In my family, anything you say can and will live on forever. When my oldest daughter was little, she had unruly hair that could only be tamed with a barrette. But, she didn’t want the barrette. So it became a two person job. One of us would distract her like a rodeo clown while the other wrestled the hair accessory into position. The distraction would continue until she’d forgotten that her hair was being forced to comply, then we could get on with our day. One time, I don’t remember who, but someone told her how pretty she looked with the barrette in her hair. She ripped it out, threw it on the ground and yelled, “I DON’T WANT TO BE PRETTY!”
Fortunately or unfortunately for her, she’s still pretty. No barrette required. That was nearly 30 years ago, but we still quote it to this day. We say it as a joke on days that we don’t feel like doing hair and make up. But I also say it as a true statement. I don’t care about being pretty, maybe because it’s never really been an option, but I’d rather be seen as smart and/or funny. Ok, leave out the “or.” I’d rather be smart and funny.
I’ve always been average looking. A handful of people might have found me pretty at some point in my life, but there’s an equal and opposite handful of people who find me repulsive. Overall, I don’t think I register with most people at either end of the pretty/ugly scale. I’m just sitting in the middle keeping the scale balanced.
I discovered in high school that boys were intimidated by pretty girls, afraid to talk to them. I had a slew of boy friends, not to be confused with boyfriends. Because of my non-intimidating appearance, boys talked to me and I gained an insight into the male species that pretty girls will never have. This may be why Halle Berry has had three short-lived marriages and I’m approaching my 15th anniversary.
We expect the beautiful to stay that way forever. We’re always disappointed when our favorite attractive celebrities start to fade. Carrie Fisher had to tell her fans to stop debating about whether she had aged well or not, whether she was still hot. The pretty have that burden. But for us average looking girls, aging doesn’t taking anything away from us. When I run into old friends, they can say with all honesty “you’re just as pretty as you were back in high school.”
Of course a person can be beautiful and smart, or attractive and funny, or even all three. But how surprised are we when that actually happens? When you find out that some pretty celebrity graduated from Harvard, do you roll your eyes and assume that she was coddled by starstruck professors? I don’t know about you but if I read an interview of a gorgeous actor and he uses a few big words, I’m all “oooh, I didn’t know he was smart too!”
Don’t worry if you’re not pretty or handsome or beautiful or good-looking. Beauty fades but smart lasts a lifetime, or at least until senility sets in. And funny is forever.