“She’s so pretty.” Sounds like a compliment, right? How about, “Awe, bless her heart. She’s dumb as a brick but at least she’s pretty”. Compliment? No. That’s a southern way of saying you’re stupid. To clarify, if you ever hear anyone say this about you or anyone else, THIS IS NOT A COMPLIMENT. At all. Being “pretty” can mean different things. Let me help you navigate this often confusing and over-used term.
On the attractive spectrum there are, generally speaking, three categories:
- Hatchet Face
- Sally Field
- Raquel Welch
Sally Field is “pretty”. Hatchet Face (from the movie Cry Baby)… not “pretty”. I’m sure Hatchet Face has plenty of talents to offer the world. Physical attractiveness is not one of them. And that’s ok. Raquel Welch is gorgeous. She is sexy and beautiful. She is the opposite of Hatchet Face on the positive side. In today’s world, Raquel Welch can take a selfie with full-on duck face and not be made fun of. Neither Hatchet nor Sally could get away with that.
Hatchet Face and Raquel Welch can co-exist mostly as the “token” friends in each other’s circles. Especially if Hatchet Face is funny. Perfect Raquel and her other perfect friends now have something extra to offer others… humor. Or Raquel Welch is severely flawed in some way. Like if she has a laugh like Gomer Pyle or a chronic booger nose. Then Hatchet and her friends have a perfect face to offer others.
The “pretty” people are different. It kind of sucks to be in this bucket. Saying “it sucks to be pretty” isn’t like saying “it sucks to be famous” or “it sucks to be rich” or “it sucks to be married to Gerard Butler”. Pretty is Beautiful’s less attractive sister.
If you look like Hatchet Face, Sally Field is a huge improvement. If your desire is to be better looking and you look like Hatchet Face, you may even visit a plastic surgeon’s office to take your face from horawful to “pretty”. And that’s understandable. That tells society, “I’m reaching for the attractive stars but not in an unimaginable way because I know that the human body can’t survive the amount of surgery required to make me Raquel Welch. Scarlett Johansson, I can pull off… maybe. Let’s start slow with Tori Spelling, even. But I can’t go full Doutzen Kroes right out the gate. Because I’m a realist.”
Sometimes I hear, “you can get away with it because you’re pretty”. The “it” usually refers to something stupid.
“Oh, you sent a mass email to everyone in your company, including 33 countries AND the CEO, about your new haircut that was meant for the one friend you have in the office? It’s ok. You can get away with it. You’re pretty.”
No. Not true. Being “pretty” is not an excuse for being stupid. I’m fairly certain that Sally Field never did something dumb and was told, “Well… it’s ok. See this ‘pretty’ clause in the policy? You’re good.”
This belief, that prettiness will allow your dumbness to be ignored or excused, is severely untrue. Hatchet Face feels this way about a pretty person much in the same way a poor person thinks that if they had a six-figure job they’d automatically be rich. No, not necessarily true. It probably does mean that you won’t have to pay your bills in rotation. For example, you probably won’t have the following conversation with your life partner:
“Would we rather go without heat or water? Which is more important? Hey, while you’re deciding, babe, could you toss me that pack of cigarettes? No, those aren’t optional.”
In addition, the Sally Fields of the world are constantly being approached by the undesirable guys for a date. Why? Because Sally is approachable. She looks nice. Resting bitch face be dammed.
Sally Field still has to try if she wants to be higher up on the attractiveness spectrum. Make-up and presentable clothes are required. It’s like the “c” student of attractiveness. The “c” student still has to study and try if they want to get into college but in high school can probably remain under the radar for the most part. And, hey, college not your dream? You’re golden. Just keep on skatin’.
Hatchet Face uses “pretty” as a mulligan on behalf of others for all kinds of stupid shat. For example:
“Her grandpa died. Poor thing. But she’s pretty so she’ll be fine.”
“She totaled her car. Yeah, it was her fault. Believe it or not, the cop gave her a ticket! But she’ll be fine. The judge will go easy on her because she’s pretty.”
“Sally lost her arm Saturday in a shark attack! I know! But she’s pretty so…”
No. None of these things are ok. Not if you’re Hatchet, Sally, or Raquel. No.
Hatchet Face needs to calm the eff down. Sally isn’t gorgeous or sexy or beautiful. Is she pretty? Yes. She owns that. She’s happy with that. But she still has to be a functioning member of society. Shocker: (no, not that kind) Even if Sally were Sofia Loren type of perfectly beautiful she should still be required to be smart. Physical beauty should not be an acceptable excuse to be a stupid unicorn. Unicorns have horns. Horns can hurt you. Unicorns need to be smart, too. Please, please don’t be a dumb unicorn.