Thursday, May 29, 2008

Perfection isn't everything

This article should be read by every woman who thinks she isn't perfect enough as she is. This gentleman seems to have learned that it's the imperfections that make us unique and desirable. It's certainly given me another way to look at myself and appreciate the parts of me that I don't particularly care for, even though DH seems to like those parts (well, actually, DH likes all of's into imperfections too).
In the fairy tale, Cinderella goes unnoticed until her appearance is magically transformed to match little girls’ ideal of loveliness, which they grow up believing is little boys’ ideal of loveliness. This belief is wrong, though. And I should know, because I’m a grown-up boy who longs for Cinderellas who’ve never touched a pair of glass slippers—who are plenty alluring barefoot. I prefer them to some princesses I’ve danced with. I prefer them—these unconventional-looking women who too frequently call themselves ugly or imperfect when they ought to call themselves perfecting—because their transformations are still ongoing.

Maura, the first barefoot Cinderella I fell for, was not a fussy eater, and it showed. It showed in her substantial hips. It also showed in her contented face.

Radiant happiness was Maura’s best feature, the kind that comes from filling up on pasta and not leaping up afterward to go running. This distinguished her from the other girls I’d dated during my first two years at college. They were slimmer than Maura, their features more symmetrical, but their facial expressions were harder and more anxious, particularly at mealtimes. Salad without dressing will do that to you.

“Can I scrunch in here with my tray?” I asked her in the dining hall one evening. She smiled and scooted over to make room. I’d been watching her. Her skin had the glossiness of a caramel apple. Her figure reminded me of an apple, too, but this was not a flaw because apples reminded me of pie, pie reminded me of ice cream, and pie and ice cream made me hungry for…Maura.

I didn’t go hungry that fall semester, fortunately, but my appetite for Maura confused those who thought she wasn’t worth pursuing. A girl I’d once dated, the type who counted her croutons, asked me one day if I had “a thing for heavy women.” I told her no, I had a thing for women who enjoyed life. My old girlfriend seemed to find this threatening. She realized, I think, that it’s easier to keep off the weight than to keep on the happiness.

The charm of a barefoot Cinderella is that her beauty obeys no formula and therefore can sneak up on a man. When he becomes aware of it, he feels like he’s discovered a secret. And secrets are always exciting.

Maybe this is why some men prefer women who aren't thin. They see something in a larger woman, especially one who loves herself and is confident, that others don't see because they're looking at the superficial outside of the package, when they should be looking at the whole package.
I think I would much rather be a barefoot Cinderella, imperfections and all, loving myself and confidant, than be worried all the time about calories, exercise, cellulite, wrinkles, scars, and aging. I'd rather be happy and imperfect, than be perfect and unhappy because I have to work all the time to stay perfect (something that no one can ever attain). It's so much easier to take care of myself and do what is best for my body, soul, mind, and heart when I love me as I am. It's not easy to learn how to do that, but it's a very worthwhile journey.


  1. Thank you for sharing this article. I hadn't seen it, and it's great.

    "In L.A., where I’ve spent some time in recent years, a lot of the women have nothing wrong with them—and nothing particularly right about them either."

    I love this quotation. So many women today make themselves so perfect through makeup, tooth whitening, highlights, tanning, etc. that they really do, as the author says, all look the same after they finish--though they did not to begin with. I have no problem with "traditionally beautiful" women, but I do have a problem with that process by which we all homogenize ourselves and erase that which makes us different.

  2. Oh, I needed that today. Thanks.

  3. I actually found his attitude a little off-putting. It came across as "sure, they're ugly, but I dig that" and the comment about there being little competition for these women seemed at once predatory and like he was doing them a favor. It was almost positive and female affirming, but not quite, in my opinion. And that's too bad.

  4. kristie - See, I didn't get that at all from reading what he wrote. I guess it's all in one's perspective. I think he looks at women and the ones who interest him the most are the ones who aren't "conventionally" pretty, the ones who aren't seen by society as being "pretty". That's not saying they're ugly, just saying they are different, and it's their differences that makes them appealing to him.
    I think it would be wonderful if society, as a whole, could see that everyone has beauty and it's not all tied up in everyone looking the same. Sameness is boring, after a while.

  5. Thanks so much for this article - it's a very different perspective and I thought it was quite respectful rather than "freak show".

    I agree with spacedcowgirl that so many women all look the same - there's a whole crop of young actresses that I simply cannot tell apart. They're completely interchangeable as far as I can tell.


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