"Excuse me, are you a model?" The golden-haired wrinkly woman asked as we exited the plane and walked through the gate. My burst of laughter mixed with mild confusion answered her question. "Oh, I was just wondering because you're gorgeous." Please, don't feel bad if you also had a similar burst of laughter mixed with mild confusion. Sure, she might've been an older woman looking for some younger man lovin', or perhaps she just actually thought I was gorgeous and felt compelled to tell me. Either way, the words 'model' and 'gorgeous' have not been found much in the lexicon of ways to describe my looks.
In fact, I've probably spent way too much time exploring all my negative physical attributes: big nose with seemingly permanent blackheads, ears that stick out that I've had to start grooming since passing 30, bug eyes, moles, eyebrows that don't match due to an irresponsible barber, space between front teeth, patchy facial hair that rules out a stylish goatee, more moles. And after 35 years, I've recently just noticed that the right side of my face slopes downwards as though I have Bell's palsy. I got hired to work at the Olympics in Sochi and had to provide a head and shoulders photograph of myself for the accreditation. I must've taken fifty pictures, all with a crooked mouth I never noticed before. The flesh machine is certainly breaking down faster than I thought it would.
If I was to be honest, I never really felt attractive to the opposite sex. Whenever I gain a bit of confidence in my looks, there's one of those tall strapping men to remind me of my place. I think it'll take a special woman to want to walk into a room with me, a very secure woman who can ignore the looks and the pulsing of thoughts that say, "What is SHE doing with HIM?"
In a myriad of ways, I've attempted to compensate for my physical drawbacks. Probably overcompensated, working hard at making myself such an interesting person. Well-traveled, well-read, thoughtful, caring, supportive. Try to dress reasonably well. The problem is that these attributes only go so far. At some point, in some way, the lack of a physical attraction spells out a doomed relationship. If it ain't there, if she can't ignore the pulsing thoughts, if those thoughts are even a thought, she will wake up one morning and say to herself, "What am I doing with HIM?"
Now, I ain't looking for sympathy or searching for pity. I'd say I'm middle of the road in the looks department. There are others that have it harder than me in this regard. I really do believe that physical attractiveness is essential in a relationship. Seems like an obvious statement, I know. But we communicate physically just as much as verbally. If you can't converse with someone, the relationship can't work. Same with physical attractiveness.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, if I have this rather negative view of myself, I'm projecting that out to the world. Really, it's just the reality of the situation. But for a few minutes at least, after that woman called me gorgeous, I actually did feel like a model and strutted through the airport. Don't worry, by the time I got outside, maybe five minutes later, I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a window and came back down to earth.