I Love You But I Will Turn Into A Gremlin If I Don’t Have Designated Ugly Time 

Not to be cheesy, but my love language is feeling safe enough to look fucked up around you. It’s the ultimate test of trust if I’m walking around you in my period panties and towel crown. (IYKYK.)

But this level of trust doesn’t happen overnight. Dropping the mask, so to speak, is scarier than having sex with the lights on. When I began living with my S.O., I was having a hard time letting go of maintaining the illusion that I’m a pretty princess who never poops and hates sweatpants. 

“But, but, but if they love you, then none of that should matter!” Shut up random internet strangers! This isn’t about my S.O. It’s about me!    

Unfortunately, I grew up as a girl, so I’ve been subjected to self-hate since I was in diapers. (My mother taped a pink bow to my head until I was 2 because I looked like a boy.) Being a woman comes with a lot of responsibilities, like looking hot but not too hot that it’s intimidating. It’s a delicate system that needs time to recharge or it will all collapse. This recharging is referred to as “Ugly Time.” 

bridget jones sitting in her pjs on the couch

Definition of Ugly Time
/ˈəɡlē tīm/

the time you need to sit in your filth for the sake of your mental health 

Babe, I need Ugly Time, so get the fuck out of our shared bedroom.

(especially in relationships) to transition into the rawest form of yourself 

I’m Ugly Timing before I go out tonight, so brace yourself.

Being hot every day is exhausting at best, unrealistic at worst. Us girlies need to marinate in our unwashed hair and rage in order to put up with all the shit society throws at us. You want us to smile more? Then I’m gonna need 3 business days to mutter angrily to myself in front of a 5-hour binge marathon of Gilmore Girls. It’s basic girl math.

I’m not alone in my needs. Using my Betchy powers for good, I turned to social media for an unofficial survey on how Ugly Time shows up in other relationships. Examples included: nipple hairs, mustache shaving, nightly neti pot rituals, and really any bodily function. (“Tears? Nope. Burps? Nope. DIGESTION?! Hell no.”) 

The most popular answer? Hiding the overnight retainer in the early months of dating. I mean, duh, lovers can’t know how our teeth are so straight and perfect! Dentistry is practical magic and must be treated as such. One person even shared that they have managed to keep their headgear a secret for a whole year of dating. Is that a new record? Call Guinness! 

@lindseyxworth girl marinating🫡 #relatable #girls #justcutegirlythings ♬ Cena Engraçada e Inusitada de 3 Minutos – HarmonicoHCO

Trish L. (29) prepares for ugly time by stocking up on pickles and Cheez-Its and wearing her favorite PJs. “I put on a super hideous oversized red Star Wars t-shirt that I stole from an ex seven years ago,” she tells Betches. “And then I just eat my snacks and watch too many reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.

For Valerie K. (27), her version of ugly time is “picking at every single available pore on my face” when her husband isn’t home. “It makes my face look like my puberty acne days and honestly it’s probably not great for my mental health, but boy, is it weirdly satisfying.” 

But the most unhinged answer was a tie between “my credit card statement” and how many people said they wouldn’t let the person they’re dating SEE THEIR HOME?! Like at all. What are you people doing in your homes? I say this without judgment because my fridge currently looks eerily similar to Billie Eillish’s

Ugly Time is less about looking bad and more about letting the worst parts of ourselves breathe a little. The little gremlin inside of all of us that feeds on shame and PMS. But the goal is to eventually let that gremlin meet the person we love. Because we all want to find someone who we can rawdog life with.

Melanie Whyte
Melanie Whyte
Melanie Whyte (she/her) leads the lifestyle and relationship content at Betches. As an amateur New Yorker and professional bisexual, she enjoys writing about the bane of sex and relationships in the city. She is also perpetually in her messy house era despite spending all of her money on Instagram ads.