I was reading in Chicago magazine about a playwright who's last three projects have been about physical beauty and its meaning to people.
He talked about an experience in which he was waiting to hear a band at Lalapalooza this summer, and he began asking the women around him:
"How would you you feel if you overheard your husband/boyfriend saying the he loved you so much, but your face was just average?"
I know - weird right?
But I thought about it.
It's an interesting question - because you would think that most woman would say that they really just want to be loved above all else, so being considered average-looking would be secondary.
Oh no, my friends.
Most of the woman responded that they would be devastated and a comment like that would be a "dealbreaker," while most of the men were seemingly ambivalent.
Listen, I'll tell you right off - I'd wanna leap off my second story ledge if my husband thought I was average looking.
Now, let's get something straight. I think I am - on my very best day - average looking.
And that's with makeup on.
And I accept that. In fact, average might be generous. I usually go with "non-descript."
But no matter how ugly I think I personally am, I fully expect my husband to think I am the most beautiful person he ever saw.
Even first thing in the morning.
When I still have those eye crusties.
And hair in four different directions.
In a white wife beater and his old boxer briefs.
If my husband thought of me as anything less than beautiful, I would be really hurt. I admit it.
So I asked my husband - what would he think if he heard that?
Cheese: I don't think I'd care all that much. Guys in general don't. They really just wanna know that they are in the same stadium as a good looking guy, but otherwise they don't put much worth in that.
Me: Really? Because no kidding - I would destroy me.
Cheese: I guess I would much rather to prefer that you respected me, saw me as a good man and a good provider.
Me: I prefer that you think I'm hot.
Shit man, even writing that I feel so shallow.
Come on ladies - I can't be the only one like this, right? I mean, I love that my husband thinks I am funny and smart, but I really love that he thinks I'm hot.
And when we walk into a room, I like him to think that he just brought the most beautiful girl to the party, and that his his friends think that too - that they're not just like, "Oh Cheese is here! And look, he brought his really smart wife with him!"
Because let's be honest - I don't care of his guy friends don't chat me up about Freudian psychology or Bowenian theory over beers - but I might wonder what's wrong if they aren't checking out my sweet rack or watching me walk to the bathroom.
So does that make me shallow? That I care about looks like that?
That is all almost laughable coming from me - me, the Queen of Gym Clothes who has a allergy to hair brushes and wears baseball hats to her office to meet with her supervisees. It was only a few months ago that my sister ridiculed me when she asked me for facial cleanser, I handed her a bar of Dial soap.
What I am trying to say is that I don't work hard trying to make myself (or keep myself) beautiful. I would rather spend time being comfortable that putting on tight clothes or trying to be fashionable. I open my makeup bag twice a year. I don't like to put much of an effort forth at this whole beautiful thing. Maybe that's why - as a general rule of thumb - I don't ever consider myself pretty, much less beautiful.
But yet - I still want my husband to think I am.
That under my uniform of hoodies and running capri tights, and beyond this raggedy ponytail, and aside from my facial hair, he truly believes he landed himself the crown jewel.
So what would you think if you overheard your partner calling you "average looking?"