On Beauty

Real Life Dec 21, 2009

A few weeks ago, my friend Christa Taylor over at ET posted a hilarious story. The long and short is that she and her sister, Kelly, woke up feeling ugly and ran into some cute guys. While I laughed with/at my dear friends, a thought returned home that I have never been able to convey to the women in my life. I realize that, given the female cadre that frequents my humble blog, I’m going out on a limb, but here it is: women really don’t know what it is to be beautiful.

My sisters and I are always joking that women don’t dress for men, they dress for other women (which is true). So the disconnect is probably a perspective difference between sexes. But from a man’s perspective, I would like to candidly suggest that to the one who finds a truly beautiful women, she is always beautiful no matter what she looks like.

Here’s what I mean: If a guy finds a women beautiful, no matter what passing bad hair day may come her way, she is always beautiful in his eyes. In fact, more beautiful because in the moment of aesthetic honesty comes also a moment of vulnerability.

A bad hair day for a women tells a story that few women are capable of consciously narrating. A woman’s bad hair day says, “90% of the time, I work overtime to make myself presentable and acceptable in the eyes of the men and women around me. And today I failed.” This discouraged girl hunches over her life begging the day to get a move on.

The man’s perspective is quite different (some might suggest morbid). The girl, forced to leave her entourage of divinity by her bedside, walks into his life. And even the most eligible young man thinks, “She’s not completely perfect. I might have a chance after all.”

Truthfully, most women are so beautiful that it’s discouraging to young men. While I applaud the encouragement and advise that Christa and her friends give to young ladies, there a moments when I think, “If these girls keep this up, they’re going to price themselves right out of their own market.”

“Oh great” come the complaining comments, “Now we’re too beautiful?! Men! They don’t know what they want!” Yes we do. We want to say that you’re really beautiful. We want to say that when we find out we’re going to be in the same building as you, we get stage fright. We want to say that there are moments when you don’t know we’re looking at you hoping that someday we can muster up the guts to say something you’ll find funny. Or smart. Or just intelligible.

The fact is, you always look great. It’s not just the way you dress or the way you do your hair or the way you constantly adjust the lid on your coffee cup. It’s the way your shoulders shake when you laugh. The way you hide your face when you’re embarrassed. The way you squint at a page when you forget your reading glasses. It’s the way your hair sneaks out and touches your cheek any time it wants to. It’s the little things –the subconscious things– that make you, you. The truly and inimitably beautiful you.

One of the girls commented on Christa’s post: “It’s good to know that we are not alone in our embarassing [sic] moments. ;) It makes me think of when I wake up to get ready for college and have terrible hair days- if Christa Taylor can laugh at not-so-pretty days, so can we.”

She doesn’t get it. I’ll bet you anything that somewhere in her class is a good guy. Not overly-smart, not rich, not clever, but self-aware enough to know he doesn’t have a chance. Every guy knows that feeling. This guy sees her in class three times a week and every time he hopes he’ll do or say something that in some small way will turn her wonderful eyes toward him. And in she walks with a “not-so-pretty” day. A day when the playing field is leveled ever so slightly, a gift from God Himself. Why does it take that? Because subliminally, we guys know that the day when you all are not impressing the world, we might have a chance to impress you.

I know Christa and Kelly, I seriously doubt they looked that bad. But even if they did, I doubt it mattered. And even if it did, I’m not sure anyone noticed. But their sweet story led me to a conclusion: the women in my life will never know what it is to be beautiful, they’re too busy trying to wear it.

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