Where the scale of hotness is concerned, I broke the rules and married someone way hotter than me.
Before you throw tomatoes at me with You’re Beautiful Just The Way You Are written on them, let’s turn down the Bruno Mars song and have a frank discussion.
The Scale of Hotness
I grew up with a bowling ball face, a frizzy mess of curls a mile wide, and what curves I did have had certainly weren’t in my chest. While I never had the curse of braces, the tune of ‘you’re just big boned,’ whistled in my ears from total strangers.
Trust me, that’s way worse than braces ‘cuz you can’t change bone structure.
I’d walk down the halls at school and hear my teachers say, “She has a great smile, doesn’t she?” While my brothers friends said, “Well, she’s not the brightest bulb on the tree.”
Fast forward a decade and I landed on my feet, a full-time RN, living in a downtown and working with kids. My career made me awesome, but not enough. Here’s the shocker: I was single. I dated all kinds of guys. I mean all kinds. I got an Air Force guy who yelled at me for not being willing to pick him up on our first date. A gentleman that worked for the forest service who was so quiet that I had to lean over my pasta to hear what he said. Then there was, of course, Mr. Medical School Man. He used me for a few rides, a couch to crash on, then broke up with me over a text message.
The common thread besides being total #@&*(#%(*@ was this: they were all pretty much my facial equal. Attractive enough, but nothing so beautiful that I wanted to attach to it with suction cups and scream, “Never let me go!”
Then I met the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.
I was twenty four. We’d been emailing for weeks via eHarmony before he flew out to see me. He was an Army officer just off deployment, had thick eyelashes I’d kill for, and more sarcastic humor than I could handle. I’d already had a good feeling about this one, and I was a pro about dating vibes, so I pulled out all the stops and dressed in my girl power outfit: black yoga pants, a vest from Eddie Bauer with fuzz on the inside, and hiking boots.
Yes, hiking boots.
My curly hair is an entity until itself, so after an hour-and-a-half battle, I’d tamed the tresses into straight, highlighted strands, then arrived at the airport with my hands steepled in prayer, begging the gods of first dates that I wouldn’t get sweaty pit stains. Which I so did.
He strode off the plane and right into my heart. The moment I saw him my mouth dropped open, my hands turned to ice, and all I could think of when I stared at his strong jaw and crooked smile was, oh no. He is way too attractive for me.
Although I stood there like a mute, he put his muscled arms around me in a warm hug. I melted like butter in southern Alabama on a hot July afternoon. My heart fluttered. Is this real? Is this a joke? He’s too beautiful. I could feel the suction cups forming on my fingertips. He wasn’t Calvin Klein model perfect: he was rugged, manly, five-shades-of-stubble-in-the-morning perfect.
I pulled myself back together, managed a somewhat coherent mumble, then started toward my car so I didn’t have to see his face. We took a forty five minute drive up a gorgeous canyon to a famous diner for brunch. My eyes never strayed from the road. His gleaming, angelic face would certainly blind me if I looked over. More than that, I didn’t want to face the reality behind the voice in my head.
He’s way too hot! Scale of hotness is tipped! Must. Stop.
We sat across from each other at a shabby table in a kitschy restaurant filled with people, sunshine, and odd decor. I glanced up to find the undeniable truth again: He was beautiful. He was everything sturdy and strong that I ever wanted. The voice screeched on in the back of my mind.
You’re breaking the rules!
Never mind that we hit it off like a pair of gloves missing their mate. Never mind that his eyes sparkled when he laughed at my snarky comments because he thought I was funny. Never mind that he held my hand that night and it felt like coming home. All I could think was: I can’t do it. I’d never match up. I have big hips and volatile hair. I love food way too much—and it shows. Doesn’t he see the issue here?
To my dismay, he didn’t seem to get it.
It would have been a lot easier if he would have just stepped away after the first date with a kind smile and flippant Hey! Let’s do this again! just like the rest of them. But he didn’t. He wanted to see me in the morning, so I took action into my own hands. This beautiful man would not be forced into an unequal relationship that surely he’d regret.
The next day, after washing my hair into its full-scale-curly-haired-massive-glory, and ensuring it was full and wild, (because who wouldn’t that scare off?) I picked him up from his friends house. My plan was already in action.
“Want to go for a run?” I asked.
That’ll show him, I thought with smug superiority. He’ll see my wobbly legs and butt trying to get up the hill and he’ll realize what I’ve seen since the beginning.
“Of course!” he said, as I knew he would.
We ran up a mountain trail (where I practically reached down and grabbed handfuls of dirt to rub on my face as I went) and then back down. We laughed when he accidentally embarrassed himself by farting—twice. We swapped stories about nightmare dates. We enjoyed the sun and crisp mountain air. He didn’t turn away in disgust, the jerk.
No, we just kept having a great time.
Three days later, my heart broke as I watched him walk back into the airport on Valentines day. Our weekend of sharing frozen yogurt, cuddling up to Finding Nemo, and star gazing from the top of a mountain had altered my universe forever. He was my perfect match in all ways . . . except one.
I wouldn’t hear from him again, I already knew that. And really, who would blame him? The scale of hotness never lies. It cannot be broken. There was a Mrs. Perfect with blonde hair and blue eyes waiting for this Mr. Perfect. Except she was probably wearing heels, not hiking boots, and spreading her divine glitter over orphaned puppies. I couldn’t deprive the world of their stunning children, so I drank in his perfect smile and brown eyes until he disappeared from view.
Every heartbeat on my drive home caused me pain. Just as I was sitting down in front of the TV, Lifetime movie at the ready, a barrel of fun sized snickers and a box of tissues in hand, the doorbell rang.
“For you,” a delivery man said, holding out a long box that said 1-800-Flowers on the side. I dropped the Snickers, slammed the door in his face, ripped the box open, and found a dozen red roses nestled inside. A note accompanied them.
Thanks for the perfect weekend of running, laughing, and playing. I can’t believe this is real, and I can’t wait to see you again. I’ll call after my plane lands. Can’t wait to talk to you again.
My hands trembled. I blinked in disbelief and fell to the chair behind me. The letter, and the gorgeous crimson flowers with dark veins running through the petals, were from him, there was no doubt. But how could that be?
The scale of hotness never lies.
Shattering Old Beliefs
After 6 years of more gritty-faced runs, listening him say I love your beautiful face, wife and staring at his stubbled jaw, I’ve realized that the scale of hotness I judged myself by was never really a thing after all.
I created those rules and bounds in my own mind and then put them onto my perfect mate. (Don’t get me wrong—we’re not perfect at all. We’re imperfectly perfect, which is way better.) Out of a place of insecurity, I led myself to believe that no one could possibly love a girl that’s sometimes not functional, is abhorrent with fashion, forgets her phone and keys in the most random places, loves adventure, carries her own gun, hikes every day, and loves to laugh, simply because she’d believed in a cultural scale that said she didn’t measure up.
But the truth is the opposite: the scale of hotness existed in my own mind, and my worth has nothing to do with the size of my hips, the spread of my hair, or the fact that I sweat on hot days just like everyone else. Marrying Mr. Right didn’t even teach me that—I spent the first 5 years of my marriage believing myself to be inferior, when in truth I was just right. It took a lot of digging into belief systems I had in place that were false—and working with a professional—for me to see the truth.
That I’m just as hot as my husband, and just as imperfectly perfect.
If you’ve ever believed in the scale of hotness, let me shatter that one for you. Because here’s something I never understood at the time:
Looks don’t really matter.