Beauty and Ugliness

When I look into a mirror, there are voices in my head that talk to each other and confer about how I’m looking that morning. I might have a sleep bump or something, or maybe that really ugly fluff on my chin is looking particularly ugly and Fudge has made my hair look like plastic. The voices notice how I have a lump of flab where a six-pack should be and how maybe wearing a loosish T-shirt could hide that fact pretty well.

Then, there’s this one little voice in my head which says that none of this matters at all. Because, after all, it doesn’t matter how one looks, all that matters is what’s on the inside. Looks are merely superficial qualities that should be totally inconsequential to one’s perspective of a person.

This one little voice stands, flashing a proud smile that only comes from having said something totally profound and truly insightful. The other voices give each other confused looks, huddle together to discuss matters, before deciding to grab large sticks and baseball bats, and beat that one little self-righteous voice to a pulp. And I smile, put on a hat, smile again, and leave.

Looks. It seems that these days, it is almost a crime to say that looks matters when you’re judging someone. Well, maybe to some degree, that is true. Sure, I don’t really care how my friends look at all. But try this.

There are two strangers of the opposite sex (or same sex if wanna go that way etc.) in a room with you. You know nothing about either of them, so there’s no particular reason why you should approach one and not the other. One of them is good looking and one of them is not. If you had to talk to one of them, which would you choose?

Unless you are stupid, blind, masochistic, lying or all of the above, chances are, you would approach the good looking one. We’re animals driven by sexual urges, and although we are quite refined and these urges are a lot more controllable than in other animals, we still go for the physical. Looks still matter. When comparing two people, with all other factors being equal, looks become the deciding factor. And saying this is even being nice. Psychological studies suggest that a good looking person will usually give a better impression to others and will even seem to have a nicer personality than uglier people, regardless of their actual behavior.

OK OK, I hear you say. Sure looks do matter, but it shouldn’t matter, right?

Well, the voices would ask “why?” And rightly so, why shouldn’t looks matter?

Argument 1: You’re born with your looks and you can’t do anything about them. Personality is developed, so basically, you can say that it’s not your fault if you’re ugly but no one’s gonna feel sorry for you for being a bastard.

The reply: Who says you have to live with the looks you were born with? With enough money, you can virtually recreate yourself every week! Don’t like your breasts? Put two bags of saltwater in them! Too many wrinkles? There’s laser surgery or just cut the excess skin off! Need more hair? Easy! Just grow new hair! There is so much you can do with your looks, and even down to a simpler level, there’s always make-up, or just dress well. Every little bit helps.

On the flipside, whoever said that personality is controllable? Some people just aren’t naturally nice. Some are just born bastards. If you’re shy, do you have a choice but to be shy? Nope.

Argument 2: Personality is ultimately what you have to deal with. That is, you usually talk to a person and not just look at them.

The Reply: OK, try talking to a really boring person. If they’re good looking, at least there’s something to occupy you with. Makes the conversation that much more bearable.

Look, I am not saying that looks are more important than personality. I’m not even saying that looks are as important as personality. All I’m saying is that it matters and there’s nothing wrong with the fact that it matters.

Before I go back to my mirror, the voices want to rip apart a myth. It’s the myth which says that good looking people are often not so nice because they are overconfident and therefore conceited, while a lot of less beautiful people are humble and will probably be nicer just because they don’t expect to attract an audience on their looks alone.

Well, this is crap. Such a myth has spawned from the fact that people find the need to find a silver lining to every dark cloud, or conversely, a “made in Taiwan” sticker on every nice and expensive Italian leather sofa. An ugly person, therefore, has to have some sort of redeeming quality to them, while a good looking person with an amazing personality seems far too good fo be true. Sure there are some really nasty good looking people out there, but the ugly ones aren’t exactly saints either. There are a lot of really horrible ugly people out there.

Look at it this way. Good looks could lead to arrogance, but it could also lead to self-confidence and self-confidence is not a bad thing. Self-confident people are often easy-going and friendly as they find no need to prove anything about themselves to anyone. Therefore, they are happy people.

Now let’s face it, ugliness does not often lead to happiness. Ugly people are often defensive, depressed, and/or depressing and they probably hate the world because of it. Who wants that? Who wants to hang around ugly bastards who aren’t particularly fond of you?

Call them superficial. Call them extreme, but there are voices in my head and they tell me to look as good as I can possibly be.

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