Last week I read something on Twitter (yeah, I know – one must consider the source…) that the most beautiful women are the ones who think they are not worthy of being looked at. I choked on my coffee. Even in consideration of the source. And then I had a glass of water started to think about it a little more. Is there beauty in such self-declarations of unworthiness? Are women – or men for that matter – who know they are attractive less so for knowing it?
I have to disagree.
In a cursory evaluation of what I find attractive in people, confidence ranks as one of, if not the, top qualities. The whole not worthy thing? Painful. (Unless you’re Wayne or Garth and you are *that* excited to be meeting Alice Cooper.) In fact, I have found that most people who hold this attitude are what I call Pescaderas. Fisher(wo)men. These women are the height of insecure (and often as jealous as the summer day is long) and they are constantly fishing for compliments; always needing people to reassure them that they are in fact, not causing ocular bleeding: Could.Not.Be.More.Annoying.
Beauty is not static – to be sure, standards change. But there are certain irrefutable things that make people attractive people. Or unattractive. Here people will argue that “the most beautiful among us can be rendered ugly if they are mean” (or whatever your particular personality aversion may be.) I respectfully disagree. That person may become unappealing in your eyes, but they are not ugly because of it. They are just beautiful and unpleasant. And I am sure there are lots of people in that category. If you don’t like them, don’t hang out with them, but be honest, they are not unattractive. And while it is true that personality goes a long way, it doesn’t change your looks, only the perception of those looks by certain people.
More studies than I would ever want to cite or even read, have been carried out about what makes people attractive. At the most base level it comes down to an animal instinct kind of thing, but in the more sophisticated areas of cranial consideration, things like symmetry of features, an appearance of health manifested in good hair, teeth, skin, a specific level of fitness (and again, proportion) contribute to our human determinations of what is attractive. And I am speaking above and beyond cultural and racial determinants. Certain people are considered beautiful in any time and place and that is a fact. That doesn’t make them equally adored, revered, or *gasp* liked…. but in terms of aesthetics: there are good-looking people and there are people who are not. It is that simple. Nefertiti is often considered to be the pinnacle of beauty and this determinant was placed upon her because of her near perfectly (rendered) proportions. We have only her manufactured image to go on, but she meets all the above standards including proportion and appearance of health. And 3,340 years later, she is still hot as shit. She may have been a total bitch. That does not change the prior facts.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a quirky (and inconsistent) aesthetic taste. This means that I regard certain less superficial (here used in its exact denoted context, not with the modern [unfair] connotative meaning) qualities with more import than the fascia. In spite of this, I am very aware of what is “attractive” in an objective sense. Let’s look at Jude Law for a moment. He is lovely. Has all the right aesthetic qualities and I think he could earn a fine sum as a two-dimensional image anywhere in the world. But he doesn’t do much for me in terms of causing me to get all biggigity. Does this mean he unattractive? NO. And I am quite sure Jude knows he looks good. That is not what is the deal breaker for me. He just does not interest me.
Now, let’s look at Benicio de Toro. Those of you who know me already know where this discussion could go. I would do absolutely ridiculous things for the outside chance that they might score me an audience with Benicio. In purely aesthetic terms he does not have the mass-marketable appeal that a Jude or a Brad are going to have. That is just a fact. His look is also less likely to have the timeless appeal that say, Nefertiti has had. She has been a standard for a mere 3,000 years (1370-1330 BCE); talk about aging well. Benicio appeals to me because of his attitude. Because he is a little dirty. He is dark. He seems unpredictable. He comes across as irreverent. All of these things make him beyond reproach in my eyes. And if all these things were true of him, he would be a totally shitty boyfriend, which makes him a sure winner in my book.
Still in terms of Benicio being better looking because he gives off the impression that he is not worth looking at? Uh, no. It is true B gives off the “I don’t give a shit” vibe… but that is his coolness, née, his confidence. If he was all impish and apologetic and insecure it would never work for him. [Need I point out Hugh Grant who is clearly more appealing to me as Daniel Cleaver or Will Freeman, resident wankers, than he is as foppish Four Wedding's Charles or William Thacker, but who looks the goddamned same in every film.]
So, to claim that someone who thinks they are unworthy is better looking is ridiculous. That (hopefully) authentic humility may be something appealing to an admirer but it doesn’t change the facts of the face. Just as there are specific things that categorically make people attractive specimens there are things that make people unattractive, in a purely objective manner. I am not talking about a fashion statement (some people looked good with a mullet for Christ’s sake) but actual qualities that make people less aesthetically appealing: bad skin, bad hair, fupa, bad teeth, obesity, emaciation. This is not to say these people are bad people or are unworthy or that no one will find them attractive. It is just to say that in simple, objective terms, they are not as good-looking as the Angelina Jolies or the Halle Berrys or the Grace Kellys or the Nefertitis [the Brad Pitts, the David Beckhams, the Javier Bardems, the Djimon Hounsous] of the world.
The fact that whether or not someone is beautiful is a determinant of their worth is a whole different subject, and clearly not my point.
And my point is this: People are good-looking or less good-looking. Fact. This should have little bearing on their valuation as humans (but we know that it does make a difference.) What makes people unattractive to others is far more personal and subjective than what makes them attractive. [For example, I think smoking (in women) and poorly fitting clothing (in men and women) make people much less attractive. I also find red hair to be a less than compelling feature. But that does not mean that I cannot look at Rupert Grint and acknowledge that he is attractive. Well, cute at least. And Benicio is one of about three people on earth I would let smoke in my bed. Unfortunately, no example I can think of can be excused for ill-fitting clothes.] At the end of the day, or the TSA line, or whatever… knowing that you are good-looking does not change what you look like. I have crooked teeth and I hate this. I would look better with straight teeth. Does knowing this change what I actually look like? No. You look like what you look like. It is what you do with it that matters.
Are you a Pescadera? Or do you own a room? It is really up to you, not your face.
And on that note, I end with some irony. One of the funniest looking humans ever, singing about how *you* are so beautiful… to him.