Friday, January 25, 2008

Cleopatra was Ugly

Experts at Newcastle University have studied a coin from 32 B.C., which on one side bears the image of Cleopatra, and on the other side, Marc Antony. These experts weren’t studying the coins for any real historical significance. Rather, it seems they just wanted to rate these two historical greats on a scale of one to ten. The results were not pretty. Literally, not pretty. They found that, according to the images portrayed on this coin, Cleopatra had thin lips, a sharp nose, and a pointed chin. Marc Antony had a thick neck, a hook nose, and bulging eyes.

Now for those of you who have seen these two portrayed on the silver screen by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Hollywood was wrong. They lied. But it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun watching ugly people on the big screen, would it? So they fudged. No big deal, right?

But really, it is a big deal, because deep down, many of us believe the lies. We give more significance and more value to the beautiful people of this world. We attribute all sorts of wonderful things to pretty, stylish people. We secretly think they are more intelligent, more exciting, more worthy of our attention than, say, the plain-Janes of this world. And we spend literally billions of dollars trying to purchase this kind of skin-deep beauty. We pay for face lifts, nose jobs, and hair products. Women buy cosmetics, men join the hair club.

Now, lest you think I’m accusing any of you, I’ll be the first to admit that I am the worst about this! Yes, I am vain. I’m not proud of it, but I am honest. Every time I pass a body parts shop, I secretly wish I could trade my short legs in for a longer pair. And if I had a nickel for every time I’ve changed my hair style or my hair color or tried a new kind of make-up in an attempt to look younger and prettier, well . . . I’d have a lot of nickels.

But I wonder what would happen if we were all suddenly struck blind, and we could only “see” people for who they were on the inside? What would happen if all of a sudden, looks didn’t matter? Hmmmm . . . I’ll just bet most of us would spend a lot more time and resources developing our inner beauty, building up the deep, lasting kind of attractiveness that only comes from a pure heart. I’ll bet if we didn’t have the constant distraction of always trying to look good, of trying to impress others with our splendor and style, we’d have more wisdom, more kindness, more compassion, . . . more love.

At least, I hope we would.

But since that’s probably not going to happen any time soon, since we live in a world where looks really do matter, we’ve got to find a balance. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with trying to look our best. But should we really judge others based on the price tags of their clothing, or how thick and shiny their hair is? Shouldn’t we just admire those things, and at the same time set them aside as insignificant to the things that really matter in this life?

I, Renae Brumbaugh, AKA the Vanity Queen, don’t know the answers. But I do hope that centuries from now, I have left more of a legacy behind than what I looked like. I pray that I will be remembered as having a beautiful spirit.

But if anybody ever tries to put my face on a coin, I’m having a face-lift first.

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting . . .”

2 comments:

Judi "Jlo" Moran (2006) said...

Amen to that one - the face lift, I mean (little inside joke)!
Actually, amen to the whole thing.
From one vain chick to another,
Jlo

inchristalone10 said...

I misquoted Forest Gump once to my daughter, (whom laughed hysterically) but I feel it fits here;-)

“Pretty is as pretty does.”