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I’ll never forget, my freshman year of college I met this girl who was trying her best to maintain a long distance relationship with her boyfriend back home. When my other friends and I asked to see his picture, she showed us and then stated matter of factly:

“Justin* isn’t cute.”


We all looked at her in shock. This was the guy she’d shamelessly expressed her longing, love and affection for and here she was, saying she didn’t think he was cute. At least one of us expressed our confusion. “Dang Marti*! How can you say that?”

Again she was unapologetic in her reply.

“I think Justin is attractive and I love him; but when I first met him, I didn’t think he was cute. Really, nobody would look at him and think he was cute. ”

They were harsh words. We didn’t agree or disagree with her at that exact moment; but as I looked at his picture, I could see her point. True, he wasn’t hideous but he wouldn’t stop traffic.

And she wasn’t being mean. She was just stating a fact and a phenomenon I’ve observed several times now. While we may say we want this or that physical characteristic in a man; at the end of the day, you or I, could easily end up falling in love with an ugly man.  (Or person– for my lesbian sisters in the struggle.)

Note: Ugly is a harsh word so I’ll say unattractive, or “has interesting features,” or use some other euphemism to illustrate that homeboy isn’t a banger. 

We women love to ogle over an attractive man. We’ll take in his face, the defined jawline, the dazzling smile, glistening, rock hard abs, v-shaped waist and power thighs with much delight. If we’re alone we might find ourselves in a daze or if we’re with the girls we might lean over and whisper a “He could get it.” We’ve all been there but in reality most of us are more likely to end up with a man who’s a little chubby, has taco meat and might possess just one or two of the above mentioned physical attributes… if we’re lucky.

Don’t be discouraged by this news ladies, these are just the facts of life.

By now you’re probably thinking why is it that women have to settle? What about the men?

Men have this ability too. But really, they don’t have to learn or use this skill of “looking past” to the level that we do. Think about it. We women spend exorbitant amounts of time, money and effort into perfecting our outward appearance, mostly because we know that men are more visually inclined.

But every now and then we’ll see a man who is drop dead gorgeous with a woman who doesn’t quite match his attractiveness. You need look no further than Hollywood for examples. No names needed.

The truth is, the ability to “look past” is a bit more encouraging than it really sounds. After all, being able to overlook someone’s outward appearance and fall in love with their character and their spirit speaks to the profundity of love. Real love, the kind we don’t often see on our TV screens.

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