Today, I told a friend about the time I went out with a guy who told me it wouldn’t work out because he didn’t find me attractive. I was cool with it and we remained good friends until today. My friend, after hearing the story, said:
“That wasn’t very nice of him.”
“I disagree,” I said. “I think that was incredibly nice of him to tell me that.”
And then we proceeded to have a head-on discussion for almost an hour. He stood by his words that no one should ever reject another person for not being attractive enough. And I’m a believer that if it’s the real reason why you don’t want to date the other person then you should just tell them.
The first reason my friend said it was unacceptable because it showed how shallow that guy was. My friend argued that the level of attraction can change over time. If that guy didn’t like me he just didn’t try hard enough to see the attractive part of me. We all know that one person whom we find particularly unattractive at first, but as we get to know their personality, they become quite attractive, right? While I agree with him that attraction can change, I disagree that anyone should have to try to be attracted to someone. We went on one date, for god’s sake. He has zero liability to me. Why should he force himself into trying to see the hidden beauty that might or might not be there?
The second reason my friend gave was that it could hurt the other person. What if that person believes that he says and her self esteem is subsequently destroyed? It’s true that it isn’t exactly music to my ears when someone tells me I’m ugly. I was sad for, like, a day. But am I delusional enough to think that everyone should find me attractive? No. Then why should hearing someone say something I already know change anything? I think the problem is that we have all been raised to be frickin’ sensitive. No one can say anything that can possibly hurt another person’s feeling. You are smart. You are funny. You are beautiful. Everyone is a frickin winner. And when the first unpleasant thing comes flying our way you latch onto it like it’s something that defines us. OMG someone tells me I’m ugly, am I really ugly? Dude, if you’re ugly, you have been ugly your whole life. You have been getting by just fine. Why should a single person’s opinion change how you perceive yourself?
My friend said, okay, but why must he say that? Why couldn’t he just say something perfectly acceptable like: “Sorry I’m not feeling it” or “We just don’t click?” Yes, he could have, and I would have accepted that explanation because I had no other choice. But do you think that excuse will make it less painful? A rejection is still a rejection no matter what you coat it in. Not only it still hurts, but I will also waste my time wondering what I did wrong. Did I make a distasteful joke? Did I smear food on my face? Was I acting nervous? I will go ahead and doubt everything about myself. Whereas if you just give me a straightforward answer, I will be upset for a little bit but I can move on. No guesswork. I also think that “don’t click” is an umbrella term people use when they are too cowardice to say the real reason.
Do me a favor. If you ever reject me, don’t give me one of those bullshit reasons. Chin up and be honest with me. I deserve to know.