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.