In a conversation the other day in which the subject of how people denigrate those who trade on their looks came up, and the phrase "beauty is only skin deep" was used.
Now to start with, that disregards bone structure, muscle mass, and grace of carriage.
But there's nothing wrong with skin deep sometimes:
A few years after my father died, his best friend told me a story. Father, at this time approaching 40 (and unbeknownst to himself sudden death) , was visiting Friend in another State. Father was of course married to Mother, who was like Father and his Friend attractive, clever, and a serious person. Her brilliance and drive fit poorly with the life choices she made, and she was difficult.
Accompanying Father was a girl, about 22, who struck Friend as being dim though gorgeous. At some point, Friend taxed Father about this.
"Staghounds Sr., I know she's pretty and all that. But she's ignorant and stupid with it. What on earth do you talk about?"
"Friend, you are right. She doesn't know nothin' about nothin'. And some weekends, that's exactly what you want."
And sometimes it's not just skin deep, either:
I once knew a professional Mistress well enough to talk to. Her paramour hunted, and she and I became friendly. She was also gorgeous, poorly educated, pretty ignorant about things in newspapers, and just as nice as could be. Once she talked about her choices with me. At the time she was about 27.
"Look, I flunked Algebra. I know I'm no genius. What am I going to work my way up to, assistant manager at MacDonalds?
When I go back home at Christmas, all my friends b!tch about their lives. They live in trailers. Their husbands hit them, cheat, or have just run off. They have squalling babies, they are fat, they have never been any farther than Florida. Most of them work, and teller at the bank is the best job they will ever get.
I haven't punched a time clock or paid a bill in three years. I have a nice little house in my own name, and he's making the payments. I've been to Paris and Rome and New York and Hawaii. I have $15,000 because I never quite spend everything he gives me for clothes and jewelry. It's in good investments because I listen when he talks to his friends about that stuff. I'm having this pleasant conversation with you on a Thursday morning in Somerset, England, watching a crack pack of hounds.
He treats me good, doesn't cuss or hit me, and we both know that when he gets tired of me he will set me up in a job I can do. I'm not smart, but I'm smart enough not to sell what I have cheap."
No one gives Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, or any random construction worker grief because they use the physical part of their DNA to make a living.
Just a strange paradox.