I am not beautiful. And I’m not talking about the everybody’s-beautiful-in-their-own-way beautiful. I’m talking about the rare and genetically gifted beautiful.
I am not.
I never was.
I never will be.
I’m okay with that. Seriously. I’ve got bug eyes, sloped shoulders, a hooked nose…and my hair! I could go on, but I’ll refrain.
So, I was going into the grocery store on Monday…I know. I talk about the grocery store all the time, but that’s where I spend a couple of hours of my time off a week. And that is where I generally talk to strangers.
ANYWAY. I was headed into the grocery store near my gym and some guy, very handsome and all dressed in a suit and tie, caught the door for me. And then he said, “Hi, Gorgeous.”
I smiled; because that is often how my little daughter greets me in the morning (great job Daddy) . I checked around to see who he was flattering in hopes of getting a waffle, like my baby is, or maybe a date.
He smiled, raised his eyebrows and said, “That would be you. You are beautiful.”
I think I may have blushed. It never hurts to be complimented for no reason at all, right?
He told me, “I mean that in a milk and cookies kind of way. No offense.”
Well. That’s original. Milk and cookies. Not hot, or sexy, or any of the stuff that goes with gorgeous in my mind. Not even cute. I am foodstuffs.
“None taken. Have a good one.” Well, what else was I going to do, blow a whistle and call Security? What did he do, besides smile in a non creepy way? I moved on to the produce section, thinking about beauty.
I have been a target of the beauty industry for as long as I’ve had the pocket-money to buy my own Lipsmackers , which kind of means that the beauty industry has been my protector from real and imagined bad guys for decades. I pay way too much for conditioner. I wouldn’t dream of making a presentation or meeting a customer without lipstick. Just in case it might make someone like me a little bit more.
Q: Who wouldn’t hire a professional who’s wearing really great shoes?
A: Nobody, that’s who. And pass me my lipstick.
I realized that I have spent the last twenty-five years trying to be something I am not. And that “something” is beautiful. I suspect that beauty may be some kind of biological crap shoot. There are things that are just more satisfying to the human eye than others: Symmetry, clarity, robust health. I am none of these things, in particular.
I’ve always practiced believing that you get what you get, and you don’t get upset. Well, you could also get plastic surgery, but that wouldn’t change the way you look, except to make you look like someone else. You might become gorgeous in the Officially Beautiful way- but not like yourself. And, chances are, you were made exactly the way you are for a good reason.
There is a popular hair coloring company that has cashed in by showing genetically beautiful women declaring “I’m worth it” on the day they’ve decided to give up the grey hair and officially become Beautiful. But aren’t things that are unbeautiful still worth it?
Is an eggplant not beautiful? How about Bok Choy? In the impossible quest for becoming Beautiful, I have learned to give glory for what I do have: An easy smile, a kind heart, a quick mind. That’s beautiful. But in that everybody’s-beautiful-in-their-own-way kind of way, which for the purposes of this story doesn’t count.
So, I’m a Plain Jane. Milk and cookies. .
I am not gorgeous. But, I am happy.
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.
-Gerald Manley Hopkins