Being Beautiful In America

It all starts in the nursery. The ohhs and ahhs, the “how cute” and “how darling;” later it lives on in the cult of the cheerleader and the Madonna in the school Nativity scene; in time it lives on in the nationwide commercialization of beauty in our movies, advertising, along with all those patented elixirs hopeful girls will buy by the carloads for the rest of their hopeful lives.

Whatever it is — evolution, society or just plain sex — damn near everybody loves everything beautiful.

These feelings and fantasies are especially apparent at this season of beauty and bounty. Don’t feel guilty, dear one, for it’s not just envy to believe the Beautiful People get more out of life simply by being beautiful. Sorry but this has been the way of the world as far back as Helen and Cleopatra on up to Elizabeth and Marilyn. While the definition of beautiful may change with the cultures, men are hard-wired to respond to the physiological pleasures of high cheek bones, fine complexions, bountiful hair, compelling eyes and full lips. Mothers and men can’t resist. Neither can the holiday commercials.

Is this propensity for the physical unfair…? Hey, life is unfair! Just ask any young woman with a beautiful heart why the world doesn’t turn its head at that? Instead, heads turn — like jobs, promotions, and proposals — more quickly to what’s on the outside. It may be true beauty-is-skin-deep, but in a hard-charging world of male hunters, skin is pretty much all they’re looking at. And so goes one more anthropological reason our silly species has made such limited progress.

It would be nice to sum this up with some redeeming evidence that good eventually trumps gorgeous. Afraid not. The Washington Post recently did a story how the FBI has the capacity to activate the computer webcam in your house to allow them to see into your room. Aside from the usual security vs privacy debate, I’m here to say it’s more likely the guys at the FBI will more likely be accessing the Beautiful People. Maybe it’s what the Beautiful People mean when they tell me: “Beauty is a curse.”

Trouble is, I’ll never know.

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