Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lucky 7

Being too good-looking isn't the worst problem to have, but it can be annoying. My best friend Sarah has been plagued by this year for years. She's been an unwilling status symbol in every ward or social circle she's occupied, badgered for dates by guys who just want to be seen out with her because she makes very nice arm candy. Worse, girls are often territorial and catty when she first arrives on a new scene, and it takes her a while to make friends. It's ironic, because Sarah is one of the least backstabbing, most loyal people you will ever meet. She's uninterested in game playing or turf battles with other women and wants their guys to leave her alone as much the girls do. It just takes the ladies a while to figure it out and then it's fine, but she always resents the time it takes them to reach that conclusion. (She's still single, so that's why it's an ongoing issue. And yeah, I know, this doesn't count as real problem on the scale of bad things that happen in life.)

I was her "wingman" for years in college. I don't know what the girl equivalent is for a wingman, so we'll just go with wingman. Anyway, I got to watch this weird phenomenon of being a 10 up close and personal. There are perks: I personally witnessed her get out of six different traffic tickets while I was a passenger in her car. We got in free everywhere. And she got lots of freebies. But there were the down sides, too: the mean girls (even though she eventually won them over), and the shallow guys who flocked to her just because she's pretty. That more than anything convinced me I was perfectly happy as a 7. This is the difference: I didn't get in free anywhere, but I always got in. And boys tended to be more drawn to me for my personality than my looks, which is a better foundation for building on. Girls could still be kind of mean until I got to know them (and vice versa), though.

For all of the good-looking guys who went after her, Sarah rarely dated any of them. She went for less obvious choices. She loved dating outside of her culture, or dating guys with plain or even odd looks, but tons of personality. The "hot" guys never got it, that "hot" is a relative term whose definition is strictly in the eyes of the beholder. In Sarah's eyes, "hot" means funny and smart and not intimidated by her. Oh, and someone who follows professional sports. I think she watches everything but hockey. Eh, she probably watches that, too.

Anyway, being her best friend for over fifteen years taught me early on that I like being above average and well below spectacular. I'm not going to lie and say that I don't care about being attractive. I do. It's helpful in getting what I need because we live in a beauty driven culture. It's stupid, but it's true, so whatever. I'll use it to my advantage.

We all know that physical attractiveness, especially when we're using Botoxed and surgically altered media hogs as the standard for a "10", has very little to do with real attractiveness. Are you kind? Funny? Thoughtful? Smart? Creative? Then I'll be your friend. If your beauty is only skin deep, forget it. I don't have the patience for people who haven't grown roots under those glossy good looks, you know? I mean, good looks are just good luck. The right genes from my parents mashed up. So what? Am I supposed to take credit for that? Should anyone? I'm far more interested in the way people develop the parts of their character that are totally within their control.

I know there's nothing profound in this. It's just a thought sparked by Janette's Rallison's reflections. And I don't mean to sound vain. I don't think I am. Being a 7 (maybe an 8 if I drop ten pounds and do my make up) is nice , but it's just lucky. It's not like it's something I earned. But the blessing of good friends who find in me something beyond a passably pretty face? I don't even have a number for that.

Did you notice my new subtitle? The votes came in and Luisa's suggestion handily won. I like it! I'll be emailing you today to see which prize you want to claim. Yay, Luisa!

27 comments:

LisAway said...

Yay for the subtitle!

Greg and I talk about this all the time, how some people will NEVER have certain opportunities or privileges JUST because they're plain looking (or "ugly") which has nothing to do with anything, really. I just think that's so weird.

My 13-month-older-than-me sister, who was always a tiny bit round, used to tell me (I was almost always thin) that at least SHE could be sure nobody would date or marry her just for her body. So funny.

I'm a happy 7 too. And JUST like you I can sometimes pass for an 8 if I'm a bit thinner and the lighting's right. . .

One last thing: " Are you kind? Funny? Thoughtful? Smart? Creative? Then I'll be your friend." Do we have to be all of them? Cause I'm not sure I am. At least not all the time. But I'm sure I'm at least one or another of them all of the time. . .

Heather of the EO said...

I love your thoughts here. You're one smart cookie, lady. A pretty cookie. With sprinkles of kindness and wit and...

yes, a good cookie :)

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, hey! Totally cool! It looks great up there.

Great post--makes me glad all over again that I'm a solid, average 5.

Annette Lyon said...

The subtitle rocks.

And your really got me thinking with the whole post. And you're right. I could write an essay here why, but let's leave it at that. You're right. And now I'm glad I'm not a 10.

Fiauna said...

I loved this post! Being a 7, or 8 on a good day, is a great thing.

Becca said...

[deleted long response, for reasons of Too Much Information]
Great post, sista. I'm hearing you. Maybe not on the 7-8 front, but I'm hearing you.

charrette said...

Great subtitle. Luisa is brilliant.

My first thought reading this: Your *friend*? Are you sure this isn't about *YOU*? because we all know how beautiful you are, inside and out.

My favorite line? is this: "It taught me early on that I like being above average and well below spectacular." That's a good thing to learn. I have a post about that very idea...half written. Hmmm...

I also love the part about being willing to be friends with anyone kind, funny, thoughtful, smart, creative...I totally echo that, and I'm so glad to count you among mine.

Lara said...

Well said. You are definitely right. And it makes me so glad that those kind of petty things do tend to go away once you're married and have kids and travel in more mom circles, although they're still there a little bit. It's just that the whole catching a man thing is overwith, so people don't worry about it quite so much. It's much easier to be in social situations without all that going on. :)

And I love the subtitle. Very clever.

Kimberly said...

LOVE the subtitle.

I'm only a five, but it's nice to know that anyone who likes me likes me for ME. Very reassuring and all that. Of course, I only made peace with all that a few months ago . . .

Fascinating post!

Kristina P. said...

I love the subtitle.

One of the best compliments I could receive is that I make someone laugh or that I'm funny.

That makes me happier than someone telling me I'm gorgeous, which, let's be honest, happens several times a day.

Eowyn said...

Janette's post is very thought provoking. And this one was just as much as hers. I've never wanted to be the hottest girl. I was/am fairly content with pretty.

Though I have to admit that it depends on the day.

Thanks for making me think.

Emily said...

Those beautiful babes have it hard. They really do. :)

This is exactly what I say to remind myself WHY I don't want to be a 10. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

Congrats LisAway! It's a lovely subtitle!

This post is exactly why I think the world of you, Melanie J. You're a hottie but you're even hotter in personality. (No, I'm not hitting on you. Much.) Seriously, you're off the charts on niceness/cooless/goodness. Yeah, it's wonderful that you're gorgeous but to me, your inner beauty really shines through all of it. I'm grateful to call you friend.

Melinda said...

I love this topic, I find a lot of really beautiful women are some of the nicest, and the "ugly" women, are ugly deep down too. I'm like you, I don't care either way, its whats underneath that counts.

I mean, being a 10 makes my life so hard all the time! :D

DeNae said...

I have no problem with beauty being skin deep, as my current weight assures me at least 8 inches of beautiful depth. I'm pretty sure that makes me a 30, easy.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I'm totally only skin deep! so that makes me what??? a 2 in personality and a 9 in looks?

Okay I kid... I'm working on both... I'm just average right now! :)

April said...

Awesome subtitle!

I have found that I can meet a person and think that they may be attractive/handsome. After I interact more with them and learn about their personality either their attractiveness/handsomeness increases or decreases depending on whether they are nice and sincere or insincere and rude.

April said...

BTW....Shelle is beautiful in personality and looks! :)

Chris said...

I love the subtitle!

I don't think I'd mind being a 10 AT ALL. I find people to be so judgmental and critical over the least little things that being attractive would at least be one less thing to worry about.

Debbie said...

The subtitle is great. And it sounds like your friend is too. I will admit, I am judgey when it comes to extremely attractive people.

Chris said...

Oh, and I think what April said is perfect.

Julie Wright said...

I have always believed that a pretty face would get awfully boring if nothing intelligent came out of it. I used to worry that this standard was my cover up story for never being a ten, nine, eight, or even a seven most of the time.

But I was never hideous (except in middle school where I was genuinely hideous) and eventually grew to believe my brain was more important than my face anyway. I'll take a good friend and a good laugh any day over eye candy. Great post!

wonder woman said...

I had a college room mate (one word?) who sounds just like your friend. She and another *gorgeous* friend of mine are living up the single life in Chicago right now. It's kind of incredible to me that they've stayed single long enough to serve missions and have careers. But I guess when you have your pick of the litter, you have that option.

love the subtitle.

annie valentine said...

Okay, the female equivalent for "wingman" is "merry maid". Just as pilots (a male driven profession) have backups, really lucky homemakers (a female driven/dominated/sometimes despised profession) have merry maids.

I just made that up and I think it is kind of brilliant.

CaJoh said...

Love the subtitle.

I always knew that I wasn't a "pretty-boy" who all the women swooned for. I never gave myself any kind of ranking for looks, but I always strive to be a better person and have that charisma that makes people interested in me and not my looks.

That Girl said...

I. Love this.

I've been bouncing around a post very much like this for a while. I still might do it. Maybe.

Because it doesn't matter. Not at ALL. When will we figure that out?

Silly said...

Pete loves your writing but isn't sure how he feels about being called the "less obvious choice"?
And for the record..the 10 is a fallacy made up by stupid men in their daydreams...

ps...he's teaching me about hockey...boston bruins not the redsox! :)