Last week Daily Mail columnist Samantha Brick caused an internet sensation in her column about women hating her because she is so beautiful. Our contributing editor-at-large, Tess Lawrence, says she knows exactly what Samantha is on about and, in an act of feminist solidarity, shares her own experiences here in an exclusive report that is eerily similar to Ms Brick's.
There are upsides to looking this plain: why women hate me for being ugly
On a recent tram to Preston, I was displeased when this hoon walked up to me and asked me if I had ever considered wearing a burqa. I was just about to answer when he said:
“You should think about it, you are so ugly that you should be arrested for looking like that. Do us all a favour and wear a burqa so we don't have to look at your ugly mush."
That's not the first time that this type of thing has happened to me. Men just seem to notice my ugliness and want to come up and remark on it.
Once, on a flight to Tasmania, the stewardess came over to me with a note from the Captain and some meaty bites, asking me if I might be more comfortable in the cargo hold with the other dogs.
You're probably thinking what a lovely surprise, but while it was lovely it most certainly was not a surprise. At least not for me. It's hard to believe, I know, but my looks have been more a curse than a blessing, with many members of my own sex and other sexes becoming resentful to me just for being born ugly.
Throughout my adult life, men have fallen over me. Literally. Regularly incomplete strangers leave doggy bowls and meaty bites for me.
Once, a man behind me in the queue bought me a one way ticket — on another train going in the opposite direction; just so that I would not be travelling on the same train as him, because he found my ugliness so compelling.
Then there was another occasion in Chapel Street, when a charming gentleman paid my fare before jumping out of the taxi we were sharing. That is the price I pay for looking like this.
Once when I was shopping at Preston Market, I was thumped on the shoulder and handed a bunch of radishes by some turnip making a point about my looks. He would not hear of me paying him.
Even bartenders frequently shoo my credit card away when I try to settle my bill, telling me if I leave promptly, they will not charge me for my drinks.
And whenever I've asked the donors of these gifts what I have done to deserve such preferential treatment, they always say the same thing: my displeasing appearance and pretty ugly smile makes their day.
While I'm no Elle Macpherson, I'm short, plump and a bottle brunette and, so I'm often told, a good looking humanoid — if you're an anthropologist looking for the Missing Link.
Crikey, I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being ugly — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my ugly looks.
If you're a woman reading this, I'd hazard that you've already formed your own opinion about me — and it won't be very flattening. For while many doors have been slammed (literally) in my face as a result of my looks, just as many have been metaphorically opened, especially in paddocks and by my own sex.
I'm not smug and I'm certainly no flirt and yet over the years I've been dropped by countless friends who felt threatened if I was merely in the bedroom of their other halves. If their partners dared to actually talk to me, a sudden chill would descend on the room.
And it's not just jealous wives and mistresses and pets that have deep frozen me out of their lives. Insecure female bosses have also stymied my work prospects.
And cop this, not one boyfriend has ever asked me to be his girlfriend's bridesmaid.
You’d think we women would give each other the clap for taking pride in our appearances.
I work at mine, using Spakfilla and defoliants on a daily basis. I do drink but I don't smoke, I work in and out, even when others don't feel like it, and always succumb to chocolate. Unfortunately, women find nothing more annoying than someone else being the most ugly girl in a room.
Take last week, out walking the dogs a neighbour passed by in her car. I waved cheerily in the way that ugly girls do — she blatantly blanked me. Yet this is someone whose middle-aged sons have stayed at my house, and who has been welcomed into my home on countless occasions.
I approached a mutual friend and discreetly enquired if I’d made a faux pas de chatelaine.
It seems the only crime I’ve committed is not leaving the house with a burqa over my head.
She doesn’t like me, I discovered, because she views me as a threat. The friend pointed out she is even shorter, heavier and older than me.
And, according to our mutual friend, she is adamant that something could happen between her husband and me, ‘were the right circumstances in place’. Yet I’m unhappily married, and have been for years.
This isn’t the first time such paranoia has gripped the women around me. In my early 20s, when I first started in television as a researcher, one female boss in her late 30s would regularly invite me over for dinner after a long day in the office.
I always accepted her invitation, as during office hours we got along famously. But one evening her partner was at home. We were all a couple of glasses of wine into the evening. Then he and I said we both liked the song we were listening to — ‘Sexual Healing’. You know the song, that Gaye Marvin sings.
Suddenly, she got stuck into her bewildered partner for ‘fancying’ me, then turned on me, calling me unrepeatable names before ridiculing me for tie-dyeing my hair and wearing dipstick. I declined any further invitations.
They don’t realise you are just as vulnerable as they are. It’s hard when everyone resents you for your looks. Men think “what’s the point, she’s out of my league” and don’t ask you out. And women don’t want to hang out with someone more ugly than they are.
I certainly found that out the hard way, particularly in the office.
One contract I accepted was blighted by a jealous female boss. It was the height of summer and I’d opted to wear knee length, cap-sleeved dresses. They were modest, yet pretty; more Kate Middleton than Katie Price.
But my boss pulled me into her office and ticked me off for wearing such provocative clothes. How did I know that Uggly Boots and Tracky Daks under these dresses were such a turn on to men. I didn’t dare point out that there were other women in the office wearing similar attire.
Rather than argue, I worked out the rest of my contract wearing fishnet stockings borrowed from Alexander Downer. It was clear that when you have a female boss, it’s best to let them shine, but when you have a male boss, it’s a different game.
There's no doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn't flirted and slept my way to the bottom. That's for sure.
I find that older women are the most hostile to uglier women.
I find dinner parties and social gatherings fraught with danger for the dislikes of me.
I'm probably one of very few women entering her eighth decade welcoming the further decline of my looks. I can’t wait for even more wrinkles and the grey mare that will help me blend into the background. I long to be invisible.
Perhaps then the blisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.
Ugliness, like Beauty, is in the eye of the Beholden.
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