Beauty Ranking

Surely I'm a nine- maybe a ten... lets just say eleven just to be safe.

Surely I’m a nine- maybe a ten… lets just say eleven just to be safe.

So I’ve been working my way through a book called “The Game” by Neil Strauss which is all about pickup artists. I got it out of the library first because I thought it was a hoot that there was a book about pickup artists and second because I thought it was a hoot that this book had been written by a writer whose name I recognized from “The Dirt” and “The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell”.

I am discovering, however, that this book has not been ‘a hoot’ to read. I make it through two or three chapters and then have to put it down. It’s messing with my self esteem. The cognitive dissonance is deafening. On the one hand the book describes the tools and techniques of the pickup artist (in the book this is abbreviated to PUA but for the sake of clarity I’m going to avoid the acronyms because the copy of the book that I got from the library has twenty pages of glossary missing and I might be misinterpreting some of them).

These tools and techniques seem to boil down to two categories: having something prepared to talk about and giving yourself opportunities to talk about them. Reading about these strategies is like standing in front of a glass case full of art supplies: these are beautiful and tempting tools and I can’t get to them.

Why should I even care about what pickup artists do? Because I’m an Introvert and because the subtleties of social interaction don’t come naturally to me. Do I want to be able to walk up to anyone I wanted and be able to start and carry on a conversation that leaves them feeling good about me? Yes PLEASE! I’m not even trying to get laid! The idea that there are tools for this is extremely, no pun intended, seductive.

So partly my difficulty with this book is that I am frustrated that it talks about tools that I don’t know how to implement. The other part of my difficulty is the ten point beauty rating system. Although I’m perfectly happy with how I look (OK, reasonably happy- we are all our worst critic after all) I am suddenly obsessed with knowing what my number is.

It’s a stupid obsession, but there you have it.

The trouble is that this isn’t a question I can just ask someone and get an answer to. Nor is it a question that I can just decide on an answer on my own. I think I’m a seven. That’s as high as I can go subjectively without comparing myself to other, more beautiful women. It’s possible that someone might consider me a ten, but that’s not a value judgement that I can make for myself because I’m not trying to get in my pants.

Here is a useful diagram. I'd rate this diagram about a five...

And because I think in pictures here is a diagram.

Therein lies my problem with beauty ranking and why I am so obsessed with this number: because it completely changes depending upon who you ask and what they are trying to get from you. One of the pickup artist techniques is “negging” which is to make a girl feel insecure so that she seeks reassurance and attention to make up for it. What better way to neg a girl than to lower her number? It would work on me: I get super insecure about my appearance.

And that bothers me.

I don’t like the idea that my value as a human being can be arbitrarily decided by someone besides myself. It falls categorically under one of my biggest fears in life: not being good enough.

So I still have a few chapters to go before I can call this book finished and then I’m going to need to soak my head for a while before I can figure out what I really learned from it.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 9, 2013.

One Response to “Beauty Ranking”

  1. Completely understand what you are saying, so look forward to you finishing the book – with summary – so I don’t have to read it. 🙂
    I miss the social cues – we laugh now because an obvious “line” I didn’t recognize until 20 years later. (Yes, it was explained to me.)
    I know I am the right end of the old bell curve for looks – along with the rest of my innate qualities. Except expressing feeling – but I have learned to demonstrate empathy and sympathy.
    Trust is the issue. I don’t know if I trust someone you is bluntly complimentary to me – Do you suppose that has to do with the dismissal of ritual of dating that we just don’t “get.”?

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