On ‘good looking’ people and treating people as eye candies in classes.

I have to admit three things. Firstly, I have trouble getting up in the morning for classes. Secondly, the classes that I’m punctual for, it is because there are good-looking people in class and seeing them all spiffed up at 8.30am in the morning makes me happy. Thirdly, I pick my modules based on the looks/charisma of the professor, and not his teaching style. I don’t know if the last one is something common but the thing is that most of what is taught in lessons is covered (in-depth) in the textbook, and frankly my grades do not depend on how well the professor teaches.

Eye candy: Visual images that are superficially attractive and entertaining but intellectually undemanding.

I don’t normally think about looks because it is something that is God-given. Either you have it or you don’t, or you are not conventionally handsome/pretty but you have a certain style about you that makes people want to look at you. But in the previous two days I had two different friends talk to me about the importance of looks. Guy A showed me a picture of two guys, and asked which one is better looking. Guy B told me his personal opinion about girls and guys in the dating market- to him, it is easier for guys to get a date because the girls he knows are not too particular about looks, but guys have a certain standard of looks that they appreciate. And that it is not really possible for an ugly but kind girl to get a date, because kindness takes a much longer time to understand.

For Guy A, I told him that yeah, the first photo is really good looking, but we don’t click. And also because he is so phenomenally good-looking he will have many choices of dates, and it might be impossible to even get near him. Why stalk his facebook photos and put him on a pedestal? And for Guy B, I told him that it depends on who you are talking about. There truly are people who only look at the heart, whereas for I guess, most other people, there’s an initial hurdle called physical attraction that has to be crossed.

To me, girls have it easier because we are not expected to be ambitious career-ladder climbers. There is still an expectation on us to stay at home and take care of the kids, at least for a few months. Whereas guys have to work and earn their social worth. The term I used was ‘stupid little flower vase’ but I guess ‘flower vase’ is enough, she doesn’t need to be dumb. It is a direct translation from the Chinese version of a female who is empty-headed but can be used as an ornament.

For a girl, appearance can be a powerful form of oppression. No matter how intelligent a girl may be, no matter her many talents, these attributes are not easily discerned. Brains and talent will never stand up against a girl who is clearly physically attractive.
― Natsuo Kirino, Grotesque

The reply from the friend was that you have to at least be average-looking and above, to be a flower-vase in the dating market. To have no other use other than to hang around the husband. My question is- if you are not pretty and not smart and you don’t have a kind or attractive personality, is it not possible to get married/date? Is your life as an ornament then over?

From first-hand experience there are a few young wives who are staying at home (in my estate) to look after their kids (some don’t have kids) and they are not cute at all. There is one who is shaped a little like a dinosaur, or like a little dinosaur. It reminded me of an article I read a few years back about how men can derive psychological satisfaction from building a family. It doesn’t matter that the wife (or kids) are a little ugly, as long as the husband has the accomplishment of maintaining and providing for a family unit. Being the sole provider of wealth and pocket money. I guess I could identify with that as well, being the sole provider would mean that I am a ‘man’ with responsibilities and that my worth is defined by how much I can provide for my kids and spouse. It is a path that you choose, which not many people commit to in this day and age.

The crux in that family equation is that they need to find females who are willing to settle down with them. And the question is, who, given that the pretty and ambitious ones will not be willing to only be a housewife. The ambitious ones will work hard and expand their boundaries and not settle, and that leaves a much smaller pool of females to choose from. Which is what I mean by even below-average looking females being able to marry, and the males having to ‘settle for a spouse’ who is neither here nor there, as long as she meets his needs. You can be an ornament of not so pretty proportions, as long as you have no real function and are willing to stay.

That honestly isn’t a bad thing- humans come in all shapes and sizes, and we all have different ambitions for how we want to spend our lives. As long as the both of them are happy, why not? It is an honour to spend twenty or forty years of one’s life with another person, because marriage is a covenant between two people (and God, for those who are religious). There is no definable end goal in marriage apart from what the both of them chooses. And according to The Momentary Marriage by John Piper, the best marriages are those which are only broken by death. It is a different way of living, something that I might never experience.

I know how I look and what my life might look like- I don’t qualify to be a flower-vase, unless you add in heapings of plastic surgery. But I don’t need to be an ornament, I don’t want to settle down either. Being unqualified to be a flower vase just means one less thing to deal with- I know that people like me for my personality, and because I have less choices, I am happier with what I have. When it comes to dressing up, one must make do with what she has, with the aid of Benefit Cosmetics and Shu Uemura. The eye candies in school are just that- eye candies to me. The world is kinder to people with sharper features and a chiseled jaw bone and you are treated better if you are good looking. It is just how our eyes and brain processes first impressions.

As an ending note, Guy B asked “how important are your boyfriend’s looks to you”. I replied “I go for the ugly but cute ones, the ones that make my friends go “….ok.”” And I think that is a perfectly acceptable reply, because it is my genuine preference. However, if a person picks modules or boyfriends based on looks, it doesn’t mean that she is a superficial person. It just means that that is her current preference, based on her needs at that time. We are all different, some will want a partner all the time, some need their reality to match or be better than their expectations. I’m not sure if ugly and cute is a descriptor because cute varies for everyone, but I guess the ones that make me go “awwww.”

 Edit:/ I should have split this into two posts. Flower vases and unpretty wives. Now my argument is a bit jumbled up. But it’s too late and I have other things to do. However, that’s my view of things- you can be a flower vase, you can be ugly, eventually you will find your place in society and settle down. Giving up things along the way, or perhaps never giving up and always striving to be somewhere else. It doesn’t matter. We create our own lives.