book on the subject on the bookshelf outside of our rooms, which we refused to touch.


@tiny dancer
Not talking to kids about sex at all is one end of the spectrum. But I think the thing people worry about is that telling them too much (information overload, or things they aren't ready to process) is the other end.

In the middle is being prepared to answer any and all questions factfully (and tactfully supplementing with anything really important they might not have asked about, eg STDs).

(NB: this requires you to follow the 'honesty and truthfulness' character development path right from the beginning, so they're prepared to ask questions. Drawing an F6 button on the child's forehead and pressing it in an attempt to reload at the previous save point *will not work* - though you can always try again with a new character.)


@Ophelia Dude. You're lucky! My mother made me sit down and watch "Kids" (yes, the Harmony Korine one!) with her when I was 15 or so. She also repeatedly told me that if I had sex I would "get pregnant and become a hairdresser." Scary? Yes. But also pretty effective. I waited until I felt like all the risks were worth it.

elysian fields

@formergr that's cool but you and I are clearly very different ... even as a little kid I never even for a second considered asking my mom about anything sex related.


@bluesuedeshoes now i have 'natural one' stuck in my head.


@Ophelia my boyfriend is still scared of that movie and nearly passes out if i talk about it. public school is cruel to children.


@science is sexy@twitter My babysitter was the one who taught me the mechanics when I was 8, after I defined sex as when "grown-ups get naked and roll around with each other."
ETA: I realize this sounds kind of inappropriate, but somehow it wasn't? She just explained it very calmly and straightforwardly.


@elysian fields Relying on that is how people get shocked that their kid gets pregnant at 16, and is exactly why chlamydia rates among teens are so high.


@elysian fields: "assuming our kids turn out as completely awkward and nerdy as my boyfriend and I"

That's quite the assumption. While kids often eventually end up like their parents, there is also a period where they go 'I HATE YOU FOREVER' and then slam their door and engineer their life to be as different from yours as possible, and they may include screwing.

Fields. It's time to break the cycle that started when your parents totally failboated on talking to you about something extremely important. Not talking to kids about sex is like throwing a train onto tracks. It could land square on the rails and be okay! It could also derail and require saving by Chris Pine and Denzell Washington. You landed square, but assuming your kids will is a big, unnecessary risk.


@Too Much Internet and all others. I am pregnant and now I am crying because THIS IS THE SCARIEST THING I CAN CONTEMPLATE!!!! I just had a dream I was carrying my baby around in my purse next to a giant burrito and they were both wrapped up plastic wrap. Now I'm going to have nightmares about having to talk to my unborn child about sex! OMG! I am freaking out.

Incidentally, my parents gave me plenty o' lit about birds and bees and Girl Scouts is actually pretty good about "Decisions for your life" when you're in the older ranks, so I preferred that mode of "I'll just leave this here and you can ask questions if you need to." I still ended up a virgin until my late 20s. That was all me, though, not my parents.


@CyberAly: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS THAT CAUSES THIS FEELING. Scariest, most embarrassing thing, huhhhhhhh? Girl, you are going to pass a kid the size of a small watermelon out of your most girly of parts in a hail of blood and amniotic fluid, and you think talking to a little version of you years later about sex is going to be *more* embarrassing somehow? Argle bargle!


My parents would let us watch movies with sexy/adult content and then would discuss them aloud in front of us. I don't know if that was meant to be an actual sex ed technique, but they always did it, and subsequently I always felt like I could talk to them about whatever. And now I do the same thing with my kids... We watch everything, talk about everything, don't censor anything.

The most embarrassing thing I had to go through was giving my son condoms and telling him to use them if he had sex. He was 14 when I did that. He knew what condoms were for by then. But I had to break it down and let him know that I expected him to take responsibility for himself, as someone upthread put it. It was awkward, yeah, but it had to be done.

You know how everyone says that if you can't talk to your boyfriend about what you want in bed, you shouldn't be having sex with him? That's how I feel about the talking-to-your-kids-about-sex thing. If you're "too embarrassed" to do it, you might want to become more mature, somehow, before you get to the point where it's necessary.

But raising kids is a good way to gain that maturity, unless you're a selfish asshole, and Hairpin readers don't seem like selfish assholes, so I bet everybody here's gonna be able to talk to their kids about sex with no problems.

sceps yarx

@Ophelia Oh my gosh, my parents did the EXACT SAME THING. I like to joke that I was raised by PBS. Except it's not really a joke....

Being They're

@Xora Just made me remember looking aghast at my parents during one of the sex scenes in Boyz n the Hood. That's a *hard* R for a 10 year old. PG13 didn't even register afterwards. What stumps me is a method for explaining 75% of rap lyrics to my hypothetical future offspring. I plan to raise them on a mix of Regina Spektor and Wu-Tang, though, so maybe it'll all make sense in perspective.

Being They're

@Being They're Now thinking I'm looking for a solution to a non-existent problem. I never asked what *any* lyrics meant. "Why don't we do it in the road" has absolutely no subtext. Got played pretty much all the time since we'd play the white album on everybody's birthday during breakfast pancakes.


@Being They're Well, you don't have to know all the answers. Sometimes you can tell your kids, "I don't know what the hell that guy's talking about. I just like the beat." And your kids will be like, "Thank you for your candor."


@CyberAly Kids love purses, burritos and plastic wrap.
Seriously though, you're going to be great. "The talk" doesn't have to be so awkward. You've got time to figure out the details.


@science is sexy@twitter It was "Family Living" at my Southern Baptist high school. And there was no mention of sex. Ever.


I've always thought the destination wedding is something that should happen in 1 of 3 circumstances:

1. The couple/their family is obscenely rich and flies the core group out on their dime.
2. The couple wants a private ceremony and so doesn't invite all their friends to join them at all.
3. The couple travels in rarified circles and so doesn't have anyone to invite that doesn't have walking-around money for international flights.

In any other case it's just kind of unfair because many many people don't have the cash to leave the country (or even the state) for a wedding, and many more HAVE it but would have spent it on a nice vacation for themselves rather than going to a wedding which is ALWAYS going to be more obligation than celebration. After all, when you sit down with friends to tell vacation stories, how many people have that awesome story about the time they went to their cousin's wedding?


@palliata 2. I wanted a destination wedding because I wanted a private wedding. I think most people who have those have to be aware that most people will not be able to attend.


@winchesterwolcott Or because they have 150 "obligatory" invites, and really only want 25 people at the wedding (not that I'd know from personal experience).


@winchesterwolcott I've always pictured mine that way for the exact same reason. That said, I have seen people who were shocked and offended at anyone that didn't show up - mostly people who were born wealthy, lived wealthy, and would likely die wealthy, whom it didn't really occur to that there were people for whom a quick jaunt to Monaco was a financial burden.


@palliata: totally agree. I think it's almost "heelish" to have a destination wedding and expect people to attend unless every one of your friends is loaded.


@palliata My friends held a destination-ish wedding in Clarksdale, Mississippi. If you like blues and find cotton fields to be novel, it was awesome. And all the wedding-related expenses were way cheaper from them versus getting married in a big city. So that's sort of a compromise-type option!

Lily Rowan

@palliata In this day and age, though? Almost every wedding I've been to was not that close to where I lived. Because the couple didn't live there, or wasn't from there, or couldn't afford to get married there even though they lived there. So they weren't "destination" weddings per se, but still a destination for me.


@palliata, @lily rowan
We've discussed a destination wedding, although we're not sure where the destination would be. Once, we added up all the family members we'd have to invite, and we stopped at 200 (damn, big, happy families!). And all 200 of those people would have to travel, no matter where we got married. Same with all our friends. So if we had the wedding someplace (a) far away and/or (b) across a body of water, we'd weed out the people who like us enough to spend 9 hours in a car, but not enough to buy a plane ticket. The burden for our parents and friends wouldn't change much; they'd just be buying a plane ticket to and hotel room in someplace that we don't live, either.

There's also been discussion of a very small ceremony with just parents/close friends, and having a series of parties in our ancestral homes. Although that has less to do with travel and more to do with keeping our each of parents' crazy siblings away from the other ones.


Yes to all this, and yes to telling the bride asap. She can't legitimately hate you if you just say you can't attend for moneys reasons, but dithering would make it OK to defriend you in her eyes.

one cow.

Actual quote from my friend after going on a first date with a girl: "She's pretty cool, except for her horse face."

(2 years later)

"I love my [horse face] wife so much! We can't wait to have [horse face] babies!!!"

So, yes, give horse faces a chance!


@one cow. Did he ever tell her that was what he said about her after the first date?

one cow.

@palliata No way! She still looks like a horse!


@one cow. Still, honesty and shit, amirite?


@one cow. I went to a wedding where, at the rehearsal dinner, the groom reminisced about waking up after his first "date"/one night stand with his wife-to-be, and thinking (and I quote) "who is this fat cow in my bed?" This toast did not go over well BUT they are still married.


That is horrifying.


@bb If my future husband ever told that anecdote at a rehearsal dinner I would stick a fork in his eye.


H O R R I F Y I N G!!!

The Lady of Shalott

@bb I think there would be a rapid reshuffling of plans for the next day. Instead of a wedding, I think there would be a funeral.


@one cow. Oh man I wanna hear all about it! How is Matthew Broderick like in real life?


Oh, bridesmaid. This is The Hairpin. If you can't (don't want to) be in (go to) the wedding, be real with us.

How long has the bride been engaged? When did she ask you to be in the wedding? I've been in your position before, and I can tell you from experience you are in for a world of pain when you tell the bride you can't (don't want to) be in the wedding. It will severely damage your relationship. It took like three years for me and my girlfriend whose wedding I said no to being in to get back to where we were before the wedding. If you're going to drop out, that's a legitimate choice, but you should be prepared for the fallout in your relationship between the bride (and the other bridesmaids, if they're friends of yours too).


@Clare How long has she been engaged is probably the most important part. If you've known about this for over a year, and are just now deciding it's too expensive, be prepared for shit to go down. But if it's been under that, and you're close, and she knows what you do for a living/what kind of financial state you're in - she should understand.


@Clare yes, this.
clearly, this would-be bridesmaid does not value this friendship too much. if one of my friends was getting married, i would commit murder to be there. or something. this lady doesn't seem to feel like this will be a fun or valuable experience. flying to a sexy location and being in my friend's wedding might be financially stressful, even undoable, but my letter would go a lot more like "i REALLLLLLY want to go to my friend's wedding but i can't afford it what do i DOOOOOO??"
unless i do not like this friend, in which case, yeah, i wouldn't want to go either, but then, why is someone who you don't like asking you to be in her wedding?


@allthecuteshit I'm not sure that's really fair. Not having the money to attend a destination wedding is legitimate, as is not wanting to spend years paying off this trip. I'm sure she would be there is it were less of a financial commitment. But to say she's a crap friend for not going to a destination wedding when you're strapped for cash is skating a bit too close to Bridezilla territory. The couple is free to get married somewhere exotic. But as is mentioned upthread, they also have to be realistic that not everyone can afford to join them in such indulgences.

@Hooplehead Yes, this. I get that's it's a friend and a wedding and a big deal. It's the destination part that gets me, and the fact that the plane/hotel/dress/makeup/hair/whatever expenses are on her. I just... I don't know, this bothers me a lot about the expectations surrounding weddings. It adds up, especially over the course of your 20s when you're a single lady and all of your friends are getting hitched.

Chesty LaRue

@S. Elizabeth My sister got married 6 years ago, and one of her friends is getting married this summer and having this big elaborate (expensive) wedding, and my sis is like "I know your wedding is a big deal, but now that we've been married for a while, I just think of it as a fun party time and my married life is the rest of my life, in fact I wish I had spent less and made it a little less of a HUGE DEAL."
I feel like a lot of people who think your wedding day is the absolute most important day of your life aren't married and they're like conditioned by everything in society to think it's the be-all and end-all of your existence, but in reality it is more of a celebration of the life you will be leading and, hey, maybe that $20,000 would have been a better down payment on a home.
ETA if you want to have a big and fancy wedding and spend lots and invite everyone you know, more power to you! It's your money, it's your life :) but not everyone feels the same way about weddings and especially about breaking the bank to go to one.


@S. Elizabeth It adds up, especially over the course of your 20s when you're a single lady and all of your friends are getting hitched.

And it's not just weddings. It's houses, and babies, and grad school, and when you don't have any of that going on in your life but you're expected to be there to celebrate these things for others, it's very hard.


@Clare True story: a friend and I were recently a groomsman and bridesmaid respectively in a friend's destination wedding recently. He ended up getting accepted to a grad school before the wedding and as a result tried to pull out because he didn't think he'd be able to afford both and obviously one was more important. So he had the tactful-person "I really want to be there and I'm so sorry but I can't" conversation. Then I got called in the middle of the night by the bride and the groom, who spent the whole time bitching about how this guy was ruining their wedding. Eventually they guilted him into staying in the wedding. I split a hotel with this dude and it was really clear that he was officially done with them as friends and at least the bride was officially done with him as a friend.

In conclusion: DESTINATION WEDDINGS: The silent friendship killer.

Ella Quint

@allthecuteshit - I don't think you get it - as a recent bride even I think that a tab of LITERALLY $5000-6000 in orde to celebrate a SINGLE DAY as an attendee (forget bride/groom/immediate family member) is fucking insane UNLESS you have the $$$ falling out yer ass.
Quite frankly, most brides I've compared notes with who feel that some sunny beach is the only way to say "I do" understand that not everyone can make it.

@Ella Quint: Yes. Thank you. Sometimes there is no way to drop that kind of cash, especially when you're in your mid-20s, unmarried, in grad school, etc. especially when it happens over and over again (loads of female friends + lots of weddings = yeah...)


@S. Elizabeth @Ella Quint
There's no way that, if given ample time to plan, I wouldn't find a way to my best friend's wedding. I would go the moon for that girl. Period. Also, my friends would never NOT discuss shit like this with each other. If I were getting married, those poor women would have to listen and weigh in on every painstaking detail of my wedding planning and that includes location. I would also never hesitate to bring up a money issue with my friends. I've helped pay for abortions for Chrissake.
What I'm trying to say is: I can't relate to this at all, so maybe that's why I don't get it. But I've saved up a thousand bucks waiting tables so I could go to Berlin for a few weeks and do nothing more than drink beer in parks, I can sure as hell scrape together the cash to see my best chick get hitched. 6000 dollars seems like an over estimate.

@allthecuteshit: How do you not understand that other people might not be able to do this?


@S. Elizabeth I thought I explained that already? a) I plan in advance for things like this b) I have open communication and dialogue with people who are supposedly your best friends c) I have traveled internationally for very cheap on a waitress's wages, so I know it can be done.
Of course I understand that other people are not necessarily as committed, as adept in travelling cheaply, or as interested in spending the majority of a year saving for their friend's wedding, but it's just something that for me personally would be a priority.


I have known dudes like #1 and they were all bitter woman-hating jerks.



Yep. Shallow and conceited too, despite being far from fabulous themselves. It would be laughable, if these guys weren't nearly always incredibly rude to the "ugly friends" who probably don't want to date them either.


@likethestore And always professed "nice guys". Every dude I've known who's sworn he is such a nice guy is a shitbag.


@parallel-lines But I've picked up friends from the airport on several occasions!


@MrComment Yes, and so did George Costanza - and look how that went ;)


Is it that bad though? I mean, everyone wants an attractive significant other. It sounds like he has a lot of other good qualities. I have to say I've rarely been attracted to objectively unattractive people. It's not fair that the objectively unattractive don't deserve to date a better looking person. I thought the Jennifer Aniston example was pretty good. The guy who wrote the question doesn't seem like a jerk to me.

katherine delongpre

@likethestore "Why don't women want to date a nice guy like me who will judge them almost solely on their 'physical attractiveness,' and when I say 'physical attractiveness' I mean not whether they are attractive to me but whether they measure up to some scale of 'empirical attractiveness' that I use to rate people with numbers in my head? I'm such a nice guy! What is wrong with women?"

Being They're

@Ellie Yeah. I think LW1 triggered a lot of bad will by sounding like evil dudes many commenters have known IRL. His caveats didn't get heard because there's absolutely no good way to even ask question A (how do I get someone hot to like me?) question B is way more interesting though!! (how do I settle?). I mean nobody wants to admit it, but were anonymous enough here that I hoped to see comments about how people settled on looks/other aspects and didn't hate themselves or their partners. I mean otherwise we're always dating in grass-is-greener territory, right?


@Being They're Settling isn't really settling. It's more prioritizing, figuring out what's really important to you and trusting your judgement. That's what I'm going with. For example I'm left-handed, so as long as her right boob is huge, I'm good to go.


@likethestore Yup. I sent the link to a friend re: a mutual acquaintance. He's more like a 5, though, so I guess it's probably not from him ;)


@MrComment: "Settling isn't really settling. It's more prioritizing, figuring out what's really important to you and trusting your judgement."

This is a way, way wise comment. I like this.


I hate that dude and his letter. Not because I assume he's a bad person, but because we live in a country where dudes can write letters like his and have at least 20% of the female readers go, "Aww! He's just being *honest*!" But, meanwhile, if a woman writes, "I think I'm kind of hot, but I have this problem" anywhere, in relation to anything, 50% of the female readers would be jumping over each other to write, "You horrible, hateful, conceited BITCH!"

You know what? Fuck that guy. His letter is asking how to control the behavior of other people -- namely hot women. You want a hot girlfriend? BE BETTER. Just like poor people have to be better than middle class people if they want to become middle class. Just like hot chicks have to be better if they don't want other women to hate them. Just like fat, unattractive chicks have to be 1,000,000 times better than hot women -- nicer, funnier, better dressed, better in bed -- if they want a chance in hell with some ugly dude.

Dude #1 should think about how fucking awesome an ugly woman would have to be in order to score him, and then he should become that awesome, himself.


@Xora marry me?


@piekin Thank you for your proposal. As soon as polygamy is legalized and/or my husband gets tired of me, I accept.


@Xora Damn Xora...I slow-clapped two of your comments in this thread.


@bridgerrr Thank you. *blush*

prefer not to say

Bridesmaid Woman: Tell your friend now.

I had a friend in my wedding who wildly resented being involved. I knew she was cash-strapped and I tried to help her out, but it was one of those situations where she couldn't really spare the time either, and if she had just told me, I would have totally understood. But she DIDN'T TELL ME. Needless to say, she stopped speaking to me after the wedding, and now we're not friends.

I would much rather have had her say "No, I can't make it" and have us still be friends. Which we would have been because it was just my stupid wedding, not my life.


@prefer not to say true true true! I was in some weddings I resented being in. I still bitch about it sometimes when I'm feeling catty, but ultimately, it's my own damn fault. I never said anything about it.


@prefer not to say This is basically the plot of Bridesmaides except that had a happy ending.

Ella Quint

@prefer not to say - I had a bridesmaid situation just like this - had she just said when we asked her that she really didn't wanna, we could have made other arrangements. We asked her, she gladly accepted, and then the "buts" started. "But I refuse to wear a dress; I wanna wear pants", "But I don't have any cash for accessories/hair/makeup", "But I won't help with the planning cuz I'm busy/don't want to". etc. Bottom line is, when she agreed she had NO CLUE how much was really involved and long story short, just didn't feel that the event was worth that much effort on her part.


Ugly Guy seems like he thinks he "should" have a girlfriend in the same way he "should" have a good job and own a house. If your number one asset is stability, then there you go. It could also be that having a completely economic view of relationships is unattractive.

Sydney C

@MrComment And that she "should" be of adequate conventional attractiveness to indicate his level of success in life (much like his house and car)


Ugly Dude seems kind of...self-involved. For someone who considers himself to be unattractive, he is all about talking himself up. Granted, it might have been for the sake of the letter, but if I were the girl he was trying to hit on, I'd be more turned off by his "look how much I bring to the table baby!" attitude than his personal appearance. I've dated guys all across the hotness spectrum - from the A & F model-y types to the pale computer programmer, and honestly, the ones that have stuck with me and I remember are the ones who had a unique outlook on life, were kind and generous in bed and were intelligent, not the ones who were conventionally attractive. Yeah, looks matter, but character/personality matters more.


@heyits: Yeah, quantifying your attributes is a complete boner killer. It kind of screams "ego issues" or "man child"


@heyits Agreed if he's like that with everyone, but I think (hope?) he wouldn't do that in person... I think he wanted to avoid the boilerplate "Maybe you're not ugly, you're just shy/awkward?" response and have the Lady cut straight to the heart of his issue -- which she did.

Sydney C

@heyits Also, when listing one's attributes, one shouldn't include the fact that one is able to brush one's own teeth and clean one's own house. Those are not reasons people should date you, those are just things adults do!


@heyits His self discription reads like an OKCupid ad that I would click off. "I'm as comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt at a barbecue as I am in a tuxedo at the opera." Do you like to laugh and want to sample everything the city has to offer as well (as long as it's attractive enough to make you look good?)

Sydney C

@parallel-lines Sounds like he's sick of the bar scene, too


@parallel-lines yes! i was thinking the same thing. i actually dated a guy off okcupid who was very similar to this guy, and it wasn't a very fun experience.


@parallel-lines @heyits AHA yes I was thinking the same thing as well. At first I thought it was a joke opening and he was going to be like "haha jk" after that description.


@parallel-lines I suspect he might be looking for a "partner in crime."

Nicole Cliffe

My awesome lesbian aunt had told me all about how lesbians have sex, so, like, six years later when my Catholic school finally got around to the boring hetero mechanics, I was all, bish, please.


@Nicole Cliffe Totes honest, your aunt should give that same talk to straight boys because NO ONE TELLS US and when we ask it's super rude, because it sounds like you can't imagine sex without the peen. I usually do a lot of sex without my peen TYVM, I'm just curious!

I hung out with a far-away college friend recently, and he was about 6 months into a new relationship. She couldn't join him on his trip, so I was pumped to spend time with my friend and talk about the things we use to talk about (music, food, llamas, whatever). But all he did was talk about how great his new girlfriend is. Stuff they did together. When she met his family and how charmed they were by her. I told him "I'm really happy for you, but you have 20 more minutes to talk about your girlfriend, ok?" and yet he continued. I understand, I've been there, smitten in love and all. But I guess what I'm trying to say is that even one-on-one time with an old friend isn't always one-on-one when she's in his head. I would've rather had her there with us.


Excellent advice from this Lady this week.

Question for the peanut gallery: For dudes or ladies in the first letter-writer's situation, is it good/bad/ethical/unethical to straight-up move somewhere where the gender/attractiveness ratio is skewed in your favor, allowing you to "punch above your weight" a bit? (Imperfect choice of analogies I know, but I couldn't think of anything better to sub it out with!)

Completely overgeneralized examples from my personal experience of looking around me as I go places:

For women seeking men:

-London! I saw all sorts of plain-looking ladies out with downright Beckham-ly attractive dudes all over London. American girls seem to get bonus points there because, quote, your American accent is so soothing!

-Israel! Lots of American girls in Tel Aviv finding themselves with a massive array of tall dark handsome Israeli men all drooling all over them.

For men seeking women:

-Australia, maybe? I Have Been Told that the lack of men in Australia means that guys going over there tend to do better than they might back home.

-Washington, DC! I live here! Tons and tons of smart, attractive, intelligent women whose physical standards for the guys they're willing to date are significantly lower than elsewhere.

(Disclaimer: I married a (Hairpin-reading) Australian I met in Washington DC, so I can possibly be accused of following this guide, though that accusation would be false and I swear to god I didn't plan anything like that. Hi, lady I married, if you're reading this!)

Caveat: This totally gets squick-y and awful when you get into countries with very different cultural backgrounds / income levels to your own, where exoticization/fetishism/economic dependence factor in. That's a separate issue and I share all qualms you might have about that!


this is all funny and true. also, you just reminded me why i'm so glad I moved out of DC. i like pretty-faced bad boys (or "sociopaths" as my therapist says) and that city is full of polite, pasty, pudgy government workers.


@allthecuteshit I like to think of myself as a pretty-faced bad boy government worker.


@CrapCommentFromADude I don't think it's unethical. I just think you're likely to reap what you sow. If you uproot your whole life because you're shallow, you'll probably end up with a shallow partner who will likely cause no small amount of instability in your life.

Sydney C

@CrapCommentFromADude I live in DC, but I guess that since all the average looking dudes are taken by these hot ladies, I better move to London. Then maybe some model-type will fall in love with me based on... the scarcity of more attractive women? That's the making of a great relationship right there!


@CrapCommentFromADude @CrapCommentFromADude Caveat on Israel bee tee dubs: One of the reasons that American women are so popular over there is that they tend to have more liberal attitudes about sex than Israeli women.

That's not a bad thing! And it's not like that's the only reason or anything. And the (secular) Israeli guys I talked to about it nearly all seemed to be pretty pro-sex and feminist about it and not slut-shamey. And if you're a lady who enjoys having sex with tall dark and handsome men with sexy accents, that might even make you scratch your chin and go, "...intriguing!". But if you're not into such things, or prefer sex to begin within the confines of a monogamous relationship, it might be a very different situation going over there.

For what that's worth!


@CrapCommentFromADude YES! I had the same thought. I am an average looking lady who, years ago, moved to London from Texas (land of unattainable grooming standards) and had a lot better luck there. Now I live in DC and see many attractiveness mismatch couples every day and find them frequently in the gentleman's favor.


@manshan "Shallow" would imply you're giving attractiveness primacy over all other factors.

But it's not shallow to hold that finding your partner physically attractive is a necessary but not sufficient condition, is it? I mean, we can hold "it's what's inside that counts" on the one hand and "physical attraction is a really big part of what makes a successful relationship work" on the other hand and reconcile the two, can't we?

Also, all of the locations listed above are amazing, so it's not like you're saying "FUCK EVERYTHING, HERE I COME MINSK" or something like that (jk i'm sure minsk is a lovely city if anyone from minsk is reading this), it could be a fun life change regardless!

Tammy Pajamas

@CrapCommentFromADude Seconded on London! I just got back from my first trip there. I was astounded--astounded!!!--by the degree to which that city is saturated with hot dudes. I've commented on this to several friends familiar with London and they've all responded, "yeah, and there aren't that many cute girls." So maybe this is common knowledge? Anyway, I recommend going (the city's awesome too, BTW). It's a real feast for the eyes (and possibly other body parts).


@Tammy Pajamas This power can be used for good or for evil! I have two attractive lady-friends who enjoyed flirting their way into groups of men starting pub fights over them in England. Not cool! With great power/conventional attractiveness comes great responsibility!


@CrapCommentFromADude I think this is pretty pragmatic advice, generally. My husband is from LA, where he couldn't seem to find a substantive woman who was not an airhead or totally materialistic or just wanting to date producers to get acting gigs. For example, one woman never responded to his calls after a really good date when she saw his car afterward ---which was like a beat-up toyota or something. Not that LA is devoid of awesome, brainy, sharp-witted, down to earth women, I'm sure they exist. But for him it was a needle in a haystack sitch that led to him being celibate for 2 years before we met in Mexico on vacation. You know what they say about real estate---location location location.

I mean, who are we kidding? Looks matter, but differently so in different places, situations, ages, etc.


@CrapCommentFromADude i love israelis they make the best sea salt body scrub ever and then they sell it to you in the mall for 44.99 and ask for ur number and give u free lotion.


@NYnative At least with LA, it's such a huge, diverse-in-every-sense city that it totally depends on what circles you run in... it doesn't have the same sort of 'unifying' young urban culture that, say, New York has. For example, that's where I'm from, and I know maybe... 1 person who's tangentially involved in the entertainment industry? :) And tons of people involved in brainy stuff. A lot of people seem to find themselves ensconced in a slice of LA that doesn't work well for them, unfortunately. :X


@allthecuteshit ROFL... I don't know how Israelis pawning off dead sea lotions in American shopping malls became a *thing*, but it definitely is now.


@CrapCommentFromADude Yeah, my husband was not in "the industry" and having grown up there he has a million old friends, mostly in other media industries or bankers or human resources people or musicians or whatnot. But he still couldn't find the right gal. Lucky for me!! :D Anyway, I'm the first to say that anything is possible anywhere. But as a lifelong NYer, where I am definitely not the hottest thing out there, when I go to really any other American city I get a LOT of attention just for being urban, stylish and not gigantically fat. I mean, thin women, if you want to be the belle of the ball, go anywhere but NY. Like the episode of 30 Rock where Liz is a model in Cleveland. SO TRUE!!


@CrapCommentFromADude Ian Svenonius, is that you?


@Tammy Pajamas I'm a young single woman in London. I don't know whether I should start faking an American accent or what.


@Matt @CrapCommentFromADude LOL. Ian isn't married- trust me.

Tammy Pajamas

@Saaoirse Well, none of those hot guys talked to me, which seems to be a problem there. In fact, my (American) friend's (English) girlfriend said, "English guys don't talk to girls." I responded, "Then how do you date?" She said, "You have to talk to them. Or date American guys." I don't know what to tell you in terms of where to find American guys, but it seemed like London has a huge non-native population, so maybe make eyes at the cutest foreign accent on the bus or in the pub?


@allthecuteshit Lordy, in my experience there are quite a few sociopaths, and many of them work on the Hill. Granted, not as many pretty-faced one, but definitely sociopathic.


@Tammy Pajamas Ha, there are ways to make them talk to you, and I wasn't actually lamenting my single-ness (I'm two days from eighteen, not exactly panicking about settling down) more than I was just kind of defending London women. So true what you say about men not talking to women, though- most people date friends or friends-of-friends. The last date I had was a guy who met me in the bookshop where I work and somehow tracked me down online without knowing my name, which, terrifying, instead of talking to me. CRAZY. (Turned out we had gone to the same school, but that's just adding on the layers of slightly-creepy.)

Tammy Pajamas

@Saaoirse I am in no way saying the London women aren't hot. I definitely saw some stunners. They also maybe dress better? But the ratio in London is very different than any other place I've ever been.
Happy almost birthday!


@Tammy Pajamas Oh, not offended! The jokey sort of defense! And thanks! Happy birthday for whenever yours is!


@Matt I'd never heard of this Svenonius person before! But he seems interesting. Any particular albums/songs I should start with?

The Lady of Shalott

@CrapCommentFromADude God, I thought this was going to be "move somewhere where there's a ridiculous imbalance of men vs. women, like Fort McMurray."

Disclaimer: I really do live in a place where there are scads and scads and SCADS of dudes who go to Fort Mac, work for four or six months, then return home to date girls and shower them with the money they make because there aren't a lot of women there. It's kind of a weird dynamic.

Nicole Cliffe

My cousin, his wife, and three daughters are in Fort Mac! It is a weird, weird place.

Chesty LaRue

@Lady of Shalott @Nicole Cliffe, I live there.


@CrapCommentFromADude depending on where your tastes lie, either this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D63pVYsehg4
or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFMFLHXnNEc

...the Svenonius spectrum is a pretty broad one.


@mollywtx I think your life is my life! I also went TX>UK/LONDON>DC and agree with the generalizations.


oohhh, i have my opinions on the out of town friends/SO thing. i have a really great friend who moved to hawaii last year. i flew out for a week to visit her a few months ago, right after she started dating this guy. i was fresh out of a break-up and asked her to please let it just be us hanging out the majority of the time. new boyfriends are fantastic and all, but i'm flying across the ocean to see her and dont want him hanging around with us all the time when i am there to spend time with her. not to mention we've been friends for years and she'd been dating him for a few weeks. she totally agreed and said it was fine... and when i got there, new boyfriend hung out with us the entire time. THE ENTIRE TIME!!
i know this makes me kind of seem like a bitter friend, but holy crap was i annoyed.

oh and then they tried to have sex with me, but that's a different story.

/end of rant


@honeybadger ...did they succeed?


@CrapCommentFromADude haha no. they did not. it would be better story if they had, i know.


@honeybadger ...you're seriously going to do that? Start a story like THAT and then just leave us hanging? So cruel.

eta - you could always just make some stuff up. we're pretty gullible.


@MmeLibrarian ok you forced me into it.

new boyfriend had made it clear to my friend that he wanted to have a threesome with her and one of her friends. unwittingly i ended up being the first friend to visit her. apparently they had a whole seduction planned out, that i stumbled upon accidentally while taking a picture with her phone (a text popped up from him saying something along the lines of how he looks forward me watching them get it on and then boning both of us) and i kind of freaked out. don't get me wrong, i'm not a prude...i just dont like having sex with my friends. so i told her 'thanks, but no thanks' and thought the issue was settled.

i was wrong.

a few nights later we stumble home after having some (read: lots) drinks, pot is smoked, and they go "lay down". i am happily chilling on the couch thinking about how amazing it is to be alive or whatever stoned people think about, when he sticks his head out of the bedroom and invites me in for a massage. i politely decline. a few more minutes go by, and he comes out, turns off all the lights, turns on music, and lights candles. i start getting a little weirded out, but am off in stoney-haze land and just ignore it. i hear some sexy-time noises coming from the bedroom, so i move out to the balcony. he comes out again and asks me if i was SURE that i didnt want to join them. i was pretty darn sure, so he went back into the bedroom where they proceeded to have loud sex with the door open. then they came out and proceeded to go about their business like nothing happened.

not that great of a story now that i see it written down.


@honeybadger Maybe she thought it would make you feel better? She sounds like a considerate friend.


@honeybadger I have nothing to say except for oh. Oh WOW.

Hot mayonnaise

@honeybadger "i am happily chilling on the couch thinking about how amazing it is to be alive or whatever stoned people think about"

I loved that. Want to have sex with my wife and I?


OK so there's this whole concept of "dating up" right? Well that actually is not that common - according the psychology classes I took in college most people assess themselves and their attractiveness and then try to date others who are in their same attractiveness level - like perhaps if you are really a 3 (ugly guy) you should continue to date other 3's and quit trying to go after women who are "out of your league" especially since scientifically it probably won't work out anyway.

Too, IMO if you were really ok with the way you looked you wouldn't refer to yourself as ugly - you would be ok with the balding and the gut - I mean you are who you are right... sounds to me like you might have a whale of self-esteem/shallowness issue. Relationships that work - work because the people in them fit together personality wise - so if you are looking for something long term then stop looking at numbers and guts and blondes or brunettes and start looking for someone who fits with you. Just because someone is a knock out doesn't mean they are worth spending 15 minutes of your time with.

If you aren't looking for something long term then you really don't have a problem because as you say "you get plenty of dates" right?


@andreac928 Yeah... his whole "I want an attractive girlfriend" thing seems like he just wants another thing to add to his roster of pat-self-on-the-back accomplishments. More about his self-esteem issues than actually finding a partner. Like having an attractive girlfriend will make him look better, so that's why he's so concerned with that instead of finding someone he actually likes being around. Just another thing to put on the "I'm a good person" list, right next to his looking good in a tux at a BBQ or whatever. I find it particularly telling that he is willing to be "friends" with these attractive women but not their "ugly friends." I think (at least part of) his problem JUST MIGHT BE that he only sees value in women as objects of attraction. Like... maybe make friends with some ladies, without thinking about how attractive they are? And you might end up in a relationship with someone who is attractive TO YOU, because you click so well? And not because she tallies up to an 8 on your scorecard of physical assets?


@andreac928: I HATE THIS. The concept of dating 'up' or 'down' or 'out of your league' - as far as attractiveness is weighed. A supermodel can be with a troll! If they get along, they get along, end of story.

Real, *true* 'out of my league' is "She has a pHD and has served in the Peace Corp and spends two months out of the year repairing cleft lips of children for free in Africa and knows 9 languages and reads both Scientific American and philosophical fiction books." THAT'S someone who is out of my league.


@andreac928 I don't really agree with the idea that if Dude were really okay with himself he wouldn't call himself ugly. I mean, in terms of facial attractiveness I would describe myself as "average"; I am also very happy with how I look and if I had a magic wand I would change nothing. I think you can be okay with how you look and still be able to objectively assess what other people think of your looks.


@manshan :nodding: --He wants a pretty girl to show to the Mean Boys Back in High School that he is now, officially, a Big-Shot, Grown-Up, Moved-Out-of-Hicktown, Man.


Harriet Welch M@facebook

@andreac928 Relationships do not purely work based on compatibility and similar interests. If that was true there would be no such thing as friends (or at least no such thing as friends who have the body parts you are attracted to). Science also highlights the importance of physical attraction in the mating process.
Haven't you ever just not been attracted to a really cool/fun/nice person? Just because they weren't physically pleasing to you?
Sure, this guy might be a vapid jerk. He could also just want to be sexually/physically attracted to a mate. Either way, it's unfair to say that physical attraction isn't scientifically relevant. It also seems that you would be saying that anyone who pays anybody's looks any mind is not looking for a long term relationship.
I guess I fall into the jerk category. I just don't want to date/marry anyone that I have to make sex doggie style every time because I can't bear to look at them. Doesn't seem unreasonable.


Ugly Dude: Women care so much less about looks than men go (generally speaking, of course). The attraction for women is mostly emotionally charged. I doubt your lack of a sweetiepie is actually about your looks. Could just be timing, simply not finding the right person yet.

Bridesmaid: You sound really resentful and not very happy for your friend. You clearly don't want to go to this wedding, and it sounds like the money is partly an excuse. You should definitely decide immediately: a) break the news to her before your resentment worsens or b) suck it up and be in the wedding--in a few months you can pay off your credit card expenses, but the memory of being there for your friend will last a lifetime. Would you rather take on a little debt or miss one of the most important days of your friend's life?



It's high time people stopped pushing the myth that "women care so much less about looks than men" -- We ALL want to be attracted to the person we're boinking.
And there are plenty of guys who will recoil from a conventionally attractive woman when they find out she's mean or crazy or stupid, just as there are plenty of women who will put up with all kinds of squicky behavior from the guy who physically just sends them.


@City_Dater Yes, definitely. We all want to be attracted to the person we're with. And looks do not (usually? I hope?) trump personality. Absolutely.

But I still think that most women care more about personality than looks. A person becomes more physically attractive when we have positive emotions towards them. So I think Ugly Dude should be more like I Think It's Because I'm Ugly, But It's Probably Something Else Dude.


This is why gay men are so laid-back and open-minded about things like appearance and dress.


Re: Ugly Dudes.

My dude is not necessarily ugly (I'm attracted to him, obvs!) but he's not exactly a 10. Thinning hair, old acne scars, kinda short, beer belly. Who cares! He is great and makes me laugh and does nice things for me and is generally an Excellent Guy. And I wouldn't consider myself to be ugly, either, although I am a bit chunky.

So if you really are as much of a gem as you claim to be, there's definitely a lady out there who will love you. If you're really a self-absorbed juicebox, then you've got problems other than your receding hairline.


I am an OK looking man who married way way out of his league in terms of good looks. And after five years of marriage, her beauty is the least of her attributes that helps make our marriage great.
Finding a partner that is a good person, willing to work to make a relationship work, and fun to hang out with is way more important than a cute face and nice ass.


@graffin - me too. it's just silly how beautiful my wife is. we married 15 years ago, and i sort of looked forward to teh day when she would start to age a little and maybe not be so outlandishly gorgeous so i wouldn't feel so awkward. two kids later and some gray hair and...nope, still unbelievable. but it's her sweet heart that keeps me in awe. i couldn't imagine causing her any kind of distress. of course i do, because i am an ass. but i try, and i think she forgives me.


@brad This is sarcastic, right? Are you Jim Behrle? This is like some 8th level irony.


@MrComment No, brad's just this dude who periodically shows up and talks about how much he loves his wife, no matter what the topic at hand is. It's like he's a bizarrely specific troll. Seriously, check out all his previous comments.

Sydney C

@melis I find it particularly amusing when he talks about how "damaged" she is because she is so beautiful. Nice marriage, you two!


I'm imagining that it's actually a woman whose husband is sort of garden-variety Guy - nice sort of peck-on-the-cheek, watch-for-your-birthday type fella, and 'brad' is the imaginary/online version of the husband she'd like to have.


@melis Oh my god, I am DYING. I'm gonna cut off a bunch of people's thumbs and send them to you.


I'm not completely, 100%, sold that the "out of town friend" doesn't have some other reasons not to want the girlfriend around - like maybe there are some not too active but still somewhat present non-platonic feelings there? I guess when it comes to really solid gold oldie friends, when they find someone special, don't you want to meet them? Make sure they're a'ok? And, assuming your friend has decent judgement when it comes to people, it could totally be a blast! You could regale this new s/o with the stories about the "old days" and how ccrrrrrazy you guys were. Not wanting the new g/f there, along with the comment "I want to spend that time with him, not getting to know someone else who in all likelihood I'll never meet again" - to me, that would be an even more compelling reason to meet her. If you're not going to see her again, and this is an Important Friend, and saying what if they get married or start to multiply, don't you WANT to meet her?


@teenie I thought the exact same thing, but you are much braver for saying it. Maybe I'm a cynical old fart, but I'm thinking there's more here than meets the eye. I've had dude friends, and when they met awesome ladies, I wanted to meet them straight away. Something doesn't add up.


@teenie I have one friend who always, always, ALWAYS brings her awkward boyfriend around to dinners even when I don't invite mine and it's this weird sort of threesome where I feel like I have to make polite conversation instead of having the bawdy, let's get drunk and gossip fest I'd really rather be having. So I can kinda understand a little bit.


@parallel-lines yeeeeah, BUT. There are a few significant difference here:
1.) this is a repeated thing with you, where this is maybe just a one-off (from what it reads like in the letter)
2.) the LW doesn't know what the girl is like, so she can't claim that it's sure to be a lame fest if the gf is there, which you, clearly, can claim and be frustrated about.
3.) it's just not a super strong political move to make, being a lady, asking your guy friend to leave his gf at home and drive a couple hours to meet up with you for a little bit. It could create difficulties in a number of ways.
TOTES agree that friends should be able to ask their good friends for "friend's only" time away from their partners, but this is a little different, in my opinion.


@teenie Well, it was the "she's likely not going to be around that long" part of the letter that was weird to me. Because I have guy friends who started dating girls and I really wanted to see THEM, but I also totally wanted to meet this girl, because who knows, he could marry her and she could be around forever, AND I wanted to check out this girl who was dating my good friend to see if I approved. I mean, I understand just wanting to see your friend, but it's a little weird to assume that this girl is just a throwaway.


@thebestjasmine OK, yeah I read that differently - as in "this is going to be the only time I meet her because I hardly ever ever see this person" not "bich won't last".
"but when I have a limited amount of time with my friend, I want to spend that time with him, not getting to know someone else who in all likelihood I'll never meet again, given that we live on opposite sides of the country."


@teenie Not me, personally - I mean, that may be the case with the letter writer, but I am just soooo much better at one-on-one time with good friends and can get really awkward when a third wheel enters the equation.

However! I have had good friends think I'm being a complete and utter asshole when I try to explain this to them. But I kinda am.


@teenie It's possible this dude has a history of dating "throwaways" though, and it's annoying to meet all of them? Especially when you don't see them that often and you know she'll be gone in a couple months anyway?


@Megan Patterson@facebook That is possible! And if he makes the girlspacefriend meet every woman that he breaks up with two months later, then that's totally different, and I'd be pissed too if I was the girlspacefriend.


@Megan Patterson@facebook yeeeah, like I said before, I just am not really getting that from the letter, I think that is reading something in there that isn't really there. If that's the case, then yeah the lady letter writer can justify saying "just us plz" but otherwise I think that it's not a suave move.


@Megan Patterson@facebook Ouch, "throwaway" people? Yes, time with the friend is limited, but who is to say that the quality will be worse for having along another person? Maybe she'll enjoy herself, or make a new friend. Just tell him you'd love to meet his lady - maybe she can join us for X for a bit before we leave to go do Y? If you need to maximize friend time then make arrangements to make it happen longer, if it is that important to have alone time.


@teenie I agree. If my boyfriend was meeting an old female friend, I would be weirded out if I was not invited. And more than that, if the situation was reversed and I was going to see an old male friend that I hadn't seen in a long time, I would be glad to meet his new girlfriend. Whatever happened to "the more the merrier"? Why are people so possessive of friends? Wouldn't it also be a great opportunity to maybe make a new friend?

I kind of think you must be really weird/kind of an asshole if you do not want to meet and/or include your opposite sex friend's new so in your friendship. It's like, get real.


@thousands Well, I don't think that this is an asshole move at all! And I also think that it's weird for women to get upset if their boyfriend was going to meet an old female friend and they were not included; are you really that threatened by an old friend? If I only had a few hours to hang out with an old friend, I would want to see and talk to them mostly, and not some new person. And the conversation is very different if a new person is along; if I was with an old friend, I would talk to them about any guys I'm dating, work stuff, personal drama, etc. that I would not say any of with a new person involved. It's not about being possessive, it's wanting quality time with a friend.


@thebestjasmine I like meeting new people, so yeah, it would kind of suck if I didn't get to meet the person, and if our relationship was built around having exclusive friendships that did not/could not involve the other person. Maybe if the girlfriend/boyfriend is brand new, I understand what you're saying, but if they're not, then why wouldn't you want to meet them? That is all kinds of weird.


Meeting new people isn't like hanging out with old, close friends. It takes effort: learning about who she is without interrogating her, showing your personality/sense of humor without dropping any in-jokes or references she doesn't get into the conversation, figuring out which topics make her passionate/angry/bored, and so on. Hooray, what fun: inoffensive, first datey small talk with some stranger girl when you just want to catch up with your bro.

That said, I would never try to bone someone in a relationship, I don't become attached to the hip of some guy just because we start dating, and I'm extra wary of the tagalong significant other because I've had several friends who date ridiculous douchebag losers and expect us to instantly become best friends (although it's nearly always female friends trying to make me love their asshole boyfriends) so I would be opposed to mandatory girlfriend supervision from any possible position involved. I can see how people with different experiences would feel differently, but I still think it's a good idea to keep your possessive jealousy in check before you start forbidding your dude from using the bathroom in with the door closed.


@thousands It's not about having an exclusive relationship, it's just that you can't have the same conversations with a new person as you can with a close friend. I love meeting new people too, but there's a time and place for that. A few weeks ago I was having dinner with three good girlfriends, and three of us were super grumpy that one person invited someone new without telling us. It wasn't that we didn't want to meet a new person, but we were all looking forward to having a girls dinner, where we could talk about one person's new boyfriend, and another person and her husband trying for a baby, and someone else looking for a new job, and we didn't get to have any of those conversations, because a new person was there who none of us felt comfortable enough with. Meeting new people is great, but when you only get to see a close friend once a year or so, if every conversation with him includes a stranger, then it's just not going to be the time that you wanted to have.


Fella #1: I have dated and been with all stripes. In fact, my tastes run toward the unconventional, one might say. The only thing consistant about the men I've dated is that their looks didn't matter that much. If they seemed awesome and I felt the click of a kindred spirit, I really didn't give a shit about their hair/gut or lack thereof. There is someone for everyone. You just haven't found her yet. And that thing you said about not being attracted to "unattractive" women is kind of a dickhead thing to say. And being a dickhead is a huge turnoff to any woman regardless of how "attractive" she is (it's such a subjective concept I can't even believe you're talking about it this way). So don't be a dickhead, okay?

#3: I know A Lady doesn't have kids, but she's going to be an awesome mom because she is exactly right. You will have a billion different talks about sex with your children. My first terrifying talk with my daughter was very clinical, kind of like "Tab A goes into Slot B" type stuff. Now things are getting more nuanced because she's older. I can explain that sometimes boys date boys and girls date girls and that sometimes people have sex not just to have kids, etc., and we talk about it in a very matter-of-fact way. The only wrong way to talk about sex with your kids is to avoid it or treat it like it's this big dirty sinful thing. Kind of like my parents did, and it completely fucked with me.


Oh Ugly Dude, you made me chortle so hard I nearly aspirated my iced tea. When will people ever realize the inherent hypocrisy of starting rants with statements like "I'm not shallow but ... (insert high aesthetic standards here)" or "I'm not racist but ... (insert preconceived notions of other races here)" OR my personal favorite, "I'm not a feminist but ... (insert belief of female equality here)"


@amity I'm not a linguist, but I think those disclaimers all mean "Don't punch me in the face after I say this even though I probably deserve it."


@amity For the record, I never said, "I'm not shallow but..." What I said was, "I hope you don't write me off as a shallow jerk." Because really, I'm fully aware that my problem might just be that I'm a shallow jerk. And if it is, how do I go about fixing that? It's not like I WANT to be shallow. My dating life would be so much easier if I was attracted to a wider range of people.


@UglyDude Maybe you're just really picky. I'm picky and definitely not attracted to everyone I meet. I'm not gorgeous either and I married someone I'm pretty attracted to.


I tend to date unconventionally attractive dudes, and have yet to get together with anyone super hot for the long term. As long as you're funny and smart and nice and want to take me out on a date once in awhile I'm in. My ex-husband was all of those things, plus he's going bald, has a bit of a gut, and has back hair and has still managed to knock up some youngish tart with twins. He's no longer for me, but apparently he's still lucky with the ladies. I wish I could see dude's picture so I could tell if he's actually a "3", or if he's just saying that so that ladies will be all "no! You're not a '3' at all!"
What I'm saying is: one woman's "3" is another woman's "7".


TL;DR Re: Wedding $$$:

This makes me feel weird. Bear with me, hairpinners, because I feel like once again, I am only drawn into commenting because I'm sure I'm on the wrong side of public debate and am frowny about it.

I've always thought that...like, my money is not just for me. And because of the nature of being social and friendship, part of (a lot of) my money is spent doing stuff with my friends.

It's not an issue of "once I have enough to take vacations for myself, then I will take vacations for you if there's enough left." You take vacations for your friends FIRST, and then if you have leftover you take vacations for yourself. You buy your friends presents first, and then if you have leftover you buy yourself new stuff. Right? Not right? Idk, discuss.

If your friend had known that this is astronomically out of your budget, and she values you, she's being very awful. A good friend would help you out, or if the whole group is really tight they could all help you out, and they would never, ever act like you owe them anything or they are doing you a favor, because they're not. Girlfriend X is getting married in a silly place, and facilitating your company is just part of being friends.

But here is my thing. Even though your friends are being crappy in expecting you to cough up a week in Mykonos or whatever from your secret cash horde, or from crippling credit card debt--saying that you won't spend money on her wedding doesn't get you out with no hard feelings. People value money in different ways, sure, but basically you're saying you don't care about her wedding as much as they other bridesmaids do.

You get out of the wedding, but you'll still hurt her feelings.


@itsasatchel You are lucky to have enough money to have this opinion. Not all of us have that much money. A bride who is not a jerk might be sad that her friend can't be there on her special day, but only jerks would actually be hurt.


@itsasatchel, I think that's pretty unreasonable and kinda gross but there were various periods of my childhood in which my mom struggled to pay the bills, so maybe that sort of thing can fly if everyone in your social circle is the same breed of WASPy suburbanite but real talk: caring about money is only ~gauche~ when you've never had to deal with money issues. I'll buy my friends (uh, select friends) gifts, bake them cookies, send them packages, pick up the tab for dinner or a concert, whatever, but I'm not gonna fly across the country on a whim, and even the cookies stop coming when my bank account is low because it is hilariously self-absorbed to ask somebody to accrue credit card debt in the name of being a good friend.


@theinvisiblecunt preach it.


@theinvisiblecunt Yeah, I'm fairly certain that I just straight-up wouldn't be friends with someone who would take umbrage to my inability to attend their wedding due to financial reasons. Because I don't consort with people like that. So it wouldn't be an issue. I'm sort of baffled by the comments on this one.


@theinvisiblecunt Totally agree about the credit card debt. There's being stingy and selfish and there's being financially reckless. I don't think a good friend would ask another person to put themselves into debt for their wedding.


@theinvisiblecunt But this isn't a whim, this is a very important occasion. And @itsasatchel admits that if it's "astronomically out of your budget, and she values you, she's being very awful. A good friend would help you out...."

I make very little money and live in an expensive city, so I've always had a tight budget. But when it comes to my close friend's life-changing day, it just takes some creativity. Like perhaps split a hotel room, do your own make-up, find a dress on sale. If it means I have to borrow $100 from someone, that really sucks, but this day will never happen again.


@theinvisiblecunt "it is hilariously self-absorbed to ask somebody to accrue credit card debt in the name of being a good friend."

This is right. Much abashed, guys, I think I was trying to apply "I'll pick up the tab for dinner" logic to a massive vacation/dress investment?


@Mandaline A wedding is a party. A marriage is life changing. Both can happen several times in one lifetime.


@Mandaline in what world does $100 make any sort of dent in attending a destination wedding?


@Mandaline, I think "your money isn't for you, it's for your friends" is a gross attitude in general. Like anything in life, the specifics of attending a wedding can be negotiated with a lot of help and planning but being offended that your friend doesn't love you enough to light you a bonfire made out of cash is ridiculous. And re: flying on a whim, I wasn't referring to the wedding situation so much as hypothetical gossip girl niceties like "oh you look SO good in those louboutins I absolutely HAVE to buy them 4 u!! No, it's totally on me, don't worry about a thiiiinggg I'm your frieeenndddd~~~~"

Again, this is just my perspective. I had a friend once who was exceptionally gracious and loved to host parties and pick up the tab all the time, and that is doubtlessly an awesome way to live when you have friends who can roll that way but I periodically had to remind her "ok kiddo no offense but I'm gonna have to pass on the roadtrip out of state because your filthy rich parents pay for your everything and I need scholarships and a part-time job to afford my rent."


@theinvisiblecunt I've never seen Gossip Girls, but that doesn't sound like something I would do, either. :)

The "your money isn't for you" comment was not from me.

Being hurt about something is not the same as giving my friend a hard time or guilt-tripping her. But then again, I would never have a destination wedding because I *want* my friends to be able to go.


@insouciantlover Ah, too many threads. See below.

@winchesterwolcott Too true! Touche, for reals.


@itsasatchel When my sister married, she essentially included me in her budget, so that I could comfortably attend and be her maid of "dishonor". She also didn't have exorbitant expectations for me or for her bridesmaids: our dresses were inexpensive (and totally re-wearable!), we split one big hotel room all together, and the woman who did our hair and make-up did so as her wedding gift to my sister.
Granted, she's my sister and if she hadn't made these concessions for me I would've gone and participated no matter what it took. But people can and should be considerate of friends' and families' different financial strata.
(But also, LW, let your friend know ASAP.)


@itsasatchel Sorry, no, the money that I work for IS for me. It's for me to do with as I please. If I want to blow it on a Sephora binge, that's my prerogative. If I want to buy my friend a KitchenAid as a wedding gift, that's my prerogative.


So here's the sitch. ( I am the asker of the Wedding question in question.) We grew up together, stopped talking in college but moved to the same city after school of our own accord, and live BLOCKS away from each other, but she never returns my emails/calls/facebook pokes or whatever. I got asked to be a bridesmaid via text message. She comes from money, and actually, I hated myself enough to tell her a few weeks ago that I could not attend. Shitstorm ensues. I am not 'being sympathetic' how 'dare I' miss her special day. I 'better' be there. I am very very poor. (Not broke, poor) and any activity that is not on-the-job, is not something I can afford. It's not in Bora Bora or anything, but it's not exactly a zipcar trip away either.
Maybe I am just bitter that I was not allowed to bring a date to the wedding, since they are on a 'tight budget' and only smug marrieds are allowed to have a plus one.
Anyway. It's been interesting reading everyone's responses to my question, which was admittedly poorly worded. I agree with basically everyone. It's a very confusing situation. In the end my bridesmaid dress and matching corsage won't pay off these student loans.

Ella Quint

@Mandaline - let's break this down - $1000 - 1500 for flight, $800 - 1200 for hotel, $400 - 600 for meals, $100 - 300 for the dress, $100 - 200 for hair and makeup, and at least another $100 or so for the gift - FORGET accessories, passports and travel shots, the lost wages for those folks who ain't on salary, and if you've been living po' for some time the intense pressure to show up to one of these things with a proper wardrobe is enuff to make a girl cry. So we're looking at $2500 IF YOU ARE LUCKY and yer buds aren't going super high end. $100 bucks for a wedding? I fucking wish!! I typically end up dropping around $250 for the ones in town (btwn gift, transport, drinks, clothes etc.).

Again, I would suggest that if yer friends have any sense of decency they will totally undertsand if you can't make it. They might be disappointed, yes, but most brides are well aware of the fact that destination wedding means a number of "no, TY" on the RSVP's.

Ella Quint

@Caturday - Sorry, just read yer post - tell yer bitch bride friend to shove it!!! Bahhh!! (rage, froth, venom)...

Sorry - ahem - okay, pant, better now. Hon, don't ever think that you missed out or shoulda/coulda/woulda. If the only thing offered was condemation for not being there (ie no monetary assistance, compromise, etc.) then I think you made the right choice. As a recent bride, the entire refrain for our wedding became "you don't hold a wedding for yourselves, you do it for your family, friends, community" - not because we're utterly perfect people and that's how everybody ought to view it, but that's because it's how we felt - the longterm relationships we had/have with those involved are/is more inportant than any single dumb-ass "special day".

dracula's ghost

Ugly Dude bummed me out. No humanity. Physical traits all he cares about? "Ugly" ladies just don't do it for him? Yeah I wonder why.

Also, GIRL, SKIP THAT WEDDING!!! only a crazy person's feelings would be hurt in this scenario. just tell her you love her, you're honored, but you just can't do it, it's life. I got married and this would not have hurt my feelings at all. And I got married in a normal non-destination place! It's ok!

just read @itsasatchel's comment. I see what you're saying...but everyone has such different incomes and money needs and feelings about money, I think placing any RELATIONSHIP value on MONETARY AMOUNT SPENT on friendship is wrong!!


@dracula's ghost I think if the LW is important enough to be a bridesmaid, she's a really close friend. Otherwise, I'd completely agree with you. If a friend can't make the wedding because of expenses, totally fine. But if one of my closest friends doesn't make it? Like, someone in my top 3 or 4? That would hurt a bit.


@Mandaline Then you need to offer to pay for shit. I think I might be hurt, but you have to suck it up. You cannot require someone to go into debt or get fired for taking time off or whatever to attend a wedding. It's unreasonable.


@Mandaline I'm a little surprised that you feel this way. Based on your discussion in the "debt" thread the other day, I would think you'd understand someone who doesn't want to/can't afford to rack up debt, no matter the circumstances. There REALLY TRULY are people who simply can't afford that. For some reason I feel like some people think they're just not budgeting well, or don't know what money they have, when it's like "no, I really can barely afford my groceries because of x, y, or z" - a good friend would really understand that.


@teenie I definitely understand a tight budget, trust me. But my comment on the debt thread was about the type of debt/how the debt was accrued. I think it's much different to put $100 on a credit card to be at your friend's wedding, than to put $28,000 on a credit card for concert tickets and drinks. Granted, I don't know how much this destination wedding will cost. But LW's tone suggested that the money issue is only part of why she doesn't want to go.


@winchesterwolcott I agree with you. If the bridesmaid tells the bride the issue, then this destination-wedding bride should offer to pay for at least part of the expenses. Also, I would never *require* someone to be at my wedding, either. If my best friend didn't attend, I would be hurt, but I wouldn't guilt-trip her over it (e.g., I would learn to suck it up).


@Mandaline Seriously, how do you think that a destination wedding is going to mean $100 on a credit card? That would be more like $1000 minimum. I mean, I've spent that on weddings on the opposite coast, and I know that a wedding in any sort of destination would be a hell of a lot more expensive. I also think that maybe you don't understand what it's like to have a really really tight budget, and for it to not be actually possible to put that money on your credit card.


@Mandaline Dude. I went to a wedding a year ago one state away for a long weekend, shared a room, ate cheap, and managed to spend $1000. That I struggled to pay off. Actually, I'm probably still paying it off.


@insouciantlover @thebestjasmine I think you are right--perhaps I don't know how much destination weddings really run. I've been to a few out-of-state weddings and was able to get flights for under $300, split a hotel room, etc, and the total cost me less than $500. But perhaps the destinations you're referring to are much farther/pricier.

And yes, I verrrrry much know what it's like to be on a tight budget. Which is why I cant afford to take on debt--I cant afford to pay interest on non-essentials or non-emergencies. And I have declined weddings that are far away. But the bride wasn't one of my best friends, so I think that's the big difference.

Tuna Surprise

@Mandaline - the problem with a destination wedding is that the invitation is saying "Please come celebrate our union with us. The cost of admission is $XXX plus the intangible costs of the time it takes you to get here, time off work, potential loss of vacation days, etc"

When you're inviting people to a party with a cover charge you should never be hurt or upset when they can't come.


About giving the sex talk to your kids. My memories are forever haunted by my father and mother sitting down at the dining table with myself (3rd grade, pretty good age) and my brother (6th grade, probably a little late) and giving the most straightforward, scientific sex talk imaginable. It was summer. We had just come home from a water park. It was thundering. It was like a horror movie. My dad actually said "the penis inserts into the vagina." I just can't get rid of the memory.

But honestly? As weird and uncomfortable as I felt about it as a kid? I am SO GLAD my parents did this. I didn't have to find out about sex from the public school sex ed (which was, since I went to school in Georgia, basically a full day of "IF YOU HAVE SEX YOU WILL GET AIDS OR IMMEDIATELY HAVE A BABY SO JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE MARRIED OK"). I didn't have to find out from giggling peers. I had both of my parents there with me, being as straightforward as possible. I honestly don't know if this contributed in any way toward a healthy attitude toward sex, but I do know that now, as an adult, it's one more thing I really appreciate about them. I think it did help in no small part to contribute to the open, honest relationship I've always had with my parents as an adult. I know I can talk to them about anything.


@manshan My mother took me to a community viewing of The Miracle of Life the summer before I started kindergarten. I was the youngest person there by far. They kept it very scientific for many years and kept it to the basics - "The man's sperm unites with the woman's egg to make a baby" - and wouldn't really bring up extra stuff unless I had a question: "How does the sperm get to the egg?" "The penis is inserted into the vagina." "Oh. OK. I'll go play now." So I would suggest keep it to the basics and have it be a gradual conversation over the years. When your child asks the inevitable "How does sperm reach egg?", then you can say via insertion, or with the help of a very nice doctor. I wouldn't make any judgments about "natural" or "unnatural", just keep it very matter-of-fact. But the earlier you do it, the easier it is. If you don't act embarrassed and instead act approachable, then your kids will come to YOU for questions, and not Teh Google.

RK Fire

@manshan: "the penis inserts into the vagina"? LOLOLOL Did it just insert itself or was there a person attached to it?


@RK Fire Somebody must have bumped the car, I swear!


@RK Fire : My mom tells the story of a friend who told her kid the passive, no-people-involved "penis is inserted into the vagina" line. Kid's response: "but then how does he get it back on?"


So Ugly Dude wants people see past his looks to find out how awesome he is, but he doesn't give unattractive women the same oppurtunity?

Also, I'm a conventionally attractive woman, and I've dated guys of varying attractiveness. The things I'm most attracted to are humility & personality. Seems to me that Ugly Dude is lacking in at least one of these areas.


@18thfloor women who are <5 on the attractiveness scale very very seldomly break out of it. it just poisons them on the inside.

like, a lot of fat dudes have problems and become passive aggressive nice guy types about it. but theres also a ton of fat dudes that are just like, big fat party animals and genuinely don't feel any problem with being 50-60 pounds overweight and it just never enters their minds?

well if you try to talk to a woman like that (esp. a white woman) its basically impossible to find one where it doesn't occupy their mind. its either a depressing cloud over their personality, or its irritating and in your face camryn manheim/margaret cho "YEA I'M FAT... SO???" defiance and its irritating as shit. its very very rare to find a woman on the low end of attractiveness or with extra weight where it just doesn't cross her mind and it makes giving them a chance basically an exercise in futility and pretending the "knowing, ironic" self deprecation is funny instead of irritating


@Joshie Hahahaha, you are dumb.


anyone who puts a numerical value on a person shouldn't be allowed to date.


@becky@twitter I give this ALL of the thumbs up.


@becky@twitter Spoken like a true 2.


@becky@twitter YES. dude doesn't get it. no way an AWESOME guy would write this letter.


@insouciantlover is that supposed to hurt my feelings? cause you're gonna have to try a lot harder than that.


@becky@twitter it was supposed to make you laugh?

*digs around for sarcasm tag*


@insouciantlover oh. err. sorry. mama hasn't had coffee today and it's humid and rainy out. my hair is like a -3 and i'm cranky.


@becky@twitter watch out, if she's really feeling her beans, @incousiantlover may start criticizing your pubic hair or breast shape...


@teenie lol you have crooked toes


@insouciantlover Crooked toes is a -.75 on anyone's scale.


Unless the number is how many peonies they are bringing them, amirite?

Nancy Sin

Lady #2. Hang out with the guy and the girlfriend. It will look bad if you tell her to stay behind and will damage your friendship long-term if they stay together. Meet her. Try to become friends with her, if this dude is suuuuucccchhh a good friend.

- A Lady Who Has Guy Friends and Tries Not to Alienate Their Girlfriends


@Nancy Sin Srsly. Making a huge deal about how you need to be alone with the guy isn't going to really help anything.


@Nancy Sin Totally. Why exclude someone? It will make the other person feel like shit, and build up resentment among all three parties. And why would you be so unopen to meeting and including another person in your friendship? That's just weird.

Nancy Sin

@thousands I mean if I had a GREAT GUY FRIEND I would likely be more than enthused to meet his new special lady, because, friendship.


Re: The Sex Talk: I think you'll know your kid is ready to know when they start asking you questions and you should do your best to get over the ick or the weird and answer them honestly. So, when you're 5 year old is all "Where do babies come from?" please don't say something about babies being in tummies or watering your garden. Be honest, say uterus, because I think that if you establish a precedent of answering these questions frankly and honestly, your kids are more likely to trust you when they're 15 and they need to be on the Pill.

My parents never talked to me about sex. And, the thing is, I was TOTALLY CURIOUS about sex and when I'd get my period and when I'd get boobs and do I kiss a guy? do I have to have sex with a guy? I would ask my parents and they would shut me down immediately. So, let's get real, even though I learned all about sex and periods from my Girl Scouts book*, I made dumb choices and got myself into various forms of trouble with boys and with sex and when I really needed to be able to turn to my parents, I didn't feel that I could because they hadn't "been there" for me in the past. Everything worked out fine, but looking back, I had to be an adult when I wasn't prepared to be an adult and even though it made me who I am today, I really wish my mom could have told me what to do.

*Did anyone else have this? I got it when I was in Juniors along with the Handbook and it was all about growing up and having periods and wearing deodorant and such.


@elizabethmarley I just have to chime in and say there is too much of a good thing! My mom was a nurse and I got the sex talk like, every OTHER day.


@elizabethmarley I had the Girl Scout book, too! I remember my friend and I taking it to her closet to read once we discovered it was about vaginas instead of, I don't know, birdhouses or whatever we did in brownies. The closet thing probably means our parents failed on pretty big on the "let's be open about sex" front.


@DrFeelGood That would have been awful, probably worse than never talking about it. But, see, my mom also told me that if I used tampons I wouldn't be a virgin anymore. And to put that into perspective, my mom was born in the late 50s, spent her formative teenage years in the 70s, and really should know better.

Not to knock my mom--she's an awesome mom--but her knowledge gaps are hilarious. She just got my 13 year old sister Gardasil and didn't realize that it's an HPV vaccine and not a "cancer vaccine". And when I explained this to her, I also had to explain what HPV is. Oh mom...


This website was featured on Savage Love Podcast #224 a few months ago. A refreshing take on talking to kids about sex. My kid is in the half interested, half disgusted stage--but that's going to change soon.



Awesome sex-ed website. Wish I had known about it when I was younger.


Mad Dog

My advice to LW1: Stop watching Judd Apatow films and the like. Same goes for mainstream sitcoms.


Talking about sex to kids is easy. Start with basics early and keep it an open dialogue and age appropriate. My 18 year old now gets the "no means no, and always use a condom" and the ten year old gets the "yeah, you’re gonna notice some changes and some things feel really good. Please limit your shower time and lock your bedroom door because we do not need to share in your discoveries."


Bridesmaid: If you're going to resent, don't do it. But when you tell the bride, bracket it with gushing "It's such a tremendous honor that you asked me to stand up for you, and I feel touched that you want me to be there, but I simply can't afford it. I'm so sorry, because I really wish I could, but it's just not financially possible for me right now. You will be in my thoughts that day! I can't wait to see pictures!"

I just turned down a friend's wedding several states away. I also know how tight her budget is, so inviting an extra person is a big deal and I made sure to thank her copiously for the gesture.

RK Fire

@SarahDances: This is perfect. Also, sending a thoughtful gift would probably go a long way (maybe framing an invite beautifully as recommended by another Hairpinner) and taking part in the stateside festivities. Because there will definitely be stateside festivities.


Ugly Guy: sorry, it's so hypocritical that you want to date a hottie but you haven't even considered working on your own looks. Like, beer belly? You can actually DO something about that. Do some frigging sit-ups, yo! Fat? Don't eat so damn much. Bad dresser? Find a chic friend to help or hire a stylist or personal shopper at Saks. Balding? Get Rogaine or plugs or even a toupee if you *really* think that's what is what's keeping you from dating a Maxim cover girl. Women spend a lot of time to look good, as evidenced by the copious beauty advice on this website. Why don't you?

In all likelihood it isn't your looks holding you back, it's your sense of entitlement. Or maybe it's how your insecurity/self-hatred creeps into how you see, and hence judge, women. If you are as great as you say, and maybe you are---and you want others to LOOK PAST your appearance and get to know the awesome guy within, then why don't you extend that generosity, patience, optimism, openness to women?? You get what you give, my friend.


@NYnative I feel like there are fewer things a guy can do to improve his appearance than a girl. For example a girl could have really nice hair, great makeup, nice figure, great shoes and outfits and then she "presents" as a hot girl even if her face is sub-par. Guys don't really have hair and makeup and stuff that would make them "present" differently. Clothes maybe but I'm guessing that someone as financially comfortable as he is does have nice clothes and stuff, and he says he goes to the gym regularly and has good hygiene and stuff.


@NYnative Really? Maybe it's that I'm harder on myself than I am on men, but I think it's the opposite. I think most guys could be attractive if they took care of their bodies and dressed not-awfully. Those two things can trump thinning hair (just shave it already, some of the hottest guys I've known have been totally bald) or an "ugly" face (see Jeff goldblum). A woman has to have a hot body (thin, boobs, great skin and hair) *and* a hot face, or else she's a butter face - see the scorn heaped on Sarah Jessica Parker (who I happen to think is gorgeous).
(This is probably just my own insecurity talking - I don't judge other women the way I judge myself.)


@themegnapkin Women are way more brutal about each other than guys are. A lot of the butter face thing is just general shit talk between dudes who can't really communicate with each other and generally stops when one of them starts dating her. The Sarah Jessica Parker thing is more of a meme than a real objection and also an attack on Sex and the City. Most guys I know would happily date someone who looks like her.


@MrComment See, I think the opposite: I think men are way more brutal on women than women are on each other. Women tend to think of any other woman who "presents" well to be cute if she has cute hair/makeup/clothes, no matter what her face or body looks like (within certain perimeters, yes, but pretty broad ones). While I think men don't think a woman is attractive unless she has a hot body. I'm sure for this Ugly Guy, for him a 3 is code for a fat girl.


@thebestjasmine I guess it's complicated and really depends on the context. I've seen female friends go through womens' okcupid profiles and be able to instantly pick out a flaw in every single one. Women are more supportive to their friends than that. But you're right, hair, make-up and clothes are not really that relevant to whether a guy finds a woman attractive, but I've seen it work occasionally.


@themegnapkin Whoa, whoa. Jeff Goldblum does not have an "ugly" face, quotes or no quotes. He has a very attractive face with recognizably Semitic features. I know looks are subjective, but I feel like it's borderline racist to assume everyone agrees he's ugly.


@kapitalk Reasonable minds can differ on whether Jeff Goldblum's face is attractive. To me, he's the classic face-is-not-hot, yet he is INCREDIBLY SUPER HOT!!!! I feel the same way about Stephen Rea, from The Crying Game, and Ciarin Hinds, from Persuasion, and I think they're both Irish. No anti-Semitism meant or felt, apologies if any was implied.


@themegnapkin: oh Captain Wentworth...


Ok, I know I am way, way late to this party but I just have to say that Jeff Goldblum was my very first crush when I was, I don't know, 10? Is that weird?


@NYnative My Jeff Goldblum crush dates to when Jurassic Park came out. Dinosaurs + hot mathematician = too much for my 14-year-old self.


@themegnapkin Agreed that Ciaran Hinds is sleeper hottie, especially in Rome. I am always happy to see him turn up in a film. Also agreed that I do not find Jeff Goldblum attractive at all. I do not love his face, or that weird, smarmy voice of his. However, I have met many women who think he is The Sex.

Mighty Kelsanchez

Re: Sex Talk
The Guide To Getting It On (goofyfootpress.com) is an amazing, astoundingly comprehensive and progressive sex bible with a chapter dedicated to chattin' with your groin fruit about sex. Worth a look!


So what if other people are uncomfortable seeing a very attractive person with a much less attractive person, a tall woman with a short man, a thin man with a fat woman, a blue-collar PhD with a white-collar high school dropout, a Wall Street banker with a human being, and so on, and so on, and so on?

If you are actually interested in someone (not just their fake-objective 1-10 rating, of course), take the risk and ignore the conventions.

When you decide to care about what other people think, make sure those other people are actually thinking.


@atipofthehat: DOUBLE deleted comments. Can no one refute this man!?


There's this series of books targeted at different age groups that I've used with my daughter that has worked really well for me, in addition to addressing questions and comments as they arise of course:

I would read them with her when I got a new one so we could talk about it, but I also like that she can keep them in her room and access them whenever she wants, and she does! Definitely check them out in person first -- what seems appropriate for one parent's kid to know is entirely different for another. I sat on one of them for awhile until I thought it was the right time for it.


@klaus It only just now dawned on me that my advice may be terrible as a result of your own bad book given experience, but!! books can be great, as long as it's not the only method of communication you rely on!


Writer letter one sounds like an entitled juice box. He reminds me of my ex-teacher-friend. I started teaching high school while still finishing my undergrad degree and writing an honors thesis, which in retrospect, not the most sane decision. And there was one teacher at the school who legitimately was a nice guy and went out of his way to tell me all of the obvious things about school procedure that no one else bothered to tell me. He was funny, smart, owned a house, etc. And he had a huge thing for me.

I was ambivalent, largely because I wasn't very physically attracted to him (he is short and chubby). And also because I WAS SO STRESSED OUT I COULDNT EAT BREAKFAST. So honestly, no one was going to make very much romantic headway. When he kept asking me out, I kept turning him down because I spent my friday nights crying over the fact that I had to learn how to do footnotes for the first time.

Then one day we were hanging out and he told me how all of his students thought he was dating the other teacher he shared a room with, and he was offended because that teacher wasn't very pretty. And I thought, wow - that's an ugly and shallow thing to say about one of your good friends. Then I found out he made a practice of discussing whether or not I'm a bitch because I turned down his dates to have an emotional breakdown over my workload. IN FRONT OF MY STUDENTS, WHOM I LEARNED THIS FROM.

Lesson: working in high school is a lot like BEING in high school. Also, entitlement is freaking unsexy. I don't care if you are nice and smart and own your own home, dating is not like a level you reach in a video game after you've beat the other bosses.

"Look what I accomplished, now I get a hot girlfriend! Right?" No.

Long tangential story. Apparently I needed to get this off of my chest and onto the internets.

Mimi Killjoy

@MissMushkila Insecurity makes people ugly.


Dude #1: actual scientific studies have been done on this. http://www.amazon.com/Upside-Irrationality-Unexpected-Benefits-Defying/dp/0061995037 And it turns out, most people just become less shallow and start to value things like personality more. If you find that you cannot do this maybe it's because you're hung up on being ugly and having a hot trophy wife to prove that you've transcended your whole level of attractiveness. Or, you know, attractive people are attractive.


ITA with all youz - 18thfloor, becky@twitter, MissMushkila. The wisdom! The snark! I am purring.

BUT I am also purring with delight, because I have cracked Writer #1's sekrit code. He is talking about CYLONS, people. He is a 3 - that means he is LUCY LAWLESS, for whom I have a lady-boner. Oh #3, lay me down and tell me about your sweet, sweet Plan.


(except I kinda feel sorry for the 7s, because I'm not quite sure what they ended up being? *confuzzled*)


Oh, the irony of the ugly guy who wants fabulously beautiful women to see all his amazing attributes. Never mind that he refuses to look beyond appearance himself. It would be funny if it weren't so douchey.

You know what? We all like the fantasy of dating perfect specimens that take our breath away, but most of us find love anyway with a regular joe who might have a gut or be balding but also has beautiful blue eyes, plays guitar and loves his mother.

Maybe it's not your looks, but your incredible shallowness and disdain for girls who do date you. It's positively frightening that you think you are a nice guy.


LOL @ the entitled fug bug in question number one. What an asshole. I'm sure the women you despise aren't thrilled to be dating you either. Or maybe they've got more depth than a puddle, not that you'd stick around long enough to know.


OK you all HAVE to watch the hilarious monologue of how Julia Sweeney (remember 'It's Pat'?) told her daughter about the birds and the bees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry-LwxR746s

Maya Midnight@twitter

So I have some strange sympathy for #1, mostly because of his B question, which people seem to be ignoring.

I'm conventionally attractive and I date conventionally attractive dudes. Maybe I'm shallow, but I need to be physically attracted to the people I date, and I am rarely attracted to men who aren't good-looking. I'm just glad I'm hot enough to fuck the hot dudes. If I had the same tastes I have now and I weren't attractive, I'd be unhappy too.

I've encountered more than my fair share of entitled ugly assholes who want super-hot girlfriends, and this dude doesn't sound like one of them. Those dudes usually don't even acknowledge their own ugliness because they think men's looks don't matter or they figure their wallets will make up for it. They also tend to be considerably more disparaging towards women they deem unattractive. (And this guy isn't being that mean. Certainly not meaner than he's being to himself.)

Dear Dude #1: Sometimes, if you get to know someone and you really click, attraction happens despite first impressions. You're going to have to invest a little more time in some of these ladies or stick to escorts.

Also if you have really hot sex with someone it makes you way more attracted to them. So, uh, try that. But you're still going to have to invest some time.


Hey, I'm the ugly dude from question one. Obviously my question wasn't as clear as I thought it was.

1. I listed that stuff in the first paragraph as a way to say, "I'm not living in my parent's basement collecting unemployment and taking the bus everywhere I go." No, I don't go around listing what I've got going for me to everyone I'm trying to date.

2. The 1-10 scale was an attempt to be funny, as was my use of the word "ugly."

3. I was pretty sure I said that I actually do go on dates with the women I'm not attracted to. I'm fully aware that it's personality that's important in a long-term relationship. But when you're blind dating and you don't know anything at all about the person you're sitting across the table from, it's hard to be attracted to their personality. Maybe that's just me, and if so, I renounce my nice guy claim and admit to being a douche.

Thanks for the response from A Lady! Very insightful (as were the comments from everyone else). I'll seek immediate help for my self-esteem issues. Add "accepting of criticism" and "open to self-improvement" to the list.


No more blind dates mate!*

No matter what anyone says physical compatibility is definitely important, though as Lady says it's entirely a subjective thing, and if you're genuinely attracted to someone as a person then you won't notice or won't care about things on their outside that would otherwise have put you off (for whatever reason - let's blame social conditioning as a default). Blind dating you're just pitting yourself against this.

Like you say you want to like these people, but it's not something that can be forced. I would recommend OkCupid or your preferred alternative, simply because by the time you go on the date you're probably already attracted to their unflesh (or the door is opened to that) and the flesh attraction will follow.

*(Though, I suppose if you blinded yourself you wouldn't know they're ugly...)


@UglyDude More practically, maybe it would help not to think of dates as things that are a necessary step before sex or lifelong commitment. It should be fun and then see what happens with attraction. Conventionally attractive women have a lot of opportunities to have fun and aren't going to stick around for "This is me and here are my qualities, what do you think?"


@UglyDude Look, it boils down to attraction. You are not attracted to all women, so why would/should all women to be attracted to you? You have a specific "type," and so does everyone else. If you aren't their flavor, suck it up & move on.

I don't think you're a bad person, or self absorbed or whatever. I think you haven't acheived the right perspective on it.


@UglyDude Hey dude. I have definitely dated men who were less foxy than I was and loved them. Sometimes you are all, "well yeah he could be taller and whatnot, or have blue eyes or less pasty skin, but damn is he ever an animal in bed and the conversation! Oh ma god! He's so smart!". And I have a dude friend who dresses like he's still living in 1995 in black baggy pants, with the most hideous bead, serious weight, he makes no money at all and he pulls so much tail and dates wayyyy out of his "conventional attractiveness class" it's literally unbelievable. You know why? That guy is beer, parties and sex. He will go down on a lady. He will tie up a lady (if she asks), he's nice to ladies as ladies, and his shining love for them shines right on through. He never stops telling ladies that he finds them hot and he never gives up trying to have sex with them, nicely, but he also likes them all as people and will be friends with women too. His personality is the core of him.

So I guess what I'm asking is, sounds like you lead an orderly and together life, but are you FUN? Are you enthusiastic? Do you sparkle when you talk about your hobbies? Are you kinky? Or do you go home, clean the house and go to bed at 9, giving yourself the same exact handjob every night with a packed lunch ready, rinse repeat? Guess what makes it hard to date up? A number 3 soul. Go read some deep books. Go travel to some foreign place. Go join some kind of club that goes whitewater rafting. Read some books about how to completely and thoroughly wreck your partner in bed, and devote yourself to developing the most amazing grab bag of tricks, so the next morning, when you bring some of the food you like to cook to the side of the bed she wakes up and thinks, "man I didn't expect THAT at ALL! Wow."

And give ladies a chance. Try to find something to like about every single one. Not saying you have to bed them all, but everyone has something sexy about them. Nice eyes? Good hips? A beautiful laugh? Try to see that, instead of whatever it is that turns you off. Just as an exercise. Wide ranging taste is always healthy to cultivate. Go look into "ugly hot", and read that whole "who gives a fuck" history of Brando that's on this site.

Good luck. I don't think it's fair to say you are definitely a jerk or anything, but the lukewarm response you got here? Its because you said, "I have THINGS. Now can I have a SEXY THING PERSON?" instead of "I am such a lot of PERSON, how do I find a lot of hot lady PERSON."

Buffy Summers

@UglyDude Who blind dates anymore? Sign up for Match or OKCupid. I don't buy your 1-10 numbering as an attempt to be funny (?). You needn't date someone you find revolting, just message some girls who aren't "10s" or whatever. Go on dates and have no expectations.

I'm so confused as to why this is difficult.


@UglyDude Here's the thing: whenever anyone's having a hard time with dating it's because the people they're interested in aren't interested in them and they're not interested in the people who are interested in them, ya dig? If that weren't the case, you wouldn't be single. We all have to deal with that, some of us more than others. We then have to come up with reasons to try to make sense of it.

You're getting dumped on here because the reasons you focused on were entirely superficial (about you and about what you're looking for). There's nothing about what makes you specifically interesting or what makes you excited about other people. If you keep thinking about it in terms of stuff and overall attractiveness, it'll just make you more and more cynical and there's a good chance you'll make someone very unhappy someday.



This question really resonates with me for some reason. I guess it really strikes to the heart of something I think really keeps people from being unhappy, even if it's not obviously apparent.

I mean, no dough for the wedding (sick of the whole wedding crap), that's a toughie... friend may likely feel you're not appropriately and sufficiently honoring the monumental life event. sucks all around, no good answers.

Talking to kids about sex, I think we're all agreed: Do It (but ok to use a proxy... FTW cool sex ed websites! (2nd runner up: boring vids that make you want to hold off for a while/lose interest in the subject... requires follow up during teens about "feelings"& "contraceptives/safety/risks")

Visiting friend w/out the third wheel in your friendship in-groupiness (until she's a legit member of the group)... give it a go, if you get push back, suck it up and have a good time, be welcoming.

But LOOKS... that one, it's such a hypocritical topic. Very few people I think are truly "above" the ish, yet it's so fundamentally wrong, and fucked up.

I mean, if you were willing to go the surgery route... problem solved (at least until you get old).

And on that note... what about when you ARE old... I mean, old people, awesome but I think at that stage you're shooting for elegance/grace/inner-spark and an 18 year old is always going to be more visually appealing (unless you're all gerontophilish).

So... what then? What about the olds?

But, I have ALWAYS really felt bad about how this beauty thing plays out... it just seems so messed up. Y'all read that y/a fiction called The Uglies by Scott Westerfield.

Ugly Dude, maybe you should read it!

It's about a future society where everyone gets plastic surgery when they're 15 to look super-hot! But.... there's whispers of a rebellious community of people who run away and refuse to get the surgery. Our heroine ends up in this community somewhat reluctantly (cause boy, she couldn't wait to get that surgery! it's the bees knees to be beeauuutiful!) But then... her perception gets slowly adjusted... re-arranged just like her face would have been.

When I was 18 I turned down an awesome guy who I was LITERALLY attracted to from 5 feet away like we were bumping uglies at that very moment, but.... dude was tall and goofy and adorable... in an ugly way. I was waaaay to insecure to go for it, and I politely blew him off (okay, there's no polite way to do that).

But, since we're getting things off our chests on the internets... I always regretted that. I mean, butterfly-effect, if that hadn't happened I wouldn't have met all of the other wonderful people I met, but luckily for my guilt complex, I'm close to positive some other awesome lady snapped him up.

But he had a WONDERFUL personality.

You, my friend, do not sound so fortunately-endowed.

But, still... you're "not hot" and you don't want to be with someone else "not hot"....

Where I'm going here is I really think you should CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT HOTNESS.

Another true story, I was in a focus group for a vibrating condom (it was a take home and try it, come back and talk about it -- I am NOT making this up... btw didn't rock my world but worth buying... wedding-ditcher, perhaps a box of these as your thoughtful gift... maaaybe not). So it was all ladies, and it was your average assortment of young sex-having ladies. And the beauty of the group was of course an actress, and also... not so surprisingly had many many issues about sex and being objectified. I mean, it was a frank talk and I was kind of appalled and shocked by her attitude about sex. She clearly felt used, and also clearly used it to get... well, I'm guessing probably all kinds of shit, from adoration to cash money honey/jewelry.

I think we're all negatively affected by this stuff, even if we're not on an extreme end of things... but I always really feel bad for people who aren't "reasonably attractive" who don't have the inner confidence to be all... "says you, cause I'm money baby!" who therefore become attractive even if they do have some not-conventionally-attractive features.


finally, my point is this...


the commenter who said "find the attractive traits in all of the women you come into contact with if you can" I really really agree with this. That will make YOU an attractive person.

I look around me and I SEE ALL THIS BEAUTY that is kind of wasted/hidden/obscured and it's just a cryin' shame!!! I read a great autobiography of a gay dude who went thru the aids crisis and he wrote from the vantage of age... That they were all so beautiful, and didn't know it, as they obsessed so much over looks. I feel that keenly. We're all so beautiful and we don't know it. And, sometimes consequently, we become not-so-beautiful... but our job is to bring the beauty out.

Not superficially lust after it.

Ahem... ugly dude.

And NOT-UGLY-DUDE who I didn't sleep with... MY BAD. And my loss, I'm quite sure (literally, across the room like we were bumping uglies).



that should be "keeps people from being Happy" not unhappy (maybe freudian type, like, if you're ugly ispo facto you're likely to be unhappy/unfuckable/unglamorous?) Thank god that's old skool! Now plenty of people break the mold and are totally fabulous.


Great advice E!!!


@UglyDude Just curious.... now that you've read some of the comments, how would you re-write/edit your letter to reflect how people have reacted to your words?


@UglyDude The weirdest thing about this question to me is your physical self-description sounds like it's...basically 100% my type. And the type of many of my much, MUCH prettier lady friends.

Like...obviously you mention "other factors" that you never specify so I don't know. But the dude I'm with? I was attracted to him physically BEFORE getting to know him. I didn't have to do that "I just love the PERSON that I got to know on the INSIDE and that made him more attractive" thing. Well, okay, obviously I do actually like the person he is and that does make him extra-attractive. But I'm just saying--my initial attraction to him didn't have anything to do with women "caring less about appearance" as some commenters have suggested.

Realize that, as the Lady said, attractiveness isn't objective. You are someone's physical type.

I mean, I don't have a solution to your problem or anything. But as a lady who prefers her dudes balding and with a gut, I felt like I needed to say something lest you feel drowned in people saying "I dated a guy less hot than me, but it's what's on the INSIDE that counts." It IS super-important that you have a good personality, but...well, I'm just saying: there are almost definitely people that think you're hot and will be up for dating you because of your hotness.

Judith Slutler

@E WORD, and also, I guarantee that some of your dude friends' sexfriends actually love his pudge and his beard. That's some womens' type.

Personally, as a woman who isn't a stick naturally but used to be anorexic, I had a hell of a time finding men until I just went ahead and accepted that the guys pursuing me weren't fucked in the head and defective because they wanted me even though I wasn't a size 2 any more. Obsessing on one's own total unattractiveness is going to make anyone miss the fact that there are people out there who think you are hot, like seriously, they totally want to bone you.


In my family the whole sex talk wasn't a one time talk and then sex was never spoken of again. It was kind of an on-going conversation through the years that evolved based on changing maturity and needs. The big thing was that my Mother never freaked out when we asked ANY question related to sex. (though she admitted years later that there were times that in her head she was going, "OMFG What did you just say? OMGOMGOMG") If I heard something on the playground or read something in a book and didn't understand it -I'd ask her. She would always tell me the truth without getting into some hairy details. It went back to when I was about three and a half and she was pregnant with my brother and I wanted to know how the baby was going to get out and how the baby got there. Of course I had to share this new-found information with strangers at the bus stop. Damn was my Mother a good sport. Start with the where babies come from chat, slowly move into talks about puberty before they go through puberty so when their body rebels in horrible ways it isn't a shock and gently begin discussing that sex isn't for everyone but when one is in the right place for it -it can be pretty awesome. I remember my Mother telling me when I was about 11 that one shouldn't leap into sex so quickly. "Imagine having sex with a 14 year old boy. It wouldn't be that great and there is nothing worse than really really bad sex. But also avoid the older guys who tell you how mature you are. because if a 30 year old dude is hanging out with a 15 year old -he isn't that mature either."
So really it is about having conversations with them before they reach certain moments in life. I say this because when I was in high school and we got the very thorough sex education (complete with information about STDs and birth control) there were already two kids in my class with children of their own and we were fourteen.


@gfrancie My mum was always like that too- it's so the healthiest way, not that I have the perfect attitudes. It empowers the kids to know enough to be able to find out more if they need to.

dracula's ghost

now i feel bad for ugly dude. but like, everyone on the earth looks different. everyone has different issues. some people i think are hot are convinced they are ugly, etc. It's so subjective!

I think the problem--not just you but the world!--is even thinking about "attractiveness" as a quantifiable value. Yes, you must be attracted to someone if you're gonna date them, but attraction grows from so many places other thane just brute facial characteristics. Or at least it should. Your letter makes it seem like you're only allowing yourself to be aware of that one small aspect of a person's vibe! but there is much more, try to be open to it...

you can do it!


Ugly dude:
You are stuck in a Catch-22. You want people to see past your looks and focus on your great personality and successful life. However, you cannot get past an "ugly" girls looks and choose to not focus on her achievements, personality, etc. No matter how much you think you are or say you are open to the possibility of dating an unattractive woman, you are not and it is clear by the way you phrased your question that you are not.

Furthermore, I bet you are doing something really off-putting for women that you do not realize. Ask your girl friends (if you have any) what they think about your "game". They will most certainly tell you what's up. When I first met my partner, I did not think he was very attractive, but he won me out with his personality, WHICH I TOOK THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW. If you're wondering, you would probably rate me a 9, or maybe 8, because you sound harsh.

Your self-pitying question is something that a lot of balding, semi-unattractive men in their early thirties I know complain about, and every time I hear something like this I get quite upset (can you tell by this comment?) because these men have no idea how deeply they have internalized the objectification of women. It seems these men frequently "hold out" for a hot girl, and superficially date other women but clearly want to wait to commit to someone 100x hotter than they are. Women who are unattractive simply aren't deserving of long-term affection? Something like that. They have no idea what it's like to be a woman in this society, where your personality means very little to men like you.

Oh, and your potbelly? That does go away. You just have to stress out about your physique the same way women do. Wonder why we rarely have pot bellies? We eat salad, fruit, lean meat, YOGURT (sigh) and exercise frequently and more often than not have deeply-seated eating anxieties. Balding? Take propecia.

I actually don't think the problem is your looks, and I doubt most women care, but I just want to point out that it doesn't sound like you're doing much to change yourself, which affirms my belief that you're just waiting for a hot girl to jump into you lap and make slightly less attractive children with you, all because you're a "nice guy".

I don't even know why I bothered to comment, I just realized NancyDrew's comment pretty much sums up everything I think.

Sydney C

@acanthe PREACH!


@acanthe "These men have no idea how deeply they have internalized the objectification of women." THIS.


@acanthe That's a fair assessment, and is exactly the reason why I wrote the question, and included part B. Perhaps I am simply a shallow jerk who has deeply internalized the objectification of women and am just holding out for the hot girl who decides she likes me. I accept that it's a very real possibility. But if it is, I have no idea how to change that!

My sincere apologies for coming across as harsh. It was not my intention.


@UglyDude Find time to get to know a woman other than just that she's not hot enough for you. I've had girlfriends who dealt with this on the opposite side, they were really hot and their boyfriends were really not, and they had the "Hmm, I like him a ton but am I attracted to him?" issue. But then they kept dating the guy and liked him more and more and then the attraction came. You may not think "Hot girl I can show off to my friends!" with every person, and it seems like that's all you're judging women are, because you don't talk about what any of these women that you ask out or date are other than hot vs. not hot. Maybe you need a break from dating, or to mature a little and see what you actually want in a woman other than her looks.


@UglyDude Aww, now I feel bad. I think almost everyone is redeemable, and I know you are too. Just...try harder. Make friends with women, and start trying to find something beautiful about every one you meet. My favorite men are the ones who are like that—women sense it and love them (see Bill Clinton). My grandmother was lovely back in the day, but no one stays hot forever. The thing is, even in her 80s, she had brilliant eyes and a heart of gold. You'll figure it out.

@UglyDude: Read what acanthe wrote like 3 more times. Realize that you're kind of a juicebox.

I'm queer, but you know what? I'm probably ranked among the women you think are ugly. I'm short, hourglass-shaped with big hips, a round ass, and really heavily muscled legs 'cause I work out like a champ. I'm pale with dark brown hair and gray eyes and am about as far from conventionally "hot" as you can get. But you know what dude? I've never had trouble getting a date, because way early on I figured out that if you weren't blond/skinny/lithe/tanned/plucked to perfection, you needed to be funny and nice and warm and gracious to get laid, and you needed to be smart, too. And easy to talk to, and interesting, and able to engage with people in a meaningful way. I only date the female-bodied types, but it's not like men ignore me -- it probably has very little to do with looks.

You don't sound funny and warm and kind, and you don't sound like the kind of guy any woman would want to be around. Stop the judging, and the ranking, and the stressing out over whether or not you're going to get this mythical hot chick who wants to bone you. It's not sexy, and being a cold, calculating juicebox intent on getting sexual gratification from "hot" people probably shows more than you think it does.

You're not entitled to anything.

Oh, and if you're really desperate, go to a bar and tell a hot female college student that you're in law school. My pudgy, pale, hairline-challenged man friends in law school get MAD tail.


@S. Elizabeth: I wish you lived near me. Partly because you're smart and would be fun to hang out with, and partly because I love hourglasses with hips and heavily muscled legs and you'd be fun for me to look at. (Wait, was that too objectifying? Um. Did I mention you're smart?)

@Xanthophyllippa: I'm in San Francisco at the moment, Boston in the fall. Edith, why can't we have personal messaging on here?

Also, I'm totes blushing right now and it's soooo not the wine. (Uglydude, take note -- this is how people flirt. See? Ugly chick, getting hit on. It's about being brainy/fun/quirky-hot, not playboy hot. Check it.)


@UglyDude You could always put on a fat-chick suit like Gwyneth Paltrow did in Shallow Hal. Walking around as a fat chick, seeing the world her perspective, would help you with your objectification issues.

In fact, I bet that after filming that movie, Gwyneth herself...

Oh, dammit.

For Whom the Queef Tolls

@UglyDude Relax, UglyDude! Love is voodoo. Racking up loves, however, is just openness. If you're looking for love, well, that's voodoo--you're attracted to who you're attracted to and if it works out, great! But if, however, you want to roll around with awesome people, uh, relax, be open to whatever. Do you see the difference?


@UglyDude---the sexiest guys in the world are the ones who truly LOVE women. Not just banging women, but loving and RESPECTING the 3D reality of individual, complex, wonderful women. Friendship, work relationships, your dentist, your girlfriend, your daughter, whatever---men who have great relationships with female friends and family and colleagues are men who love women. You can honestly be the ugliest mofo in town, but if you are fun, charming, thoughtful, real and you actually *listen* while she talks instead of trying to determine her hotness ranking---you will be very popular with the Ladies. ALL ladies.

Last night may husband and I took a cab home to Brooklyn. The driver was originally from Nigeria, told us about how he moved here 16 years ago so that his 3 daughters could have the freedom to do what they want, marry who they want, choose their own lives. In his words, "In Nigeria, they treat women like cattle." He talked about how he loves strong women with ideas, and even though he had a semi-arranged marriage, he got to meet his bride beforehand and accepted the match because he could see she had a mind of her own. He was SO PROUD of his daughters, one on Wall Street, two in college, and a 12 year old son. He talked about how in Nigeria men have more than one wife so the women all start their own businesses and make a lot of money while the men go broke because they have to support so many families, and he laughed and laughed about how stupid the men were and how the women were so much more successful. And how his wife told him if he took another wife he'd have to drive a cab 7 days a week to pay for it. He said, "What do you think, I'm stupid??? One woman is enough for me!" You could just tell he adores his wife.

THIS is a man WHO LOVES WOMEN. Jeez, I would have married him myself by the time we got home. And I never even SAW his face! Let this story be an inspiration to you, UglyDude.


@S. Elizabeth: I'm midway between both shores all the time. (I'm my username @ gmail, btw.)


@NYnative This story is amazing. Men who truly love women are what it's all about. This is why, through it all, I still totally love Rep. Weiner. I'm glad I'm not his wife, but if he were single, I'd be creepily stalking him. Uglydude,(I hate that name) you've got to give respect to get it. I don't understand your problem because it really seems to be shallow. My advice to change your perception: find the most terrible, nightmarish "hot" woman who'll date you. After a few months of abuse you'll be looking for a decent person. Looks will no longer be the most important thing. Trust me.


I used to date this guy who had this several-hours-away-in-a-different-state female best friend. She always clamored for him to drive back home alone to go to movies with her/take dance lessons with her/make goo goo eyes over bi-strawed milkshakes, I don't know. Anyway, this didn't really sit well with me, but I thought OH THEY ARE JUST FRIENDS FRIENDS HANG OUT SO WHAT IF SHE'S FEMALE YOU ARE SO UN-PROGRESSIVE AND ANYWAY SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND/FIANCE, so I put on a happy face and beat back the crazy. Later I'd find out that when she wasn't trying to convince the bf that I was awful and should be broken up with (I'd met her once, briefly, and was inoffensive, if shy), she was exchanging nudes with my guy/flirting/cybering/awful-ing. Then they had a falling out, she sued him for harassment and lost because she'd made everything up, and, what always happens when you take someone to court on trumped up charges, they started having sex.

This is all to say that if someone I date in the future tells me they have to travel miles and miles to hang out with their female friend alone, I am never talking to them again. Also, I have issues.

So are you going to chaperone every outing?


@S. Elizabeth No. There's a difference between "oh hey I'm going to meet up with my local opposite sex friend later" and "oh hey I'm going to drive 500 miles solely to hang out with this girl and she explicitly said you're not welcome."


@blahblahikan I agree 100%! Maybe this girlfriend will be fine with the "Drive all afternoon to see me..and come alone" idea, but I can't imagine it'll be good for their relationship. If she cares about her friend as a "friend," she needs to suck it up and spend time with his lady. They've been together for a little bit and she's already important enough for him to bring her along so she's either going to be a long-term keeper and become the MOST important person in his life, or it won't work out and his heart will be at least a little broken. Either way, wouldn't it be better to know the girlfriend a little so she can be actually excited for him or understanding of his loss?

Your ex-boyfriend sounds awful and I hate him, and I'm happy you never became friends with his awful out-of-town "friend." I'm sorry such ugly people were able to put you through something so hurtful!

Harriet Welch M@facebook

@BUtterfieldGR8 @blahblahikan

:( that guy+that girl= fucking awful

I am the out of town, totally platonic, female friend. I have four super close dude friends that I have been friends with for more than 10 years. We have all lived far apart from one another off and on for nearly the whole time and have had to navigate visits with significant others many times.
I think the key to our success is found in the following.
2. We all always tell new people "Hey, I have this friend/friends that we visit and we have this weird intense relationships that involve hours of ridiculously deep conversations with a smattering of dick jokes. I occasionally will need time to spend with them alone"
3. If the other person is a legitimate (lasting)partner we set up a time where we can all hang out that segues nicely into alone time for the friends. Usually we'll all have dinner and then the dude and I will go shoot pool. ***This is really hard for very short/unexpected or logistically weird instances. Like the example from the person above.

These relationships are important! Really, really important! I wouldn't be the person I am without these dudes. We had one girlfriend problem with a girl that tagged along to EVERYTHING with the friend I get to see the least. She was also totally boring and often obnoxious. She hated our inside jokes and whenever we tried to include her she'd get all weird and wander off for hours at a time. That didn't last long. I had a super macho boyfriend who "forbid" me from having dinner with a friend during an extended layover. That lasted about as long as it took him to get the words out. I don't think it's that much to ask if you see your friend once every few years to want to hang out with your friend and not be distracted by trying to include another person.

Sorry again about your asshole ex. I promise, not all out of town female friends are jerkfaces.


Um. Fugly guys get hot ladies all the time. Did you see Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel? Just one of many examples. Women are expected to be pretty and thin, but guys are allowed to be conventionally ugly/fat/balding/etc. You obviously lack a sense of humor, are an asshole, and/or have some other problem holding you back from this double standard. You should probably get plastic surgery if you have such a terrible personality, so you could at least have one thing going for you.


Dear everybody,
Please do not let your kids learn about sex from the internet and please do not just assume that they're gonna learn about it at school, because they aren't going to learn shit there. If you have no idea what to do or what is appropriate to say, SIECUS has a ton of resources here: http://www.siecus.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=632&nodeID=1
But seriously, teach your kids what's up. There is no such thing as comprehensive sex ed in American public schools right now because those programs don't receive any government funding. The money is all going to programs like the one that my school gave us, which taught us that if you look at pornography, you basically will become a serial killer. Like, immediately. Direct correlation between the two.


Ugly Guy--Don't go on blind dates, and don't do dinner dates. Meeting online is the new black (or something), and everyone really is doing it. I recommend OkCupid (unless you're conservative, in which case I recommend eHarmony). OkCupid is free, btw. Get on there and read the OkTrends blog about Optimal First Messages (trust me, it's worth your time) and start writing the ladies messages until you find one who will agree to meet you. Then meet her. And don't make it a dinner date. Go on a walk, go to a museum, go to a farmer's market or a local fair or go boating or wherever. Get to know her. Talk about the things you're seeing and doing and what's in the recent news and what you do for a living and so on. Ask her what she thinks. You say that you date, but I do feel like you're not really getting to know people...

But again, don't do blind dates, and don't let friends set you up with people. Usually, those friends are just like, "Hey, I know two single people who don't want to be single. Let's set them up!" without any larger idea of who is attractive to whom, mentally or physically. It's generally a painful waste of time.So don't do that. But do date, seriously and for several dates, even people you are dubious about. I was really dubious about my current boyfriend on our first date. People do grow on you. Well, some of them...

Also, maybe don't be friends with all those pretty ladies who you really actually wish you were dating. They may be blocking you from other opportunities, or skewing your expectations, or even just keeping your mind in the closed loop of "want and can't have, want and can't have," instead of letting you open your mind to new people. So try not to do that, when you can avoid it. Best of luck!

Like Buttah

@SilverChimera, I'm one of those medium-attractive women that our unhandsome advice seeker might be interested in. And I've had ugly guys try and woo me online. If it didn't fall apart when I got their picture, it did when we met in person. And what's more I felt cheated because I'd invested time in the guy. They often had lots of "I'm a nice guy, I'm a great catch" stuff going on.
This issue matters to me because a) I have in fact gone for some guys who were about a 3 lookswise - I'm surprised that nobody in this comment thread has mentioned "jolie laide" and b) my brother is a 4, maybe a 3 lookswise (several generations of our family have drastic variations in traditional-attractiveness levels). And I love him and want him to be happy with someone.
What has made me give less-handsome guys a whirl? They were successful, I admit. They also had great voices. Deep, purring baritones or interesting accents. They dressed with flair and they smelled good. Not drenched in cologne, but something about them smelled right. Or at least not wrong - one male friend of mine who wouldn't mind dating me has pheromones that are Just Wrong for me. He's pretty good looking, but between the pheromones and a high nasal voice, I'm not going there. I've told him to do online dating because he photographs so well.
My not-handsome brother (yeah, balding seriously at 30) also does OK with the ladies. He's been making some improvements in his appearance - he's a snappy retro dresser and has just had his teeth redone. An investment! But it paid off. Second, he lives in NYC, where a jolie-laid guy can get jolly laid (there is something to the geography thing). And third, he's just...living his life. Doing stuff. Working hard at his day job, making music at night, enjoying his friends. He's driven and creative. Which is better than grumpy and entitled.

ample pie

Bridesmaid questioner:

So I just had a wedding, and it was destination wedding-y for my two bridesmaids (the wedding took place in the tropics, where we live, but both of my ladies were up north).

I don't know what your bride's financial situation is, but it sounds like she's comfortable enough to be doing this destination wedding thing. So:

Mention your money problems. Be up-front. Let her know that you want to be there but right now it doesn't look like it financially.

If she is an awesome friend, and if it truly means a lot to her to have you standing up next to her on her wedding day, maybe she will pull some strings.

My BFF is a student, and I had planned to be able to take care of her hotel pre-wedding, meals with me and my family, plus her dress, her hair/makeup and whatever else. If she couldn't have afforded the flight, I'd have paid for that. (FWIW, my now-husband and I aren't fabulously wealthy but we're comfortable, and also there was no way I could justify splurging on things like uplighting if one of my BMs couldn't afford to be there.) As it turned out, she didn't need as much help as I had budgeted for, but seriously, I would have done anything for her to be there.

Your friend may or may not be the same (I hope she is), but even if she's able to help, she may also not want to threaten your pride by being the one to offer.

Please tell her! At best she may be able to help, and at worst, you can't attend but at least you were honest and you won't need to be resentful.


@ample pie I've seen a previous article on The Hairpin about how bridesmaids with not much money should handle the endless expenses of participating in a wedding. In Australia (where I am) it's generally a given that the bride (or whoever's paying for the wedding) would cover the bridesmaids' expenses, such as buying the dress, makeup/hair, etc. - this is just a part of the wedding cost, like the catering. This seems to make sense to me: nobody asks to be a bridesmaid, it's a favour to the bride (obviously the bridesmaid would still buy a wedding present). Is this just not the American way? And if not, can anyone explain why not? It seems a bit rude to me for bridesmaids to have to carry the cost.


@melky This is late, but no one's answered your question. Making the 'maids pay for everything is the American way, and it totally shocked me when I ran into it. I assumed the bride paid for the dresses since she's the one telling us what to wear. On top of that, there's usually the bachelorette party, and showers, and a gift... I have no idea why this is, and I think it's backward -- and leads to the "you can totally wear it again!" rationalization. But every website I found just said that it is that way because it is, basically. And I think it's gauche.

For Whom the Queef Tolls

Hey everyone! When I got married a million year ago I asked my family to pay for everything-- the best man's tux and the maid-of-honor's everything (there was only one on each side)--travel, hotel, dress, hair, makeup, etc. I insisted because we were all college students at the time. But also, because my family wasn't rolling in money, there was only one bridesmaid.

That said, 15 year later, the wedding/marriage failed. Take it with a grain of salt. Tossed over shoulder.

Being They're

@Being They're Now thinking I'm looking for a solution to a non-existent problem. I never asked what *any* lyrics meant. "Why don't we do it in the road" has absolutely no subtext. Got played pretty much all the time.


To the "Ugly Dude": Become a rapper! Fo realz.
This just fits so perfectly with your situation! And it's such a good song!


Does anyone just . . . not remember getting a "talk," and never really learning about sex, but sort of just figuring it out? I honestly remember A) having fantasies about Davy Jones coming into my bedroom at night . . . at four years old and B) making Barbie and Ken take off each others' clothes while singing a sort of sexy growly trumpet riff of "wah wah wah WAHHHH" at age 8. And yet I didn't lose my virginity until I was almost 22.


For second letter, the what-do-I-say-about-sex parent: When they are curious, they will ask questions. Give them answers gauged to their developmental level (answers they will understand). It doesn't have to be full of details, just enough information for them to think about and bring up again at some future date. You could also bring it up (YouTube videos of chicks hatching, how does it get in the egg, animals mate, oh, people mate, too, but we have feelings that go along with it). And think of The Sex Talk as a series of informational sessions from the get-go, rather than one thing that happens when they're ten years old. As long as those kids know that YOU wanted them, no matter how they ended up on this Earth, they'll trust you.


I learned the large majority about sex from a) school, b) reading the magazines that came in the mail for my mom when she wasn't in the room, and c) Internet porn. I never asked any questions about sex because I knew it was something that I didn't want to talk about with my mom. I did ask her things about puberty and periods and stuff, but nothing about sex.

My mom did work at an OBGYN, though, so I got to hear gems like "We sent a girl for an abortion today... let me know if you need the pill" and "Oral sex is still sex. You can still get an STD."


Letter Two Lady, NO! You have to invite her! Invite her again and again and again!

In the interest of time, let's just read Uninvited Girlfriend's letter for next week now:

Hi Ask a Lady,
I have been in relationship with a great guy and things are perfect.
He's driving a long distance to meet his sexy, desirable, accomplished lady friend for dinner in the middle of nowhere at a totally-not-a-hotel restaurant. It's OK! She emails and calls him every week, but they both say it's totally platonic. I'm not worried, she's just closer to him than I am! I wanted to come meet his totally platonic best friend, but she told him not to bring me because she wants to spend time with him alone and, besides, I probably won't be around much longer. That all seems cool, right?

I'm just being sensitive because my boyfriend's desirable, accomplished, long-distance, totally platonic lady friend just visited. They got ice cream and watched the FIREWORKS together! To be fair, there were 3 or 4 straight nights of fireworks but, you guys, FIREWORKS!

dracula's ghost

@BUtterfieldGR8 pretty good call


Late to the game here, but I wanted to recommend the book "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health" for the preteen sex-ed talk. My mom gave it to me when I was young, and it takes a very sensible, open, and informative approach to sexuality. Even as a kid I appreciated that the cartoon people throughout the book depict a wide range of body types and skin colors, as well as gay, lesbian, and differently-abled couples. (Pay no attention to the 3.5 star rating on Amazon - it's been brought down by hyper-conservatives that take issue with it's lack of slut-shaming.) Also, for teen girls, I would recommend the classic "Our Bodies, Ourselves." I think having lots of information about their own bodies is really critical in helping girls to become sexually empowered. Of course, I'm not suggesting that books alone can take the place of the "sex talk," but they can definitely make for a nice starting point.


I'm hella late to the game here, and this may have already been said, but the last questioner might need to keep in mind that different people discover sexual pleasure and masturbation at different ages, and that will affect the sex talk, if not the reproduction talk.


For #1, it is not hard to get physically fit to an extent that it will be a major asset to your looks. There are lots and lots of ways to do this. If you feel that you must have guidance, P-90X will pretty much get you there, and do not neglect the importance of diet and the fact that all weight loss is achieved through calorie deficits.


I agree that the sex talk is something that happens throughout the child's life. My niece knew by the time she was three that her little brother got into her mom's stomach by "daddy putting a seed into mommy, and that grows into a baby". A little later she started asking about the mechanics of how the seed got there, and was told that the seed came from daddy's P and went into mommy's V. Etc. Usually once they are introduced to the idea they will slowly start asking questions when they get old enough to wonder about things, and it works really organically, essentially ensuring that the kid will never have this sudden "OMG THAT'S WHAT SEX IS?!" thing, nor will the parent have to explain everything from scratch to a 12 year old.

I don't remember discovering what sex was, because I think I pretty much always knew. Hell, my sister drew me a very accurate diagram of a penis, complete with "pleasure points", when I was about 11. And I think all of it has lead me to have an exceptionally healthy attitude towards sex.


I feel like we have these weird expectations that we're supposed to find our partners 100% attractive 100% of the time. When I met my partner, I just wanted to fuck, and I met him off the internet and his photo wasn't that great, so I was prepared to fuck some ugly dude (And I'm so selfish in bed it's totally easy to think of just ME ME ME!!!). To be honest, I'm indifferent to most guys' looks, and actually, I kinda hate most men, but I love peen, so there you have it. But anyway, partner showed up at my place and turned out to be adorable, maybe because I'd had low expectations. He thought I was going to be ugly too, since my profile pic was intentionally mysterious. So hah! The sex was great! And then we decided we liked each other after all, and this was two years ago. Certainly there are times when I don't like this or that feature on him, or I think he's looking kinda rough, just as I'm pretty sure I look awful to him sometimes (Especially when I delight in being ugly, and so often do my best to be as unattractive as possible), but I also have this idea that if you have sex with a person enough times, you love him or her out of sheer familiarity, and that that's okay as long as you're both nice and respectful toward each other.

Ugly Dude's letter reminds me of this one time I was working out at the gym (And I mean serious lifting, not like, "Oh I am going to flutter on the treadmill in make up for half an hour" working out), and this shitty guy approached me and was like, "You're beautiful," to which I rolled my eyes and told him to fuck off because this is a GYM and I was WORKING and go hit on one of those treadmill girls to which he replied, "Well, your attitude makes you UGLY" to which I cracked the fuck up. Like, oh SORRY I'm not dropping everything cause YOU decided to compliment me...which assumed a million things about me, like that I even find beauty complimentary or that I'm straight or that I'm single.

Speaking of sex and ugly dudes, I remember having some idea about sex from watching lots of nature shows. I knew there was something that had to get from the male to the female, but not sure how. My mom tried to pass the convo off on my pediatrician, who then passed the convo back to my mom, who eventually told me in vague terms which I then had to clarify with my dad. I knew about puberty and periods from having pets who went into heat, so when I finally got my period, the blood didn't spook me. The thing I had trouble with was masturbation, and the things I would think about, but when I asked my parents, they told me god gave me those feelings to enjoy (Back when they tried to raise us vaguely religiously, but my siblings and I are heathens, so that ended quickly). The attitude around sex was kinda inconsistent, with one time my mom coming into my room and telling me that if I ever got pregnant, I could tell her and we'd figure out what to do and then another time my dad getting mad at me for kissing a guy at the house. So whatever y'all decide to do, be consistent and fair about it. I remember becoming aware of kink and fetish very early on, and being disappointed with partners who became freaked out when I asked them to try something with me...until I met current partner on a fetish specific site. Either way, I think it's just really really important to be present, supportive parents...I turned out all right, but there was a time I was pretty desperate for male attention, which got me into some trouble when I was a kid way too smart for my own good and sent naked photos of myself to creeps.

As for bridesmaids...gosh I WISH I had pals rich enough to afford destination weddings! Instead I've got pals who are reasonable and rational enough to understand that I can't afford that kind of ish...and wouldn't hold it against me if I didn't want to go. I'm also hoping that since I'm a photographer, I'll be asked to shoot instead of be forced into a bridesmaid dress (See above about being ugly...I look awful in a dress...if I'm working I have an excuse to be comfortable).

I was super pissed off when I was about 5 and my parents told me that only married people have babies. And I remember asking why, because people don't CHANGE when they get married, and they were like "but babies happen to married people." I remember being frustrated and not having a word for "there is nothing biologically different between married and unmarried people, so stop lying to me." I hate when people assume kids are stupid. No, when two people love each other very much and get married, a baby doesn't magically happen and children know that... if they don't, perhaps your child needs to develop some critical thinking skills.


@S. Elizabeth @Ella Quint
There's no way that, if given ample time to plan, I wouldn't find a way to my best friend's wedding. I would go the moon for that girl. Period. Also, my friends would never NOT discuss shit like this with each other. If I were getting married, those poor women would have to listen and weigh in on every painstaking detail of my wedding planning and that includes location. I would also never hesitate to bring up a money issue with my friends. I've helped pay for abortions for Chrissake.
What I'm trying to say is: I can't relate to this at all, so maybe that's why I don't get it. But I've saved up a thousand bucks waiting tables so I could go to Berlin for a few weeks and do nothing more than drink beer in parks, I can sure as hell scrape together the cash to see my best chick get hitched. 6000 dollars seems like an over estimate.

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