Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just Another Pretty Face?

Barbara: Okay, so I’m watching this show the other night and it’s all about body consciousness and dysmorphia and the too early womanizing of girls and plastic surgery and all that. And I don’t want to write about any of this stuff today because there’s already so much out there about it and I don’t feel like ranting and suffice it to say I want women to feel at peace with themselves and their bodies and accept who they are and all that. I do. I wrote about it here. I really really do.

But this TV program also made me realize a couple of things. Not cool things. Things I want to confess to you because it always turns out to be interesting when we go a bit out on a limb.

I’m a sucker for a pretty face.

There I said it.

Like a baby stares at a face for long bouts of time, I too can stare mesmerized at a lovely person. My mom still teases me that when I was a toddler, she could keep me occupied in my bed for hours simply by sticking a magazine in the bed with me. Every time she’d come back to get me, I’d have a certain page open: one with a photo of a beautiful man staring back at me. My virtual handsome-man babysitter.

So on this TV program, they were vilifying the modeling industry for using a 12-year-od girl on the runways. Well, I couldn’t stop staring at this beautiful—she seemed to me—woman. Take off the makeup and the womanly clothes and put her beside her mother and I see her childish self and am no longer mesmerized. Pull me away from the show and I would be all outraged for the poor girl’s lost childhood, concerned with how this life might affect her sense of self-esteem, for all the pitfalls of fame and scrutiny. But wait––let me look at her first. All beautiful chocolate skin and corkscrew curls.

I don’t value pretty faces above others, I don’t think the people who don them are more interesting, better people, more talented. I have no intellectual investment in a pretty face. I also can’t imagine wanting this as a kind of personal goal: “Oh how I wish people would stare at me like mouth-breathing idiots.” This isn’t how it works. Not in my experience. I’ve never known an attractive person to just coast through life on this accidental happenstance. Life is as sticky, as challenging, as frustrating for them as it is for anyone else.

But if you are a pretty face, know now that I will take a break for a moment when I see you, know that for a moment you will be a shiny object upon which I simply must gaze. Can’t help it.

Confession over. Lynch me now.

PS Deb and I were ships passing in the night on this post, so today Deb will post her response in the comments section.


  1. I'll respond (maybe) to the post subject after Deb has chimed in. Right now, the important thing to say is:


  2. Barb I am with you. Because, well I like pretty things. All pretty things and a pretty face is just another one of those pretty things. When I see a pretty face I cannot take my eyes off of it. Sitara who is on Little Mosque with me is a prime example. Some days I just stare at her features marveling at how they just work as poetry. Then her husband walks in and it is just too too much to see them together. They are pretty squared! It has nothing to do with judging or comparing. An interesting face can compel me too. It is just appreciating nature. You won't find a hummingbird attracted to a telephone pole! Okay...what did that even mean?

  3. I also get destracted when I see a pretty face. It's not that I see one person more beautiful than the other it's just that some times some people just have a certain look that catches my eye. Really I think all people are beautiful but I think that some people just show it more without trying to show it. I hope this makes sence.

    One more thing. Happy bday Barb hope it's just amazing for you.

  4. Science has proven that we are pretty well hardwired to find certain facial types attractive. E.g. symmetry is one big factor.

    But, one thing you've brought out is something I've long joked about with the men in my life (this being me who has a long track record of just being "one of the guys" *sigh*). I've never known a straight man who would objectively look at other men and say out loud, "Oh, he's handsome," or, "He has really good legs! Look at those calves!" or, "Look at his thick, shiny, wavy hair," or however these would be translated into manspeak. But, I and most of the women, straight or otherwise, in my life frequently declare out loud of other women, "Wow! She is soooo pretty!" or, "Omigosh, I am so jealous of her boobs!" or, "Her hair is so gorgeous!", or, "Holy cow, that dress makes her ass look so good" or even the simple, "Wow. She is so pretty. Stunning." That's right, it's not always catty digs about white trash bleached hair, hootchiemama skirts, or other instances of WTF-was-she-thinking. We also freely flow with the appreciative compliments. Maybe men do the same in private, but none of my guys has ever done so in my presence, and my ex-husband always swore up and down that it never happens.

    Liking to look at a pretty woman doesn't phase me. I'm straight, but I can truly appreciate a beautiful woman aesthetically. Some women whom I think are mesmerizingly gorgeous include (but are not limited to): Kari Byron, Dita von Teese, Margaret Colin, Kate Mulgrew, Lauren Bacall, Dana Delany, Kristin Davis.

    But, men.... wooohooohooo My aesthetic appreciation of men goes to a whole 'nother level! ;)

    Here's the odd thing, though, about me and "pretty" men. My type is not the typical "pretty boy", muscly, Ken doll types. I don't go for the pretty boys (think any reality TV show that involves a leading man and at least 2 of the following: jacuzzi scenes, 1 too few flowers, and a bunch of catty moneydigging bitches OR think old Baywatch and 90210 episodes). Those are NOT attractive men to me. They all look alike to me! What's generally put forward as what an attractive man is supposed to look like is not what's attractive to me. Those types don't seize my attention and make me stare. *shrugs*

    I pretty much have 2 types of men whose appearance, just how they look before I even know anything more about them, will instantly rivet me. Can't look away. Can't help but stare in fascination. Sort of a Pavlovian response -- See! Want! Make small, subaudible, yearning whimpers! My primary yumyum lust for the eyeballs type is: Tall (TALL, talltalltall), probably wears glasses (at least part of the time) - glasses have wire rims, neatly trimmed short hair (oh, don't even get me started on how sexy I find high and tight military hair cuts!), no mustache or beard (or if so, short and trimmed and very well maintained -- no scratchy, itchy kisses potential! bah!), minimal if any chest hair, lanky - angular, kinda geeky (definitely NOT a jock), smile crinkled eyes, good dental hygiene, and big, strong hands with long fingers. Secondary type: a cuddly, snuggly teddy bear with smiling, mischievously twinkling eyes and a deep laugh and who just emanates warmth and adorableness and a proclivity for effusively bestowing rib-cracking hugs. I tend to stumble across lots of paramedics and firefighters who fall into this category. Adorable, cuddly mischief meets knight in shining armor? Yum.

    Here's the thing, though. Have you ever met a man or woman whom you initially thought was very beautiful to look at, but once you dealt with him/her one on one and realized what a jerk s/he was, s/he ended up not seeming so pretty after all? Like they were so ugly as people, that it lessened their physical attractiveness? That's a sad but true thing.

  5. BTW, am I the only one who finds an SRT guy all kitted out in his vest, thigh holster, and gear sexy as hell?

    Maybe I am the only one... oh well...

  6. I rarely notice either but when I do it really is special. Happy Birthday Deb (a few days ago) and Barb today. You are a special team and are gorgeous to me.

  7. Happy Birthday, Deb (yesterday)! It's Sharon R. from Bridlewood and Sir J.A. days. Would love to reconnect. Sharon (

  8. Rigel, Madge and Lyndsie, on behalf of Holiday Barb, I accept with gratitude your birthday wishes. And Thanks Madge for my birthday wishes today! Rigel I sooooo hear you with the attractive person becoming ugly when you get to know them more. I find the reverse to be true too! Sharon!!! What the? How nice to hear from you. I am wrapping my show in a week and then I will sit down and email you. Are you on FB?

  9. First, Happy Birthday, Barb! :)

    I was watching "Celebrity Rehab" last night and found myself staring at Bai Ling. She was MISERABLE, yet she is so BEAUTIFUL. I couldn't deny it. When I see someone walking down the street, (Yeah, it's usually a woman), and she looks particularly appealing in those clothes, or her hairstyle really fits her, I will compliment her on it. By the look on their face, I can tell I've just made their day.

    Rigel, I firmly believe there is no such thing as a "gorgeous" asshole or bitch. (I don't mean to offend, but that's how I call it.) Personality makes someone truly beautiful. A co-worker and I used to joke about how, if we ever went to a bar together, we'd never be arguing over the same guy. It reminds me that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. (BTW, I notice eyes and a smile first, but Randy Orton, a WWE wrestler, had the best abs in the world.)

    Know what I hate, though? "You have such a pretty face, it's too bad that..." So, I'm smiling, my eyes rock, and you think I'm pretty from the neck up, yet you judge that the rest of me is somewhat lacking (or is too much)? I'd rather you shut up than compartmentalize me like that. IMO, "but" negates the compliment. (Okay, so I compartmentalize, too, having a tough time accepting the compliment part.)

    My daughter is 16, and while I'm trying to explain that beauty is not just skin-deep, she and I still have vastly different opinions of what is beautiful. Some day, she'll get it. I hope.


  10. PS I followed Barb's link to the earlier blog about bathing suits and commented (okay, ranted) on it. It is currently awaiting approval. I find that so ironic, it made me giggle.
    (I swore a couple of times, but, to me, they were no big deal. If I offended, I apologize.)


  11. Dawn, I think most of us swore and ranted on that blog post, so don't be ashamed :D

    Interesting topic though, at quite coincidental for me. My brother has been cheeky to me lately because I have become obsessed (a healthy obsession - not creepy stalkerish one) with a band which I really only got into after I saw one music video and fell in love with the lead singer who is just gorgeous! My brother calls him 'Mr Prettyface' as a dig to me lol though in my defence, beyond his gorgeous face, if his band sucked I wouldn't have gone beyond admiring his face to loving his band and their music.

    I have however encountered plenty of people who look absolutely stunning until they open their mouths, so as people I generally don't (or at least avoid) treating an attractive-looking person any different to anyone else (although I'll admit, I may subtly admire from a distance for a little bit). In the long run, a beautiful personality transcends a beautiful exterior by a long shot.

    Happy Birthday Barb! Hope you also get spoiled today because you deserve it too :)

  12. Just revisited the swimsuit post and all the comments... did you get that tattoo Rigel?

  13. Hey guys, just checking in from the beach. Very hard to get (and kee) Internet logins so there won't be much convo from me for the next few days. But I will read each and every comment here ASAP. thanks Deb for being the go-to. And happy happy birthday to you too. Thanks al for your remembering my special day!

    And Rigel and Elle, I totally agree about no longer finding people beautiful if they turn out to be assholes!

    PS Dawn, I am in charge of getting older comments to post, but because I'm having such internet trouble haven't been able to yet. Will do. Oh we LOVE our rants here!

  14. Isn't being mesmerized by a beautiful face like being mesmerized by art? I think so so no lynching from me.

    I hope that both of you are enjoying a wonderful birthday week!

  15. Elle -

    Nope. Not 40, yet.

  16. Rigel -
    Fair enough but Oh the suspense! :)

  17. I think it's a mark of being able to evaluate "whole package attractiveness" when the pretty face with the bad personality becomes not such a pretty face after all.

    Likewise, there are some people who are not the most beautiful people in the world who, after you get to know them, seem incredibly beautiful.

    Experience changes perception.

    (And happy birthday to both of you!)

  18. Hi everyone,
    I am monitoring the blog for Barb as she is away. Sorry I have not been on them as much today but I am shooting huge days with no shot at the computer. Great comments. I think we all agree that pretty can get ugly and ugly can get pretty. Yes we are suckers for pretty faces but I think what we are really suckers for are pretty souls.

  19. I have always been attracted to body shapes (all kinds, for men and women) and how people carry themselves. And the longer I know some people, the more their looks "grow" on me. I guess their personality begins to shine through.

    I learned a lot about beauty and other people's perception of beauty after I had a double mastectomy (I opted not to have any reconstruction and went from "Double D's to empties") I still hear the, "Oh you used to be so pretty" (I guess my bra size meant more to other people than to me). The worst comments and unsolicited remarks/opinions come from my girlfriends who are STILL trying to convince me to have reconstruction.

    I feel pretty. My husband finds me attractive. Sure, shopping for bathing suits would be much easier if I had something up north, but I never really liked swimsuit shopping anyway.

    I think it is interesting to see what people find attractive, and what qualities people feel obligated to comment on or make suggestions about. The same girlfriend who thinks I am crazy for not getting reconstructive surgery done is also quick to denigrate a woman who has gotten her breasts enhanced.

    Sorry for the tangent - I like pretty faces too.

    :) Steph

  20. Steph,

    Tell them you find good health the most attractive, not their opinions. (If I'm making a false assumption, I apologize.)


  21. First off, Happy ever so slightly belated Birthday, Barb! I hope it was a good one. :)

    As for the post, I don't actually have much of an opinion on this one. I'm not really a people person, and have never been much of a people watcher. But all this talk of people and faces kind of makes me want to take it up as a new hobby, perhaps...

  22. We are wired to be drawn to beauty. It's in our DNA.
    Also, beauty can turn ugly pretty fast. And vice versa.
    Have I mentioned lately how beautiful you all are?

  23. @Dawn - I love your post!!!!! :)

  24. First off, Happy Belated Birthday, Barb!
    Now, onto your post... I can't say that I really notice how pretty someone's face is, as a whole. I notice eyes, lips, and hair, mainly. I tend to receive comments about my hair a lot, so I compliment others on hair styles. I notice clothes and shoes more, and comment if I see something I really like.
    I guess I'm not a face person, though I believe in complimenting people. And, Barb and Deb, you're beautiful, inside and out! :)

  25. Dawn, damn fine comment on the other post! Massive applause for that one!

  26. "Yes we are suckers for pretty faces but I think what we are really suckers for are pretty souls."

    Well said, Deb! :) And a happy belated to Barb. I just adore this blog!!!

  27. Thanks everyone, so much, for the birthday wishes and great comments!!! Made my week! Love you all! xoxo

  28. Yes, sorry for not responding sooner, I'm on FB under last name Brown, currently living in Miss. Have been following your career for some time - so proud of you girl! Where have all the years gone - but you still look sooooo amazing!!
    Sharon R.


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