DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve been reading your website articles for some time and I would firstly like to thank you for the advice I’ve been seeing on here. This has given me an idea of where to start and thanks to it I have been able to get 3 dates and one short term relationships from it.
The reason I am emailing though mostly deals with how I look. I have read a handful of your articles dealing with the belief that being ugly comes from dysmorphia (Or even mental self-harm as you put it in one of your archives) and I’m willing to admit that maybe I have this.
My problem however stems from the fact that I have an objectively weak chin and weak jaw. While nobody has commented on it directly when I asked some in my family or even my doctor they agreed it’s recessed slightly, the jaw is not flat from the bottom, and the angles aren’t visible whatsoever. I have a bit of fat/skin around my neck, jaw, and potentially my cheeks that cause this. I have attempted to grow a beard but I can’t, only very weak facial hair. I’m 21 and while I have had said experience they never worked out. My relationship was not a match and the other 3 dates weren’t either (I should add that two of them were with women who are unattractive due to weight issues while I’m decently fit).
I have had some women such as in my family and close friends say I’m not ugly but at the same time I don’t really get attention from women such as looks when I’m walking around or hints of flirting and dating apps haven’t gotten me average women at all and even before this I have never known or heard of anyone having a crush on me such as when I was in high school or living at college.
Essentially I want to ask this: does a jawline really matter? Can I as someone with a weak jaw actually find my special someone? I haven’t really been able to find a solid answer in terms of examples of men with weak jaws, or studies, or really answers from women that I’m close with either than the typical “beauty is subjective, you’re not ugly” In many articles you have implied that looks can essentially made secondary by personality or confidence but because of my less than desirable experience and the fact that men around me who have more defined look to their chin and jaw I feel like I can only conclude that it’s my face that’s the issue as I have done gym, clothing, hair styling, and am pretty tall and as previously mentioned fit but not bulky.
But despite that I don’t really get attention. I am willing to admit that maybe I’m overestimating how much my chin is affecting me or that maybe my confidence is weighted down by my self-awareness but I truly don’t know.
I apologize for the wall of text (and the fact that this is likely a repeat question) I thank you for reading this.
DEAR LOWER THIRDS: First thing I want you to do, LT, is get the hell off whatever Reddit boards and incel forums you’ve been reading.
The second thing I want you to do is to Google a picture of actor Robert Z’dar and bow down before your new god.
But more seriously: I want you to do is to take a long, hard look at your letter and start paying attention to all the points where your issues are ultimately self-inflicted. You’re doing a thing that a lot of guys do: you’re taking a small thing that nobody but you has noticed or really cares that much about and you’re making it into your defining problem.
This is pure insecurity talking; your supposed “flaw” means you’re that you’re not “perfect” and you need to be “perfect” or else nobody would love you. Except, y’know – all those people out there with soft jaws or weak chins who have still managed to date, marry, have kids and generally get by despite not looking like a movie star.
I mean, my dude: you start your letter by mentioning how you have to really work to see whether your jawline is weak or not and talk about how nobody has ever really mentioned it before. If it takes your bringing it up first before anyone says anything, then yes, the odds are good that the only person who’s really hung up on this is you.
The issue here is primarily that you’re making assumptions based on something you already have a hang-up over, not based on facts. You have a sample size of four women, all of whom were not good matches and two that you didn’t find attractive; that’s not indicative of anything other than “these were not good matches for you”. The rest of it comes down to assumptions based on literally nothing – as in, you’re not getting verbal or social confirmation from random women about your attractiveness.
Here’s the thing though: even if you were Brad Pitt, you’d be waiting a long time for women to spontaneously comment on your looks or attractiveness – even in the far-flung future of 2024, women are socialized to not give compliments on the looks of men they don’t know well, lest those dudes assume a hell of a lot more interest than is actually there.
But let’s look at it this way: you’ve had four women who’ve wanted to go on dates with you and one who was willing to strike up a relationship with you. Be honest with me: if they told you they thought you were attractive – and presumably they did, enough to date you – would you accept it as being sincere and accurate? Or would you brush it off as not being “real”… especially since you found some of them to be unattractive?
I would also point out: you’ve had multiple people – people you presumably trust – tell you that no, you’re not ugly and no, your jaw and chin aren’t a problem. Are they lying to you? Are they just trying to make you feel better because reasons? Or do you not believe them because you’re wed to this idea and you can’t let yourself believe that it’s not true?
And if I were to point out different people who are successfully partnered up despite not having Bruce Campbell’s lantern jaw, how many other aspects would you point to as being the reason why they’re successfully partnered? Because hey, congratulations: you’ve just successfully proven that there’re other aspects to being attractive than your brow-to-jaw ratio.
I would also point out that all the things that you’ve said should make you attractive are purely physical, which is why it must be your jawline (that nobody else in your life seems to notice or care about) is the problem. But hey, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s that you think that physicality is the only thing. Or that you’re walking around radiating insecurity and low self-esteem, meaning that not only will you not see signs of interest (you already believe you’re unattractive, so confirmation bias ensures that you wouldn’t recognize them or believe them if you saw them) but you’re coming to every interaction with women from a position of apologizing for your interest in them in the first place and hoping that you can work your way to neutrality if not actual attraction.
That’s far less appealing than an underbite or softer jawline.
Now, if you’re going to stay convinced that the problem is your jawline, well, there’re lots of folks out there who’ll be very happy to sell you all sorts of quackery and “solutions”, from literal chew toys to surgical realignment and enhancement. But I’m here from the future to tell you that, like the incels who went in for cosmetic surgery, you’re just going to wake up with less money and the same problems.
You can do all the jaw exercises you want (they won’t help), get targeted lipo on your cheeks, or jaw implants or do whatever other options are going to be marketed to you, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to be happy because the call’s coming from inside the house.
Incidentally, about your beard? You’re 21 dude. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that, like most 21 year olds, you didn’t give your beard much time to grow in before you threw your hands up and shaved it off in shame. You need to give it a solid three to four months before you throw your hands up and say you can’t grow facial hair. A couple weeks is really not going to be enough, especially at your age – you’re not likely to hit prime facial-hair growth until you’re in your mid-20s. But regardless: most ‘patchy’ beards are usually fixed with time. Give it about 120 days before you declare whether you can grow a lush facial forest or not.
If you’re worried that your looks aren’t enough – they’re almost certainly fine, but let’s just go with it – then cultivate other attractive aspects, work towards being your best holistic self and work from there. If you need a starting point, try learning how to cook; women love men who can make an incredible meal.
But as I said: the issue isn’t your jaw, it’s how you feel. Change that, and you’ll see a lot more improvement than any amount of jaw-clenching or mouth-guard chewing.
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Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org