I apologize in advance for how choppy and all over the place this post is. I wrote it over the course of a few days, with many interruptions, and with my thoughts jumping from memory to memory, but I really just needed to get this out. I’ve thought about this topic over and over again for nearly three years now and felt it was time to just write it down and get it out there.
How does one even begin writing about this without sounding vain? Am I pretty? I must be because people tell me often that I am. Do I see that about myself? No. I see a not awful looking woman who isn’t too bad for having given birth to three children, will be turning 48 soon and who dislikes exercise, so doesn’t. I’m not heavy but I’m not toned or in great shape. I don’t have many grey hairs at all and I don’t color my hair. (I can’t control this.) I had highlights several months ago but they’re growing out and after my recent bad haircut, that sped up the ridding of what was left. I do not have many wrinkles. (I can’t control this.)
Why am I talking about this? Because you are treated differently when you are pretty. And a majority of the behaviors you receive are not kind, not respectful, and definitely not fair. The type of pretty I’m talking about is the type you can’t control. It’s not doing lots of make-up and spending time on hair. It’s not dressing up fancy all the time. Are you reading this and thinking I’m vain yet? I’m not. I’m just being honest. I’m sharing my experiences.
When you’re pretty and you have a cheating spouse: people might mean well but when they say “why would he cheat on you?! You’re beautiful and she is so ugly!” That does not make me feel better at all. It actually makes me feel much worse because it’s like being pretty is a punishment. Like they’re saying it is doubly bad to be cheated on when the other woman is ugly. I mean what’s wrong with ME that I’m so pretty and yet he cheated? Or worse, I feel it sends a sick message that if you’re unattractive and the other woman is beautiful, well, then, THAT makes more sense. Cheating is cheating. It’s messed up.
When you’re pretty, after the divorce: “Oh don’t worry! You won’t be single for long! You’re so pretty!!” Hello. Can we talk about my pain? Or that I might have trust issues? Or that being pretty MIGHT make my odds of men finding me high. It sure does. But let’s talk about the caliber of men I’ll meet. I either work with them and they are married or I’ve been friends with them since HS days and they are married. And these married men are disgusting because they are doing to their wives what my ex did to me by starting to try to have an affair or shamelessly flirting with me. And when I say nope not happening, and then their wives see that their husbands have messaged me? I’m the person they are mad at. They do not see or know that it was their husband who initiated communication. They do not see that I am the one who said “go away” or asked if being friends with me was known by their spouse. And if the answer was no, then I tell them to go away. I tell them the second I feel maybe something is off that I don’t want a friendship that’s secret because it doesn’t look or feel good. Oh. But I’m pretty so it must have been me. Because pretty girls are mean and ruthless and not smart and just generally can not be trusted. It’s always me who ends up getting the brunt of the anger. And because there’s much damage after being abused and cheated on for so long while I was married, and then being used and taken advantage of in the few relationships I’ve had since the marriage ended, I’m paranoid or afraid. I’m afraid I’m overreacting when a married man seems friendly with me. And if I say from the first “hello, how are you, what’s up?” that I’m not interested, then I look vain or full of myself. It’s a struggle to be damaged and told for countless years that you can’t trust your gut because you’re crazy. So you question everything. Even when in the end, your gut always proves to be right. And to those who think just because I’m pretty, I’ll have no problems finding a man? Ever think maybe the message to me should be that I’m pretty great and need time to heal and most importantly, a man shouldn’t define me any longer? And to these men: pretty people deserve respect too. Stop talking to them in ways that not only disrespect them, but also disrespect your wives!
When you’re pretty and you are employed: I was hired for a job and then asked by the owner of the company to come work at his private home office a few days a week. I refused. And I have been treated poorly ever since. I’m an office manager, receptionist, aide to the accounting department and an executive assistant to multiple people where I work. I was hired to be an executive assistant to two people, as well as be the receptionist and office manager. The owner needed more attention and assistance than I could offer since he was sharing my time with others so he hired an executive assistant who is just for him. She doesn’t answer phones ever. She doesn’t help other executives within the company. She is paid a considerable amount more than I am but she does a fraction of the work I do. And when I asked about that, I was told because I do not have a degree in videography and did not work outside the home for nearly 20 years, my value is far less than hers. Even though there is nothing in either job description, mine or hers, that lists videography as a required skill. How dare I bring this up? How dare I ask legitimate questions to a company who boasts about being an open and honest place to work where we are valued? Where good mojo is everywhere? (False.) And guess what? I’m still doing work for the owner. And I’m treated differently because I’m pretty. I’m kind and thoughtful to everyone where I work because that’s just who I am but people don’t trust me because I’ve been told I’m pretty so it’s weird and they thought I’d be rude or mean. They think my kindness isn’t genuine. The owner won’t allow me to take breaks with the others in the company because I have to answer the phones and am not allowed to temporarily put them on service during the 30 minute lunch breaks or two 15 minute breaks. So I go later when everyone else returns so I can find someone to cover the phones for me. This isolates me from them and further perpetuates their beliefs that I’m rude or mean. Unapproachable. But I’m pretty so I’ll be ok.
I have men in my life with whom I’ve been friends, well was, for anywhere from 1 to 30+ years. They are married. Sometimes they flirt and I ignore those comments because it isn’t appropriate and makes me feel uncomfortable. And they are married. Recently, one former friend who is male and married talked to me about his wife knowing we were friends because I told him about past experiences. He assured me his wife knew we were friends and that she knew he texted me often and that she was free to see what we talked about. Sharing family stories. Work stories. Jokes. And if he ever said anything to me that was slightly flirtatious, I ignored it all. Then I pulled back and didn’t message him back very often because it didn’t feel right. Last week he told me he forgot his phone at home and his wife saw that he was texting me and she was pissed. This is not the first time and I’m sick to death of it. I will no longer respond to any messages from any men who are married or dating. My ownership in this mess is that I’m naive but I know I would never go to that place because I was once the wife. I know what it feels like. I never should have given any attention to this man, let him become a friend because he seemingly had other intentions if he is hiding things from his wife. I didn’t know he was but I should have known better. Shame on me. Lesson learned. And I’m blocking every single male who is married and has ever said anything that makes me feel uncomfortable. Yes. These are the men I’ll have no trouble finding, because I’m pretty.
I’ve had females tell me they are jealous of the attention I get for being pretty. Let me tell you, there is nothing that feels good about having a male friend talk to you and have fun being friends and talking and laughing, like you would with a female friend, and then suddenly have them send you a picture of their penis or tell you your so hot or if I ever need “serviced” they can be my guy and no one has to know. Or to have your boss treat you like dog crap because he thinks your attractive but you won’t perform duties that he places on a list for you and these services include: grocery shopping, making doctor appointments for him, meal preparation, picking up laundry, paying bills, running his animals to the vet….and the list goes on. I set boundaries and I’m paying the price because now my job is unstable.
But I’m pretty, so I’ll be fine.
Having friends when you’re pretty: There is a long list of women who dislike me. Because I’m pretty. Who think I’m unintelligent or flighty. Because I’m pretty. Who assume I’ll steal their husbands because I’m pretty. Who don’t think I have any reason to be depressed or sad or insecure. All because I’m pretty.
I am pretty pissed off. I am pretty insulted. And I’m pretty sure I can’t change the way I look. My character is not perfect but I have respect for myself and for my friends and for fellow females. For anyone to think I would ever be the type of woman that had an affair with my husband? Piss off. And blame your husband, not me.
And lastly, I dated a man for over a year recently. I loved him. He had some medical issues that were severe at times. I cared deeply for him and helped him. When he ended the relationship, I was crushed. Devastated. And sad. So deeply saddened. And because I am pretty, I was told that he must be gay. Now I’ve run that comment over and over again in my head. Looking for the meaning. I think it was part joke and part mean spirited. This man was damaged. He used me. He was not kind when he ended things. He was selfish and cruel. But he was damaged. And to make light of the situation and think that just by telling me he was gay, that that would somehow mysteriously make me feel better? I didn’t. You see pretty or not, when a person’s feelings are hurt and they are sad, you treat them with love and respect. Being pretty shouldn’t change those rules. The pain feels the same. Maybe even worse, because from all I’ve written above, you can see it’s not like I have a ton of friends I can open up to about all of this, because when you’re pretty you’re supposed to have it all together. I’m pretty alone most of the time.
Think about that the next time you see someone you think is pretty and assume their life is grand. Most are not vain. Most are not deliriously happy. It doesn’t guarantee them a faithful relationship and job success. It does not guarantee them a tight and loyal circle of friends. It doesn’t mean they are respected and admired. And it’s pretty sad that we too often assume these things.
Thanks for reading. And I’m sorry if you think I’m vain. I’m truly not.