On the number 35 bus to Norwich city centre recently, I was delighted when absolutely no good-looking students came over and sat in the seat next to me.
You’re probably thinking ‘what a saddo’. But while it was nice to be able to sit and look out of the window undisturbed, it wasn’t a surprise. At least, not for me.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve regularly been utterly ignored by attractive women I don’t know. Once, a well-dressed lady pushed in front of me in a train queue, while there was another occasion when a pretty barmaid completely failed to return my hopeful smile.
While I’m no John Sergeant, I’m of middling height, badly receding and, so I’m often told, an average-looking man. I know how unlucky I am. But there are upsides to being ugly – the main one being that other men love me for making them look good.
If you’re a man reading this, I’d hazard that you’ve already formed your own opinion about me. For while very few doors indeed have been opened (metaphorically) as a result of my looks, just as many have been literally opened – usually by locksmiths and doormen of my own sex.
I’m not smug and I’m no flirt, which is why over the years I’ve been trusted implicitly by countless friends who felt absolutely no threat if I was merely in the presence of their other halves. If their partners dared to actually talk to me, they would feel relieved that they could grab a cold beer and talk to someone about the cricket.
And it is just not happy husbands who have welcomed me into their lives. Secure female bosses have also been happy to promote me at work.
And most poignantly of all, not one girlfriend has ever asked me to be her bridesmaid.
You’d think we men would denigrate each other for taking very little pride in our appearances.
I don’t work at mine. I drink regularly, run intermittently, and constantly succumb to dry roasted peanuts. Fortunately, men find nothing more pleasing than an overweight 40-year-old being the least attractive man in the room. I find that older men are the most welcoming to ugly guys – perhaps because they feel their own bloom fading.
So now I’m 40 and probably one of the very few men entering his fifth decade welcoming the decline of my looks. I can’t wait for the wrinkles and total hair loss that will help me to look like an arthritic, dessicated Brian Eno.
Perhaps then the brotherhood will finally stop judging me so favourably on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.
I hope not.
- This article is a tribute to Samantha Brick.