When we look at ourselves in the mirror, in any given session we
tend to anchor on the time slice image that makes us look our best.
That, we decide, is the "real" us.
Photographs, however, are a random sample of the various
arrangements of light, angle, and facial expression that we can be
found in. The median photograph of you is probably the best
approximation of your physical attractiveness. But that wars with your
self image, which is anchored on other, better combinations.
You’re also biased by the fact that no one ever tells you you’re
ugly. It’s not merely that people inflate what they tell you (they
almost certainly do); it’s also that people who think you’re ugly tend
to drop out of the sample. They may not cultivate an acquaintance with
you, and those that do will probably not spontaneously let you know
that they find you kind of repulsive.
You’re stuck in a web of congitive biases and a positive feedback loop. It’s a wonder anyone does get married.
Here is the link. This next part made me feel much, much better, though I can’t quite agree:
…the best gauge of how attractive you are; how attractive are the
hottest people who want to go out with you? They’re probably only
slightly more attractive than you are.
The final deflation then comes:
If you’re married, of course, this is not useful.