I was never very attractive in my younger years. As a teen I was scrawny and dorky. In my 20s I was kinda fat and oafish. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve started working out and taking care of how I look. And I’ve discovered something – I’m somewhat attractive.
Lest I be thought prideful or vain, I hasten to add that I’m obviously not overly attractive, people aren’t falling over themselves to be near me and I’ll never have a job modeling. And tastes vary, so not everyone feels this way. But I’ve been told directly a number of times that I look good, and I’ve noticed some girls occasionally checking me out or flirting with me. These are all very new things to me, and at first I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening. I look in a mirror and I still don’t see anything special. I can see flaws for hours. But enough evidence has accumulated over the past years that I have come to accept it on at least an intellectual level.
Additionally, I learned something surprising: being attractive is a fucking super-power. You’d think it only has application to mating… or at least, I always did. Boy is that wrong. I’ve come to experience The Halo Effect for myself, and it’s almost scary. I was unattractive just a few years ago so I can still clearly remember the difference. Everyone already knows that you’re treated nicer when you’re more attractive – by people of both genders. What they don’t tell you is that this goes beyond just “niceness”. Nowadays my arguments are considered more persuasive and my statements more authoritative. My opinion is more valued. I am more respected by my coworkers and boss. I even get better service in professional environments, such as banks and courts. Even my parents think I’m more responsible now. It’s ridiculous.
On the one hand, it’s a little frustrating, because not that much has changed internally. My ideas are largely the same, it seems a bit unfair that I’m being treated better based on image and, to an extent, the slight attitude adjustment that comes with the extra testosterone. On the other hand – this is a hack in reality that’s absurdly useful.
I don’t know how this works for girls, but guys – seriously, take some effort to look better. Get some well-fitting nice clothes, make sure your hygiene is good, and work out. I used to think spending hours per week working out was a waste of time that could be better used elsewhere. But the three hours a week I spend working out has yielded dividends far greater that what I had originally anticipated. Being attractive is a force multiplier – it improves every part of your life that requires interacting with other people (and several that don’t). Not just new people, all people. Yes, there’s only so much that can be done. But just putting in a few hours effort per week is enough to make a difference for most people. It is too useful a tool to be ignored.