The Struggle With Beauty
It's crazy to think about the weight beauty has on today's society. Of course I've seen it transition over the years and I've even experienced some wild stuff first hand. When we think about beauty, we think about what's pleasing to the eye. We think about nice bodies and attractive faces. We equate status to beauty in many situations as well. I remember being 13 walking from my house to the corner store and hearing the "beep beep" of a passing car every few steps. It was annoying to say the least. I was not excited by the attention of strangers attracted to my physique. It was off-putting and it pushed me to be self-conscious about my body. It was like..."Hey! I'm more than some cheeks!" It felt like I was invisible outside of my looks. Like no one saw me as an intelligent, ambitious, goal driven individual. I remember being in high school during my senior year and I had to find a job for co-op.
I was done with credits and wanted to go to work for half the school day instead of aimlessly roaming the halls attempting to avoid the security guards. So, one day, I went to a local mall with some of my classmates who were on the same mission to find employment. I wanted to work somewhere I could benefit from. As a result, I went into a shoe store. I worked in a clothing store before and wasn't really feeling that route again. When I went into the shoe store, I immediately was the focus of attention. I could barely get in the store before it began. I asked if they were hiring and the manager was like, "Yeah! Hold on let me interview you real quick." He went to the back of the store and returned within a few minutes. He instructed me to follow him out of the store to a nearby sitting area to answer some questions.
He asked my name, if this was my first job, and when could I start. My answers must have been satisfactory because I was offered the job and then asked to fill out a job application with the rest of the employment paperwork. My first day of work was very uncomfortable. Everyone was staring at me. I worked with mostly men and I didn't like the way I felt going in so I didn't work there long. It just felt so uncomfortable. I mean, I wasn't the girl who used her 'womanly wiles' to get things. I was really reserved and shy when I met people. At this point, the attention was old...at the same time, it was never exciting to me.
Fast forward 22 years. At 40, I still encounter people who struggle remaining professional. It's like they are enamored by me and unable to see anything else. It makes me feel so uncomfortable to have people act as if my beauty is more important than my business. For a long time it shut me down and made me shy away from a lot of opportunities. I often wanted to hide myself and appear as typical and regular as possible when meeting people. I felt like I had to dilute myself in order for people to actually see me. I mean the real me, not just the physical me.
Recently, I started back doing some therapeutic work and began to learn why I felt the way I did about how others react to my appearance. The gist of it relates to my negative experiences as a child and not properly healing from those things. It is not uncommon to have 'unfinished business' in your life that causes you to react to situations differently than you think you should. Some times, the feeling is unexplainable, like something you can't put your finger on. During my ongoing learning process, I wanted to know if it was just me or if other people experienced this as well.
I conducted a poll on social media to see if other people would be willing to share their experiences. I was really shocked by the responses. I quickly learned that I am not the only one and it is not something that only happens to women. What's funny is when people attempt to slander a business or a brand if they don't get their way in public but in private they are making inappropriate advances instead of conducting business. I was caught completely off-guard to learn how aggressive women are towards men they are attracted to, regardless of the setting or relationship. It made me think, how did we get here? Better yet, how long have we been here?
I want to encourage those who struggle with professionalism in the presence of attractive people to make intentional efforts to avoid giving in to those disrespectful urges. Keep the unsavory thoughts to yourself. If the door was not opened by the butler with drinks ready to welcome you in, please stay outside...in your lane. Respect the space of others because I believe you will quickly forget that you were poking the bear once it bites. Remember, you don't have to struggle with beauty. You can appreciate it, comment on it, and get lost in it...respectfully.
I'm interested in your thoughts....
Have you been in a situation where your looks were the focus of the interaction? How did you handle it?
Have you been unprofessional with someone you were attracted to? What was the outcome?