Growing up, looks weren’t that important. Yes they do play an interesting factor in social experiences, but I kind of believe that’s only true if you’re accepted into an arena where you’re judged on your looks. I was part of a different crowd, the nerds. No one ever used “beauty” adjectives to describe me. I was the smart girl, the brainiac, the prodigy. In those formative years of high school when ducklings become swans, I still hadn’t hit puberty. By the time I went to college, on the eve of my sixteenth birthday, I was beginning to learn that looks were a factor but I was too busy trying to overachieve and work three jobs to care.
After I finished college and started to become self involved I looked to my model cousin, TC, to help me figure out how to be one of the pretty girls surrounding me. To give you a glimpse of the sensei vs the grasshopper I used my cousin’s headshot as the promo picture for today’s post. These were portfolio pictures taken when she modeled for a clothing line in Japan. Thankfully we are very close, so she indulges my tendency to put her on a pedestal. I won’t lament on my beauty lot in life, because I’m convinced that I’m attractive, but I will say this: all the women in my family are similarly stunning. If I weren’t so charming myself, I’d have a complex lol.
Being best friends with a model taught me three key things about pretty girls. Aside from the fact that they live in their own world with their own set of rules, they are also allotted a few privileges that surprised my average self. Along with that are a few drawbacks which I’ll also explore.
Life is Better when it’s Free: I remember NYE in Las Vegas, TC and I were dancing on the main floor having a good time. Somehow we ended up in front of the VIP section when this man reaches out and grabs her wrist. He then says, “come dance up here”. He meant her alone, but of course I tagged along. He brings out all these bottles of Cristal and says “Drink up; you can stay here as long as you like”. It was like a scene from a music video; bottles popping everywhere, men just watching her dance, envious looks from the patrons on the other side of the velvet rope. I wasn’t ready, but the party went on as if no one’s world was affected.
+ The Plus Side is that based on your looks alone you’re designated certain treatments. Men are more than willing to shell out the cash to make you feel special.
- The Negative is that men also feel some type of entitlement to your person if you accept their offerings. Many a time I’ve had to step in when a man got too grabby or too possessive. It becomes more trouble than it’s worth to accept the carrot if you also have to worry about eating the string.
Character when Convenient: Maybe it’s too many Cary Grant movies, but I believe a gentleman is a gentleman no matter the circumstances, because it’s a character trait. Courtesies shouldn’t be doled out simply to impress the opposite sex. There was a story on Twitter about a guy who had an umbrella during a rainstorm and watched as a woman stood soaking wet next to him because she forgot her own. He asked the typical Twitterpoll as to what he should have done: offer the umbrella or let her sit and soak? I was blown away by the mass replies (from women and men alike) that he should only offer the umbrella to her if she’s pretty. This is where I habitually fail with dudes: I think they are being nice because they are nice people, not because there is a latent intent behind the nice action. Even worse it’s become a practice and expectation: hold the door open because I’m pretty; help me with my bags because I’m pretty; save the damsel because I’m pretty.
+ The Plus Side is that a woman rarely has to pull out her self sufficient card since there will always be some man willing to do for her.
- The Negative Side is this distorted view of ‘being a man’. As if the only reason to do the right thing is when there is an incentive tied to the act, thus you avoid looking like a simp because you can say “She was fine d’oh”. Actions are now dictated and explained away by social acceptance.
Let me Clear my Throat: There’s always a place for beautiful women and women vying to earn their spot at the top. Even worse, as a society we let them get away with highway robbery, in daylight, with the cops as their accomplice. Think of the classic beauty Marilyn Monroe, if you’ve ever seen the movie My Week with Marilyn (or read about her) you’ll understand my point. She’s been dead almost 50 years and we still make odes to her life. She was allowed to say what she pleased, and it became charming. She wore what she wanted, and it became fashionable. She slept with or married whomever she found irresistible, and still men clamored for her attention and favor. Women want to be like her without even knowing what that means. It’s the idea that to be beautiful is to be an icon, and thus set apart from the masses. Once there, the world is truly yours for the taking.
+ The Plus Side is that a woman has arrived. She’s reached a level where her pretty is now a landmark to compare/contrast other women. And then you can show the world that you’re more than just a pretty face.
- The Negative Side is that now everything comes back to a woman’s beauty. Gabby Douglas helped the USA woman’s gymnastics team win a gold medal, the first time since 1996. All people could talk about was her hair. She performed under immense pressure, flipped in the air fifty’levn times in an amazing bout of athleticism but her hair was the main point of contention. Sometimes it’s not about the pretty.
Every day I wake debating whether I care about my looks. Do I really want to put on makeup? Do I even feel like doing my hair? Should I wear Spanxx to hide that one roll that won’t go away? It all boils down to who I’m going to see that day. Most days require a little extra pretty, other days I can deal with normal pretty. Best believe I see the difference.
Up 4 Discussion…
What do you think? Is there such a thing as a pretty girl privilege? Do you think as a society we take the pretty too far?
Do you notice a difference in the way you’re treated when you feel extra pretty?
Do you dish out your manners only when it’s convenient?
*taps the mic, this was a long post*.
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