“She’s a beautiful girl. I get it.”
He’s talking about a mutual friend of ours who’s recently reconnected with an old flame.
Oh, I get it. I mean, I get it from an observational standpoint. There are Beautiful Girls and there are Not So Beautiful Girls.
I am not the former.
It’s easy how quickly you figure out that you’re not a Beautiful Girl. It starts early. The people who are supposed to automatically think you’re beautiful never say so. I imagine it’s like being an ugly baby that never grows out of it. You’d like to believe maybe they were of the time when certain, more high-minded people didn’t want their child to grow up thinking physical appearance was all that mattered. But people didn’t think that way in the early 80’s.
Then you go to school and some of the girls around you are labeled pretty and they’re treated differently. Lines are drawn. Groups are formed. Your crushes never like you back. No one ever asks you to couple skate or dance or make out.
So you don’t kiss anyone until you’re seventeen.
Maybe it’s your own fault. Maybe you should have been more selective about your friends. Maybe if you hadn’t hung out with Beautiful Girls your self esteem would be better.
“She’s always been the ‘pretty’ one.”
I run into a friend on the train who’s the maid of honor at her little sister’s upcoming wedding.
I always thought I wanted a sister, but then I have conversations like these and wonder how different my perception of self would be if I had one. It was hard enough having a Beautiful cousin.
There’s just nothing to SAY, ya know? I could lose twenty five pounds and wear my hair a certain way and put on make-up that complimented every pigment and shape and only buy clothes that fit perfectly, but inherently it just wouldn’t add up to Beautiful. I just wouldn’t have It.
The worst is wondering if maybe, just MAYBE, when someone does call you beautiful and you ignore them and dismiss it because you know it’s not really true, they’re not lying. But it doesn’t take long before you come back down to Earth and remember you are not universally Beautiful. Universally Beautiful Girls may not say out loud that they are or even believe themselves to be, but everyone they encounter will prove them wrong.
I don’t want your condolences or your pity, just your understanding. If you can acknowledge that the world we live in reacts to us based on our race, religion, education and socio-economics we can also say for certain that beauty, or lack thereof, is a part of that.
Beautiful Girls are forgiven more easily. Beautiful Girls are given more breaks. Beautiful Girls cut in lines, get things for free, and command a room all without saying a word.
No matter how loud my voice is, how talented or creative I am, how brilliant or funny or charming or kind or thoughtful, I will never overshadow a Beautiful Girl.
I can only be myself and hope that someone finds something Beautiful about me or in me, even if it’s just the possibility or the potential.
Because none of us can bypass the beauty scale. Even if we can own up to the fact that we simply aren’t It, that we’ll never be. Even if we accept where we fall on an imaginary number system, we also have to note its existence to explain to ourselves why certain things work out and other things don’t.
You can tell me all about chemistry and pheromones and the unspoken connection that happens between two people. But you can’t tell me when a Beautiful Girl walks into a bar that every guy isn’t noticing, isn’t assessing, isn’t hoping, wishing, plotting, planning, scheming, dreaming and wanting. Maybe some of those guys are calculating their own beauty in order to determine their odds. Because guys at bars who are trying to pick up the most Beautiful Girl are the ones who base their entire self worth on the appearance of their partner.
I’ve been at the bar with my Beautiful friend and most of the time I just shut my mouth and blend into a wall and hope I don’t have to talk to the cute guy’s obnoxious after work drinking buddy. I don’t need to be reminded of where I stand and I don’t want to feel the need to outshine someone with my scathing sarcasm or minimal sports knowledge. Even more so, I don’t want the cute guy’s friend to feel stuck making small talk with the Not So Beautiful Girl.
Look, a Beautiful Girl is a Beautiful Girl and I don’t fight in losing battles.
I just stand off to the side and hope you’re the type of person who notices there’s more to me than that.