Going nowhere on November 30, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl
I have a problem. It’s an embarrassing problem, and I don’t know if there’s much I can do about it.
You see, I am unattractive, physically. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I exercise, I have good hygiene, I try to wear what flatters me, I even went so far as to get my legs waxed and my hair done. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve got some acne scars from my youth, I’ve got crooked teeth, and I’ve got the obligatory family curse of a huge ass. And these things aren’t the kind of traits that I can change without some plastic surgery, and when you work as an office temp, well, there just isn’t a way I can afford that sort of thing.
It’s really hard when you get constantly passed over when you’re out with your friends, or when you find out that one of them invites you out so that she can look better. It’s hard to know that inside, you’re as beautiful as any supermodel, and about a million times as smart, but no man will come near you because you are (in words I over heard once, coming from a grown man no less) “a big bow-wow.”
I’m tired of being lonely, and I was wondering what advice you had for a girl like me.
— Miss “Great Personality”
Someone said that? Oy. Talk about scars.
Actually, let’s not. First let’s talk about your “friend.” Assuming your sources are reliable, you are no longer hanging out with her, right? You don’t need that crap.
Now let’s talk about your job. Disclaimer: there is nothing inherently wrong with temping as a career choice calculated to meet a specific need; and your average temp is far from dumb (Ph.D. from Oxford, more like). BUT. What are you doing temping, Miss Million Times as Smart? What is stopping you from upgrading your resume and your income … and your sense of permanence and purpose in the world?
I get — and salute — what you say about exercising, doing your hair, dressing for success. But there’s more to be done. Because I also get this funny feeling that at some level, you are still passing yourself over. You are still letting other people look better. You have sent yourself to the doghouse.
I can’t blame you, no. Yes, it is harder to walk through life with your head held high when no one meets your gaze. And the reasons why people aren’t meeting your gaze SUCK. But here’s what you can do about it in your world. Do not hang out with people who bring you down. You are above that. Do not do a job you can do in your sleep. You are above that. Find one that matches your qualifications and stokes your ambitions. And that will help you pay for some non-frivolous dental/dermatological work (note: if you really want this, you’re smart enough to do some research and make a payment plan, even without a new job). And maybe a Pilates class. (Though remember: men generally do prefer McButt to McBeal. Right, guys?) While you’re getting your new bearings, meet people online; this is a good approach when you have nothing to hide except your own self-consciousness.
I get that you have been non-blessed with certain let’s-face-it hindrances, MGP. But my guess is that you’ve also been using your looks as an excuse to live your life sitting at someone else’s desk. Now it’s time to use your brains.