Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I don't hate you because you're beautiful. I hate you because you get your water glass filled faster than I do.

Samantha Brick wrote an article about how hard it is to be beautiful. Everyone got very angry, mostly because she's so conceited or something. Less commonly, because they don't think what she's saying is true. My immediate reaction was something along the lines of "Boo-fucking-hoo." But then I read it, and realized she's saying things that I've been saying a lot lately, too. In fact, if you know me at all, you've probably heard my "Pretty girls get everything handed to them and it's not fair" monologue a few times.

Brick prefaced her article with the fact that she's not drop-dead gorgeous, but she's tall, thin, and blonde. On the flipside, let me preface mine with the fact that I'm not hide-your-children ugly, but I'm short, chubby, and brunette.

However, I've been hated by women, too. That's what women do. They hate. For example, probably the one thing I have going for me is that I'm pretty smart. Even as a university student, if ever I revealed to someone the grade I got on an assignment, I would face an onslaught of justifications for my mark. These would range from the perhaps plausible ("Well, you had so much more time to work on it than I did") to the completely unfounded ("That's because she likes you better than me").

None of that resentment was because I was a pretty girl. As stated, I'm not now and never have been a pretty girl. But I was, in that one small way, better than most other people. While my male school chums would get a peek at a good grade on a paper or test and offer me a high five, the girls would tell me why I didn't deserve it.

The fact is, most women have something they excel at. For some it's being pretty. For me, it's being book-smart. For others, it's a sport. Or writing. Or video games. Most of us have something about which we can, if we look at ourselves obectively, say "I am better at that than most other people are." And those excellencies will garner us hate. I guarantee that if you are female, someone has hated you for something.

It's what women do.

We do it to beautiful women more often because they're lucky. And we hate them for it. My IQ, or your marathon time, or someone else's stand-up comedy routine might garner us similar special treatment to that received by the pretties, but those things are awfully hard to bring up in conversation. Beautiful women walk into the room and BOOM, right away, everyone knows they're pretty.

It's also universal. My intelligence does not impress everybody. Every man (and let's be honest: at the heart of this thing called life, most of us are just competing for men) likes beautiful women. No matter where a tall, thin, blonde woman goes, invariably and immediately, someone will place a value on her as a human being that far exceeds the value they will place on me.

And that's the heart of the hatred: I don't hate you because you're beautiful. I hate you because I'm not. More specifically, I hate you for all the things you get that I don't.

I hate you because when you're struggling with grocery bags, a man rushes over to help you. I hate you because when you need someone to talk to, some guy wants to be your friend. I hate you because you get things you can't afford handed to you. Because I want those things to, and nobody is going to hand them to me.

I hate you for getting better service in restaurants; I hate you because people listen when you talk; I hate you because no matter what you do, every guy will think it's okay, and because every guy does, every girl will, too; and yes, I hate you because you, as a group, take all the good guys.

And it's not fair. I shouldn't hate you. It's not your fault, and most of you, though there are exceptions, aren't trying to make those things happen. And even so, I don't expect you to start turning any of those things down to repair the sorority that we want to imagine is all of female humanity. I wouldn't. I'd take them, too. I'd take the help, and the friendship, and at least some of the gifts, and the better service, and the attention, and the great guy. I'd take it all, too.

I shouldn't judge you for what you can't help. Or men, for that matter, because I guess they probably can't help it either. I should try to understand your side. I should look deeper into who I am, and recognize the fact that there might be other reasons why I don't get what I perceive to be special treatment.

But it's so much easier to hate you.

So, I've got to be honest: I'll probably just keep doing that. Just like you will keep accepting the special treatment, even though you know it's not fair. It makes life easier. And this is the underlying social contract of the vagina club: We all hate each other and shut up about it.

I guess that means this blog post is done.

My friend Amy (You know Amy. I've talked about Amy.) also blogged about this today because apparently we both decided today was finally the day to find out who Samantha Brick is. Amy talked about it from a different angle, and raised excellent points in a way that is far funnier than... me. Go read that, too. And give her all the special treatment you like. She's too awesome for me to hate her. It's the loophole in the vagina contract.