He Saw, She Saw

Anne Hathaway Golden Globes

First Posted 19-Jan-2015

What He SeesWhat She Sees
She’s Hot!My tits are not even
I could do her.My tits are too small
She’d be into meI have weird eyes.
She’s probably a good cook.My skin is oily.
I’m kinda fat & dumpyHe’s kinda cute

I don’t think it matters whether you are on TV and get to walk down a red carpet after weeks of preparation so you look incredible. The talented artists that help the various folk do that red carpet are very good at what they do. For the most part they can make anyone look incredible. Those that are lucky and do walk a red carpet still look in the mirror and see their own list of reasons why they are not that good-looking. More than a few of them, on the morning after as they recover, don’t look anywhere near as good as they did for those few minutes under the lights and down the short walk from the limo to the door.

This too, this used to bug me when I was younger. I’d see some girl who was incredibly hot. She dressed really well. Then I’d get with her, and as she undressed, what she looked like naked was a letdown. I had to get used to the truth that some women are really good at clothes, hair & makeup. In full gear they do look red carpet amazing. Undressed, out of makeup, different story.

I’m in my mid-fifties. I and the women my age, left the flower of our youth on the compost heap a long time ago. We look good, maybe even red carpet good, but in a different way from when we were 20-something. I’m also a Dad, so the bloom on my flower fulfilled its purpose. I don’t have the same fear that I’ll die alone I once did.

This is one of those perpetual back & forth’s that go on between folk who fantasize about being red carpet attractive as they roll out of bed. These folk get drawn in to an escalating trap of messages in their head that keep moving the ball on perfect for them. They messed up the last time they tweezed their eyebrows. They’ve only got a five-pack. For me, it’s what’s happened to me in over five decades. I have a paunch and I’ve lost my ass. As many times as those of us who have come to be at peace with the way we look say it, say that the fantasy is a curse, there are still those who are seduced by the fantasy of being red carpet attractive 24/7/265 and become trapped by it.

Even those who do walk a red carpet, some still feel like they are not that good-looking and so invest in cosmetic surgery to look more like an imagined ideal. I’m a boobs guy. I love boobs. Fake boobs? No. They look like water balloons duct-taped to a woman’s chest. And that plump lip thing that some women went for a few years ago? Eew. Or the eyebrows that made folk look like an Edward Munch painting–don’t do that.

All of us flower from some point after puberty until some years beyond 29 or so. We flower because this is when God hopes we will attract a mate and have kids. There is a blossom to us that is there for a while and then changes. I’m not ugly. But I’m not good looking in the same way I was when I was 19. It is how it goes.

Maybe I’m compensating. Maybe. But, at my age, mere hotness isn’t enough. If she’s hot and annoying, as SumYung HotTea has proven to be, her hotness fades faster than a Black-Eyed Susan in the Saharan sun. With the hotness has to be a woman who is easy to live with. It’s one thing I get about my GrandDad. He too wanted a hot chick to be with. But if she wasn’t down for his lifestyle of tinkering, drinking, not really keeping a job, and constant boom & bust cycles, she could be naked, drunk & horny in front of him and he’d probably just tell her to get dressed and go get more beer. I can relate to that.

There is an archetypical story arc here. From the time we figure out that we are into boys/girls or whatever, until we either age out of becoming parents or become parents, there is a built-in angst over finding a mate. We worry about how we look, whether our breath smells good, how our pits smell, if the cologne we have on is the right one, whether we are wearing something that will give off the right signals about us and on and on and on and on and on.

Then, for some of us, marriage and kids happen and the game changes. The chase is done. We got one. We have kids with one. The work becomes different. It’s being a family, and the ten-thousand challenges that come with raising kids. Once our kids become old enough we are then spectators and mentors while they too begin to find partners and sort out their lives as adults.

You could almost phone this essay in. Body image issues are something almost universal. Saying we should be pleased with the body we are born with is an easy conclusion. It’s not news. Nor, I hope, the thought that beauty changes as we age into the different chapters of our lives. Last, I hope this isn’t news, that especially as we age, having a compassionate and smiling heart is reflected in how we look. So, the best beauty secret is to learn the old secrets of loving others as we would be loved, loving our enemies in ways that preserve and respect justice, being merciful, and doing those small acts of kindness with great love as we are able. That will keep you beautiful even when you are 204 and sporting a walker.