To say Javier was beautiful is an understatement. Stunning, gorgeous, dazzling, a sight to behold — that’s more like it. And I’m not the only one to feel this way. He is, by all accounts, empirically gorgeous. Case in point: A former coworker once walked past us while we were sitting at a window table of a restaurant and immediately texted me that she was shocked to see me with someone so good-looking. She even took it so far as to ask if he were a cousin or a family friend — you know, someone who might be obligated to be with me. I responded by letting her know that Javier and I were dating. As in, yes, he had chosen to be sitting across from me.
While that former coworker may have been the most blunt about it, it’s not as though this was the only time Javier and my relationship was questioned. Waiters, bartenders, people on the train, strangers on the sidewalk — it was everywhere. And it wasn’t in my head either.
“Dating exorbitantly attractive men is not something I’ve had, like, a ton of experience with, though admittedly the few times I have, it dissuaded me from trying again,” says Gabby, 29, a Paris-based publicist. “In fact, I purposefully choose unflattering Tinder pics in order to avoid setting myself up in a scenario where I feel the ‘attractiveness scale’ is imbalanced.”
Most people would gasp and say ‘lucky you’ if they saw him in photos with me. It was weirdly insulting to my own attractiveness and self-esteem.
While most will say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” there are certain people who, at least in regards to looks, transcend that saying. Still, it’s hardly the full picture, according to clinical sexologist Megan Stubbs, Ed.D. “We run into problems when we jump to conclusions based on someone’s looks — like ‘oh, you’re so hot, you must not be interested in me,’” she says. “We humans are complex creatures. It’s not fair to judge [anyone] on one [thing].” In other words, there’s far more to all of us than what meets the eye.
Although I agree with Stubbs in principle, I couldn’t help but feel some level of insecurity with Javier. We’d be out together, and all I could think about was that “30 Rock” episode, “The Bubble,” where Liz Lemon dates Jon Hamm’s character who is, of course, hot AF and how it affected her.
“My ex was ridiculously hot,” says JC, 26, a Machester, U.K.-based sex educator. “Of course beauty is subjective, but most people would gasp and say ‘lucky you’ if they saw him in photos with me. It was weirdly insulting to my own attractiveness and self-esteem. People would talk to him and ignore my presence.”
Stubbs recommends addressing these feelings of unease with your partner. “Don’t say, ‘you’re too hot and it makes me insecure,’ but delve deeper and ask yourself where your insecurity comes from,” she says. Is it possible you’re worried about the attention they receive? Why? How is this affecting you? Do you think that, because of their looks, they have their eyes set on the next best thing? Your partner can’t change how they look, but they can discuss your specific concerns if you’re open with them.
At the end of the day, our insecurities are just that: ours. With Javier, it wasn’t about how he looked; it was about how I perceived myself with him — which, in retrospect, was me being really unfair to myself. If we allow ourselves to get into the thought process of someone being out of our league, then we end up missing out on great people and experiences, because ultimately, no one is out of anyone’s league.
“Unless you’re a mind reader, you don’t know what someone is looking for,” says Stubbs. “Just put your best foot forward and say ‘hey.’ You may be surprised.”
But as Stubbs also points out, people have the right to say “no,” and it’s up to you to not take it (too) personally and respect their choice. We can’t all be everyone’s cup of tea, but the moment we start thinking anyone is too hot for us is the moment we do a disservice to ourselves and immediately narrow our dating pool. Don’t do that.