Beauty, A First-Class Ticket

beauty

I knew I was intelligent before I knew I was beautiful, for I won academic prizes throughout my primary school years from the time I was five up ‘til ten. This external validation, reinforced by the circle of people who shaped me, became my inner truth.

My mother was the first yardstick I used to measure beauty by. When people called me little Gina, alluding to our resemblance, I realized I was beautiful. But what did that mean?

At my girls-only boarding school, we giggled and bit our nails when boys from the nearby school attended our social events. Being beautiful meant that I was asked to dance and not forgotten on the bench. It meant my classmates said I looked like Yinka, a girl two years older, whom everyone called Black Beauty. Much later, it meant that I tweezed my eyebrows and applied mascara like the models in Vogue.

My mother told me hard work and a good education would secure success. She did not tell me beauty could be a first-class ticket. You see, once when I tried to register a business campaign, my efforts stalled under the weight of bureaucracy. Then a friend scolded me, “How can? A beautiful woman like you? Don’t you know what to do?” Appalled, I went back and talked my way through.

But her seed grew. I studied how people, men, responded to me; after all, they saw me before they heard me. I remember being singled out from a long line of tired and impatient passengers at an airport. As I crossed the gate having passed Security, the officer said, “You’re very pretty.”
I would be naïve to assume that any preferential treatment I receive is because of beauty alone. It would be naïve of you to assume that I don’t receive unwanted attention or worse still, endure suspicion or dismissal on account of my looks.

Recently, I watched a YouTube video about the changing face of beauty, with a friend. “I wish I were born in a different century,” she said touching her generous hips and rubbing her round belly. I just happen to live in an era where my features coincide with what some consider attractive. I’ve come to know that beauty is leverage and the temptation to abuse it, real.

To me, my looks are secondary. But here’s what I know. A beautiful woman on a man’s arm makes him feel taller. In a world of selfies, people soon forget how you look because they are consumed with how you make them look.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~ Anais Nin

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2015

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47 thoughts on “Beauty, A First-Class Ticket

  1. Interesting post Timi and great bravery in talking about your own beauty! I’m curious now, what triggered such a vulnerable display on a public site?

    The idea of beauty is one I’ve often discussed and mused over, so to give you an insight into my world, I am that guy that calls an ugly baby ‘ugly’, whilst others coo over it and tell lying compliments to the mother. I think there is real ugly and real beautiful, as sure as there is a real hell and heaven! Many still shy away from calling a ‘spade a spade’, and we sentimentalize it with shrouds of character, intelligence, talents, skill etc.

    Look ehn, as far as man/woman interactions are concerned, I believe that men see with their feelings and feel with their eyes. A man does not see a woman he can not feel and his eyes are full of feelings first before knowledge. A man’s primal consideration of a woman is usually appetite driven – ‘is she good for consumption or not?’ He is not initial driven by – ‘would I live with her forever?’ Later, he might change his mind when affection, good reason and character weigh in. But really, 9 times out of ten a man will be moved and influenced by a beautiful woman; the exception being an intentionally disciplined man. It is what it is.

    I think most men would rather couple and copulate with a more beautiful woman, except other factors prevent him from doing so; e.g. his own ugliness! Anyway, I’ll stop my ramble now before I say something terribly ugly………..

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    1. I was invited to contribute to a blog series on beauty and asked to write something fresh if I was going to be considered for publication. Well, in my opinion, all the ‘true beauty resides on the inside’ kind of talk, isn’t ‘fresh’. I wanted to unpack various issues and I thought that to do so in a 500-word essay while remaining fresh and authentic required me ‘opening up’. Vulnerability is risky though . . . and one could be misunderstood . . .

      Thank you for your ramble, I enjoyed it 🙂
      Indeed, in our sight-driven world, beauty is leverage and a beautiful woman on a man’s arm makes him feel taller. I didn’t make the rules, it is what it is.

      A good number of the responses to my post acknowledge that beauty can be a first-class ticket, but hammer on character, etc, as having greater value (and I agree). I find it interesting that most of these responses are from women 🙂 Yet, beauty is a billion-dollar industry. I think that it’s good to see things as they are and as we are and as we’d want them to be . . .

      In a comment below, I wrote about Esther and how her beauty was part of her edge. People close to me say I’m unaware of the degree of impact I make with my looks. I guess to an extent they are right- hard to believe coming from someone who wrote, “I knew I was intelligent before I knew I was beautiful.” Lol 🙂 I want to harness everything I’ve been given, beauty, writing skills, etc, for noble purposes, so help me God.

      Btw, please don’t say the baby is ugly, surely you can be diplomatic? XD

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like intelligent people more than attractive ones, sight unseen is the best way to learn about people. Today, we all judge too quickly or use the media to help us form our own opinions. I was always appreciated most because I learned to read early, studied hard and was very hard working. I feel as I have grown older, more happy in my own skin. I am glad you felt value for your mind, while I do believe you are beautiful inside and out.

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    1. ” . . . sight unseen is the best way to learn about people.” I shall shake hands blind-folded from now on XD Seriously though, I’m chewing on this . . .

      We are constantly making ‘judgements’ I mean, how could we not? Until we develop the ability to see inside the soul, we form our first impression from what we see outside. I think it would be nice if we learn to suspend judgement.

      Happy in my own skin, is the place to be. Good for you Robin, you’re there already.

      Thank you for the compliment.

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    1. Samuel, finally! 😉
      We’ve always been self-absorbed. Technology has made it easier to feed our lust.
      Maybe we see the way we read. When we read, we look for ourselves in the pages, so when we look at a beautiful person, we look for ‘ourselves’ in their reflection? ‘Ourselves’ may transcend physical features to any thing and all things that appeals to us.

      Okay, I’m rambling. Thanks for helping me wrap this up!

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  3. Sometimes, I kinda feel beauty only opens first class doors for the females. No matter how beautiful/handsome a man is you won’t get a woman to openly toast you. Am I right or Am I correct?

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    1. Perhaps wealth and power are to men what beauty is to women? They say, “man no dey fine na money e dey get.” XD

      In any case, it would be interesting to find a handsome man who’d be willing to share his perspective on your questions.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. When I was a young man I was considered good looking. I was known to turn heads from time to time. Yes this did open a lot of doors for me, but the most important thing it did was allow me to date and marry some of the most beautiful women on the planet. Now that I am older I had to turn my “players card” in. I still admire beautiful women and enjoy being friends with them and being in their company.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alright. Here’s your context. Once upon a time many years ago there was a war between England and France. Henry the V had just died and young Henry the VI assumed the crown as King Of England. Charles was was King of France. During one of the battles, The Duke of Suffolk captured a beautiful French girl named Margaret. She was so beautiful that that Suffolk wanted to woo her for himself. But, alas he was already married, so he decided to woo her for young King Henry. During the course of his meditations on the matter he muttered: ” She is beautiful therefore must be wooed; she is woman and therefore must be won. Turns out she was the daughter of the King of Naples. Suffolk asked her if she want to be a queen. She replied she would rather be a queen in bondage than a servant slave. So the match was made. Her beauty got her out of a bad situation.

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  4. Beauty owes a lot to genes (I’m ignoring the knife here), the same way intelligence does, so why are we more comfortable with intelligence being arrogant and the source of narcissism than we are with beauty? Why is Kanye respected and Kim K berated?

    My thoughts on this are incomplete, so I’m not eager to share, but I’m thinking now about the beauty of words, of nature, of art and how we interact with them. How they have the potency to change us in profound ways. And I wonder if that is not true of the beauty of human bodies and faces too. Is a woman with that first class ticket capable of making others better with it? I don’t know. I don’t know of people who have made their physical beauty, primarily, the source of ‘salvation’ and comfort to others (not you, Miss October).

    I’m trying here to shift focus from the abuse of beauty to the good it’s capable of. A pretty light-skinned lady should not be automatically judged as mammy water. I’d like to think she’s an angel first, and have her disprove that.

    Benn, below, touches a bit on what I’m rambling here about, so I’ll go continue my education with John Keats.

    Also, as a guy with a forgettable face, I know how liberating it sometimes is to have people interact with me without a focus on how I look. So, I’m wondering how burdensome physical beauty is to those who possess it. Would they trade it for anything else—intelligence maybe? (You obviously don’t have to worry about that, Timi.) I don’t know. I’ll stop rambling now.

    This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ife, I enjoyed the ramble. Lol@ ignoring the knife and mammy water! XD
      There are many issues to ponder.

      @the good beauty is capable of . . . I think of the Biblical narrative of a young girl called Esther. In introducing her as an orphan, we read that she had a lovely figure and was beautiful. She becomes queen through a series of events that began when a search was made for beautiful young virgins for the king. If she wasn’t beautiful, she wouldn’t have been chosen. I am fascinated by the ‘scene’ where she leaves the harem to be presented to the king, one woman among perhaps thousands. She won the favor of everyone who saw her. I wonder what they saw . . .

      Said all that to say that I think that physical beauty is a valid platform for influence. But as with everything else, it is seldom enough if one wants to go farther.

      Again the thing with beauty or any other natural endowment is that it can disappear, just like that. One could be scarred by an accident or even lose brain function as a result. People get older, bodies sag, lines appear; people get Alzheimer. This should help put things in perspective, I hope.

      @ burdensome, hmmm, someone mentioned the prejudice and stereotyping beautiful women must endure. This is my response:

      Is it possible to live in this world and not be at receiving end of some type of prejudice? Prejudice is a fact of life. I am a woman, I am black, I am —— (fill in the blanks), but I haven’t let it stop me.

      ‘Burdens’ knock on the door of every human life; it is our common denominator.

      Thanks Ife. Your turn to ramble some more 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Timi. Another wonderful, well written, and thoughtful blog post. You are very brave, I think, to admit your beauty and own it in such an unashamed and unabashed way. Beauty has its advantages and can indeed be a first class ticket to success. You are well grounded enough and have sufficient strength of character to never take undue or unfair advantage which your natural good looks have given you. John Keats said in an Ode on a Grecian Urn, “Beauty is truth ,truth beauty, and all ye need to know.”

    Remember, it wasn’t bullets what killed the beast, it was Beauty. For the record, I hope you don’t mind me saying, I find you in my male gaze to be very beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Benn, I needed courage to write this and I am happy I did. The introspection that accompanies the writing process did me good. Stewardship and beauty now occupy the same sentence in my brain, for as you point out, it was Beauty that killed the beast 😉
      That last epic battle in movies, it’s always about the girl, isn’t it? 🙂

      Thank you for the compliment. No, I don’t mind at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. talk about throwing a bone to a dog …. that’s me when I sniff a possibly stimulating conversation… so what could one possibly refer to as undue or unfair advantage in a rightfully capitalist themed world ? or are we suggesting that we manage/tweak “free market forces”?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Emeka, thanks for joining the conversation. To my mind, Benn was referring to using beauty to influence outcomes in a negative way. I may be wrong.

        As for capitalism, I think it can be ‘tempered’ with a human and/or moral face.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Emeka. Thanks for the reply. I think I know what you mean by sensing a really stimulation conversation. I like them too. Timi is right, I meant that beauty has it’s advantages but it should not be used for negative purposes. Nor should the effect be taken too far. Everything in moderation, so to speak. As for capitalism, yes it is a good thing, but not at the expense of others. There is, in my view, way too much inequality in the world.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my beauty. I think I look average, but people look at me and think my body is nice, face lovely, I should just make more of an effort with clothes and make up blah blah blah. But these things bore me, and put me at the centre of attention (something I have always avoided), yet I see how people respond to me on the rare occasions when I make an effort then put up fb or IG pics or talk about my some of my struggles with my body. I’m never sure quite how to react: surprise, take it as a compliment or as an insult…still, I’m only 30 and just learning to feel comfortable with compliments and my body in general.

    Have a lovely week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clara, thanks for sharing. If you’re not comfortable with attention, I can only imagine.

      @ complicated relationship with my beauty, welcome to the club XD

      We aren’t immune to external messages and signals, but somewhere along the way, maybe on the other side of 30, we come into our own. We ‘resolve’ it. We get ‘ourselves’ So, there’s good news ahead 😉

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    1. Beautiful women; ugly hearts . . . doesn’t ‘rhyme’

      ” In a world of selfies, people soon forget how you look because they are consumed with how you make them look.”

      Another way to look at my closing statement is that your looks are only important to the degree that they add value to people. I guess what is ‘value’ differs from person to person.

      Thank you Jill.

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  7. Beauty they say is in the eyes of the beholder but it depends on what you want to behold. While a drop dead gorgeous lady is appealing but that same lady with a nasty attitude is appalling. Yes beauty can get you a first class ticket but I think you’ll need more than that to stay there comfortably. Beauty can change from appealing to appalling in a few minutes. No matter how beautiful looking a woman is now as she ages there would always be younger more beautiful looking women. But a beautiful person in soul remains , they bring warmth to our hearts when we are feeling low, they give us timeless advice and make us happy when we are around them. They may not be overly attractive but long after they’ve left you linger in their warmth – even when age catches up with them they are still beautiful. I think its all about perspective it depends on what you want to behold!

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    1. So beauty is only skin deep. And yet millions of ‘star’ gazers are not beholding people like teachers and firemen, who add value to our lives. An interesting conundrum.

      I once knew an unattractive man, some would call him ugly. He was a teacher. His generosity and warmth earned him a place in our hearts. Soon all the students forgot how he looked and the jokes about his looks fizzled out. When I remember him, I do not see his face, I see his heart. Yes, in a sense, it depends on what one wants to behold.

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