The subject of this blog has been on my mind since I attended my niece's wedding last Friday night.
My sister Susy is still the pretty one in my family. My niece's are all pretty too, but I'm talking about my four siblings and myself. When Susy got out of her car at the church, I was actually taken aback by how pretty she looked. I guess, for the past few years, when I've seen her she has usually looked stressed--being a single mother of two, aged 13 and 15, and our father's caretaker would make anyone look stressed. She has worked in a factory for a long time and only in the past year or so has she moved into an office position, one that she should have had a long time ago. So, for a long time, she dressed extremely casually all the time, jeans/shorts and big t-shirts. She still dresses this way sometimes, but she has recently begun to care more about her clothes. I think she's really trying to hook some man, but she's playing it real nonchalant when she talks about it. ;-) She used to tease me about "dressing up" when we would go places because she didn't want to dress up, but the last couple of times that we have gone to the casino boats, she has "dressed up" too.
So back to Friday night, I had some rather unpleasant deja vu when I stood near her part of the night--part of the night all I felt was very pleasant wine effects. Standing near her, I felt fat (she's not skinny either, but she looked so pretty that I don't think anyone would have noticed that she's not skinny) and not ugly but not pretty, homely, I guess. This is exactly how I felt growing up next to her. To those of you who know me IRL, please do NOT send me messages affirming how pretty you think I am or how pretty I am on the inside or how being pretty doesn't necessarily = happiness. I'm really not depressed or self-loathing over this; I'm just explaining. I am being completely honest about my looks, not my person, and I think it's healthy to admit that I'm not physically pretty but I wish I were. Honestly, if I was in a line up, no one would say, "Well she can't possibly be guilty because she's so pretty." :-) Besides, those kinds of messages only confirm the recipients feelings.
So, after I sobered up the next day (my increased/increasing alcohol intake will be the subject of a future post, I'm sure), I started thinking about my desire to be pretty. When I was younger and possessed a bit more bravado, I was only too happy to be the smart one in the family. Other members of my family are smart, but I'm definitely the intellectual one. I had brains. What did I need looks for? Besides, I wasn't "dirt ugly"--my high school friends and I used to say we could never marry anyone dirt ugly, wouldn't want to wake up to that every morning--man, we were really shallow 80s teens. :-)
Now that I'm older, I find myself wishing that I was pretty, not gorgeous or beautiful, just pretty. I know that looks aren't everything. I know that being pretty wouldn't eliminate all my angst. However, I can't deny that I want people to look at me and say/think, "She's pretty." And yes, I know how silly this sounds, but it's true. None of us can deny that in the world today looks do count. I'm sure most of us can name someone whom we feel like either did or didn't get a job because of her/his looks. When I see women on TV talking about having work done, I completely understand why they've done it. If I had the money, I'm sure I would have something done. I wouldn't have too much done, but I would have something done to look pretty--braces, a nose job, liposuction, something. I would draw the line at a boob job though. My breasts are not that big and if I lost weight they would be smaller, but I want people to look me in the face, not the chest.
Speaking of losing weight, readers will notice that I have not discussed ways that I can work to make myself look better, though not necessarily prettier. Basically, I'm lazy about working to look good. I don't want to spend too much time on makeup, hair, or weight control. However, I have recently thought about working more at looking good. I have walked three miles many days this summer. The last couple of weeks though my walking schedule has been disrupted by work, travel, and rain. :-( I will get back on track this evening, weather permitting. Also, I bought a hair straightener to try to make my hair look better (and hence pretty?) than it does when I just blow it dry. Finally, I have started a back-to-school (work) shopping list with new makeup at the top.
So why the desire to look pretty? Sibling rivalry, maybe. If Susy looks pretty, I want to look pretty too. Besides, I'm single and over 40 and smart; I need to add pretty to my qualities to increase my chances of finding someone to share the second half of my life with. I don't want to end up an old maid, do I? ;-) Well, at least, I'm funny, aren't I? That's something. Right?
Before I sign off, I have to stress that Susy is not merely physically pretty. She really has bravely taken on the care of our dad and is trying so hard to raise her kids to be good people. She would do anything to help her friends, of which she has many, and her family. AND she's smart. I wish I had a picture that I could post to show how pretty she looked Friday night.