Nate Thompson and his girlfriend Victoria Bridges* are, in many ways, a typical New York couple in their late 20s: He’s a banker; she works a nonprofit that helps the homeless; they share a garden apartment in Boerum Hill; they have a puppy named Skip; they met through friends at a holiday party three years ago; they slept together on the fourth date.
But Victoria is noticeably, well, uglier than Nate—and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by their friends. (The couple did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)
"Look, Nate’s a catch," said one friend we’ll call Jill. "He’s got that whole, ‘I work in finance but I know who Titus Andronicus are, and I like them’ thing going on. Plus, he wears cute glasses."
This friend added: “I love Victoria, but she’s just not in his league. She’s kind of mousy looking, and she really has the worst style. Whenever we go out with them everyone assumes that she’s his cousin from out of town. You should see people’s face when they start making out!”
Another friend, Greg, was even more blunt: “Nate got a lot of really hot girls in college,” he said. “Victoria’s sweet, but so are a lot of women in this city who are much more attractive than she is.”
See a couple where the man is noticeably less attractive than the woman, and everyone assumes she’s in it for the money. But the other way around is a head-scratcher, especially since, as another friend put it, “It’s not like [Victoria] has a trust fund.”
The blatant imbalance has led to a parlor game of speculation among their group of friends regarding what Victoria’s secret weapon might be. “Anal” is a popular guess, as is “bondage,” “amazing blow jobs” and even “nightly foot massages.” One friend even went so far as to suggest that Nate suffers from previously undiagnosed beauty myopia, leading him to believe Victoria to be much more attractive than she actually is.
To be sure, it’s not uncommon in other cities—Cleveland, Portland, Asheville—to see men dating uglier women. But in those locales, either due to a lack of availability or a “hippie”-ish “inner beauty” stance, these types of situations raise fewer eyebrows.
So in New York, where it’s long been accepted that women are not in the proverbial driver’s seat when it comes to dating, Nate and Victoria remain an anomaly. “I just worry about their children, if it does come to that,” said another friend who asked to remain anonymous. “All the other moms will be total MILFs, and Victoria’s going to be really out of place on the playground.”
* Names have been changed.