Better to be ugly or beautiful?

March 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

originally appeared on my news24 column on 2010-08-03 14:30

One thing that can be said about beauty is that it doesn’t last, ugly on the other hand does. Beauty is the sprinter, ugly is the marathon. Would you rather have something temporary or something that lasts? Actually, that is a dumb question; most would rather be good looking temporarily even though most wouldn’t dare admit that publicly, after all, who wants to be thought of as shallow? I’d choose beauty first, then ugly later, at least I would have the best of both worlds by the time my time on planet earth expires.

Anonymous once said beauty is only skin deep. (Just an aside here, who is anonymous? And why is he so widely quoted?) Much like beauty, ugly is also only skin deep. This is a little acknowledged fact in this mostly beautiful but sometimes ugly world. And just for the record I don’t like the word ugly, it’s such an ugly word.

This is not meant to be an ugly column at all and I suspect some of the comments are going to get pretty ugly so I have already braced myself for the onslaught of internal ugliness, the worse kind. The kind that no amount of plastic surgery can fix.

Admit it, you’re a bit shallow too. If you’re on any social networks chances are your profile picture is you at your most dashingly good-looking. In fact my latest status update on Facebook says, “It really isn’t my fault that my profile picture is better looking than I am.” Very few people put up their less attractive selves on Facebook or Twitter. Women are particularly good at this. When a group photo is taken they always look at the photo first, the first person they look at is themselves. This is done to ensure that they look really good. Anyone else really doesn’t matter, the photo is only a good photo if they look good.

Ugly is an emotive word. Who decides what is ugly and isn’t anyway? The moment we even think that someone may be slightly unattractive we immediately remove those thoughts because they expose something in us we might not want to confront, that we all have certain amount of shallowness. Nobody wants to be known to be shallow.

A single friend of mine constantly asks his pretty female friends to hook him up. The responses are always a variation of the following answers, “Oh, I have a very lovely friend I can introduce you to.” “I know who I can hook you up with, she is amazing.” Then my friend would say, “Yes I understand but is she as pretty as you are?” Then the evasive answer from the beautiful woman comes in a shape and form that would rival any politician trying to avoid answering a tough question. “She is a very nice person, very interesting, well read and very selfless.”

You get the picture. My shallow friend then always says, “You must understand one thing, I want this friend you want to hook me up with to be as pretty as you are, if not, then to be prettier.” Without fail, they always smile because they rarely have friends prettier than they are.

My friend’s favourite thing to say to these beautiful women goes something like this, “Before you introduce me to your friend, tell me one thing, do you think Whoopi Goldberg is hot? Because I will judge how beautiful your friend is based on what you think of Ms Goldberg.” The assumption he makes is that pretty women only make friends with women who are less attractive than them.

Perhaps there is some truth to that.

There are fewer beautiful people than those who are not. This also explains why we always remark on how beautiful a particular individual is when we see them. Most of us are in the average percentile when it comes to the looks department (I probably just scrapped it into average, but I still qualify for below average too.) Therefore it stands to reason that women who are extremely attractive are more likely to have friends who are less attractive than they are. This doesn’t require rocket science.

Truth is, just like guys, women don’t walk around saying, “Nah, she’s too good looking, don’t want to be her to my friend.” Guys also don’t choose friends by saying, “You know what, that guy is at acceptable levels of unattractiveness therefore we can be friends.”

A friend is beautiful regardless of how ugly or beautiful they are. So is it better to be ugly of beautiful? It’s better to be human. There is plastic surgery to make us look beautiful, but there is no plastic surgery for character. For lack of better words, beauty is character deep.

§ 2 Responses to Better to be ugly or beautiful?

  • Nomonde Mdebuka says:

    I’d rather be beautiful, plastic surgery doesn’t come cheap and you get away with murder if you have a pretty face .

    Being ugly doesn’t automatically come with a good character but being beautiful sure does have some purks as sad as that might be.

    • Jenny Morgan says:

      The underlining message is, people can be shallow. The question still remains unanswered; “Who decides who is ugly and who is beautiful?”

      /….”Being ugly doesn’t automatically come with a good character…”\
      Perhaps this is so, but it may be a defense mechanism. I would certainly not be nice to someone who calls, or think I’m ungly, but I would be nice to those who appreciate me for who I am 🙂

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