Thursday, 10 April 2014

Smart, Pretty People Don't Get Married

Ever wondered why all the married people you know aren’t the prettiest people in the room? I mean, aside from the fact that pretty people are shallow and vain and can’t commit and all those other shamings? You think that it’s because for a pretty person, there’s always another girl/boy/whatever round the corner. You thought that pretty people don’t have to settle for Ms/Mr Okay-I-Guess.

Well, actually, that’s what we do all the time. By definition. Think about it: Eights know their market worth and tend to be very goal-directed: they are looking for an alpha provider just like the Daddy who raised them. Alpha providers are usually chunky guys with public school voices and minor injuries from recreational weekend rugby. Not pretty people. Female Nines and Tens are rare as hen’s teeth. The mass of available, acceptable women are Sixes and Sevens, and so that’s who pretty guys go out with. That's fine for short- and medium-term relationships, but, for the rest of my life? When I know that at some stage the genetic bomb is going to drop? No. You’ll excuse me if I pass. As I did.

Then the smart bit. I’m using the wrong word, but I get a punchy phrase by doing so. There are a gazillion people who can trounce me at chess, crosswords, and solving riddles. That’s not what I do. I was an insecure, un-confident, self-conscious boy from a slightly odd family in a south-east London suburb and I really had no freaking clue how all the other kids lived and what the hell they did with their lives. My friends were the other kids who didn’t have friends. I read science fiction, mathematics and philosophy and listened to every kind of music from avant-garde jazz to Monteverdi masses. I spent a lot of time escaping in culture, and as a result, my fear is being bored - which is the fear of the extrovert, not the introvert. Except my company isn’t people, it’s ideas, opinions, facts, figures, images and sounds. To paraphrase Naomi Wolf, real people are just bad ideas, and real life is just bad art.

I get used to being able to dis-engage from something when my attention span runs out. I can turn off the radio, stop looking at pictures and leave the gallery, vague out during the boring bits of Wagner, put the book aside, and sometimes just sit doing nothing. Can’t do that with people.

But in the end, we get tired of compromising. Takes a good few years - I was going around with twenty-five year olds when I was forty. Pretty people don’t hit The Wall, but we do Lose It - a certain masculinity goes from a man’s face, as the femininity goes from a woman’s face. We still look way better than the rest of you, but we’ve lost that sexual edge. Sure we grow old and single, but that’s nothing to be scared of.

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