This is a guest post from Darius Belejevas.
Growing up I was definitely on the wrong side of the “physical attractiveness spectrum”.
My earliest memories (and the ones that stuck with me most) about my looks were:
1. Being literally asked, “Hey you, a boy or a girl?”
To be fair when this happened I was ghostly pale, let my hair grow out (and didn’t manage it), and wore baggy, all black clothes, so I’m actually not surprised that the girl who said this was genuinely confused.
2. Every high schooler’s worst nightmare: seeing one of the hottest girls look at me, smile seductively and once I smiled back, it was followed by a spine-chilling “I’m not looking at you!”
Turns out there was an attractive guy just behind me. Well, fuck.
And that’s on top of all the other physical insecurities we all have when it comes to how we look. In my case that was crooked teeth, pimple-ridden skin, skinny-fat physique and small, girly hands to name a few.
You could think that with emotional baggage like this surrounding my body image, I was pretty much screwed when it comes to having any self-confidence and on a fast-track to starring in “40-Year Old Virgin 2: Worse Than Steve Carrell”.
So you might be wondering WTF HAPPENED?! When these are my current Tinder photos:
And as tempting as it would be to go for the “puberty gone right” meme, puberty has nothing to do with what you see in these photos (well, other than the subtly, but steadily receding hairline…)
Instead, it’s the result of nearly a decade worth of experimenting and learning about image, clothes and style (and a skilled photographer).
This journey of getting from one side of the “ugly <–> sexy” spectrum to the other, was one of the most rewarding, enlightening and (I know it doesn’t look like it) humbling experiences I ever had.
And with this article I would like to share with you the lessons I learned while on this path and the mindsets, which if implemented, will help you achieve similar or even more impressive physical transformation in your own life – and it won’t even need to take a decade.
1. Your Physical Attractiveness Is A Skill As Much As A Habit
I think the biggest misconception when it comes to physical attractiveness and looks is that it’s something you’re born with and if you weren’t lucky in the gene lottery – sucks to be you.
That’s actually not completely false.
Factors like skin color, facial features, height, etc. are indeed determined at birth (mostly) and you can’t really do anything about them. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Most attractive people are indeed attractive NOT because they lucked out in the gene lottery – this is especially true for both men and women who are in their late twenties, thirties and beyond – they are attractive because of the skills and habits they accumulated over the years.
To illustrate this point, let me share with you another photo:
Yup, this is me too.
I took this a few years ago, when I did an experiment to see what would happen if I stopped taking care of my appearance for just a few weeks. Add on top a shitty outfit and you see a guy, who couldn’t get laid with a beautiful woman even if his life depended on it.
And even when it comes to people who did luck out in the gene lottery and are attractive despite putting next to no effort into it, eventually they will look a lot worse than an “ugly” guy, who puts in effort and takes good care of himself for an extended period of time.
In other words:
• Learning to dress sexy, in a way that presents you in the most attractive light is a skill. Doing it on a daily basis is a habit.
• Knowing how to improve your physique: whether that’s losing weight or gaining muscle is a skill. Hitting the gym, working out for months and years is a habit.
• Building a daily skin-care routine, knowing what foods to eat/avoid for that natural “glow” is a skill. Actually taking good care of your skin day after day is a habit.
• Knowing how to choose a suitable hairstyle based on your facial features and how to style your hair is a skill. Doing it every time before going out is a habit.
When you actually learn those skills, implement the habits and let them work their magic over the long-term, you’ll one day wake up and realize that you’re a much, much more attractive man than you were just a few years ago.
That said, one of the biggest issues I see with unattractive guys is that they are convinced they have the required skills nailed, despite their lack of results. Then they claim that it doesn’t work, when in reality they simply suck at the skill.
Key takeaway: how you take care of yourself on a daily basis is more important than your luck in the gene lottery. If you’re not getting the results that you want with women and suspect that your physical attractiveness might be an issue, or part of the issue, be brutally honest with yourself if you really know what you’re doing (there’s no shame in admitting that you don’t, that’s the only way to get better).
2. We All Have Tremendous Control Over How Attractive We Look
I once had a guy come up to me while I was taking a breather outside the bar:
“You’re lucky, it’s easy for you when you look like this”
He must’ve seen me have fun with girls inside. And yes, it was easy.
But no, luck has nothing to do with it!
I looked at him again, he was a very average looking guy in all aspects: average height, average physique, average style.
And if he actually learned the skills we covered in the previous section, he could be a very attractive man. But instead of taking the responsibility for his appearance, he made the all-too-common mistake of writing it off as luck.
You might be doing the same thing as you’re reading this article:
“Yeah, Darius, but I’m short/bald/have big ears/big nose/etc. – it doesn’t matter if I learn to dress better”
That’s a fair objection and we’ll talk more about it in the next section, but for now let me show you this – just by changing the things that we all can control, we can significantly increase our attractiveness.
This is an experiment I did with a couple of friends to see how simply changing your outfits can affect not just perceived attractiveness but also perceived height!
TL;DW: From 6.14 to 8.24 on a 1 to 10 scale in attractiveness and 177 cm to 183 cm in perceived height.
Though looking back, I could’ve done a much better job with both the outfit and my grooming. Live and learn.
Key takeaway: even if you focus ONLY on the aspects of your appearance that are fully in your control (and that’s what you should do), you can significantly improve your attractiveness, regardless of everything else.
3. You’ll Never Be “Perfect” And That’s Perfect
One of the most damning pitfalls when it comes to our physical appearance and body image is the quest for perfection.
This is especially true among guys who have experienced how powerful transforming the way you look can be in our social interactions: when you go from being invisible to beautiful women, to having them checking you out, initiating flirting with you, chasing you.
It is then tempting to think that if only you do an even better job then maybe, just maybe, you can escape rejection and all the pains associated with it altogether.
But as tempting as it is, this is a dark road to take.
Because if you do, you’re risking your whole self-esteem riding on how attractive you think other people find you, and just like with having any external factor as grounds for your self-esteem (physical attractiveness, bank account, your lay count, how hot the women you’re sleeping with are, etc.), it can only lead to an emotional rollercoaster with one destination – discontent, doubt and misery.
There is, however, “a cure” for this – accepting our imperfections.
Whether that’s height, facial features, skin condition or whatever else we cannot really change, acknowledging and accepting those imperfections (denial is not the answer either) is the only way we can work towards improving our physical appearance without having our whole emotional well-being depending on it.
To illustrate this, let me share another photo. This one from a less flattering angle:
• You can see the receding hairline
• Weak, round jaw (and inability to grow full facial hair to compensate for it)
• Pale, sensitive skin
• Some old acne scaring
And that’s just the face ☺
I’m very well aware of my multiple imperfections and I don’t try to delude myself that they “don’t matter”, because when it comes to physical attractiveness it’s well documented that they do. And yes, sometimes I wish I could grow a full beard!
That said, I don’t let those imperfections define me. Just like you shouldn’t let things like your height or how much hair you have on your head define you.
There’s one more thing on this topic,
Remember that experiment surveying women to rate my attractiveness? Here’s two more enlightening points:
• With the first (shitty) outfit, the lowest score I got was 2 (!!!), the highest – 8
• With the solid (but not great) outfit, the lowest score was 7, the highest – 9.5
The point here is that even if we do everything right, we’ll never be everyone’s type. Different women prefer different types/images and the best we can do is tailor our image to attract the type of women THAT WE find the most attractive too.
Key takeaway: What we can and should do is work on the things that ARE in our control and accept our imperfections (both mental and physical) as they make us unique, they make us human. Once we accept that we will never be perfect, it will be a lot easier to accept that some women simply won’t find us that attractive and that’s fine too, as long as we can tailor our image to attract our own ideal type of women.
With that in mind, working on your physical attractiveness can actually be a great confidence builder!
4. Getting Hot Won’t Make You Confident But It Is A Confidence Builder
“I don’t remember you being so cool!” – said a girl with whom I essentially lived with a couple of years prior when she was my housemate’s girlfriend.
And no, I didn’t just magically become more confident, outgoing and “cool” in those two or so years.
I mean, yes, I WAS more confident, outgoing and “cool” than I was when I first met her (the bar for those qualities was set REALLY low) but it’s the way I got there that matters.
It wasn’t some magic-bullet inner game technique, NLP, a set of repetitive affirmations, nor was I “faking it, till I made it”.
You see, confidence was a big sticking point for me and once I tried every “magic technique” I could get my hands on and they failed to lead to any lasting change, I simply accepted that confidence is something that happens based on my previous experiences – failures and successes.
So my strategy was to focus on something I can control – for me it was how I look, how I dress, how I present myself to the world. (I know I’m getting a bit repetitive with the “focus on what we can control” theme, but it really is A BIG DEAL!)
And this is when things started to get interesting:
Even though just looking better, more attractive, provides a subtle boost in confidence (you can learn more about how the clothes we wear affect our behavior), it’s the accumulative feedback loop that actually made all the difference.
Let me explain,
If like me you didn’t really get a lot of attention from women growing up (and no, I don’t mean “mommy issues”), there’s this tingling feeling underneath that you NEED to do something special, to “game” women into them being attracted to you.
But once you significantly increase your physical attractiveness, you start realizing that you’re an attractive, desirable man even if you don’t do anything at all. You know that old cliché “just be yourself”? Turns out it can work as long as it means “your best, most attractive self”.
As I got better with my style, my image, my daily reality went from noticing women checking me out to them asking for MY number and to go on dates, heck, once a girl in a bar literally shoved her phone number down my jeans’ back pocket, while I had my hand around another girl. And it goes as far as getting random booty calls from women I barely spoke to (though to be fair that doesn’t happen that often).
And once you start accumulating those experiences, something starts to “click” in the brain and at a certain point you can’t help but start feeling simply confident because you know that despite any single outcome, you’re still an attractive, desirable man.
Here’s one more dirty little secret that nobody wants to talk about – people in general treat you a lot nicer when you look good.
If you want to learn how deep this rabbit hole goes, there’s a great book by Gordon L. Patzer “Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined”.
Key takeaway: forget focusing on “being confident”, focus on what you can control and let confidence come from experience.
5. Taking Good Care Of Yourself Is Not Shallow, It’s A Form Of Self-Respect
We live in an interesting time when we glorify physical attractiveness – impressive physiques, head-turning style, stylish grooming – but putting effort into looking attractive is still somehow taboo, unmanly and shallow.
As if we’re somehow supposed to look great without doing any work, otherwise it’s “try-hard”.
But as anyone who has made significant physique changes in the gym can attest, this shit doesn’t just happen: you hit the gym hard, you watch what you eat and if you do it correctly long enough you’ll have the results to show for it. No shortcuts.
I’ll admit, as a nerdy, awkward computer science student in university I got into learning about style and image for all the wrong reasons – I was insecure and simply wanted to get girls.
And hey, it worked.
But what happened over the years is that once the “get girls” part was covered in my life, my interest in these topics only increased as image became both a form of self-expression and self-respect.
Somewhere down this road I decided that this is the kind of man I want to be, one who takes good care of himself, one that minds how he presents himself to the world.
Just like I sharpen my mind by reading books and learning new skills, I put my best foot forward by learning to make the most out of my image, so that in the end, both my mind and my physical presence are up to the standards I set for myself.
How about you? Is your physical presence reflective of the type of man you are (or want to be) on the inside?
Key takeaway: increasing your physical attractiveness can do wonders when it comes to getting women, but in the end it’s about your self-respect as a man. There’s nothing “manly” about NOT taking good care of your image, that’s what boys do.
For the last few years as the author and men’s image consultant at Sexy Style for Joe I have worked with helping guys have physical transformations by focusing on their image, their style. And to this day the part that fascinates me the most is how even seemingly “average looking” guys can turn the tables and have the women chasing them, once they put in the work. It goes to show how rare of a skill it still is.
But just like “having game”, improving your physical attractiveness, your image, is not a magic bullet that will help you bed every woman you meet (duh!), it is a tool that you can decide to add to into your life to stack the odds in your favor and when you do – great things start to happen.
To illustrate, this is an e-mail I got just this morning as I am writing this:
With that, I’d like to thank you for your attention and if you’re interested in going down this road and have your own success story, I would like to offer you a great starting point – a free ebook “What Killed Your Sex Appeal? 5 Awful Image Mistakes That Men Make”