Beauty and its side effects

I have been trying to avoid this topic from a long time. But, Pepper’s post forced me to give my thoughts a vent so that I could be at peace, once for all.

We all crave to be beautiful. This is a fact that none of us can deny. Though the definition of beauty depends and varies from person to person. Mind you, by being beautiful, I am not talking of heavenly beauty or Greek gods. But, overall pleasant appearance with striking features and the like.

Without plunging in the depths of the characteristics of what actually makes a person beautiful in my opinion, let me add that for this post alone we will be considering only physical beauty. So talk about a beautiful heart or mind isn’t happening.

I have often been complimented for my beauty. My beautiful eyes, sharp features and the like by many people. I have this habit of ending it all with a plain thank you and forgetting it in no time. So when I got married to someone equally good-looking (though at that time I used to rate my to-be-husband a 7/10 in good looks) things went out of control.

The trouble was, my ex-husband was very proud fond of his looks. He’d gush at every compliment and loved admiring himself in the mirror every time he crossed one. He would take much longer than me to get ready for every big or small occasion.

When I first stepped in my marital home, in no time the admiration of my looks changed to sincere advise from everyone in my in-laws. They’d say, I should in no way let my beauty and fair complexion (mentioned specifically) stand to compete with my husband’s good looks.

At first, it was confusing and a very stupid thing to hear for I had no clue about the deeper meaning of those advises.

Slowly the true meaning came to fore. They meant that never let anyone compliment me more for my beauty than my husband. He should be the sole receiver of compliments for I had been the lucky one to be married to a fair, dashing hunk as against the norm of dark, dull and ugly men around.

For someone like me, who was least interested in talking about beauty, being asked to compliment her husband generously each time he got ready was quite a task. Initially, I tried to be upfront honest about my opinion. But, I soon learnt the art of being honey-coated- sweet-yet-mechanical in my compliments for the truth wasn’t liked and I had to suffer severe repercussions of being honest.

What I wore, what make up I used, my hairstyle for the formal occasions was often dictated by my husband. He wanted me to compliment him ( by wearing complimentary tones according to the clothes he would wear) in every which way and not shine on my own. Thinking about it now, I sometimes feel disgusted of myself for having tolerated such behavior for so long in vain hope that someday it will change.

Anyway, so we were a beautiful couple at least by the looks of it. Trust me, it is a very painful position to be in. All my sisters who were compared to beautiful me all their lives now had another reason to envy me. People who used to call me blessed, being the daughter of a gorgeous mum now started calling me the lucky wife of a handsome man.

Was it patriarchy or plain stupidity, but it was a place I disliked being in. The agony of it all didn’t end with my marriage. For now, my ex-in-laws and my ex-husband uses my beauty very cleverly as the major weapon of character assassination (marrying a beautiful girl comes with the high risk of her having extra marital affairs, leading to the divorce by their innocent son and other such filth).

While it hurts to be called ugly or being endlessly compared with one’s gorgeous siblings, it can actually be more painful to be beautiful; for it then puts you in a position to be an eye sore for everyone around. You are envied by those who are compared to you and deemed less beautiful and are considered a rival by those who are prettier than yourself.

The rat race never actually ends. Just like greed for money, I think the lust for beauty is something that can never be satiated.

No-matter where you stand on the beauty scale, you are bound to be criticized by people on both the sides. So be happy with whoever and however you are, for God made you that way with a purpose. If he had wanted you to be any different, he would have made you that way. This is the philosophy that keeps me going.

The song on my mind: Gore rang pe na itna guman kar ~ Roti

47 thoughts on “Beauty and its side effects

  1. Now this is a new perspective, glad that you shared it ME.

    That reminds me of a commercial advertisement’s title song few years ago, I do not remember the product, I loved the lyrics though…it went something like this: naa gori, naa kali, naa shyam, naa shwet…mujhe lagna hai bas mujh jaisa

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  2. Gosh! I honestly dont believe this! you my darling, are the epitome of patience to have taken all this in stride….

    I have never been beautiful..honestly…full of pimples, soda bottle glasses, fat figure, dark skinned…among the various adjectives to describe me..so I really dont know how it is to be on the other side, but I have realised (yaa yaa getting older!) it doesnt really matter at the end of the day. If you have a personality which is honest, I think that works the best 🙂 and of course, RD being half blind works in my case as well 😉

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    1. I have always found myself very average for I too have had weight issues every now and then.
      I am so glad you are happy the way you are and are at peace with it, for that is what actually matters 🙂
      Thank you RM 🙂

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  3. Rightly said ME! I too have a few points to say, but I do a post on it soon.

    And I cannot imagine how a man can be after beauty. Persoanlly I have not seen any such guy. Usually, ppl associate beauty with women. But then, how can beauty lust catch over a man? And its plain ridiculous to compliment a person everytime, just because honest opinions are not welcome 😦

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    1. I am so glad you haven’t come across any such men they are best being a handful.
      Ah! my description of his vanity was actually just the tip of the iceberg for the details would have really got you dizzy 😥
      Eagerly waiting for your post 🙂

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  4. I totally agree with you on the last para. The grass i always greener the other side and unless u r not on that side you do not know what the other person is going thru.

    Beauty for me is an over rated term which is used by ppl to hide their insecurities. Be happy for what you have and what you are and u will never feel let down by God is what I believe in.

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  5. No matter how beautiful you are, there has to be a certain amount of modesty attached to it. Narcissism added to beauty is a recipe for disaster. Also, in India we equate beauty with fairness. The two are miles apart but we do not understand the difference.
    Anyone obsessed with his/her beauty is a complete put off for me. For me, it is an utter display of vanity. And someone had the nerve to come and tell you to not compete with your husband? What was that? A rule for some entrance exam?

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    1. I bet you, it sure felt so awkward and unhomely to be sharing my life with such a man with whom I was not on the same page over so many issues 😦
      It sure is pathetic to equate beauty with fairness. I believe Indians (perhaps I should say Asians) are the world’s biggest racists.

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    1. The trouble is in our head for wires of all our senses are eventually plugged there. The day we’ll let go off our biases, racist attitudes and trying to gauge everything by the looks of it the world will definitely acquire a different feel and look.

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  6. First time here. Impressed with your writing style. Will visit again. We live in California for many years. I thought thse things happen only in Indian movies. I change my mind now. My heart goes out to you.

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    1. Welcome to my space SG 🙂
      I am glad you could see that Indian movies are no where close to Indian society as far shocking stories go.
      Looking forward to hear more from you 🙂

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  7. ME- believe me you were married to a nut case….normal men- with a level headed approach are generally not like this.They rather let their wives revel in her beauty and admire it themselves…. So pls do not think that being beautiful is any big disadvantage. Definitely not big enough to act as a deterrent in any way in ur life. Feel awsomely great and goof about yourself that you are beautiful!! i am sure your daughter will turn out to be equally good looking. I am not saying that one should be arrogant of ones looks, but just the way we feel good about ourselves on knowing that we are among the more intelligent ones, so is the case with beauty also….great to know that we have a beautiful face behing thos blog..:)…cheers,,,and pardon me for using not so appropriate words at the begining of the comment….cheers….

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    1. I agree Forgottogrowup, being considered beautiful does wonders for your self-esteem, but it should stop at that and should interfere with one’s personality and behavior.
      Thank you for the sweet note and I am with you in the belief that I was actually married to someone with serious issues (about a lot of things).

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  8. A thought provoking post ME- I also feel burdened with this constant obsession with my complexion and weight / figure! It irritates me, I feel like screaming sometimes and saying’ GUYS there is much more to Me than these things… can you please see them!!’ But to no avail. Sadly our Indian society puts looks (for a girl!!) on a higher platform than anything else…

    Amidst all this the beauty of our soul remains hidden somewhere , scared to come out for the fear of being made fun of…. I wish we could truly do something to change this mindset..

    You are so correct…. the rat race never ends. The ugly betty wants to become a swan, the swan wants to become more prettier…:)

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    1. “Amidst all this the beauty of our soul remains hidden somewhere , scared to come out for the fear of being made fun of…. I wish we could truly do something to change this mindset.”
      Couldn’t agree more PT

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  9. It reminded me of one of the statements my aunt told me….. “marry someone who is less good-looking than u are….so the compliments and focus will be on u, u will have the advantage…and ur partner will love for becoz he has u with him”. 😐 This totally baffles me even now… 😯 where do ppl come up with this stuff anyway?

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  10. “No-matter where you stand on the beauty scale, you are bound to be criticized by people on both the sides. So be happy with whoever and however you are, for God made you that way with a purpose. If he had wanted you to be any different, he would have made you that way.” you are so right…
    I hope that as a society we stop judging people by their looks.

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  11. I don’t know what to say. I’ve never considered myself beautiful, though Mint keeps telling me I am. I tell him he is biased. I never even thought in the other direction though. A girl shouldn’t be better looking than her guy, or it can hurt his ego? I am speechless.

    And like somebody else said, I have never known a man obsessed with his beauty/looks like that. Glad you he is no longer a part of your life.

    Very apt song 🙂

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    1. In hindsight all this sounds pretty ridiculous. Though I had found it absurd at the time too, but I swallowed the bitter pill in the name of adjustment, hoping that someday things will get normal.
      At last, it’s back to normal. How? is a different story!

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  12. Era, you’ve been really very brave to have gone through so much and still retained the positive outlook towards life. Kudos to you!
    beauty is all very subjective and you’ve summed it up very beautifully
    I am dark-skinned but am told to have good features, so I have people giving me back-handed compliments like dark/dusky beauty. But when it came to marriage, I faced the reality of how beauty equals fair skin. A totally demoralizing period. Like pepper said in her post, beauty is still largely thought of as an asset to win good marriage proposal. But again, I’ve noted that great looking people mostly land up with average looking partners. Some balancing act, there 😉

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    1. Indeed balance is established in one form or the other, if not immediately then due course of time 🙂
      I can so understand the tough times girls in India face around the so-called marriageable age in the name of their complexion 😦
      Hugs!

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  13. Came to your blog after a while, ME…
    I am so sick of how much importance is given to superficial things, that I dont even know from where to start. From outside beauty to superficial behaviour and manners, it is just sickening. As I have said before as well…good riddance!

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  14. Nice post! And it doesn’t help that in India, beauty becomes a ‘virtue’ almost in itself- to be pretty, fair, ‘innocent looking’ equates to being a good human being (at least that’s what I’ve noticed:)) Anyway, this post has set me thinking – think I will write on this as well! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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  15. Pingback: Pretty/Simple « Desi Daaru

  16. Very well said ME..Well in my teens I would be little worried as I had a lot of pimples n stuff n would envy on my friends looks etc.. But thanks to God to hv Appi in my life who did accept me for what I was and he defines beauty with character and I m lucky to be peace with wat I am right now..

    Oh well yes I hv seen some parents who want Gori bahu even after having not-so-gora-not-so-handsome son… and some Men who Themselves need beautiful, gori as a first requirement in their to-be-wedded wife

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  17. Sara

    I don’t know how I landed at this post, but I’m sorry I found it a little funny. I actually know one of my cousins who is just like your ex. At a time when one has to focus on exams and career decisions this cousin of mine was obsessed about his looks and spent his time going to the gym and improve his looks. That’s not the worse part. People used to compliment his mother who used to gush and feel immensely pleased on his behalf. Now tell me if we have ADULTS with this kind of mentality in the society how can the other generation break stereotypes. I feel they are in MANY ways responsible for ruining the personalities of their kids.

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    1. This is strange behavior and an extreme case of narcissism. Parents supporting such behavior is primarily the cause that it goes uncorrected to adulthood.
      Oh well! we can only talk about it openly and hope that maybe someone with similar tendencies will see sense and mend their ways 😉

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