How to deal with someone who has the beautiful woman syndrome

1. Don't compliment her on her beauty. She's been told that innumerable times. She knows she is beautiful. Compliments "work" on most people because most people don't receive enough compliments, praise, or positive feedback of any sort. BWS women are not like most people; they receive incessant compliments even when those commendations are not warranted.

BWS women are not stupid. If you compliment her, she will think that you're like all the rest. You're just trying to butter her up so that she will like you more. It won't work! The compliment will only make her like herself more. We previously mentioned that one of the characteristics of the beautiful woman syndrome was an "unusual reaction to niceness. If you're nice to most people, they will like you more. If you're nice to BWSers, they won't think more of you — they'll think more of themselves. Your niceness will just reinforce their lofty self-image." Do you see a pattern here?

2. Think twice before complimenting her in any way. We're not saying to never do it; perhaps she just spent three hours raking the leaves off the lawn of an elderly neighbor. If so, you can sincerely compliment her on that. However, since BWSers are so self-centered, it's not likely that the need for such a compliment will arise. Don't think that you can sidestep the compliment issue by telling her that she is smart, nice, or fun instead of beautiful. She receives such accolades (and dozens more) all the time. She will interpret such compliments as, "Yes, I am smart . . . and beautiful, too. You just want me, like all the rest. Join the crowd and join my fan club."

3. Judiciously consider giving her criticism. She isn't used to receiving anything that remotely resembles a rebuke, so giving her one might discombobulate her. She might even try to win your approval in some way. She is used to being commended, not criticized, so she may attempt to restore the natural order and get you back on the right track of telling her how wonderful she is by being nice to you. If she tries to ingratiate herself in this way, remember that she is doing it solely to feed her ego.

4. Don't put up with her crap. (Sorry for the shirtsleeve English.) She is used to doing whatever she darn well pleases, and having the world conform to her. She can be petulant, difficult, and a prima donna — of course, she is beautiful — but she wants you to think that you had better not utter a peep if she gives you a hard time (and she will). Don't make the mistake of playing the game by her rules. Most people do their sycophantic best to bow down to her, but she views those people as her minions. Nobodies. She is a princess; they are the proletariat. If you stand your ground, she won't think that you're like all the rest. She might even give you a modicum of respect.

5. Don't feel bad if she sends you on your way. Do you really want to go through life with someone whose greatest love is herself? If you are so susceptible to having beauty lead you by the nose, here is a glimpse of what your future might hold: After 20 years of marriage, your once-hot wife is showing her age, but your young secretary is very tempting. So you divorce your wife, or she divorces you. That's bad for your kids, and your standard of living will take a big hit. Half of everything — gone! With less money, you are less likely to succeed with other BWS women, because most of them prefer to have money handed to them on a silver platter.

6. Do your best to educate others about the beautiful woman syndrome. Everyone — including the BWSers — would be better off if this syndrome did not exist. The beautiful woman syndrome is just one of the pathological consequences of our over-glorification of beauty, which gives gorgeous women free rein to lord over us. The only power that BWSers have is the power we give to them. If we treat them the same as everyone else, BWSers would step up to the plate — they'd have to, because the days of the free lunches are over. They would work harder, go the extra mile, study more, learn more, succeed more, and contribute more to civilization instead of being supremely adept takers. They would be better friends, neighbors, and spouses. They would be better people. When people get things too easily, it stymies their development and thwarts their potential. People with the beautiful woman syndrome tend to get everything too easily, so they never achieve their true potential. A cure for cancer or a solution to the energy crisis might have been invented by a gorgeous woman, but she was too busy coasting through life to break a sweat. So who pays for this wasted potential? We all do.

Even if you are a woman who is never personally involved with a BWSer, your life will be affected by this syndrome. Think of the millions of females with the beautiful woman syndrome who are now alive or once lived. In such a large group, there must have been some geniuses with enormous potential, but how many stunning women win Nobel Prizes or invent something particularly useful? Not many. One who comes to mind is Hedy Lamarr, an actress who was a co-inventor of frequency hopping radio technology that served as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communications. (If you think of someone else, please tell us her name.)

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“Most beautiful dumb girls think they are smart and get away with it, because other people, on the whole, aren't much smarter.”
— Louise Brooks
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