The Perils and Pitfalls of Pretty People


Not me, Rudolph Valentino
Not me, Rudolph Valentino

It seems to me that things are generally easier for pretty people. I’m not a pretty person. I think that – with some help – I might hit cute on occasion. However, cute is cold comfort when compared to pretty. I like to think I have a sparkling personality and a scintillating sense of humor (or is it a scintillating personality and a sparkling… never mind). However, when even my wife puts in her blog survey that she prefers “hot” to “cute”, I know this is a serious issue.

I understand that pretty is not a substitute for a brain or a strong work ethic. Maybe there are still a few “secretaries” out there like in the old movies, but in the current dollar driven capitalist system we find ourselves in, I have to think they are probably a dying breed. Still, while pretty may not guarantee long term success, it does open doors. In fact doors are held open for pretty people. Think of the money you would save if you never had to buy your own drinks or always got off with a warning rather than a traffic ticket.

Even pretty people can have a bad day, of course, but it seems like the skies are not so cloudy when you’re pretty. I was a news director for a radio station in central Illinois when a Clinton was running for president (Bill, in this case). Hillary Clinton was coming to the University of Illinois to speak to the crowd at noon in mid August, the hottest and most humid time of the year. I had two reporters covering the event: my assistant news director who was standing farther away so she could do a live report while Clinton was speaking and my field reporter – a pretty young woman who was studying dance as well as journalism – covering the actual speech so she could write a report for the afternoon newscast.

I was surprised when noon came and went with no word from anyone at the Quad. We ran with a pre-scripted story that Hillary Clinton was speaking, but we didn’t have any other coverage. About 12:30, I got a call from my assistant news director.

“Do you know what just happened?” she asked. While I didn’t know specifically, I knew the answer probably was “nothing good”. As Mrs. Clinton was walking out of the Illini Union building, my field reporter had lurched forward past the police tape and fallen right in front of the future first lady. Members of the Secret Service had dragged her off somewhere. I spent an anxious half hour calling anyone I could think of, trying to find out what had happened. At 1:15 or so, I got a call from her directly.

Cary Grant (aka "Not me")
Cary Grant (aka "Not me")

It turned out that dancers are a lot like wrestlers. They have to maintain a specific weight. She needed to lose a pound or two and so had consumed nothing but water for the last couple of days. In the heat and humidity of the August afternoon, she had felt herself get dizzy and finally as Hillary Clinton came out to greet the crowd, she had passed out. But she added the Secret Service people had brought her indoors where it was air conditioned, gave her a big glass of water and a cold rag to put on her neck.

“They were all just so nice!” she said pleasantly.

It occurred to me that – most likely – Hillary Clinton was unguarded at that moment; her Secret Service detail attending to the needs of my reporter. It further occurred to me that if I had been the one to pass out, the news would have stated “deranged maniac shot and killed while trying to attack Mrs. Clinton”. My body would have been buried in an unmarked grave somewhere south of Guantanamo Bay.

The one place where pretty people may be at a disadvantage is the Internet. Originally designed by I.T. people (not the prettiest bunch), the Internet is primarily text driven. Even on MySpace or other social networking sites, pretty people find it a challenge to post a good picture taken from a camera phone. On the other hand, those who are “pretty challenged” can scan in a picture from Glamour Shots at the local mall. If you are more technically astute, a $100 copy of Photoshop can reduce, cover and remove a multitude of genetic sins.

Me?  No.  Paul Newman
Me? No. Paul Newman

In the worst case scenario, you can just use the Internet to find pictures of pretty people and post them on your site. Who’s going to know? And if anyone has a problem with it, take comfort in the fact they won’t be looking for you, but some pretty person instead.

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