Pity the Beautiful 

Beauty is a handicap. 

Everyone is attracted to the beautiful. Because of this, if you are beautiful, you are constantly reminded by friends and strangers that you are desirable because you are beautiful. 

Being beautiful opens many doors, but what are the doors it opens? Perhaps it will open doors for sales jobs (because people buy the sizzle, not the steak). Perhaps it will open doors for modeling or receptionist positions, where strangers can enjoy looking at you all day long. Perhaps it will provide opportunities in acting—a field that, occasionally provides financial rewards, even as it simultaneously feeds narcissistic inclinations. Perhaps it will enable you to marry someone with money. Money has its uses but miserable marriages cost more than what money can buy.

Beauty is dangerous because of the looking glass self phenomenon. If general society sees us a certain way, it is difficult to see ourselves otherwise. Beautiful people are always, at least initially, perceived of as wonderful. Beautiful people fall in love with how they are perceived. Beautiful people perfect their looks, perfect their expressions, and perfect their poses in front of mirrors. Beautiful people practice at being seen; they arrange their days so there will be opportunities to be admired. 

This does not mean we should despise beautiful people. Mostly, it’s not their fault they are beautiful. People will fawn over the beautiful even when the beautiful do not invite it. What I am saying is that life is easier for those whose beauty is flawed. Be thankful for the missing hair or the unwanted pounds, the weak chin, or the bad skin. Your flaws help you to be human. They remind you you are not a god or a goddess. They enable you to focus on the full array of human activity. Your flaws can help deliver you from self-absorption. Thank God for your flaws. 

In the meantime, while we are finding reason to appreciate our own flaws, let us check ourselves when we find ourselves coveting (or envying) those with beauty. Let us help the beautiful by getting to know them, laboring to appreciate the full range of their humanity. And for those of you who are beautiful, toss some mirrors, thin out the make-up drawer and the clothes closet. Pursue the fullness of life and keep in mind that the superficial is merely the superficial. There’s much more of you than meets the eye.