Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A Pretty Ugly Reality
Why do women have to pretty all the damn time???
It's like we have no social value if we aren't found to be attractive. As if it's our duty and if we aren't found to be attractive, we have somehow failed. (Yes, I'm targeting men with this statement but I'm also including women.) Why is that? Why do we have to be beautiful?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not exempt from this complaint. Beauty is my business. However, I'm realizing the power beauty has over the human mind is damn near inexplicable and inescapable...and it's starting to irritate me.
Even in the Bible, the majority of the women who are well-known fit into one of three categories: 1. They interacted with Jesus, 2. They married the man who is the topic of the moment, or 3. They were very beautiful and had to be had by the man of topic. In Sunday School we're studying the Song of Solomon. This ENTIRE book of the Bible is one long serenade about some beautiful woman. I mean, dude was going on and on and on and ON about how she was this and that. All was thinking was "Do we really have to go through all eight chapters of this? I get it. She's beyond dope. Great."
I was annoyed that that's all he thought she was. "Beautiful". But when I think about it, I couldn't think of a woman who wasn't known for anything greater that didn't save baby Moses or, again, directly interact with Jesus.
I recently stopped dating this guy who I was clear it wasn't going to work out with. I won't go into it but we just weren't compatible. We had three dates and I remember thinking to myself on the 3rd one, What is keeping this guy around?? Is he deaf? Can he not hear the dryness of our conversations? Is he dumb? Well...I have evidence for that one, but I won't go there either. After I clearly scoffed at something he did, in total personal space violation, he proceeded to put his arm around me. WTF is he doing?? I thought, He can't possibly feel there is any chemistry between us!
Then I listened closer to what he talked about. He was definitely complimentary but I don't need it laid on thick-- I get it the first two times. He was all about how nice he thought I looked. Then it hit me-- He's only doing this because he's physically attracted to me! 'Big revelation', I know. But I'm not used to that and I didn't like it. Needless to say, that was the end of that.
I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. It's nice to be thought of as attractive. But for it to be coveted in such a way that other things of debatable substance are dismissed bothers me. I'm talking to myself too. I used to ONLY date attractive men. I didn't care about the person really because it said something about me to have their attention. Then I graduated from college. After 2 more dates of shallowness, I realized how bored I was and decided to do something "different". I decided to date anyone who had the courage to ask me out. That was...."different". I went out with a few loony tunes for real, lol. But with time (and some maturity), I made modifications to my dating rules that still work for me: 1. You can't be hard to look at, and 2. I can't find you offensive.
Even in the world of money, beauty is the next priority. Look at my Real Housewives. Look at your favorite athlete. Look at any music video or any VH1 dating show. Look at King, Playboy, Essence, or Elle magazine. Look at any luxury advertisement model.
You know, I forget how early we decide who we are in life. Most kids decide who they are and aren't by the time they are 8 years old. They are or aren't "bad" or "good". They are or aren't "pretty" or "ugly". They are or aren't "smart" or "stupid".
We all know how these standards are produced and maintained, but is questioning the beast of beauty as pointless as asking why the sun sets?
Women, what's up with the warm and fuzzy feeling we get when someone you value tells you that they find you to be gorgeous? And what's up with the cold sense of "worthlessness" or inadequacy when we either don't hear it or are told we aren't?
We appear to be more forgiving than men when it comes to physical beauty. This has always quietly bothered me but I'm almost to the point where a certain compliment would cause a snarl instead of a smile.
I'm starting to understand why I bum it out the way I do. Right now, it's a "Screw you and your approval." Maybe that's what it was before too? Dunno.
What I do know is that as much as I'm demonizing the laws of physical attraction, I'm not above any of it. I'll still tell my Kayla Poo how pretty she is, I'll still study makeup tricks in the mirror, and I'll continue to shop for clothes that I find beautiful.