Monday, June 18, 2007

looks, and other oddities

You say you don't look at me
I say you don't look so good
I went out in the cold to buy a paper
Pushing every button in the elevator

But I know I got my looks and you got yours
Must have learned them from a million stars
Oh looks, oh man
Oh looks, oh man

I get 'em on the bus and I get 'em on the streets
and I get 'em from you
Always looking for a reason, looking for a cure
What can I do, I'm just so tired of you

And I wish the lights would dim
'Cause I can see what this is leading to
and it looks real grim

But I know I got my looks and you got yours
Guess you just weren't what I was looking for
Oh looks, oh man
Oh looks, oh man
-Mike Doughty

I was walking east today on 116th, coffee in hand, towards my usual lunch spot on a bench under a tree on Morningside Avenue. A man, walking in the opposite direction, called out, "Hello, princess," and I found myself glancing over my shoulder, wondering who he was talking to. There was no one else around except for Lee Bollinger, looking his usual bemused self, also walking in the opposite direction, and I found this odd. I can't quite imagine the man in question was hailing Bollinger, though the only other option seems easily as ludicrous.

One of the guys on the library renovation crew has taken to greeting me every day, "Morning, beautiful," this despite having been introduced to me his first day on the job. Though I don't remember his name, and maybe he's as bad at names as I am, and just more adept at covering up this shortcoming.

A week or so ago I had to open a study room for a man from Facilities, but he seemed more interested in discussing my "creativity" than in finding the source of the leak he was supposed to be investigating. He didn't buy that I only work in the library, that I am "all business," as he put it. When I finally conceded that I write a bit every once in awhile, he grinned and chuckled and said, "Yeah, I knew there's an artist in you screaming to get out." Huh? I'd never seen this guy before, nor he me, as far as I know.

I've never considered myself to be particularly beautiful, or even the more generic pretty. I squint a lot, have an odd facial mole, slightly crooked teeth, an off-kilter jaw, not great skin, an eyebrow hair that grows to extraordinary lengths, a unibrow (according to my dearest brother, "but it's blond, so it's okay!"), and a very round face to coincide with the plumpness (some might generously say curviness) of the rest of me.

Recently, it seems that for all I'm not pretty in any typical sense of the word, there is something attractive, to some men at least, in my quirks and oddities, my crew cut and roundness. I've been wondering if some men are as disgusted as I often find myself with stereotypical notions of female beauty, the stylish hair, stylized features, thinness of body. Today there was an article in the Times about juvenile diabetics intentionally withholding their insulin doses because this makes them lose weight--always a worthy cause, certainly, even in the face of failing kidneys, blindness, death. Perhaps some men walking down the street in a city as looks-obsessed as New York are sometimes glad and pleased to see a woman of another sort.

Also in the news today, and worth being a little pissed off about:
Trojan's latest television advertising campaign is pushing the use of condoms to basically enjoy sex responsibly. This is apparently too radical for the likes of FOX and CBS, both of whom have rejected the TV spots, due to their inappropriateness. Says Carol Carrozza, VP for the company that manufactures LifeStyles Condoms, "We always find it funny that you can use sex to sell jewelry and cars, but you can’t use sex to sell condoms." Right on.

And worth being really pissed off about:
The Supreme Court, in a depressingly predictable 5-4 decision, condemned a man to his fate based on a technicality. The lower court judge told the man that he had until February 27th to file an appeal. He filed the appeal on February 26th. Turns out, the judge was wrong and the deadline was February 24th. The Supreme Court's response? Tough luck. This is passionate conservatism at work.

And lastly, the battle of the pants continues.

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