I recently saw a question posed asking men if they had to pick a woman whose body they would suddenly have to inhabit, whose would it be? It could be anyone’s, famous or not, but we were asked to select just one.
Naturally, my shallow sexist mind drifted toward the beautiful and famous. One woman stood out right away, Jennifer Aniston, not just because of how beautiful she is, but also because she has never struck me as someone who has to constantly be in the limelight.
Almost as soon as I moved on from this riveting post, I came across an article about Michelle Pfeiffer and my mind drifted again. I can’t believe she and I are the same age. She remains as beautiful as ever.
At 58, I am the first to admit I still see and appreciate physical beauty, but I am now old enough to know there is far more to beauty than just looks. As that old saying goes, beauty really is just skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.
I really do read and study more than just empty crap when I go on line. Case in point: Bill O’Reilly. Okay, there is a lot of empty crap that flows from his mouth. When he talks about Maxine Waters and can only point out her looks in response to her spoken words, even an old fart like me, one raised in a traditional male-dominated home, can see what an absolute ass he is. I doubt many, if any, women would choose to inhabit his body. They’d rather beat it to a pulp, I suppose.
Not to be out done is Bill’s colleague, Sean Hannity, who made the classic mistake of asking a much smarter and far more honest man than he is, Ted Koppel, if he thought Sean was bad for America. I always cautioned my students to never ask for my opinion unless they were prepared to hear something they did not like or were not expecting. Ted had no problem pointing out why Sean is bad for America. I have to believe more women would rather inhabit Ted Koppel’s body than Sean Hannity’s.
When I really stop to analyze beauty, I end up thinking about movement, grace, talent, and kindness. As someone who has been greatly influenced by sports and athletes, I see the beauty in old clips of Muhammad Ali fighting during his prime, Pele making defenders tie themselves into knots as he makes fools of them, Julius Irving scooping the ball while finishing a reverse lay up, and Gayle Sayers dancing his way through the smallest of gaps as he gallops toward the end zone.
When it comes to women and athletics, I find nothing more beautiful to look at than a fit woman running. Maybe it is because I have running ingrained in my DNA, but I never grew tired or use to the cover of Runner’s World featuring someone like Suzy Hamilton running, but will admit, if you have seen one Playboy cover, you’ve seen them all (okay, I didn’t feel like this when I was 16).
I have been involved in my share of discussions about women and their “beauty.” Maybe I am weird, I don’t know, but when guys start talking about how they like women with a nice back side, or breasts, I always found it strange. I was always a face man. I figured the face is what you are going to have the greatest contact with and for me, I want to enjoy looking at the person I am with. I can appreciate certain body features on anyone, male or female, but I always thought it strange to fixate on something below the neck.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous a face is if what is between the ears is an empty cavern. Nothing is uglier than stupid. I have actually known people who hired women based entirely on their features knowing they were leaving a better qualified candidate in their wake and then lament how bad they are at their job while always looking forward to seeing the woman at work.
Through all of this self-analyzing of beauty, I have come to the conclusion if there was one woman whose body I could inhabit, it would have to be none other than my mother’s. I’d love nothing more than to see my childhood through her eyes, to understand my father through her thoughts and experiences, and to realize what true strength and courage is via her battle with cancer in her early 40’s. It was through her, and not my father, I learned to judge a person based on their actions more than anything else. We can get use to anything, even the most beautiful face, with time, but never get use to the amazing acts and deeds of others.
Women are clearly objectified in our culture and I do not see that changing any time soon. I figure if men cannot suppress this societal bred instinct, then the next best thing would be for women to just do the same toward us. Yes, objectify us. Break us down on our looks. Hire us based on the firmness of our butts, size of our shoulders and chest, and of course make mention of another feature that tends to hide when it is cold out. Perhaps when the shoe is on the other foot, we may evolve as a species to see beauty for what it really is and not something fleeting or dependent on a good plastic surgeon.
I am sure if you are a red blooded male and you have stuck with this article to this point, you are probably wondering when my balls fell off. I assure you, they have not. I still love the physical beauty of women, most of whom (I remind myself) are young enough to be my daughter and totally incapable of noticing my existence. But to be honest, the fantastic looking women have become a dime a dozen, forced to focus on their appearance to such an unhealthy extent, all because we continue to objectify them and hold them to a standard we fail to hold to ourselves.
I would even go so far as to support a law requiring men to gain as much weight as women do during pregnancy just so we can experience how challenging it is to “get our bodies back” after nine months of hell. My guess is, most men would choose to serve in a combat zone than go through what women have to both during and after pregnancy.
When it comes down to it, the only beauty that matters is how we feel about ourselves. Would I trade my looks for Carry Grant’s if it meant being dumb as a door? Would I choose to look like Brad Pitt if it meant having to constantly be at the gym, plastic surgeon’s office, and on such a strict diet I couldn’t enjoy a cheeseburger?
At my age, I just enjoy knowing I still have my share of useful brain cells, a wonderful woman, and enough time on my hands to do the things that allow me to feel good about who I am. If that incredibly gorgeous woman in the workout tights and tank top at the grocery store doesn’t notice me, that’s okay. What the hell am I going to do if she does?
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go out in public in another hour, but before I do, I must make myself look beautiful. Oh, and if you believe that, I have some nice beach front property in the Mojave Desert I would like to sell you.
Top photo of Jennifer Aniston from YouTube
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.