Friday, August 24, 2012


Had a conversation with The Guy the other day that I'm sure made him think I was completely judgmental and maybe a little cruel.

It was about looks.

Well, more precisely, it was about how society treats people based on their looks.  I could tell The Guy was looking at me through different eyes, because of what came out of my mouth, but I was pretty stubborn, as only a Clyburn can be.

The industry I work in would not exist, if it weren't for the (unfortunate) importance placed on beauty and style, and I will admit, I'm attracted to beauty.  And style.  This started at a young age because my mom is, well, vain.  And schizophrenic.  Most of my youth was spent being told that I would have to work harder to be considered pretty by others.  Some days she would stare at me and tell me she wished I were prettier.  She doesn't anymore - she claims she never did - but it isn't one of those things a person forgets, you know, being told by her mother that she's not pretty.

The kids in fourth grade proved her right in her assessment of me by being exceptionally cruel.  Nothing was safe: My hair - gross; my clothes - ugly; my face - weird; my intelligence - teacher's pet.  There's something about being told you're weird-looking constantly that makes you start to believe it.

So the other day I said something akin to,"If Pooka's ears stuck straight out like that, I would have them fixed."  The Guy looked at me like I had grown a third eye. 

"What?  We live in a terrible society.  I don't want her to have any immediate disadvantages!"

And it's true.  If you and one other person have fantastic and similar resumes - and you're gorgeous and the other guy is bland - guess what? You're hired!!  In fact, your resume could be less spectacular and you will more than likely be hired.  If you want me to find all the social psychology experiments proving this, I will.  And why do women who really can't afford them buy new boobs?  Because they know they'll suddenly get more attention.  Why do my clients cover their grey hairs?  Sometimes it's vanity, but sometimes it's survival.  A highly intelligent female client was looking for a new job and said,"I have to keep these at bay.  I don't want them to think I look old.  It's an old boys' club and the women they let in have to be cute."

Sad, but true.

What about just about every woman I know worrying about her weight?  When I ask, it tends to go back to their mothers saying something to them. My mom once said, just before I became bulimic,"Boys might like round butts, but they don't want a fat girl.  Did you really need to eat that?"

My daughter will have her bad moments in life, but for the most part, I know she'll be okay.  I know because she's already thoughtful and caring, smart and funny.  And gorgeous, which will get her pretty far all by itself.

I just wish she'd fatten up a bit...

1 comment:

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