I want to be really, really pretty. I want to be one of those capital-P Pretty Girls who never has to live a single moment unsure of how they look. You’ll tell me, “Oh, they have problems of their own,” and they probably do, but they also have something wonderful. Female beauty, misunderstood as it might be, has become a rare, precious jewel that we like to mine from the depths of the earth and fight over until our hands our bloody. That beauty launched a thousand ships, it has driven entire nations mad, it has ruled with an iron fist because the King demanded a woman as beautiful as his power commanded.
What must it be like to be truly, inarguably gorgeous? The vast majority of us, even if we could pass for lovely in the right lighting or have learned to compensate with a stellar personality, we will never be able to move freely in the security of our looks. It is a privilege to know exactly what you look like at all times, to know that you are desired, to know that people are going to respond to you in a much more positive way because they are happy to bask in your presence.
Maybe they don’t even realize it. They have grown up for so long in the cage of their beauty and have come to imagine that everyone is afforded their treatment. The ticket they were let off on, the line they cut in front of, the drinks and vacations and designer bags purchased for them — they are something that everyone gets. In the mind of the Pretty Girl, perhaps the world is just a much more beautiful place. They never really have to consider the alternative, because they know that the world will never regard them any differently. And maybe they don’t live up to all of the promise when they open their mouths, but that doesn’t matter when they are moving silently through a largely unforgiving city.
Sometimes I think about what it must be like for the Pretty Girls, who were raised to understand that they were special and deserving, when their looks start to melt away. Do they reach their hands out and try to grab the falling skin and folding layers of fat which gather in all of the most unflattering parts of their bodies? It must be so hard to live for so long with such a precious trump card and then to have it disappear slowly every time you look in the mirror. Maybe it’s better to live not believing in your beauty, and then you’re never really sad when it leaves.
My friends would tell me that I’m fine, that I’m just perfect the way I am. But don’t we always tell one another those things? Even when it’s not really true? We always want to call people beautiful when they are, or even tell people that they’re beautiful when they’re not, but we never tell someone that they’re ugly. We don’t even tell them when they’re average. We say that being a Pretty Girl doesn’t matter, that it’s what’s inside that counts, but does any of that really matter when you see someone across the room who breathes life into your body just by returning your gaze?