There’s this fabulous bird called the Victoria Crested Pigeon. It doesn’t look like a pigeon at all – it looks like a showgirl. Next time you go to Taronga Park, check it out. It makes you wonder whether other birds, lesser in sequins and swansdown, look at it and weep – and stress out about their beaks being too big.
There’s far too much effort wasted worrying about whether we scrub up okay. Too much time spent slathering ourselves with potions and lotions and sleeping with our thighs encased in Glad Wrap. If human beings didn’t have eyes, who’d give a hoot? You could be as ugly as sin and nobody would ever know. You’d have to get by on being nice and saying pleasant and interesting things in well-modulated tones.
If the human race were struck blind tomorrow, it would serve the beautiful people right. They’d be just like the other half of the population and have to rely on their personality. Personality is something developed by the rest of us as soon as we discover at playgroup we aren’t blessed with the right amount of sequins. It manifests in different ways.
There’s the short weedy kid in every high school classroom who becomes the Warm-Up Guy. He hasn’t any muscles for the girls to notice, so he spends his time keeping the class fired up for the teacher. He’s an avid watcher of Fast Forward and Full Frontal and can recite whole scripts of The Simpsons. He can do the elephant trick, with his pockets turned out and his fly undone. The teacher, however, doesn’t appreciate the Warm-Up Guy. The teacher calls him a smart-arse. He will probably end up becoming a politician.
Then there’s the spotty, lumpy girl even the Warm-Up Guy wouldn’t look at twice. If she can’t be beautiful, she’s going to be cool. She gathers up the rest of the spotty, lumpy girls and they smoke behind the bike sheds with their bra straps hanging out. Their vocabularies are peppered with interesting suggestions of a base nature – this is to ensure they’re noticed. It’s sad nobody ever takes them up on the suggestions – but that’s the law of the jungle.
Then there’s big, loudmouthed Madge, stalwart of the CWA. She has a bosom with appliquéd butterflies and the presence of a sergeant-major. Everybody always does exactly as Madge suggests. Because they’re frightened. They tell her she bakes the best scones, even if they’re crap. Though sycophantic to her face, behind her back they plot treason – but it didn’t work with Hitler, either. Even though Madge was never beautiful, she does have a husband. She found him cowering beneath a pew at a church fellowship when she was seventeen – and he’s done as he’s told ever since.
People like this make life interesting. The CWA would never function if it were made up of two dozen Elle MacPhersons, spending their time drinking celery juice and comparing scrunchies. A classroom would be boring without a Warm-Up Guy and his obsession with flatulence – and let’s face it, if there weren’t any spotty horrors behind the bike shed, impressionable young girls wouldn’t have a benchmark for class.
It is possible, at an early stage, to keep an eye on your offspring so you can prepare them for their destiny. If your son doesn’t have much going for him in the Harrison Ford department, cultivate his humour. There is every possibility Spike Milligan and Billy Connolly started out as ugly kids in third period maths. If your daughter’s acne problem is insurmountable and she has a penchant for hanging around behind shelter sheds with a packet of Winfield Blue, you can be sure there’s a support group somewhere. These days, there always is. Somewhere, there will be an appropriate do-gooder who can feed her with imagined ills she’d never have had the intelligence to think of herself, pat her on the back and send her out into the world full of paranoia and blame for everyone else but herself.
And if you are one of those lucky ones to notice early on you have a bossy, opinionated little girl … make sure you teach her how to bake decent scones.