PIECES OF YOU – by Walter Kim
That crooked nose. That untamed hair. The enormous appetite. The hottest girl in the room isn’t who you think. Why pretty isn’t (always) sexy.
They tend to go out on the town in pairs, I’ve noticed: the conventionally pretty one, all dolled up and shining, and her average-looking friend, who’s barely had time to do her hair. The pretty one, I have a hunch, is generally the instigator. With the plainer one by her side, she thinks she’ll look even more dazzling than usual. And the plainer one goes along with the idea because she wants to bask in her friend’s glow—or maybe because she just doesn’t get out much. I don’t know. I do know, however, that when I spot them and manage to push in beside them at the bar, I often feel sorry for the pretty one.
Because she’s about to learn she’s not the pretty one.
“What are you girls drinking?”
The pretty one answers for both of them in most cases. Hers is the dominant personality, and her heels are higher, too. The plainer one (the supposedly plainer one) isn’t wearing heels. They hurt her feet, and she’s not afraid to say so because she has no image to preserve. This makes her much easier to talk to. It also makes her more interesting to talk to—and, as the night wears on, to look at. By then, see, the bar is full of pretty women, and pretty women tend to look quite similar. They may not look similar before they dress and put on makeup, but afterward they do.
“Where in Ohio?” I ask the plainer one, who doesn’t look half so plain now. I like her nose. I like the fact she has one. The pretty one had a nose at one time, but she hired a surgeon to cut most of it off.
“I love that city,” I exaggerate. “It’s so…I don’t know…so…”
That’s when the pretty one, who’s tired of standing around with nothing to do but check out her look-alikes and estimate her own rank in the evening’s pageant, wanders off to use the bathroom. I don’t really notice; I like her friend. Her friend has hands that are too big for her wrists, and when she gestures with them to make a point, I’m mesmerized by their power, their vitality. I’d like to hold them, to feel them on my back. I bet they’re warm—much warmer than the pretty one’s, which are small and slender but look icy.
– me d Ugly Duckling –