Friday, 26 September 2014

Unnerving beauty

Beautiful women often say that one drawback of being beautiful is that men are too intimidated to approach them. Men feel more comfortable with a woman who's more "ordinary looking".

I've certainly found that myself. I can think of plenty of occasions where I've encountered a beautiful woman (beautiful to me, anyway) and found myself promptly tongue-tied, or stammering, or indeed hesitant to talk to her at all for fear of an instant brush-off.

I know I should be more confident and more blasé, and take the attitude that it makes no difference if she's beautiful or plain, all I'm doing is having a conversation and why on earth am I so flustered? But my psyche won't cooperate.

I think it's partly because I connect beauty with intelligence and assume that whatever I say will strike her as incredibly stupid. I know very well there's no necessary link between beauty and brains but nonetheless I'm convinced that this particular woman I'm speaking to has to be as smart as they come.

I'm not so intimidated by beautiful men. I'm not bothered by their beauty or their intelligence or anything else about them. I talk to them quite easily. So why I get so nervous in the presence of a beautiful woman is a mystery.

But just the other day I was chatting to a very pretty woman, and even though I've known her for a long while, I found myself unaccountably stammering and stuttering like an idiot. What is WRONG with me, I thought. Why am I behaving like a goofy ten-year-old?

Well, if I haven't yet grown out of this adolescent insecurity, I doubt if I ever will. Old habits die hard.

27 comments:

Dave Martin said...

I don't think this ever goes away. When speaking to a woman one considers higher on the 'hotness' scale than oneself, the nerves kick into overdrive and rational intelligible conversation becomes virtually impossible. Maybe we feel on some level unworthy of their attention and need to prove ourselves - like taking your driving test or O-levels all over again - hence the nervousness.
It would be interesting to know if women suffer a similar affliction faced with a particularly handsome bloke or if it's purely a male insecurity issue.

Bijoux said...

On the rare occasion that I've spoken to a supermodel gorgeous male, I am certain that I've blushed. I've never associated drop dead handsome males with brains, however! Quite the opposite.

Nick said...

Dave: I would distinguish between beauty and hotness/sexiness, which to my mind are very different qualities. Sexiness I can deal with, it's beauty that for some reason unnerves me. As you say, I feel somehow unworthy of attention and at a disadvantage.

And I know many women experience exactly the same nonplussedness when face to face with a gorgeous male.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Well, there you are, the gorgeous male effect! I wouldn't assume all gorgeous males are dimwits however. How about George Clooney, for example?

susie said...

I think WOMEN are intimidated by beautiful women.

I am not. I've had several friends who are drop dead gorgeous. These women had a hard time making friends, I've found.

Bijoux said...

I don't find George all that good looking, nor would I term him to be a genius!

Nick said...

Susie: I think you're right. But I like it that you've been unfazed by super-beautiful friends. And that's interesting that they did have trouble making friends themselves.

Bijoux: Not a genius, I'm sure, but he seems pretty bright.

Wisewebwoman said...

What I have found is that beautiful women/men are not aware at all of how gorgeous they are. I am frequently spellbound by the beauty of others and find their unawareness of this so effing attractive.
Seriously.
And yeah, we're all the same underneath. It is only in late years I look at pics of my young self and am gobsmacked. I was so unaware then.
And beauty is not an attribute of youth. I know many older gorgeous people.

XO
WWW

CheerfulMonk said...

I've never thought George Clooney was that good looking, but I do like him. Not because of his acting but because he cuts his own hair, even though, as he says, sometimes people tell him, "Dude, you really need to go to a barber and get a decent haircut." Anyone like that can't take himself too seriously,

Nick said...

www: I'd never really thought that beautiful people might be unaware of their beauty. I always assume they're acutely aware of it. But I agree about gorgeous older people, I see them all the time.

Jean: I'd never noticed anything wrong with George Clooney's haircut. Just carry on cutting it yourself, George!

Grannymar said...

As a teenager, my mother told me that I would never be beautiful, but I could strive for elegance. So I have no worries about intimidating anyone. lol!

I was later to learn from Jack, that his mother told him: There were a lot of good looking nothings out there!

I think we were well matched! ;)

Ursula said...

You made one unfortunate mistake, Nick, as I knew you would, towards the end of your post: Are we talking 'beauty' or are we talking 'pretty'?

I agree with WWW that the beautiful are unaware - even if they have been told a million times.

As like attracts like I generally go for the Hunch of Notre Dame.

Joke aside: I do recognize what you are saying about men being intimated by beauty. But that's only because they think someone beautiful must SURELY be spoken for. Rubbish. Not least, following your reasoning, if everyone is running in the other direction.

I take exception to Bijoux's correlation between male beauty and no brain. My son is a looker if ever there was one. With a brain. As are most males in my life.

As to Clooney: He ain't no beauty. Tough I see his attraction. Let's leave aside that I nearly fainted when I learnt, on the eve of his nuptials, that he is only 53. 53? You've got to be joking. But what he is, and it washes with me every time, is suave, confident (emphasis on 'confident'). As evident in that coffee advert. Give me a man with a smile, a suit that hangs well. A man who knows how to conduct himself. And I am all yours.

By way of comfort, Nick: Should you find yourself tongue tied in my presence, don't worry. I'll soon loosen you up.

U

Nick said...

Ursula: I assume pretty means much the same as beautiful, and the dictionary seems to agree. How would you distinguish between them?

I very much doubt your equivalent would be the Hunchback of Notre Dame....

Again, I think beauty and sexiness are quite different, and I'm not talking about whether someone is "spoken for", just whether they're intimidating or not.

Personally I find George Clooney far more gorgeous than say, Johnny Depp, Leonardo diCaprio, Brad Pitt etc. But each to their own.

I look forward to your loosening me up. Are you free tonight by any chance?

Nick said...

Interesting question: Is pretty the same as beautiful - or not? Any opinions?

Nick said...

Grannymar: Well, you're certainly very elegant! And I couldn't see you intimidating anyone, you're very calm and down-to-earth.

Jack's mother was right about all the good-looking nothings. I've known a few beauties who quickly demolished my starstruck first impressions!

Lady Lilith said...

I guess I am not like most. It is really interesting though how a persons looks can change a persons feelings. I find it funny.

Nick said...

Lilith: I know, why is that I can chat quite normally to most women, but a really beautiful woman totally unnerves me?

Ms Scarlet said...

Pretty and beautiful are different. Pretty is a bit contrived, and beauty takes your breath away without you understanding why... pretty won't do that to you... but it will make you smile.
Hope this helps?
Sx

Nick said...

Ms Scarlet: I like your distinction between contrived and natural. Not sure that many people would distinguish between "pretty" and "beautiful" in that way, but I see exactly what you mean. Some women are stunners without a speck of make-up or flattering clothing or anything else.

Ms Scarlet said...

Yes, I mean you can 'pretty' something up... but, I imagine it's harder to beauty something up. Pretty is like a chocolate box... all hearts and flowers, whilst beauty is more grown up and sophisticated... you can notice beauty slowly, whereas prettiness is immediate... more shallow.
Blimey, I didn't realise I had such a long winded opinion on this!
Sx

Nick said...

Ms Scarlet: I think awareness of beauty can be just as immediate, but as you say it's something natural rather than manufactured. And I think prettiness can also be grown up and sophisticated if it's done with real skill. Many actresses are not beautiful but are very skilfully pretty.

Ms Scarlet said...

I am thinking in more general terms than just people, as this helps me to understand what words mean. In literature I'm sure I've read an example of one character being described as merely pretty in comparison to her companion being beautiful. For some reason The Mill on the Floss sticks in my mind. Maggie grew up to be beautiful, whereas Lucy is always only pretty.
Going to have to read that again now!
Sx

Nick said...

Ms Scarlet: Have to admit I've never read Mill on the Floss. But I can think of a few fictional characters who are described in those terms, now you remind me.

Rummuser said...

Perfectly natural reaction to beauty Nick. God made us like that! Our testosterone makes us stammer and go ga ga!! You will not grow out of it uless the T dries out!

Nick said...

Ramana: It's not testosterone, as women can be equally afflicted! It's more a feeling of inferiority in the face of something so perfect....

Liz Hinds said...

I'm the same with good-looking men. Even though I am usually more comfortable talking to men than to women. (Which is a whole other avenue a psychiatrist would have fun with.)

Nick said...

Liz: Funnily enough, I'm usually more comfortable talking to women. I don't understand other men at all.