Most people want others to consider them attractive, and they enjoy the company of hot women and men. But dealing with these sexy creatures can induce stress — and science backs this up.
Consider the example of The Atlantic reporter Amanda Mull, who recalled a hilarious encounter she had with a Hot Doctor when she was stricken with strep throat.
‘Embarrassment Shot Through My Body’
In a side-splitting column, Mull recounted how she schlepped herself to the doctor’s office, unshowered and wearing drab gym clothes expecting to be treated by a frumpy physician — only to be embarrassed when her specialist turned out to be a total babe.
“I was not prepared for when the doctor walked into the exam room and revealed himself to be tall, broad-shouldered, square-jawed, and absolutely beautiful,” she cooed.
Realizing that she looked like a slob, Amanda says she felt uncomfortable and inadequate.
“Embarrassment shot through my body,” she recalled. “Why was his unplanned handsomeness allowed to stress out sick people? Why was his face that symmetrical? Why hadn’t the receptionist warned me?”
‘Hot People Can Be Very, Very Stressful’
A few weeks later, Amanda says the Hot Doctor triggered even more stress when he paid her a surprise visit in the recovery room after he took her tonsils out.
While Amanda says the visit was thoughtful, she got a little annoyed because the Hot Doctor had given her no advance warning, so she looked as bad as the first time they had met.
“I was consumed again by the irrational belief that people at the far end of the physical-beauty bell curve should at least give the rest of us some time to compose ourselves before we have to deal with them,” she explained.
That experience occurred 9 years ago, but the embarrassing memory remains seared in her mind. Amanda says she has since experienced similar discomfort when she later had another Hot Doctor, and came across the occasional sexy mover or delivery guy.
“Aren’t people supposed to enjoy beauty?” she wondered. “As it turns out, this isn’t just me being a colossal weirdo, at least according to neuroscience. Even if they don’t mean any harm, hot people can be very, very stressful.”
Why Men Get Goofy Around Hot Chicks
According to Helen Fisher — a biological anthropologist who studies attraction at the Kinsey Institute — feeling stress when encountering beautiful people is normal. This explains why men become comically tongue-tied when talking to a hot chick.
“When you see an attractive person, the left ventral tegmental area of the brain becomes active and will pump out dopamine,” Fisher told the Atlantic. “Dopamine is a stimulant to the brain, so some people might react with surprise or awkwardness.”
While dopamine causes pleasure, the awkwardness Amanda felt was tied to a related hormone triggered by her surprise encounter with the Hot Doctor.
Fisher, the author of Anatomy of Love, says Amanda probably experienced a cortisol spike during her accidental encounter with her unexpectedly handsome physician.
“Some people may see someone beautiful and feel very inadequate. Then cortisol would go up,” Fisher explained.
Beauty Privilege Trumps ‘White Privilege’
While there has been a huge push to make white people feel guilty about their so-called White Privilege, there are no SJW activists demanding that attractive people feel guilty over the undeniable “Beauty Privilege” they enjoy.
History will show that the Beauty Privilege probably trumps all other privileges. Studies show that beautiful people earn more money and are happier.
However, as with all things, there’s a downside. People who obsess over their looks are generally unhappy. And in many cases, being beautiful on the outside does not translate into inner beauty.