Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ugly Attacks!

I came to this story because I was intrigued by the title, but once I started reading it, I knew I had to write about it - if for no other reason than to pass it along to you.

It seems a young writer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has decided to take on "The Beautiful People," whom he feels should be taxed for the unfair advantages they receive. The writer, Gonzalo Otalora, was an admittedly "ugly" teen who suffered immensely because of it, according to him. While some would disagree, Buenos Aires is said to have a very unhealthy preoccupation with physical beauty. I find it hard to believe anywhere could be as bad, much less worse, than America, but one of the comments agreeing with Otalora's assessment was from a guy in LA who had visited Argentina not long ago.

I was an "ugly duckling." Not that I am such a swan now, mind you, but when I was younger, I had bad acne, orange hair, hideously crooked teeth, freckles, and absolutely no sense of style. I did not like myself very much because I was so insecure about my looks. But when I turned 18, I finally grew my hair out like I'd always wanted to (I had one of those, "When you're 18, you can do what you want, but while you live under my roof..." dads), affected a goatee/Van Dyke, got into decent shape playing the drums for a death metal band(s), and things seemed to turn around.

I can say this though: it is really hard to forget that "ugly duckling" stage. To this day, I sometimes get what others would recognize as flattering looks and I do not recognize them until I am far removed from the situation. For instance, a very attractive young lady was giving me The Eye at the gas station the other morning and I just thought she was stricken by my long hair or something along those lines. It wasn't until I was on the way back home that it struck me, "DOH! That was the 'Hi, you' look!"

A lot of general modern day life is tied into physical appearance and I am not completely certain it is so unhealthy. I also don't feel too much pity for "ugly" people. As Gonzalo Otalora himself says, it really comes down to a matter of security and self-assuredness; no matter how your physical looks measure up to conventional standards, if you are comfortable with yourself, you can certainly compete with "The Beautiful People." And building that self-esteem generally requires nothing more than finding something you are good at and succeeding or giving of yourself to others.

That sounds like a bunch of blah, but I am serious. Nothing builds confidence like success and while you can be successful at something you don't like, there isn't that degree of satisfaction you really feel when you succeed at something you really want. As for the other, when you give of yourself freely (I don't mean be a tool - I mean volunteering, tutoring, being a friend, guide, or mentor), others treat you with respect and judge you according to your contributions to the community and society as a whole.

But too, why not groom yourself a little more and make an effort to learn how to dress and compose yourself better? A little effort goes a long way in this department.

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