Der Beauty is Underrated
That's what people can say in Hamburg, Germany, where there is an ugly club, or "der ugly club," as we say in German, my eleventh language.
I heard about it on the NPR show Day to Day yesterday. Founded by Harold Gasper, it is the ugly people's way of sticking it to the man--the tall dark and handsome man and his beautiful buxom blond, that is. According to theage.com, Gasper and his wife founded the club because they were tired of beautiful people getting all the success. Go to the club's Web site, www.theuglyclub.de and click on "hitlist" to see for yourself whether you think the founders are ugly. (Question: The Germans haven't come up with their own words for "club," "ugly" or "the" yet? I couldn't live like that.)
Anyway, I think the Gaspers are quite nice looking by Midwestern standards. I mean, I don't live among the beautiful people of Southern California--or even southern Johnson County, for that matter--but I think I know ugly, or as we say in German, der ugly, when I see it.
The point of this report on Der Ugly Club, the local person on the radio said, was that beauty is overrated. Between celebrity magazines and jobs going to nice looking people, we lose sight of what is really important. Ruthlessness. No, he didn't really say that. But if we're going to talk about success hogs, I think we'd be wise to check out the beady eyes and melon heads of some of the billionaires in this country. Not all the good jobs go to beautiful people, right Mr. Wittig?
On the contrary, I think beauty is underrated. Oh, sure, Hollywood actors reap the benefits of facial symetry and sparkly eyes, but don't we secretly pooh-pooh their success? "Of course, I too, would be a billionaire if I looked like Reece Witherspoon," we say.
But for every Reece Witherspoon, there's "just another pretty face," someone written off for having such a shallow talent as being pretty.
Beauty is only skin deep, we say.
Intelligence is only brain deep, is what I say. Athleticism is only musle deep. Brain surgery is only hand-eye coordination and nerves of steal and having the organ you figure things out with figured out deep. So there.
Granted, these talents take a little cultivation. Hours of study or practice. The drive to succeed. And the heart to perservere when you fail. But beauty takes work, too. Not just getting manicures to avoid the worst--a dangling piece of skin--but finding the balance between confidence and humility, a sense of style and trendiness, being beautiful and being one of the "beautiful people."
Let's face it, God gave us whatever talents we have. I mean, I didn't just wake up one day and decide to speak German fluently. Der God deuchen me zis talent. It's our job to decide how to use our talents.
I used Reece Witherspoon as my example because I think she's a really funny actress. You can't just be beautiful. When you're ugly, you learn pretty fast to develop a kind heart, a quick wit or a keen understanding of neurology. It's a matter of survival. Beautiful people have to be wise enough to know that pretty is as pretty does.
I think funniness is one of the most beautiful things there is. But it's a gift our vazer in heaven gives us just like der beauty. I'm sorry. I keep slipping into my eleventh language, German, without even knowing it. Hey, every God-given gift has der drawbacks.
Beauty may not be the best talent you can be born with. But beautiful people have something to teach those of us who have had acne for 75 percent of our lives. How to make a good appearance. How to be self-confident. How to light up the room with a smile. And how to recognize that whatever we have, God gave it to us. And it's up to us to figure out ze reazon.