Being called ugly.

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    faber castell

    So, yesterday I was at a party and a guy approached me, I was nice and chatted back and I was a bit unsure about the whole situation since I really never get approached in bars randomly, in my city people just introduce friends of friends, whatever, most of the men you’ll find in bars are just men you want to avoid. But since I really hate this attitude also, of women calling shy clumsy men weirdos and being nasty, I just went by being myself and just talking to the guy as any other person. Truth is, he wasn’t shy or weird, and I thought he wasn’t entirely unattractive so I thought maybe this is okay. Eventually he told me he had seen me from the start when I arrived and that wanted to talk to me but had waited a while to approach me, he said he thought I had “nice energy”. But I think I didn’t hear this last part of the sentence and I asked again or something, and he started saying “well, yeah, I thought you were a normal girl” So I was like ok, normal?, and he says: “Yeah, normal, I think you’re cool and I mean, you’re a little ugly”.
    I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t react fast enough and kept asking “What?” So he started apologizing saying he was drunk, and that he was very straightforward but also that didn’t mean it, that if he really thought that I was ugly he wouldn’t be talking to me.
    To which I responded: Okay, that speaks even worse about you. BUT: my whole attitude was jokey, as if we were sharing some sort of dense humour stupidity. He then said, sorry, can we get to know each other better when I’m not drunk? Some beers some other time? And I just responded stuff like “Really you think you deserve it after what you said?” And what comes next is even sadder: I gave him my number. Yes. I have to admit this to someone and I KNOW how stupid this is, but truth is, to be honest, I feel kind of shallow and stupid getting angry over the fact that some stranger called me ” a little ugly”, so I’m guessing I compensate with behaving aloof when I’m obviously not. I obviously do not plan on going out with this person. And I’d like to have a good response if he calls (suggestions are welcome). Truth is recently I’ve felt pretty insecure about my physical appearance. In the last few weeks:

    – 1 guy I knew from college told me in a conversation in which again I WAS EXTREMELY NICE FOR THIS: “You’ve always been kinda tough, but that’s okay, you’re attractive in a non-mainstream way”
    – 1 gay man told me I was pretty photogenic in a tone I could not understand.
    – 3 men I liked came to me and told me they liked me, which was a nice thing to get, but they have all said exactly the same: “There’s something about you that goes beyond your physical appearance”. I have to clarify, none of these men are with me. I should be glad to be taken seriously, or to be attractive for deeper reasons. Nevertheless, I find myself feeling unappealing enough to actually be one of their girlfriends and at the same time, it pisses me off to actually want that if that’s the case, if they don’t find me “appealing enough”. One of them even told me, (the one I was truly interested in): “It’s not because you’re pretty, hell, if it were for that, there are much prettier girls out there, it’s because of who you are”
    Really… how can I take this? if you read one of my posts from long ago, you can see another situation in which a friend told me he could be in love with me but I wasn’t pretty enough. Oh my… I’ve grown and I’ve only gotten softer as I acknowledge who I am, I mean, I know these things matter to me, in my teenage years I didn’t even allow myself to think about this because I knew I felt ugly. Or I used to think I just “hadn’t been truly seen”, or I thought that my attractiveness had to be somewhere else and when I grew up I wouldn’t have to feel like this. But I was tough and wouldn’t have let any of these things pass me by. Now, I have no idea why it gets to me even harder and also, I really have no any idea how to respond, what to say. I feel so sad and even embarrassed. I used to be so blunt and harsh (which is not a good thing but at least it was better than giving my number).

    My god. Sometimes, I think it’s rude and I’d never think of saying this to anyone!
    Other times, these men seem truly honest about how they feel, so, stupid politeness is all that comes to mind. Either way: I don’t know how to respond to this.
    Any thoughts?
    Thank you for reading.


    Hi faber castell,

    Sadly, men (even gay men) are culturally trained on the Back-Handed Compliment. They truly want to say they’re interested in you or like you, but they can’t just SAY it! And most of us are not in the cookie-cutter ideal of “beauty”. So they don’t want us to think we’re all that. So they say we’re “a little ugly”, “there are prettier girls” etc. When they are the judge, they put themselves on a higher level.

    There are no/only a few gentlemen left. They want to be charming and have us like them. But they don’t know how. But I’ll tell you one thing! The guy that doesn’t necessarily say you’re beautiful ~ BUT!! After you spend time with him makes you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. THAT is what it is all for! When a woman is loved, she becomes beautiful. It radiates from within.

    You can say to these guys: “Don’t fall in love with me.” “Where I come from this is actually considered beautiful.” “I have a boyfriend”. “Should you be calling someone ugly when you’re so, um, short/bald/a nebbish??” “Are you OK??” Laugh at him. Call your girlfriends/text them/take his photo while saying “Hashtag Nice Try!”

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by Inky.

    Hi Faber,

    Men, as a rule are terrible at trying to give compliments especially in our 20s. For some, this ends up as giving back handed compliment in that they want you to know that you are special but at the same time they can’t help but to add something that says “well I’m interested but not THAT interested” for fear of rejection. It’s like the little boy who is mean to the girl they like at school because he wants to get her attention. Cute, if you are in primary school.

    Then there are the guys who will do this on purpose to manipulate you because by diminishing your value, you might agree to do something that you normally wouldn’t do (like going out with a guy who disrespects you). Either way, it’s got nothing to do with you and your physical appearence and everything to do with them. So the guys who say this to you are either little boys or manipulators. It’s a terrible idea to date either because you will have to play mommy for one and the victim for the other.

    Some ideas for a snappy come back if you encounter this situation again:

    “And you’re an ahole in a mainstream kind of way”
    “Gee thanks. Usually guys start with flowers and chocolate when they want to date me”
    “Yeah I like your energy too because if I want to date a guy with a big **** I wouldn’t have picked you. Glad we have that in common!”

    Probably want to go the middle one if you want to give the poor man a chance but it’s always nice to have options in your back pocket for the tough ones. 🙂


    This is the Universes’ way of letting you know these losers are not for you. It is a gift really because usually it takes much longer for people to figure out who has no character or depth. Keep smiling and regarding these men as the shallow insensitive boys they obviously are. Laugh and say, Well,if that is the case, then I won’t waste your time. Then walk away…far away. No use trying to find anything positive in something so blatantly myopic and unkind. There are men who do not lack depth and someday you will find one.


    +1 for people all supporting the backhanded compliments. So many boys do this as a way of protecting their ego and projecting their feelings of rejection.

    I am a conventionally attractive woman and I can not tell you how many times I have had the following conversation in a bar.
    Man: “Hey baby, whats up?/Can I buy you a drink?/Can I get your number?/Want to come back to my place?”
    Me: “No thank you/I’m here with someone/I have a drink/I’m not into one night stands”
    Man: “Well whatever, you’re fat/you’re ugly/you’re nothing”

    I USED to respond “I was fat/ugly/nothing when you first approached me” and this would lead to a whole lot of eye rolling, excuse making and general dickery from said boy. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    Best to respond to these losers in a swift, quick manner.
    Seriously, smirk at them, get up and WALK AWAY. If you feel really rude, add an “excuse me” before you walk away.
    They will usually move onto some other target, especially if they’re drunk.

    However, if they follow you or approach you later to apologise (and 9/10 they do because your stock suddenly rises when you don’t play their stupid games and they think they could have a second chance) say “thank you” and repeat. Walk away.

    They are getting exactly what they want from you – projecting their rejection onto you and making you feel bad.
    When this happens, remember, no second thoughts, up and away.

    Yes, there definitely are MEN out there. Cut the boys as far away as possible.


    I have had the best luck, thinking about it, when I said, “Are you OK??”

    Guy: “Yer OK fer a fugly gal.”

    Me: “Are you OK??”

    Guy is stunned, stammers, “What I meant was, um, OK, whatever…”

    Me: concerned stare, I look at my friend and we whisper compassionately amongst ourselves while looking at him…Back slowly away from the crazy guy. He vanishes.

    Try it!


    Hi Faber,

    I like what sunshineandlemonade and Yue wrote.

    Just this year alone I had two situations that left me scratching my head. One time a guy approached me to tell me “Hi, I’m not sure if I like you yet. Impress me”. And I just said “you’re joking right?” and I laughed as I walked away.

    Another situation was when a guy who I know was checking me out all night finally came up to me just to say “I like your eye” so I asked “eye? just one?” He said yes. I could not believe what I was hearing (I have monolids though I’m not Asian, and one of my eyes is a little less mono. That’s the one he liked hehe). I still want to laugh when I think about that. I decided to look at him as if he was absolutely retarded. I gave him my “I’m worried about your mental health face” and tilted my head. I just said “ok” and decided not to even walk away just turned away and begun chatting with someone else. He ended up feeling stupid, not me.

    The thing is that whatever beauty we have or don’t have, it wont really matter down the line anyway. At the end of the day, it really does come down to personality and who we are as people. If I think I’m great others will think that as well but if I walk into a room lacking confidence people will pick up on my energy.

    I once knew this girl who was not very attractive yet she could have any guy she wanted. If you asked any guy if they thought she was pretty, they would say that she wasn’t. There was just something about her that made all the guys want her. She ended up getting married to a really nice and extremely handsome guy.

    My approach is a little different. I overall do not like men. I think they mostly suck and go to bars to try to get girls 9 out of 10. They should feel lucky talking to a cool girl like you, not the other way around. If he says something stupid, don’t laugh it off as someone insecure, laugh it off as someone who things this guy is a total idiot. It works!


    Yes, there is a type of “game” guys are taught by the internet/books/their mates which relies (in part) on the back-handed compliment. There’s also just sour grapes, as in the examples Sunshine and Lemonade gave. Her suggested response is good, too.

    As for how to take it, I would say ideally you wouldn’t just be mean in return, although if it’s just some random dude at a bar, that can be appropriate. But if they’re mean to you and you’re mean to them, everyone has a sucky day and no one learns anything. I like Inky’s “Are you okay?” Variations: “Why would you say that?” or “How rude are you?” or “Are you having that bad of a day that you have to go around calling people ugly now?”

    Let them know that what they’re doing is not cool, and makes them look bad.

    And for you: it’s not up to other people to vote on whether you are beautiful or not. That’s ridiculous. You look how you look. Just dress however’s right for you and forget anyone else’s opinion on it. You don’t need their approval. And you definitely don’t need to live in their make-believe world where beauty is the only quality that could ever allow you to be loved. Sister, that is bullshit. When someone gives you bullshit, you don’t have to pick it up. It’s their shit. Let them get filthy dealing with it.


    To me it sounds like you’re pretty irresistible and they need to add something rude to keep themselves safe from you 😀

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