The Beast of Beauty
Lee Ann Leach
How’s that saying go? “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes straight down to the bone”? I gotta admit it: I’m a sucker for a pretty face. Show me a man with dark eyes and long eyelashes and you might as well hang it up in ever getting me to turn my eyes away. I readily admit this is possibly my worst fault. I have a very bad habit of judging people on appearances. It has gotten me so deep into hot water on so many occasions that, I swear, I should have been drowned a long, long time ago. I will believe anything a pretty face tells me. Yep, that’s me — sucker of the year. I win the award every time.
Honestly, though, I am not one who generally believes that a pretty face should be able to make such an impact on my opinion of that person. It goes against everything I believe and stand for to be right and just. Aesthetic beauty should not have such an influence on how I feel about a person in any shape, form, or fashion. But it does, and it bothers me a great deal. I really do wish I could get past the “cover” of the “book” and appreciate the contents rather than the packaging. I can’t seem to let go of that flaw in my character, though. I have a real hard time accepting the not-so-perfect people, as far as their looks are concerned. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like to see an artist or band’s promo photo before hearing their music. It’s also a big reason I don’t like to be able to see an artist performing onstage and why I hang in the back of the venue until they’ve convinced me that they are decent musicians. I know I have a tendency to judge the music on what I am seeing on the stage. If there’s a hunky guy in a band I am reviewing at a live show, I feel like I will be swayed by that one member’s good looks. I want to be objective, without my hormones getting involved!
I truly believe that being led by the physical attractiveness of a person is a major flaw of character and judgment, and, unfortunately, it is one of my own flaws. Why I do it when I don’t want to do it is beyond me. Maybe it’s Mother Nature’s way of making the species more desirable that drives my decision-making. Whatever it is, it really grates on my nerves in a big way.
I detest beauty pageants and magazines that flaunt the “50 Most Beautiful People.” It makes me retch to see a guy dating a girl just because she’s a “hottie.” But, as I have said all along … I am so very guilty of it myself. I have been widowed close to 11 years now, and have had plenty of offers for dates and men who want to have a relationship with me, but I quickly turn and run away if the guy is not pleasing to my eye. To have to wake up the next morning with a man who is ugly physically is not something I ever want to do in my life. I get enough ugly just having to face myself in the mirror in the morning!
So, if this whole concept of accepting people for who they are on the inside is so important to me, why do I feel like it’s important to have a “looker” on my arm? Please, if you have the answer, let me know! Beauty and the desire to look upon beauty — whether the person is a scab or not on the inside — is something that I wrestle with daily. It makes me feel like a real horse’s ass sometimes, too. I know better, and I know that inside that toad who keeps asking me to dance, there is probably more beauty than I can stand, but I can’t get past the buck teeth, the balding head, or the pock marks on the skin. This alone makes me an ugly person, and I understand that reality.
Real beauty does come from within, and this is merely a simple truth. Beauty comes from the soul and the heart in beautiful actions and sweet words of honesty and truth. So how can I ever get past the outside ugliness of a person and be able to see that person’s inner beauty? I can’t — and will never be able to see that beauty — because I do not have it in my own eye. The beauty in the “eye of the beholder” adage applies here. I’m blinded by outer beauty, and therefore am ugly myself, because I can’t see past the outer coating of another person.
I don’t think I am alone in my flaws here at all, though. We are all too blinded by physical attractiveness, or else we wouldn’t have Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz glossing magazine covers and selling millions of copies. The whole cosmetic and plastic surgery business would come to a screeching halt if everyone decided to correct their own character flaws involving the judging of others on their appearances. Miracle Bra and control-top panty hose sales would plummet. Hair salons and Bally Health Club memberships would die a sudden death. Men wouldn’t feel the need to prance about the meat market dance clubs like peacocks with their tail feathers unfurled.
How would we ever get past the “initial attraction” of the physical appearance of another and into relationships without outer beauty? No one would ever get to know anyone else without that first attraction of the outer person, especially in our day and time when there is so little time to talk and see what’s on the inside! There has to be that first glimpse of outer beauty (in whatever we consider “beautiful”) to make that first “hook” to drag us into wanting to know more of that specific “beautiful” person. It’s why we have been given the desire to be attracted to what we consider a thing of beauty. Is it really all that bad to want someone by your side who you consider physically attractive? Are people, like myself, who can’t get past the outer layer really such scumbags and low in character? I really don’t think so. What really makes outer beauty a thing to be looked upon as evil and bad is that we still hang around the “beautiful person” even after we finally see that they are actually extremely ugly on the inside — and we still give them the idea that they are beautiful no matter how repulsive and disgusting they are on the inside.
It’s a two-way street, really. I can consider myself ugly on the inside because I judge people initially on their appearances, but I can also walk away and forget that beauty if they turn out to be gnomes with warts on their souls. Beauty is something of importance to the initial attraction, but beyond that first gasp of “Oh my, what a hottie!”, it really depends on the beauty on the inside.