Monday, July 9, 2012

The Pretty Percentage

In a world where we are so fixated on physical attractiveness, it interests me that two of the most pant-worthy qualities someone can possess to me are a sense of humour and compassion. Of course, physical stuff comes into play. I do like to find my crushes attractive on a more...well, primal level. But the older I get the more I realize one's sex appeal is directly proportionate to their ability to tease and be witty with me.

Someone can be a lusty lump of sinewy muscles with flawless features but remain in the 'meh' category until they show a bit of a spark. I'm not one to gawk at pretty boys. The truth, just between us, I actually hide the sexy photos of models people post on Facebook. Because that's not what I find attractive. Give me a music nerd talking about their favourite bands or a brainy lad explaining the wonders of the universe over a stereotypical hunk any day of the week. Maybe I'm just wired differently, but I want to see some personality. Quirk, if you will.

I've never taken compliments on my outside stuff well. I touched on this before, but they make me uncomfortable. Not because I don't like my face, I do. Now. But I struggled growing up with it. Mostly because I didn't understand beauty. And I thought I was ugly. Awkward. Unlovable. It took a long time to shrug out from under the whole low self-esteem phase and emerge this vivacious creature you see before you. (ahem) In truth, I much prefer compliments on inside stuff, like how long my large intestine is.

Which is why when someone told me I was 'at least 47% pretty' this weekend I didn't get my back up. Obviously, the comment was said in jest - I mean, look at me. I'm totally over fifty percent pretty. But the thing is, humans have this innate ability to get upset over things they know aren't true. I mean, I can't tell you how many 'no, I was just kidding you're not a fat, ugly beast' conversations I've had in my life. Suffice to say, there have been more than a handful. The thing is, even when people know they are easy on the eyes, they get their back up when their outward bits and bobbles are questioned.

And I get it. We're all Sensitive Sallys. Most of us were teased in school and have residual self confidence issues because of it, and almost all of us have suffered a barbed comment from someone who wasn't just (to use a phrase I hate) taking the piss. In the end, we all want to be pretty, cute, beautiful, devilishly handsome or whatever your ideal compliment may be.

Except, I just don't give a damn.

Before you get all sassy and hands on hippy with me, let me explain.

I'm never going to be someone's trophy wife. First, I'm too old for that nonsense. It's a fact that trophy wives are usually under twenty-five. Second, I don't have the time and energy to invest in being one of those girls. Or money. Do you know how expensive it is to tan, dye, bleach, wax and perfect the human body? A lot. And third, I am not the typical hotness one would expect of arm candy, and I never will be. Mostly because I can't afford Photoshop in real life, meaning plastic surgery. Not that it would be an option anyway. Flaws are beautiful, aren't they? I've always been under the impression that it is our imperfections that make us perfect. Or at least they make use who we are. Otherwise we'd all be given the same face and body at birth. How boring that would be?

So, 47% is a pretty low pretty score, but, even if he was serious, I wasn't insulted. Why should I be? We all have opinions. I can't control what someone else thinks of me. I am who I am. That said, if he had of told me I was only 47% funny I would have raged. Because I am hilarity in human form. A walking talking jokefest. I might not be wolf-whistle hot, but I'll make you laugh. If it's the last thing I do. Mark my words. Okay, this is just getting menacing. Let's get back on point...

In truth, the pretty percentage is subjective. Even if I was 47% to one bloke, I might actually be a 78% to another. This is because we all don't find the same things attractive. Crazy, right? I know, it's shocking that our likes and dislikes, even in people, differ. (sarcasm abound) What's even more fascinating is how we all notice different details in people. For example, not too long ago, a friend told me she went on a date with a fairly attractive man only to notice his hands were really small. As the date wore on, she found him less and less appealing, until she was completely turned off by him. I know, who even notices hands? Just another thing to worry about and it's why I walk around my hands hidden in my sleeves.

Not only is the pretty percentage subjective but it also fluctuates. It's a sliding scale, so to speak. When I first meet someone, I might start out at 47% but my wit and charm and general awesomeness might help to slide me up past 60%. Or down. I might also get less purdy as time passes because, let's be honest, I have a few heathenish qualities that might work against my hotness percentage.

We've all met people we've found attractive only to cringe in disgust when they open their mouths or do something appalling, like kick a kitten or put a baby in a plastic bag. Then there are those people who you might not write home about based off looks alone, but they are so animated and different that your motor gets going. There are no rules. Attractiveness is far more than the size of your waist or the symmetry to your face. It extends beyond how you look in short skirts or whether you can play spoons on your washboard abs.

Attractiveness is so many things, like style, flare and quirk. Personality. It's the passion you harbour for your art, hobbies and goals, it's your drive, determination, and empathy. I don't care if you rolled out of bed or spent an hour getting ready. I'm more concerned with the way you smirk. How easily you laugh. Your musical nerdiness. The gentleness you only let certain people see. Your weaknesses and strengths. I don't care if your skinny or plump. I care what makes you tick. What gets you out of bed. Who you want to be. Where you came from and how you got here. And your stance on cake. Of course.

You see, looks are just looks. I'm not naive enough to say they don't matter. They do.

They just aren't quintessential. They just aren't everything.

And how we see someone changes the more we get to know them.


Anonymous said...

I was likened to looking like Miss Trunchbull in Mathilda at the weekend. Made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Woof.... woofwoof.... woofwoofwoof....

Tyson said...

Ah, Pookie. Nothing but love. ;)