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Truly Ugly People

Truly Ugly People

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One night I found myself reading an article that I wasn't sure if it was for real or a joke. It was about a dating site that cancelled members who became "fatties" after eating too much over the holidays. In disbelief that such a thing could really exist, I went to check it out. I certainly wasn't going to register and become a member, so the only way to look around was to click on the "Too ugly to sign up?…Click here to browse as a guest" link.

The only criteria for registration is how you lookUnfortunately, this site was no joke. The only criteria for registration is how you look. And you can't even join unless you are voted beautiful by members who look at your picture! They actually make it clear that they have a "strict ban on ugly people."

Meanwhile, this is a dating site! What kind of long-term relationship can be achieved by people willing to join and pay for a dating site where their only qualification is that they are physically attractive?

There is no doubt that physical attraction is important and vital in a healthy relationship. But as many of us know, attraction can grow or fade based on what is inside. A friend once told me that after her first date with her now-husband, he wasn't sure he wanted to date her further. He just couldn't stand how ugly her glasses were. Fortunately, someone pointed out to him that glasses can always be replaced and that he should give it another shot. Later, when he announced his engagement, that same friend asked what happened to her glasses, to which he replied, "What glasses?"

Traditionally, on Friday nights, men recite a poem from Proverbs, a Woman of Valor, (Eshet Chayil) in honor of their wives. One of its final verses reads: Sheker hachein v'hevel hayofee... "Grace is false and beauty is vain, but a woman who has awe for G‑d, she should be praised."

Attraction can grow or fade based on what is insideOn the most external level, we understand that more important than what is on the outside is what is on the inside. A pretty face with nothing behind it is worthless.

But there is more to it. Both the words for false, "sheker," and vain, "hevel," contain the letters within them to form quite different words. If what you are solely focusing on in a relationship is external grace, it will lead you to falsehood. If you care for the one who knows how to talk the talk but not walk the walk, the end result will be disappointing and empty. Whereas if you know how to refocus, how to re-read and put the emphasis in a different direction, those very same letters that make up the word sheker also form the word kesher, meaning "connection."

When we meet someone, we determine, based on the qualities we value and where we place our emphasis, whether we have a chance at a true bond, a real and meaningful connection, or if it will remain purely superficial and thereby false.

So too, for vanity, hevel, which is how the verse describes beauty. When one judges a book by its cover and never takes the time to even browse what is within, the whole basis of the relationship is in vain. Whereas again, with some refocusing and willingness to recognize and search for the most important qualities for a sustaining and lasting relationship, you might just be able to take the letters that form hevel and form the word halev, the heart. After all, more important than the face and youthful looks that will diminish with time, is the heart, which should only grow and expand.

Finding your soulmate is not an easy matter. Not for us, and not even for our Creator. The Talmud relates that it is harder for G‑d to make match a man and a woman than it is for Him to split the sea. For after all, bringing opposing and different characteristics together is always more difficult than breaking them apart. But think how much harder we make the job when we don't even let ourselves look for the right things or in the right places!

Bringing opposing and different characteristics together is more difficult than breaking them apartSo back to this website that I had the unfortunate experience of wasting three minutes of my life on... More specifically, to all those "fatties" that recently got kicked off because they no longer meet the site's requirements… Whether or not they realize it, this was a blessing, and not even one in disguise.

Maybe, just maybe, by being judged so harshly for their appearance, they will come to learn that looks really aren't everything. And maybe they will even start seeing themselves for who they really are and who they truly can be.

Funny enough, it could just be their misguided vanity and falsehood that will now lead them to a new focus, one which will be based on a true connection of the heart and mind, and not just a pretty face!

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the co-director of Interinclusion, a nonprofit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org, and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Anonymous January 24, 2016

very nice very good article:) very interesting:) Reply

Wayne US, Indiana November 13, 2014

Solomon wrote in the proverbs that a beatiful women who is without dicretion is comparable to a diamond that has been stuffed into the snout of a swine.

that being said, there are a lot of female and male "beautiful people" walking around enjoying easy living simply because of their outer appearance, but I would bet that 90% are truly unhappy individuals, and probably have never been. Reply

F New York, NY November 7, 2010

There are things ANYONE can do!! to make an elegant, put-together impression, no matter what nature did to you. The first step: pure white teeth from the cosmetic dentist - plastic bonding. It's harmless, non-invasive. This REALLY helps your life. Next, intelligent skin care, and then make-up. These are not necessarily expensive: old favourites that work are in any drugstore. ASK questions. A professional make-up at Lancome is good- for eye makeup, lipstick. Then, the big thing: a synthetic-hair, shoulder-length smooth-bob, WIG. Your figure comes LAST. Your HEAD is what counts, face and hair. Dress very simply, in matte-finish black clothes, black opaque tights. New hair is everything! Try glowing medium brown, or rich dark brown, or blond that is not too yellow. Search. Shop. Nobody has to be defined as "ugly". We CAN make a crisp, organized impression, with good taste, effort. It will become second nature. You will not be exhausted or broke. It's only hard at the beginning. Say, "what anybody could do, I have DONE". Reply

Cyndi NY, NY February 11, 2010

to "let's be real here.." I feel for you.. and it seems to me that you have been dealt a really difficult hand. you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I truly do care. yes, it may be easy for me to say.. but it is so terrible that we can and do make others feel worthless based upon how someone looks. i am there for you. Reply

Lori Covington Port Medway, NS Canada February 11, 2010

Reply to Let's Be Real Here I woke up thinking about you. You might think you're ugly, but it's your heart that counts. A smart man chooses his wife because of her heart. (The trick--find the smart man!) Also, if people are actually calling you ugly then you are surrounded by ugly people, and I am sorry. Ill-mannered people are ugly. Love is not only for pretty people-it transcends the physical. Better one loving friend than a thousand admirers! Love comes when someone appreciates your soul. And beauty is never a guarantee of being loved. Even being married, being a parent is no guarantee of being loved. I'm not going to say that being homely is a blessing, but it instantly tells friend from foe. Cleans the chaff from the grain, shows others' coarseness and cruelty or their fineness of spirit. The right man might be one in a million-- so what? Meet a million of 'em. Don't let it grind you down; take refuge in your friends & in doing what matters. Real beauty isn't found in the face & love knows that. Reply

Karen Bowie, Md February 10, 2010

Truly Ugly People I think the truly ugly people are people who take opposite extremes in the value of beauty. It's just as vain to do nothing to yourself (devalue or neglect your appearance) as it is to overvalue your appearance. For example, what is wrong with adding a little color to your face for emphasis or taking care of your skin? It is the first line of defense against disease.

I. too believe all women are beautiful so I don't feel competitive or jealous if I think someone is better looking than I am. But then a rose is not more beautiful than a daffodil, it's a matter of personal preference.

The truly ugly people are the people who care too much and the people who care too little. Even plainness can have a beauty and elegance that seems other worldly.

I've talked to many a person who think I'm ugly yet I look at my pictures in the past----I see a very beautiful radiant woman----some people try to hurt people out of spite and a competitious spirit, too. I Have other values over externals. Reply

Kimmiejo Salisbury, NC February 10, 2010

I agree I actually don't use the dating sites because I actually want to have interaction with the person I 'm thinking about going out with. I don't base a book by its' cover, you might miss out on someone wonderful. So to all those sites I say " Get a Life". Obviously they don't have one or else they wouldn't feel the need to pass judgment on others. To all you no skinny as rail chicks, keep on loving what the good Lord gave you. Reply

Anonymous Houston, Texas February 9, 2010

Lets be Real here... The reality of life is that some of us ARE ugly physically and have beautiful personalities. I am one of those people. The following I posted on a sister site:

I don’t believe in love at first sight. I am the only adult sibling of all of my parents’ children that is not married or a parent. Yet, I am the oldest. I’ve come to realize that I am just a physically ugly person. I am called “Ugly” at least once every week by complete strangers. In English, Spanish, German, Russian, and even Yiddish. I am just not physically attractive. That is something hardly anyone acknowledges as a reason for singlehood…Sometimes guys just think YOU’RE UGLY and there is nothing (Short of painful and expensive surgery) that can change that. In my world I don’t have relationship love. I don’t believe that it exists for me and other Ugly girls. If you’re not attractive to men….all the help in the world will not help. Reply

Lori Covington Port Medway, NS Canada February 9, 2010

Dating Site Maybe it's a good thing that people who only value external looks only date each other: they are saving everyone else the disappointment of being found "lacking" by someone who has so little to offer. Physical beauty is a funny thing, though. When I first met my husband, I had regained my health by swimming every day--I was in great shape and confident in my looks (at least as much as I've ever been). But years after we were married, he told me he had been terrifically put off by my chlorine-bleached, strawlike head of hair. It had never occurred to me, in my quest for a fit body that my hair had become a major detriment to my looks! (Fortunately, my *great* personality helped my husband overlook my crunchy, awful hair :-) Reply

Anonymous Oklahoma City, OK February 8, 2010

Re-Truly Ugly People This is so significant--and it is frightening because that is how far our society has fallen from basic human decency: Unapolagetic regard for appearances only. It reminds me of the story of Rachel and Leah. It makes me wonder how Leah must have hurt knowing that she was regarded as a disapointment by her husband. It makes me wonder what effect this had on Rachel's ego. Did it make her feel compassion for her "plain" sister--or contempt. I believe that beauty radiates from within--and I have always imagined Leah as being so beautiful in ways that a coarse person does not discern readilly. Ways that come from deep in the soul of a woman. Finally, I believe that ALL WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL. Each and every one of us. If there are those who say that some of us are not, then they are to be pitied...because G*d is the one who looks into the heart and sees beauty or ugliness--and what "american idol" and hollywood say matters not in the least! Reply

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