OUT OF MY LEAGUE
Your personal worth doesn’t hinge on whether you perfectly match a constructed standard of beauty
I met my boyfriend at my regular coffee shop, where I had noticed him several times before and was stunned by how good-looking he is. He approached one day and asked me out, and we’ve been seeing each other for four months now. I often feel like this can’t be real—he is kind and incredibly attractive, and it’s hard to imagine what he sees in me. There are those ‘out of my league’ guys who I wouldn’t even consider pursuing and he is one of them. It’s not that I think I am hideous, but I don’t think of myself as handsome and can’t imagine why someone like him would be choosing me. I feel mistrusting of his intentions and am waiting for something to blow up in my face. I’m self-conscious when we are out in public and can tell that other people are questioning what someone like him is
doing with me. Can you help me out?—Mario Dear Mario: There is no doubt that we live in a world that elevates people who reflect a certain notion of beauty—and this has an effect on all of us. it does, however, sound like you have an especially strong tendency to put men on pedestals—above yourself—when you think they are better looking than you. if you don’t find a way to shift this perspective, your guy is always going to tower above you and you will feel like all of the power rests with him.
i won’t argue that you are just as handsome as he is because i don’t think that’s the true antidote here. For you to relax into this relationship and truly enjoy it, you will need to recognize that your personal worth doesn’t hinge on whether you perfectly match a constructed standard of beauty. i’m not suggesting that this is easy to do, considering how much pressure we can feel in the gay community to stay youthful beyond our years and carry around a pack of teenage mutant abs. But beyond the immediate societal pressures, there’s a good chance that your sense of ‘not enough-ness’ goes way back and it will be up to you to sort out how this belief got instilled and whether you are willing to shed it—no matter how comfortable it has become.
This wonderfully handsome and charming man isn’t struggling to find you attractive—you are the one refusing to let this reality in and consider that the world is seeing you through a different lens than you are seeing yourself. The gift of this new relationship—if you don’t run for the hills and the safety of your self-loathing isolation chamber—is an opportunity to let go of a sense of unworthiness and consider the possibility that nothing was ever truly wrong with you.