Whenever you say beauty ‘is only skin deep’ or ‘lies in the eye of the beholder’, you get accused of being ugly. But there’s a lot more truth in that statement than we’re willing to accept. More than once, I’ve walked down the street and seen (what I believed was) a stunning girl.
She might have the perfect hour-glass figure, an ample bosom, and a beautiful African derriere. I imagine she’s just the kind of girl that makes grown men cry. As an experiment, I’ve looked around, expecting to see hundreds of men staring. And lots of times, I’ve been surprised to see that not a single head is turned.
Other times, I’ve seen a perfectly ordinary girl walk by. In fact, half the time, I didn’t even notice the girl at all. Instead, I noticed several guys tripping as they turned to stare, so I stopped to see what they were looking at.
Maybe the girl had that elusive X-factor, the one that lets her wear the exact same t-shirt and jeans as the girl next to her, but somehow make it look like designer wear. Or maybe what I consider beautiful is not what men consider worthy of attention.
Of course that means a lot of us girls are going about attracting men all wrong. For example, a recent survey claimed that Kenyan men prefer to see women in dresses and skirts. ‘Nuff sed. Granted, the mechanics of attraction are a puzzle in themselves. I imagine a lot of it is primal. Something about a large chest and hips in a woman makes men drool, maybe because it implies they can bear healthy children and feed them well.
Meanwhile, women melt over solid biceps and defined chest, possibly because in the stone age, strong arms meant they could wrestle (and kill) food. The six pack and perfect pecs came from long hours of hunting (as opposed to the gym), which suggest a good provider as well.
So maybe that’s why some deep, instinctive part of our DNA responds to these otherwise meaningless body parts, especially since none of them are actually (directly) involved in procreation, which is the whole point of sex. It may also be why we respond to these body parts so automatically, but end up settling down with people who don’t possess these ‘ideal’ traits at all.
It’s true that there are certain women – and men – that are considered attractive by everyone. It’s a general consensus. But there are a hundred of those in the world – or maybe a thousand. For example, off the top of my head, I’m yet to meet the man (or woman) who thinks Halle Berry is ugly. But generally speaking, everyone has their own specific taste when it comes to attractiveness in the opposite sex.
And what’s even more important is that just because you find someone attractive doesn’t mean you want to date them. I mean sure, you’d sleep with them if you got the chance, and you’d probably take pictures so the whole world knows it, but you might not necessarily want to settle down with them.
Why is that important? Two things. One, I used to look at some people in the streets and feel sad, because I didn’t think they’d ever find someone to love them. But I’ve also seen some very unattractive people end up in perfectly happy relationships, and no, it’s not always because they have fame or money.
As a woman, I know all about self-esteem issues. I know that some of the most gorgeous women in the world think they’re unattractive, and no matter how many times people tell them they’re breath-taking, they feel like big ugly clods.
That’s why they end up with men that treat them so badly. They’re somehow convinced it’s the best they can do. And I understand where they’re coming from, because no matter how many compliments I get, my self-image remains intact, and I’m the only one that can change that.
Physically attractive women may have an upper … leg … in the dating game, and that may draw the ire of more ordinary-looking women. Sometimes, we hate these beauties with such passion that it starts to affect them. One example is Anne Hathaway. We assume that all the men want girls like that, so we make their lives miserable. But in the real world, not all the guys go for the gorgeous ones.
It’s true that when Anne, Julie, Angelina, or Halle walk into the room, every head turns in their direction. There’s probably a girl like that in your neighbourhood or office, and you probably wish she’d just die.
But it’s also true that for every 5,000 men that fall asleep fapping to her image, only five will have the guts to actually talk to her. Beautiful women – like alpha women – are often very lonely, because guys are simply too intimidated to talk to them.
More ‘ordinary’ girls – on the other hand – are seen as fair game. Guys talk to you, hang out with you, and get to see what a bubbly or smart or fun girl you are. Plus, you can always shock him with a make-over. So it’s the ordinary girl that gets the guy, not the stunning one. Conversely, the beauty queen may end up with a jerk who treats her badly, and uses her as a trophy.
To make things even more complex, different men have different tastes, so what may seem absolutely ordinary to you may be stunning in the eyes of some guy. There really IS someone for everyone, although whether we’ll actually find each other is a different question entirely.
Let’s throw another spanner in the works. Everyone has wanted someone that didn’t want them back. Chances are you may be sitting and drooling over some guy or girl that doesn’t know you’re alive, no matter how many cartwheels you do to get their attention.
You end up thinking you’re somehow flawed and unattractive. But chances are the object of your adoration is looking at someone else, wondering why they’re not getting noticed. Movie stars (and bigwigs) have crushes too you know.
There are some lessons you can’t learn until you’ve lived them, but sometimes, just knowing the lesson exists can set you on the right path. So the next time someone calls you beautiful, even if it’s just the makanga, smile graciously and say thank you. Don’t assume they’re flattering you. You might genuinely fit their definition of hotness, so bask in the compliment and enjoy the free ego boost.
And when you’re next to a guy and he goes speechless in mid-sentence over some gorgeous girl that just walked by, stop, breathe, squash the urge to knock her off her heels. Then smile, because his speechless-ness means he’s probably too scared to ask her out. Meanwhile, he was actually talking to you, so you technically have more chances than she has.
So let him have his moment of automated response, while you calm down and remind yourself of all the facts. Then swat him on the back of his head and remind him that you’re the one he’s still standing with. Chances are you’ll have him in the end.
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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through threeceebee.com.