What It’s Like To Be A Pretty Girl
Being pretty has some major benefits. I’ve definitely passed a few classes I shouldn’t have by batting my big brown eyes and crying crocodile tears. I used to be a hit at the bars (back when I still went to bars) because I could get free drinks just by asking for them, and I’ve avoided arrest a few times when I probably shouldn’t have. If you’re funny and smart, people tend to think you are a legitimate genius – probably because people never have expectations for pretty people anyway – except to stay pretty.
It ain’t always easy, though. People expect you to be an idiot, and when it turns out you have brains too, they tend to get freaked out. Prepare to get passed over for jobs with female hiring managers, and prepare for a string of jobs working for pervy male managers who gave you the job because they could see down your dress during the interview. Move to a bad neighborhood, and you better get a bodyguard or a boyfriend because the prison bodies down the street WILL say something inappropriate to you every chance they get. Something like, “Hey girl, you look like you taste sweet!” or “Dang, mama – lemme take a bite outta THAT!” “Can I be your sugar daddy?” or even just bark at you like a dog as they drive by (yes, all of these things really happen, sometimes even when I’ve got my glasses on).
Nice guys will never, ever hit on you (presumably because they’re intimidated), but you will have more undateables flirting with you than you even thought existed. The #1 attempted pickup line will be, “Hey, are you a model?” which will embarrass you because A) obviously you’re not a model, and B) what are you supposed to say? “No, I’m not a model, I’m just NATURALLY GORGEOUS. SOAK IT UP.”
You will get so used to creepers creepin’ that it won’t faze you when the gas station attendant tells you he won’t accept your money because his payment is watching you suck on one of the Blow Pops you like to buy before work. And once you get to work, you will be forced to play nice when men try to hold your hand over the counter and give you “business cards” that are very clearly just a phone number written on the back of a Rite-Aid receipt.
On the flip side, you’ll get so used to this kind of attention that you’ll feel a misplaced sense of disappointment when you fail to attract catcalls from construction workers and garden-variety weirdos. You will also inevitably start to lean on your good looks in sticky situations, which will make you wholly unprepared to deal with the occasional hardass that doesn’t fall for pseudo-meaningful eye contact and flirty smiles. You are aware of this tendency, which gives you increasing levels of anxiety as you grow older and too broke to afford expensive skin-tightening cream from Sephora. You will, at least once, have a minor meltdown over morning pillow face, hyperventilating in the mirror over the overnight appearance of fine lines.
You won’t have many girlfriends; that much should be obvious. And when you start dating someone, you’ll have to get rid of all your non-gay guy friends because your boo factor will assume they all want to date/fuck you (which, to some extent, is probably true). On that note – be careful whom you choose to date, because years of only getting attention from losers with (excuse my pun) nothing to lose will do a number on your self-image.
When you go out, you always end up getting too messed up due to a combination of accepting too many free drinks from losers and drinking by yourself in the corner while your friends meet nice, college-educated guys with jobs. You take home a lot of gross guys out of boredom and loneliness. Your friends inevitably tire of taking you out because you end each night rolling around on the couch/bathroom floor clutching a bottle of CVS Chardonnay, crying “why don’t any cute boys LIKE ME??” while your friends roll their eyes because you got more attention from guys than anyone else.
Obviously I would rather be good-looking than average or even (gasp) unattractive, but once in a while it would be great if someone commented on something other than my appearance. “Wow, you’re so exotic, you should be a Laker girl” sounds like a compliment, but what I hear is “You should be a Laker girl because you look vaguely Puerto Rican and nobody cares that you can spell ‘facetious’ without looking at the dictionary.”
I guess ultimately I would rather have all the advantages that good-looking people have, because we really do have it easier. But sometimes it would be nice to just be a face in the crowd. Sometimes I just want to go to the donut store down the street without having to bring my pepper spray with me just in case the neighborhood teens decide to follow me there and threateningly back me up against the counter while demanding my phone number and address again, ya know?
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”