This post originally appeared on the Google version of this blog on June 12, 2017. I am reposting it as/is, because I think it makes good sense. The featured photo is one of me from around 2017. I look prettier in that photo than I do on a daily basis, in spite of the scowl on my face.
I have never been the type of woman who turns heads with my looks, even when I was young. Since I’m getting older and fatter, I probably never will turn heads, at least not simply because of what I look like. Should this make me sad?
Apparently, some women still base their self-worth on whether or not men notice them. I read an incredibly airheaded article this morning by Eve Pollard, a British woman who evidently used to be quite attractive to men. She’s enjoyed a successful career in journalism and probably should be very pleased about that. Sadly, it seems she’s now “invisible” to men. They don’t notice her or wolf whistle at her anymore. She’s 71 years old.
In the article, there is a picture of Ms. Pollard. She is still blessed with good looks. At age 71, she still has a bright smile and dresses attractively. I would never guess she’s 71. Would she turn heads at a construction site? Probably not. But who in the hell wants to be whistled at by a bunch of construction workers?
Ms. Pollard has been married for 38 years and she says he’s still “interested”. If that’s true, why does it matter if other men don’t notice her? Why are so many women so wedded to their appearances as a source of self-esteem? Eve Pollard has what a lot of women would envy… a career, children, a loving husband, and at age 71, good health and looks. Why did she feel the need to write about becoming “invisible” to men? And why did I waste time reading such nonsense?
It’s pitiful and pathetic. I would have hoped someone of her advanced age would have matured at some point during those years. I really enjoy Brits, but I’ve found that they are an awful lot like Americans in many ways. And in some ways, they’re even worse, especially when it comes to silly subjective bullshit like whether or not a person is considered “beautiful” as they age.
Some time ago, I wrote a blog post about a guy Bill and I met on a cruise. He was from England and he seemed okay at first. We chatted with him a bit. It soon became clear that he’s an asshole. One night, I was in the piano bar singing to Bill. We were the only ones in there besides the piano player. The British chap walked in and his mouth dropped open. Then he said, I kid you not, “Now I can see why you’d love her.”
Really? He must have seen the shocked expression on my face, because then he came over and hugged me. It was very embarrassing. In the first post I wrote about this subject, I went more into detail about that trip. I don’t want to do that again in this post, except to say that his comment was a reflection of an attitude a lot of men have… really, a lot of people have… about women they don’t think are “hot” enough to be out in public. It’s as if it’s our duty to look good for them.
I can remember at least two occasions when I was in college– and supposedly at my prettiest– when guys who usually treated me like shit, actually complimented me on my looks. One guy was someone I’d known in high school. He used to get really drunk and manhandle girls. I remember one of my hallmates was really tiny and this dude got very drunk and demanded that she go out with him. He stood in the hall, absolutely plastered, screaming at her to pay attention to him. He actually picked her up and tried to carry her off somewhere before another male friend intervened.
One night, I got dressed up, fixed my hair, and put on makeup. Sadly, it was because I was meeting a guy, who ultimately didn’t think I was “hot” enough, either. Anyway, the perpetually drunk guy from my high school and college said to me, “Oh Jenny, you look ‘E’!” “E”, for your edification, was a euphemism some of the guys I knew had come up with for the term “eats”… as in, “That woman is ‘good eats’.” The drunk dude actually meant this as a compliment. And he said this to me after I had witnessed him getting piss drunk and carrying off women as if he was an out of control caveman overcome by lust and the women would actually enjoy this treatment. How gross.
Another time, it was a big black guy who was in our choir. He didn’t like me. He thought I was obnoxious and told me straight to my face that he thought I was “rude”. He didn’t even really know me very well, but clearly thought I was too loud and opinionated and had no issues telling me so. On a choral trip to New York City, we happened to go to the same Broadway show. I had put on a really flattering navy blue dress. I look good in blue. I fixed my hair, wore jewelry, applied makeup, and wore matching navy heels. And this guy, who generally had nothing good to say to me most of the time, said “Wow. You actually look good tonight.” Really? So the rest of the time, when I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt, I look like warmed over shit? And you feel entitled to say this to me without a shred of shame? And you think I care about your opinion?
The funny thing is, it wasn’t like this guy was a looker himself. He was quite obese and bald. He wore sweats all the time and actually sweated in them. He had an ungracious personality and probably bad breath, to boot. And, for some reason, he thought I’d care that he thought I looked good when I dressed up to go see a Broadway show and had the audacity to tell me so.
I do have a funny memory about this guy. One time, we both attended a show at our college put on by a hypnotist. He was called up on stage and apparently was very vulnerable to the powers of suggestion. The hypnotist had him dancing to an unheard tune with wild abandon. Later, it was very clear that the guy was embarrassed that we’d seen him being put under by the hypnotist, who had succeeded in making him act like a fool. Serves him right.
Listen… when you’re a college student going to a school where there is no strict dress code, you aren’t necessarily going to want to dress up for class. I remember when I was in school, I had to save up quarters so I could wash my clothes. That meant I’d wear things that were easy to wash and dry… not pretty navy blue dresses that required dry cleaning. Why would I want to wear heels if I have to walk to different buildings around campus to get to class? I did that one day, fell down some steps, and ended up with torn panty hose, skinned knees, and a sprained ankle. That was certainly attractive.
I get wanting to be pretty. I just think if you’re going to be pretty, you should do it for yourself, not for wolf whistles from horny, clueless men who have no idea what’s inside of you. I read a very wise comment on a different article yesterday. It was written by a guy who, I’m sure, is a high quality specimen. He wrote, “My granddaddy always said, ‘You don’t buy a candy bar for the wrapper. You buy it for what’s inside.” You know what? He’s absolutely right… unless, of course, you’re diabetic. Then you should probably buy celery.
I’m just glad I didn’t settle for one of those guys who only wants a pretty wrapper. My Bill is the only one whose wolf whistles I would ever care about. And frankly, he’s too classy to whistle at me, anyway. This is a guy, who last week, when I tripped over a dog toy and temporarily stunned an ankle and skinned a knee, made a special trip to the store to buy me a compression wrap. I didn’t ask for it and ultimately didn’t need it, but he valued me enough to think of what I might need and bought one for me anyway. He would have wrapped my ankle personally, too.
Life is too short to spend a lot of time worrying about whether random people think you’re “pretty”. What they think of you is probably none of your business. I think I’m more attractive at almost 45 than I was at 25. I don’t look that much different now than I did back then and I’m a lot more together and less neurotic. Enjoy your life… all stages of it… and fuck worrying about your looks when you’re in your 70s. The best people– male or female– are the ones who value what’s on the inside and would rather buy a candy bar for the candy, rather than just the wrapper. 😉