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I have no illusions about myself: I’m never going to be a male model, have an Adonis body, or generally be a guy that women think about when they’re lonely at night. I don’t have a “fall aesthetic” or any type of aesthetic. I am unashamedly a card-carrying member of the “button-down and jeans” crew. My pregame ritual for going out ranks somewhere between blow-drying my hair to smelling a shirt to see if it’s good enough to wear. In terms of pure, superficial attractiveness, I’d say I’m right in the meat of that bell curve: not falling behind, but not showing off either.
However, during my “Summer of Josh,” I endeavored to get in better shape and maximize my attractiveness heading into cuffing season. To my great displeasure, I started running. My entire diet was overhauled to the extent that I hadn’t eaten a hamburger until just last weekend after a bout of day-drinking got the better of me. I also started following Youtube channels and blogs about men’s fashion and grooming. I did exercises to improve my posture, improve my charisma, and make myself look and feel better. But through all of this research, all of these attempts to improve my look, I’ve discovered something: being good looking is hard goddamn work.
Like seriously, to be in ridiculously good shape, you need to be incredibly active and disciplined regarding your diet. The websites and programs I looked to for inspiration talked a lot about macros and healthy fats, advising me to give up just about anything that wasn’t fresh produce, quinoa, kale, or lean meat. After a while, that limited a diet becomes a struggle, especially for someone like me who isn’t the greatest chef. I can only slow cook chicken and ground turkey so many ways, and it requires a pretty big investment of time in terms of prep and actual cooking. It’s really disappointing to drop so much effort and energy into something that is on par, if not worse than something that would cost you $12 at Chipotle.
The same sort of issue applies when it comes to hair and skin care. In my summer of attempting to look better, I grew to appreciate what you ladies go through every day to look so stunning. Moisturizing, blow-drying, conditioning, it was all too much for me. And that’s a toe dip into the waters of what girls do every single day. It also felt just so pointless and complicated; no matter how many ways I teased my hair, it all ended up basically the same. And to get a high-quality trim at a barber shop, I might have to plunk down more than $50! I had to ask myself: why do that for no guarantee my hair is going to look the way I want it when the place down the street has been keeping my hair looking average for $15 a pop?
And speaking of price, we get to fashion. Holy hell. No one told me how expensive it is to have nice clothes. I spent most of my early to mid 20s shopping out of J. Crew Factory and Uniqlo. The idea that I might have to spend upwards of $75 on a shirt was borderline heresy. I’m not trying to sound super cheap here, but what if I spend all that money on a shirt and it just doesn’t look good on me? Now I gotta go through all the hassle of sending it back for a refund 6-8 weeks later. And please don’t tell me to go to a mall and try on the clothes. First, I have no idea what I would do in a mall, second, that day sounds like the 6th circle of hell.
In addition, I’m just not that adventurous when it comes to fashion. Other guys are talking about outfits and aesthetics, but I have no idea what looks good or doesn’t. I don’t really care what I’m wearing in most circumstances as long as I look good and it’s comfortable. I’ve never gotten a tailored suit simply because I don’t think I’d look much better than a suit that fits off the rack. Jeans and button-downs work because they generally look good at all times, they’re safe picks. To go outside of that comfort zone, experimenting with other, more sophisticated looks, isn’t worth the effort and money because I have no clear idea of what I’m looking for that suits my body and style.
If this all comes off as me saying I don’t care how I look, please know that is not true. I do care how I look, and I want to look good. It just seems that the amount of effort, time, money, and energy that goes into looking attractive far outweighs the resulting metamorphosis. I’m also a bit colored because I don’t really know how to accomplish the goal. If I knew that putting in all the time and effort would definitely make me look better, and not just sort of the same, I’d be much more gung-ho. Instead, I envision a world where I put all that in and come out of the other side still not being that happy with my appearance.
So bless all you people out there who put in all that work, day in and day out, to look so amazing. Truly, you guys deserve all the compliments and looks you get, because I now know that I am just not cut out for it. And if you’re like me, upset that you’re not one of the beautiful people, I hope I’m not discouraging you. On the contrary, know that you’re not alone. There are a lot of us who just don’t have it in us to be thin and attractive..