"No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly." - Oscar Wilde
My friend Sonia is gorgeous. I met her when I asked to take her picture for my website, Haute Drop-Off. She's beautiful in that symmetrical way in which some scientists claim attracts the human eye. Sonia is the kind of woman who is so beautiful (like a model), people stop in their tracks when they see her. I am not a lesbian, but as a woman, I can appreciate a stunning woman.
Recently, Sonia switched her kids to a new school. We met for coffee and I asked her about the adjustment. "Mara, none of the mothers talk to me, I smile and act friendly, but they just stare at me, and I feel ignored."
When she asked how I dealt with people staring at me, I quickly told her they are only staring at me because they are wondering how someone could possibly wear some of my outfits in public.
I thought about what she said, and a lightbulb went off -- well, it was more the group of cyclists staring and drooling in our direction like we were naked, or her, rather -- whenit all came together.
"Sonia, HELLO, you are beautiful!" I informed my friend, in case she was unaware. "Women are intimidated by your beauty."
I don't want to believe it, but women measure themselves against other women's attractiveness. Because of this, making friends with someone more attractive, they fear, will somehow diminish their own attractiveness. It was at that moment that I fled Sonia and Starbucks. How did I not realize Sonia's beauty was making me look like an ugly ducking? Seriously, I am also guilty of being threatened by other women's beauty.
A few years ago, this all came to fruition. I accompanied my brother Seth, an actor, to an audition for Pepsi in Los Angeles. This audition was different then the many others I attended. This was a cattle call, and the "cattle" were gorgeous women. Having just given birth three months prior, I certainly wasn't feeling like my most attractive self.
Seth walked into his audition and stranded his little sister (me), intimidated among a sea of beautiful female actors. Thank you, Seth, I thought to myself. As I sat in the wating room, I was mortified that someone would actually think I thought I had a chance of being in the same company of these beautiful hopefuls. It was kind of like in the beginning of pregnancy, when you can't tell anyone, but you want to wear a T-shirt that states "I am not chubby, just pregnant".
I was convinced the casting person would approach me and point me in the right direction for an audition promoting auto parts. I pathetically grew uncomfortable when an actress asked me if my agent gave me any direction. I was like, "How can she think I even belong in this room?" I made it very clear that I was just waiting for my brother. I didn't even attempt any conversation or witty banter with the bevy of people waiting. This was so not like me, and the only reason I was acting this way was because I was feeling straight-up ugly.
After that situation, I decided that I really should be ashamed of myself. I was intimidated because I happen to be in a room filled with beautiful women? I am also attractive, smart and bursting at the seams with personality. It was pathetic that I was giving the human face so much power over how I felt about myself.
Does beauty somehow connote that a person is perfect, brilliant and above making friends? When you are beautiful, it is assumed that you are happy, healthy and almost like a celebrity. People will stare and talk about you, but are too intimidated to approach.
Please know my written words are not intended to feel sorry for the ultra-attractive population. These beautiful freaks of nature have it pretty, pretty, pretty good -- not a pun. I just don't want women to EVER feel "less than" in the presence of another woman who might seem more attractive. Each one of us offers something special, and in no way should this be discounted.
In closing, I would like to make a suggestion. The next time a beautiful person walks into a room and is standing there awkwardly (or you may not think so), go over and introduce yourself. Just to be clear, beauty doesn't take away from feeling uncomfortable and isolated. Just remember how Sonia felt standing alone in a sea of unfriendly faces.