Authors: Alice Wasser
Confessions of an Ugly Girl
A novel by
Confessions of an Ugly Girl
© 2015 by Alice Wasser. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, incidents and places are the products of the authors’ imagination, and are not to be construed as real. None of the characters in the book is based on an actual person. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
For my “Sam,”
who always makes me feel beautiful
A woman over age 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married.
In 1986, that quote was in
They reported that at 40 years old, a never-married woman’s chances of ever getting married are
. A 40-year-old woman has a 1 in 40 chance of getting married. That sounds downright depressing if you’re a single woman in her thirties looking to walk down the aisle. Getting desperate, ladies?
That said, the chance of being killed by a terrorist is 1 in
. Terrorism is incredibly rare in America. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning, which has a 1 in 6000 chance of happening in your lifetime. But both are much less likely than getting married in your forties no matter how you look at it.
It doesn’t matter though. I’m pretty sure that my chances of getting married are just about zero. Getting struck by lightning while simultaneously being shot at by a terrorist is probably more likely to happen than me tying the proverbial knot.
I turned 33 years old last week. That makes me officially mid-thirties. I suppose I’m still
early thirties, but I feel like 32 was the last year that is decidedly early thirties. Right now, I’m just in a breakneck countdown to 40.
Remember when birthdays used to be fun? When it was actually part of the enjoyment to be getting one year older? I remember turning eight years old and thinking to myself how amazing it was to
be eight. That was the best part.
I think 18 was when I decided that I was old enough. I wasn’t especially looking forward to turning 19. There didn’t seem to be anything particularly exciting or more sophisticated about being older than 18. I decided 18 was the perfect age.
Except somehow, I just kept getting older.
I refused to celebrate age 33. It’s amazing I didn’t
the day. Actually, people have a 14% higher chance of dying on their birthday than on any other day, so it’s probably a good idea to stay in the house that day. I ended up watching a marathon of
on television. Alone. I also consumed an undisclosed quantity of ice cream.
Here’s the thing. There are plenty of amazing 30-something-year-old women who have a great chance of meeting a perfect guy and spending the rest of her life with him. (Actually, I heard that
article got discredited.) I’ve seen true love happen to my friends and I believe wholeheartedly that the majority of women who want to get married will end up doing it.
But I won’t. For one simple reason:
Just to be totally clear, I mean on the
, not on the inside. On the inside, I’m perfectly nice. I’m talking about my superficial appearance. What you see in a photograph or a mirror. My face, my body, etc. That’s what’s ugly.
I know what you’re going to say. You’ll say it doesn’t matter. You’ll say that the right guy will see my inner beauty.
(I’m not entirely certain that I have inner beauty. I’m nice, but I’m not exactly Mother Theresa. I don’t volunteer at soup kitchens or anything. When I see a homeless person, I usually try to avoid eye contact and cross the street if possible.)
Anyway, if you’ve ever met a human man in your life, you probably realize that a guy falling in love with you for your inner beauty is a complete crock.
According to Psychologists at UPenn, most men know within the first three seconds if they would have sex with another person. I have no idea what fun experiment resulted in this discovery, but I suspect it’s probably true. And three seconds is definitely not long enough to perceive any sort of inner beauty.
At this point, you must be getting curious as to what I look like. Maybe you think I’m exaggerating, that I couldn’t possibly be that bad. Do I have a hideously deformed face? Massive cauliflower ears or teeth jutting out at odd angles, threatening to impale my upper lip? Do I have a hump on my back and live at the top of the tower where my only friends are the rats?
No, I don’t. I’m not fairytale Quasimodo ugly. I mean, little kids don’t look at me and scream in terror. I’m just normal, everyday ugly. None of my features are anything special, and the ones that stand out only do so because they’re veering on the side of unattractive. I could stand to lose 20 pounds. Hell, I could stand to lose 50 pounds.
But if I lost 50 pounds, I still wouldn’t be pretty. So I may as well enjoy my Big Mac at McDonald’s. I love Big Macs. And those french fries… how do they make them so delicious?
Now that you’ve read all this and I’ve made my big confession, I’m hoping you still want to keep reading. After all, people don’t seem incredibly excited to read the innermost thoughts of ugly girls. I know
was very popular and she was supposedly overweight, but let’s face it, she was actually gorgeous. She was just
ugly. Nobody is all that interested in
unattractive women. Haven’t you noticed when you read the paper and there’s a story about a woman who went missing, she’s always incredibly hot? Nobody really cares much when ugly girls go missing.
(Well, except for the police. I hope.)
The reason I’m keeping this diary in the first place is because I want to prove that being ugly and being single is not the end of the world. My life is still good. I don’t need to get married in order to be happy.
Three cheers for the successful single woman!
The key to success at being a single female is having a good job.
The median salary for a woman in this country is $40,000 per year. I don’t want to brag about my salary, but I do quite a bit better than that. I make enough money to cover the rent for my one-bedroom apartment in Silicon Valley, my car expenses, food, entertainment expenses, with enough left over to contribute 10% of my salary to my 401(k) and tuck quite a bit into my savings account. I’m not rolling in it or anything, but I’m very comfortable. Without a man.
You might have noticed my affinity for statistics. I’ve always been obsessed with probability, and it’s something I use all the time at my job. I work as an actuary.
What the hell is
Being an actuary is all about calculating risk. You’ve got a 45-year-old healthy man who has never been in a car accident and drives a red Audi... what do you charge him for car insurance in order to make a profit but still be competitive with other insurance companies? Most people could probably make some sort of guess at the answer based on their own insurance rates, but it’s up to me to come up with an exact number, down to the dollar and the cents. I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.
So if you’re pissed off that your insurance rates are too high, it’s probably my fault. Sorry.
My job is perfect for me. I mostly spend my day sitting in front of the computer and about 90% of my interactions occur through email. Occasionally, I’m forced to go to a meeting. If that happens, I just sit in the board room silently and suppress the urge to play a game on my iPhone.
My desk is inside of a cubicle. I’ve been at this company for ten years, and I’m “in charge” of several people, but apparently that’s not long enough to have earned myself an actual
. I don’t even have one of the cubicles that’s next to a window. If you want one of those, you have to be able to schmooze with whoever it is that assigns cubicles.
(Recently, I’ve noticed that the most attractive women in the office have the window-adjacent cubicles. Just saying.)
The best thing about my cubicle is that I’m right next to my best friend, Donna Matthews. She and I started working at the company the same year, and we bonded right away. The first few years we worked here, we used to go out for drinks or movies or whatever several times a week. Then she met her husband three years ago, and it hasn’t really been the same. But at least she hasn’t had a baby yet. I’m pretty sure that will be the end of our friendship.
When I got to work this morning, Donna was waiting for me, gripping a piping hot styrofoam cup of coffee in her hand. Donna spends the first 30 minutes of every day drinking coffee. Although it’s technically possible to drink coffee and do work simultaneously, Donna appears to devote all of her energy to coffee consumption during this period of time.
Then again, I do the same thing. I’m pretty useless without my coffee.
“Did you get any responses over the weekend?” Donna pressed me.
At first I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I remembered that on Friday afternoon, she got bored and came over to my cubicle to convince me to set up an online dating profile. I was reluctant, to say the least.
Then Donna pointed out that I hadn’t been on a date in at least six months. I responded by telling her that the average single person hasn’t been out on a date in
, so I am completely normal or even
social than average. (Ha ha.) Then she pointed out that one in four people meet their spouses on an online dating site, and those marriages tend to be less likely to result in divorce. I told her to leave me alone and let me do my work.
I honestly can’t remember how she wore me down. I think it had something to do with the donuts she brought me from the break room. I can’t say no to Krispy Kreme.
“I got nothing,” I told her. “Nobody’s interested in me. Even guys who have never met me.”
Donna rolled her eyes. “Maybe you would have gotten more responses if you let me take a decent photo of you.”
Armed with the data that men are more likely to respond to women on an online dating services who post a photograph, Donna insisted that we take a picture of me. I tried to explain that the data was probably derived from women who are
, but she wouldn’t listen.
Donna had whipped out her phone and started snapping candid photos of me sitting in my cubicle. She took about 20 photos and they were all terrible. They were even terrible for
. I don’t know if it was the lighting or what, but I looked about 50 years old. Donna told me I had to loosen up, so she suggested I drink my coffee or eat my donuts for the shots. The coffee-and-donut-photos didn’t come out any better than the non-coffee-and-donut photos.
I even tried taking a few selfies, but I’ve realized that nobody over the age of 16 looks good in a selfie. It just made my nose look gigantic and emphasized the bags under my eyes.
Donna then suggested taking a picture of me sucking on a lollipop, and I told her I’d really had enough.
We finally settled on a photo where I was halfway turned and shrouded in darkness. It was not a great picture, but I thought it probably wouldn’t make anyone cringe. But apparently, it didn’t get anyone to send me a message either.
“It’s not a big deal, Donna,” I told her. “Like I said, I’m not looking for dates right now.”
Donna sighed dramatically. I don’t know why she’s so interested in my social life anyway. She’s constantly trying to scheme ways to get me dates or set me up. Honestly, she’s worse than my mother.
(No, that was mean. Nobody is worse than my mother.)
could find a decent guy, Millie,” Donna said, “I’m sure you can too.”
It goes without saying that Donna isn’t any kind of beauty queen herself. Ugly girls don’t make friends with gorgeous women. I know there’s that whole theory about “the ugly friend,” but the reality is that the ugly friend is never more than 20% less attractive than the pretty friend.
The reality is that people tend to befriend other people who are similar in attractiveness to themselves. I could never be friends with a supermodel. That would be like a beaver befriending a lion. Which would be crazy, not just because they’re two different species, but also because a beaver is endemic to North America and lions are found in Africa. Also, the lion would probably eat the beaver.
Do you see what I’m saying?
Donna might not be beautiful, but she’s okay looking. I wouldn’t say she’s ugly. She’s average. Wearing make-up, sometimes she even looks pretty. Also, her husband is sort of an asshole. I think I’d rather be single than have to live with an asshole.
(Don’t tell her I said her husband is an asshole.)
“Maybe I’ll get a response this week,” I said, mostly to appease Donna. The truth is, if I could remember my password, I’d probably delete my profile right now.
While I was at work today, my computer exploded.
Not quite, but it did crash quite spectacularly. I was just doing my business in an Excel spreadsheet and all of a sudden… blackness. Not even a blue screen of death. Black screen… then… a single line of hieroglyphics across the screen. And I hadn’t even hit “save” before it happened.