Rick Lowe

I like to tell myself “I don’t care what people think about me.” It’s a nice mask to wear in a population full of unreality shows and outer-beauty contests. I’m not immune, though. The self-image thing, I mean. I think about it all the time, imagining the possible thoughts running through a woman’s mind when she actually looks at me. So as far as outward appearances go, I do care what people think.

My roommate once said to me that he’s never seen another guy preen as much as I do. Then again, he’s already married, so it’s not like he’s looking to attract what he’s already got. I think he’s over exaggerating. And what’s more, he has really short hair—mine, by choice, is longer than average, and that requires some extra effort on my part.

I know looks aren’t the deciding factor for relationships, but there’s no denying they play a major part in them. You’re gonna take each other to bed and spend a lot of time in each other’s company, so how long can you stand to look at each other? If I said “generically good-looking guy,” you’d probably get an image in your head of what us Westerners consider “manly” and “sexy.” You know the attributes—tallish, visibly strong, probably able to grow a beard that doesn’t come in all patchy and gross.

Me, I get compared to anime guys. Cartoon characters, of all things! You ever watch anime or play games like (for example) Final Fantasy? I’ve been told I look like L from Death Note twice now. I remember watching Advent Children with Dad sitting in the room once, and the minute Cloud shows up on-screen Dad says “that’s supposed to be a guy? His face looks like this girl I dated back before I met your Mom.”

I guess it’s ok. I might have angsted about it in high school when I turned out to be the latest bloomer on record, but the cool thing is, no one else looks like me. You know what my looks get me? Instant recognition. I’m always one of the first names memorized by new teachers. By the end of the first week of the semester, everyone in the class can match my name with my face. Unfortunately I myself am very, very bad at doing likewise, so I’ll get people who had a class with me a year ago come up to me and say “hi” like I’m supposed to be excited to see them, and I stand there half-smiling, saying “hi?” back because… I just have no clue.

Then I walk away feeling bad about it, like it’s my fault my brain decided “well, we’re probably never going to see that person again, so we can dump all information about them.”

It’s a simple creed I outlined for myself: I got to do the best I can with the tools I’m given. I can’t just will myself into being what society considers sexy. What I can do is get my lazy self to the gym on a regular basis. You can’t tell me that girls find bony body contact comfortable. When I find someone suitable, I want to please her, to be pleasing to her. I want her to be satisfied with me.

I mean, I want to be able to raise an eyebrow at her and there’s a relatively well-known Halestorm song that comes to mind called “I Get Off.” I’ll leave it at that.