In my early twenties I was living in Dallas, and was invited to a Sunday afternoon block party, in the old, cool-daddy part of town, where the oaks were tall and the houses had history.
There could have been 400 of us, young singles with college sheepskins, up ‘n comers, all serious about our careers, a little money to burn, people from all over the country, who had come to Big D for opportunity, still figuring out adulthood, and delaying marriage.
We were thin and tan and in shape. Pretty people were everywhere. It was a Sunday afternoon and we milled about outside under the shade of old trees, with the backdrop of old money homes. It was classic human nature, circles of people, one eye on whoever in your group was talking, one eye on people in other circles.
And Then We Noticed Her.
I didn’t know who she was, but once I saw her I was powerless to not have seen her. She was taller than the other girls, dressed down, just a simple pony tail, some classic khaki shorts and a polo shirt, just trying to blend in, not a snowball’s chance, but trying…
By this time in my life I’d had many occasions to be around beauty. Every high school has one or two girls that everybody thinks should go to Hollywood. It’s the same thing in college. At any party there is The Girl. I’d seen a good share of whoa Betty, of geez Louise. I’ve known what it’s like to be so attracted that you freeze up and can’t form a sentence…
…but I’d never experienced the sexual power of one person on such a large group of people in such an innocent and casual gathering.
I said “sexual power” and I mean that. When we say “attractive” that’s what we really mean.
Imagine hundreds of people, and every single one of them is in constant awareness of where She Is Right Now. It was constant movement: someone in your group would alter their posture so they could see her over your shoulder, and within seconds the whole group has leaned and shifted, and all subconsciously.
I don’t know what it’s like in a bee hive and the power of the queen bee, but I think someone more scientific would affirm that there are similarities with what I experienced that day.
I shuffled in several circles and not once did anybody acknowledge her. It was as if she was so powerful that we could not speak of her.
Glances were cast, by guys, by girls, we were all helpless to the magnetism of a form of beauty we’d never seen short of television.
If she excused herself from one group, moved twenty yards to another group, the entire party, and all the circles, adjusted their center of gravity. When she walked between circles the circles parted like she was Moses, and we were little Red Seas.
I never got within twenty yards of her, but I always knew where she was. Probably came with some girl friends, didn’t want to show them up, probably tired of all the fuss of going from locally pretty to nationally pretty. Minimal makeup, if any, no big curve flashing clothes, just a girl next door that happened to be prettier than any girl had a right to be.
How do I explain her kind of pretty? Here’s a try: if she was suddenly half as pretty, she’d still been the prettiest. How’s that?
I finally asked this guy, “Who the heck is that?” and he said, “Miss USA.” She was thirty yards away, out of sight, and he knew exactly who the Who was. There were 400 of us there but only one One.
I, Myself, Have Never Been Overburdened With Good Looks
If there is anything guaranteed to have a hole in the bucket, it’s beauty. This one had won Miss USA, but came in second for Miss Universe. It’s never enough when you have some, nothing you can do when it starts going the other way.
I wonder about that Miss USA. A few Miss USA’s go on to careers in the public eye but a lot of them seem to pull away, towards privacy, towards normalcy.
Some of the most screwed up people I’ve ever known were people born into money. I wonder if exceptional beauty is like that. How do you form a well rounded personality when nobody can actually see past the shell of you?
Life is a long get-to-know-yourself process, and our strongest gifts are often our biggest obstacles to seeing ourselves in total. You can make it a long way in life leaning on money or athleticism, IQ or beauty, but you don’t know who you are until you get acquainted with your flaws.
…of course I can only speculate (wink, wink) as I have never been over burdened with too much of a good thing…
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we think everybody is a Cinderella…in God’s eyes.
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