I came across this ugly dating site recently and it’s got one of the best copy I’ve read in a while. I spent 10 minutes straight laughing till I had tears and then I made the husband read it because it’s exactly the kind of thing we both like. Yes, other marriages are built on awesome things like trust and sacrifice while ours is built mostly upon a shared appreciation for quirky humor.
As I wiped the tears of mirth from my eyes, I got to thinking about the cliches parents love to tell their kids. Like it’s not important how you look on the outside but who you really are on the inside. Or inner beauty counts for more than one’s outward appearance.
Sounds profound and credible but really a ginormous load of bollocks.
Ok, time for some hard truths – parenting style.
1. Good looking people make more money
We’ve known for years now that statistically, good looking people earn a good 10% more than ugly people at least. Depending on how good-looking you are, the proportion is usually higher. If you look like Beyonce, you’re set to earn about $87 million a year.
2. Good looking people are more popular
Let’s face it, the popular kids in school are almost always the best looking ones. Take for example the jocks with the tight muscles, chiseled features and boyish charm – every girl wants to be with them and every guy wants to be them.
3. Good looking people have it easier in life
By easier, I mean that they are more likely to get what they want by batting an eyelid or a seductive glance thrown in with a hair flick. They never queue up for clubs, never have to buy their own drinks and never ever have to make the first move.
With all that in mind, why in the world would I ever tell my child that their appearance is unimportant? I’m not saying that inner beauty is not important but it’s only by a twisted logic of fairness in the universe can we argue that it’s mutually exclusive. I’m all for being beautiful on the inside but people are less inclined to look for it if they have to dig through 27 layers of ugly to get there.
What I teach the kids is that they shouldn’t judge others by how they look and learn to appreciate inner beauty because good-looking people aren’t always good people. At the same time, I also teach them that first appearances do matter and they will go through life having many people judge them based on how they look.
If they have crazy hair, people will assume at first glance that they are at least a little bit crazy. If they have terrible dressing, people will mistake them for a hobo. If they have bad breath and smelly feet, people without nasal problems will keep their distance. If they walk with a slouch, people will subconsciously think they’re lazy. If they are brash and crude, well, that’s just bad manners.
While they’re young, I take it as my responsibility to make sure they look good. That includes giving them a haircut that enhances their features, dressing them well (not necessarily expensively, just nicely), teaching them proper grooming habits, choosing nice spectacles (if they ever need specs), keeping them at the right weight, ensuring good posture and so on.
It’s a romantic notion that we should be loved for who we really are so we don’t have to try to hard to impress others with our looks but again, that only works if you look like Kate Beckinsale without makeup. For the rest of us, we have to put in some serious work in the looks department.
Now, I agree that there’s no one version of beauty and that it’s in the eye of the beholder. I’m just talking about general consensus here. If 9/10 objective strangers think you’re hot, you’re probably hot. Conversely, if 10/10 think you look like Kim Jong Il on a bad day, that’s some pretty strong indication that a revamp is in order.
I get that not everyone is born with the best features but the important thing is to work with what we have. If you look like a 3, try to bump it up to a 6 or 7, you know what I mean. If you’re already a 7, no harm going for a 9.5.
In summary, I guess what I’m saying is that looks matter more than we like to admit. We think that we’re mature for being able to appreciate inner beauty but secretly, we all judge others based on how they look whether we’re conscious of it or not. So why not teach our kids to look their best so they get to be beautiful on the inside and out.
What do you think? Am I way off base here?