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Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:12 am

Insecurity blanket

PHOTO COURTESY AMY ALKON
Amy Alkon
I’m extremely insecure about my looks, though objectively I know I’m pretty. I constantly ask my boyfriend for reassurance. He gives it to me but feels bad that I feel this way. Now I’m worrying that I’m making such a good case for what’s wrong with me that he’ll start believing me. Possible? – Bag over Head

One oft-overlooked beauty secret is to avoid constantly giving a guy the idea that you might actually be ugly.

People will sneer that it’s “shallow” to care about how you look, and they’re probably right – if it’s all you care about. However, research confirms what most of us recognize about the especially eye-pleasing among us: They get all sorts of benefits – everything from social perks to job opportunities to discounts when they act like dirtbags (with judges assigning them lesser fines and a lower rate of bail for misdemeanors).

As a woman, being babe-alicious is a pretty vital tool for landing and maintaining a relationship because the features that men – across cultures – evolved to consider beautiful are actually health and fertility indicators. So, for example, full lips and an hourglass bod are basically evolution’s bumper sticker: “Your genes passed on here.”

Not surprisingly, psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt, who researches competition among women, explains that women attack other women “principally on appearance and sexual fidelity” because men prioritize these qualities in their partners. One way women chip away at rivals is by trash-talking another woman’s looks to a man – suggesting he really could do better. That’s what you’re doing – but to yourself. It’s the relationship version of “Ewww, you’re not really gonna eat that, are you?” (And you’re the fricasseed crickets.)

Beyond that, constantly begging a romantic partner for reassurance – while being kind of a black hole for it – can be toxic to a relationship. Also, the fact that your need for reassurance seems bottomless suggests it’s not your exterior but your interior that’s in need of work. Get cracking on that, and try to remember that your boyfriend is with you for a reason – and it probably isn’t that your mom and grandma are crouched behind your sofa, holding him at gunpoint.

© 2017, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon

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