Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Perfectly ordinary, ordinarily perfect

Back in the 80's there was a horrible movie called Perfect. There is nothing memorable about this movie except the one line they played over and over and over in the trailer and commercials. It was Jamie Lee Curtis (at the height of her popularity) pouting to John Travolta (at the nadir of his popularity) "What's wrong with wanting to be perfect"? Now while this movie sucked beyond all comprehension of suckiness, 25 years later that line still resonates. What is wrong with wanting to be perfect? Well, besides everything? Seriously, we've lost our damned minds as a society in striving for physical perfection. And why? First, by it's definition, it's impossible to achieve perfection. Secondly, who decided what physical perfection is? The answer to the latter is Hollywood/New York/popular culture and the like. The image of physical perfection has been set so unrealistically high it's amazing people even bother trying to emulate it. But we try, o lord do we try. Waxing and dyeing, reductions and augmentations, rhinoplasty to dental veneers. The lengths we'll go to and money we'll spend seemingly has no limitations

The biggest question I always have is who decided what the form of physical perfection is? I'm thinking it goes all the way back to the sculptors and painters of ancient Greece and Rome as most of the surviving art seems to feature males and females in the current concept of physical perfection. The washboard abs, chiseled features, 2% body fat. We never had a chance. What if those original artisans models had been flat chest women with buck teeth and uni-brows and men with beer bellies, big ears and lacking in certain physical endowments? My guess is we'd have a nation of people getting braces to cause buck teeth, eye brow implants, breast reductions, etc etc etc. Those closest to what is currently physical perfection would be the ones on the outside looking in

Here's the thing though; why can't we just be happy with how we look...within reason. I'm not condoning living an unhealthy lifestyle but otherwise why do we have to try and look a certain way? Why when we're younger do we have to look a certain way to either fit in with or accelerate past our peers? And why as we get older do we have to try and look younger. I mean, who are we trying to kid. The wrapping on the package can look all new and fancy but the present inside is still going to be old. Why can't we just say "this is me, take me as I am"?? Because we can't. We're human and we've been conditioned for 1,000's of years for how we're supposed to look and quite honestly it ain't changing any time soon. They say badly dyed hair and horrible wigs and weaves look better then the natural loss of color or of hair itself. We're told that tanned skin, bordering on orange at times, looks better than pale skin (once revered as "alabaster skin") despite the fact that all that tanning leaves you with skin the look and consistency of a wet paper bag in you golden years. They tell us this, they tell us that, they tell us what they want us to believe. And we buy what they're selling ho, line, and sinker!

I'd like to think some day we'll be able to judge each other by what's on the inside instead of the outside...hahahaha. Sorry, that was pretty funny. As humans we simply can't get past the fact that our first impression is always based on how someone looks and it's never going to change. So, until we get past that we'll just keep on waxing and tweezing, tanning and dyeing, dieting and sculpting.....

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