the law of the ass factor

So the title is a bit, well, offensive. I debated using “the law of the jerk factor”, but it just didn’t work for me. Yes, I’m a bad person. But the truth is the truth and this is who I am. Don’t you judge me. Don’t you dare judge me. (Or judge me, but just don’t tell me about it).

Moving on. Last night, Sarah and I were watching Stomp the Yard. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I have one word for you…yum. It is a bunch of fine black men dancing with their shirts off. The romance part of it is classic. Cute boy from the wrong side of the tracks wants girl from the right side of them, but she already has a boyfriend who, incidentally, is both good looking and wealthy, and, as we discover slowly, a jerk.

So, we’re watching the movie, drooling over Columbus Short, and then I say, “You know, the other guy could be seriously hot if it weren’t for the ass factor.” And that is when a name was given to a phenomenon with which we are all familiar. Let me illustrate.

When you first see the guy in the movie, he’s easy on the eyes, but he’s a total pig throughout the entire movie. And so, by the end, you really come to loathe him…and think he’s really not good looking. The reverse ass factor is also true. You can have some perfectly average person become completely irresistible. I like to call this the reverse ass factor transformation.

Personality makes such a difference (at least to someone who isn’t completely and totally carnal) when it comes to looks. A guy once asked me what my type was…and I really could not answer the question. I just don’t have one. I have dated tall, short, skinny, fat, hairy, balding, blond, brunette, blue eyed, brown eyed. I don’t have any kind of standard. I never have. Sure, I can appreciate a “hot guy”, but that’s about where it ends if there isn’t something of substance. This is how I’ve always been.

Maybe guys and girls are different this way, but I know lots of girls who feel the same way I do. It’s amazing how a guy who really isn’t that cute (sorry to use that word in conjunction with guy, but if that bugs you, you really should get over it) can become seriously attractive because his personality is amazing. There’s seriously a transformation of perception. It’s not that you can suddenly overlook his average appearance, it’s that it really is no longer average.

By the same token, and this is where the ass factor comes in, you can be attracted to a guy initially and talk about how hot he is and then, suddenly, you just don’t understand what you, or anyone else, ever saw in him. He’s just not that cute.

One of the reasons I love the movie(s) Pride and Prejudice (both versions…sad, but true) is the reverse ass factor transformation. It’s fascinating how, at the beginning of the movie, Mr. Darcy just isn’t the same Mr. Darcy as he is when Elizabeth finally accepts his proposal. And he hasn’t changed, physically, in the least. But I would submit to you that the betrothed Mr. Darcy is one seriously fine specimen. And there’s also the regular ass factor transformation…poor Mr. Wickham.

I have been very attracted to some very average guys, I have slowly become less and less attracted to some very good looking ones, and I once became super attracted to the hottest guy I have ever dated because he was also so nice and funny, (and had these great tattoos on the back of his amazing calves…he had a few rebellious years). It’s really too bad that I went a little crazy because we would have made beautiful babies…another post for another day.

I’m sure this is not new information. I’m sure most of you realize that this is the case. I’m not trying to say that hot guys are jerks who thereby become less hot, nor am I trying to be an advocate for the average guy and state that they are all hotter than you can imagine. Some hot guys have absolutely incredible personalities and some average guys are complete douche bags. I’m just telling you that you must remember the ass factor…and never discuss this with someone who has become, in your opinion, the beneficiary of a reverse ass factor transformation. Having had my own existential experience with this, it doesn’t matter how complimentary you are trying to be when you say to someone, “I really didn’t think you were that pretty when we first met, but now that I know you, I think you are beautiful”, it’s just a bad idea. No matter what. At least in my world.

My point…for those of you who are single (including me), when some guy you are not physically attracted to asks you out, or when some girl, who is perhaps a bit homely, starts to show interest, until you get to know that person, don’t assume that you will never be attracted to him/her, because you never know until you try. And, as per how others perceive you, remember only good things can come from being a nice person. Even if you are hot enough that you don’t think you have to be nice, someone may think you hot to begin with, but someone can also always change her/his mind…because the law of the ass factor is eternal.

14 thoughts on “the law of the ass factor

  1. I so AGREE! We’ve all experienced this factor going both ways I’m sure. And the Mr. Darcy example was perfect and so true. Thanks for the reminder because it is a factor in friendships too, not just relationships.

  2. Oh, the classic ass factor dilemma. We are faced with this more often than not. Great post and I totally agree with you.And is it bad that I want to watch it again and pause when the frat dudes are running to the top of the hill shirtless again? I am all about shirtlessness and guys going toptional when they look like that. Nice.

  3. I’m so glad you’ve given this peculiar aspect a name! I have spend many hours discussing and thinking about said ass factor. How true and strange that personality physically reveals itself. The human mind is a powerful thing and it will easily be blinded by love or hate. This is why I never get the whole nice guys finish last bit. Those are the guys I have always preferred, not the cocky good-looking ones. Speaking of swearing… in RS we were talking about taking the name of the Lord in vain and someone commented that gosh is just as bad since it’s origins are obvious. I told Brett: “the next time you stub your toe, it’s less offensive just to say oh shit.” I think ass factor is a way better fit than the jerk factor.

  4. The word “ass” is in the bible. You meant the donkey factor, right?Okay, so my husband has actually said to me “I really wasn’t that attracted to you when we first met, but then as I got to know you, you became really hot to me.” Uh thanks, honey. He thinks that is the greatest compliment and I take it as a backhanded insult. OH well, he married me anyway. So, he’s eyes, I am the reverse “donkey” factor. But now that you put it in the same terms as of Mr. Darcy transformation, it doesn’t sound so bad.

  5. Denae – Such a good point. It’s totally true in friendships, although I think part of that is less what someone looks like physically than what they look like on paper. Does that make sense?Sarah – Toptional! Fantastic! Is it so sad that I have never heard that before?Annalisa – I am still laughing!Cristin – I was toning down the real example. Not nearly as painful as what really happened. While I wouldn’t say that what Erik said is okay…what I really got was more like the middle stage. It’s one thing to say it after the reverse ass factor transformation has happened, it’s a completely different thing when you get told that you are currently in the process of transforming. “I know that someday I will think you’re as pretty as other people think you are because you are amazing.” Nice, n’est-ce pas.Glad to see that I have yet to offend anyone…but then again, the people who read the blog know me well enough to not be offended. Seriously, Annalisa, still laughing. Why are swear words so funny sometimes? Gosh, I am twelve.

  6. Here,here. It is sooo true. I’ve fallen for the most plain guys before just because of their sarcastic wit, or intelligence and not their physical appearance. Interesting note that you can’t really comment to someone on their change up the scale of ass factor. Either way it’s an insult. hmmph.

  7. chloe, you are awesome.ditto, ditto and ditto.aaanndd, i must add to the “ass factor” the “talent factor”–for example, an average guy that can play the guitar or piano or sing is way more attractive than just an average guy. don’t you agree? i thought maybe you would.aaaaannndd…hi. how are you?

  8. BINGO!!!!This post makes so much sense. I have always believed and gone by this motto, this is exactly why I don’t have a type.What is this nonsense you wrote about liking both versions of Pride and Prejudice? Is there another version I’m unaware of :)Great Illustration though.

  9. I agree. I dated a lot of the ‘cuter’ guys in high school then dated my geeky husband and totally fell for his wit and sarcastic nature and the rest fell in place. Still I find him oh so attractive.The donkey factor comment has me laughing. Swearing in general leaves me shaking my head. I say hell and damn on a regular basis and was in stitches when my two year old would frequently say, “good hell” and “dammit mom”. But I have reformed a bit so I am not kicked out of story time for her sailor mouth.Your closing remark is my favorite…”because the law of the ass factor is eternal.” It is indeed.

  10. Amen! I don’t think the ass factor weighs in with men though. They do too much of their thinking about the opposite sex with another part of their anatomy.

  11. Lori – As with Cristin’s comment, you can…once they have reached the pinnacle…provided you feel that there is a reason to do so.Abbie – I really wish that I thought you only new about the real version. There are two versions and the new one is not the greatest. I happen to like a few things about it a lot…the music, the cinematography, Jane, Collins and Mr. Bennett. But the older version is the real story.Hannah – I don’t know your husband and he’s cute (sans knowing his personality…although I guess I can tell a bit from your blog). I am loving the image of your two-year-old saying “good hell”.Shelah – I think you’d be surprised at how often men do go through the same phenomenon. Obviously, there has to be some kind of initial attraction (like, the thought of kissing the girl can’t make him want to vomit), but I really do think that men go through this. The problem is they feel that it’s okay to discuss it with you.

  12. Brilliant Chloe!I’ve had this same idea for years but never had a name for it.I agree with every single word in this post… and all the comments.And is it bad if I tend to like people a little more (reverse ass factor) when they swear (not sailor swearing, but a shit, damn or hell here and there)?

  13. um, i really really loved Stomp the Yard. And what’s sort of funny is that the guy who plays the lead HOTTIE also played one of the writers on Studio 60 and I never really thought he was that cute. But in Stomp the Yard I was honestly drooling the entire movie. But his character on studio 60 was kind of abrasive. so see? he proves your theory all by himself. p.s. that scene where the boys run up the mountain with their shirts off? holy cow! we were DYING.

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