The Beauty Handicap

December 19, 2010

Vox has a post up over at his place about the inequality of women who are attractive v. women who are, well, a bit challenged.

It cracks me up.

Mostly because for most of my life, up until my late 20’s, I looked a lot like this:

And I had the dorky wardrobe that went with it.   I mean, seriously, what doesn’t go with an XL men’s flannel shirt, leggings and Birkenstocks, right?


But one day I woke up, started exercising,  discovered the joy of creative hair design and the divine nature of well-applied make up.

My whole world changed.   Seriously.

Where before I had had to rely on intelligent discourse, quick wit, a clever repartee and a thick-skinned approach to the reality that I, quite frankly, would never be Cool,I was suddenly thrown over the bridge into the world of The Other Girl.

The one where men noticed me and pursued.   Church men.  What the hell?

Granted, I was married, had 2 children and was nearly 30 when that happened but, dude…. Seriously?

Customer service improved drastically,  my opinions mattered,  women suddenly hated me and, when going out with a friend one night?  I discovered the reality of the “free drink”  from some wannabe Casanova BEFORE the beer goggles went on.

And it, quite literally, scared me back into several tubs of ice cream and a burning desire to never try on a pair of patent leather Via Spigas again.

So, here I am at 36.

I had put this up a few days ago because, honestly,  it makes me feel like I’m having a Clark Kent/Superman moment.    And it cracked me up how well suited my complexion, hair and general appearance are to the suburban housewife of 1952.  Not to boast.  I still feel like that girl up at the top.

Obviously I can’t stay away from designer shoes and red lipstick is just to marvelous to ever pass up wearing.

But one truth has remained with me.

Picture #2 shows the window dressing that Picture #1 lacks but the person is very much the same.   There is no guarantee that I will have a life long run at looking snazzy.   Genetics are kinda stacked against me.  My Mom is 75 and looks like she’s closer to 90.

Pretty is skin deep.  Beauty comes from within.

I have had the pleasure of knowing several beautiful people who weren’t very pretty at first glance but who became much more attractive over time.  And I have known several pretty people who quickly reduced themselves to hags by their ungrateful, bitter, angry behavior.

I love being able to look pretty and to see my Mr’s eyes light up.   The June Cleaver get-up got all the reaction I was hoping for. 😀

If it weren’t for his encouragement and honest opinions, which I value more highly than I can even tell you,  I would most likely weigh 300 pounds and have some version of a short spikey, “But I love Meg Ryan’s hair” ridiculousity (my word, sue me) with a gigantic flannel and worn out leggings.

And that, my friends, is another thought for another day.

  • Your body and your looks are for fulfilling your man’s desires and for marital pleasure. As long as you get that job done, you have used the gift of your femininity the right way. This is true if the outfit is flannel or lace.

  • professor Hale

    I saw Meg Ryan in a recent movie. Seriously, OVER-rated. She does nothing for me. I would not waste a free drink on her. You, on the other hand could probably get 3 drinks out of me.

  • My dear Res, I do believe you may have missed my point. Completely.

    Yes, Meg Ryan is seriously over-rated. As are her hair styles. But, I do believe her most important role is to help women realize that too much plastic surgery and Botox are bad. As in evil. As in not good.

  • Giraffe

    I used to like meg ryan in top gun. I may have just been the character she played.

  • Merry Christmas you pretty lady you!

  • Anonymous

    I thought maybe I’d respond to this. I rely on my husband to dress me. (He has good taste). But he’s not home right now and I have to go to the library. It’s a nice sunny day (finally) and I have no idea what I look like so I punched in ‘leggings and birkenstocks’ to see what they look like together. When I pushed on your picture…. I have to laugh now because I’m actually wearing also a large flannel men’s shirt! Albeit I’m also wearing a nice corduroy skirt as well… I’m not sure if you’ve helped me or hindered me. I guess my hubby is judge when he gets home.