Grumpy Young Man: On beauty and selfies

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Someone said that to me the other day and it really got me thinking “Who is this beholder and why does he only have one eye?” Is it running with scissors related? Was my mom right?

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Cycloptic observers aside, everyone says they don’t want to be judged by their beauty – or lack thereof – but the truth is almost everyone wants to be judged by their beauty. If you don’t believe me, you don’t have a Facebook account.

Every day, a number of my Facebook friends – most of them of the female variety – post pictures of themselves. Most are selfies, although there is growing number of professionally taken pics circulating about. Apparently, all of my friends are working models. Mostly they’re just working on Facebook, but hey, times are tough. The economy, right?

These hands on hip, duck-lipped pics are usually captioned with something like “new make-up” or “new haircut.” This is a sly way of trolling for beauty-affirming comments like “You’re so beautiful!”, “You’re so hot” and “You’re not an object, but if you were an object, you’d be the best object.”

Now, I like a compliment as much as the next guy/girl, but I like to be complimented for ACTUAL accomplishments. Hair isn’t an accomplishment. Your head just grows it. Well, I’m bald, so mine doesn’t. My back does though, but you don’t see me bragging about that.

People magazine recently named Gwyneth Paltrow the “world’s most beautiful woman.” Obviously, they didn’t see Friday’s Sunshine girl. She’s an Aries. You know what that means? Heh, am I right? She’s independent and outgoing, a little too naive and trusting but she quickly bounces back.

Anyway, Paltrow told People she was surprised to receive the honour. Dove soap insists Paltrow’s more beautiful than she thinks. Then they got Gwyneth to describe herself to a FBI sketch artist who then drew a slightly less beautiful Paltrow. Makes you think, right?

Paltrow also told People that true beauty “emanates from within.” People decided to go with HER FACE for the cover. It’s hard to capture inner-beauty. I think you need a special lens.

I’m not sure how People knows Paltrow is THE WORLD’S most beautiful woman. What do the Earth’s 3.5 billion other women think of this?

Earth’s women: “You’re so beautiful, Gwyneth.”

Gwyneth: “Thank you (leaves).”

Earth’s women: “Is she gone? What. A. Bitch.”

Now, I’m not picking on Paltrow. I’m saying People and “the people” are the vain ones. That being said, there are some vain celebs out there. Take Reese Witherspoon for instance.

While her agent husband was highway side being charged with an alleged DUI, Witherspoon pulled the “I’m Reese Witherspoon card.”

Now, I don’t blame her. I’ve pulled the “I’m Reese Witherspoon card” myself, gets me into all the hottest clubs. However, it’s who she pulled it to that made me laugh.

Receiving the Witherspoon card was a Georgia state trooper. If you’ve ever performed anything illegal stateside, you’ll know that these guys mean business. Now, I may be generalizing, but I just don’t see this conversation between Witherspoon and a hardened highway lawman:

Reese Witherspoon: “Do you know who I am?”

Grizzled state trooper: “Yes, you’re the girl from Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Beautiful.”

It’s funny because it’s more specific than just Legally Blonde. Get it? Whatever, I’m funny.

Anyway, I just can’t relate to all this vanity, be it online, in real life or in my life. In fact, I have a hard time trying on clothes, not because I have issues with how I look, but I don’t want someone to see ME looking at MYSELF and think that I think I look cool.

OK, I have issues. One time I was trying on sunglasses at Zellers and instead of checking myself out in the mirror provided, I took said shades to the fitting room. The lady working the fitting room asked me how many items I was trying on and I said “Just these sunglasses” to which she responded with an “Oookay” look.

Actually, I think trying on shades in the fitting room is not only less narcissistic, it’s more efficient. Have you seen the mirror they give you when it comes to sunglasses? You can’t see shit in that thing. Sure it’s plenty wide, but it’s like two inches high. It distorts your face and only makes sense if you’re going for that carnival look.

They really don’t make buying sunglasses easy. In addition to the super small mirror, there’s a sticker on one lens and a tag that covers up your nose. Perhaps, I’m just old-fashioned but I’ve always considered the nose a big part of a face.

Side note: You ever notice when people are trying on sunglasses, they pick up a pair, try them on, look in the mirror and then they say “Oh, these are ugly.” Seriously, you noticed the glasses, you liked the glasses, you tried on the glasses and then you blame the glasses? I don’t want to point fingers, but your face might be part of the problem.

Anyhow, the other issue that comes up when I buy sunglasses is I can’t figure out which glasses are the men’s glasses. I’m spinning away at that Lazy Susan sunglasses holder thingy, frantically looking for a picture of a male model, but it’s all women. Then, when I finally do find a dude, I look down at the corresponding glasses, nothing but white frames.

What self-respecting man where’s white frames? Nothing says “I’m a douchebag” like white frames. Throw in a popped collar and a Bud Light and you might find yourself at Whiskey Dix.

Now, I’m a hypocrite. I’m a stand-up comedian. I actively seek validation a few nights a week. But, at least I’m saying “Hey, look at my ideas!” and not “Hey, look at my hair!” Although if I did say “Hey, look at my hair!” it would count as an accomplishment because I cut my own hair (I still have a bit). Have you ever tried shaving your own neck? It’s like backing up a trailer. While shaving.

Anyway, some of you are reading this and thinking “Is he talking about me?” Yes, you’re so vain you probably think this column is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t you?

Because you’re right, it is. You specifically.


Jared Story is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. Yes, it’s a pen name. His real name is Dave, Dave Story. Follow him on Twitter at @jrockarolla.