So you think you found yourself a good man because he is caring, compassionate and considerate. He is romantic, tells you he loves you and get this…even lets you holds his phone and have the passwords to all his electronic devices! He communicates, shows you affection in front of his friends and introduces you as ‘his girl’ to everyone. You are over the moon happy and can see the relationship progressing to the next level. There is only one major problem….he has a face only a mother can love and in his case, that mother would still need at least six shots of Hennessey to show that love as physically he could be twins with Quasimodo.
So now you have a dilemma. Do you seek love or are looks more important? It is a question as old as time and still as relevant now as centuries ago when young girls were forced into arranged marriages with hideous, wrinkled and shrivelled old men three times their age. Back then a ‘good marriage’ was about preserving wealth, pedigree and bloodline and less about longing, love or lust. Fast forward to the millennial and arranged unions are outdated but unions based on economics are still very much in. We all gossip about the young chick that snagged the half dead old dude with the healthy bank account. In fact if we are totally honest, Gully Bop and Miss Chin’s relationship has been fudder for many a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ jokes as many have wondered openly what she could have possibly seen in a man whose mouth is almost totally devoid of implements needed to tear and chew meat!
I sought to explore what titillates us easier – mental or physical stimulation and the pros and cons of both dimensions.
Back in the days, some young girls were taught by their mothers to marry the men who loved them and not the men they loved as then they would not have to worry about a broken heart as the man would be so invested in making them happy that in time, love would grow. That bit of advice meant that if he had a hairy mole on his face, was cross-eyed or if his teeth were leaning towards fifty shade of yellow, they should just work with it and make the best of life. Not a lot of women apparently took these old wives tales as acceptable pearls of wisdom as the posters in their bedrooms were of handsome hunks with chiselled features that looks more like Idris Elba than Elephant Man!
But have those same movie star posters and Mills and Boon novels actually done us women more harm than good? Has it facilitated an atmosphere of superficiality that has basically made us reject men who seem ‘sub-par’ or ‘ordinary’ because we are always desperately seeking men who are physically perfect specimen of masculinity to the point that we overlook good men just because they do not check off every box we have created in our heads as to what Mr. Right should look like? Are we letting good men slip through our fingers because we just are not seeing them due to our rose tinted glasses?
Many of us grew up on romance novels in which the females were always being rescued by some devilishly dashing men. Some psychologists have said that while these novels create unrealistic characters, young impressionable minds think that is the standard by which to judge all men suitable and worthy of our attention and affection. Sadly, the average male then has to compete with these fictitious fantasies and sadly will always come up lacking as most men do not have chiselled six pack abs, deep dimples, hazel eyes and perfectly straight teeth. However, they are real and we can engage in conversations with them and get to know they on a personal level that we will never get to know most movie stars or celebrities that we have crushes on.
While good looks do go a far way in making a good first impression, in the end what we get at first glance is just an impression. It is not the sum total of the person and what they are about. As one judge so aptly pointed out to a woman who kept meeting men online and taking them home, Ted Bundy was a very handsome and articulate man who many women were instantly attracted too…he just happened to also be a serial killer. Therefore we cannot base everything on just physicality as if we are totally honest with ourselves as women, many of the men who we have dated in the past who were good looking, turned out to be the biggest douche bags we have ever met so what does that say about our judgment?
Good looks are the stuff that sells magazines and mirrors, it drives beauty and body building contests, it powers the fashion industry and runs model agencies and let’ face it, an ugly person will not be the individual who greets you at a reception desk or be the face of an website (have you seen Mickey Rourke doing any commercials lately?). The beauty industry is a billion dollar enterprise encompassing from hair and make-up to lipstick, lashes and everything in between. From we were young, we have been bombarded with images that speak to what it seem to mean to be beautiful though, every culture has its own perception of this holy grail. Good looks build self assurance and self esteem and that is always a great quality in both young males and females. When a problem arises however, is when one’s physical attributes are placed in front of everything else. In other words a young girl thinks she does not have to study or excel academically but rather she can just be ‘cute’ in order for someone to sponsor her way through life.
We can concede that it is ultimately easier to look at a pretty face than an ugly one but what happens when all someone has going for them is that said pretty face? What then? Is it enough to establish and build a relationship? If this was really so, why then do pretty women or handsome men get cheated on or why do their partners get bored after discovering that they bring nothing else to the table? It would seem then that being beautiful does not solve all of life’s problems. It certainly will not stop them from aging and here is where life finally begins to evenly distribute some of its harshest party favours as sagging skin, age spot, varicose veins and wrinkles all congregate in an atmosphere conducive to gerontology, as we all get older and by ‘we’, I mean both the pretty and the un-pretty. Age is no respecter of good looks. They too will fade with time.
So what is left when beauty fades? Essentially what was there covered up by all the mascara, lip gloss, eyeliner and ten pounds of foundation. We hope honesty… and hopefully some great personality traits that will keep a good conversation going. Beauty cannot mask stupidity, a nasty streak, meanness, cruelty, shallowness, insensitivity or just a foul character. Therefore when you strip away the layers of a human being what is left, should be someone you want to come home to each day because their inner-being is warm and welcoming.
Personality should be what counts in the end as that is what will have you holding hands at age 50 watching the sunset, sharing dinner at 60 with the grand kids or playing ludo at 70 at the family reunion. At that age, you will no longer care that he was not 6 feet tall or that he needed braces in high school or that his nose takes up half his face. It has become a face that you grew to love because every morning he makes you smile when he makes you breakfast. For anyone with an average IQ, character should trump cuteness as after a while only babes and puppies should be considered cute. You cannot base a relationship on how cute a guy was when he handed you his number because if he has no job, no bank account, no place to live, has ten kids with seven baby mammas and a prison record longer than Andrew Holness’ stone cut wall, he is not that cute anymore!
Always make character and personality be more valuable because as TV’s Judge Judy always states “Beauty fades but stupid lasts forever”!!