Beauty and the Beast
I’m not supermodel material, but I’m not butt-ugly, either. Imagine my disgust, though, when a troll of a guy suggested I change my appearance.
I had just broken up with my fiancée, and it seemed the world was arranging dates for me. Even my hairdresser played matchmaker. “I have a really nice client who I’ve known for years,” she said. “Can I give him your number?” A few days later “Dan” called to set up a date at a coffee shop. At the scheduled time, a short (I’m almost 5’8”), prematurely balding, 30-something man with large protruding ears approached my table. No, Dan wasn’t my type, but I decided to look beyond the physical. After all, my hairdresser assured me he was “really nice.”
The first date went well – no initial sparks, but a pleasant camaraderie. We met again later that week, and while we waited for our food, Dan looked at me, cocked his head to the side and said, “Have you ever thought about contacts?” (I had sported a sexy librarian style with tasteful wire-rimmed glasses.) I shifted in my seat, paused, and said, “Well, yeah. I tried them, but I had too many problems putting them in.” (Remember that “Friends” episode where Rachel had an eye infection and Monica wrestled her to the ground just to put drops in? That was me.)
Silence reigned a moment or two before he cocked his head to the other side like an elephant listening to the sounds of the jungle and said, “Have you ever had long hair?” I raised my eyebrows and touched my shoulder-length dark-brown hair. For some reason, I didn’t want to be rude, so I simply replied, “Yeah, I had longer hair but it looks healthier when it’s shorter.” But I thought, What a little asshole! This troll had some nerve giving me makeover advice when he was no Brat Pitt or Johnny Depp. Suddenly “Dumbo Dan” wasn’t so nice. I eventually escaped, and the next day I emailed him a Dear Dumbo Dan about just wanting to be friends. And then I told my hairdresser about what he said. She was shocked—she never saw that side of him.
My hairdresser told me later that Dumbo Dan showed up at the salon with a new girlfriend a few months after our date. Apparently, they met through an online dating service. She was his ideal—cute, blonde, petite, no glasses—but all this Barbie did was look around with a snooty expression and didn’t talk to anyone. Good for Dumbo Dan! He certainly found the Beauty to his Beast.
Relationships can and do begin with initial attraction. And nothing is as intoxicating as that all-consuming fire, that perfect but rare combination of physical attraction with an emotional connection. As a relationship matures, deepens, growing emotionally intimate, however, other factors like true compatibility and shared life goals should be present to ensure its strength and longevity. The only way to learn if two people are in sync is to see their true selves—beyond hairstyles and near-sightedness—not to expect either to change just to fulfill questionable ideals.