I was riding on a dollar van yesterday — you pay a local step van driver to sweep you up and down the streets so you don’t have to walk — and I overheard a conversation between a wrinkled and crusty old man and pock-faced younger boy: “Marry an ugly girl,” the old man said in a heavy Spanish accent, “and you’ll be happy the rest of your life because she’ll be grateful for the attention and content with the ring on her finger.”
The young boy nodded his head agreeing ugly was the way to go — without realizing the punishment meted out to the ugly in our awful, brief, past — when the time arrived for a lifelong commitment.
I wondered how the old man was defining “ugly” — did he mean overweight? Cruel personality? Un-comely face?
Do the ugly even know they’re ugly?
My instinct told me he was referring to our shared ideal for — The Human Universal Beautiful — and I wondered how we would define beauty without Artists telling us so and television stars modeling their fake facades before us and magazines editors defining “un-ugly” in glossy print for our weak minds and feeble countenances.
I guess beauty would then truly be in the eye of the beholder, and those women nearest and dearest in our immediate circle of family and friends would serve as the individual definition of “beautiful.” How were we ever persuaded away from that intimate definition?
That discussion between cracking elder and cratered youngster reminded me of a terrible chestnut I shared in — How to Ruin a Woman’s Wedding Day — suggesting the role of a new wife is “to keep your man’s belly full and balls empty” if you wanted to keep him happy and at home.
Are you aware of any warnings and advice provided to women against men?
Or does the sexist undertow flow only one way: “Ugly girls” will settle for a ring while pumping their uglier men a couple of different ways to tend a good marriage and earn everlasting happiness?
Is there undue pressure on the woman to acquiesce her dreams and her spirit in favor of her man’s lifelong yearnings — and if that tends to be true — what happens to her worldly desires when they are revoked by a ring and repressed in a marriage certificate that tempts the ceremony for the grave and the bed for a burial?