My 9-and-three-quarters, prepubescent daughter posed that question to me one morning last week, while I was fixing her hair for school.
I was so surprised to hear those words coming out of my completely unconceited, self-professed tomboy's mouth, that I was rendered speechless. But only momentarily.
My response to her was one that not only rings true in my heart now, but one that I want her to earnestly believe. "Sweetie, it's not the assets you have that make you beautiful.... it's who you are, as a person, that makes you beautiful. A person could be the most stunning creature on the face of the Earth, but if they have a nasty, cold-hearted, conniving, selfish personality, it makes them completely ugly."
She agreed with me, and we finished up fixing her hair and were on our way.
It got me thinking, though, about the various concepts of beauty I've been awestruck by over the years. In particular, I've realized that my ideals in terms of beautiful men have changed.
In my teens and early 20's, I used to think men like these were beautiful:
John F. Kennedy, Jr.
And.....uhm.....oh, yeah.... this guy:
Beautiful? Sure, these guys were all pretty darned aesthetically pleasing. I swooned over them, had their pictures plastered all over my walls (and even kissed a few of them goodnight, before I travelled off to the Land of Nod). But, I was always reasonably intelligent enough to know that these men were completely unattainable to a girl of my "average" caliber. I wasn't a cheerleader, or a starlet, or a model, and I certainly didn't run in the same circles as any of these young men. So, I was resigned to admire their beauty from afar.
Yes, I did date my fair share of real-life "beautiful men" in my younger years, as well. Men who, although incredibly good looking, had lacked the social skills, intelligence levels, or charming grace that were necessary for me to find them attractive for very long. Most of them spent all of their spare time looking in the mirror. Their narcissistic love affairs always made me feel like a third wheel in these relationships, and they always seemed to end with my heart cut to shreds, and laid out to filth.
It wasn't until I grew older (and really worked on how to love myself), that I discovered that I was worthy of a love that went far beyond the realm of good looks. It was only then that I found a man who was not only physically appealing, but who also knew how to treat me with consideration, kindness, honesty and respect. And, quite frankly, I honestly feel he is the most beautiful man I've ever known.
I guess the moral of this story is that, even though my daughter will go through her "beauty as vanity" stage... with her current pretty-boy crushes being these guys:
The Jonas Brothers
(An aside: To demonstrate how my girls are currently swooning over these guys, as I was pulling up pictures, BOTH of them saw the one with the JoBros, and LITERALLY started squealing behind me; "Oooh, Mom! The JONAS BROTHERS!!! What are you looking at? Can I see? Can I? Can I puhllleeeaaaazzzzeeee??" And the beat goes on! :)
I only hope my daughter doesn't get too hurt before she realizes what her version of real beauty is.
But, I doubt that she will. Because my 9-and-three-quarters Missy is an amazing soul. She sees the good in everyone and everything. She's got one of the most lovable, kindest hearts I've ever witnessed, and really does give every single person a fighting chance, and befriends people for no other reason than because of who they are.
Not to mention she's got beautiful, ice blue eyes, a smile that lights up a room, and a face that, when it reaches its full maturity, will stop traffic.
She's also got gorgeous hair, and a killer body.