Under the veil of dark, it is easy to appear beautiful. Make up, clothes, location, pose, tone of voice…all these things combined at a late night soiree can make it easy for those not 100% attractive to make a fine showing for themselves.
Science can confirm all this as well with studies showing that “pretty people” earn 3 to 8 percent more than average looking folks. According to the same study, if I was a criminal, I could receive better treatment. Though I must ask then, how come I have no gotten out of any speeding tickets? Perhaps I was pretty enough for them to also assume I must get out of all my tickets, so they needed to lay the law down and put the lead footed pretty girl in her place. The allure and power of being one of the pretty ones is enough to have us all staying longing to be what they are yet…being pretty really isn’t so pretty.
As a person who is blessed, it is not easy. Oh, a high quality problem, you might say; quit whining, you’re pretty. There is no delicate or humble way to go about this, so out with it I go. I’m pretty. I do not work hard at being so and it has been this way since I was wee darling. Eye lashes for days, pout lips and buttery skin that begs to be touched. Female friends are not something I have. It would be nice, but not so as I would befriend a girl or meet a pal’s girlfriend thinking we had hit it off only to later be told of what she said about me. It is crushing to be let down or treated with such hidden disdain for being nothing more than yourself- my pretty self…
Though pretty people are said to be perceived as “smarter and more honest” than average folks, there is a fine line where people start to resent those scientific findings and thus retaliate against us pretty people they so with they could be a part of. I happen to be nice, delicate and genuinely big hearted, which is written off as fake to support this stereotyped idea that pretty people must actually all be conceited bitches who do things like steal boyfriends, get special treatment and never have to wait in lines.
Then there’s the aspect of not being able to go grocery shopping, the gym, or even walk down my block without being leered at, stared at or commented to. Just go away I want to say. I dream about putting on a shirt that says “If I were interested I would say hello.” It is that simple and yet so constant, so intrusive…so, sigh, bothersome and tiring. iPods can only deter so much, and the vigilance with which many approach is absurd. Think honking, marriage proposals from strangers, and needless compliments of the obvious (yes, I know I have long legs, thank you.)
Defining life as a pretty person does sound great from the onset. Getting things free was something I thought happened to everyone. Trips, including many I turned down, booked and paid for by men. I’ve only paid for one drink in some moment of much needed liberation as to say I can do this myself,…only to be hit on by a wedding party and offered a few more of what-I-was-having. Being followed onto the subway is not flattering, it’s down right frightening. Stalkers? Check. Customers who my former employers had to hide me in the back from? Check. Babies love me. Gay men love me, (or really hate me.) Politicians kiss me on the head…wait, no, that was just John Meyer, who I met on a street corner in Chicago as he asked me point blank, “Have we met before?” We had not. Guess I looked familiar? The gifts are always interesting and appreciated but I never knew everyone or every woman was not treated this way. Sleeping with a celebrity is suddenly quite cheap when you realize how used you were, a shiny new toy that won’t talk and ruin their brazen status.
In 2006 a short film called Not Pretty, Really showed pretty people discussing life in the pretty line (“I know I am not unfortunate looking”) in which three of the girls start crying. Many wrote it off as mockery, yet it is painfully true. I have cried my eyes out after a hard day of so much attention all I wanted to do was hide…and could not escape. In the city there are not cars to hide within or many coats you can bundle under when the weather becomes warm. I knew far too early what it felt like to be objectified. Many times you want to pull your arms over yourself and curl into an invisible ball and blend in. To blend in might be nice, as to stand out puts an obscene amount of pressure on a person. Being watched is not easy. Think about the last time you were the smallest bit insecure about doing something and how much worse it got when you were put on display. Yes, that is how it feels. No, we are not immune to being self conscious. In our heads we are just ourselves. Not the “pretty people” you see from the outside.