“You’re beautiful.” A friend of mine recently told me that the men in her life say that to apologize for something they’ve done, or are about to do. “You’re beautiful” = “I’m sorry I’m going to have sex with you, because I’ve been told that it’s dirty and wrong. I’m sorry I’m going to destroy all that is pure and holy about you. You look just like an angel is supposed to look, and I am going to bring you down to earth and ravage you while re-living a hellfire & brimstone sermon inside out . And possibly not even call you later.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that starting off by telling a woman that she’s beautiful can have some strange consequences. Perhaps this is only a feature of my character.
In our early “courtship” (I love this word – what does it mean exactly nowadays?) you used to turn on my bedside lamp after walking back to the dorm in the dark and say: “in this light, you don’t even look ugly.” You told me you would take me out to dance if I wore a bag over my head. You had me at that crack about my village-peasant nose.
[tangent] Why does everyone like “Jerry Maguire”? Is there some sort of conspiracy? A secret society that brings you to the front of every DMV line and pays you a stipend, if you regularly proclaim your love of “Jerry Maguire” to the known universe? Why can’t we just admit that, while not brain-splittingly horrible, it nevertheless wasn’t that great of a movie? That “Almost Famous” is to “Jerry Maguire” as the Beatles are to David Hasselhoff? That, and you’ll love me for this, “ELIZABETHTOWN” was more enjoyable despite the ending? Huh? Huh? [/tangent]
I’d like to think that when I’m old, and warming my brittle bones by a log-fire (civilization having been wiped out and electricity having become a myth alongside Atlantis), I will look back on my youth and say that I enjoyed it. That I didn’t run screaming about TEH MALE GAZE each time you twisted a lock of my hair around your guitarist finger and called me beautiful… after you had gotten me to trust the fact that you weren’t just worshipping me so the act of tearing me down would be that much sweeter, that is.
[tangent]You know, a friend told me this story: There was once a girl with long, wheat-like hair, and one day, she grew out of it. She didn’t miss it. A group of boys had held her down and tried to set the hair on fire. She didn’t hate her hair for this, or cut it off, or hide it under a hat or scarf, but she let it go easily. She didn’t use it to weave ropes to connect her with a past she did not particularly care about. But she did keep pictures.[/tangent]
But what I will keep the closest to my withered breast will be our “ugly” times. The time when you were nearly struck with a bolt of lightning for not believing me when I told you that if a summer storm passes through the South, you take it seriously and respect its authorit-ah and stay the bloody hell indoors. The time you forgave me for the incident on the stairs.
[tangent] Why do so many people conflate “ugly” and “noble”? For the same reason that dramas win Oscars and comedies don’t? I mean, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive, but neither are they attached at the hip (or more intimate places, for that matter). Am I horribly wrong in this? [/tangent]
My weapon against our life’s uglies is my special FEMALE GAZE*!!! It is, in theory, selective, like a smart missile. The one that runs up and down the footballer’s legs of yours (and no wife, ha ha, with bleached teeth to go with them, mind you). It does this because life needs equilibrium, or a shadow of it. Because tomorrow we die. Because when I looked at you for the first time, unruly hair in a war of attrition with the baseball hat, it wasn’t your awesome personality (but something deeper and darker) that I saw in those few seconds that passed between us and ticked away by the universe’s great cuckoo-clock (otherwise known as space-time), sending us toward our future.
With a future where the only real certainty is corporeal decay and higher taxes, it’s good to have the world’s advance apologies in form of accidental beauty.
- * – Classic Hedonistic Pleasureseeker (not really a fan of muscles, but this one was so preciously innocent, so languid, so… so… Victorian, minus clothes and plus a Y chromosome!)