“You Are Not Beautiful to Me. You Are Gorgeous to Me.”

If beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, Gordon Pearson argues, why can’t we say that out loud?.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is in response to the apparent paradox posed by “anonymous male” in A Paradox about Men, Sexual Attraction, Women, Beauty.



This is something I’ve wrestled with for a few days now. In the end, my basic belief came down to: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

All of us hold our own perception of “attractive,” but most of us regard beauty in terms of societal standards. We have no problem publicly saying someone is beautiful, as compared to the cover of Glamour magazine (a societal standard). But in personal conversation about someone we feel is attractive (by our own, personal standards and not societal standards), we don’t always feel comfortable saying they are beautiful, lest we be judged for being attracted to someone who doesn’t meet the societal standard of “beauty.”

This changes as we move from adolescence to adulthood. Children are less judging of people until they encounter an adverse reaction from a peer or adult figure they respect.

An example: two children, one who’s abnormal in some way, lets say excessive freckles, who are best of friends in grade school. Suddenly, as their brains have developed to the stage that they are now concerned about what their peers think of them, the more “normal” child finds that their other friends don’t like the other child because of the freckles, saying they aren’t normal (beautiful). Then, the “normal” friend abandons the freckled friend to avoid persecution by association.

As we grow older and we develop our own sense of attraction, realizing our desires, we mold our perception of beauty. As young adults, a young male may not be willing to admit to his friends that he is attracted to women of larger scale. He resists his attraction, maybe even trying to change it to fit the more commonly accepted, 5’6″ 120-pound mold, just so he can avoid being called a “chubby chaser” or some other ignorant and harmful name. He might desire to have a relationship with his 200-lb female co-ed, but resigns to only sleeping with her at a party, so he can “blame it on the alcohol”.

Finally, we develop into the stage where we reject a societal standard and accept that we should not be ashamed of our personal desires. We know what “beauty” means to us, and we strive to attract someone who we perceive to be beautiful.

For my brother, that’s a short skinny girl with nearly unnoticeable breasts. For my friend, it’s a tall, “chunky” girl with large breasts. We all have different tastes, different ideas of beauty.

We can either reject our own feelings on beauty and accept the societal standard that wins the Miss America Pageant, or we can project them upon the people we find beautiful, and let them know how we feel. We can tell that (wo)man, “You are not beautiful to me, you’re gorgeous to me!”

About Gordon Pearson

Gordon Pearson is a 27-year-old, trying to raise his 8-year-old daughter, living with the understanding that what he does now will be questioned by her as she gets older. So, he tries to practice what he preaches while learning to live and enjoy life as a single father.


  1. medic mind says:

    I get what you’re saying. But women have become demoralized by social standards of beauty and the impression (or fact) that men are captivated by physical attributes.
    So when she hears “you’re …beautiful to me” that translates into “Well,I find you attractive evn if other people don’t= you don’t measure up to other women= do you think I’m so pathetic that you need to lie about my looks?
    It can get that paranoid.

    • “So when she hears “you’re …beautiful to me” that translates into “Well,I find you attractive evn if other people don’t= you don’t measure up to other women= do you think I’m so pathetic that you need to lie about my looks?”


      And how pathetic is our culture that we even have someone writing an article like this? So much energy wasted negotiating the profound degree to which we all conspire to reduce women to objects.

  2. Is there a norm, a quota for freckles? What is excessive? I’ve had them all my life and never felt “abnormal”.

  3. I think it has to be mentioned that sometimes sexual attraction isn’t just about beauty. There have been plenty of times where I have been at a party or some such and been more sexually attracted (like moth to light attracted) to the pretty girl with the amazing personality rather than someone else I might rank higher strictly according to beauty. Yes, beauty plays a huge role in sexual attraction, but just as men have different definitions of beauty, we also have different quirks about what might trump beauty when we are looking at women.

  4. Jun Kafiotties says:

    I know plenty of men who do not like the typical large breasts, some like larger women, some like skinnier, some darker, some lighter, every human including women have a general preference/desire/like. It’s 100% natural and this is why the mass generalizations of the male gender in particular (The GMP has quite a few articles that do this) do not serve a very good view for women to read of men. We already have enough stereotypes saying ALL men like large chested blonde baywatch types which simply is very insulting to many men who have a varied taste. Furthermore what men like to fantasize over doesn’t mean that is ALL they like and many are open to quite a variety of potential partners.

    Ladies, Gentlemen, humans like all kinds of people so do not be put off and go forth and ask out potential dates in a respectful way, what you think they like and what they really like is probably going to be very different.

  5. This is too cute!
    I agree, beauty goes further than what most people think. To me, it’s not just the physical attraction it’s more so the way the person interacts with others. And I also loved your description. I’m glad you’re not like most fathers chasing women to make them into a mother figure for your daughter. Thumbs up to you! 🙂

  6. What a wonderful insightful piece Gordon. Thanks for giving me a little view into another facet of how men see beauty.

  7. Thank you for this article. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way, as described here: http://www.marginalprophetspublishing.com/1/category/loss/1.html

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