My daughter, who is five, was dressing up the other day when she suddenly said, “Make all the boy elves fall in love with me because I’m so beautiful in my fancy clothes.” (This isn’t as cryptic as it sounds. The boy elves, who will be covered in another post, are semi-imaginary friends. Not just imaginary friends, mind you–the ‘semi’ is important.) What took me aback was the correlation that people fall in love with you because you look beautiful. After all, she’s only five.
I asked her if the elves could fall in love with her if she wasn’t beautiful. She said, “Yes, but they like you more if you are beautiful. If you are beautiful, all the boys like you and you can pick who is your boyfriend.”
I was (as my mother used to say) flabbergasted–in part, because what she said was (sadly) true, and she’d picked up on it so early. I think we all know that personality counts for a lot, but I think we also know that, while there is always an average-looking girl with a great personality who is surrounded by swarms of men, it’s easier to find a beautiful girl with an average personality in the middle of a crowd.
There’s nothing wrong with being beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with trying to look your best, just as you’d try to maximize your potential at anything. I guess I just wish that the realization that being pretty helps your life happened a bit later in life–at least after she’d moved on from the (semi) imaginary friends.